Hồn Vía 4: Bán Khoán – The Selling of a Child’s Soul

Watercatfish

Time is relative.  It flows differently for each of us.  It may be passing much slower for you, gentle reader, but I, who  enjoy lazing about in the sun watching the flow of water meander towards its final destination, tend to lose all track of time, to the detriment of my various endeavors.  As such, two years have passed in the blink of an eye, with little to show for its passage.  It is with this understanding of the swiftness of time passage that I attempt to pick up where I left off so that more time does not pass between my lazy fingers.

Towards that end, once again, I am picking up the thread of a long-neglected subject, which I had promised myself I would complete in a timely manner.  Back in Hồn Vía (Part 2): The Selling and Bartering of Souls, I introduced the concept of selling and bartering souls, but did not go into detail of the process because I wanted to explain the various fractions of a human’s soul, which could have filled entire volumes of books. I crammed most of this information into Hồn Vía (Part 3): The Fracturing of Souls, and so, as promised, I will delve right back into the selling and bartering of souls.

Bán Khoán

Most people don’t know this, but there is a hidden nefarious way people can have their very soul bartered away, without having any control or even knowledge of the fact.  It is called bán khoán, the bartering of a child’s soul by his parents, to a spirit entity in return for favors given to the child’s well-being.

monkboyThis practice is not done on a whim, or with ill intent.  Furthermore, not all parents who asks to bring their child into the temple or monastery is accepted, so the general consensus is that it is beneficial, or at least benign to the child.

Also, there are many images of very cute kids, dressed up as monks, attesting to the idea that it is all for the betterment of the child, and I do admit, even I find them absolutely adorable.  However, upon delving further into the practice, I come across some troubling insights, but first, let me explain about the reasoning behind selling one’s own child into the spirit world.

There are a few qualifiers for acceptance.  The first of these is a series of calendar dates.  If a child is born on one of these days, of any month of any year, it is considered inauspicious.  The dates are 1, 5, 8, 15, 23, 24, 28 and 30.

But before you panic, even if your birthday lands on one of these days, all is not lost.  How badly it affects you depends on a few other factors, namely, the time frame when certain stars converge and cause bad luck to all whose path they cross.

What does this mean?  Allow me to explain in more detail.

Star Crossed

starcrossed

When unlucky stars convergence on the worst hour, day, month, and year, it is called kim xà thiết tỏa (Star Crossed) and it is said that children born under the inauspicious star crossed periods will not live past the age of 13, meaning they will not reach maturity.  Furthermore, they will also be plagued with a myriad of diseases during their childhood.

This sounds rather scary, especially for the couple who is thinking of starting a family, but luckily, star charts are mathematically calculable, and I can tell you in advance, the days to avoid giving birth to your precious one.

reading

  • For boys, the star crossed time slice is between 1pm to 3pm on the afternoon of September 3, 2020.  Avoid giving birth to boys within this time slice.
  • For girls, it is also the same day, September 3, 2020, but the time splits into two bad sections:  between 7am – 9am, and between 9pm – 11pm.

So what does being born on a star crossed time slice have to do with bán khoán (child soul bartering)?  The answer is that bán khoán is an age-old accepted method to negate the bad luck of being born under such an inauspicious star convergence. This method requires the parent surrender their child spiritually to a temple’s demi-god or Buddha so the child can be protected during the worst of the star crossed time period.  Sounds great, right?  The child’s patron saint is one of the multitude of demi-gods or Buddhas.  What could possibly go wrong?

statue

If we logically think through this, there are many things that can go wrong.  First of all, there are literally thousands and thousands of tiny temples scattered everywhere up and down Vietnam.  The area is ancient, and so are the gods, of whom number in the hundreds.

If you bring your child to one of these temples and pray for some entity to take your child’s soul for protection, you run some very high risks.  What are the chances that the large moss covered statue that you are kow-towing to is actually inhabited by the entity with which it has been attributed to?

In the best case scenario, it is a benign spirit.  In worst case scenarios, it could also be a malevolent being inhabiting the statue (refer to my previous posting on Daemonic World 3: Ma, Quỉ, Thánh, Thần for an in depth explanation of spirits that inhabit inanimate objects).  In either case, there is no way to know for sure.  Your best bet is to NOT sell your child’s soul to any entity. Your child’s soul is not yours to gamble with.

In the event that this is already a done deal, and you need to figure out how to take your child’s soul back, I have located a spell prayer for you.  All you need to do is prepare a platter of flowers and food, some incense, money, and wine, and take it to the same statue you sold your child to, and ask for the release of your child.

Here is the spell prayer.

