Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wai Khru Ritual (拜师法会)

The picture shows an offering of "phapa tree" (money tree) in Wat Sungai Siput during Wai Kru ceremony.

The Wai Khru ritual is not confined only to the spiritual circle; it is also practiced by any experts to make the annual offering of respect and thanks to the teacher or Khru. We find that the performing theatre, massage, the Thai kickboxing, the school children, arjans and spirit mediums also take part in Wai Kru ritual. This is similar to the celebration of Teacher’s day in Malaysia and the rest of the world.

We will just limit ourselves with the Wai Kru ritual carried out by the spirit mediums or the like. Usually, the Wai Khru ritual is organized in April or May; however the date of the Wai Khru ritual is not assigned precisely. In normal circumstances, a date is chosen by a temple committee and proposed date is posted in notice board or newspaper.

Wai Kru rituals are big events at certain places. Sometimes the number of arjans and mediums can go up to 120 heads. The cerebrations can last for few days depending on the financial ability of the community.

The first day of the ritual begins early in the morning. Food and beverages will be provided to all participants. After that preliminary prayers by arjans and spirit mediums started to be possessed by individual patron spirits. Then the mediums started to dance accompanied by music.

On the second day, the first half of the day begins with inviting monks are to the Wai Kru ritual to bless the ritual. In Thailand, a Buddhist monk has highest status compared to arjans and mediums.

After the monk left, arjans and mediums entered into possession and start serving the participants: perform blessing, remove black magic, binding their wrists with color cords and to sprinkle holy water on them. New spirit mediums will be receiving the bowl from their seniors. Other participants bought their own bows filled with flowers, eggs, candles, raw rice and bananas as offering to their teacher. After the offerings, each person will take back their individual bowls.

After the food offering ritual, arjans and mediums would start to dance together. While the group were dancing, people can chat with them, consult them about their life problems, and ask for blessings. And these dancing sessions can go on till mid night.

Different places have different types of Wai Kru rituals, above just one example mainly done by arjans and spirit mediums in Thailand. The Wai Kru for Sak Yant will have a very different scenario however.

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