Arhat

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Some Basic Questions About the Hungry Ghosts and the Hungry Ghost Month Answered (2): Are All Spirits of Our Dead Loved Ones that We See Are Hungry Ghosts?

Published Agosto 25, 2017 by jptan2012

In the preceding post, I briefly talked about how it is not a good thing when you continuously see your dead relative after 49 days because chances are they became a hungry ghost.

However, they’re some exceptions to the rule.

In the earlier post, I said that once a person passed away his consciousness (soul/spirit) would reincarnate with 7 or 21 or 35 o 49 days. If they didn’t reincarnate on the 7th day, they will reincarnate on the 21st day, if not then on the 35th day, then again if not they will definitely reincarnate on the 49th day. I also said that they would most likely reincarnate as another human being or animal or even in the hells or hungry ghost. This statement is base on the Buddhist sutras.

An average person will most likely reincarnate as another human being or as animal. But if they’re so bad they might reincarnate in the hells. However, I also seem to notice that there are a number who reincarnate as hungry ghosts also. These are basically the ones that we feel like they’re still in the house continuously taking care of us.

But I also said that they are exceptions to the rule. Our consciousness can also reincarnate as heavenly beings, or as an Asura, or as an Arhat, Pratyekabuddhas, or Bodhisattvas or Buddhas.

In this article, allow me to focus on heavenly beings because this is more plausible than being reincarnated as an Asura or Arhat, or Pratyekabuddha! Much more to reincarnate as a Bodhisattva or Buddha!

In Buddhism, a person with a very good heart can reincarnate as a heavenly being, meaning they are beings that are in the heavens. Depending on the stage of their consciousness, as a heavenly being they may or may not reincarnate back as human beings again. But as heavenly beings, they exist in a cosmic world or another world that we cannot see, but they may see us.

It is possible that some human beings who passed away may reincarnate as a heavenly being. If they do, they can continue to watch over us, but don’t go thinking that most of our dead loved ones will turn out to be an heavenly being because it is quite a difficult ‘path’ to being a heavenly being.

A loved one who became a heavenly being will definitely not be felt in the house. They will not be guarding your house all the time and you will not see or feel them. They will not be walking on your peripheral vision, or still staying in their room. If that is the case they are hungry ghosts.

However, these heavenly beings will definitely watch over us. More than that whenever we feel like problems are overwhelming they will definitely make themselves felt so that they can continue to reassure us or help us feel better. They may also manifest in dreams and lead us to the right path. I would like to make it clear though that they will never appear in our dreams as a sad spirit or even crying one, they will always appear either happy or neutral and they will send signals of what one should do.

Occasionally we may physically see them but almost always as silhouette, but during those times, there will be no fear, and we will most likely have an overwhelming feeling of peace or reassurance especially at times when we have problems.

There are times also that they may appear as a butterfly or as a bird or we may smell them or smell a flower. But in these circumstances we will always get the feeling of peace or reassurance.

To put it simply, if you see the image of your dead relative often like once a year (believe me this is considered often enough) then chances are your relative became a hungry ghost. Thus dedicating to them the merits when you recite a sutra will help them have a better ‘life’.

What are the sure indications that they may have become heavenly beings:

  1. You dream about them only when you are extremely sad or in a very bad situation.
  2. During these dreams they give you a feeling of peace and reassurance that things will become better.
  3. If you see them, you see them in silhouette form and there is no sense of fear only peace, maybe happiness, and reassurance. You
  4. They may manifest as a butterfly, as a bird and again they will appear at that time you’re thinking about them, and you will know that it’s them. Again they only bring a feeling of peace and reassurance.
  5. They only manifest at a time when you need some reassurance or help. They won’t manifest just because you want to.

I dedicate this post to the mother of BM who surely has the manifestation of a heavenly being. Not to mention that it was confirmed by Guru Lama!

TO UNDERSTAND MORE ABOUT THE HUNGRY GHOST MONTH, HUNGRY GHOSTS, IT’S EFFECTS, RITUALS AND PROTECTION READ THE FOLLOWING HUNGRY GHOSTS SERIES:

YOU MAY WISH TO READ THE FOLLOWING ALSO:

OR YOU CAN CLICK ON THE CATEGORY – KUWENTO TUNGKOL SA HUNGRY GHOST MONTH.

