Thursday, June 13, 2013

Taoist Communication Tablet (神簡)

The above is a spirit communication tablet about 75 years old from a Yao priest in NW of Vietnam. The inscriptions roughly mean "may gods and goddesses protect me".
The Taoist communication tablet is an important ritual implement. It is a ‘must have’ to summon any spiritual generals (神將). This communication tablet is as if our car keys; without them the car engines cannot be started.


This tablet is generally wrapped with a piece of red cloth and placed on the Taoist’s altar for worship with incense, flower and tea. During the summoning of spirits, the tablet is struck three times with fingers and in doing so; Taoists believe any spirits will hurry to the Taoists’ service.


Generally this communication tablet is made of peach wood. It is about 1 foot in length and 1 inch wide. It must be empowered for 49 days before put into actual ritual use.


Anyone who wants to invoke the presence of spirits with this tablet must first perform a ritual bath. Then he or she should stand facing north. After that the communication tablet is picked up with ‘double Tai Shan’ hand seal and inhaling the Chi of North Stars. The Taoist should hold his or her breathe and then blow onto the tablet and say “sha, sha, sha”. Finally the Taoist strikes the tablet three times with his finger and say below mantra:




(I summon all spirits, I give notice to the heavenly master of dragon and tiger to present and cast out evil. Make haste once you heed my summon. And follow my order. As my will, so mote it be!)


It is believed that only through this standard Taoist practice will the armies of gods and goddesses willing to follow our orders. Having said so… I seldom see this type of ritual implements in many modern Taoist blessing ceremonies now a day.


No comments:

Post a Comment