Monday, 4 April 2011

Scratch the itch!


Have you ever experienced extreme itchiness on your whole body (yes, every part of your body) that you want to soak yourself in a pool of calamine lotion or have ten pairs of hands scratching you concurrently? I just experienced that.

About a week ago, the thighs started to itch and so I just scratched it. It began to grow red and a few spots started to appear. I ignored them as I thought it was nothing unusual. Then my different parts of my body - arms, legs, thighs, shoulder, lower back - started to take turns to itch. Even my face felt itchy at times!

So I began to wonder what the cause was. Allergies to food? I did not eat seafood or anything unusual and I never had any food allergies before. I only have drug allergies which only cause my eyes to be extremely swollen but NOT itchy body! Then I started to wonder could it be due to the new shower gel I was using. After changing back to my normal one, the condition did not improve still. I thought could it be my bedsheets and I changed it twice within four days! I was still as itchy as ever.

I thought, could it be hives, or eczema or some skin problem. I was worried for a moment, could it be Lupus otherwise known as SLE, a joints condition which attacks the nerves and causes rashes on the face. I am worried because my mom has Lupus and many years ago, my ex-boss, who is a specialist, warned me that this disease may be hereditary, especially from mother to daughter.

But I did not have any symptoms of Lupus. I did not have painful or swollen joints, I did not have unexplained fever, I did not have red rashes on the face, I did not have chest pain, I did not have swollen legs or eyes or glands. Basically I just feel itchy all over!

A friend told me that usually it is the lunar third month of the Qing Ming period, similar to that of the 7th month of the hungry ghosts, where the surrounding energies are fluctuating, that people tend to feel unwell. My friend taught me a method to rid the negative energies and I also told her about another method. I have not had time to try it yet.

On Saturday morning, after nights of turning and tossing in bed due to the itch, I could not stand it anymore that I went to see the doctor. He could not determine the cause either. He said, "it looks like hives yet not, looks like eczema yet not, and you've no history of asthma, no internal discomfort....". The only reason I visited the doctor was i wanted a jab to get the itch to subside immediately (otherwise I have not seen a doctor for the past 3 years!). He also gave me a course of anti-histamines.

The jab knocked me out for the next 5 hours due to drowsiness. When I woke up the itch was still there. I missed 2 classes on Saturday but I made sure I attended the White Umbrella Goddess (大白伞佛母) puja in Dro Phen Ling. This Buddha has the ability to prevent natural disasters, accidents and untimely death, and can dispel any supernatural harassment, as well as cure hundreds of types of diseases. On Sunday, I attended the 100 Torma Offerings puja, Qing Ming prayers in Amitabha Buddhist Centre. This puja is based on the practice of the 4-Arm Avalokiteshvara (Kuan Yin) which involves creating merit by making offerings to the Three Jewels, to transcendental and worldly beings. By doing this practice, it is possible to repay heaps of karmic debt accumulated over infinite time.

After these 2 pujas, the itch has subsided quite a bit. I always have full faith in the power of healing by the Buddhas. Besides adopting the practical way of applying medication, considering supernatural remedies, the only other way (from my experience) which can definitely help is the spiritual method. After all, Shakyamuni Buddha said that there are 84,000 different types of afflictive emotions, such as desire and hatred, which have corresponding effects on humans, thus producing 84,000 different types of disorders. At different times or lifetimes, potentially we may encounter any of these 84,000 disorders, depending on our karmic disposition. That was why the Buddha gave 84,000 teachings to counter these 84,000 diseases.

The other reason I attribute this itch is the ripening of certain negative karma, hastened from the prayers and practices I had been doing. This is what we call purification, and this may not be necessarily bad news. I hope my itch goes away completely soon.

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