 

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The Ten Realms of Existence in Buddhism (2): The Four Higher Realms

Published Nobyembre 9, 2016 by jptan2012

In the preceding first part of this post, I introduced to you the TEN REALMS OF EXISTENCE IN BUDDHISM and also talked about the SIX LOWER REALMS. Today, I would like to talk to you about the Higher Realms. We should all aspire to reach these realms, although the ultimate goal is that we enter the highest realm. Once one enter into these realms one will no longer go back to the lower realms but again the goal is to reach the highest realm. Once you entered this realm you are considered as enlightened, although not fully enlightened unless you reach the highest level, which is Buddhahood.

The 4 Higher Realms of Existence in Buddhism are the following:

  1. ARHAT. This is the first level of the higher realm. Simply put this is someone who by listening or reading and practicing the Buddha dharma, as extinguishes all defilements and has achieved nirvana. While it may be easier for the Asuras and the Deva (Heavenly Beings) to enter Arhatship, they are a lot of humans who has entered Arhatship also. This is especially true during the time of Sakyamuni Buddha. When an Arhat passes away, their body usually doesn’t decay in the way like most people do.
  2. PRATYEKABUDDHA. Is someone who entered nirvana and has ended samsara. But in Buddhism, there is a time that there will be no Buddha and no Dharma, but if one enters nirvana through meditation this person is considered as a Pratyekabuddha also.
  3. BODHISATTVA. The word is actually a combination of two words. First, Bodhi means awakened or to awaken to the truth. Sattva means sentient beings. In short it means an awakened sentient beings. During the time of Buddha Sakyamuni, it is extremely possible to become a ‘living’ Bodhisattva or to be a human Bodhisattva. To this day, the Dalai Lama and the Karmapa are considered as living Bodhisattva. A Bodhisattva is strongly characterized by their compassion, loving – kindness, wisdom, great vows, good deeds. A Bodhisattva also has tremendous power to help all sentient beings. Some of the most well known Bodhisattvas are Avalokitesvara (also known as Kuan Yin, Guan Yin, Kuan Shi Yin, Guan Shi Yin, Kannon), Ksitigarbha (also known as Earth Store, Di Zhang Wang) Samantabhadra (also known as Pu Xian), Manjushri (also known as Wun Shu Shi Li), Maitreya (also known as Mi Luo and colloquially called Happy Fat Buddha), Vajrapani (also known as Chin Kang Shou) and who is the Bodhisattva that controls or has power over the Vajrapani Ruel, Mahasthamaprapta (also known as Da Shi Zhi) and a lot more. In Zen Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism, they acknowledge that some people although technically not a Bodhisattva and do not have supernatural powers and still has a body, do manifest the wonderful Bodhisattva traits. At this point, I’m reminded of my reader turned friend BM and Mother Teresa, now Saint Teresa. (Incidentally, a saint maybe equivalent to a Bodhisattva).
  4. BUDDHA / BUDDHAHOOD. This is the ultimate goal, and Siddharta Gautama achieved this in human form until he moved on to spiritual form. As a Buddha he is called Sakyamuni Buddha. A Buddha is some who has achieved perfect enlightenment, and one who is has perfect wisdom and perfect compassion. A Buddha is not a God. There are so many Buddhas that existed and still exist before Sakyamuni Buddha, and according to Buddha Sakyamuni the next Buddha is Maitreya Buddha .

 

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Is There A Feng Shui Relevance to All Souls Day?

Published Oktubre 31, 2016 by jptan2012

Ire, Loves Well, obviously the Chinese ‘All Souls Day’ or day of remembering the dead doesn’t happen in November 1, or to be more accurate about it on November 2. All Saints Day / All Souls Day is a big deal for a lot of Filipinos and perhaps Catholics in the world. But is there is Feng Shui significance or relevance to this special day?

