Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Haunted Basketball Court (II)

If you still remember James who was injured in the haunted basketball court sometime ago? I visited him again... this time another friend Eric was there too.

After I arrived at James's place, he and his dad came out to greet me. Since it was a Sunday morning, I persuaded the father-son team and Eric to visit the said haunted basketball court.

The basketball court just located opposite James's house about 100 yards away. We walked to the court and I looked around and didn't find anything unusual.

Eric suggested we went to a coffee shop to drink and chat. We agreed and off we went.

While waiting for coffee to be served, Eric pointed at the basketball court and said: "I was seriously hurt once when playing basketball with my friends."

"With all ears." I was intrigued.

Eric cleared his throat and continued: 

"It was during an evening a few years ago. I played basketball with a few friends after my work while waiting for dinner to be served.

When I was trying a slam dunk stunt, and as I was in the air trying to put the basketball in the basket; I suddenly felt a tug at my right foot. The pulling force was so strong that I lose balance and fell face down...

Needless to say that my face became bruised and turned into green black color. I had to rest for 2 weeks due to the injury.

During the night, I dreamed of an old man in white with long beard approached me and scolded me that I have thrown basketball on his face repeatedly and our shouting voices disturbed his peace.

The old man vanished after I was scolded.

Early the next morning, I asked my wife about the old man in the dream. She bought me to a spirit medium and the medium fell into trance. His voice changed into an old man's: "I was my doing, young man... I was only teaching you a lesson. I would not be so tolerant next time..."

The medium shivered and then woke up from his trance. He said that the restless old man was getting agitated. If nothing is done to curb the old spirit; then worse will happen.

So, this issue was brought to the residents' committee for discussion. A piece of stone tablet inscribed with 'O MI TUO FO' was decided to be erected to pacify the angry spirit."

"I supposed that solved the haunting?" I interrupted impatiently.

"Well, sort of... The basketball court did see an incident free period... But it is another story." Eric smiled and gave me a cheeky look.

I knew that he wanted a free meal or something. So, I said to him: "Okay then. Next time."

A Messed Up Death Rite (乱七八糟的超度法)

It is important for me at least to know what the doctrine of my religion is about. In this case, most Buddhists lacked the knowledge of their own Buddhism. This is a worrying situation and it is not surprised to say that true Buddhism will disappear in near future.

I have attended and seen many messed up funeral services. One of those was of my grandma's some 10 years ago.

It was arranged by my uncles that there shall be 3 nights of deliverance services. The first night being the chanting session by local Buddhist center and the subsequent two nights were dedicated to Taoist dead rites.

"What is wrong with different dead rituals?" You may ask.

Well, practically none logically speaking because the dead won't be able to wake up and complaint of course. Such action is not acceptable logically speaking...

First, my grandma's soul (if she could hear) would be asked to listen to some Buddhist chanting and mantra and probably asked to follow the Amitabah Buddha to the Pure Land on the first day. So be it. At least she can now rest in peace happily in Amitabah's land.

Then, on the second day, my grandma's soul was summoned from the Amitabah's care back to her body and that she had to go through all the hassle of Taoist ritual of hell breaking ceremony etc. and then enjoy her life with all those burnt offerings of cars, houses, flower gardens and maids...

So is it logical then may I ask you to first send your love ones to the Pure Land, then asked he/she to return from Pure Land and to go to hell, and then broke the hell and send the person to underworld into a house?

I have even saw people performed Buddhist, Taoist and Christian funeral rites because the descendants were followers of different religions. So the poor dead soul had to travel from Pure Land to the hell and then out of hell to underworld; and then to heaven to meet with God?

Assuming that those dead rites worked as they are meant to be.

Perhaps it is not a problem still if the rituals are authentic at least the dead souls would end up somewhere for heaven's sake...

I have come across some cunningly edited deliverance rites of Vajrasattva taken from Guhyagrabha Tantra. The tantra was transmitted by Dudjom Rinpoche and the dead rite is complete by itself.

Someone who does not understand that the Vajrasattva rites led the dead soul to 'emptiness' and added a mantra of Amitabah Buddha. Perhaps the editor hoped to give the deceased a 'bonus'.

Without his/her knowing, this editor is asking the dead soul first to go into emptiness and then return from emptiness and then into Amitabah's Pure Land!

So, even though the dead cannot complaint, we as the living cannot make such a mistake that defied our religious doctrine.

A Long Discourse About Buddhist Deliverance Ritual (长论佛教超度)

1. Introduction

While we looked at some of the blind spots in Buddhism, it maybe worthwhile to have a walk through of how dead ritual is developed within Buddhism to understand more about if we have really understood the Buddhism that we think that we know.

Below is an attempt to bring us back to the beginning of history till today...

2. The Beginning

In order to understand Buddhist deliverance ritual, we must first start from Brahmanism, which is an ancient Indian religion.

The ancestor of Indian today, the Aryan race perhaps was influenced by the belief of Dravadian people and created the Brahmanism together with the law of reincarnation.

According to the teaching, after a man died, his soul will transform into a subtle body known as 'suksma sarira'. Buddhists convert it to antarabhava or bardo (中陰身) or better known as the 'in between body'.

This in between body will be reincarnated according to the karma it accumulated in its previous lives: be it to the heaven,reborn as man or be cast to hell etc.

