Sunday, October 31, 2010

Live Crab Dispenser Machine in Nanjing

Well the Chinese have done it again.. a seafood business in Nanjing have come up with the world's first live crab dispenser machine and placed it in one of their subway stations. Crabs of different sizes are packed in small containers and kept live in near freezing temperatures. Consumers simply have to insert their money and the crab of their choice would be dispensed out. The vendor even gives a guarantee that if anybody gets a dead crab, they will compensate them with 3 live ones. How creative.. one can only imagine the suffering that those crabs go through, frozen and trapped in a tight container, conscious but unable to move.

The Dhammapada says:

"When evil karma is immature
the fool thinks it is honeyed,
but when the evil has matured
then to the fool comes suffering

The hunger of the Chinese for live seafood knows no bounds. As are result this hunger, millions of sea creatures are slaughtered everyday to satisfy their hunger. Of course, this also applies to land animals as the Chinese eat everything with their backs facing the sky. There are some well-known inhumane ways to slaughter and prepare seafood, and now they have thought of another inhumane way to sell them to consumers. It is appalling indeed that they have such scant regard for the welfare of animals. But of course, nobody will think of protecting crabs or other sea creatures from cruelty in China, since everyone thinks of them as "food" like chickens and pigs. Businesses that are built up from taking lives and being cruel to animals can never prosper, for the evil karma accumulated will have serious consequences for all those in the business. As Buddhists, even if we cannot be vegetarians, we should at least not contribute to the demand for live animals, but settle for dead ones. The craving for fresh and tasty meat is something that leads many to the states of woe. By weakening the demand for live animals, we also reduce the cruelty perpetrated towards countless animals everyday. The world will be a better place if the Chinese can learn to have more respect towards all life.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ajarn Wutai of Wat Wihan Sung

Ajarn Wutai of Wat Wihan Sung in Pattalung is famous among the Malaysians for his powerful takruts. So I decided to pay him a visit to chow some as well. Above we see the temple gate.
Standing Deva statue on the wall of the Ubosot.
The bell tower.
The Chedi in front of the Ubosot.
Ajarn Wutai's kuti.
The yet to be completed Vihara housing Ajarn's casket, which we thought was strange since he was still young.
The large Jatukam statue in Ajarn's kuti.
The Phra Sivali and Phra Pang Umbat statues.
The rest of the statues.
Portraits of Ajarn and his masters.
Ajarn reblessing the takruts for us.
Having a photo taken with Ajarn. He usually shows his serious Samatid posture for photos. There were a lot of interesting weapons and staffs kept behind him. However they were not for chow.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Wat Kok Don in Pattalung

Wat Kok Don is an old temple in Pattalung founded by Ajarn Kaew. It was recently renovated with new wooden structures by the current abbot Ajarn Satian. Most of the buildings are built from wood, thus giving the temple its name "kok don".
The monks' quarters.
The hall with a small display counter.
A low wooden tower.
The old Sala.
The new wood Sala.

Short clip of the interior of the new Sala.
The main altar, even the Buddha statue and Disciple statues are made of wood.
Having our photo taken with Ajarn Satian.
The catalog of the new batch of amulets to help build up the temple. It will be consecrated together by Ajarn Satian and Ajarn Pachuab next month.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

PT Wong of Wat Huay Raya

PT Wong of Wat Huay Raya in Nakhon Si Thammarat is a little known master with a very high level of Wicha knowledge. His Nanathong gold foil blessing was very simple, yet extremely powerful. Whereas it took effort for other masters like Ajarn Prasoot to blow 9 pieces of gold foil into your forehead, PT Wong magically sends them into you with an almost effortless tap of his font. We were not allowed to wash our face before the sun set and each person can only do this blessing once in their lifetime. Past friends who did it experienced various effects after the blessing. Some felt giddy, some felt feverish, others felt ok. I was one of those who felt alright. Those who did not, as I understand, had some Yin energy in them; which was why they did not feel so well. PT did not make any amulets and his altar was filled with golden Buddha images as well as the various powerful Lersi. He did not allow people to take photos of him or his altar as he did not want any fame or too many devotees to come and look for him. I respected his wishes, so I only took a short video of the surroundings standing outside PT's kuti. PT Wong is indeed one of the hidden dragons in this part of Thailand.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Ajarn Pon of Wat Khao Huay Haeng

Arriving at Wat Khao Huay Haeng in Trang. This is the cave temple of the upcoming master, Ajarn Pon.
The Cobra shrine outside the cave temple.
Close up of the Cobra deity.
Coming batch of Jao Sua and Buddha roops to be made by Ajarn Pon.
The main Buddha altar inside the cave temple.
Ajarn Pon's talking mynah. It's a very smart bird!
The temple counter.
Altar of Jao Sua Jook, a power Kumanthong spirit residing in this hill. Jao Sua Jook means "son of the tiger king".
Another altar for Ajarn's masters.
Their big Jaukam statue.
Chedi on top of a rock.
Ajarn Pon drawing Yants on his hand-carved Jao Sua Jook buchas, made from fragrant wood.
Ajarn had just came back from the hospital after an operation. That's why he was resting on the couch. However, he still kindly draw Yants on the buchas for my friend and bless them personally for him.
Having our photo taken with Ajarn. These KMT buchas are very "saksit" or effective. My friend's hairs stood on end when he received them from Ajarn. When Ajarn invited Jao Sua Jook's spirit down, I could hear all the dogs howling even though it was in the afternoon. Later that night when they brought the buchas back to the hotel, there was another incident. We left the buchas in the hotel room and left for dinner, switching off all the lights and air con. However when we went back to the room, the lights and air con was on again. Who switched them on? It was the KMT's way of telling us they were there. Nowadays it is difficult to get these hand-carved wooden KMT buchas. But I did not chow any as I'm not a KMT collector.
Outside Ajarn's kuti, preparing to leave.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The Legend of Lersi Poo Seua

From this source:

The legend of Poo Seua (Grandfather Tiger) was related by LP Kalong a long time ago. LP said that when he was young he liked to go into the jungle and mountain in order to practice meditation in seclusion. This was for the benefit and welfare of Buddhism. One day, LP went to spend his rain retreat at Wat Dao Dueng in Singburi province. At that time, the temple was badly dilapidated.

