The Cursed Mirror
An old, antique wooden mirror, covered with a cloth, stapled to its four corners, sits on top of my late maternal grandmother's closet. As a kid, I wondered why such an antique artefact was placed in such an inconspicuous corner and covered and stapled with a cloth.
As my late maternal grandmother told it, "Grandson, when we were young, it was like this..."
"Kim Lian! Come and pray to the mirror. Then let's drink tea. Later, we'll sacrifice a pig to the Holy Spirit."
"Kim Lian! Stop looking at Guan Yin, she is not our God."
"Kim Lian! Eat your meat for a balanced diet."
My grandma never liked this. Instead, she was a firm believer in what she referred to as the "Holy Buddhistic Faith". She believed in the Mahayana Tradition of Buddhism.
My great-grandmother was a believer of a modified version of the cult we know today as Zhen Kong Jiao, or the "Truly Empty Teaching". Every day, she would pray for wealth. On each full moon and new moon, she would sacrifice a pig to their "Holy Spirit".
Once, as a young adult, my grandma brought home a Guan Yin statue from the Buddhist temple near her house. What did great-grandma do? She took the statue, grabbed a hammer and smashed it into pieces. No problem, as we Buddhists would say because idolatry is wrong in Buddhism. We do not worship or pray to the statue, but it serves as a reminder of our teacher's teachings. But anyway, having smashed the statue, she grounded my grandma and gave her the beating of her life.
Upon my great-grandma's passing, my grandma took out a Guan Yin statue she had been stashing in the corner of her wardrobe, and took the mirror and kept it in her wardrobe. She placed Guan Yin on the altar, where she still is today, albeit in a new house.
She then prayed to Lord Sakka, King of Heaven, and asked for forgiveness for killing countless animals to satisfy her mother and her false god's desires.
Grandpa tried to smash the mirror, but to no avail. So did my aunties and uncles, but the mirror stood there. She consulted a Buddhist-Taoist master, who confirmed there was a spirit - but not a Holy one, one of dark forces in the mirror.
"Legend has it that the cloth is a Holy cloth, and must not be removed, for should it be removed, the dark forces would awaken and seek revenge for all those years that it had not been offered anything."
Growing up with grandma, she was an avid Mahayana Buddhist and would recite many Sutras and Mantras daily. Today, I am a Theravada-focused Buddhist, which I've explained why in a different article. (or if I haven't, I will, please excuse my ADHD and bad memory)
But this story was the one that left me with the most chills, and it's still the reason why I always say a little prayer before stepping into that house.