According to Brahmanism, this subtle body (or soul) shall linger within a certain realm before being reincarnated. The period is 49 days in Buddhism.

If the deceased family can pay Brahmin priests to recite Veda on behalf of the deceased as a means of deliverance, then this subtle body shall be benefited and it shall be reincarnated to a better realm without the worry of becoming an animal or being cast into hell to suffer.

The Buddha later adapted this idea of subtle body and formed the primitive dead rites. Such rites started to flourish around 5BC to 6BC.

During 5BC or so, Buddhism took shape in today's Nepal and then transmitted to the Ganges River Basin. At that time, the Buddha did not participate wedding ceremonies nor funeral ervices. Because the Buddha felt that human must engage in self practice so as to be liberated from cycles of reincarnation, hence free from the sorrow of life and death.

The Buddha felt that deliverance ritual is useless to salvage; and the deliverance ritual contradicts with the law of karma (In Buddhism, a person should be reincarnated according to the good or bad karma he accumulated in previous lives hence the karma cannot be cancelled by simple chanting of mantas).

So said, in early years; most Indian folks still employed Brahma priest for dead rituals.

3. Post-Buddha Era

After the Buddha has achieved 'nirvana' (died), Buddhism immediately be subdivided into two schools and then broken into many sects...

It was not until around 300BC to 1AD that Indian Buddhism has been divided into 11 sects of conservative Sthaviravada/上座部 (Sanskrit) or better known as Theraveda (Pali). And about 9 sects of Mahasamghika (大衆部). Both of the schools were later known as 'Hinayana' by the later formed 'Mahayana' School.

The Theraveda becomes the contemporary Buddhist school in Southeast Asia and the Mahasamghika became the Mahayana School that we see today in China, Korea nad Japan.

The most powerful sect within Theraveda is the Sarvasti-vada Sect (說壹切有部) and this sect flourished during 2AD during the period of Kanishka.

The Indian Sarvasti-vada Sect adapted the 'subtle body' of Brahmanism and converted it to 'in-between' (中有). The Sarvasti-vada is the same as Brahmanism believed in the theory: After human died, the dead soul becomes intermediate body and then passes through the reincarnation process.

But there was no agreement between the intermediate time: Some thinks it is 7 days while the others think more. Finally the period was fixed as 49 days.

This concept was adapted by Mahayana Buddhism between 2AD to 3AD in India and later this concept was brought to China.

3. Into China

Generally speaking, around 1BC the Chinese Buddhist has already performed dead ritals. However, not many detals were recorded because many of the records were destroyed by Mongolian and Islamic invasions in 12th Century.

Buddhism started to vanish from India and together with historical records. It is safe to assume that Chinese Buddhist deliverance practices started around 6AD during the rule of Emperor Wu.

Emperor Wu invited monks to perform deliverance ritual in his palace. According to records, Amoghavajra (不空金剛) brought 500 tantric ritual books to Cangan, China during 746AD. A few years later he started to build altar to perform dead rituals.

Also around the same period, another monk authored a false sutra 'Ulambata Sutra' (盂蘭盆经) and this Ulambata Sutra started to become popular among Chinese folks.

Those old practices are carried forward to our modern time: 

The Buddhist adhered to the 7 day period memorial service (七日忌) and further added the 100 day period, annual, three years, century and etc. It has become a custom that monks must be employed to perform deliverance rituals during those timings.

4: Modern Day Critics Of Master Jingkong (净空法师)

Buddhist dead rituals begun by Xuanzong of Tang Dynasty.It was after the An Lushan Rebellion and many people died. The emperor built the Kaiyuan Temple (開元寺)to perform deliverance ritual so as to pacify those restless souls.

During that time, the deliverance rituals were just as our memorial service. Buddhist monks were employed to recite sutras, repentance and dedication of merits. The purpose was just remembrance of those died during unrest.

Since the deliverance rituals were advocated by the emperor, folks started to copy and follow. Perhaps this is the beginning of Buddhist deliverance ritual among the Chinese.

There was no such a thing beofre 713AD. The development has mutated until today.
Why say the purpose of Chinese deliverance ritual is distorted?

Well, originally, deliverance services were incidentally service done by the Buddhist temple. Further it is rarely done, at most once or twice a year. The main practice was still dharma talks and practices. Hence temple was then known as 'bodhimanda' or 'place of mind awakening'.

Let us make it clear that Buddhism is for salvation of human beings not to save ghosts! Buddhism is for the living and not for the dead!

This is why it is important that we must make it clear that a temple is only meant for 1: dharma talk and 2: dharma practices.

5. Conclusion

a. Deliverance ritual is against original Buddha teaching. Hence it is a no go.

b. Buddhism is for the living and not for the dead. So no use to talk about where one should go after death.

c. The law of karma is in conflict with dead rituals. So Buddhists today is in conflict with the original teaching of the Buddha.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Cursed Of Blessed? (祝福或诅咒)

A few years ago, Lisa and her husband together with some business friends went to Lhasa for pilgrimage. There were around 20 odd people then.

Once they entered a temple, their tour guides were all pretty ladies and handsome men said to be from religious studies graduate from Tibetan universities. 

