Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Jungle Retreat: Theravada Vs Tantra

My pal is into Theravada Buddhism, and he goes into the forest quite often for his extended meditation practices. Sometimes I will accompany him as I also need to meditate and as a means to quit blog writing. It is dangerous to go into the Tropic forest alone to tell you the truth, there are just too many details need to take care of. Besides the wild animals and insects such as elephants, tigers and hornets, one must also be careful of the treacherous terrain of the forest.


This time we had chosen a small cave for our meditational retreat in the Northern part of Peninsula. When we arrived at our destination, my pal had taken a place in the cave. As I would be moving about in the vicinity of the area looking for spirits and herbs, so I rather stay at the cave entrance in the hope not to disturb him when I move in and out.


Normally we will keep this type of setting between us after we have set up. None of us are good talkers. So we go about our own business until the 3rd day. My pal approached me and he surprised me with his lethargic look, just not his normal self. So I asked him about his meditation experience while passing him a bottle of mineral water.


According to him, he was generating metta (compassion heart) all the while until he find difficult to meditate. It is his practice to extend his compassion heart to any spirits comes to him during meditation. The problem with this practice is that the more my pal generated compassion, the more spirits come to him… and there are many spirits in the jungle. No wonders he looked so tired.


As we still have 4 more good days to go, none of us want to have an early retreat. After fallen into dead silent for quite a while, he finally broke silence. He asked me if I have any ways to move the spirits away since I was into tantric and magic rituals. In normal circumstances I wouldn’t dare to suggest as he said I will corrupt his mind J.


I thought he never asked. So I took out my fire puja ladle and do a Tantric fire offering with some biscuits and herbs collected nearby. It is indeed to our surprise, right after the fire ceremony, no more disturbances for the next days until we left the cave.  I suggested performing a closing fire ceremony for the spirits before our departure, my pal didn’t object this time.


Well, I dare not say which method is more effective. You are the cleaver one; I best ask your opinion on this.

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