In Chinayindu, the Seven Gods of Luck are revered above all others, even more so than the wise and beautiful Goddess of the West. It is thanks to the Gods of Fortune that people were freed from the domination of weredemons who took over the Middle Realm after the Storm.
The Lucky Gods bestowed upon the Jade Emperor three hundred bottomless bags containing magical seeds. The Emperor himself distributed these bags among three hundred mountain monasteries, instructing the monks to plant a Fortune seed for each of the inhabitants.
The Lucky Seeds were not powerful enough to drive the weredemons out of the Earthen Realm, but those who had such a seed under their protection were no longer easy prey for the demons.
Ebisu is the patron of fishermen, the god of the ocean and labor. It is believed that it is Ebisu who brings good weather to the Earthen Realm. Offerings are made at Ebisu’s shrines to either end summer drought or, conversely, to hasten the end of the rainy season. The typical offering is a daikon radish soaked in vinegar.
Daikoku is the god of fertility, commerce, and labor. It is believed that it is Daikoku who brings bountiful harvests to farmers and profitable gains to merchants. Sometimes he is also revered as the guardian deity of the home.
Bishamon-ten, Bishamon, or Tamon-ten – these are all names for the same deity who is considered the patron of warriors and hunters. He is also one of the Four Heavenly Kings entrusted by the Jade Emperor to guard the Earthen Realm. As the guardian of immeasurable wealth, he is revered more than the other three Heavenly Kings and the other six Lucky Gods.
Benzaiten is the goddess of flowing water, the patroness of musicians and all fine arts. It is believed that Benzaiten brings luck in love, so offerings are made at her temples by both unrequited lovers and couples who wish to rekindle the flame of love.
Hotei is the god of talks, merriment, and well-being. He embodies happiness and carefreeness. It is believed that to have a wish granted, one must make an offering to Hotei and repeat their wish three hundred times.
¶ Jurojin and Fukurokuju
Jurojin and Fukurokuju are sometimes considered as one deity, thereby reducing the number of Lucky Gods to six. Both are associated with longevity, but while Fukurokuju is also the god of wisdom, patron of scholars and alchemists, Jurojin is known among the Lucky Gods for his love of drinking and inclination towards jokes and pranks.
Rice wine is offered to Jurojin, while eggplants, whose elongated shape resembles a high forehead where Fukurokuju stores his accumulated wisdom from countless years, are offered in honour of Fukurokuju.
One of the abbots of the monastery on Brocade Mountain was called Juro, just like one of the Lucky Gods of good fortune, the one who was famous for his witty tricks.
The Taoist put his hand into the begging bowl and rustled the amulets. He took one out, pulled out a long hair from his eyebrow, and used it to tie the amulet around his neck.
“Not a single demon will notice me now,” he said. “I got these amulets from Bishamon, the God of Fortune himself. Whoever wears them is invisible to the creatures of the Under Realm.”