Each person was then advised to make offerings of 9 pieces of incenses. Of course, those incenses were not free... The price for one piece was around RMB200. Everyone MUST made those offerings or else he will not be blessed by the Buddha.

After the incense offering or RMB1800 (of ransom money), the tour guides then suggested that the His Holiness Rinpoche has just returned from India bring a lot of precious and powerful amulets.

When asked, the price for an amulet plus the empowerment by HH Rinpoche would cost around RMB1000 at least.

Of course those loaded and faithful businessmen and businesswomen didn't ask too many questions and bought those blessed amulets. Some even purchased a few for their family members.

When those tour guides saw those loaded tourists could spend willfully, they started to push out more expensive items. It was only at that time that Lisa and her group found that they had fallen into spending traps and at least guarded the rest of their money more carefully. But then most of the folks had nearly exhausted their money.

Later, Lisa met with a tourism reporter and he told Lisa that what Lisa and her friends experienced was the techniques used by local tour guides to fish money from tourists. Their targets were mainly Chinese tourists from Southeast Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong because tourists from these places are more willing to spend. On the other hand, those cunning guides would not approach westerners as westerners would not buy in with their tricks.

Upon returning from Lhasa trip, Lisa's husband kept wearing the amulets blessed by HH Rinpoche but her husband was not blessed as expected for he died of heart attack three months later.

Most of those businessmen and businesswomen were either lost a lot of money or even experienced business closures due to recessions.

So Lisa sighed: "After we have spent so much money and to have experienced such a consequences... If it was not due to the mindset of wanting to create merits, we would not have been cheated all those money!"

The Merit Issue (功德问题)

Being once attached to one of those charity organizations, I know that asking for donations for orphanage and old folks home and the like is a huge problem. But if I would turn the table and said to the donors that they will receive huge merit and that they will be reborn in Amitabah's Pure Land, then the rich ones would be willing to fork out million of dollars.

I once approached a rich businessman for donation for the poor in view of approaching festive season. The person stays in a multi-million house with servants and maids. He had a record of donated a million dollars to a Buddhist center to build a building in Penang.

When I approached him for donation, the businessman said: "Mr. Liew, it is not that I do not care for the poor. But I personally think that the salvation of my soul is much more important. I want to create enough merit so that my family and I can secure places in Amitabah's Pure Land. That is why I am willing to continuously donate to build temples..."

I was baffled and looked at the businessman. I wanted to ask the businessman that how sure can he be by donating to build temples will create merit for him? Isn't that by building temples we also caused those animals, insects and plants to be killed and destroyed as well. I thought killing is prohibited in Buddhism?

My point is that if we want to create merit through donation, at least we donate to the things that are in front of us and that they are tangible. By donating to the poor, orphanage and old folks home etc. will physically help those less lucky ones to be happier and healthier especially during festive seasons.

If we donate to intangible issues such as merit creation, then we are just burning our money for nothing. Also by building more big buildings, we need to ask for more donations just to maintain their operations. That also cause energy wastage not to mention a waste of donors' money continuously.

That is the reason why whenever I pass by a huge Buddhist, Taoist or any charity organizations with tall and huge buildings, I wouldn't want to look at them. Because those money could be used to help a lot of precious lives.

Unresolved Constant In Buddhism (佛教未解的定数)

Probably it is fair to say that the Buddha has left a very important unresolved constant in his teaching: the final resting of human life.

It is obvious that the Buddha himself has not anticipated that his teaching would revolved to become a religion hence the omission of the matter after death.

This omission has actually opened to various interpretations that have given rise to various Buddhist schools:

In Theravada, disciples are thought to follow the Buddha teaching and the aim is to achieve nirvana or enlightenment. Or simply 'Rest In Peace' without referencing to the Pure Land or Hell. If one is unsuccessful, try again next life perhaps until success.

In Sutrayana of Mahayana system, the view of heaven, hell and Pure Land are brought in somehow. Disciples are thought to believe in the existence of Pure Land of Amitabah Buddha.

The case is more complex in Mantrayana of Mahayana system however. The Mantrayana can itself be subdivided into Lower School and Upper School.

In Lower Tantric School, the practice is mainly termed as 'karma yoga'. The practitioner will follow a deity called 'yidam' and it is hoped that this deity will bring the practitioner to its pure land wherever it might be.

The Upper School is also be subdivided into three systems: the Mahayoga, Anuttara Tantra and the Great Perfection.

The practice of Mahayoga and Anuttara are almost the same. Having said so, the Anuttara Tantara or the Unsurpassed Yoga is rarely practiced now a days due to its complexity. There are two parts to the practice: the generation stage and completion stage.

In the generation stage, the yidam acts as if in the Lower School, it is just imaginary.

In the completion stage, the practitioner transforms himself into the illusion body of the yidam through 4 to 6 stages of yoga exercises.

Of course, the final result is the formation of yidam body and dwell in the yidam's pure land.

It is interesting to point out that so far from the Sutrayana till the Anuttara practices, the law of karma is the main backbone: the cause is the process of visualization of yidam and the effect is the resultant of visualized yidam.

In short, the law of karma is used to 'create' an illusion that is not real. So, yidam is only our mind work. Nothing is true or too holy.

