In feng shui philosophy, everything is made of energy or chi and there is no separation between life and death. Energy is neither created nor destroyed, it only changes form and phase. Death is not the end, it is only a metamorphosis - the beginning of another life.
Just as we are affected by our environment when we are living, so does the environment of our final resting place similarly affect us. When a person passes away, their blood and genetic code remains in the bone marrow and continues to be affected by the earth’s magnetic frequencies. Because a child is made of his or her parents’ blood, flesh, and DNA, there is an undeniable connection between parent and child even when one dies. Ancestors and their descendants share a similar frequency that forms a lasting bond.
For this reason, there are three crucial components for a burial that maintains this vital connection between ancestor and their posterity. First, it is important to ensure that the body of the deceased remains whole and intact, thus casket burial is preferred to cremation. Second, the Feng Shui of burial plots and grounds should be evaluated and selected to be compatible to ancestors and loved ones laid to rest. Finally, an auspicious date is calculated for the day of the funeral.
Why is it that certain sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, or cousins seem to live a constantly challenging life while the others do well? Why do some people give birth to highly intelligent and healthy children, while others give birth to babies who have health problems or who grow into adults that always get into trouble? Why are there so many genetic diseases and ailments in this world, despite the fact that we have advanced medicine and more available health care? Science has not been able to provide answers to all these questions. Nonetheless, the studies of Feng Shui have already explained how the way the graves of ancestors were set up would affect the lives of our offspring.
Feng shui was originally used for the selection of burial grounds. This is true not only in Asian countries, but all over the world as archaeological evidence reveals elaborate tombs and temples created for the deceased. At one time, using Feng Shui in the process of selecting a final resting place for the deceased was reserved for royalty. Many cultures believe that there is an afterlife and that the degree of well-being of revered leaders in the afterlife affects the lineage of their progeny and the welfare of the common mass.
In China, the practice of Feng Shui was a well-kept secret. Feng Shui masters and astrologers were key advisors to the emperor in many aspects of governing the empire. Few people know that Feng Shui was a vital process used throughout Chinese history that allowed imperial families to maintain their power and to reign over billions. One of these secrets was ensuring their ancestors were buried in a prime Feng Shui location to create a positive effect on future generations.
However, today, feng shui is no longer limited only to use by the elite. Anyone with the willingness to learn and who has the karma to find a good master, can benefit from feng shui.
Why it is important to have a burial ground in a positive Feng Shui environment?
There have been many cases all over the world where certain graves have been dug up to have the bones cleaned and it is found that the hair and nails have continued to grow. The bones will absorb positive or negative energies of the earth environment and because even in death, parents are connected to their children through the energy frequency of their common blood, the children’s well-being will be impacted by the placement of their parents’ remains. Thus, it is vital for ancestors to be buried in a compatible location and that their bodies are laid to rest in a positive orientation.
When a burial ground is not properly selected, it can have a variety of potentially negative or positive effects on the living and future family of the deceased. Depending on the different orientation and mountain configuration or land contour of a burial site, it can have different effects on the deceased’s progeny. For instance, certain mountain branches or ranges are associated with certain family members such as the eldest son, second daughter or youngest son and depending on the shape, condition and existence of these mountain forms in relation to the burial site, it will have varying effects on these family members. If one of these mountain branches is broken or has a negative condition, this will negatively affect the associated family member and their lineage.
Many of the problems we face today in our lives and in our society, is in part, due to the lack of knowledge of Feng Shui application to burial ground selection, a lack of land for burials and various religious rituals such as cremation that burns the body. When the bodily remains are destroyed, the blood and DNA frequencies are no longer intact and cannot be used to absorb positive earth energies to benefit posterity. This results in future generations being unstable in physical and psychological health, intelligence, temperament and thus adding a negative impact to humanity.
Selecting burial grounds
Feng shui in the western world today is still very much focused on buildings for the living. It is the few rare true Feng Shui masters who are still trained and have the knowledge to select auspicious burial grounds. Just as you will have a Feng Shui master come to help you select a house, you will have one come to the cemetery to help you select an auspicious final resting place.
Similar to the house, it is vital for the burial site to be located in an ideal mountain formation. Only the expert Feng Shui master will be able to detect these. Once the burial site is selected, the Feng Shui master will be able to tell you how to lay the coffin in the ground so the deceased may rest in an auspicious direction. Finally, a funeral date is selected.