For Chinese, especially those who are in the older generation, it is very important that we remember our ancestors or loved ones who passed away, this is taken as a sign of respect but at the same time, it is believed that we should not earn their ire by forgetting about them, or we should earn their approval so that they can help shower blessing upon the living. This is why remembering our loved ones or dead ancestors are important part of the life of a Chinese. In fact, a lot of us have images of our ancestors in our home, where we light incense and offer food on special occasions. The older generation will offer incense everyday. This may be a little too excessive.

In Buddhism, according to the Medicine Buddha Sutra, when a person dies his or her consciousness will undergo rebirth within 7 days or 21 days or 35 days or 49 days. I will clarify that it will go through rebirth on the first day, it will have to wait for 7 days, then if you didn’t go through rebirth on the 7th day then on the 21st day if not then it will be 35th day, until 49th day. If you don’t go through rebirth in the first 5 stipulated days, then you will sure go rebirth on the 49th day.

But rebirth doesn’t necessarily mean rebirth here on earth as human.

There are different levels of possible rebirth and starting from the bottom they are the following:

  1. Hell
  2. Hungry Ghost
  3. Animal Kingdom
  4. Human
  5. Asura
  6. Heavenly Beings
  7. Arhat
  8. Pratyekabuddha
  9. Bodhisattva
  10. Buddhahood

The first six are considered as the lower realms wherein the being still has an attachment and the last four are considered as the upper realm wherein the being or our consciousness no longer has any attachment. Once one is born in the upper realm, his or her consciousness no longer goes back to any of the lower realm.

It should be noted that for Catholics or Christianity, heaven is the ultimate goal, for Buddhism is a better place than the first five but it is still a place where in desire and attachment exist and one can still go down to the other realms. It is also not the most desired realm. I will talk about the 10 realms further in a future post.

I will also discuss the difference between Hungry Ghost and the Hell in another post.

But for now what I want to show is that for Buddhism, one can be born in different realms, until we reach Buddhahood.

So when a person dies, his consciousness or soul as Christians would call it will be born again in one of these realms. As humans 98% we will be born in either the realm of Hell or Hungry Ghost or Animal Kingdom or Human (again). If we have been good we might be born in the realm of an Asura or a Heavenly Beings.

This is where remembering and offering ‘good merits’ to our departed love ones or ancestors will become important. For example, your loved one or ancestor was born in the realm of the Hell or Animal Kingdom or Hungry Ghost, by offering good merits to them such as praying for them or chanting mantras or reciting sutras for them will shortened their suffering in the lower realms of Hell or Hungry Ghost or Animal Kingdom. On the other hand, if they were born in the realm of Human, by offering good merits to them their life will be better. If their current life is bad it will become better, if it is already good it will become even better. And if they were born as an Asura or Heavenly Beings then their life will even become better or they maybe pushed up to being born as Arhat or a Pratyekabuddha.

But this is the thing. Days like ‘All Souls Day’ are important because it forced us to remember them on these days. However, it certainly doesn’t mean that we should only remember them on this day. In fact, it is very important that we offer prayers or mantras or sutras or incense to them everyday. And by remembering them and offering merits to them everyday, we in turn make our life better. Because we are interconnected with each other. They may have a totally different life now but because of affinity with each other we are somewhat linked to each other. And if we send them merits, in a way we also get our own merits.

 

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Recite A Sutra (5): In Times of Conflict and Trouble Recite the Powerful Protector Sutra Called “THE GOLDEN LIGHT SUTRA”!

Published Hunyo 20, 2016 by jptan2012

Several years ago, kidnap – for – ransom was such a big problem in the Philippines, that when you randomly approach a Filipino – Chinese, that person will surely have a relative, or a relative of a relative, or a friend of relative, or a relative of a friend who have been a victim of kidnapping for ransom. It was such a big problem here in the Philippines, and several of kidnap victims ended being dead.

This must have been about ten to fifteen years ago.

One time I got a frantic call from a distant cousin. Apparently her father – in – law was kidnapped, and she was asking for help as to what she can do. What mantras to recite to ensure the safety of her father – in – law. I was at a lost and didn’t know how to help her and so I have to call my Guru Lama.

