Jul 13, 2020

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 7 Comments

A MYTHICAL STORY ABOUT SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: PART 1 – THE JOURNEY TO CAM MOUNTAIN (Huyền hoặc chuyện tu hành linh căn: Kỳ 1 – Hành trình lên núi Cấm)

Introduction: Mat Giac Dang – Bui Thi Anh Thu once confided about her pitiful story while looking for a path to Buddhism on chanhtuduy.com. Mat Dieu Duc felt the deep sympathy as she used to experience the same situation before knowing Song Nguyen Tantra House. Answering Mat Dieu Duc’s request, Mat Giac Dang is going to share her own story in depth to reveal the hungry ghost and demons’ tricks and the subtle tactics of heathen religions to spread superstitious and spiritistic practices in order to scare others. Considering this can be common learnings for many people who might fall into the same traps, I published this series on chanhtuduy.com for all my disciples and readers to acknowledge all the devious twists and the reasons why the demons’ followers ended up “spending money (on a quack doctor) and only getting worse”. I am praying that by the aid of Vajrayana Dharma Guardians with Vajra, those demonic minds which are full of wrong views will be destroyed into thousand pieces.

Here it comes the series from Mat Giac Dang.

Dear Holy Guru,

As I had presented to Guru, as per Mat Dieu Duc’s request, I am going to make a detailed confession about what happened to me. Meanwhile, I would like to send you for your reference. Actually, I don’t feel comfortable recalling this story because it was such a dirty spot in my life. But, I did overcome my own inferiority complex with the hope that my story will benefit others.

If any of the related characters could read this story accidentally or intentionally, that is just as a natural affinity. Whether it is a good or a bad affinity, I am guaranteed to accept all the consequences after all.

I hope this small work can be seen as a contribution to the demolition of wrong views and development of right views, which I was strongly inspired by Guru’s great example. I am really determined and promised not to draw back to the old pitiful path until the ultimate liberation.

I bow down to Guru, your compassion and wisdom which nurtures my bravery.
Om Mani Padme Hum.

Can Tho, 20 August 2014.

Best regards,

Mat Giac Dang.

Dear Dharma brother Mat Dieu Duc,

Your questions are at the same time the queries of many other people. I understand what you have been through. I am looking forward to knowing more about your story. Regarding mine, I think it would be better if I narrate it as a long story which in between you will definitely find the answers to your questions. I will put a temporary name for this story as “A story of demons”. It is a very long story as it covers a five-year story of my life since I was a third-year student, Department of Economics, Can Tho University. My health was not good since I was a child. As I had to study away from home since I was 15 years old, I did not take good care of my living standards. Therefore, I had been sick frequently. It became more serious while I was studying in the university. I was diagnosed with chronic diseases such as permanent sore throats, colitis, stomach afflictions, and hemorrhoid. I had to take medication frequently, I always looked so pale and tired. In general, my health was such a disaster. In my third-year, I had a boyfriend (who is currently my spouse). The reason I mentioned him is because he was the one who witnessed everything from the beginning.

At that time, my mother and younger sister started to go on a pilgrimage to Cam Mountain, Chau Doc, An Giang. I was told so many strange stories that they had seen during their trip. Normal people who came there became abnormal because they behaved strangely and even spoke different voices, etc. I came to know about those “masters” in that mountain who could treat the “spiritual diseases”. At the beginning, I just thought those stories are merely ridiculous and superstitious, they are simply something I was curious to hear. I almost did not pay any interest.

Everyone (including my mother) believed that my younger sister (four years younger than me) was possessed by a spirit (of a dead person) because she usually showed strange behaviors such as she used to laugh unconsciously. It happened when she was a little girl. Sometimes, when nothing happened, she suddenly laughed so hard to the extent that her mouth got twisted. She could not hold herself from laughing then suddenly she stopped laughing. My family noticed there was something wrong but we just moved on because except that strange act, she was almost normal.

The pilgrimage journey originated from my aunt who is my mother’s older sister. Her family is an odd one. Most of the family members are vegetarians. They spent all day doing spiritual activities. They went to pagodas, temples and Cam mountain regularly. My aunt and cousins kept recommending others to devote their lives to spiritual activities as soon as possible, as much as possible and it is unnecessary to worry about worldly affairs. Or else, everyone would end up suffering a lot and there is no way to escape. Every time I met them, there was always something funny to witness. They could make coffee and then have a chat with the Earth god, or I could witness those people who had spiritual diseases, they performed fortune telling, kept asking about the past and the future, etc. The strangest point is the second daughter in that family who was believed to be possessed by a spirit. Her life was destroyed to the point that she had to postpone her study, she got into mental illness and she was considered a literally mad person to everyone. Sometimes when she became so scared, she just tried to escape by running away. While doing so, she scattered money all over the way in the hope that the spirit would take the money and release her body instead. There was even a fierce fight between the two in which the spirit announced its name, there was even a performance of “martial art”, etc. At the present while I am telling this story, that family is temporarily fine. The bigger sister finished studying a short course and is now working as a make-up worker. The younger sister quit her study and is now taking care of household work. She got married to a man who is also a vegetarian. The older brother already got married and had a kid, while the younger is doing farming. No one of the family pursued proper education.

