My Journey To Tao
Eventhough I was raised in an estate surrounded with Taoist activities, I never get involved seriously with them. It was only some helping out with my friends in Jack’s temple.
My whole family was moved to Tampines new town in 1990. After that, I spent lesser time going back to my old kampong because of my busy working schedule. As we grow older, our interest would changed. Circle of friends would be difference. Soon, I lost touch with my childhood friends and the religion activities I used to participate.
My marriage was a very sudden one because I was caught misfired. Shotgun marriage lah. Both me and my girlfriend then were old enough and therefore we planned to keep the baby and move on to our next chapter. We made very rush arrangement for the dinner, the photo shoot and many other necessities for our wedding. Finally, we walked hand in hand onto the red carpet leading into the wedding ballroom with my unborn baby still inside my wife stomach. Just when we had opened to a new chapter and planning for a home with a new member, the baby inside was diagnosed dead by a doctor few days later. Another word means miscarriage . We thought it was due to the over stressing in view of the tight arrangement we had for our wedding. Well anyway, we were disappointed and we felt sorry for the baby but we weren’t very sad because we were still young and we can still try for many babies any time. Right? But the answer was wrong. Sometimes fate does play a part in our live.
Life can be very boring for a childless married couple especially during the weekend when we don’t have to go back to our office. We tried to create some activities to pass our time but nothing seems to inspire our interest. I remember once when I was driving past a makeshift tentage for a Taoist celebration along the road side, we were attracted to their charitable involvement and we hope we could join them to do our part for the community in the near future.
We wanted to be ready before the next baby arrives. Therefore, we went to look for a flat near my parent’s place. We went to view many flats but were not what I like. There wasn’t any feeling to inspire me or my wife for the last 11 units we visited. But the number 12 unit was different. The moment when I was first stepping onto the main entrance, an unexpected wind blew onto me very strongly. This moment has definitely aroused my interest to explore more of the unit. After our further enquire, we found out that the family members were incomplete. Although we see a wedding photo hanging on the background of the master’s bedroom wall, but the man inside the photo was not available. Beside knowing that the man is unavailable and the woman was a sole ownership of the flat, We didn’t enquire further of their family background. However, because of the special feeling we have with the new house, we decided to buy the unit. But little did I know that the wedding photo in the master’s bedroom does make a big impact to my wife later.
We have been wondering why was that the woman is a sole ownership of the flat. Where is her husband? Was they divorce or was he dead? But it doesn’t seen to be right to say they were divorced. Because logically, the woman could have kept away all the stuffs related to the man if they have been divorced and that especially the wedding photo on the wall right? Been called back to the God? Very possible but did he die in the room? There isn’t any altar nor Christianity cross around in the flat and therefore I supposed they are not religious. So, did they actually cleanse the house and lead the spirit of the man away? Sigh~ headache . Anyway, to ease our concern and worry, we decided to consult a geomancy master and offer a god-of-mercy in our new home.
We consulted a very well known geomancy master whom is a brother-in-law of my friend. There were plentiful of valuable photos displayed with him taken with the TCS actors and actresses in his shop. Li NanXing, XiangYun, Fann Wong are the few among the hundred photos. Maybe he was too famous and busy, the service he provided to us was not up to mark. Not only that, some instruction he gave were not relevant and pointless. We asked him for a date to offer our deity, he said nevermind, we can move in first and select a date to offer deity later. We asked how should we arrange if we want to offer a God of mercy. He suggested to us that we can buy one from a store near GuanYin Temple at Si Ma Lu and than just bring it to the temple and asked for the assistance there to chant on the statue. Well, since he is a master of FengShui and we knows only nut, we just listened to him undoubtedly.
We moved into our new home few months later. We went to choose a God of mercy statue and selected one peaceful looking NanHai GuanYin among the other displays there. As instructed, we bring our newly purchased statue to the GuanYin Temple for chanting by an old lady helper there before we bring it home. Everything now is in order and we could sleep soundly at night. About a week later, I suggested to put a dog inside our house to see if the dog can provide any hint. By the way, my wife has a cousin name Gina, Gina is a Christian and she has a dog name Minnie. Gina is a fanatic Christian and she would go around relative house to do preaching. She likes to condemn others religion and she would always criticize the statue as stone and devil . She has forgotten that she was once brought up in a Taoist home too. Anyway, I’m not going to talk about this stupid girl but the smart dog. We decided to keep her -Minnie for a few days to see if she could see anything or not.
