Question: A friend asked a layperson to help ‘clear’ her workplace of suspected spirits by chanting, and it seemed to have effect as there were less accidents and quarrels after. She also brought her kids to him for blessing. He said one of them has bad karma and will become rebellious when he grows up, advising the kid to chant a mantra and go to him weekly for faster blessings. He never asked for payment. Is he a true Buddhist ‘teacher’?
Answer: It is not clear if the accidents and quarrels were due to spirits. They could be due to unmindfulness, ripening of negative karma and poor attitude. Once there is peace of mind, such misfortunes might lessen naturally. All clearly unenlightened kids and adults have negative karma, and it is easy to guess by a kid’s demeanor on whether he might grow up rebellious – and most kids will be rebellious to some extent as part of growing up.
Not wanting money might be for a start only. After some time, your friend might automatically give angbaos (gift money) out of gratitude, or he will start asking for this or that, cash or kind, to make offerings on her behalf. Some confidence tricksters (con-men) even eventually claim sex is needed. A true Buddhist teacher will teach in more detail on how to practise the Dharma adequately, such as starting from morality via the basic Five Precepts, and not create dependency by claiming to be able to do something ‘special’ for devotees. It is best to stop going as who knows what will happen next after more ‘trust’ is gained.
You should share with your friend on how to Nianfo (practise mindfulness of Amitabha Buddha – ‘Amituofo’) sincerely too, to be more self-sufficient by creating personal peace of mind. (Amituofo’s name is an unsurpassable mantra too, as can be seen at http://purelanders.com/2011/12/16/the-name-of-amituofo-is-the-supreme-mantra) This track can be used as a guide: http://purelanders.com/mp3 Do look out for the next related course at http://thedailyenlightenment.com/category/06 to encourage her to join too, so as to learn how to practise more systematically and comprehensively.