Master Fwap Goes “Phat!”

We sat in silence for some time after Master Fwap had finished speaking. The Oracle and Master Fwap then abruptly stood up, as if they had sensed something at exactly the same moment that I apparently was oblivious to.

“The time has come for us to begin our journey to the cave of enlightenment. It lies hidden not too much farther from here, but we must leave at once!” the Oracle stated emphatically.

“Gather your things and we will go,” Master Fwap said to me in a serious tone. “The Oracle’s pronouncement is correct, of course. The ‘just right’ karmic moment for your journey to solve the riddle of the missing dimensions has finally arrived. Hurry, we must not miss this moment!”

After Master Fwap’s and the Oracle’s pronouncements, I wasted no time. I quickly retrieved my backpack and snowboard, and after shouldering them, the three of us walked forward into the unknown.

We had been hiking for several hours down a mountainside and into a valley. As we continued walking, the sun slowly began to slide behind the Annapurna Himalayas, causing us to walk into ever-darkening mountain shadows.

The air became much cooler as we descended into the valley. I was actually shivering by the time we had reached its lowest point. The trail took an unexpected upward turn, and suddenly we were hiking up an extremely stiff vertical section of the tree-lined trail.

It was near dark when we reached the top of the pass. The sun had almost finished setting, and thousands of stars were starting to shine down on us, although the moon had yet to make its appearance.

Even though we were now trekking at a much higher altitude, I felt much warmer than I had when we were in the valley below. I didn’t know whether to attribute my sudden increased warmth to the exertion of hiking up an extreme vertical section of the trail, or to some unseen thermal inversion, or to a combination of both.

As time passed and the sun completely disappeared behind the stark and beautiful Annapurna Himalayas, we started to navigate our way along the trail by starlight. Master Fwap led, closely followed by the Oracle and me.

The trail we were traversing then crossed a pass, and Master Fwap led us away from the trail we had been following and onto a very narrow path that intersected with the main trail. This new path swung toward the south side of the mountain.

After about thirty minutes on this new path Master Fwap suddenly stopped. I was trying to figure out why he had stopped so abruptly, so I squinted my eyes to see if something lay ahead that was blocking our progress. I couldn’t see a thing. All I could do was to wonder whether an object was blocking the way ahead, or to wonder if Master Fwap had gotten lost.

My unspoken conjecture was rapidly resolved. Master Fwap turned and suddenly announced in a jubilant voice, “We have arrived at our most sacred destination. It is here that you will solve the riddle of the missing dimensions. Phat!”

Then Master Fwap began to walk forward very slowly. Both the Oracle and I followed him into an opening of what appeared to be a very large cave. In the blackness of the night it was difficult to see practically anything, but as best as I could tell by starlight, I surmised the mouth of the cave was about twenty feet high.

As we entered deeper into the cave the starlight vanished, and the three of us were suddenly swallowed up by the cave’s complete blackness.

Walking slowly forward, step by step, for several more minutes, I started to feel the cave’s depth.

We walked in complete silence, one slow step at a time, for about five more minutes, until Master Fwap came to a halt again.

Master Fwap struck a match. I could see by the dim light of the match that we had entered a large rock and earthen cavern that had been skillfully converted into a comfortable Buddhist sanctuary.

The walls of the cave were covered with colorful thangkas depicting meditating Buddhas and other deities in both bright and faded colors. Prayer rugs and multicolored cushions had been placed in symmetrical patterns on several different areas of the cave’s earthen floor. Dozens of thick white wax candles rested in tarnished brass holders attached to the cave’s walls.

Master Fwap gradually lit all of the candles along both of the cave’s walls, using up several matches in the process. When he was finished and all of the candles in the cave were burning brightly, I could see the entirety of the cave.

In the candles’ flickering light, I began to make a mental inventory of my new environment. I was standing about one third of the way into the cave, facing toward its back end. On the floor and slightly to my right were several small, worn brown wooden four-legged tables. On each of the tables there were dozens of ancient-looking clothbound manuscripts of varying sizes, all of which had been neatly piled in stacks.