Now if we leap into the practice of Dzongchen or Great Perfection, we shall see that the final resting place for our human mind is the empty space or the realm of Dharmakaya. The same thing as those of Theravada School. Only that the name is grander.

Since Dzongchen only teaches about the nature of our mind, it does not depends on the law of karma. So, some scholars think that Dzongchen is a totally independent system from Tibetan Buddhism.

In this sense, Dzongchen is almost the same as Zen Buddhism except the Dzongchen teaching is stages while Zen has none. 

To sum up, the Theravada, Dzongchen and Zen ask us to Rest-In-Peace. While the rest of Mahayana system relies on one illusive Pure Land..

So as far as I can see, unless a Buddhist knows where his final resting place is; he has practically nowhere to go. Unfortunately speaking too, this issue remains one of those unresolved constant in Buddhism people like to turn their blind eyes on.

Fazhugong Vs Feng Shui Master (法主公对风水师)

This is a story told among the Feng Shui communities in Fujian (福建) occurred somewhere around the 1900's.

A Feng Shui master, Lim was hired by a wealthy merchant Ong to look for a good Feng Shui land for Ong's deceased parents.

After Master Lim searched for 3 years, he finally found a very ideal land but the land was so auspicious that Master Lim felt some hesitation to hand it over to Ong. But since the deadline for Master Lim was approaching, he has no spare time to look for another land for Ong. Further, the greedy Master Lim didn't want to return the hefty amount of money paid to him by Ong.

So Master Lim thought of an idea to give the land to Ong but he would cast a spell known as 'coffin on coffin' so as to enjoy the luck that the new land will bring to him and his family. There was a catch however, the catch was that Master Lim must find a piece of bone from his bloodline to be buried into Ong's newfound land.

So happened that Master Lim's daughter has fallen very ill and passed away. He thought that it was the best time to cut a finger from his newly deceased daughter to be buried in Ong parent's new grave.

With some strategy in mind, Master Lim went to Ong and told him that he has found a very auspicious land for Ong's parents. Ong was very happy and he rewarded Master Lim with more money to handle the burial process.

As soon as Ong parents' remains were safely transferred into the newly found Feng Shui land, Master Lim quietly returned to the grave with a small crystal coffin and buried in the grave, on top of Ong parents.

All went on pretty well unknown by anyone but Master Lim himself.

As it had expected, One year after the new grave was done; Ong's business gradually took a sudden dive and he lost a lot of money. 

At the same time, Master Lim suddenly became rich overnight.

Within 3 years, Ong became a poor man and he had to bag for a living while Master Lim had become a super rich, as rich as the previous Ong family.

Then on the 4th year, during the birthday celebration of deity Fazhugong (法主公), a spirit medium suddenly possessed by Fazhugong and proclaimed that there was evil inside Ong parents' grave.

The announcement by Fazhugong caused a stir within the followers and the crowd decided to go to Ong parents' grave to find out. The procession reached the grave very quickly and under the medium's guidance, a person took a spade to dig at the center of the grave.

Soon a small crystal coffin was unearthed and within the coffin was a small red snake.

Now the medium pronounced that the evil has been captured and the evil doer will receive the punishment from the gods.

Not long after the crystal coffin was unearthed and destroyed, Master Lim suddenly lost all of his fortunes in a fire and robbery. He later became insane and died of unknown causes.

Old Feng Shui masters would retell this story to new learners so as to practise Feng Shui with ethics. Customer's money and instructions should be respected and honored. Of course, a practitioner should never touch black magic such that of the 'coffin on coffin'.

Refer to:


Fallacy Of Karma (因果的谬论)

The theory of karma (因果论) is one of the core teachings of Mahayana Buddhism. It is said that the concept of karma is adopted from Hinduism with a different interpretation by the Buddha.

Personally speaking, I think the law of karma does not exist. A very direct real life example is that your good deeds do not always being repaid with good deeds. Of course, bad actions certainly will not be responded with good actions.

In another example, if you kill a chicken and the chicken will return to take your life in next life. But the fact according to karma is that it was that the chicken owed you a life that you take its life this life. This is equal and null.

Even Buddhist teachings from various schools contradicting with each other. 

In Diamond Sutra it is stated that:

一切有为法, 如梦幻泡影
All actions with intentions are as if illusions.

Since according to the above saying, all actions are empty in essence; the theory of karma does not hold here. So, the Zen Buddhism does not believe in the belief of karma.

In the teaching of Great Perfection (大圆满), everything in this world is the reflection of our mind: the calm, happy and sufferings. There is no saying about 'karma'.

If we continues to hold theory of karma as true, then there are many things we cannot do this life. We would be too afraid of doing anything in fear of bad karma in next life.

According to Great Perfection, if we were to define 'good' and 'bad' then we would be termed as grasping on sides (执边). Grasping on sides is an obstacle to the path of enlightenment.

So the saying of Mahayana Buddhism: "Good deeds yield good karma" is certainly hold not true. In another aspect, we could argue that the Great Perfection and Zen are not true Buddhism?

Hence, as you can see... Even Buddhist schools contradicting with each other on the view of karma. 

The conclusion is that: do what you want and accept the consequences but forget about karma. It is demoralizing.

Feminist On Tantric Buddhism (女权谈密宗)

My visitors come from all walks of lives and many of them are non-magic believers. I welcome all as talking about magic alone would make me bored.