In the Feng Shui philosophy where everything is made of energy or chi, there is no separation between life and death. Energy is neither created nor destroyed; it only changes form and phase. Death is not the end; it is only a metamorphosis, the beginning of another life. Thus, when a loved one passes, it is important to remember their energy continues to affect us, and it is important to continue taking care of them through a positive resting place as their well-being will directly affect us even when they are no longer here.
Buddhism teaches that the source of unwholesome karma comes from our mind, speech and action. Therefore, to realistically change one's life and subsequently the conditions in the external world for the better, we should start from these three areas.
To think good thoughts, we should train ourselves to be free of doubt, jealousy, greed, anger and hatred, and instead develop good intention, compassion, kindness, benevolence, motivation and vows. Bearing good thoughts refers to cultivation of good mental habits and to have positive attitude always even in the midst of adversity. Be still while caught in a chaos, be calm when everything is in a turmoil and sticking to peace when everyone around you is at war are qualities that Buddha has always encouraged his followers to cultivate. Cultivating these qualities is the practice of bearing good thoughts.
To speak good words, to cultivate good speech karma, which means one should not lie, nor engage in duplicitous, harsh or trivial speech. When one speaks, one’s words should be kind, rational, responsible, wise and truthful. Quoting from Buddha himself, "If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind?” Words, when use constructively, have the power to bring healing, wisdom, guidance and enlightenment. Words are a gift to mankind, and the usage of words is a privilege that has set us apart from animals. When use correctly and constructively, words have the power to encourage people, and even save lives.
To do good deeds is to practice taking action towards benefiting others with kindness and compassion, and refrain from harming or bringing hurts to the lives of other people. Every kind deed is like a seed, that can grow into a tree, and multiple into a good harvest. Never underestimated the power of any small good deed in our lives.
The three karmas of mind, speech, and action, as explained by Buddhism, can be practiced both positively and negatively. When we use these three karmas to do good, then we can be reborn in heaven; if we use them to commit wrongdoings, we may find ourselves in hell. Note that reborn happens at every moment of existence, and heaven and hell do not exist after death. Every current moment can be heaven or hell, depending on how men make of the present.
Therefore, following the three acts of goodness affects our future immensely. It even affects the whole community, nation and subsequently the world, for the positive and negative morale of a society depends on the three karmas of body, speech, and mind of its citizens.
If we all bear good thoughts, then we will find respect, peace and harmony anywhere we go. If we all say good words, then what we always hear will be music to our ears and medicine to our hearts. If we all do good deeds, then through helping one another valuable human relationships can be established and many lives can be changed for the better. Finally, thinking good thoughts, speaking good words and doing good deeds is the fastest shortcut to create heaven in our world.
From the very beginning of time man has been fascinated by the stars and he has always tried to find some links between them and his own destiny. His observation of the stars and their movements gave rise to two very important areas of study, namely Astronomy and Astrology.
Astronomy can be considered a pure science which is concerned with the measurement of distances, the evolution and destruction of stars, their movements and so on. Of course all these calculations are always made in relation to planet earth and how these interplanetary movements affect mankind on a physical level.
Modern astronomy seeks to find answers to the still unanswered questions regarding the origin of man and the final, possible end of his existence as a member of the human race. It is fascinating area of study and our new knowledge of the Universe and the galaxies has put much pressure on many religions to evaluate their old-age postulations regarding a creator and the creation of life.
Buddhism does not face any such dilemma, simply because the Buddha did not encourage his followers to speculate on things which were beyond their comprehension. However he has made many allusions which in the light of our new knowledge gained through science, shows us that the Buddha was very much aware of the true nature of the Universe, that it was never created in one glorious moment, that the earth is merely a tiny even relatively unimportant speck in all space, that there is a constant creation and destruction and that everything is in constant motion.
Astrology, however is a completely different area of study altogether. Ever since early man began to think, he was deeply concerned about his relationship with the universe. When man developed from hunting to agriculture, he began to notice a link between the movement of the sun through the year and his own activities of planting, harvesting and similar projects. As he became more sophisticated he was able to predict the movement of the sun and he invented time, dividing it into years, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds.
He associated this knowledge with his existence whereby he felt that there was a relationship between his own life cycle and the movement of the planets. This gave rise to the Zodiacs - the apparent path of the sun. It contains twelve constellations. A study of these movements in relation to the human being’s personal life is called a horoscope. The study of astrology involves a great understanding of human nature, an ability to assess planetary movements precisely, together with an insight into the seemingly unexplainable phenomena in the universe. There have been many brilliant astrologers in the past and some exist even today.
