Thursday, June 25, 2015
This posting is specifically for those friends who wanted to try performing exorcism rituals after reading my articles. First, I am not trying to discourage anyone to help others who have spiritual problems. Just a word of caution: though I have put my stories in a very simple and direct manner; please don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the exorcism rituals.
Many folks have overlooked the time and money I spent on learning those skills. I am not trying to boast about my magical experiences; but exorcism rituals are not for novice and exorcism is only the tip of an iceberg. One has to master many disciplines before one draws a conclusion that exorcism ritual is the best way to go.
Basically, an exorcist of whatever tradition will need to consult the person who thinks that he/she is being possessed through face to face interview and through analytical methods. It is best if the exorcist has some background in astrology and psychology studies. This preliminary analytical exercise is very important to filter out if the person is indeed possessed by spirits or the person has mental problems; or if the person only wants to play a prank on the exorcist. You will be surprised on how many people out there are trying to get to you if you are not careful.
When a possession case is deemed authentic, then the exorcist should determine the severity of the case. In most cases, simple blessing and food offering rituals are sufficient. Many people think that exorcism ritual is one time deal. I can assure you that this is seldom true and even simplest case such as dealing with bad luck takes time. So, if the help seeker can promise to continue with treatments at least once a week for 3 months or so; then the exorcist should not take the case. This is because it is a waste of time for both the exorcist and the help seeker. Not only the person cannot be cured; slanders could be thrown at the exorcist and this may land him/her into trouble if he/she is living in a small community. If a major exorcism rituals such a fire offering ceremony is needed, then preparations must be made and a good date should be chosen.
During treatment, the help seeker should ideally be willing to change his/her living environment. This person should also seek additional help such as psychotherapy or attending counseling sessions. If the person has nothing to do, then he/she should be encouraged to do charity work or doing physical exercises. However, the healer should be observant enough if the help seeker is making a recovery or otherwise. If spiritual healing has no significant effect on the help seeker for a period of time, then the person is most probably suffering from mantel depression.
Last but not least, it is best not to practise in mix-mode systems for each tradition has its uniqueness: Tantric Buddhism does not coincide with Taoism, and Taoism cannot work with Thai Magic and vice versa. There is no other way to master the art of exorcism but to try and learn from one’s errors… And it took me 25 years just to see some light… So please be patient.
In Thai medicine, our spirit and body is a holistic system. When health matters, then not only one should maintain the proper functionality of his/her physical body, at the same time it is also important to maintain a good spirit.
For example, most of the Thais are followers of Theravada. Through the practice of Buddhist dharma, they control their heart and donate to the needy. It is through these practices Buddhists achieve peaceful mind and gradually attain enlightenment. The calmness of our mind not only maintains our mental health; it also the health of our physical body. Thus in Thai medicine, ‘compassion’ is also part of curriculum and that human beings should help and love each other so as to avoid unnecessary confrontations. It is also when everyone has a calm and compassionate mind that our world can be at peace too.
Similar to Ayurvedic medicine, Thai medicine thinks that our health is maintained through the balancing of four elements (earth, water, fire and wind) and the ‘panca skandha’ or the five functions (form, sensation, perception, mental formations and consciousness). The best method to maintain health is through a combination of working hard and relaxations, appropriate food and beverages, control of one’s sexual activities etc. to maintain the balance of four elements (四大) and five functions (五蕴).
Thai medicine thinks that when one consumes food of excessively hot nature, dry, sour or bitter; then these foods would knock one’s ‘earth’ element to be off balance if the foods are not consumed excessively; otherwise not only the earth element would be unbalanced, the rest of elements: water, fire and wind would also become unstable. It is when these elements become imbalance that a person falls sick.
So it is not healthy if one fails to observe food hygiene, overeating, too hungry or even biased eating, Thai medicine maintains it is only through a balance diet that one’s health can be maintained and no other methods. So, just to sum up; the only means to keep ones mental and body health is through proper exercises, resting and balance diet. This is in line with all other traditional medicines of the world.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
There are many stories concerning the origin of Thai tattoo. Basically these stories can be subdivided into Pre-Buddhist, Buddhist influence and Ancestral related. I have collected some stories just to share with loyal blog visitors:
In ancient time, there is a type of water demon known as Phi Thale that always attacks fishermen who earned living by fishing fishes and shrimps. This demon has caused many fishermen to shy away from the waters except for a brave young man who has to support his sick and aged mother.
