Saturday, September 24, 2016

Who Is On Your Back? (谁在你背上?)

Simon and Anderson are brothers from Australia. I met them during one of the dharma talks held in my guru’s Buddhist centre some time ago. Apparently the brothers are also pretty faithful Tibetan Buddhism practitioners. Of course, my interest was solely on their ghostly and nearly fatal swimming experience off Tanjung Bunga beach in Penang.

Both Simon and Anderson are frequent Penang visitors and they are fairly good swimmers too. During one of their visits to Penang, they put up with a hotel situated just beside Tanjung Bunga beach. It was just a few weeks passed the infamous South Asia Tsunami tragedy. The nights in February are pretty stuffy in Penang and after the Australian brothers’ dinner, both of them decided to have a walk along the stretch of hotel beach to get some sea breeze. Apparently, none of them fancied to stay inside air-conditioned hotel environment. Besides it was a full moon night, the seaside was pretty well lit by the moon light; nothing could possibly go wrong.

As Simon and Anderson was walking and chatting on the beach, their eyes were fixed on a light buoy located about 50 meters off the beach. So Simon suggested to Anderson that both of them have a race to the light buoy and then return; who ever made the round trip first won the race. Since this was not the first time both of the brothers had this kind of competition and that both of them are pretty good swimmers; safety factors were naturally being thrown behind their minds.

After Simon made the call, both of the brothers swam headed towards the buoy. At first, Anderson was taking the lead but suddenly he dived into the sea and disappeared from Simon’s view. Before Simon could make sense of what had happened, he saw Anderson’s hands raised out from the sea and he quickly swam towards his brother and grabbed Anderson’s hands. At the same time, Simon yelled out loudly for help and luckily there was a small fishing boat nearby to their rescue.

According to the old fisherman who pulled Simon and Anderson out of the sea, he actually noticed both of the brothers swimming in the sea. The fisherman added that he saw a black figure clinging onto Anderson’s back as if wanting to press Anderson into the sea and as he saw Anderson struggling to keep his head above the water, he immediately steered his boat to the rescue. Had it not because of Anderson’s good swimming skill, he could have been drowned. The old man said that that stretch of the beach was pretty haunted by drown ghosts and locals would not come out to swim after dark.

Later, Anderson was sent to hospital where he was hospitalised for 3 days and lived to tell his version of the story.

As recalled by Anderson, after he had taken the lead; he suddenly felt a load was put on his back and that simultaneously, he also heard someone whispered beside his ear: “Go into the sea… rest in the sea and relax…” After a while Anderson felt that he has lost control of all his muscles and started to sink into the sea. Somehow his reflexes helped him to resurface from the sea. Had it not because of Simon and the fishing boat; he was probably a thing of the past.

Apparently the black shadow wasn’t ready to let Anderson go easily and it continued to haunt him even after they had returned to Australia. It was not until he visited a local Buddhist centre and told by a Tibetan guru that a drown ghost in the form of half decayed body and a broken arm was still clinging onto his back. The drown ghost was later sent off with some food offering rituals and both Simon and Anderson then became ardent followers of this guru.

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