Buddhist Monk

All posts tagged Buddhist Monk

Basic Buddhism (1): An Introduction and What to do When You Meet A Buddhist Monk or Nun

Published Enero 26, 2015 by jptan2012

My email has been barraged with questions and requests for the Vajrapani Ruel, unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be able to read all emails and between emails about the WISH FULFILLING AND BUDDHA’S BLESSING MANTRA PENDANT, the FOUR DHARMKAKAYA RELIC MANTRAS AMULET, the NAMTSO SALT, and now the VAJRAPANI RUEL, I think there would be more unanswered emails and I’m really sorry for this.

The internet has made it possible for people to know more about Buddhism and Buddhist amulets, however, I’m afraid that the internet has also, in a way, distorted the real concept of Buddhism. Buddhism is not simply about lighting incense, or wearing images of the Buddhas or Bodhisattvas or Deities, or chanting mantras. Buddhist is all that but it is definitely much more than that, what I’ve written here on this blog, despite of the fact that some people saying it is substantial, is in reality just a fraction of what Buddhism really is.

The popularity of the WISH FULFILLING AND BUDDHA’S BLESSING MANTRA PENDANT with it’s numerous personal testimonies, the demand for the FOUR DHARMAKAYA RELIC MANTRAS AMULET, the rising popularity and demand both for the NAMTSO SALT and the VAJRAPANI RUEL, which is considered as the most powerful amulet the Buddhist pantheon, may have diverted some people from understanding real Buddhism.

Yes, the NAMTSO SALT, the VAJRAPANI RUEL, and the FOUR DHARMAKAYA RELIC MANTRAS AMULET are some of the most powerful amulets in the world. In fact, according to Lama Zopa Rinpoche, all stupas should contain the Four Dharmakaya Relic Mantras! (Speaking of Stupas and Four Dharmakaya Relic Mantras, in the next few days you shall read my post about it and regarding the special gift I got from a reader, AC. These are all written already but will be posted automatically via the scheduled post.) But these things are not available to everybody, and having a bigger picture of what Buddhism is all about is way better than simply having one of these items. The WISH FULFILLING AND BUDDHA’S BLESSING MANTRA PENDANT, which is no longer available for new requests until we have delivered all requests for it, also garnered some popularity the past two years with my inbox loaded with a lot of personal testimonies about it. Again, these are just tools, Buddhism is all so much more about that.

Thus, I have decided to come up with a new category and series called BASIC BUDDHISM. The objective of which is really to talk about Buddhism outside the amulets, the wearing of pendants. The topics are going to be pretty basic because I don’t think I can talk about Buddhism deeply, but the topics should be able to give you some basic guideline on Buddhist protocol and on basic Buddhism. Nevertheless, you should understand, that there are many lineage of Buddhism. In Tibetan Buddhism alone, there are four lineages, and there is Mahayana Buddhism and there is Zen Buddhism, and Pure Land Buddhism, their basic teachings are basically the same but there may be some variations. What I will discuss here is the Buddhism that I practice, which is a mixture of Tibetan, Mahayana and Zen Buddhism. I will try my best to be very specific as to what kind of Buddhism I’m talking about if it’s possible.Buddhist monks2

After the long introduction, today let me start with something quite simple, let me talk about a basic Buddhist protocol and I chose this topic because a lot of people have been asking me about this.

What to do when you meet a Buddhist monk or nun?

Let me start for non – Buddhist. Please do not stare at them, and if you have some belief and respect for Buddhism bowing your head is already a sign of respect.

For Buddhist, it is customary to greet Buddhist monks and nuns with OM MANI PADME HUM, or AMITOFU, or NAMASTE. Do this and do a half – bow, which is actually bowing, from your waist. Make sure that you put your palms together.

Make sure you don’t touch them, especially if you’re of different gender, this is considered disrespectful. In some countries, like Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Buddhist monks there are not even allowed to receive things from women.

It is customary to let them pass first and bow once they have pass.

For some lineage, especially Tibetan Buddhism, it is important that you don’t stand taller than the lama; so bending your knee a little is widely appreciated.

A Reminder that Chanting Mantras is a Powerful Tool to Attract Blessings and An Important Announcement About the ‘Wish Fulfilling and Buddha’s Blessing Mantra’ Pendant

Published Setyembre 17, 2014 by jptan2012

This is just going to be a quick short post before I take another 2 – 3 weeks trip. First, a lot of people are still requesting for the Wish Fulfilling and Buddha’s Blessing Mantra Pendant and as I said it is no longer as easily available now because of an enormous production delay and that I felt people has relied on the Wish Fulfilling and Buddha’s Blessing Mantra Pendant more than they should.

