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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ritual of Lifting Buddha

"The patient of the week is an American woman in China, trying to find her biological parents with the help of a translator. She's tracked a couple down to a temple, but when she approaches them we don't need any translation to know they want nothing to do with her.
The translator tries telling the woman that she wasted a trip, but she is convinced the couple are her biological parents. She asks the man to explain the prayer custom to her and he tells her to make a wish and lift the statue of Buddha, then repeat the wish and lift again. If she cannot lift Buddha the second time, her wish will be granted."

House M.D., "Birthmarks"
Air Date: October 14th, 2008

Commentary: When I first saw the episode, I honestly thought that this ritual was fabricated by the writers for dramatic effect. However, when I looked into the ritual further, I discovered that this is actually a very old practice as evidenced by the links below.

In my research I couldn't really find any symbolic logic behind the ritual other than the faith involved. However, I am sure that there has to be some sacred story of the Buddha connected to this ritual.

Carolina Dean


See the Ritual (You Tube Video)
Thailand Stories: Lifting Buddha
Buddha Statue Has Magical Properties


Lodestone and Ladys Mantle said...

I think that perhaps the first wish is used as an invocatory; if the spirit of the Buddha descends into the statue, the weight difference would be more than tangible? If the Buddha is present, he will answer your plea. At least, that is how it makes sense to me!

Carolina Dean said...

I guess that makes sense. It reminds me of that a story I heard about a certain doctor who weighed patients shortly before their deaths and then shortly thereafter and discovered that there was a significant difference. He attributed it to the person's soul having left the body.

However, my gut tells me that the origin of the ritual is somehow connected to the Buddha's teachings, something he said, something he did, or some event that transpired around him.

Thanks for your input.

Carolina Dean

Brian said...

Just to clear things up, there are absolutely no lifting Buddha rituals in China. Furthermore the fat dude they used in that episode is not a buddha. Yes there is a very old ritual involving lifting a buddha and making a wish but its only practiced in only one temple in the world and that temple is in Thailand. Which for the record practices a totally different school of buddhism form China. So don't attempt to lift buddha statutes next time your in a temple because this was more or less fabricated for dramatic effect.

Carolina Dean said...

Thanks for that information Brian.