My Guru Lama then instructed me to ask my distant cousin to recite THE SOVEREIGN KING OF SUTRAS, THE SUBLIME GOLDEN LIGHT. The sutra is also known as the SUVARNAPRABHĀSA SUTRA, or THE KING OF GLORIOUS SUTRA, or THE SUTRA OF GOLDEN LIGHT, or what is more popularly known as THE GOLDEN LIGHT SUTRA.

THE GOLDEN LIGHT SUTRA is a long sutra but is regarded as one of the most powerful sutra by some lineages. I just would like to add a caveat that for me all sutras are equally powerful and important, it really just depends as to how you use it.

One of the more noteworthy themes of the sutra is the importance for leaders of the nations, or even businesses, or towns or cities to strive for good karma, because their karma is connected to the ones or to the nations that they lead. Because it is said their karma may lead to disaster or the blessing of an entire nation. Hence, the sutra also earned great importance or esteem as a sutra for protecting countries and is often suggested to be public read to ward off threats.

Even Lama Zopa Rinpoche gives high regard to this sutra and has numerously stated that when a person is in danger that person should recite this sutra together with THE DIAMOND OF PERFECT WISDOM SUTRA.

Because this sutra is long, if there is no emergency one can recite a few chapters at a time. However, in times of danger it is best to recite the sutra in one session.

As mentioned my Guru Lama that my cousin and her family should recite this sutra and that if possible request for a temple to chant it twice to thrice a day until they have ensured the safety of her father – in – law.

My cousin and her husband did just that. They even requested the temple of my Guru Lama to do the continuous chanting, w/c they have to make a monetary donation for the various important offerings. On the fourth day, the father – in – law rang their doorbell. They were all surprised because they haven’t paid the ransom because the ransom that they were asking for a too high and they’re unable to raise the amount yet. But from what they are able to gather from the father – in – law is that seeing his old age, he was 76 at that time, they have decided not to tie him and just lock him in a room. At first they were quite rude towards him, however, as soon as they locked him up inside a room, they’ve pretty much left him on his own. He was not released, he actually sort of escaped. I used the term “sort of” because what happened was one day he just heard a commotion, as if the people outside the room were in an emergency. After that he felt there was absolute silence and that nobody seems to be around. That’s when he tested the knob and was surprised to see that it was not locked from the outside. He then cautiously stepped out and soon realized that the kidnappers are all gone. When he step out, he debated whether to call his family or not, but like most Filipino – Chinese he erred on the side of being too cautious and decided to just try to go home on his own. He found out where he was, and because he was dirty, somebody took pity on him and decided to bring him home, but again; still fearful he said he’d just ask for money so he can take a cab. Surprisingly the person gave him more than enough money for him to go home. He then decided to take longer route and when he was sure that he was not being followed that’s when he asked to be drop off his house. They never found out who kidnapped him.

My cousin, her husband, and her in – laws, truly believed that it is because of the reciting of THE GOLDEN LIGHT SUTRA that freed the father – in – law.

Honestly speaking, although the sutra is quite long, I will always make it a point that this a sutra that I get to regularly recite at least once a week.

In fact, those of you who have the highly regarded and what is considered as the world’s most powerful amulet in the Buddhist pantheon called Vajrapani Ruel, might be happy to know that THE GOLDEN LIGHT SUTRA talked about Bodhisattva Vajrapani extensively. It is this sutra that called Bodhisattva Vajrapani as the “great general of Yakshas”. Thus when you have the Vajrapani Ruel and you recite this sutra, it will enhanced the power of your Vajrapani Ruel thus making it more effective.

Furthermore, other than Vajrapani Bodhisattva, THE GOLDEN LIGHT SUTRA talks about various others Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. But we should not be deluded into believing that this sutra is only for protection in times of trouble and conflict. Because according to Lama Zopa Rinpoche is practically for everything even for financial luck, peace, harmony, etc. Allow me to directly quote him here:

At the beginning of the Sutra of Golden Light, Buddha Shakyamuni, the Tathagata, the Arhat, the Fully Enlightened, calls to anyone experiencing misery and affliction, bad health, poverty, loss, abuse, ill will, fear, nightmares, or other harms. He says to make the mind virtuous and to come and listen.