Some of my readers feel that they won’t have a better life if they don’t get the pendant, the truth is reciting mantras will work as well and depending on your sincerity and the intensity in which you give in reciting the mantras it definitely works better than the Wish Fulfilling and Buddha’s Blessing Mantra Pendant.

This is not just something that I share out of the blue, you can ask any Buddhist monk and they will say the same. Plus I have personally experienced it.

In my future posts, I will share some of the testimonies of people who experienced tremendous amount of blessings simply because they chanted mantras. This blog has a lot of mantras that you can chant everyday.

Now, I would like to request the people who has ordered the Wish Fulfilling and Buddha’s Blessing Mantra Pendant and has not received it yet to please email me at orderedwishfulfill@gmail.com, I will also provide a new number for those who ordered the pendant and has not received it when I comeback. Again, please please please please and I beg other readers that this email should only be for those who ordered the pendant and has not received it. Please, again please, do not send your comments, questions in this email address.

Lastly, while I can’t put full names here, I would like to request Celeste to please email me. I have sent several emails to the email address that you used before but have not received any reply. Lost several of my contacts.

For your comments and questions please email me at sanaakosirickylee@gmail.com.

Ksitigarbha Buddha is a Bodhisattva that Vowed to Help All Those Who Suffer in Hell and in this World!

Published Oktubre 6, 2013 by jptan2012

A few days ago I wrote and introduced you to the possible wonderful blessings of THE FOUR DHARMAKAYA RELIC MANTRAS, and the response has been truly overwhelming. Of course, regular readers are well familiar with WISH FULFILLING AND BUDDHA’S BLESSING MANTRA PENDANT, and the several personal testimonies of people who has requested for it. Sometimes, between THE FOUR DHARMAKAYA RELIC MANTRAS, WISH FULFILLING AND BUDDHA’S BLESSING MANTRA PENDANT, and the WEALTH AND MASTER PROTECTION PENDANT, which, unfortunately is no longer available for requests because of its price, I believe that there is no more excuse for us to go through any form of suffering. The truth Feng Shui, Taoism, and Buddhism has a lot of deities, Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, not to mention power of symbols and mantras that can help alleviate us from any form of suffering.Ksitigarbha

However, why do many of us still suffer? Many of us still go through some form of suffering because of either of two things. One, it can be due to the fact that our house Feng Shui is bad, or it can be also due to karma, whether past life karma or recent karma. When I say recent karma, I refer to karma that is sowed during this current lifetime.

Nevertheless, still, we have a lot of Bodhisattva who have vowed to help uplift us from any form of suffering. First, of all these Bodhisattvas is the Goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin or Avalokitesvara in Tibetan Buddhism. She remains to be the most popular and revered Bodhisattva. In fact, often times she’s referred to as the Bodhisattva of Compassion or Buddha of Compassion.

Today, allow me to introduce to you another such Bodhisattva, who in reality is already a Buddha but vowed to stay on as a Bodhisattva until such time there is no longer any soul in hell. I’m referring to Ksitigarbha Buddha, who again is actually a Bodhisattva.

Ksitigarbha Buddha, is usually depicted as a Buddhist monk, and for bigger temples, he usually has his own temple hall. In the Philippines, and smaller hall he is usually placed at the memorial halls of the dead or mausoleums this is because of his vow to save people from hell. Personally speaking, I believe this is a limitation of how Ksitigarbha should be perceived. A lot of Filipino – Chinese Buddhists thinks of Ksitigarbha only as a Bodhisattva of the souls of the dead. While it’s perfectly true and accurate, this belief doesn’t paint the whole picture of who Ksitigarbha truly is.Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva

Ksitigarbha Buddha or Dizang P’usa (also spelled as Ti Tsang P’usa, he is also called in Chinese as Dizang Wang P’usa or Ti Tsang Wang P’usa). There are a lot of translations of Ksitigarbha’s name in English, but the most common one is Earth Store.

Ksitigarbha Buddha or Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is known for his vow to take care take responsibility of souls that are experiencing hell. This is where the translation becomes a little muddy; because some people took it to mean the literal hell, and while they are not incorrect, they’re not entirely correct either. I personally believe the other translation, hell means suffering, whether these are the souls that are suffering when they are in – between transitions from one earth life to another, or it is suffering because of what we are going through here on earth. Some people seems to have forgotten that Ksitigarbha’s vow is to take responsibility for the enlightenment of all souls in the six worlds between the physical death of Gautama (Sakyamuni or Shakyamuni) Buddha (also known as the Historical Buddha) and the rise of Maitreya Buddha (also known as the Happy Buddha or the Future Buddha), with this vow is the vow of not entering Buddhahood until all hells are emptied.

