Master Sheng Yen addresses a long time query I had:
Buddhism is atheistic, Buddhahood is achieved by sentient beings, a Bidhisattva assists Buddhas in liberating beings, and deities protect the Three Jewels so the Dharma may be promoted in this world.
How about 土地公？Or this part of the world likes to pray 大伯公… are they deities or bodhisattvas?
Here’s a clip that can help explain.
My takeaway is that, we should offer our utmost respect regardless if they are ghosts or deities. Shifu once said, “不管他们是谁，能帮到众生，我们都应该恭敬!”