One day a lady dropped by and she identified herself as Lisa. She said that she had something to say about Tantric Buddhism after reading my blog. So, below is what she had to say:

"The Buddha abandoned his luxury live and led a very plain life and in poverty. His aim was to teach Buddhism and begged for food. Now the monks live a very comfortable and luxury life. They have spent of others donation and this is clearly in defiance to Buddha's original teaching.

Lamas asked poor people to support them with offerings of food and butter but they themselves don't work. This is really absurd. 

The Buddha taught us that all sentient beings are equal but under the rule of theocracy, Tibet became the most unfair region in this world. Lamas taught people not to kill but they consume meat offered to them by butchers. Then those lamas continued to say that since people have killed, they are sinners. Then more offerings should be offered to the lamas and the statues as a means of repentance. 

The social status of Tibetan women is very low. This is contrary to the Buddha's teaching of everyone is equal."

"I am intrigued and interested to know what you had to say about a true Buddhist then?" I asked.

Lisa said: "Simple. If the person is a sexist and he thinks a woman has more sins compared than man, then he is not a true Buddhist and he can never achieve enlightenment obviously."

After Lisa left, her view intrigued me quite a bit so I share her view out. For a long time, I thought the Mahayana Buddhism has deviated from true Buddha teaching quite considerably and Tantric Buddhism is completely not Buddhism altogether. It is Lisa and mine personal view of course.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Induced Haunting (令屋闹鬼)

There are many Luban magic rituals that cause nuisance rather than harm.

A house can be haunted because of many reasons. It might be someone has died in the place and refused to pass on. It might be that the place has an ideal Feng Shui condition for spirits to congregate or it might just be someone has cast a Luban spell on the house.

If the haunting is caused by Luban magic, then the haunting is not real as it only disturbs the peace of the tenants of that house. Unless the item is removed, no other means can remove the disturbance.

There are some similar rituals practised by Indochinese folks to cause knocking noise on the door or window. Some researchers later found that by smearing the blood of a catfish on the door, a type of bloodthirsty bats will be attracted to the door. When their flapping wings approach the door, knocking sound would be produced.

On the other hand, Luban magic uses magical props such as human manikins and animals and the effects cannot be explained scientifically.

A friend of mine, Kow who was a contractor who specialized in house renovation projects suddenly came to me with a very special request...

Kow: "Liew, I have a small job of repairing the house of a very famous arjan (Thai magic master). Is there a way to somehow test his authenticity?"

Me: "Well, you know, 90% of the masters out there are fakes. 10% think that they have the real thing. I have done Thai magic and I don't like to test people."

Kow: "I know it is disrespectful, but is there a way to do a harmless test without harming anyone?"

I thought for a while and said: "If you can, try to tug a piece of paper inscribed with the Han characters 九死一生 (9 deaths 1 lives) and tug it underneath a Kumanthong or any statues. Do a few if you want the effect to be more noticeable."

Kow gave me a slimy smile and replied: "I will let you know of the outcome."

A few weeks later when I was having my favorite nasi lemak and coffee in a stall near my house. Ong came to me and without being invited, he pulled a stool and sat beside me.

Before I could open my mouth as I was chewing, Ong said to me: "Hey, Liew! Did you hear that a famous arjan in Alor Setar has gone mad?"

I had an ominous feeling: was it the work of Kow?

After I swallowed my mouthful of nasi lemak, I asked Ong: "What about it?"

"Well... I heard that the arjan suddenly being disturbed by strange noises at night and whatever he did couldn't remove the disturbances. The arjan recited mantras and invited the Kurba Arjan (grand master) to come but the noise became louder... And the arjan subsequently became insane. His followers think that the arjan's spirits had revolted due to the fact the arjan has aged..."

I nearly spurted as I was sipping my coffee. And I perfunctorily replied: "Oh, you know... people who deals with spirits has no ending..."

After Ong left, I picked up my phone and called Kow: "Ong tole me that the arjan in Alor Setar has gone mad... was that your work?"

"Ha! Ha! Ha! Served him right..." A burst of laughter came from the other end.

"Don't just laugh, remove all the papers right now!" I yelled.

Kow replied: "I couldn't do it my self as they know I am a contractor, but they don't know you. So you must come with me to do the job by hook or by crook...Hahaha!"

So, after Kow told the arjan's followers that Mr. Liew was some kind of 'super powerful arjan' and that he could 'solve their problems'; I borrowed a set of white clothing and a few bunch of amulets to be hung around my neck. And, off we went to save the day.

At the arjan's place, I asked everyone to go out of the house except Kow and me. We quickly removed those papers tugged under the idols and then pronounced the house was purified.

And folks, that was the beginning of my life as Arjan Liew...

The Security Expert Vs Luban Master (保安专家斗鲁班师)

This is simply the most interesting experience with Luban magic that I have encountered.

A friend of mine, Eric used to worked as security adviser who sells various gadgets such as surveillance cameras, security alarm systems and etc. While I am only an amateur Feng Shui master with some knowledge in magic rituals.

One day I went to a town near Ipoh for private business and after settled my own errant, I walked past a jewelry shop and saw Eric was supervising his workers to install his security stuffs.

