The following story is from an urban legend in Thailand. Similarity to people and circumstances are purely coincidental 🙂
In Thailand and Asean countries, people tend to look for monks and psychic for quick solutions to their everyday problems. They would consult monks and nuns to help them make a decision in life. Should I quit my current job? Should I sign the contract? Request for blessings to change bad luck to good luck, request for magic trinkets and talisman to improve luck etc.
One day a Buddhist master was visited by a notorious Mafia Boss. He wanted the master to help him improve his luck. He had many problems in life, the government is trying to arrest him, a rival gang is trying to assassinate him, his family is in chaos and unhappy, he suspected there are dissenters within his organisation trying to sabotage him…..
The master listened compassionately. Then master shook his head sadly and informed him that a terrible curse had been placed upon him. The curse will cause his complete destruction and will cause him to loose his life too. However, there is a way for him to escape the curse and turn his life around. Master will arrange a magic funeral so that the curse will mistaken the mafia boss to be dead. That way he will be “reborn” again with good luck after the magic funeral.
Elaborate plan was made to hold a lavish funeral just like how it would be. He picked the best outfit for lying in state. Full death ceremony was conducted and attended by family and friends.
As the mafia boss lie in his coffin, he heard the chanting of the monks. The chanting that talks about impermanence in life. The chanting went on and on. With nothing to do, his mind slowly settled on the theme of death. Master even gave a short sermon on karma and death. Confined to the coffin, that was the first time in his life where he truly listen to the Buddha’s teaching.
After the funeral service, the mafia boss wore a different outfit and witnessed his coffin being sent into the incinerator for cremation. He was silent and deep in thoughts.
After this magic funeral, the mafia boss indeed had a change of luck. He was no longer his old self and started to gain respect from people around him. In years to come, he wound down his illegal business and became a different man with a happy family. He had also become a devotee of the wise master.
Another Thai Buddhist “magic” story.
As news of the magic funeral ritual spread , many people also started to copy and promote this ritual as a quick way to change luck. Unfortunately, these self proclaimed Guru do not have the wisdom of master. They did not understand the meaning / intent behind the ritual. They do not know how to appraise the mentality of others. They are only out to get more participation fees and devotees only.
Consequently, some participants developed chronic fear of death and exhibited mental trauma etc. Some disparage Buddhism as just being superstitious and out to earn donation through rituals when there is no improvement to their luck.
By blindly copying an action without understanding the intent, ignorance is spread.
By possessing wisdom and compassion, one teaches creatively for the benefit of others.