Friday 28 March 2014

Life , Death and Rebirth in a Thai Buddhist Temple - 'Buddha Magic'

In a couple of recent blog posts I told about a visit my wife and her two twin nieces made to a Buddhist water blessing ceremony in a temple deep in the jungle near Hat Yai , Southern Thailand.

Well on this trip one of her older sisters told her about a rare and special Buddhist blessing by the Abbott of a temple in the rural countryside outside the Thai city of Nakhon Pathum which is located about 80 km north of Bangkok. It is a beautiful and relatively tranquil temple and in the midweek when we visited was home to a large population of feral cats and dogs and kittens in this case who are looked after by the monks and lay people and fed on scarps of food left after the clergy and laity have eaten their fill.

It took a while for the Abbott to arrive and when he did he ordered me to one side and began the chanting and blessing in Pali which seemed to go on for some time and handed over two clean white linen sheets folded for my wife and my her sister to hold. When that was complete he first ordered one of the ladies to lie down on a rug and with their hand supplicated in prayer had the white sheet placed completely to cover her body and head rather like a shroud covers a corpse. With his chanting seemingly at a turning point he whipped the sheet off the lady and revealed them back to the world.

The symbolic death and rebirth were now complete. After the event they donated some funds to the
temple in an envelope (tamboon) and with that complete - we set off to a nearby restaurant to enjoy some beautiful duck and rice - a speciality of the region. What does it mean , is the Abbott a wise old monk or a charlatan who has some Buddhist 'shtick' to get in the followers (and the money - for this Thailand and if so it worked !) - who knows and who is to judge - all I know is that after the event my wife and her family were happy and content and went on their merry way with a resolved sense of determination and purpose .

 Job done once more for Amazing Thailand. 

To commemorate this I have made two slightly different videos of the same event which I hope will elucidate and you can enjoy the spectacle of Buddha Magic ! My 'concept' video as a companion piece to the 'Buddha Magic' movie about my wife's visit to a Thai temple just outside of Bang Len where she underwent a ritual of symbolic death and rebirth using this white funeral cover. You can read more about a similar death and rebirth ritual at a another blog ...

The Rise and Fall of All Things

 “Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.” Mahatma Gandhi 

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