The jewelry shop was under construction at the moment so I just walked in to chat with Eric. The shop owner Mr. Cheah was also there and after a few casual greetings, Eric started to boast: "Boss, my security system is at tip top shape and it is the state of the art within Malaysia. You have no worries of your precious merchandises..."

I veered at Eric and challenge him: "What do you say that this shop shall be robbed 3 times within 3 months?"

"No joking my friend, you are putting your name at risk!" Eric laughed until he couldn't stand straight.

I looked at Cheah, the shop owner and said: "What do you say boss? Dare to bet?"

Mr. Cheah shrugged and opened his hands: "Provided that you don't take out a gun and rob me now! Hahaha..."

Eric said: "If you lose, you will treat Cheah and me a sumptuous meal. If I lose, I resign!"

I pondered for a moment: "Well, I don't mind if you resign or otherwise. But, allow me to walk around the shop and don't talk to me."

Both of the gentlemen agreed and pretended me to be invisible.

I strolled around and the workers were painting the walls and fixing the front door. I picked up a piece of broken floor tile and drew a sign on the walls and then the front door. After that I just walked out of the shop without turning my head. I could hear Eric teasing me at my back. Well, I have my reasons why I couldn't speak to them.

One month later, I saw a news flash in TV: "A shop in a town was robbed of RM50k of jewelries. The thieves used some industrial boring tool to make a hole at the back of the shop hence escaping the security alarm..."

Not long after that, Eric gave me a call: "Damn it! It must be your beginner's luck! I have fortified the security system and we will see..."

Another month lapsed, I received another call. This time it was from Mr. Cheah, the shop owner: "I was double hit again Mr. Liew. This time my newly hired shop assistant stole some gold chains when my other staffs went for dinner."

"The games is not yet over. Wait for another month more..." I wanted to see if the spell worked as I was told.

"NO! No need to wait!" Yelled Mr. Cheah on the other end. "I hate to see what will come next! Can you do something about it?"

"Well, I could try... But Penang and Ipoh is quite a distance away..." I wasn't ready to travel then so I deliberately decline Cheah's request.

"Eric will be in Penang tomorrow. You can come down with him and I will send you back to Penang later." The sound started again at the other end.

I gave in: "So be it."

Soon I was in Cheah's shop again and I drew a sign on the floor and then rubbed it with my foot. I turned to Cheah and Eric: "I am done. Your system should work perfectly."

Cheah drove me back to Penang as he has promised. Just as I opened the car door, he asked me: "What had you done to my shop?"

"Nothing really. You and Eric have witness that I was just scribbling on the floor." I smiled and bid him farewell. 

One Ton Press (千斤压)

One ton press is a ritual to cause severe body pains normally done by artisans to 'teach' stingy house owner a lesson.

I would be dishonest to say that I have never made use of the Luban magic I learnt... Well, most of the time the spells are cast on others' behalf and not mine.

My first job was to supervise a construction project to build a factory. I got to know some of the regular construction workers working with a quite establish subcontractor. Since I was quite closed to the workers, the workers at times complaint to me of their supervisor's bad attitudes.

One day, Ah Kow was sitting alone in a corner with sour face. So I approached him as before and asked: "Hey bro, what's up?"

Ah Kow rose his head and looked at me: "I was given a final warning by my supervisor, Lee. He said that he would sack me if I am to repeat a mistake again... I know my contract would end at the end of this week. If he sacked me, I would lose my end of contract bonus..."

I knew Lee. He was a pain to his fellow subordinates and at times he did push his people a little over the edge. Although I have no business with Lee and Ah Kow, I decided to help Ah Kow out: "Hey Kow, maybe I can persuade Lee to take leave for a few days until your contract expires. What do you think?"

"That would be great!" Ah Kow jumped up. I hinted Kow to be quiet and follow my instructions.

"Tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. when you are to lay the concrete slabs, let Lee stands on the east side facing the sun. I will do the rest..."

Ah Kow nodded though he looked at me with a little suspicion.

During the next morning, Ah Kow did what I asked him to do and laid the concrete slab. Later during lunch time, I pulled Ah Kow aside and said to him: "I know you will be leaving in one week's time. Before you leave, please slightly remove the slab and then adjust it back to its original position."

Ah Kow again agreed but he asked nothing.

Three days later, Lee suddenly suffered from unknown body pain and he was hospitalized. The doctor couldn't find out what had happened to Lee so he was warded to the intensive care unit. He was given one week's leave pending on his recovery progress.

I visited Lee in the hospital and found that his limbs gradually turned dark green.

One week later, Ah Kow did what I instructed him to do in front of me before bidding me farewell.

I released the spell on Lee and he recovered within one week's time. Of course, this evil doing is only kept between Kow and me; and now you!

The spell I have cast on Lee is known as 'one ton press' in Luban magic. This spell can cause immense sufferings and the person may die if untreated within 100 days.

In case you wonder, the mantra reads:


I am not going to translate the mantra as you can do it with google translate.

Tripping A Lady (绊倒仕女术)

There are many rituals to play tricks on people especially young ladies. This specific ritual is meant to cause a lady to trip and fall.

First the talisman is drawn on a piece of yellow paper and ready to be used.

