Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Origins of Makaliporn

Where do Makaliporn (Pali: Makkaliphala) or Fruit Fairies come from? To understand the origins of Makaliporn we must go back to the Vessantara Jataka, the story of the Bodhisatta's final birth. Legend has it that a very long time ago, during the era of Vipassi Buddha in the previous kappa (aeon), there was a virtuous woman named Phussati who offered the fragrant heartwood of sandalwood to the Buddha. After the offering she made a wish to become the mother of a future Buddha. Vipassi Buddha blessed her so that her wish would come true. Having received the blessing, Phussati was later reborn as the consort of Indra, King of the Tavatimsa heaven. Indra learned of Phussati's previous wish, so when her deva lifespan was about to end, he allowed her to ask for another blessing. Phussati asked for 10 blessings and they were duly granted by Indra (seen in the above mural). So Phussati passed away from the Tavatimsa and was reborn as a noble lady in the human realm with the very same name. She would also become the Queen of King Sanjaya. When she was Queen but still had no offspring yet, Indra invited the Bodhisatta to take birth in Phussati's womb as her son, in accordance with her past wish. This son was none other than Prince Vessantara. It would be in this final existence that the Bodhisatta succeed in bringing his Dana Parami to perfection.
Indra then used his psychic powers to create a forest hermitage in the Himavana Forest, a mystical place not far from the Himalayas, for Prince Vessantara and his exiled family to stay in the future. Furthermore, Indra created 16 Makaliporn (Makkaliphala) trees around the hermitage. They were magical trees created for 2 purposes. The first was as a Dhamma-riddle. Yogis, Gandhabhas (heavenly musicians) and other deities residing in the forest who have not overcome their sexual lust would be tempted to make love with the beautiful Makaliporn. If they do so, they would sink into a 4-month long coma, after which they would wake up and lose all their cultivation and powers. The second was to protect the royal family. Vessantara's wife Lady Madri would be able to pick fruits in the forest without being harassed, as the lust-filled group would be totally absorbed with the 16 fascinating Makaliporn trees. As such, the Makaliporn trees did not bloom seasonally, but only when Madri went out to pick fruits. When the tree blossomed there would be many bunches of Makaliporn fruits, with 5 girls in a bunch. In 3 days the Makaliporn would start to menstruate, a sign that they were already "mature". They would then sing and dance on the tree the whole day, attracting those lust-filled group towards themselves. These people would fly up to the bunches of Makaliporn and have a good time with them, only to be made unconscious after having sex. Those Yogis who have not attained the power to fly would not be able to do so, but they could wait below the trees for the whole bunch of Makaliporn to ripen and drop down in 4 days time, after which they would be able to pick them up. Altogether from blossoming to ripening and dropping the Makaliporn lasted for 7 days. These 16 Makaliporn trees along with the hermitage are still there today in the Himavana Forest, but only Yogis who have attained the Jhanas could gain access into this mystical place. They would continue to be there until the teachings of the Buddha disappear from the world. Besides those in the Himavana Forest, there are also other types of Makaliporn trees existing in other parts of the world, as some of the Forest Monks have seen during their Dhutanga wanderings.
Above and below we can see the dried, shrunken remains of 2 Makaliporn kept by my Master, LP Jarun of Wat Ampawan. These are the original ones from Himavana Forest, given to him by the son of an abbot of a temple in Lopburi. The abbot have received these 2 Makaliporn as a gift from a wandering Yogi who have been to the forest. He has since passed away. Besides these 2 LP had also seen a freshly picked-up Makaliporn in Sigiriya Hill, Sri Lanka, kept by a black-robed monk living in a cave there. He gave a detailed account of how the Makaliporn looked like in his book, which I shall not elaborate here. But most interestingly, he mentioned that at that time it was as big as a 16-year old human girl, very pretty, completely naked, has long blond hair and large bluish eyes with golden pupils, perhaps not unlike a Westerner. It also has a stalk on the top of its head like a mangosteen. This was how it looked like while still on the tree. But apparently it would start to decay soon after dropping down to the earth, slowly shrinking and drying up until all that is left is what we see above. These 2 highly decayed Makaliporn are now the size of our palms. Strangely enough, despite its condition, the Makaliporn still possess organs like the heart, intestines, lungs and stomach inside their shrivelled bodies, just like a human being. This was discovered by a doctor from Siriraj Hospital, who asked permission from LP to operate on one of the Makaliporn. You can see a Youtube video of these 2 Makaliporn at Wat Prangmuni (close to Wat Ampawan) here:

Science or religion? You decide.
*This article can also be read in the new "Mystical Thai" magazine, out in major bookstores now.*

8 comments:

Dan76 said...