This “King of Glorious Sutras,” contains everything needed, from daily happiness to complete enlightenment. It contains a heart-rending practice of confession and rejoicing, profound teachings on dependent arising, reliable assurances of protection, guidelines for ideal government, and awe-inspiring stories of the Buddha’s previous lives, in which the Buddha shows how, even before he had completely eliminated the delusions, he liberated countless beings from the ocean of suffering through compassion and personal courage.

See how powerful it is. Hope this sutra brings you blessings and protection like it did to so many people. I will share other stories about this sutra in the future. In the mean time you can download the sutra by clicking here: The Golden Light Sutra.

Note: Light an incense while reciting this sutra will help double the merits of the act.

But remember, as always when reciting a sutra one has to chant 3x NAMO FUNDAMENTAL TEACHER SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA

Followed by the Sutra Opening Gatha:

The Dharma Infinitely Profound and Subtle

Is Rarely Encountered Even In A Million of Kalpas

We Are Now Able to Hear, Recite, and Follow It

May We Fully Realized the Tathagatha’s True Meaning

Then recite the sutra!

You can read all the other post about the ‘Recite A Sutra’ Series:

  1. Invite Wonderful Blessings in Your Life by Reciting A Sutra!
  2. Recite A Sutra (1): Create Harmony and Peace Thru The Powerful Sutra Called ‘The Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra’!
  3. Recite A Sutra (2): Get Healed or Good Health, Create An Aura of Protection, Attract Wealth, With the Power of ‘The Medicine Buddha Sutra’!
  4. Recite A Sutra (3): For Protection & Unlimited Blessings of Auspiciousness Recite One of the Most Powerful & Highly Revered Sutra Both in Tibetan & Chinese Buddhism Called ‘The Diamond of Perfect Wisdom Sutra’!
  5. Recite A Sutra (4): Attract Auspiciousness and Cure Bad Feng Shui with “The Noble Stack of Auspiciousness Sutra”.

 

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Create Your Own Luck with the Light Offering

Published Pebrero 9, 2015 by jptan2012
These days, candle light offerings are only usually done during special occasions or for daily light offerings.  Photo was uploaded from Google Images.

These days, candle light offerings are only usually done during special occasions or for daily light offerings.
Photo was uploaded from Google Images.

I totally debated whether to write this post or not, because I can’t seem to find the actual story on the net, however, I thought I will because it is substantiated by similar stories.

It is said, that another passenger was supposed to be on the TransAsia Airways Flight GE235, however 20 minutes before he was about to check – in at the TransAsia Airways check – in counter at the airport, he received a call from one of his biggest clients. Apparently, they talked for quite some time, and since the matter was considered to be quite important he decided to cancel his flight.

The rest is history. Because of that he was saved from the tragic accident that could have cost him his life or at the very least give him a very traumatic experience.

What saved him? Chance? Pure luck? But what is luck anyway? Do we create luck?

If you asked the mom, she would say that it was the Buddhas that saved her son. The mother, being a devout Buddhist would always go to the temple to donate an annual light offering. This is so that images of the Buddhas or Bodhisattvas will have a light offering 24/7 for one whole year. The mom shares that she usually do this on the first day of the Chinese New Year, but on that day, something prompted him to got to the temple and make the annual light offering ahead of the Chinese New Year, and she also decided to dedicate the merits of the annual light offering to his son. When she and her son got to talk about it, they realized it was at the time that she was making the annual light offering that her son also got the call! Unbelievable?LIGHT OFFERING5

The truth is I have been trying to look for this particular news on the net, but I can’t seem to find it. Maybe it wasn’t considered major news, but a Buddhist monk, showed me the news on YouTube. But it’s in Chinese. For readers in Taiwan, you might have heard of this particular story.

I decided to write about it anyway because I totally believe this is true and it can be substantiated by other similar stories.

Light offering is a very common practiced amongst Buddhist. There is the daily light offering, weekly, monthly and annual. It is believed that one gets a lot of good luck or good karmic merits if one offers light to the Buddhas. This is why most Buddhist homes will have an artificial candle on their altars. But if one sincerely offers light to the Buddhas or Bodhisattvas or Deities or Arhats in the temple, it is believed that this merit is doubled because most temples rely on donations.

