Traditional Malay medicine encompasses various kinds of ritual ceremonies intended to communicate with the world of spirits to determine whether the nature of an illness is physical or psychological. In such ceremonies, the aim is to summon and exorcise the spirits causing illness. A ritualist serves as a medium, and a small ensemble often provides the musical component.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Acquiring the Knowledge

Acquiring the Knowledge
Most healers, such as the bomoh or Tok Dukun, pawang, do not attend any special or formal medical training schools in acquiring knowledge and skill as compared to modern Western medicine. To become qualified and be known as a Bomoh, Tok Dukun or Pawang, either in Malaysia or in Indonesia, each individual has to go through various methods of acquisition of the ability to heal by traditional methods.

One of them is through meditation and suffering whereby the person who wish to become a healer isolates himself in a holy place, at a shrine or in a cave. While in those places, he will perform things like fasting and meditating in an attempt to establish contact with the spirit of the holy place and then ask the spirit to grant him the ability to cure the sick.

Learning under master is another method of becoming a traditional healer. This practice of serving an assisting and established bomoh/Tok Dukun or pawang occurs in the hope of one day being permitted to take the place of the master, and inherit his knowledge and skill.

Such attitude to acquire knowledge and skills is no longer practiced in modern times. Nowadays, a Tok guru or master passes the knowledge and skills to his or her students and ‘siswa’ through proper classes or learning processes. Some of the religious or mystical movements in Malaysia and Indonesia consider that propagating the skill or healing of their follower is a part of their overall mission.
Acquiring the Knowledge
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