The reason why astrology has survived throughout the long history of mankind is because of its ability to provide guidance and to give one an insight into one’s own character and destiny, in the same way that an x-ray photograph can show the physical make-up of a man, or a DNA test revealing the potential health problems of a patient in the future. Thus, an understanding of the relationship between cosmos and humans will help us to plot our lives more meaningfully, in harmony with our innate tendencies, so that there is less friction as we go through life.
A new born baby is like a seed. It contains within itself all the ingredients which will make him a similar, yet completely different individual from all fellow human beings. How his potential is developed depends like the seed, on the kind of training he receives. The nature of a man born within him, but his own freewill determines whether he will make really good use of his talents and abilities.
Whether he will overcome his potential for vice or weakness depends on how he is trained in his upbringing. If we recognize our nature – our tendency towards laziness, irritability, worries, frustrations, wickedness, cunningness, and jealousy – we can take positive steps to overcome them, and exercise our free will in a positive way for the good of all sentient beings.
The first step in solving problems is to recognize them for what they are. Astrological interpretations indicate our inclinations and tendencies. Once pointed out we must take the necessary steps to chart our lives in a manner that will make us useful citizens of the world. Even a person with criminal tendencies can become a saint. If he recognizes his nature, exercise his free will and take steps to lead a good life.
A horoscope is a map drawn to shown the karmic force man carries, calculated from the time of his birth. The force determines the time of birth and knowing this time, a skillful astrologer can accurately chart a man’s destiny within a given life-span.
Everybody knows that the earth takes approximately one year to move around the sun. This movement, viewed from the earth, places the sun in various zodiacal areas during year. A person is born (not accidentally but as a result of karmic influence) when the sun is in transit in one of the twelve Zodiacal signs.
Through the horoscope, the map of your life, you can determine certain times in your life when you have to slow down, certain times when you can push yourself to great levels of creativity, and certain period when you have to watch your health and related activities.
The question most people ask is whether Buddhism accepts or rejects astrology. Strictly speaking, the Buddha did not make any direct pronouncement on this subject. Buddhism, unlike some other religions, does not condemn astrology and people are free to use the knowledge they can get from it to make their lives more meaningful. That is also the reason why astrology has been used by many monks in Thailand, Tibet and other parts of the world to provide guidance and wisdom for devotees.
If we study the Buddha’s teaching carefully we will come to accept that a proper and intelligent understanding of astrology can be a useful tool. Modern science is in accordance with the teachings of Buddhism. This means that there is a direct link between the life of an individual human being and the vast workings of the cosmos.
We know for example that there is a close link between the movement of the moon and our behavior. For example, it is true that certain sicknesses like asthma and bronchitis are aggravated when the moon waxes. There is therefore no reason for us not to believe that other planets can also influence our lives.
Buddhists accepts that there is an immense cosmic energy which pulsates through every living thing, including plants. Thus, the Chinese have often emphasized on the use of plants in improving one’s environment or Feng Shui. This energy interacts with the karmic energy which individual generates and determines the course that a life will take.
The birth of an individual is not the first creation of a life but the continuation of one that always existed and will continue to exist so long as the karmic energy is not quelled through final liberation in the unconditioned state. Now, for a life to manifest itself in a new existence, certain factors, namely seasons, germinal order and nature must be fulfilled.
These are supported by mental energy and karmic energy and all these elements are in constant interaction and interdependent with each other resulting in constant changes to a human being’s life. According to astrologers the time at which a person is born is predetermined by the cosmic energy and the karmic energy. Hence, it can be concluded that life is not merely accidental; it is the result of the interaction between an individual’s karma and the universal energy force.
The course of a human life is predetermined, caused partly by a being’s own actions in the past and the energies that activate the cosmos. Once started, a life is controlled by the interaction between these two forces even to the moment at which a birth takes place. A skilful astrologer then, as one who understands cosmic as well as karmic influence, can chart the course of one’s life, based on the moment of the person’s birth.
While we are in one sense at the mercy of these forces, the Buddha has pointed out a way through which we can escape its influence. All karmic energies are stored in the subconscious mind-normally described as mental purities and impurities. Since karmic forces influence one’s destiny, a person can develop his mind and negate certain evil influences caused by previous bad karma.