If you sincerely offer light to Buddhas at the temple, you will get merits that will bring you good life, good health, wealth, and peace of mind.

Nowadays, artificial light are used. You can see the smaller lights lighting the image of the small Buddhas, those are usually for annual light offerings. using artificial light does not make the act less powerful. It's the sincerity that counts.

Nowadays, artificial light are used. You can see the smaller lights lighting the image of the small Buddhas, those are usually for annual light offerings. using artificial light does not make the act less powerful. It’s the sincerity that counts.

As I mentioned I decided to share this story even if I don’t have the necessary links or pictures to prove it because I totally believe that the story is entirely possible but more than that there are other stories that can substantiate it. Let me share one here.

IP, is a 58 years old housewife, mother, and grandmother. She has a good life and practically has everything that she has or want and can never ask for anything anymore. All her children are well educated and are very respectful towards her. In fact, when she never prays to the Buddhas or Bodhisattvas for anything anymore, because she believes to ask for more is an act of extreme selfishness. But everyday she chants the mantras to dedicate its merits to other people and to give thanks for her good life.

However, one day bad luck indirectly happened to her, the doctor told her daughter who was pregnant that she will have to terminate her pregnancy because of some complications. If she doesn’t terminate her pregnancy, she might die. According to her it’s not a choice between mom and baby because the baby will surely die anyway. Her son – in – law decided that she will save his wife and encouraged IP’s daughter to terminate the pregnancy, but IP’s daughter decided that she wants to keep the baby and in the process risk both their lives. The doctor then again reiterated that it’s not a choice; the baby will die no matter what.

IP was leaning towards encouraging her daughter to terminate the pregnancy because she doesn’t want to lose her. However, the Buddhist in her doesn’t believe in mercy killing, but neither does she want to lose her daughter. But everybody else in the family, especially her son – in – law has decided to let her daughter to terminate the pregnancy, and it is only IP (having second thoughts) and her daughter who doesn’t believe in terminating the pregnancy. Please note that the daughter was firm in her decision and IP was more or less torn on what to decide.

Another sample of the light offering.

Another sample of the light offering.

IP decided to consult a Buddhist monk, this particular monk believes that IP and the baby inside her are both repaying a bad karma that they did in their past life. It is because of this decided to offer light to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of various temples, and she dedicated all the merits of this act to her daughter and most especially to her unborn grandchild.

Slowly, the doctors of her daughter became puzzled because they were absolutely sure of their findings, but as time goes by the prognosis becomes better. The baby in the stomach is now a 13 – year – old boy, and IP and her whole family believes that it was the merit of the light offerings that IP did that saved her grandchild and daughter. By the way, one of the doctor who was a born – again Christian before slowly turned into Buddhist and now goes to the same temple where IP and her family goes.

I decided I want to share this story also because we should realize that although I’m a firm believer of the power of amulets or Feng Shui charms like the Vajrapani Ruel and a lot more, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas has provided ways for her to be able to tap into their blessings simply by showing our sincerity. Even without the Wish Fulfilling and Buddha’s Blessing Mantra Pendant, the Vajrapani Ruel, the various amulets, one can still create luck for oneself by sincerely offering sincere acts to the Buddhas.

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Ji Gong: An Eccentric Buddhist Monk that Became a Taoist Wealth God

Published Marso 19, 2012 by jptan2012

Today, allow me to share with you another powerful, though not very famous, wealth god called Ji Gong or Che Kong (濟公). Also spelled as Ji Kong or Che Gong.

Ji Gong is known as the ‘Legendary Monk with a Magical Fan’. This is because he is usually portrayed as having a fan and sometimes with a bottle of wine.

I entitled this post as – JI GONG: AN ECCENTRIC BUDDHIST MONK THAT BECAME A TAOIST WEALTH GOD – because Ji Gong in reality was a Buddhist monk, was expelled from his monastic life and later on became a Taoist wealth god. The irony here, is that he’s not considered as a Buddha or a Bodhisattva in Buddhism, and it was only after the Taoist has adopted Ji Gong as a deity did the Buddhist started including him in their Koans.