One day this young man accidentally netted the 7th daughter of nagaraja (dragon king). When the king learnt about the news of the capture of his daughter, his majesty immediately dispatches his minister to bring some jewels to exchange for the princess. After hearing what the minister had to say, the young man voluntarily sent the princess back without asking for any rewards.
The minister was very grateful for what the young man’s benevolent act and he tattooed some fish scale patterns on the young man’s body. Since then whenever the young man enters into water, the water would automatically splits apart; even the horrible Phi Thale also keeps away from him. As the news spread, many people tattooed the fish scale patterns on to their bodies too for protection.
One day the Buddha was preaching to a group of monks but one young monk was too lazy to listen to the Buddha, so he sneaked out to steal some food to eat. When the Buddha has discovered what the young monk has done, the Buddha stripped off the young monk’s robe and start drawing various patterns on the young monk’s body. These patterns were later being copied as the tattoo patterns of later days.
Once upon a time, when the sun and moon still not yet exist in the sky, the Thai ancestors have a ruby stone that hangs on a bodhi tree. This ruby has illuminated the world of the Thai folks and bestowing fortune. One day, a demon has stolen this ruby and escaped to the end of the world. Since then, the Thai lived in darkness.
A brave young man vowed to get back this stolen ruby so he started his long journey. He started to tattoo what he saw during his journey on his body as records. After he has passed through 9,999 forests, 9,999 mountains and 9,999 rivers, he finally found and killed the demon; and regained the ruby. Sadly when the young man has finally returned to his village, he already became an old man with white hairs. And this person died on the same day he reached his village.
So as a remembrance of his bravery, all men in the village tattooed the patterns of their hero on their body. This is how the practice of tattoo started amongst the Thais.
Hmm... what then is the reason you choose to tattoo may I ask?
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
A recent case of a father murdered his son and buried the body under the house kitchen in KL has reminded me of a ghost story told by a friend from Ho Chi Minh city quite some time ago:
My family and I used to live in a double story Chinese style brick house down south of Ho Chi Minh City. Although the house was built with bricks, its staircase and floor was built with black Chinese fir wood. At that time, we could be considered as quite well to do. We had moved from southern part due to unrest.
This is a secondhand house as its previous owner was a rich government officer who somehow became insane and faced horrible ending. As soon as we have moved into the house, we found that there is something not quite right with the house. Due to the fact that we have sold off all our properties in the south, we had to stay put.
It was always after pass midnight that the miserable crying sound of a young girl would be heard coming from a small room upstairs. The room was initially a servant room but since the creepy sound was heard, my servant has resigned with immediate effect.
I initially wanted to find someone to perform exorcism ceremony, but in case you are not aware; majority of Vietnamese Chinese are Catholics. The only way I could think of is to put the holy cross and the image of Saint Mary in that room. Other than that we could only closed an eye and pray. Somehow the crying sound grew louder and intermittently we could also hear sound of water splashing…
If I am to describe the sounds, it was a combination of the sounds of a little girl crying and struggling during bathing in a wooden bathtub and at times the sounds of bathtub banging on the wall could also be heard.
Initially we tried to control our fear by reciting the Rosary and treated the sounds as our own hallucinations until one just past 9pm. All of us were sitting in the living room watching TV programs, suddenly we saw a girl with long hairs about 8~9 years old clad in white sleeping gown gently gliding down from the staircase. I can still visualize that the girl has no facial expression and her face was extremely pale. Somehow the strange girl glided into a wall opposite of the staircase and vanished.
After a few sighting of the similar materializations, I decided to perform some detective work myself. First I pulled out the estate agent and enquired about the house background. With some persuasions, the agent finally told me that the previous house owner had hung himself on a tree beside the house while his daughter was nowhere to be found.
A few days later, I decided to employ a few workers to hack the wall where the little girl was sighted to have vanished. To our surprised, there was a small conceal room behind the wall. It looks like a bathroom of some sort. There was also an overturned wooden bathtub. We were all horrified right after the workers have lifted the bathtub. There we found a human skeleton believed to be of a girl!
Perhaps I have solved the mystery of the missing girl and the haunting has ceased on that night. Of course, I have sold the house as soon as the property market revives in Vietnam.