My aunt forced my mother to go on a pilgrimage and asked my mom to bring the children (me, one younger sister and one younger brother). My mother was very hesitant at the time because I had just finished a hemorrhoid operation and lost way too much blood. I could not even stand up. My aunt listed out many reasons which all concluded that I was bothered by a spirit and that’s why I had been so sick through the years. They told us that as soon as we came to visit Cam mountain and met those masters to receive their blessings, my health would recover very soon and I could study much better. She also emphasized that not everyone could make such a journey as it requires to have “predestined affinity”, so that we should not waste the chance.

My operation was in the summer, and there was only one year until I graduated. My mother seemed to be persuasive and she wanted us to try so that I could get better health. She was worried that my health would make a barrier for me to complete my study. I gradually became convinced and decided to go. During those days, I heard a lot about the treatment for demonic possession which was considered to be very effective. I became curious to experience it. Unexpectedly I had a strange thought that what if I discovered that I myself was possessed by a spirit throughout the years? That thought kept wandering in my head.

There was one person who disagreed with the idea: my father. He was so worried for me. He could not imagine how come such a weak person who could not even stand up or walk a few small steps, who could not eat anything was able to travel a few hours by car, especially when I had a serious car sickness. Moreover, in order to reach the destination, I had to walk most of the time for several days, the accommodation was poor. But my father could not do anything because I and my mother were so determined.

The day had come. I remembered it was at midnight at 3 or 4. We had to go by motorbike to the gathering place and continued the trip by car. I was prioritized to the front sit, next to the driver. My mother prepared fresh ginger for me to resist car sickness. Everyone paid attention to my situation and kept asking once a while to make sure I was fine. The trip was smooth, I was absolutely fine, yet I felt better than staying at home (!). They made a joke that I had been taken across by “someone”.

I met that woman on the trip. That is the first time she came with this group. I did not notice when the car came to pick her up. I met her at the first stop and as usual, it was the Shrine of the Sam mountain Goddess. Everyone was busy getting well-prepared for the offerings. It is not difficult to imagine the atmosphere at that place. It was overcrowded, everyone bowed down and kept praying. There were plenty of offerings to the Goddess: roast pork, tray of fruits, clothes to the Goddess, etc. The most interesting part was asking for blessings and drawing lots. In the middle of the chaos, I remembered someone reminded me to notice my own offerings, as soon as I finished offering incense, I had to quickly pick one of the things on my tray to bring the luck back home. But it turned out that people did not only pick things from their own trays, they hustled over to pick all those good things that they could see. I was given a tangerine, they asked me to finish that tangerine in order to receive full blessings (Luckily I was conscious enough not to eat all its skin!). Most people were mumbling while doing kowtow, then they picked up one red envelope in which can be found a 1000 Dong note, or a piece of the goddess’ clothes, or one piece of paper writing a few poem lines, etc. For those people doing business like my mother, my aunt instructed her to collect three burned incense and brought them back to the business place so it would make a fortune and be a great sale in the future.

That woman did not enter the shrine, she was standing outside. When my mother was so confused because of the crowd and she was worried about being robbed, that woman approached my mother and offered to help. Because my mother slept along the trip, she did not recognize her as a person in the same group and refused the help. In a glance, I could see that the woman did not seem to feel offended but gave kind of a gentle smile. I felt a bit guilty thinking that my mother doubted a good person. Until that moment, I still did not know much about her.

The pilgrimage journey started officially when everyone carried their own luggage and climbed up the mountain. Everyone was very cheerful. They were chatting and laughing. There was almost no one who seemed to be tired or not happy, except my mother. She seemed restless with anxiety, she was worried if I could not walk, if I felt the pain or I was tired, etc. On the contrary, my feet were really strong at the time and I felt nothing different to a normal healthy person. I even came in second place, just after one strong man at a very famous slope named Vinh Bo Hong. At that time, there was no ladder but rocky slopes and people had to hang on to a rope to climb. It was so strange that everyone said I was supported by “someone” else. I myself found it strange as well and I became more convinced that magic happened to ease all my diseases.

At the time, I got to know more about that woman. Everyone called her Ms. H., she was known as a master who treated diseases very well. She led many groups to the mountain, including my group. That little information had not left much impression in me yet. Whenever we reached any “worshipping place”, the group stopped and stood in line. Several people distributed incenses to us, then we all read a verse under the instruction of Ms. H.

