Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Exposition Of Five Thunders Ritual (浅谈五雷法)

Taoist rituals come in many varieties and many takes the prefix of 5. We have the 5 ghosts (五鬼), 5 legionnaires (五营), 5 stars (五星), 5 chi (五气) and 5 thunders (五雷) just to say the least.

As per norm, due to the energy of thunder; the 5 thunder ritual is only practised by male Taoists. There are two exercises in 5 thunder practices: the external exercise and the internal exercise.

In external 5 thunders ritual, one makes use of talismans, visualisation, hand nips, star steps and mantra to invocation thunder gods of 5 directions into a Taoist’s body hence to bestow magical powers. This practice is normally done for a consecutive 49 days and this practice should preferably be started on the first thunder at the beginning of the year. Upon completion, a 5 thunders practitioner can make use of the thunder power to perform exorcism and for healing.

Other than the traditional Chinese Taoism, 5 thunder rituals are also practised by hill tribes such as Hmong () and Yao (). Some folk cult such as Liuren (六壬) and Jinyin (金英教) cults also incorporated some kind of 5 thunder rituals.

The internal 5 thunders ritual involves the accumulation of thunder energy within a practitioner’s body to maintain health and also to form another ‘body of light’. The energy is first accumulated below the abdomen and then moves to pancreas, kidneys, liver, heart, spleen, lung and then back to kidneys. After the circling of energy is done, the energy shall be directed to ‘dantian’ (丹田) and then perform the 'minor chi circle' (小周天).

It is believed that by circling the chi/energy around, any type of illnesses can be cured. It is also possible to diagnose illnesses by encircling the chi amongst the internal organs. For example: if the chi of a person is blocked in his/her kidney; then his/her liver and lung may have problems. If the blockage is not removed, then the person's illness may be worsened during winter.

The Taoist 'body of light' practice is somehow similar to the Indian Swara Yoga. In that the practitioner's soul is trained using the external 5 thunders ritual. Upon completion, this soul can be called out for divinations. For example, if the soul of the practitioner is black in colour, then he/she shall die soon. If the colour of the soul is bright red, then the person's 5 thunders practice would be successful.

The 5 thunders ritual takes a step further as there are mitigation methods when a person's soul is not healthy. And there are many subsequent rituals to transform a practitioner's soul to the form of a thunder god (雷神) proper.

In another way however, the Indian Swara Yoga has many detailed techniques that Taoist 5 thunders ritual does not follow. Of course, as of today, both of 5 thunders ritual and Swara Yoga are slowly being forgotten and soon to be things of the past.

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