KsitigarbhaI mentioned earlier that Ksitigarbha Buddha is second to Bodhisattva of Compassion, Kuan Yin in terms of ‘popularity’ and followers to East Asian Buddhist. What’s striking is that Kuan Yin, became a woman in China from the male form of Avalokitesvara.

Ksitigarbha also had a transformation of gender, however with Ksitigarbha, he was she before she became a he. Also, unlike Kuan Yin, it is believed that Ksitigarbha really became a human being.

Much of what we know about Ksitigarbha Buddha or Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is base on his own sutra, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Purvapranidhana Sutra, which is one of the most popular sutra in Mahayana Buddhism. It is said to have been spoke by Sakyamuni Buddha himself to the Trayastrimsa Heaven towards the end is earth life.ksitigarbha3

To this day it’s not clear whether the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Purvapranidhana Sutra has an Indian or Chinese origins. It was first believed that Tipitaka Master Siksananda, who is a famous Buddhist monk from Khotan who also provided a new translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra and the Lankavatara Sutra, translated it from the Sanskrit into Chinese during the Tang Dynasty in the 7th century. However, among all the sutras, Ksitigarbha Sutra strongly advocates filial piety, w/c was stereotype associated with Chinese culture. It talked about Ksitigarbha’s filial piety as a human or mortal, which lead to great vows to save all sentient being. Furthermore, no Sanskrit manuscript of Ksitigarbha’s sutras was ever found, which strengthen the belief that it is of Chinese origin.

According to his sutra, Ksitigarbha was a maiden in the distant past eons. He or she was of the Brahmin caste named Sacred Girl. She was said to have shown love and respect towards her parents, especially her mother. When her mother died, Sacred Girl became deeply troubled because her mother had been very slanderous towards the Triple Gem. Wanting to save her mother from the tremendous tortures of hell, Sacred Girl sold everything she has to buy offerings for the Buddha of her era. The Buddha then is known as the Buddha of the Flower of Meditation and Enlightenment. Remember that Sakyamuni Buddha was then still a Bodhisattva.

Some Buddhists, specially in japan and China (where the one child policy is forcing women to commit abortion), Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is considered as the Bodhisattva for the souls of babies who died.

Some Buddhists, specially in japan and China (where the one child policy is forcing women to commit abortion), Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is considered as the Bodhisattva for the souls of babies who died.

Sacred Girl would always make offerings and recitation of prayers to help save her mother’s soul. One day, while she was making an offering and prayers at the temple, she heard the Buddha of her era telling her to go home and recite his name in meditation if she truly wants to know how her mother was in the other world. She did what she was told and her consciousness through a vision was transported to a realm of Hell.  There she met the guardian of hell who informed her that through her offerings and fervent prayer, she has helped her mother accumulate enough merit to negate her karma and she has ascended to heaven where she awaits to be reborn. Sacred Girl was greatly comforted with this; however, she saw the suffering to the souls in Hell, which greatly affected her. She then made a vow to do her best to relieve the beings in hell of their suffering in her future lives.

It is normal that people will call Ksitiagrbha a Buddha even if he is actually a Bodhisattva. That is because like Kuan Yin, it's his choice to remain a Bodhisattva to help suffering people and sould.

It is normal that people will call Ksitiagrbha a Buddha even if he is actually a Bodhisattva. That is because like Kuan Yin, it’s his choice to remain a Bodhisattva to help suffering people and sould.

At this time Sacred Girl is already considered as living Bodhisattva, much like how some people consider the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and Lama Zopa Rinpoche to be a living Bodhisattva. When Sacred Girl left her physical body and went to heaven, she was given the chance to go back so she can start her vow to save souls. This time she chooses to be male monk. Before he left heaven to assume his new life as a monk, he found that her mother when she was still Sacred Girl would also go back to earth to take a life of a dog; this is because she has to earn a lesson from being slanderous about the Triple Gems.

Ksitigarbha as a monk seek out Sacred Girl’s mother who is now a dog. The dog often acted as Ksitigarbha’s guard, which is a way for Sacred Mother’s mom to repay Sacred Girl’s love.

Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is popularly depicted in two ways, one as a bald monk and the other one as a monk who wears a Five Leave Crown. He is depicted either seated or standing up on a lotus base. On his right hand is the Ringed Staff, which is carried by a lot of monks during his time. The Ringed Staff is also called the Alarm Staff; it is used to warn animals and insects that he is arriving so that he can avoid harming them by unintentionally stepping on them. In Feng Shui the ringed staff has come to symbolize the announcement of an impending danger. On his right hand is the Wish Fulfilling Jewel, which actually is a pearl. The Wish Fulfilling Jewel symbolizes the fact that Ksitigarbha has ability to help us fulfill our wishes. The Wish Fulfilling Jewel becomes a Fireball to help subdue negative energies such arguments or fighting. So it is not surprising that in some temple, you’ll see Ksitigarbha holding a round ball signifying the Wish Fulfilling Jewel, while in other he holds the Fireball. These two are actually one and the same. In Feng Shui, the Ksitigarbha fireball signifies the taming of arguments and fighting.