I don’t remember clearly, but in general the verse was as following:

The Buddhas from ten directions,

The Buddhas,

The Bodhisattvas,

Bodhisattva,

The Gods,

God of Heaven, God of Earth,

God of Dragon,

God of Dragon as protector,

The Four Heavenly Kings,

Please acknowledge..

Today.. (date), my name is.., from..

I am sincerely praying

For the blessing which satisfy my wish to.. (depend on each person’s wish)

I promise I will practice offerings

And worship diligently

I would like to return the merits to all the ancestors and my relatives .. (full name), and to all those I could not see behind my back.

In order for them to receive the blessings

And soon for them to reincarnate to the next lives..

After that, we were instructed to worship, bow down and repent. We were told to prostrate ourselves 120 times to repent. There were some people wondering if the number of 120 was right as they found somewhere in the sutra said it was 108. The instructor said there has never been any sutra mentioning 108 but 120 is the right one. Then it came the worship part, which included the performance of spiritual power. To say the truth, I was very excited. To be exact, I was both excited and scared at the same time. There were some people who were performing martial arts, some were singing, others kept dancing without any rhythm, some others spoke strange voices which were believed from the spirits, etc. Especially, each person who performed the worshiping had to hold two burning candles, with three burning incenses  or a tuberose branch in between; then bowed down a lot before starting the rite. In the end, everyone soaked wet because we had to pour the offering water on our body, wash the hair and face.

During or after that, Ms. H. would give “treatment” for each person in the group. Not that each person could choose the worshipping place that they were going to be treated. Each person had their own particular place, sometimes there were several chosen people at one place. The patient was supposed to sit in front of Ms. H., she usually had conversations with them in order to ask for more information, to comfort and to give recommendation, etc. Then if the one was too stubborn, she would use the threat of force. At one place that I don’t remember the name now, there was one patient that gave me a strong impression because she was sitting in front of me. She was absolutely a normal healthy person at the beginning. She still acted normally through different worshiping places. Everything seemed to be alright. Something wrong happened just when she arrived at that spot. I seemed to be the first one who noticed the change. She was shaking so hard. She was sitting cross-legged before suddenly she fell down to both sides like she was so sleepy, then she started to whine something that no one could hear clearly. Everyone turned their heads to see what happened. Ms. H. was treating others at that time but she also noticed. She asked the woman walking in front to bow down, repent and recite Buddha’s name while waiting for her to solve later.

While sitting in front of Ms. H., the spirit inside started to talk (of course the woman was the one who spoke, but the voice and the attitude were from someone else). The woman was a regular member of different groups that was led by Ms. H. The voice inside revealed to be a person who used to be a grandmother of one family and she had died and became a spirit. Now she came back to give blessings to her old family and helped them overcome difficulties in their lives. The woman had met Ms. H. before and was recommended to send the spirit to practice in that mountain spot, then asked the body (the woman whose is the owner of that body) to come to visit the spirit annually. The spirit cried out loud and said it missed the body so much and it had had such a pitiful life, it complained about so many things. I observed the conversation between Ms. H. and the spirit. She was leading the conversation, asking the spirit to stay focused on practicing so that it can give blessings to its old family and they would soon come to visit, she also asked the spirit to stop following the old family because now they are two different worlds. Then the spirit seemed to be obedient and agreed to leave. After it left, the woman said she was so tired.

Afterwards, Ms. H. continued to treat the woman’s physical disease. Because that woman was accompanied with the spirit, her body was regularly in pain. Before treating her, Ms. H. stood up and made a hand sign, then moved her hands up and down while praying and bowing down continuously to receive the blessings (I have no idea to whom she was praying and what she prayed for). Then, Ms. H. held water in her mouth and sprayed the woman’ body part where she was in pain. Then she kept dancing and pressing into the woman’s body, sometimes she patted so hard, sometimes she clapped or rubbed, then she took a towel to wash the woman’s face. It was a common practice that Ms. H. suggested everyone to use the worshipping water to drink, wash the face so that their health would become stronger and they became more wise. I was forced to wash my face so much that there was no more sun cream left in my face (I used cream because it was so sunny and windy in the mountains), as a result my face became reddish like a boiled crab. They otherwise praised that the water was so magical that my face looked much more rosy and healthy (!).

I continued to be strongly impressed by the same woman because on the way back downhill the mountain, she suddenly became strange again. While walking normally, she unexpectedly cried out bitterly with a different voice. Ms. H. asked and the spirit said it was so missing the woman so it wanted to send her to the foot of the mountain. Everyone was laughing, some people were whispering in each other’s ears that Ms. H. was super because the spirit must obey what she said. Along the way, I had heard many thrilling stories about being “treated”.

