Thursday, August 28, 2014

Taoist Chaya Purusha (元神)

It would probably not an over statement that Taoist rituals are 50% Hindu rituals. For example: Taoists worships Brahma (梵天), Kali (玄女), Yama (阎罗) and Marichi (斗母) just to name a few. Even to the extent that in Taoist magical practices, there is a parallel form of tantric ‘Chaya Purusha’!


I am not going to explore the Hindu Chaya Purusha in detail, but to run across the Taoist Chaya Purusha for the sake of comparisons:


In Taoist magic, Chaya Purusha is known as one’s ‘original soul’ (元神) and there is a set of quite extensive practice to activate our original soul by stages:


The first stage is ‘training soul’ (炼神). This is the first step awakens the soul, the practice is somehow similar to the posting “know your fate, know yourself”.


Logically we should be able to physically ‘see’ our original soul. So, the second step is same as the Hindu Chaya Purusha; i.e. we must choose a sunny but cloudless morning at around 10am or so. After that, we should stand against the sun and stare at our shadows until our eyes are tired. When we feel a sensation in our heart, we should immediately look into the sky in front of us. With some practise, one huge shadow will appear in front of us and that will be our original souls.


When our original souls appear, we should inspect if there is anything wrong with our soul; especially if there is any black spots or black parts. Black always means mishaps as usual.


If there are problems, we will need to use the avoiding methods (消灾避死). One most popular is offering oil lamps to the Northern Stars System (北斗) and walk the previously mentioned star steps (步罡). The rituals must be carried out until the bad signs are completely gone otherwise death or disasters entail.


After we can see and communicate our original souls, we have to ask them to ‘shrink’ and fit their sizes to our physical body or they will be too large to do anything. The Taoist calls the shrinking of original soul as ‘soul shrinking’ (缩神). It is said that only after our original souls are in proper sizes that we can handle them to do many tasks.


Now, since our original souls are practically us in every human form, they are bound by all our past good and bad karmic forces and much restricted. These ‘contaminated’ souls will need to be blessed and purified in a ritual known as ‘soul transform’ (变神). In this ritual we transform our original souls into the appearance of the gods or goddesses that we desire. Normally a male Taoist will take the form of thunder god (雷神) and a female Taoist will be Marichi (斗母). I supposed this is somewhat similar to the Tantric Yidam practice.


Well, if you have the complete Chaya Purusha practice, perhaps you can compare. It would be good if anyone can send me a copy of that too!


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