From my personal collection. A rare Red Amber Ksitigarbha.

From my personal collection. A rare Red Amber Ksitigarbha.

Having an image of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva at home or as a pendant, will help people who are going through some hardships, Ksitgarbha will help make things better. Furthermore, having his image at home or as a pendant will also help people deal with the compulsion or addiction. Addiction and compulsion are a form of hell and suffering, thus devotion to Ksitigarbha will help. People who are going through a difficult time will get some relief if they have the image of Ksitigarbha.

If wearing it as a pendant, I prefer the image with the five leave crown.  This is a rare red jasper Ksitigarbha pendant from my personal collection.

If wearing it as a pendant, I prefer the image with the five leave crown.
This is a rare red jasper Ksitigarbha pendant from my personal collection.

If you are suffering from a fixed karma, meaning karma from your past life and as indicated on your Paht Chee or Bazi, having Ksitigarbha’s image and reciting his mantra will help eradicate this negative past karma.

The mantra for this is OM PRA MANI DANI SOHA.

The other mantra for Ksitigarbha Buddha is OM AH KSITIGARBHA THALENG HUM.

His mantra in Chinese is NAMO DIZANG WANG P’USA.

If you wish to get an image of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, I find that an image of Ksitigarbha made of red jasper, or red amber is the best. The one made of jade only works for a select group of people.

Again, if using an image of Ksitigarbha at home, I prefer to use the one with the crown, unless, he is placed the ancestral altar.

Again, if using an image of Ksitigarbha at home, I prefer to use the one with the crown, unless, he is placed the ancestral altar.

Between the FOUR DHARMAKAYA RELIC MANTRAS, the images in the WISH FULFILLING AND BUDDHA’S BLESSING MANTRA PENDANT, GUAN YIN, KSITIGARBHA BODHISATTVA to name just some of the things that I’ve written there is no reason for us to suffer, as long as we keep our hearts pure and consciousness clean.

The Fascinating Story of Chung Kwei, The Ultimate Catcher and Vanquisher of Hugnry Ghosts, Demons and Evil Spirits

Published Hulyo 21, 2012 by jptan2012

In the past few posts, I talked about ‘THE DREADED HUNGRY GHOST MONTH’, and ‘THE EFFECTS OF THE DREADED HUNGRY GHOST MONTH’, of course; I also posted about ‘THE RITUALS TO APPEASE AND PROTECT ONESELF FROM HUNGRY GHOSTS’, and the ‘PRECAUTIONS TO TAKE DURING THE HUNGRY GHOST MONTH’.

But if there’s one thing that can totally ensure your safety and protect you from the harms of the hungry ghosts and any ghosts especially during the hungry ghost month, that would be Chung Kwei (also spelled as Chong Kwei, Chung Kui, Chong Kui, Zhong Kwei, Zhong Kui, Zhung Kwei, and Zhung Kui).

Chung Kwei is the ultimate catcher and vanquisher of not only hungry ghosts but also of evil spirits and demons!

But who is Chung Kwei?

Chung Kwei (in Foo Kien) or Zhong Kui (as pronounced in Mandarin) 鍾馗 is a historical figure but unfortunately is largely considered as a mythological figure by westerners because of the lack of historical data about him.

Chung Kwei was born during the Tang Dynasty at Zhongnan Mountain in Shensi Province. According to legend, Chung Kwei is actually the fourth son, however, all of his older brother died at a very young age. Because of the old age of Chung Kwei’s mother and the number of times she has given birth, she didn’t conceive for a very long time. Knowing that the absence of a son has caused great sadness to her husband, she encouraged him to get a concubine, something that is totally acceptable during that time. However, because he loves his wife so much, getting a concubine was out of the question for him.

It is said that out of desperation, he went to consult a famous powerful sorcerer that is rumored to be a demon. His wife was against his decision but he persisted and won over his wife’s protest.