My back is aching and I am feeling sleepy at the moment, so I will see you in the next letter with more details about Ms. H. and my treatment case.

I am looking forward to receiving your reply.

Mat Giac Dang.

Translated by Mat Tu.


Vietnamese version: HUYỀN HOẶC CHUYỆN TU HÀNH LINH CĂN: Kỳ 1- HÀNH TRÌNH LÊN NÚI CẤM

  1. Mật Tấn Sơn (Đỗ Trường Giang) says:

    Dear Guru,
    I read this article.
    Thank you so much.
    May Guru have good health and live long for the sake of all sentient beings.
    May all sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha’s nature.
    May Covid-19 pandemic soon be over.
    Om mani padme hum

  2. Mật Chánh Hưng says:

    Dear Guru!
    I read this article.
    Thank you so much.
    May Guru has good health and live long for the sake of sentient beings.
    May the covid 19 pandemic be soon over
    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  3. Mật Minh Ánh (7 years old) says:

    Dear Guru

    I have read the article “A mythical story about spiritual practice:part 1- the journey to Cam mountain”
    Thanks Dharma brother Mat Tu for writing the article.
    I pray for longevity for Guru for the sake of sentient beings.
    I pray that sentient beings can drink the nectar essence.
    Pray for the Corona pandemic to be soon eradicated
    Om Ah Hum.

  4. Mật Thanh Phương says:

    Dear Guru,

    I read this article “A mythical story about spiritual practice: part1 – the journey to Cam mountain”. What a dangerous journey! Dangerous for Mat Giac Dang’s health and spiritual life.

    Thanks Mat Giac Dang for sharing this series to remind me to stay away from wrong view and people with wrong view. I feel very lucky because we met Guru now, we don’t have to suffer our pain and waste our money and health anymore.

    I am very grateful for what Guru give us. Thank you a lot from bottom of my heart, Guru.

    Thanks Mat Tu for this translation.
    May Mat Giac Dang and Mat Tu achieve your rightful wishes.

    May Guru 0have good health and live long for the sake of sentient being.
    May all sentient beings attain the Buddha nature’s happiness.
    May all sentient beings free from suffering and get enlightened.
    May the Covid-19 end soon.
    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  5. Mật Nhất Nguyên says:

    Dear Holy Guru,

    I have read this article “A mythical story about spiritual practice: Part 1 — journey to Cam mountain.” The strange experience dharma brother Mat Giac Dang has been through was so out of the ordinary and dangerous.

    The trip was dangerous for an ill person. But the danger for her spiritual life is also very serious. Without right view, I don’t really know what to think when facing these situation. Thanks to the readings on Chanhtuduy.com, I won’t fall in these types of trap. I’m grateful for the Guru’s right-view lessons from the bottom of my heart.

    Thanks dharma brother Mat Giac Dang for the article and dharma brother Mat Tu for the translation. May dharma brother Mat Giac Dang and Mat Tu achieve all rightful wishes.

    May all sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha’s nature. May the covid-19 pandemic will soon be over.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  6. Mật Giác Đăng says:

    Dear Guru,

    I am delighted to praise the good deeds and merits of dharma brother Mat Tu for the smooth translation.

    I am grateful to Guru for compassionately establishing the brighten castle with full of right view – chanhtuduy.com helping many beings escape the darkness of wrong view, the sufferings causing from demonic traps. I have been one of the lucky persons. Thank you, Guru. I pray for the inconceivable lights of the unique castle will lighten every where.

    May Guru have good health and live long for the sake of all sentient beings.

    May dharma brother Mat Tu achieve all righteous wishes.

    May all sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha’s nature.

    May the covid-19 pandemic will be soon eliminated.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  7. Phan thị Bạch Tuyết says:

    Kính bạch Thầy!
    Con Mật Phong Tuyết đã dọc bài viết này rồi ạ.Pháp đệ hoan hỉ với sự chia sẻ hành trình đến núi Cam của huynh Mật Giác Đăng và bài việt dich của huynh Mật Từ,nhờ đó mà chung đệ sẽ không bị mắc vào những cái bẫy tương tự như vậy.Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã tạo ra lâu đài Duy Ma Cật giúp chúng con và chúng sanh hữu tình được trang bị chánh kiến , phân biệt chánh tà, để không rơi vào cạm bẫy của quỷ dữ và tà linh.
    Con thành tâm cầu nguyện cho vị Thầy thân tâm được an tịnh và trụ thế lâu dài vì đạo nghiệp phổ truyền Yoga Thanh Trí.
    Cầu nguyện cho tất cả chúng sanh thành tựu hạnh phúc của phật tánh.
    Cầu nguyện cho đại dịch covid 19 được tiêu trừ.
    Om mani padme hum.

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