A person can also “purify” his mind and rid himself of all karmic energies and thus prevent rebirth. When there is no rebirth, there is no potential life and there will consequently be no “future” existence which can be predicted or charted. At such stage of high realization, spiritual and mental development, one will have transcended the need to know about his life because most imperfections and unsatisfactoriness would have been removed. Hence, a highly developed and enlightened human being, like the Buddha, would be liberated and broken free from the karmic chains that led to rebirth and sufferings.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, psychologist and psychiatrists have come to recognize that there is much more to the human mind than the hard core materialists have been ready to accept. There is more to the world that can be seen and touched.
The famous Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, used to cast the horoscopes of his patients. On one occasion when he made an astrological analysis of about 500 marriages, he discovered that the findings of Ptolemy, on which modern western astrology is based, were still valid, that favorable aspects between the sun and the moon of the different partners did produce happy marriages.
The well-known French psychologist, Michel Gauguelin, who originally held a negative view of astrology, made a survey of about 20,000 horoscopical analyses and found to his surprise that the characteristics of the persons studied coincided with characterization produced by modern psychological methods. As a result, many psychologist and psychotherapist are discovering more and more constructive values in the research and study of astrological knowledge in assisting and studying their subjects.
The planting of certain tree and vegetables at different times of a year will produce differences in strength or appearance of the plants. So there is no reason to doubt that people born in certain times of the year will have different characteristics from people born at other times. By knowing his weakness, failures and short-comings, a man can do his best to overcome them and make himself a better and more useful person to the society. It will also help himself a great deal to get rid of unhappiness and disappointments.
Shakespeare says: “The fault is not our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings”. A well known astrologer had said: “The stars impel; they do not compel”. St. Thomas Aquinas says: “The planets influence the more elemental part of man than passions”, but through his intellect man can arrange his life in harmony with the planets, and also cultivate his inherent talents and manipulate them for his betterment.
But astrology cannot automatically solve all your problems. You must do that yourself. Just like a doctor who can discover the nature of disease, an astrologer can only show certain aspects of your life and character. After that it is left to you adjust your way of life.
Use astrology intelligently, just as you would use any tool which would make your life more comfortable and more enjoyable. If you want to reap the harvest, you must sow the seed, and knowing the best method, time and location to do so will always increase the rate of success. Similarly, astrology can provide you with a useful guide, showing you the right time, right method and location to carry out your endeavors and achieve great success. But at the end of the day, you must exercise your free will to make it happen.
Borrowing luck from the spirits - Information on the use of corpse oil and “Yin” amulets
Amulets have become more and more popular and “fashionable” among people outside Thailand. This article aims to provide a deeper understanding towards amulets, especially of the “yin” genre.
Amulets, no doubt, are an inextricable and highly valued cultural and religious item both in the history and tradition of Thai Buddhism. Amulets can usually be classified into two categories. The first type are made by venerated monks with high virtue in established temples, usually given away to thank devotees who have made a donation towards temple building, sponsorship of monkshood or other charitable courses.
Some very signature pieces belonging to this category, for examples, are Phra Somdej, Phra Pidta and Phra Khring. These amulets are created with proper consecrations, rituals and prayers, for the good purpose of blessing, guiding and protecting devotees and help them move closer to the proper Buddhist path. They are usually safe and will not “backfire”.
The second type, are made and designed by certain Ajarns (the term “Ajarn” refers to any senior, master or teacher in Thailand), and these “yin” amulets are usually linked or embedded with unsanctified spiritual energies, evil spirits or ghosts that are unable to reincarnate.
Amulets are not normal objects and cannot be perceived or treated like one. There is a spiritual aspect attached to these items, linked to a non-physical dimension, that layman cannot sense, perceive and control.
Throughout my stay in Thailand, I have witnessed firsthand how some people have put their lives in danger by misusing some of these items, and have gotten themselves into irreversible states of chaos and disasters. Some have become sick, mentally disturbed, losing wealth whilst others have even took their own lives or died tragically.
These incidents have continued to happen and the frequency are escalating, as many beginners, merely lured by the prospects of having shortcuts to quick fortune and benefits, neglected the fact that, these items needed to be handled with proper intention, knowledge, manner, usage, methods of offerings and prayers, and required considerable background experience to keep.
