Posted by: Upāsaka | 10/16/2016

The Buddhist Occult

The title of today’s post is, at face value, oxymoronic. The Lord Buddha explicitly stated that he held nothing back from his disciples. In other words, in the Pali Canon one can find no support for occluded or esoteric teachings. And yet, they exist in the many forms of Buddhist practice in the world today. Some of these forms of esoteric Buddhism are more honest about their origins and seem to tacitly acknowledge that, although they operate within the framework of the Dhamma, they are not paths taught by the Lord Buddha himself. If anything they are elaborations or variations upon a theme. Such is the case with the Thai Lersi or Ruesi and the Burmese Weikza.

Both of these practitioners seem to take up practices like divination, healing, exorcism and the like but are simultaneously devoted lay disciples with many being 8 or 10 precept holders. Both weikza (vijjadharas) and reusi (rishis) have the goal of being reborn or (in the case of the Burmese tradition) extending their lifespan to meet Ariya Metteyya. I am fascinated by the concept and have been inspired to research more. I’v found a few books and articles and will share them here shortly.

In the meantime, I am upping my practice commitments to practice formal sitting and walking meditation for 2 hours a day come hell or high water.


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