Of Amulets, trinkets and charms that protect you from Evil spirits.


Evil spirits. I like the sound of that. Especially if you’ve been watching too many horror movies.

In Asia, there are some wealthy Chinese businessmen who can trade the price of a new Mercedes for a really old Thai Buddhist amulet. Some say these amulets do have protective powers. The notorious “Botak Chin” who terrorized Kuala Lumpur in the late 70s was said to have many Thai amulets worn around his neck. These, according to people who knew him – ‘protects’ him from bullets. So much for bullets. In the end, he died in the gallows.

When I was a very young boy (maybe 4 or 5 years old), my family home was situated just next to a rubber estate in Segamat, Johore. That rubber estate has since made way for development. It is now Taman Hijau if you care to know.

Anyway – way back then, for a couple of nights in a row in my room – I’d cry the moment my mum turned off the lights and left the room. Weird sounds of the Malay “kompang” would fill the air the moment my mum left the room. No kidding! And when my perplexed mum came back into the room, turned on the lights – the sounds would just mysteriously disappear. And so it was like a cat and mouse game. Mum turns off the lights, sounds come on & vice versa.

The next few days, my mum brought me to see this medium who went into a trance. Apparently, the rubber estate where I’d love to go a-wandering in the day was home to the “datok’s” grandchildren (for the uninitiated, a “datok” is like a guardian spirit. Its other form is said to be a white tiger spirit). And somehow, the grandchildren took a liking on me and decided I’d become their playmate. Their presence is usually accompanied by the sounds of the Malay ‘kompang’ (traditional Malay drum with shallow frame drum with a goat or cow hide skin nailed to the wooden frame by metal nails).

A couple of talismen seemed to do the trick. The taoist talismen are usually small pieces of yellow or green paper with words written with a Chinese brush by the “god” that is temporarily inside the medium’s body. These talismen can be worn on you (rolled into a small object, placed inside a metal holder and worn around the neck), or consumed. Yes – you need only burn it, add some water, and drink it like tea. It is said to give you ‘power’ over the spirits that roam near you.

Fast forward to the early 90s. I was a beginner in Vipassana meditation. My parents went to Northeast Thailand and brought me a talisman with an image of a revered Thai monk. That I wore around my neck.

And this is where the teachings of the Buddha come in. Logical, straightforward and makes you feel like a fool sometimes. My meditation master saw my talisman and decided to rattle my brains.

“What are you wearing that for?” He asked.
“To protect me against ghosts and spirits”, I replied.

“So you have must have seen a ghost and other spirits before?” He asked again.”
I replied in the negative.

“If you haven’t seen any ghosts or spirits before, then how do you know this talisman can protect you against things that you have not encountered?”

Good question. Good answer!

I hastily replied, “errrr… to bring me good luck”. I somehow knew what was coming.

“So you are going through bad luck now, is it?”

The fact is, we don’t need amulets, trinkets and charms or whatnots to protect us. These are inanimate objects. The true protectors of ourselves ARE simply, our selves! Good luck? Try thinking positively and the law of attraction will come into play. Ghosts? If you are walking through a deserted, haunted looking place in the middle of the night – and you think there are ghosts around – THERE WILL BE GHOSTS around. What your mind creates, your mind will also help materialize!

For good luck, try the metta sutta or in English, the loving kindness sutra. It calms your mind, brings tranquillity to your surroundings and attracts good “Qi”.

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