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Monday, July 30, 2012
Thai Medium & Receiving Bowl Ritual
mediums are everywhere, in every culture and in every corners of the world.
Basically as I see it, the medium in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore are quite
similar. The main difference is that the Datuk worship is unique to Malaysia
there are efforts to suppress the activities of spirit medium activities by
Thai government and Buddhist groups, but spirit mediumship is still very hard
to curb till present days.
two types of mediums:
people became mediums after recovering long or life threatening illness.
come to a specific person expressing the intention of using his/her body to
is inherited from mother or father to their children.
a teacher spirit through “receiving bowl” during the yearly Wai Kru ritual.
explore the Receiving Bowl Ritual “Rub Khan” in more detail:
In order to
be formally become a spirit medium, the individual must participate in “Rub Khan”
or “Receiving bowl Ritual”. The individual must prepare a bowl or “Khan” in the
Khan Ha, is
the sign of the five moral precepts in Buddhism.
to spirit medium status, the individual must pledge to follow the five moral
commandments of Buddha strictly as follows;
from sexual misconduct
from telling lies or dalsehoods
from taking intoxicants
commandments specified in the above must be followed for the purity of body and
mind of spirit media. So, they must follow strictly the moral standards of
Buddhism. Furthermore, to maintain purity is the only way to create miraculous
power, such as walking on hot charcoal and climbing the knife ladder etc.
A bowl for
offering is composed of rice grains, sesame, beans and popped rice, embellished
with flowers, candles, joss sticks, areca nuts, betel leaves, cigarettes and
three colored fabrics.
the receiving bowl ritual, the spirit medium who is the teacher and the new
spirit medium enter into possession and then the teacher bestows a bowl on the
recipient. After the ritual, the new spirit medium brings “Khan Ha” to put on
the altar in his living room or “Tam Nak”.This bowl or Khan symbolizes the formal identity as a spirit medium.
(Just a side note on the Khan/bowl: I have
noticed that the Taoist Mao Shan stream, especially the Miao ethnics also use
bowl extensively. And a bowl is an important ritual item in Mao Shan practice. As
to whether there is a connection of bowl here, that would take further
can then be categorized into 3 types:
of Thai heros/gods such as King Rama V, King Naresuen etc.
of Chinese/Taoist gods: Kuan Yim, Sam Poh Kong, Monkey God etc.
of Indian heros/gods: Narai, Shiva, Phra Phorm, Kali, Umadevi
medium must observe the below taboo:
consume vegetarian food on Buddhist holy day.
observe the 5 commandments of Buddhism.
spirit possession on the Buddhist holy day because the medium must make merit
by offering food to monks and by meditating.
have ablution to purify the body before spirit possession.
female medium, straightly no possession during menstruation.
to eat shellfish, fish, eggs, chickens and ducks. Some spirit medias also
cannot eat any foods at a funeral house.
to attend funeral services or the power would be reduced.
we have reviewed a major part of spiritual practice in Thailand.