Nalong rose from the dead, they say. Everyone agrees he was certainly dead on November 2. He was not breathing and his heart stopped for a long time. The village ambulance would take too long so a neighbor drove him to the hospital where they failed to resuscitate him and sent him to the regional medical center while applying CPR.
Against all odds he recovered.
So, the family did the next thing to offset such an inauspicious event. They conducted a sub jata ceremony to counterbalance the effects that seem to have accumulated. Who knows what malign power tried to destroy Nalong’s life – or maybe did what it intended to do by nearly scaring him to death? Who knows what benign powers are available to reorient influences? People in our village are not especially fastidious about theology. A sub jata ceremony is one of a set of ceremonies that one does when pernicious strangeness has emerged. When in doubt call a chapter of priests to chant about the certainty that life is fraught and undependable but it is important to reassert stability, durability, and immutability.
All the elders in the village went. When people die around here it’s usually permanent.
Notes about the pictures:
1. Ken and Nalong – for the record.
2. Tying strings while sitting under a tripod loaded with traditional necessities for an abundant life is the heart of the ceremony. The tripod represents an axial tree where we reside between the elemental earth and the spiritual heaven. The benefits of the service are symbolically carried through the strings that attach the affected family to the Lord Buddha, and to the chapter of priests chanting. This transforms the circumstances by altering the powers involved.
3. An auspicious number of priests is an odd number, in this case five. I was assured that the stanzas chanted for 29 minutes are a standard set for this type of ceremony. The service started at 9.29 a.m. That could have been coincidental, but it was auspicious.
4. Mae Pawn, Narong’s wife, carried pots of silver and gold back into the heart of the house at the end of the service. The family’s economic prosperity was re-established.
I have posted essays about sub jata ceremonies associated with house blessings, life threatening circumstances, and birthdays. Here are links to these blogs: www.kendobson.asia/blog/subjata and www.kendobson.asia/blog/subjata-2018
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Rev. Dr. Kenneth Dobson posts his weekly reflections on this blog.