A prankster would put a piece of small stick on on end of the road and waited at a distance from there. As soon as a young lady approaches and passed by, he should burn the talisman and recite the below mantra:

The earth god is carrying a mountain with a piece of wood,

Seeing a lady approaching from a far,

If anyone passing by this place,

Dry wood picked up a embroidered shoe. 

In a short while the lady will trip and fall by herself showing her legs.

Of course, it was a big deal when a young lady exposed her legs in old China society once upon a time. This spell is only meant to play tricks on people and no one would do such a thing nowadays. It is certainly true that peeping tom would use hidden camera to view under a lady's skirt and that shows the old and new mindset has never changed over time.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Coffin On Top Of Coffin (棺上棺)

What I am about to reveal here is for your knowledge only as this is one of the unethical magic that I know. The affects of the magic will affect 3 generations of family clans: grandparents, parents and children.

This curse is known as 'coffin on coffin' and only Feng Shui or luban exponents dare to cast this spell because the curse is a two edge swords. If wrongly cast, the master shall suffer the consequences himself.

The methods varies according to the requirements of the spell caster:

If the purpose of the spell is to absorb the luck of a rich and famous, then a piece of bone from the sorcerer's bloodline should be filled in a small coffin and buried in the rich guy's family grave.

In this case, the spell caster will receive what the rich family bloodline received: good and bad. At the same time, the sorcerer will become rich over time while the rich family suffers a declination. The effect continues for 3 generations.

There is a catch to this spell however, the grandchildren of the sorcerer must remember to retrieve the small coffin before the start of 4th generation or bad luck will be fallen upon the spell caster bloodline.

In order to benefit from this 'coffin on coffin' spell, a sound knowledge of Feng Shui is necessary because he must know the good and bad effects of a grave Feng Shui so that only the good luck is attracted and not the bad.

If the purpose of the spell is just to cause damage, then any bones can be used: cat, dog, crow, frog etc. If animal bones are used instead, then the bloodline of the grave would live a living like the animal.

One point to add, if the animal was drowned, killed or died of diseases, then the bloodline of the grave would suffer the same too.

Of course, nowadays since most of people prefer cremation, then graves would not be necessary. It is quite unlikely that anyone could suffer from this horrible spell... After all, not many good Feng Shui spots within a public graveyard anyway. So, be cool please.

There is a famous story about this spell: "The Fazugong vs. Feng Shui master" (法主公斗风水师) among the Feng Shui community.

Thousand Knives Curse (千刀斩)

Bury a knife under a cattle cage will cause the cattle to be unease, sick and die over time.

Most of the stories I posted were told my my friends, strangers or people who sought help. Many of those stories are unique and you will not have a clue to the mishaps happened until those evil doings were exposed quite accidentally...

Luban magic (鲁班) is not commonly known in Malaysia as not many practitioners around compared to Indochina. Of course, there maybe other masters hidden somewhere within the country.

I met a friend, Chong who used to have a large pig farm but his pigs became restless and gradually died over a period of a year. The gentleman had no clue of what had happened until he decided to turn his pig farm into an orchard...

During the demolition of pig cages, Chong's workers found a few pieces of rusty knives and he thought it was strange to have knives buried underneath the cages since nothing was found during the pig cage construction. Apparently someone has deliberately put the knives there.

Chong asked perhaps I could answer his doubt. So I looked at the rusty knives and ask:

"Mr. Chong, have you offended anyone about a few months ago?"

"Well, Liew... You know that I am a businessman and I have many enemies..."

"Think carefully... The person should be someone who had either constructed your pig cages or someone who worked in the farm and left recently." I looked at Chong's face while Chong scratched his head to recall his memory.

After a while, Chong finally said: "Ah, there was a Vietnamese worker whom worked for me for 3 years and he left about a year ago because I fired him for repetitive drinking. Could it be his doing?"

"Hard to say as we have no proof. But Vietnam is one of those places that Luban magic still prevails until today. There are practically no Luban master in Malaysia that I have heard of. Tell me your story and I will see what I can do..." I wanted to hear Chong's story so I was trying to fish his tale.

Chong started to recall:

"Hmm... About a year ago, I foreseen there was a demand hike in local pork market and so as to supply fresh pork to my own restaurants; I invested some money to build a pig farm on my vacated land.

At the same time, I hired a batch of Vietnamese workers to work in the farm with a local supervisor.

I bought about 300 piggies expecting them to be sold after 6 to 7 months at about 100kg.

At first, every thing went on smoothly and the piggies were happily growing until 3 months into operation. Pigs started to make noise at night and refused to eat. They started to lose weights.

I called in veterinary and installed cooling fans but the conditions of the pigs deteriorated. Then the pigs succumbed one after another over a year's period.

Come and think of it, the problems arose after the Vietnamese worker left...

What can I do Master Liew?"

"Probably nothing can be done, Tauke (Boss) Chong. Since you are doing orchard now, there is no worry about this spell anymore. Hahaha..." I shrugged and walked away.

Tangki Vs 5 Ghosts (乩童斗五鬼)

This is my late grandma's story. The story took place somewhere in the 1920's in Guangxi (广西).

During that time, my grandpa has already traveled to (British) Malaya to work as a rubber tapper in Lenggong, Perak. My grandma was still in her Guangxi village then taking care of her family farm.