Mr Wayne,
thanks for your article on Makaliporn. Your blog has been a source of knowledge and teaching for me since a year back when I first came across it.
I have personally held a makaliporn fruit a year back when i was doing somateh at HwaHin. It was a rare occurrence as the abbot of temple make an exception to open up his special makaliporn box to let me see and hold. Maybe cos I was the only non-thai around. His disciple then told me for so long the lp has not let anyone touch it before. Now from your blog I finally know the story. The picture of the lp and makaliporn is still with me if you would like to view. i got no blog so can only email. keke...

Wayne said...

Yes pls do email the photo for me to take a look, thks!

Dan76 said...

erh...can let me know where to find your email? paiseh i new to this? lorbang@yahoo.com.sg

Anonymous said...

Hi Wayne,
I have been a follower in your Wayne's Dhamma Blog and read up almost every artical.
Can I have your email account ?
I would like your opinion and comment on the statue of Kwan Yin which I had been praying at home.

My email zendavis@gmail.com
Many thanks.
zenzen

fred said...

I have been a fan and student of Luang Por Jaran, the abbot of Wat Ampawan, Singhburi for about 15 years now.
The series of books about his life in Thai by Thai author Suddassa Onkom สุทัสสา อ่อนค้อม has long been a favorite of mine.
Comprising the titles..... Makaliphon มักกะลีผล ..... Nariphon นารีผล .... Sat Lok Yoom pen pay taam kam สัตวโลกย่อมเป็นไปตามกรรม (the first quarter translated into English as 'Fruit of Karma' then including the next quarter as 'Views through a temple window' now renamed 'Fruit of karma' vol.1)..... wat cakr chiiwit วัฏจักรชีวิต .... kwaam long nai songsaan ความหลงในสงสาร ....

The word phon in both Makaliphon and Nariphon comes from the thai word for fruit.

In the first book, which covers his life from the time he is a teenager living with his grandmother, he doesn't believe they really exist, but is assured that in his future he will meet them. This book ends with him having been ordained as a monk for the rains-retreat, but then unable to leave and destined to remain a monk for life. He gets teachings in many arts and styles from various ajarns ...... Luang por Derm ..... Luang Por Sod (Pak Nam) ...and then learning Vipassana at wat Mahathat in Bangkok where he attains to Sotapanna.
The second book starts as he is given the position of Abbot of wat Ampawan in the year 2500....and he eventually meet a real ripe Makaliphon in a cave when he visits Sri Lankha...then later is given two shrivelled ones to look after upon his return to Thailand....but they are still inhabited by their spirits and can sing and dance and allow themselves to be seen as if alive and are real people...selectively. Because of his powers of telepathy and other things Luang Por is able to communicate with them.

A said...

Thank you so much about the article on the Naree pon (makalipon)! I have been looking for this for awhile as I forgot the name of them. I first heard of them when I lived in Asia, how a monk had fallen asleep under a tree - considered sacred in ancient times - only to be entised by apsaras in his dream who tried to seduce him, and who lived in the crowns of the flowers. On waking up from the dream, he found these human looking Naree pons hanging from the crowns of flowers. He took them with him and they were preserved (dried) and kept in the temple. I do not, however, remember which temple and where it happened.

If you have any additional pictures or information, please share!!

Wayne Woo said...

http://waynedhamma.blogspot.com/2009/05/amazing-makkaliporn-of-wat-prangmuni.html

Theerawat N said...

news from The Sun

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4901320/tv-show-reveals-truth-of-6in-skeleton-found-in-atacama-desert.html

Alien lok alike.