On the first night, as usual we turned in at about 11pm after the Chinese drama. Minnie was kept inside our bedroom with her stuffs. We didn’t specifically stay awake because we didn’t expect anything would happen. Tick…..tick…..tick…..the night was silent and the only sound we could hear now is the ticking sound of our alarm clock placed on the bedside table near us. We fell asleep soon after. I was disturbed half way in my sleep and I woke up because of the barking and scratching sound from the dog paw on our room door from Minnie. She was doing it furiously. The barking sound was extremely loud considered inside an enclosure room and in the wee morning. Me and my wife were sitting up on our bed looking at her doubtfully. At that point of time, I got a mix feeling in my heart. First, I say bingo to myself for making a right decision for putting a dog at home tonight. Next, I thought SHIT! What can that be??!! I walked down from my bed and walked towards the door. My wife whom is a tigress in the day but a mouse in the night was even frightened than me. She quickly jumped up from the bed and held me tightly by my arms. I opened the room door to check what was going on. Minnie quickly rushed out from the room by a small gap of the opening door. She dash to a wall and continue barking at the plain wall furiously. It was like she was barking at somebody standing on the wall. Me and my wife were standing by aside looking at her and the wall blankly. It was just a blank image in our mind. Who can that be?
She barked and was at the same time lower her front as if she was prepared to charge forward. She looked extremely fierce! This lasted for about 15 mins before Minnie charged forward to the kitchen which was just behind the wall. It was like Minnie was chasing after the spirit while the spirit was retreating from the wall to the kitchen behind. After that, Minnie would walk out from the dark kitchen like nothing had happened. She then walked to her sleeping basket and sleeps her night away. Remember the 2 poor chaps standing outside in the living hall staring at the wall and the dark kitchen blankly? Yes, that’s me and my little mouse (wife). Her hands were still shivering with sweaty palms still holding on to my arm tightly. We were speechless. My wife suspecting that the spirit could be the husband of the ex-owner. And, we must do something immediately. I turned and look at the clock beside and realized that the time then was 0235am. The night was longer than usual and it was an unforgettable event for both of us.
We revealed the whole incident to Gina and many other close relatives and friends. One of our relative suggested that we should consult a medium and that she recommended us to a temple at geyland lor 11. Gina took the opportunity to throw a cold blanket on us. She said: “See? I told you all mah, what is the point of having the deity statue at home when she doesn’t protect your family against spiritual in your home?” Nevermind of her remarks for now, we quickly find out the location of the temple at geyland and set-off to seek for advice. The medium was a woman at her 50′s I guess. She is a medium of Guanyin Ma – God Of Mercy. She commented that our house was too bright and that we invited unnecessary spirit into our home. Puzzled, Isn’t it better if a home is brighter??? Nevermind, we just grab whatever come handy for us first. We know she was not giving us an answer we want but we still respect her as a deity and we took some talisman back to see if it help temporarily before we get a SaiGong Master or whatever later.
We went back home with the talisman issued from the temple. We sticked the talisman infront and the rear of the wall the dog saw something last night. We sprinkler cleansed water on the wall and in the kitchen floor. We do whatever we can to see if it help. Tonight, Minnie will be still with us. The dog owner, Gina will be also with us. Gina will be with us not only with her dog but also her God. Gina wants to prove to us that her dog is mightier, oops sorry, I mean her God . Therefore, Gina is coming with combat readiness. She is coming with her bible and a big cross. Nevermind lah, let her do whatever she wanted. I think she was also wanted to help us. I will take it as an opera show lah. Hehe don’t let her know.
The sky turned dusk very soon. As usual, we spent our evening watching some meaningless TV program and soon after, we proceed to a guest room with the dog. Tonight, we have Gina, my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, me and my mouse. We group together inside the guest room waiting to see if the spirit would dare to come again or not. Time past midnight, Minnie was still sleeping soundly inside her basket covered with her blanket. Tick…..tick…..tick…..the secondhand of the clock was ticking away our precious time but drawing our excitement nearer and nearer. One by one, we fell asleep one after another unnoticely.
Darling, darling!!! I was shaken and waken up by my wife. By the time I woke up, Minnie was already out of her warm basket with her four feet on the ground. She charged towards the room door and was barking and scratching the room door with her paw furiously and very impatiently. I quickly turned around and pick up the clock beside me. The time it showed now is 0210am, it was about the same time it happened last night. I walked to the door and opened it for Minnie. Again, she acted very impatiently; she squeezed through the door gap which was just big enough for her while I was swing opening the door. She charged towards the same spot facing the same wall and making the same angry barking sound. Gina walked to the wall and stood few feet away before she start shouting this “In the name of God, I command you to stay away from here and blah blah blah”. With one hand holding the cross high up and the other hand putting the bible closed to her chest. The spirit doesn’t move. It stays for about the same duration she/he stayed last night before the dog charged into the kitchen and walked out as if like nothing happened again. I’m serious. Could it be the dog is mad? No, Gina says Minnie is in green bill of health.