Soon after visiting the sorcerer, his wife conceived again, but at about the same time they notice that a big black scary mountain panther was visiting them. They knew that this is a sign from the devil. Because of this Chung Kwei’s mom asked the help of a brother to go and visit a Kuan Yin temple to pray for them. The brother traveled for a month to visit this temple, and on his way back, he brought with him an image of Kuan Yin. Her brother gave this to her and told her that the Buddhist monk in the Kuan Yin temple did a divination and told her that she’s conceiving a child that is part demon. The only way to save the baby is if she and her husband will earnestly ask for Kuan Yin’s help and make sure that they dedicate the baby’s life to public service, which at that time is really servicing the emperor.

The husband realizing his folly earnestly prayed to Kuan Yin, and they would offer incense, recite mantras and sutras, write sutras for Kuan Yin every single day until the time she went into labor.

While giving birth to Chung Kwei, she went into trance and saw Kuan Yin riding on a Piyao, vanquishing the big black scary mountain panther. She knew then that her baby is going to be saved.

Chung Kwei was born as an ugly boy. It is said that he has a face of a black panther. However, no matter how ugly he is, he is a very nice and kindhearted boy. The only thing that he seem to have gotten from the big black scary mountain panther is the color of the skin, the looks, his size (because he is also a big boy) and the bravery, but other than that he seems to be a boy with a very unusual kindness.

Chung Kwei or Zhong Kui is also a very intelligent boy. His father hired the best tutor for him, but both his parents always ensure that he has a devotion to both Buddhism and Taoism and they instilled in him the importance of being in service to the public/emperor.

As a man, he has integrity, talented and profoundly learned. There was just one problem; the people who don’t know him ridicule him because of his looks.

Because of his intelligence and because he is a learned person, he was able to pass the exam to be of service to his emperor. This was in the time of Emperor Kao Tzu. However, because of his looks the judgmental and corrupt officials, in particular a treacherous minister name Lu Qi, refuse him entry to the imperial court.

Out of desperation to be of service to the public and to the emperor, Chung Kwei decided to commit suicide at the imperial entrance, not because he was depressed but because he believes that if he cannot be of service to the sovereign as a human, he’ll be of service to the emperor/sovereign in spirit. He committed suicide because he wants to fulfill his mortal wish to be of service to any reigning sovereign, which is equal to serving the public.

However, since he was a mere mortal at that time and has not achieved special skills in Taoism his spirit was captured by a Taoist priest so that he can be put to rest by sending the spirit to heaven through various prayers. That’s the last time they have heard of Chung Kwei.

If you have read my post entitled – GETTING TO KNOW ‘THE GREAT SAGE, EQUAL OF HEAVEN’, THE MONKEY GOD SUN WUKONG – you may remember the story of the Buddhist Monk Xuan Zang who went to get for the emperor some sutras and Buddhist texts in India for China. It is because of that journey or expedition that led to Sun Wukong’s Buddhahood. The emperor who tasked Xuan Zong to get the religious texts in India is Emperor Ming Huang (AD 712 – 742).

Anyway, Emperor Ming Huang during his reign, which was years after the suicide of Chung Kwei, succumbed to an illness that he has to be confined in his room. Even after consulting top doctors, he remained to be ill, worst, he soon started to get delusional and would always complain that he is unable get sleep in the evening because of unwanted supernatural visitors, which according to historical texts were described by Emperor Ming Huang as little devils. Thing soon got worse because they would hear his voice shouting out of fear and anger, and they thought that he was getting mad.

His top ministers then decided that they should see Emperor Ming Huang themselves so that they can decide whether they should appoint an interim ruler while Emperor Ming Huang’s son is not yet of age. This proved to be a fortunate matter for Emperor Ming Huang because his top ministers also saw the ‘little devils’ and they now know that he is not mad and is actually telling the truth.

They all decided to call some Taoist priest and Buddhist monks to exorcise the ‘little devils’. However, for quite sometime nothing worked. Out of desperation, one of the top minister called all palace guards and staff to offer the best vegetarian food and fruits to the Jade Emperor and Kuan Yin, for them to help exorcise the palace.

What follows is the most controversial, of what is already a controversial story, because it is said that this part came directly from Chung Kwei who conveyed it through a spirit medium.

The Jade Emperor having received the offerings and the ‘hu’ (a Taoist prayer tool), decided to intervene with the matter by sending another immortal to vanquish the little devils. However, Kuan Yin knowing of Chung Kwei’s desire to be of service to the sovereign, and also knowing about Chung Kwei’s fate (Chung Kwei at that time was in ‘heaven’ waiting samsara) decided to request the Jade Emperor to grant Chung Kwei special power so that Chung Kwei can be a deity and vanquish the little devil and be of service to the sovereign.

The Jade Emperor agreed to Kuan Yin’s suggestion, however, he clarified that while he can grant special deity power to Chung Kwei, the true test of Chung Kwei as a deity lies on his bravery, and good heart when he was still a mortal. Kuan Yin knowing of Chung Kwei’s character assured the Jade Emperor that Chung Kwei will succeed.

