Thursday, November 10, 2016
Ghost And Thoughtform (鬼与思想物)
Ghosts alone cannot work for sorcerers as they are gaseous substances that will disperse when blown by strong wind. Real ghosts have free wills and they are best to be delivered to the other side through religious deliverance rituals. However, ghosts can be ‘processed’ through certain rituals to give them forms and hence power to work. The Maoshan Taoists call this process as ‘accumulation of chi and forming shape’ (聚气炼形). This is similar to the western ‘thoughtform with a plus’. In the West, ghosts are ghosts; and thoughtforms are thoughtforms. In Maoshan sorcery, ghosts, thoughtforms and a combination body are used. The Thai magic and Indonesian magic also use only either ghosts or thoughtforms but not a combination of two.
It is quite easy to find out if an item is bonded with a ghost or a thoughtform. If a ring, a stone or an amulet is bonded with a thoughtform; then the power of the item will fade overtime if it is not worshipped for a long time. However, if the item is bonded with a spirit; then the power of the item will not fade overtime. So said, nowadays; most of those amulets from a Thai master or a pearl from a Javanese shaman is bonded by thoughtform. It is not easy to bond and empower a ghost into an item as many works need to be done.
Thai ghost sorcery is not as powerful as the Maoshan school because of differences in the ghost empowerment process. The Thai way of empowering spirits are only through mantra, corpse oil and soil mainly while the Maoshan system uses the blood of the sorcerer coupled with thoughtform creation. Upon completion of the empowerment, ghosts from Thai sorcery can hardly speak and appear to the master; but the Maoshan ghosts not only can speak to the master, they can also appear in front of him/her as required. The only drawback with Maoshan ghosts is that the ghosts can only be kept by that particular master alone because of his/her own blood used.
The Maoshan way of thoughtform creation is simple:
First we can get a statue of a boy made of wood. Then the eyes, nose, mouth and ears are smeared with blood drawn from the sorcerer’s ring finger. After that this statue should be placed on an altar and worshipped with incense and food offerings for 49 days. After the empowerment period, the thoughtform of this boy is basically formed. It can now be summoned to aid the sorcerer in daily matters.
The above Maoshan thoughtform of a boy is not very versatile and it cannot grow. So, another method is to make use of a ghost. Not every ghost can be used thought. In Maoshan system only the spirit of less than 14 years old can be used; and this spirit must also be cleaver too if the sorcerer wanted to use this young ghost to help him in fortune telling and gambling. On the other hand, if the ghost is to be used as ‘hard labourer’, then only those who died of untimely deaths are used. Other Taoist school will have other methods of selection. For example, the 5-legionnaire army ritual does not differentiate any forms of ghosts; the more the merrier.
Once a ghost is selected, then this ghost must be bonded with a piece of wood or a piece of finger bone. Then a 49-day empowerment ritual would be carried out during the day of water element normally. Foods, incenses and candles are offered three times a day within this period. Blood drawn from the sorcerer’s ring finger are smeared onto the object on every 7 days. The blood serves as a bond between the ghost and the sorcerer’s life force. At the end of the empowerment ritual, this ghost would have absorbed enough human energy and thoughtform to take shape. It is only after the ghost can form a solid shape that it is ready to serve the master.
Whatever ghosts a sorcerer chosen to use, the fact is that the characteristic of a ghost changed right after the empowerment process. For example, the ghost of Mary is no longer Mary. It is something else as it is now Mary plus a thoughtform. This new ghost only obeys its master and no one else.
Keeping ghosts were once popular amongst Hong Kong artists. An actor who lived in Yun’long (元朗) area once invited Karen to his house. Once Karen entered into the actor’s house, she was stunned by the amounts of kid spirits and ghostly items from Thai and Taoist systems. At once Karen’s head felt heavy and dizzy and she wanted to leave. At the same time, she felt pity of those small spirits trapped in bottles and statues. Consequently, Karen started to recite the Great Compassion Dharani in her heart in the hope to pass the merits to those ghosts so that they can be delivered.
Suddenly, the actor suddenly yelled out: “What are you doing? Are you trying to deliver my ghosts? It took me much troubles to collect all of them!”
Karen was very surprised as she just murmured the mantra inside her heart and how did the actor knew?
Later, she threw me this story. My answer is very simple: “The ghosts told that actor! Even you meant good; those ghosts will not accept your kind gestures as they are no longer themselves!”
Incidentally speaking, these empowered ghosts cannot be delivered by normal means because they cannot follow any advices other than their master’s. So, Tibetan ways was to use the wrathful phurpa ritual to ‘destroy’ their existing form and then sent their consciousness away. Then, a pacification fire ritual would normally entail to burn away bonds between the ghosts and the master. This type of ‘deliverance by killing’ is one of the more controversial topics of Tibetan Buddhism.