Author Topic: Nang Nak ghost and Buddhism  (Read 10146 times)

sonamdhargey

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Nang Nak ghost and Buddhism
« on: November 03, 2012, 01:36:13 PM »
“Nang Nak”. Nak was the faithful and loving wife of a soldier, who dies in childbirth while her husband is away fighting the Burmese. The husband, Nai Mak is injured but survives, due to the intervention of a powerful monk Ven. Somdet Tho, who treats him with herbs and sacred Pali protective chants. The soldier returns to his village at Pra Khanong (now part of greater Bangkok, Sukhumvit 77, Soi 7) to resume married life. Nai Mak doesn’t realize that his, wife Nang Nak is a ghost, whose psychic connection to her husband was so powerful , that her life force or spirit (winyan) does not move on to be reborn , but remains, waiting for her husband. She is a powerful ghost and creates the illusion that she and the baby are still alive. Only Nai Mak sees the illusion and lives with his wife, blissfully ignorant of her true nature. The villagers know Nang Nak is dead; but the jealous ghost kills anyone trying to warn the husband. She terrorizes anyone who tries to thwart her, including the midwife who tried to prevent her death, and who tries to warn Nai Maak of her real identity. The powerful ghost resists the villagers’ attempts to exorcise her, and kills a local shaman/exorcist (Mor Pi) who uses Brahmanic chants and yantras, which are ineffective. She terrorizes the ineffective local monk, and she punishes him by polluting the image room of his temple by leaving her dirty footprints on the ceiling.

On one level her story and its popular appeal can be ascribed to its reaffirmation of core Buddhist teachings and values. A disruptive and dangerous ghost is pacified and tamed by the power of Buddha dhamma as represented by the powerful ethical and ritual authority of the figure of Somdet To. His ritual and ethical power is established by his healing of the injured Nai Mak when he was still soldier. Somdet To also seems to know of the soldiers deep psychic connection to his wife, and that something has gone wrong, because he urges the soldier not to return home but ordain as a monk. The story also highlights the limitations of that power, as indicated by the failure of the ineffective local monk to pacify the ghost. Ven. Somdet To exhibits the higher order powers (iddhi) well as the virtue (sila) and compassion (karunna) of a monk advanced in meditative practice and ritual mastery. He is not hostile, but shows compassion to Nang Nak, as well as to Nai Mak. He acknowledges their love, allowing them to embrace for a last time. But he insists that they must both accept change and impermanence (anicca) as inevitably and be reconciled to death, as part of the natural order.

Read more here:http://www.taichi-exercises.com/the-role-of-nang-nak-in-thai-media-and-imagination-dangerous-ghost-or-protective-goddess/

Jessie Fong

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Re: Nang Nak ghost and Buddhism
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2012, 03:20:33 PM »
@Sonamdhargey : You posted that the psychic connection was very powerful; was it not because of her attachment to her husband was so strong that she could not let herself leave him and thus still hung on?  Even to the extent of harming people who came to warn the husband.

ratanasutra

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Re: Nang Nak ghost and Buddhism
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2012, 05:05:45 PM »
When we could not let go of something we are attach to and we died so we became ghost, same as Nang Nak or now thai people call her grand mother Nak (as it was happened long time ago and she could be our grand mother by now) Because Nang Nak was waiting for her husband to return from his soldier duty but unfortunately she died before he return back.

And her love and attachment towards husband lead to harmful actions which she did with people who tried to tell the truth to her beloved husband in order to keep him with her in her world forever.

It very sad to hear about it but it is the truth which happened with human like us long time ago till now if we do not train and practice our mind we might end up not much different from Nang Nak at the end of our last day.   

RedLantern

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Re: Nang Nak ghost and Buddhism
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2012, 10:46:55 AM »
Suffering is the basis of existence in the world and desire or craving that arises to attachment.One of the practices used by monks ,as well as by a small number of lay practitioners ,to break the casuality of desire-attachment ,suffering,is a deliberate and protracted visual encounter with death,the meditation of corpses or images of corpses.This practice is supposed to let the beholder of death realize the illusion of desire and the futility of attachment.The corpse is a reminder of impermanence.
Nang Nak is a touching and tragic story of love being eternal,even in death.

DSFriend

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Re: Nang Nak ghost and Buddhism
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2012, 06:08:05 PM »
I have not heard of Nang Nak ghost and this is the first time I am reading it. Pretty powerful story!

This type of "undying love" is what Hollywood glamorizes, and the devotion society puts on the pedestal. Dharma sure sheds light to it that it's not about love at all but is rather poison coated candy that we have been feeding on.
Kids love fairy tales and we are so indoctrinated as we grow into adulthood, we continue to live in the fairy tale land...and for a very, very long time....


bambi

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Re: Nang Nak ghost and Buddhism
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2012, 05:40:01 AM »
Wow! This is the 1st time I have heard of this story. Rather disturbing though. The attachment of Nak to her husband was extraordinary! She was willing to do anything to keep her husband in her world. And because of her strong attachment to him, she was reborn as a spirit. Thank goodness for Ven. Somdet To for He helped them to move on and understand the impermanence that she have been clinging on to.