Meanwhile, Emperor Ming Huang is still being bothered by the ‘little devils’, and things has gotten worst because now the whole palace is affected by the ‘little devils’. The emperor is seriously considering relocating the palace, but for some reason the manifestations of the ‘little devils’ seemed to have simply and suddenly stop. Taking caution not to be optimistic about the sudden silence of the ‘little devils’, Emperor Ming Huang and the ministers decided to wait for a few days before they conclude that the haunting has stopped. Furthermore, Emperor Ming Huang was also miraculously cured of his illness.

When it was confirmed by everybody that the haunting has stopped, Emperor Ming Huang asked the imperial guardian deity (by praying to his image) to reveal to him as to who vanquished the ‘little devils’. That same evening, Emperor Ming Huang dreamt of a scary creature who look like a demon himself visited the palace, captured the little devils and vanquished them by devouring them.

Still in his dream, Emperor Ming Huang approached the vanquisher and asked for his name. Chung Kwei then introduced himself and told Emperor Ming Huang his story.

When he woke up, Emperor Ming Huang instructed his ministers for more information about Chung Kwei. He then was told of what happened to Chung Kwei, which is basically a confirmation of what was told to him by Chung Kwei through a dream.

Emperor Ming Huang then commissioned Tzu Wu Tao (also spelled as Tzu Wu Dao), a then well known and one of the most celebrated artists of his time, to paint Chung Kwei. Also through Emperor Ming Huang’s intervention and persistence, Chung Kwei was canonized by Taoists priest with the title – GREAT SPIRITUAL DEMON VANQUISHER!

Soon, Taoist priests would call on Chung Kwei to help them vanquish or exorcise a person or a place. They would also found out that a blessed image of Chung Kwei acts as an extension of Chung Kwei’s power.

So to this day, Chung Kwei remains to be the most powerful deity to protect us from any evil spirits, especially during hungry ghost month!

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.

For questions, comments and suggestions, please email sanaakosirickylee@gmail.com

 

Be Receptive to Celestial Messages: Omens of Good Luck

Published Mayo 31, 2012 by jptan2012

I always believe that before anything happens we always receive omens or signs that’s something is about to happen. Previously, I’ve written about a post wherein I shared some signs that indicated that my father’s travel luck is quite bad, because we were not as receptive as we need to be, the said signs were ignored and as a result my father had an aneurysm and died in China.

Today, I try to pay close attention to the different signs and omens we receive every day. I still need to improve a lot on my ‘receptiveness’, because there are times that I still miss out on some important omens that either serves as a warning or bringer of good news.

Before I share some of the most common good omens, I first would like to share what are omens. I believe that omens are celestial messages, meaning these are messages from the celestial world or the universe or the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Deities, Immortals, etc. to communicate with us what may happen. There are a lot of possible omens but for now allow me to share some of the most common omens.

In the morning, if I hear birds singing or chirping, it’s an indication that my day is going to be good.  This is more so if I have a big event or something important going on that day. Other than chirping birds, if I see a bird outside of my window I also take it, as an indication that the day will either be good or that there’s good news coming my way.

Generally speaking, if chirping birds wakes you up or if you see a bird outside your room it’s an indication that there’ll be good news.

If while thinking of a problem that you’re going through you suddenly meet a pregnant woman who for without reason smiles to you, or if she’s well dressed and wears nice big jewelries, this would mean that you’re problem is going to be alright and there’s no need for you to worry.

A group of happy children, or bumping into a religious celebration such as a ‘fiesta’, or if you come across a person carrying religious items/symbols/images (except for a cross) it usually means that something good is on your way.

If you or somebody in the family or somebody you love is sick, and one of the first thing that you see white flowers seven times in the first 3 hours after you wake up it usually means that whoever is sick is going to get well. The seven white flowers may be real flowers or images in the TV or magazine or newspaper, however, please note that if you have existing images of white flower in your house or offices they don’t count as part of the seven. The white flower may come as one piece or a bunch of white flowers, but you need to see it 7 different times.

Butterflies are also bringer of good news. Bees are an indication of good news also, although this would also indicate that the good news might come in a ‘bad packaging’ or blessing in disguise sort of good news.

In countries that has a lot of Buddhist monk this doesn’t count much, but for non-Buddhist countries like the Philippines, bumping into or coming across a Buddhist monk or nun is also generally a sign of good news.

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.

Four Faced Buddha of Bangkok,Thailand-A Famous and Miraculous Wealth Granting and Protector Deity but He is Not a Buddha!