(A Koan, for lack of a better description, is like a form of Sutra. It’s a fundamental part of the history and lore of Zen Buddhism and it consists of stories, dialogues, questions and statements, the meaning of which are said to be understandable through intuition or lateral thinking. )

Ji Gong was born to a famous and rich family during China’s Southern Song Dynasty. His father is a highly respected ‘businessman’ and military advisor. Ji Kong, the only son, and whose real name is Li Xiuyuan (李修元), came late in the family. His parents were actually told by a respected Feng Shui consultant that they don’t have descendant’s luck and that they will never have any children. This cause great sadness to both his parents, and considered this as one of their greatest misfortune. Since they are a religious couple they decided to make sure that they would go on various pilgrimage to different temples to ask for child.

Like most Chinese then and now, they don’t really make any distinction between Buddhism and Taoism and they would visit temples from both religions even if they were really Taoist.

It is said that in one of their pilgrimage to a Buddhist temple, they entered the hall of the 500 Arhats. Whereby the image of one of the Arhat, Mahakasyapa, fell off from the altar. It was taken as a sign that at that moment Mahakasyapa’s energy or spirit left ‘his’ image.

Not long after that, Ji Kong’s mom found out she was pregnant. They remembered the incident in the temple and believed that the baby in her womb was a gift from the Buddhas. They even began to think, that what she was carrying in her womb is the reincarnation of the Arhat Mahakasyapa!

At the age of 18, Li Xiuyuan decided to go to Hangzhou (a province in China), to enter the monastic life at the famous temple called Ling Yin Temple. After several years of studying Buddhism, he was finally ordained as a Buddhist monk and named Dao Ji Chan Shi. He was then normally called Dao Ji, thus this has become another common name of Ji Kong.

His monastic life proved to be short but memorable. Being born from a very rich family, he’s used to eating meat and drinking wine, and he was unable to give this up when he became a monk. Furthermore, he started showing some eccentricity and it is believed that he is slightly mad. However, they all agree that he is kind hearted and generous. Nevertheless, because Zen Buddhists strictly prohibits eating of meat and drinking of wine, they really didn’t have much choice but to expel him from the monastery.

After being expelled from his monastic life, Dao Ji or Ji Kong never really bothered to search for another monastery that can adopt him. He just roam on the streets and is often thought of as beggar monk, because he really didn’t gave up his Buddhist robes either.

His eccentricity continued to manifest on the streets, but so his kindness and compassionate heart. It is said, the even he looks poor he never really begged for money, and it is often a wonder as to where he gets money for food. Some say that it could be part of his inheritance, but if it were from his inheritance, it’s a mystery were he kept his wealth.

However, after a while, Dao Ji or Ji Kong started to manifest another eccentricity. Since he has a compassionate heart, he would often approach beggars on the streets and other poor families. He would listen to them, crack a joke, then murmur a prayer, after which he’ll use his fan to fan them a little. Soon after these incidents the recipient of his kindness and weird ritual will come to a good fortune. He thus earned a reputation for being a Buddhist magician, which, in turn earned him the title Ji Gong Huoto, which means the Living Buddha Ji Gong. Ji is derived from his Buddhist name Dao Ji, Gong, is a respect for a powerful elderly, and Huoto literally means living Buddha.

At his old age, Ji Kong was adopted by another monastery. This is where he passed away on the 14th day of the 5th Lunar month. Right after his death, Taoist immediately adopted him as their deity, and it is said the he continuously manifest his compassionate and magical powers to every one who keeps his image and go to him.

His image is usually pictured as a monk in rugged clothing, holding a bottle of wine and a ‘magical’ fan. He is always shown with a smiling face, because he has a very happy nature. Although, he is usually pictured wearing a hat with the word Fo, which means ‘Buddha’, Buddhist never really considered him as Buddha or a Bodhisattva. However, seeing how much he is revered in Taoism, Buddhist did include him in their Koans, some sub-sects even considers him as an Arhat.

This is a jade Ji Gong pendant. It’s very similar to the one that I have.

Having an image of Ji Kong at home, and wearing his image as a pendant is a sure way to continuously tap into his blessings of wealth.

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