Poltergeist is known as ‘hantu amukan’ in Malaysia. It is believed that this type of spirit would not harm human beings; they normally play pranks to a house owner such as throwing rocks onto the roof or setting fire to one’s household items. We still can hear news of poltergeist activities now and then across Malaysia. Just a note that the Malaysian hantu amukan is not as sensational as the western poltergeist though…
In early 2000’s while I was performing retreat for Hayagriva and Shitro cycles in Ulu Selangor, an old man came to the dharma center asking for help. According to this old man, his family was tormented by one or many unknown entity. Even at daylight that his daughter could see black shadows running in his house and at times, stones were thrown into the house breaking their utensils. The old man believed that it was the working of poltergeist so he has hired many shamans to do the exorcisms at first but of no avail; then he asked some religious teachers to perform prayers and exorcism rituals; but that too were useless. After a few rounds of exorcism rituals, the old man has exhausted all his savings, so he came to the dharma center to seek help.
While I have some rituals in mind but I was not sure of what ritual to use at that time. So I consulted my Rinpoche and he recommended me to use the Hayagriva obstacle removing ritual since Hayagriva is known of its speedy respond. After obtaining the Rinpoche’s blessings, I made some ‘torma’ (ritual cake) and some human figurines with flour. When everything is ready, I followed the old man to his house.
After walking around the old man’s house, I went in and took out a red torma while reciting the mantra of Hayagriva. At the same time, I held the red torma with my left hand and then use a ritual knife to cut the torma slowly until the whole torma is cut. When the first round of torma cutting offering is done, I fold a paper boat and put the flour human figurines into the paper boat. Then I asked the old man to bring me to the nearest river so that I could put the paper boat with its load into the river.
The old man was kind enough to send me back on his old bike after my second round of ritual. A few days later, he returned with a bunch of durians as a gesture of appreciation. According to the old man, the disturbances in his house have subsided on that particular night.
According to my Rinpoche, other rituals that are also effective in tackling poltergeist activities are Vajrakilaya fire offering rituals for speed. But other obstacle removal can also be used though it would take some time for other rituals to take effect. However, if one does not like to seek confrontation, then the spirit deliverance methods such as the ‘Phowa’ would be the best. Then and again, these religious activities may not be convenient within some religious communities. So a person needs to be careful as not to raise hostility or he/she may be harmed instead of the spirit.
If you too are tormented by poltergeist activities, why not give tantric ritual a try? I am sure you will not be disappointed!
Ghosts are very illusive beings, there are believers and disbelievers. The believers would show many photos to proof that ghosts exist. Modern scientific minded folks would say that ghosts are in fact electro-magnetic forces that could be detected by electronic gadgets. If one is not too demanding, then a person can use a compass to detect the presence of ghosts; however care must be taken that one must switch off all his/her electronic gadgets beforehand.
Defining intelligent ghosts
Basically ghosts can be divided into two types:
· Intelligent spirit
· Residual spirit
Intelligent spirits are those entities that can react to outside world while residual spirits are just images of a person being recorded down in time to re-enact a horrific event. However, once the surrounding is changed, the residual energy would disperse. A residual energy cannot react to the outside world.
The ghosts that we are discussing here are spirits of intelligent.
Ghosts in the eyes of Buddhist doctrine
It is interesting to say that the view of Buddhists on ghosts varies (unfortunately) on the existence of ghosts. However, majority of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhists agree that ghosts and other spiritual beings exist; or else we would not have all those spirit deliverance and food offering rituals to these spirits.
In higher tantric teachings such as Anuttara Tantra and Ati Yoga where theory of emptiness take precedence, not only ghosts; Buddha, spirits, bodhisattvas, dharma protectors etc are treated as the reflection of our minds. So if a Buddhist denies the existence of ghosts, then he/she would also need to deny the existence of Amitabah and Pure Land. Because of these euphoric illusions are only creations of our mind.
(Perhaps I should clarify about theory of emptiness: according to theory emptiness, emptiness refers to ‘impermanent’ of a phenomena and not the ‘functionality’ of the item.)
Religious persecutions did occur in Tibet in history due to the disagreement of interpretation of ‘emptiness’. So much for peace loving and compassionate monks under political power struggle… Now back to the ghost story…
What are ghosts?
As we all know, ghosts are spirits of the dead that liger in this physical world. Now, perhaps you would wonder why these dead souls refuse to go to the light when there is still a chance?