Published Pebrero 20, 2012 by jptan2012

Thailand is one of most iconic Buddhist country. Their monks to this day still literally beg for their food. Many Buddhist, like myself, goes to Bangkok to see some of the most sacred and majestic Buddhist temples. And like most Buddhist I also went to see the iconic ‘Patron Buddha’ of the country, which is the Four Faced Buddha at the heart of Bangkok.

The Erawan Shrine Four Faced Buddha is not a Buddha but a Brahma!

The famous Four Faced Buddha at Erawan Shrine draws both local and ‘international’ devotees as wells as tourists. The funny thing though, the Four Faced Buddha is not inside a Wat (temple in Thai), it is just in a small patch of land at Phloenchit Road corner Rajadamri Road. In fact, tall buildings around the area, a hotel, and Bangkok’s Skytrain tracks dwarf it. But do not be surprise to see that not a single minute passes by with a person praying or paying homage to the Four Faced Buddha. In fact, keeping the area uncluttered is a big problem for the city officials. They need to have somebody removed the flowers offered to the image every 10 minutes for 15 hours a day. If they fail to do this, the area will drowned in a sea of flowers offered to the Buddha.

Although, famously called as the Four Faced Buddha, Thailand’s unofficial Patron Buddha is not a Buddha, it is a Brahma and technically it has nothing to do with Buddhism. However, Thai Buddhist monks have already quietly and unofficially recognized the 4-Faced Brahma as an unlikely Buddhist deity, that a lot of people has recognized it as a 4-Faced Buddha. In a way, it can be said that the Four Faced Buddha is now an ‘adopted’ Buddhist deity.

The picture depicts of that a usual day in Erawan Shrine. This is just any other normal day. Picture lifted from Joy Holiday site.

There are a lot of Four Faced Buddha in Thailand, but the most popular one is the one Erawan shrine. One proof that the Four Faced Buddha in Erawan Shrine is really miraculous is how much money thankful devotees and worshippers throw in as an offering to the Buddha. In fact, the ‘joke’ there its their second central bank and that’s where they mint baht coins and print paper baht. The money is then used to maintain the shrine and also to feed some poor Thai families.

While I was there I met an American guy who said that he believes that it was the Four Faced Buddha who saved his life. He said, on a previous trip to Bangkok his Thai friend toured him to Erawan Shrine, and this friend also gifted him with a Four Faced Buddha pendant. While he doesn’t a strong religious background, he wore the pendant out of respect and also out of sentimental value for his friend who has been nice. “Besides the pendant is quite nice. Exotic. If you know what I mean?” he added.

Anyway, a few months after he got back to the United States, he experience a ‘…. miraculous event that made me believed in the Four Faced Buddha.” Apparently, while working on an electrical problem in his apartment, something that he felt he could handle on his own, he got electrocuted. He said it was really bad and that he literally felt all the electricity going through his body until he lost consciousness. According to him, his roommate saw him thrown off to the other side of the room! But he doesn’t have any recollection of this happening. He was rushed to the hospital and regain consciousness on his way there. After being observed he was released the following day.

This is a typical Four Faced Buddha pendant that you can buy in Bangkok, Thailand. Some of the images inside are made of real gold. My own Four Faced Buddha pendant is similar to this one.

On his way home he remembered his Four Faced Buddha pendant and thought the medics must have taken it off him. Resigned to the fact that he already lost the pendant, he just forgot about it. About a week after the incident when his roommate was cleaning the apartment, his friend saw his broken pendant under a cabinet. When the American saw his pendant, he just knew right away that it was the Four Faced Buddha that saved him.

Another story I heard 3rd hand. My Thai host shared the story with me. He said his officemate was in need of big amount of money for her father who’s battling cancer. Upon the advice of their other officemate his officemate who is need of money went to pray to the Four Faced Buddha. 7 days after she prayed to the Four Faced Buddha she was asked to go S30 hotel in Bangkok to meet a client. When their meeting ended, she went to use the rest room and in the stall the she used she saw a bag that must have been forgotten by somebody. She opened the bag to search for identification as to who might own the bag. What she saw surprised her because there was a huge amount of baht and US dollars inside the bag. She was honest enough to admit that she was really tempted to just get away with the money because it will definitely help her with her financial woes, not to mention the fact tat there was nothing in which she can use to identify the owner of the bag. She even wondered whether this was the help sent by the Four Faced Buddha. As soon as thought of it she also realized that it’s quite impossible that the Four Faced Buddha will be sending help by getting the money from somebody else. She decided to just surrender the bag to the hotel manager.

