June 4, 2020

No More Karma, Shrines, or Charms

Toon was born with a gift of beauty, and she used it to earn fame, prestige, and money in the modeling industry. At the height of her career, she was earning a lot of money at a young age.

But things did not turn out right when she got sick with a mysterious disease that brought pain all over her body. Her family spent all the money they earned getting treatments for her. They took her to the hospital for examination and treatment. She was given medicines, but still the pain would not go away. 

They took her to spirit doctors, who diagnosed that she was possessed by demons. They tried their regimens of treatment, but they could not cure her. Perhaps, they said, she was possessed by very powerful demons.

Finally, her parents turned to Buddhism for help. Toon was ordained as a nun at a famous Buddhist temple. Her hair was shaved, and she learned the path of Buddha. The demons were supposed to leave her once she started religious rites. But the pain persisted. Running out of options, her parents brought her back home to let her face her destiny.

The Curse of Karma

Buddhists believe in karma — “The sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.” She must have done something bad in her previous life, her parents concluded. She could do nothing to change that. Toon had to accept her fate and live with the “consequence” of her previous actions. 

The law of karma is like the law of cause and effect. It goes beyond one’s lifetime. So, if one committed an action, either good or bad, in one’s past lives, one must reap the consequences in one’s next lives. There is nothing one can do to avoid it but to serve its “sentence” in full. Buddhists believe they can do good to accumulate merits to ensure good karma. Good karma means good consequences in the next life cycles.

For this reason, the Buddhists would try to do good deeds. This forms the basic tenet of Buddhism. In general, it makes Buddhists good and moral people. But there is no forgiveness in Buddhism. Because there is no god, there is no one beside oneself to turn to for help. Toon felt she had no one to turn to for help.

Praying to Jesus

Then, one day, Toon consulted one of her friends named Khek, who is a member of the Vientiane International Seventh-day Adventist Church. Khek told her to pray to Jesus for help. In desperation for healing, she prayed a simple prayer to Jesus for healing that night. She went to bed and woke up in the morning without any pain. She felt perfectly fine for the first time in three and a half years!

“This cannot be true. It is too good to be true,” she said to herself. She immediately called Khek and wanted to know more about Jesus.

Khek suggested that if she would like to be completely healed, she should accept Jesus into her life. After consulting her parents, she received their permission to join the Seventh-day Adventist Church. With their consent, she invited the Vientiane church pastor to come and perform a house cleansing act where the pastor would remove and destroy the house shrine. This action signified the total “change of ownership.” Removing the family house shrine meant that the whole family had turned its back on ancestral worship, and all of them had given their lives to Jesus.

Please remember Toon and her family in your prayers. They need to be protected by God’s Holy Spirit. Satan does not give up easily.

Destroying Shrines and Charm Objects

Some may wonder why Buddhists have house shrines. Buddhism and spiritism are intertwined so much that the two are almost indistinguishable. Spirit shrines can be seen in Buddhist temples, houses, and other landscapes such as sacred caves, mountains, trees, and rocks. It is inseparable in a Buddhist’s life. Satan personifies himself as a guardian spirit to those who worship him through these shrines. That is why, when a person gives his or her life to Jesus, we must remove and destroy the shrine and all its charm objects. This ritual is to allow the newborn Christians to publicly declare their allegiance to Jesus and cut all ties with their former “guardian spirits.”

In Laos, the battle between God and Satan plays out in very real scenarios. Many people who have suffered from Satan’s actions are seeking God’s help daily. If we, as God’s faithful servants, actively seek to save those people, many will be added to God’s Kingdom. They can call on Jesus’ name and be saved. What wonderful news. That is why it is called Good News. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

The original version of this story was posted on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division news site.