It took me a few months to consider whether I should share this personal experience. As it belongs to the unexplainable or mysticism, I wasn’t sure if it is relatable to just anyone. Ultimately, I decided to share, hoping it can be beneficial to those who face similar situations.
It happened when I was 19 years old and serving military service. At that time, I was a fervent Buddhist who was fascinated with the spirit world (Ghostly realm). Staying in an army camp that was surrounded by unpopulated forest provided me that perfect vibe to indulge my imagination.
I would steal away at night to do my chanting, meditation, and rituals in a remote stairwell. Simply because I couldn’t chant in my barracks without disturbing other people. At that time, I specifically dedicated merits from my practices to earth-bound spirits. Sometimes I would share Dharma with my imaginary audience by recollecting dharma lessons learned from Buddhist monks. I believed that I was helping the ghosts through my practices. (arrogant huh?)
While most of my platoon mates ignore my religious pursuit, some would mock my ‘weird’ personality. Meditating in bed and being fascinated about the occult isn’t a typical obsession for a nineteen-year-old amongst hot-blooded guys with bosomy models plastered on the walls, right? Reflecting back, I seemed to be that weird gothic-obsessed student in teenage movies.
At one stage, the mockery and taunting began to increase in frequency and unusual events started happening. Minor freak accidents began to occur to my company mates. People suffering cuts and wounds in almost bizarre situations; like while showering or washing a cup. Tripping over unseen objects while walking. Then someone “flew” out of the military lorry.
I sensed something was off and was getting concerned too because Buddhist practices should bring forth peace and goodness to our surrounding environments. However, the various misfortunes happening around me don’t add up.
Therefore, during one of my practice, I pondered why freak accidents were happening frequently. The “respond” is hard to describe. It seemed like a “mental blast” and the answer I got was “We were protecting your honor!” I knew instinctively that it wasn’t a benevolent force and I was honestly quite alarmed by it.
I used to dedicate merits while focusing my mind on ghostly beings and as part of my dedication prayer, I would say “Please come and protect my Dharma activities.” When I received that “mental blast”, I realized that the spirits were teaching people a lesson for being disrespectful. Immediately, I recollected a dharma talk about the precept for non-violent with the spirits and also recollected the topic about creating bad karma. Then I beseech them not to do mischief or harm others again. “protect my dharma” doesn’t mean action through hooliganism or evil deeds. That is an incorrect way to “protect” Dharma. Coincidentally, no more freak accidents occurred after that. I also became aware of my inner faults.
The above could be my hyperactive imagination plus a mere coincidence of events.
Later on, I learned that we shouldn’t focus our attention and practice on spirits. Try not to establish a “bond” with them.
- When dedicating merits, do not focus on ghostly beings only. Dedicate merits to all sentient beings, including the animals, angels, and heavenly beings. All beings in the 6 realms of existence
- Sometimes, lower-class beings might interpret the dharma wrongly. Especially if our right understanding is weak. I was arrogantly “preaching” to ghosts when my Dharma knowledge wasn’t strong and my mind wasn’t pure. They picked up the wrong vibe from my mind and gained the wrong understanding. Thus becoming malevolent. (My fault) Try not to engage with the spirits unless you know what you are doing. I was like the blind leading the blind. In spiritualism, that could have lead to greater misfortune.
- If you notice ‘bad’ things happening around you ever since you started practicing, there are 2 possible reasons. It could be our bad karma ripening to prevent our practices; in which case, we just need to bite the bullet and persevere.
- Or it could be beings trying to interfere with our practices. In which case, it is good to dedicate merits to them and recite the Karaniya Metta Sutta for them. That means reading it in a language you understand while “communicating” the sutta to those beings. By sharing the wisdom of Buddha, we help other beings obtain the correct path towards happiness too. Since Theravada sutta are worded in a straight-forward manner, I found them easy but yet profound. We can read the sutta many times but as we progress in wisdom, the meaning will take on the corresponding profundity too.
Finally, I hope this is a good read for you. If it is unrelatable, I think that is good news because you don’t really need all these mumbo jumbo to practice well. Hope it is entertaining though.
If you had similar encounters or obsession, hope this is beneficial for you.
May all be well and happy.