August 14, 2008
"Burmese religious pilgrims flocked by the thousands at the weekend to Nyaunglaybin township, 160 kilometres north of Rangoon, to witness a "miracle" of multi-coloured light beams appearing from a Buddhist monastery."
Residents of Nyaunglaybin say the light beams have been occurring since March 9, and has drawn increasingly large crowds to the small town.
At the centre of the phenomenon is a Buddhist monk named Sayadew.
In recent years the monk has become known for his hour-long sermons at which listeners are required to remain perfectly still with their eyes closed. But this year he changed his technique, shortening his sermons to 20 minutes and insisting that people keep their eyes wide open, with no blinking.
Earlier this month some of Sayadew's followers claimed to see "relics of the Buddha", or mortal remnants of the Lord Buddha who died more than 2500 years ago, on the monk's robes.
"Scriptures have it that those who have been blessed with the experience of looking at the relics would be distanced from Hell by 92 worlds," Sayadew told his followers on Sunday.
Witnesses also say they have seen rainbow-like colours coming from the roof of Sayadew's home.
According to tradition the next Buddha will be the Bodhisattva Maitreya. In 1987 images of Maitreya began appearing in the home of Mr and Mrs Yajima in Nagano City, Japan. One of the images not only emanates a rainbow-coloured light but even changes its appearance. On 4 July 1987, an image of the Bodhisattva, emanating rainbow-coloured light, was discovered on the bathroom window in the house of Mr and Mrs Yajima in Nagano City, Japan. Mr Yajima first noticed the strange patterns on the window while he was taking a bath.
Rainbow colours emanate from the head and body of the 48-cm-high figure on the glass. The image has a patterned, silver-coloured crown on its head. On its neck, there are two strings of prayer beads. The image is standing on a lotus, and is holding a small round-faced girl. (Previously, the image held three babies, but at the moment only one is seen.) The image seems to change daily. Previously, on foggy days, the rainbow-coloured figure turned white, and looked as if it were wearing a soft, delicate white silk kimono. The noble facial features became even more elegant and beautiful. Mr and Mrs Yajima have seen this transformation four times so far.
About the same time as the window image was discovered, an image appeared on the wall below the bathroom window. In the beginning, this image looked as if it were just a stain, but as time went by, it became clearer, and the outline darker. The image is approximately 40 cm high, and wears a pointed hat with a rounded middle. It holds a water pot in its hand, and sits on a lotus. The eyes of the image are now clearly visible on the wall.
In 1989, another image appeared on the wall of the alcove in the main room of the house. The solid-looking image seems to float off the wall. It is about 170 cm high.
A year later, during the construction of a new portion of the house, a large image appeared on the concrete wall of another alcove. Since then, the concrete wall was painted over. The family placed a portable household shrine in the alcove. Visitors report that a strong energy emanates from this area. When people stand in front of the wall, golden powder sometimes appears on their hands. When people place their hands near the window or the wall, they report a sensation like numbness in their fingers.
About a year after the image appeared on the bathroom window, the family demolished their bathroom. In its place, they built a small temple to enshrine the glass of the Bodhisattva. During the construction process, when workers were digging in the ground below where the image appeared, they discovered a ball about 35 cm in diameter. No one could figure out whether the ball was made of wood, stone or iron. It has a strange surface, but has not yet been scientifically investigated. The ball emanates a very strong energy. Some people report that when they place their fingers near the ball, their fingers feel numb.
When people place their fingers close to the white walls of the shrine, a rainbow-coloured light appears between the wall and their fingers. This phenomenon can be seen only at the wall, and happens to everyone who tries it. The rainbow colour is most clearly seen when the wall is in the shade.
When people walk around the outside of the wall, touching the wall with their hands, and then place their hands over the strange ball, the surface of their hands, visible in the sunlight or under a flashlight, is covered with gold powder. This also happens to everyone who tries it. Some people find that their face or eyebrows are covered with gold powder.
Sometimes people who try to take a photograph of the image on the bathroom window cannot push down the camera’s shutter; sometimes the camera breaks down; sometimes, although they take the photograph, they find that no image appears on the film. This occurs quite often. According to Mrs Yajima: “Even though there is no image on the photo, I can feel the energy from the photo when I place my hand near it. Therefore, I feel I cannot treat the photo carelessly.”
In the beginning, when the image of the Bodhisattva appeared in the house, people in the neighbourhood felt envious of the Yajima family. Some people voiced criticism. Not many people looked upon this favourably. “It is very difficult, but I feel I must protect the Nyorai (the Coming One) no matter what people say.”
Currently, 20-30 faithful people come to worship the Bodhisattva daily, says Mrs Yajima. At one time, several hundred people came each day. Among those who worship, some report various healings, including pain relief in their arms and back, and psychological improvement. Various positive situations have occurred for worshippers, including the prospering of their businesses.
About four months before the first image appeared, Mrs Yajima began having unusual spiritual experiences, which continue to this day. She has discovered that she can look at a person, or even a photograph of them, and diagnose their illness. When she places her hands on the person, the illness is healed. This ability has come upon her suddenly. She herself is quite healthy, and has never had any serious illnesses. But occasionally, when her body feels sluggish, she tells that to the Bodhisattva, and is healed.
“I would like to spend the rest of my life helping others, making myself useful,” Mrs Yajima said. “I hope to make use of this power which was bestowed upon me. I would like to do something for other people.”