When she got to reception, there was a frantic girl being consoled by her client. As it turned out the frantic girl is the owner of the bag and she also happens to be the sister of her client. To make the long story short she returned the bag, to the obvious relief of the frantic girl.

They have to 'clean' the shrine every 10 minutes, otherwise it will drown on a sea of flowers and offering and money!

Two days later she got a call from her client. Her client knew of her financial problem because of her father illness from her boss, and as it turn out her client’s sister’s father-in-law is an oncologist in Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, out of gratitude they offered to help her father. Not only will the father-in-law waive his professional fee, he also arranged for somebody to shoulder the medical bills of my host’s officemate’s father. My host said that the father of his officemate is now alive and ‘kicking’! They now visit the Four Faced Buddha every week!

Still another story was shared with me by another devotee who I met online thru the course of my ‘research’ about the Four Faced Buddha. J is a Malaysian Chinese businessman. He visited the Four Faced Buddha at the Erawan Shrine the first time he visited Bangkok. The tour guide told him that the image is miraculous and that it will grant all good wishes. J said he is not a very religious person but seeing the number of devotees that visits the site something just prompted him to ask for his ‘simple’ wish. He has been hoping to expand his business, having 5 children he wants to make sure that he is able to make sure that all children will have financial wealth that he can passed on to them when he gets older. J said while he was sincere in asking for the Four Faced Buddha’s help, he really didn’t give much thought to it. Until he slowly notices that his business was expanding, getting bigger, and more secured. By that time he has already forgotten about the wish that he has asked from the Four Faced Buddha of Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, Thailand. Nevertheless, he was really thankful. He decided to see a Taoist monk friend; J wants the Taoist monk to conduct a thanksgiving ceremony. While talking to J the Taoist Monk suddenly had a ‘vision’ and told J that the best way for the thanksgiving is to thank a man with four faces. The Taoist monk was not sure about his vision but J understood it right away! It was the Four Faced Buddha who granted his wish!

Since then J would travel to Bangkok once or twice a year simply to give thanks to the Four Faced Buddha. Every time he is there he would donate some flowers, incense, fruits, Elephant images, and he would always leave 15,OOO Baht as his thanksgiving. In a way he is trying to pay it forward. He also has invited an image of the Four Faced Buddha into his house and all his family even his grandchildren all wear the image of the Four Faced Buddha as an homage to the deity who granted them wealth.

The Four Faced Buddha in Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, Thailand is the most popular miraculous Four Faced Buddha in the world. The irony here is that a number of its devotee becamae a devotee after their first visit to the shrine. Meaning, a number of them visited the site without prior devotion but because they experienced a miracle after the visit they started becoming worshippers of the Four Faced Buddha. However, you don't really need to go to the site to pray to Four Faced Buddha. You can all on him where ever you are.

It’s not surprising that the Four Faced Buddha is miraculous, because even the story of its placement in that particular site was sort of a miracle. In 1956, the government was building the government-owned Erawan hotel. However, the government failed to consult geomancers as to what is the best time to built the hotel and this proved to be problematic. They were several accidents and labor problems that the construction workers threatened to walk out of their work, several times. Geomancers, Feng Shui experts, and Geomancers were called in to assess the problem. They reminded the government that the area used to be a dumping ground of people who were salvaged and also criminals were also used to be displayed and killed in the area. In fact, a portion of the place has become a ‘hungry ghost house’ of these troubled souls. They recommended putting an image of the Four Faced Buddha at the location where they identified as the ‘hungry ghost house’. I’m not really as to how they came about the decision that the image that should be placed there is that of the Four Faced Brahma, but after its installation construction went on smoothly and Erawan Hotel became a landmark until it was replaced by the Grand Erawan Hyatt Hotel in 1987 who happens also to be one of the most successful chain of Hyatt.

The image that you’ll see there now is not the original statue. The original one was destroyed by a mentally ill man who smashed the statue completely destroying it! Some people believed that the man is possessed by the devil. Some people who are in the area chased the man and UNFORTUNATELY killed the guy. The incident completely stunned and saddened the whole nation, a lot of Thais openly wept for the destroyed image, and they all felt that there’s a great misfortune that is about to befall their country. True enough 7 months after the incident they saw one of the most violent political crisis Thailand faced in modern era, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted from his position by a coup de’ tat!

Last May 21, 2006 at exactly 11:39am they have installed a new image of the Four Faced Buddha or Four Faced Brahma. It’s now made of a special alloy that consists of 9 different metals which includes the remnants of the first image and gold and silver.

I personally don’t have any ‘miraculous’ story to share about the Four Faced Buddha, however, you only have to go to the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok to see that its impossible for it not to be miraculous given the number of its devotee or worshippers who attests to the power of the Four Faced Buddha!

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