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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
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
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.