Friday, July 25, 2014

Bad Vibe Suppression With Stele (镇煞)

The Amitabah stele which is believed to be more merciful than Moutain Tai.

The Mountain Tai stele said to be more effective in suppressing bad vibes but it must be fed with raw meat periodically.

In traditional Chinese society, if certain place experiences frequent fatal accidents, then people will think that the place is having very bad ‘sha’ or vibe. Hence local folks will invite Taoists or Buddhist monks to perform deliverance rituals and after that, a stone stele will be erected with an inscription “Namo Amitabah Buddhaya” (南无阿弥陀佛) to suppress sha and chase away spooks.


Although traditional Buddhism doesn’t encourage this type of practice, a monk from Pure Land tradition known as Master Yinguang (印光) in a letter written to his disciples in 1932 did explicitly encouraged his disciples to use the Namo Amitabah stele for protection.


The Namo Amitabah steles can normally be found at entrance to villages, on river bank, on road side, beside road junctions etc. This practice can be found in mainland China from Guangdong (广东), Guangxi (广西), Fujian (福建), Jiangxi (江西), Sichuan (四川), and Taiwan (台湾) and even extended to Southeast Asia.


Another form of sha suppression is to erect a stele inscribed with words ‘I am Mountain Tai, who dares to stand up’ (泰山石敢当). This is the Taoist form of more powerful form of suppression sha.


Unlike the Amitabah stone stele, there is a set of rules for the construction of Mountain Tai stele and attention must be paid to date selection and that once the Mountain Tai stele is erected, it must be worshipped periodically with raw meat. It is a norm to erect the Mountain Tai stele during midnight and the whole process must not be seen by any one passing by.


Some scholars like to link the use of stone stele for protection to ancient stone worship, but I will leave it to the more educated to do further research.

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