One of grandma's neighbor, Ah Moi would suddenly disappeared from her room and only to reappear somewhere before dawn. At first Ah Moi's parents thought their daughter was simply sleep walking but even after Ah Moi was locked in her bedroom, she would vanish in the middle of the night and to be reappear in the morning in the room. People who guarded by Ah Moi's bed would suddenly fall asleep for no apparent reasons.

Later Ah Moi's mother found Ah Moi's clothing would become somewhat disorder in the morning with scent of intimate relationship. The parents became very anxious as Ah Moi was already engaged with a young man and she was to be married soon. If news of misbehavior traveled outside, not only Ah Moi would be denounced by the villagers; the parents also would feel shameful.

Even stranger was that Ah Moi has no recall of what happened to her during her time of disappearances. Just as when Ah Moi's parents were troubled by this inexplicable happenings, a tangki (spirit medium) who stayed outside of the village came to visit.

The tangki was no stranger to the villagers. So, Ah Moi's parents let him in.

As soon as the tangki was seated,in a chair, he said that he could see a lady who resembles Ah Moi sit in a sedan chair carried by 4 people with a person leading in front during midnight hours. The procession would pass by his shrine at night and then return before dawn. 

The tangki felt something had happened to Ah Moi and he just dropped by to satisfy his curiosity. With some hesitation, Ah Moi's parents told the tangki of Ah Moi's strange incidents. Tangki nodded and told Ah Moi's parents that he would investigate if the sedan chair passed in front the shrine again.

A few nights later, the procession went by tangki's shrine and he quickly followed behind the procession quietly. The procession went around a few hills to a neighboring village and then stopped in front of a house.

The tangki ventured to approach one of the windows and peeped inside the house. There he saw Ah Moi was having intimate acts with a young man.

At this point, tangki quickly sneaked back to the village to inform Ah Moi's parents and the village headman. A team of villagers was quickly assembled and rushed to the house.

The crowd banged onto the door but no one came to open the door. They forced open the main door only to find Ah Moi lying half naked in a bed. There was no trace of any young man. The team also found 5 human skulls underneath the bed perhaps the man has left in a hurry and had to abandon those skulls.

After some frantic search, the villagers decided to destroy the skulls and returned empty handed.

Later in the morning, the news somehow spread within the village. My grandma visited Ah Moi who was then sober. According to Ah Moi, she used to have a lover who was an exponent in Taoist magic. This sorcerer vowed to marry Ah Moi but he was disliked by Ah Moi's parents hence was the end of Ah Moi's love with the sorcerer.

No one has seen the sorcerer again since the raid. Ah Moi was finally married. People believed that the young sorcerer was killed by his own 5 ghosts because he has lost the human skulls which controlled the spirits.

Friday, May 18, 2018

5 Ghosts Sedan Chair (五鬼抬轿)

'5-ghosts carrying sedan chair' (五鬼抬轿) is a magic ritual that make use of the power of spirits to carry a sorcerer over a long distance. This is somehow similar to the Shamanic 'trance walk' or the Tibetan 'walking on air' (气行). The difference is that this '5-ghost sedan' method makes use of the power of 5-ghosts.

The 5-ghost sedan method is no more in practice nowadays because we already have modern transportation so why bother. This method was popular in old China when transportation between two spots was difficult.

Since such a method is deemed obsolete, I just want to skim over this ritual briefly.

The core power of this spirit transportation relied on the 5-ghosts. So, a person must first accomplished the 5-ghost ritual.

Once the basic sign of the existence of 5-ghosts are perceived, the first step is to command the spirits to move items in front of the sorcerer. Another more simpler ritual to this 5-ghost sedan ritual is the 5-ghost object transferring (五鬼搬运). The object transferring ritual is normally meant to steal money or valuable object.

When the object in front of the sorcerer can be seen float in the air, then the sorcerer can command the spirits to lift heavier object until finally the weight of the sorcerer himself.

Now the sorcerer can prepare a set of sedan chair and a piece of black cloth. He can then sit in the chair and covering himself with a piece of black cloth. Once done, the sorcerer can now command his 5-ghosts to lift the chair to wherever he wishes.

Needless to say that it takes a lot of time and perseverance to make the ritual a success. But the rewards are many obviously in our modern eyes: no need to pay for petrol, road tax, air fares etc.

One downfall of this ritual is that it can only be done at night after 11pm.

Since there is no more live case to share, I tried to put together a story told by my master about this 5-ghost sedan ritual.

When my master was still in Sichuan (四川) following his guru. Once they spent a night in the wilderness because they couldn't find any shelter. 

While master was keeping the night watch, he saw a lantern leading a sedan chair approaching. Before he could shout for his guru, the guru hinted him to be quiet and let the sedan chair passed through.

According to my master, he couldn't see anyone carrying the lantern or anyone in the chair or people carrying the chair. Everything just seemed to be so strange. Before master could have a second thought, the procession whooped by like a night owl and disappeared in night sky.

Later master's guru told him that if he makes any noises, the lantern will go off and the sedan chair will drop. This may cause the people inside the chair to be unable to return home.

Unfortunately, my master didn't venture to practise 5-ghost sedan ritual because his guru passed away not long after that. Of course, I am too old and too lazy to try this ritual now.