Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Ethics Of Making Offerings (祭祀的礼仪)

Please pay attention to what you do during spirit offering sessions.

There are some basic manners one needs to look out during customary spirit offering sessions to prevent offending those spiritual good brothers and sisters.
Well, it would be a waste of time and money if the spirits failed to be appeased. So it is better to follow the ritual faithfully; or don’t do the offering at all.
Roy is one of my acquaintance from Singapore and he is the so-called ‘new people’ (新新人类) of the 90’s. These ‘new people’ do not really believe in spiritual world but they are merely curious. Likewise, with Roy, he studied a few sessions of Thai magic with me and then dropped off and only to resurface to tell me his side of the story in the hope to get my opinion.
I am not about to respond to his mail personally but opted to share Roy’s story in this posting:
Roy’s ordeal happened during last Chinese Ghost Month. It was on the 15th day of Lunar 7th month and Roy’s mother prepared some dishes to be offered to those ‘hungry ghosts’ that wandered in human realm by the Buddha’s compassion so as to enjoy foods offered to them.
When the time was right, a table was put in front of Roy’s apartment with food offerings and joss papers laid in order. Although Roy was reluctant to participate in food offering session, he was somehow compelled to help by his mother. So reluctantly he laid his mom’s dishes on the table and also 5 bowls of cooked rice together with some joss papers which were to be burnt. Due to lack of proper knowledge, Roy only laid 5 pairs of chopsticks beside the rice bows (as shown above).
After some huh-ha, Joy’s mom asked Joy to bring the prepared joss papers downstairs to burn to the spirits… On his way to grass field downstairs, Roy stopped over to chat with his girl for quite a while until he finally remembered that his whole family was waiting for him to have dinner. So Roy hastily bid his girl farewell and proceeded to burn the joss papers.
Apparently, Roy was not a patient person. In order to speed up his task, Roy overturned the iron container with still burning joss papers; added to that, he stormed at the burning papers to extinguish the flame too…
After Roy was satisfied that all the fire was extinguished, he returned to his apartment to join his family for dinner.
As Roy was eating, his girl called; and he hastily plug his chopsticks into his bow (as shown) and started his love talk.
The incident was far from over…
Two weeks later, Roy fell down from a ladder while trying to retrieve a pair of shoes on the rack. He hurt his back and Roy still not yet recover until today… Worse, he lost his job and his girl too. Now, Roy’s mother is sick from no apparent reasons… And this is when Roy think of me.
So, what went wrong?
First, the position of the chopsticks was reversed causing the spirits failed to consume the food offerings… Roy put the chopsticks beside the bowls meaning the food can only be consumed by human, then when he plugged his chopsticks into his rice bowl; the spirits thought the rice was for them. Without knowing, Roy consumed his rice together with the negative aura of hungry spirits.
That was not all, what really made the spirits mad was that Roy extinguished the burning joss papers prematurely by stepping on them… this meant indirectly Roy was telling the spirits:
“Ha, ha! You are not getting any money!”
The moral of the story is that: It is okay not to make offerings, but if you do; then do it correctly and politely! Of course, I couldn’t help Roy as I am too lazy to travel down south during this time. But I am sure there are many good masters in Singapore that could help.

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