BÀI KHẤN TẠI CHÙA CHUỘC CON

Nam mô a di đà phật  (x3)

Con xin Kính lậy đức vua cha Ngọc Hoàng Thượng Đế, Đức vua cha Bát Hải, Đức vua cha Thủy Tề, Hội đồng đức vua cha. Quan Nam Tào Bắc Đẩu, Tứ Đại Thiên Vương, Thiên Long Hộ Pháp.
Con xin Kính lậy Ngũ vị Hoàng tử, ngũ vị Tiên Ông.
Con xin Kính lậy Đức Hoàng Thiên Quốc Mẫu, Mộc Công Thiên mẫu, Mẫu Bát Hải, Mẫu Thủy tề. Thánh mẫu Cửu trùng thiên.
Con xin Kính lậy Đức phật A Di Đà, Dược sư lưu ly, Quang Như Lai Phật – con xin kính lậy đức Phật Thích Ca Mâu Ni, giáo chủ cõi cực lạc sa bà như lai – con xin Kính lậy Đức Phật Mẫu Chuẩn Đề Quan Thế Âm bồ tát. Con xin Kính lậy Đức phật Hoàng Trần Nhân Tông, cùng muôn ngàn chư vị Phật, chư vị Bồ tát, các chư vị La hán, các đức Hộ pháp.
Con xin Kính lậy các Vua, các Mẫu, các chầu các quan, Mẫu đệ nhất, Mẫu đệ nhị, Mẫu đệ tam, tam tòa đức Thánh mẫu.
Con xin Kính lậy Tứ phủ chầu bà, Tứ phủ vạn linh, long Thiên Thánh Chúng vị tiền.
Con xin Kính lậy các vị Tiên Thiên, Tiên thánh, Tiên thần, Đức thánh Tản Viên Sơn Thần, Đức thánh Hưng Đạo Đại Vương Trần Quốc Tuấn, các thánh cô, thánh cậu, Các hồn thiêng sông núi.
Con xin Kính lậy các Quan thần linh bản địa, Thần hoàng bản thổ, Thần công thổ địa, Thần tài, Thần quân Táo công muôn vàn chư vị thần linh đang cai quản tại nơi này.

Trước đây, vợ chồng con có nhờ thầy bán khoán cháu …. Họ, tên, tuổi …. Địa chỉ số nhà ….
cho Đức Ông hay cho Mẫu, hay cho Đức Thánh Trần nuôi dậy.
Nay chúng con có chút lễ mọn, lòng thành, dâng lên các ngài, các cung các cõi linh thiêng. Xin được tạ ơn các ngài, đã nuôi dưỡng, chăm sóc cháu từ đó đến này. Nay xin phép cho vợ chồng chúng con, được chuộc cháu Họ, tên, tuổi …. Địa chỉ số nhà …. về, để vợ chồng chúng con nuôi dậy, chăm sóc cháu. Gia tiên, tiền tổ dòng họ … của cháu vuốt ve, che chở, phù hộ độ trì cho cháu.
Chúng con xin được thành kính, đa tạ công ơn của các ngài.

Nam mô a di đà phật  (x3)

Note the first section in blue.  It lists the most common demi-gods and buddhas that could possibly be used to sell your child’s soul to.  See how long the list is?  It could be any one of these spirits.  Or none.  I scanned through the list and most of these names range from benign to good spirits, but some are on the iffy side (see the orange highlighted name*).

The second section, in green, goes into the actual request. In a roundabout way, it  thanks the entity for having taken cared of the child, and asks the entity to please release the child back to the family.  Note that this is a request only.  The idea is to ask nicely first. If that doesn’t work, there are more invasive options, but I always feel that the least impactful method that works is the best way to go.

Still not convinced that selling your child’s soul to some spiritual entity is a bad idea?  Here is the words of a wise man, when asked about this very situation:

Không bán! Cháu nào trót bán, anh bắt tự đi khấn lễ, chuộc về ngay.  Chỉ có tổ tiên, mới yêu thương con cháu nhà mình.  Ai đi nghe lũ dở người, bán linh hồn con, cháu cho mấy bức tượng vu vơ. Chẳng biết có Đức Ông, Thánh, Mẫu nào không, hay toàn ma quỷ ẩn nấp trong đó.

No selling!  Any child that has already been sold, you must immediately pay the ransom and take that child’s soul home.  Only ancestors and immediate family will love your child (not some unconnected spirit entity).  Why would you listen to bad people and sell your child’s soul to some random statues?  No knowing if some Buddha or Saint occupies it; could just be completely possessed by ghouls and demons hidden inside!  

I agree with this gentleman.  There are better methods to lessen the Star Crossed curse.  Selling your child’s soul isn’t one of them.

*Just for fun, I highlighted one of the demi-gods, Thần quân Táo công.  Do you know who that is?  That’s the good ole Kitchen God who lives in each home’s hearth.  I did a post about the Kitchen God 2 days ago but have not yet had a chance to upload it.  I was going to release the post on Friday, which would be New Year’s Eve, just in time to go pick him up from the Sky Airport. When I do, I will link the post back to this page.