During the first night of stay there, a strange incident happened. There was a strong wind blowing and ghostly screams were heard.

On the second night, there was a strong rotting smell and also a mass of big black ants. There were about 10,000 of ants crawling around the resting area of LP.

On the third night, there were sounds of a giant as huge as a tree walking around.

With regards to the various incidents that happened, LP dealt with them with his Discipline, Concentration and Wisdom. Skillful in Wicha LP surmounted the obstacles smoothly, until there was a shadow which appeared in the place where LP was sitting and chanting.

When LP opened his eyes, he saw an old man with a fierce looking face, who was over a hundred years old. The face gradually changed into the face of a ferocious tiger.

Poo Seua asked LP, "Venerable Sir, who are you and where did you come from?"
LP answered, "I am Kalong, and I came for seclusion so as to practice meditation according to the teachings of the Buddha."

Poo Seua then told LP the truth, "The incidents that happened the last few nights arose mostly from my power. I thought that you were trying to challenge me."

Poo Seua continued, "In my previous life, I was ordained at the time of the 2nd King of Ayuttaya, about 500 yrs ago. My name was LP Krut and we ever practiced together."

"In my previous life, I practiced the occult art of Seua Saming until I was very skillful. My body transformed from a monk into a Tiger-head Lersi because of Seua Saming's spell. This remained so until I passed away."

"After death, I became Lersi Poo Seua and continued to practice until today."

In order to prove that he was speaking the truth, Poo Seua brought LP to a secret treasure chest hidden under a large rubber tree. There were two 9" golden Buddha images inside. It was the proof that in their previous lives, LP Kalong and LP Krut made them together as an offering to the propagation of Buddhism. After digging them out, LP buried the Buddha images back.

After that, the news spread throughout the village and it made the villagers came looking for the golden Buddha images. But nobody ever found the hidden treasure.

In BE2513 (1970), LP built Wat Kao Laem in Sakaew, which was previously a part of Prachinburi province. One day, when LP was meditating, Poo Seua manifested in the presence of LP and mentioned, "I want to practice here too."

At that time, LP was building the ordination hall but still lack the funds to build a shrine for Poo Seua. There was a villager who heard the news, so he came to try his luck. He made a wish for good luck, and it happened that he won a 6-figure sum of prize money. He utilized the money to build a shrine for Poo Seua. The shrine was erected under the Makkha tree in front of LP's kuti and there it remained until today.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Maoshan Taoist Black Magic

A couple of days ago, there was a report in Shinmin paper about a reformed pimp, Li Weiming, who is now a pastor. He said he used to be the godson of a Singaporean triad boss operating in Penang, who controlled girls with Maoshan Taoist black magic and manipulating them to work as whores. This boss knew how to draw the talisman of controlling people's minds 迷心符, which must be burned and mixed with water to be drank by the victims. So he employed those handsome pimps to entice innocent young girls with sweet talk, coercing them to drink the charmed water. Once the girls drank it, they become complete slaves to the master, willing to obey his every command. This was the dark secret behind their prostitution ring. Li eventually grew disenchanted with helping his godfather do evil. He left the boss and came back to Singapore to atone for his sins, which led him to the embrace of Christianity. As the Chinese proverb goes, "Putting down the butcher's knife, become a Buddha from where you stand". Good luck to him.
The Maoshan sect of Taoist Wicha is one of the most famous schools of magic in old China, and was once the figurehead of popular Taoism in Southern China. Though Maoshan has largely died out in Mainland China today, it continues to live on through practitioners in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. It was popularized through HK vampire movies in the 80s and 90s, starring the late Lin Zhengying as the Maoshan master battling various vampires and ghosts. Incidentally, Lin is not a legitimate Maoshan practitioner. Maoshan Wicha 茅山术 is divided into 3 levels, consisting of High, Middle and Low 上, 中, 下. Each level is further divided into 3 sub-levels, totalling 9 parts. The Lower 3 levels of Maoshan Wicha 下三茅 deals mainly with black magic, controlling ghosts and spirits to do one's bidding. At this level, it is very easy to use the knowledge to do evil. But every Maoshan practitioner must go through this stage of learning first. If they succumb to the temptation of use black magic for their own selfish aims, they will be stuck as "Lower Mao" 下茅 and cannot progress to the Middle or High levels. Drawing talismans to enchant people's minds belong to the Lower Mao and the triad boss should be one such practitioner who "turned to the dark side". By using Maoshan Wicha to harm innocent young girls, he has accumulated very serious evil karma for himself. Great suffering awaits the boss when this karma ripens and his consciousness reappears in hell.
One good way to help those victims is to use a sacred Mit Mor to make holy water for them to drink. By invoking the 5 most powerful divine weapons, the holy water will destroy the Maoshan black magic used to control the girls. However, depending on the length of time that they have been enslaved, they will still be permanently damaged mentally to various degrees by the spell. As such, the harm of using such talismans is far-reaching indeed. Wicha, no matter Taoist or Buddhist in origin is a double-edged sword that can be used for both good and evil. Ideally, only the most righteous characters should be allowed to learn them. But in reality that is hardly the case. Thus we must all be very careful about the instruction and application of Wicha.