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Subject Mystery Thailand: Monks, Magic & the Spirit World
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Original Message Mystery Thailand: Monks, Magic & the Spirit World

March 26, 2015

What country is the most occult in the world? Lying smack dab in the heart of Southeast Asia, Thailand arguably fits the bill. This is a country that truly believes in spirits and supernatural power. Thailand has it all. With sorcerers who collect oil from the chin of corpses to perform black magic, spirit mediums who channel Hindu deities, a festival to the gods involving possessed devotees sticking sharp objects through their bodies, and monks who use their supernatural powers to charge amulets, this country is about as occult as it gets.

Buddhism is the main religion in Thailand and much of Asia, although in Thailand there is a syncretistic mix of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Animism. Therefore, the people worship and pay homage to a number of Hindu deities and local animistic spirits right alongside the Buddha and famous monks. Thailand is a melting pot of many different religious beliefs. However, Buddha and the community of monks (Sangha) are elevated above the rest. Buddha is always at the top of peoplesí spirit altars and famous monks are revered as much or more than Hindu deities.1 In Thailand, monks are revered for possessing supernatural power and for their high standing in the spiritual hierarchy. It is for these reasons that Buddhist monasteries (Wats) are considered sacred ground where no evil spirit would dare step foot. Due to their exalted status, monks are also protected from harm by evil spirits.

Karma, Heaven & Hell

Buddhists believe in the concept of karma, whereby any good action leads to merit (beneficial karma) and any bad action leads to demerit (negative karma). This concept is very important in the minds of the Thai people because your store of karma, positive or otherwise, determines not only your success and happiness in this and future lives, but also determines your place in the afterlife.

Indeed, there are supposedly 136 levels of hell in the Buddhist cosmology, none of which are very pleasant. Based on the kind of sinning you did when alive, a judge in the afterlife will send you to one of these hells. For instance, adulterers in this life, it is said, will climb a thorn tree continually in the afterlife. The adulterer tries to reach his/her lover at the top of the tree but upon reaching the top the adulterer is taken away and placed back at the bottom to begin the arduous journey once more. Those who were greedy or stole will become hungry ghosts (Phii Pret) who are continually hungry but unable to satisfy their hunger. Others may have their heads turned into animal heads and undergo disembowelment or other such horrors.2

Conversely, if your store of good karma is high, you may end up spending time in the company of deities in one of the many magnificent heavens. There you can enjoy hours of bliss and pleasure until your store of good karma has run out and itís time to be reborn. If your karma is good enough, you may even be exalted to the status of a deity yourself in the afterlife.3 With whatís at stake, you can imagine that acquiring good karma is important to the Thai. Mostly though, itís not the afterlife they are worried about, but success in this life.

This gives monks a prominent place in society and in peoplesí lives. For by giving alms (food or money) to monks, or by donating to a monastery, you can acquire beneficial karma. Helping monks in some way is thought to generate a great deal of merit. This not only helps you have a better afterlife and future life on Earth, but also gives you instantaneous protection and good luck in this life.4 Even just being in their presence as they meditate or chant is thought to be auspicious and beneficial for oneís karma.5

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[link to www.newdawnmagazine.com]
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