According to ‘Tibetan Book Of The Dead’, when one dies the hearing sense becomes most active and one may be frightened on hearing loud noises such as crying or screaming. It is due to extreme fear and hatred that a dead soul refuses to enter the light at first instance. This is similar to human behavior that when one is in fear or pain, he/she would hide in a dark corner rejecting light. It is common human behavior to shy away from light when one felt that he/she is being persecuted. So when a dead soul misses its chance to enter light, it could only wonder in the dark and lost in the darkness forever.
Because these dead souls are electro-magnetic force, it lingers within the dark space and moves aimlessly as if a person moves from one room to another wedged in between door seams; it could neither move forward nor retreat. So this lost soul is as if marginal of a dark room. Hence perhaps now that we can have a little understanding of how ghosts feel at this point.
How ghosts posses our body?
In the eyes of ghosts, our astral and physical bodies appear to be a large sponge. So, unless the ghost is purposely seeking revenge or of other karmic reasons; they would try to avoid being sucked into this big sponge because it would be virtually impossible for a ghost to free itself from the sponge unless the host is dead. So, it is possible for a spirit to be trapped in a physical body for more than 50 years!
Becoming a spirit medium
When a ghost possessed a person due to karmic reasons, the person it possessed would also possesses psychic abilities such as psychic audio and visual. Likewise, it is also due to more powerful ghosts that possess a medium so that he/she can perform exorcism. This is known as ‘use a ghost to catch a ghost’. Of course, once these spirits are delivered and exorcised properly, the person’s psychic ability would be lost simultaneously.
Characteristics of a ghost
Ghosts are pitiful beings and yet it is best to keep them at a distance. Since ghosts are electro-magnetic entities hence they have no form so they can transform themselves into any shapes a person like to see. For example if a person misses his late father, then any ghost can transform itself into the image of the person’s father after reading his/her brainwave. It is also in this matter that one should be careful of ghosts as ghosts always tell lies too!
Ghosts are not something we should be fear of as they always live in pain; yet they are something that we should not deal with due to their deceptive nature. Most of the people who claim to see ghosts are in fact being possessed by ghosts. It is through the ghosts’ visions that people could see other ghosts. The best way to deal with ghosts is to deliver them to the light.
Monday, June 22, 2015
Old Malay bomoh (shamans) are still very much feared of today especially those who live near Malaysia and Thai borders as they have the service of powerful spirit servants known as Hantu Raya. However, one downfall of their practice is that if these bomoh cannot find a successor of their servant spirit; then the bomoh cannot die in peace.
I know Pak Man who was once a powerful bomoh in Changlun, Kedah but I didn’t contact him for quite some time since I moved to Penang a decade ago. About last year, my brother in dharma told me that Pak Man has rested in peace a few years since I left Kedah.
According to my bro, before Pak Man was dying, his family members and relatives all surrounding him performing prayer and preparing for Pak Man’s funeral. As soon as Pak Man gave out his last puff of air and when his body was about to be moved for cleansing; the corpse suddenly opened its eyes and stood up and then walked about in the house. That certainly caused some commotion within the household but nothing could be done since the corpse kept walking and refused to lie down. People could only pray and wished the ordeal would come to an end.
As I heard, the corpse continued to walk for 2 days and nights and asking to be fed with food. Since this walking dead kept on ramping around and nothing could be done, someone in the village suddenly thought of inviting a Ningmapa Rinpoche who happened to be visiting to come and have a look as a last resort.
After a while the good old Rinpoche finally arrived at the scene. As when the crowd who gathered around the place wanting to see what kind of magic the rinpoche wanted to perform; he only called his disciple who can speak Malay and then speak directly to the zombie:
Rinpoche: “You are not Pak Man. Who are you?”
Zombie: “I am Pak Man’s servant, the Hantu Raya.”
Rinpoche: “Why do you not let your master rest in peace?”
(After a long silence…)
Zombie: “I wanted to go… but I was bound by a secret mantra…”
Rinpoche: “I will release you, do you agree to go?”
Zombie: “I have another request… I want someone to take over me.”
(After a pause, the rinpoche turned his back and asked aloud…)
Rinpoche: “Anyone want to take over this Hantu Raya?”
(There was a long silent… no one answered the call…)
Rinpoche: “No one wants you. So go! Phat! Phat! Phat!”
At this point, the zombie gave out a long sigh and it fell down onto the floor. To everyone’s surprised; Pak Man’s body immediately gave out foul smell and started to decay…
It is a pity that I wasn’t at the site at that time… Maybe I would take over the Hantu Raya… Hmm…