It is true that, if one is able to practice compassion with proper intention and action towards them, one can actually cultivate and dedicate good merits to these spirits, which are usually untamed in nature. On the other hand, we must be realistic in our judgment because it is also a fact that many people outside Thailand simply do not have access to holistic knowledge on how to treat these “yin” amulets.
Having witnessed repeatedly uncountable cases of devotees seeking help at the temple because they have misused these “yin” amulets, which have brought about undesirable effects into their lives, and also the lives of their families and loved ones, has brought to my understanding that some spiritual issues are difficult to be tackled. You cannot see them, cannot hear them, but they are around you always, doing whatever that appeases them without your permission.
Important questions to ask, are whether your karma is positive enough, your level of understanding and realization thorough enough and your spiritual strength pure enough to be able to include such often grieved and enraged spirits in your own life?
Another danger emerging is that more and more of such “yin” amulets are spreading overseas. It is not an exaggeration to say the 90% of the people do not have complete understanding of what they are exactly getting into by inviting them into their lives.
As a large number of these people stay far away from Thailand, it is also extremely difficult for them to have access to the help of monks who are well-trained in handling such spiritual issues.
It is normal for us as mortals to have desires. We wish for wealth, good health, happiness and satisfaction in life. However, nothing will escape the law of cause and effect, and the subsequent chains of karma in this universe.
When you desire something and seek the help of these spirits, these spirits may be willing to provide you help. Nonetheless, after getting what you wanted, will the spirits simply leave and will not interfere with your living anymore?
“Yin” amulets or items are usually made with ingredients gathered from two sources:
1) Oil or body parts from corpses, usually of people who have died tragically, that have passed away for 49 days.
2) Spirits of deceased, usually died tragically, who have passed away for 49 days.
Of course, there are many other ways and materials in which such “yin” amulets are made. However, it is not my intention to bring a sense of horror to readers, and I will only explain at an introductory level on the spiritual aspects behind the making of these “yin” amulets.
No energy in this universe will diminish. Energy will only be transferred or converted to another form. Life energy and consciousness follow the same rule.
According to Taoist beliefs, within the 49 days in which a person has passed away, the soul will be disintegrated into three main “components” or “spiritual entities” – the sky spirit, earth spirit and man spirit (天/地/人三魂).
This is similar to the concept of Bazi in which a man’s destiny is divided into the heavenly stems, earthly stems and men stems, with the daymaster representing the individual (which I will teach in my astrology lessons).
For every 7-days, the spirits will wander at different places. For example, if the person died in a hospital, the spirit will wander around in the hospital. If the person died in a car accident, the spirit will wander around the accident site. For the second 7-days period, the spirit will return home to see their families. For the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh 7-days period, where they go will depend on their past karma.
However, regardless where they go, they are no longer the master of their own will, and will suffer the torture and torment due to the accumulation of negative karmic energy built up in their conscience and consciousness throughout their entire life-span.
Hence, one of the main purposes of Buddhism is to help us alleviate the pain and suffering of dying. However, for most people, the sudden departure from their physical bodies, and their loved ones, is an excruciating experience, and most of us cannot come into a total realization and acceptance of the nature of impermanence in our lives.
Most of the time, these spirits will be at a complete state of confusion and lost. Some are not able to come to terms with their own deaths, and still have strong emotional attachment to issues that they haven’t let go. They are unfamiliar and uncomfortable towards the sudden transformation into a spirit, and it is at such such a vulnerable state that certain Ajarns will choose to bring these spirits, especially spirits of innocent children, under their control using rituals, give them a physical form by attaching or “housing” them into amulets or statues. What happen next can be easily guessed by you.
It is my hope that all who are keeping “yin” amulets will do intensive research, to acquire proper knowledge, with the intention for these spirits to be liberated, or at least taken good care of, and make sure that there is a monk whom they can turn to for help when things are not going right, before making a commitment.
“Yin” amulets in themselves are not "bad". It is how well we are able to handle them that's the key.
The aim of this article is for educational purpose only and as always, my posts are written for the sake of spreading positive knowledge, messages, values and energies, in as much a fair and unbiased manner as possible, with no intention to bring harm to anyone.
I have no intention in preventing anyone from using these items in whatever way they wished, but am merely highlighting the factors readers should consider carefully towards making an informed decision and making a commitment to keep them.
In the coming days, I will be revealing more information regarding Thai amulets, information on how to handle them and what can be done when mishaps or "backfiring" occurs.