Tammy

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Re: Nang Nak ghost and Buddhism
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2012, 08:22:03 AM »
Thank you for the story. Watched the movie years ago and still remember feeling very eerie especially at the scene when the ghost got up from her grave...

while it is really scary that a person's attachment could make her stay on after death, I am very curious why her husband allowed himself to believe there was nothing wrong with the wife.

His attachement to her was just as strong as her's to him, hence they were able to live 'normally'.

I remember when the husband realized that he was living with a ghost, the whole house suddenly turned into an abandoned house.. how our attachement could blind us from seeing the truth.
Down with the BAN!!!

pgdharma

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Re: Nang Nak ghost and Buddhism
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2012, 04:17:36 AM »
Not able to let go of attachments will create the cause to take rebirth as ghost as in the case of Nang Nak. Even though she is dead, she still clings on to her husband. Because of her strong attachment, she is creating more harm as a ghost by killing those who tried to warn or help her husband. She is creating more negative karma for herself with her evil acts.

It is very important for us to understand the dharma and practice non attachment and letting go or we may end up like Nang Nak.

rossoneri

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Re: Nang Nak ghost and Buddhism
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2012, 03:57:39 PM »
I feel really sorry for her. Most of us live our lives by developing attachments consciously or unconsciously. I am sure most of us have a routine in our daily event, behavior like a cup of coffee every morning. This habituation alone is an attachment itself. It became so strong even our body telling our mind that if we did not have that coffee, we will won't be able to function properly.

Even a simple cup of coffee can do this to us, imagine other more thing we consider "precious" to us? Imagine what will it do to us?

Aurore

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Re: Nang Nak ghost and Buddhism
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2012, 05:58:21 PM »
It's scary how a mind stream of someone so attached continues to be so attached even after death and in fact becomes worse. Nang Nak's negative karma continues to multiple due to her strong attachments to her relationship. It's so strong that she will do anything to keep it. It is most fortunate for Nang Nak to be able to meet with Buddhism wisdom to help her move on. Buddhism is indeed the best methods to deal with spirit issues because it's through compassion.

Relationships, materials and our body will come to an end at death is DEFINITE. Everyone should be prepared for it right now including how we view our relationships.

Tenzin K

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Re: Nang Nak ghost and Buddhism
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2012, 06:28:20 PM »
It’s sad to watch such story especially for the wife.

I believe this is what attachment will lead us to. When we are to attach, anger & jealousy will control our action to harm others. Regardless whether it’s ghost/spirit or human, any of this negative quality come into our mind it will follow with the negative action.

It’s so important for one to learn up dharma and practice the Buddha’s teaching. Upon death we are prepared and great blessing from the 3 jewels for us to meet the dharma and Guru again.

DS Star

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Re: Nang Nak ghost and Buddhism
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2012, 12:27:02 PM »
Yes Tenzin K, it is such a sad story especially on the wife. Nang Nak's attachment led to her jealousy and anger towards the village folks who tried to warn her husband. Her anger and the fear for the truth being revealed had transformed into her fierce negative actions to safe-guard her 'false happiness'.

I agreed fully with your statement below:

... (attachment), anger & jealousy will control our action to harm others. Regardless whether it’s ghost/spirit or human, any of this negative quality come into our mind it will follow with the negative action.

It’s so important for one to learn up dharma and practice the Buddha’s teaching. Upon death we are prepared and great blessing from the 3 jewels for us to meet the dharma and Guru again.


Here is a glimpse of the movie:
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This is the link for the movie in full with English subtitles:



buddhalovely

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Re: Nang Nak ghost and Buddhism
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2012, 11:29:35 AM »
In Nang Nak, it is a Buddhist theme that “shows us the gap between past and present as a structure of desire.”
 The Theravadin Buddhist convention of ?guring the female as horri?c is particularly relevant to the history and causality of female haunting in contemporary Thai ghost ?lms. Throughout Nang Nak, we see Nak change back and forth between her beautiful spectral body and that of a decaying corpse. This kind of transformation ?gures prominently in Theravadin Buddhist pedagogy, where the dead and decaying female body at once represents the (temporary) object of desire and the object that is supposed to end all desire.


Big Uncle

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Re: Nang Nak ghost and Buddhism
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2012, 05:58:30 PM »
In South-east asian lore, vampires or pontianaks/langsuir are usually born from the painful and powerful death of a mother at childbirth. Because she died while losing a lot of blood creates the cause for her to thirst for blood in her ghostly form. There are many real and made-up stories of such vampires and the bad thing is that they will eventually long for blood and are jealous of the living resulting in them harming the living.

The cause for such an afterlife is the result of attachment and miserliness. Hence, those who extremely attached to loved ones, money, properties or any form of possessions creates causes to be reborn in such ghostly forms. That sad part about being reborn as a ghost means that one would have to relive the terror and horror of death a million times over till the karma of such an existence has been exhausted and the ghost dies.

Instead of fearing ghosts, we should understand their sufferings and have compassion for them. Benign spirits are usually appease with heart sutra recitations or a gentle, peaceful deity of compassion like Kuan Yin's mantra. Wrathful and difficult ghosts can be dealt with the Sengdongma, Yamantaka or Dorje Shugden. White Umbrella is another effective practice to ward of all negative interferences from ghostly beings.