Tobacco, ricewine and betelnuts. Sticky rice, fruitjuice and fish. And not to forget a big pig`s head with yellow candles in his nose. The time is about 6 o´clock in the morning. I am in Thailand, more precisely in the remote area of Surin (Isaan). Its still cold, but the sun is just starting enlightening the foggy grass. I am invited to participate in an animistic ritual. Familiy and neigbours gather to offer food and drinks to the “dead” friends and relatives. And they offer food which they liked (a central argument for the continuum of traditional thai food). In a thai cosmology the deceased are not dead in the sense of end of existence. They are in another sphere and can be contacted ritually. They serve their ancestors food while talkning to them. Not unlikely the way western chritians speak at the grave. Some also laughing and asking for lottery numbers. However, they didn`t win. But superstition or not. I argue that such a focus missing the point. Because as Noom said “we really don´t know if they are there or not. But it is important to remember our forefathers and mothers. They gave us life itself. Wouldn´t you be remembered after your death?” I realised the enormous power and comfort to belong to a tradition where neighbours, friends and family anually ritually remembering you after death. The ide that you will “never” be forgotten gives strenght to both this life and the potential life thereafter. Sometimes the most rational choice is to get unrational, disconnect the logical thinking and participate, yes even surrender temporarily to another worldview. When putting “yourself” in paranthesis, new knowledge are allowed to enter your being.
“The Buddha statue is so beautyful” I said to Nong, my thai friend. “Yes indeed” he replied but said that “westerners often misunderstand buddhist objects in thai context. They are first and foremost containers of “saksit”, holy power.” Nong fired up three sticks of incense. He hold them between his palms and lifted them up to his front head. His eyes was closed and he was in a praying trance. He then but the incense stick in a big bowl, showed respect to the Buddha and left. I did the same thing. It really felt good and I got goosebumbs over my whole body. “The Buddha statues are a kind of spiritual technology in thais way of thinking, It contain supernormal power and laypeople may get protection and luck if we approach this power in correct ways,” Nong said. “That is why westerners are not allowe to bring Buddha objects out of Thailand. It will merely become decoration in your homes, and no respect is given to the holy power”. I could understand Nongs perspective. I don´t know what happened during this ritual, but it certainly gave me a good and unusual experience.