If the dog wasn’t mad, than the one that would go mad real soon is me. Who the hell can it be when Taoist talisman and Christianity cross never worked for her/him? Well, we were again recommended to try consult from another temple. This time, it was a temple for the hell deity name Dua Ya Tua at Pasir Ris. But, the session was still a few days away, therefore me and my wife decided to stay in a hotel first and come back after we seek advice from the Dua Ya Pek.
It was sometime mid of 1997 that we first visited Dua Ya Tua. The temple was new then. We enquired the deity and were told that the spirit in our home was GuanYin Ma. It was all because of the statue we offer. The statue we bought from the store was a Nan Hai Guan Yin but the chant the old lady helper in the Guan Yin Temple chanted for our statue was belongs to the Ordinary Pai Yi Liang Liang. As such, the Nan Hai Guan Yin cannot accept the chant and the Pai Yi Liang Liang also cannot accept the statue not belonging to her . Therefore, in order to let us noticed the mistake, Guan Yin Ma came to our home to let us get noticed it. So, we were advice to bring the statue back to the Dua Ya Tua for Jigong to re-chant the statue. Also, we were told that as far as a deity statue is concerned, try to let a deity to do the ‘Kai Guan’ chanting for the new statue. Human are usually not up to mark to do the job. Well, we put Minnie in our home again and she was sleeping soundly from dusk to dawn after we done re-chanted the statue from the temple.
Now, our home issue was settled. We know our home is not spiritually dirty and therefore we can live joyfully now. Our next mission now is to own a child. We went around seeking blessing from Buddha in Singapore right up to Bangkok. We went to popular temple in Singapore and Malaysia. We also went to consult famous Chinese medicine shifu. Just when all these religious things don’t see to work for us, we switch to scientifically proven channel, KK hospital. My wife was diagnosed that her worm is weak, therefore chances that she would conceived again is almost zero. Even if we choose to conceive by test tubing, the chances of surviving is also very slim. We were disappointed when we first hearing that. But we were not totally despaired.
On one weekend, we were free for the day and therefore we decided to pay a visit to the ‘Chen Wang’ Temple beside international plaza at Tanjong Pagar. After we had made our offering to the deities inside there, a lady helper from the temple came up to us and said “hi, would u mind spend a few minutes with me?” Well, we have plenty of time and therefore we accepted her request. We were lead into her office and we were told that there is a spirit of a child following us. She asked if we have had any history of abortion of miscarriage. The latter was correct and she said we need to perform a ritual for the child in order to send him/her to the next dimension for re-incarnation. We agreed and the ritual was done on other day in the temple. For your info, Taoist and Buddhist believed that there is live after dead. An unborn child‘You Ling’ is included. Therefore, if ritual is not done to send off the unborn baby soul, he/she will stick around with their so called virtual mother. And most of the times, it will cause bad luck to the virtual parents with a ‘you ling’ unresolved. Well, the cost we spent for the ritual by the ‘Chen Wang’ temple then was quite costly. In fact, our temple do perform the ritual for devotees in our temple too. The cost is very much lower and it should cost less than $20.
A childless couples are usually has nothing much to keep them busy especially for us where we both doesn’t have a hobby. So, we usually spent our weekend driving around visiting temples. Today, we drove past Tiong Bahru and I suggested visiting a famous fortune teller there who was an ex-medium. He is now retired and he provides fortune service by opening poker cards. He decked the card, cut it and spread opened on his working desk. He asked what we want to enquire. We said we are hard up for a baby and we asked if we have fate to carry one. The fortune teller face was changed immediately and he swept away the cards on his working desk and said ”I can’t help u, if you want a baby, go get from Dua Ya Pek !” He said this angrily. I was stunned with his sudden reaction. I asked him why he said that. He said “The heaven has given u a child but why u declined and aborted?” Oh, he must have mistaken that we have aborted the first child but that was not true. Remember it was miscarriage few days after our wedding ? Well, I explained to him and all he said again was “go and ask it from Dua Ya Pek”! he said.
Well, since we have just got to know a temple in trance of Dua Ya Pek, we went with a hope to see if he can help us again. We told him about what the fortune teller said to us and Dua Ya Pek said “Since you two are so keen and I have checked that you two have merits with good deeds, I will grant you a baby boy within a year.” It was true, my wife got pregnant again some time after the Chinese new year in 1998. Both my wife and the baby were blessed and well taken care of by the Dua Ya Pek till the day she deliver the baby. I’m very thankful for what the deity had done for us and therefore I went back to offer my gratitude to the deity in the temple and i offer myself volunteerily to help during their festival celebration which was just round the corner during that time. However, after 8 years, I’m still offering myself to the temple on every weekend now becos i think it is good for me, my family and the chinese community. Also, i hope that more childless couples can also get what they wanted like us with the help of the deity. That’s how my journey to Taoism.