To my left on the cave’s floor, running along its opposite wall, were different types of black iron cooking utensils, a large greenish metal teapot, and a set of faded china dishes, along with some wooden eating utensils.

Toward the rear of the cave were six heavy burlap sacks, similar to those I had often seen in the open-air markets in Kathmandu. Judging from their bulging appearance, and aided by their partially opened tops, I saw they were filled with rice, barley, and other types of grains.

On the cave’s floor, farther to my left, was a deep round pit. It was partially filled with some gray and white ashes and small pieces of old charred and blackened firewood.

Above the fire pit, in the cave’s ceiling, was a narrow fissure that ran through a small section of the roof’s rock. In the middle of the fissure there was a small round opening.

I was surprised by the quantity of artifacts that filled the cave and at the amount of effort it must have taken to carry them over the high snowy passes and steep trails from Kathmandu.

As I squinted my eyes and looked back toward the rear of the cave, I noticed piles of thick Nepalese woolen blankets, sleeping pads, and a variety of Tibetan Buddhist ornaments that included three brass ceremonial dorjes, two long Nepalese trumpets, a number of wooden prayer wheels, and dozens of sets of prayer beads.

“Now come here and sit down and relax,” Master Fwap said, interrupting my assessment process of the cave’s interior.

“I will start a fire to warm us,” he continued in a cheerful tone of voice. “We have traveled a long way and we should all sit and rest. Please feel free to place your pack and snowboard wherever you like.”

After his pronouncement Master Fwap began softly to hum a Buddhist chant. Then, approaching the fire pit, he started to pile large pieces of wood into the pit that he obtained from a stack of wood adjacent to and directly behind the rear of the fire pit.

He then took what looked like old dried summer grass, placed it under the wood, and lit it with another match. The flames rose immediately from the dried grass and quickly set the wood on fire. The crackling and popping sounds the wood made as it burned made me feel cozy and right at home.

The Oracle walked up to me and handed me a large white meditation cushion that had been embroidered with a red and blue dragon on it. He motioned with his right hand for me to sit down next to him near the fire.

I was engaged in what was, from my point of view, a wonderful scene. After days of trekking through the Himalayas on narrow trails, crossing over snow- and ice-covered passes, and sleeping in cold, small, simple wooden shelters that had been erected by the pilgrims who traversed the pathways between the Annapurnas on their religious journeys, I was now the occupant of what I considered to be a “five star” cave.

The three of us crowded together, soaking up as much of the fire’s warmth as we could. Master Fwap made us tea from snowmelt and some kind of dried green herbs he had gotten from the rear of the cave. He combined these in the metal teapot, which he hung over the fire pit on a blackened iron rod. Then he set about boiling some of the grains in several old metal pots, placing the pots directly on top of the fire. I was absolutely famished.

The Oracle stood up and retrieved some plates from the side of the cave, along with some strange wooden eating utensils that looked like oversized bent spoons with tiny holes in them. After a while, the three of us were feasting on freshly cooked rice and barley, and drinking hot tea. If there was a nirvana, at that moment I was convinced I had finally reached it.

After we had finished eating, and the Oracle had cleaned and put the dishes away, Master Fwap placed more wood on the fire. I found myself yawning, and I was looking forward to drifting off to sleep under some of the woolen blankets I had seen in the back of the cave. Master Fwap must have been reading my thoughts because he immediately poured me another cup of tea and then told me it was very important I stay awake for the next several hours—because something “very powerful” was about to happen to me.

I yawningly agreed. I was so happy at that moment not to be spending another freezing night trying to sleep in a makeshift wooden trail hut I happily promised him I wouldn’t fall asleep, no matter how tired I was. But I must admit, his admonishment that something “powerful” was going to take place over the next few hours certainly didn’t prepare me for the strange scenes I was about to witness that night in the sacred cave of enlightenment, deep in the Annapurna Himalayas.

Everything started out normally enough. First Master Fwap stood up and stretched, then the Oracle did the same. After stretching, the two of them walked around and around the cave together, saying nothing but looking very intently at the cave’s walls.

I was about to ask them what they were looking for when suddenly, in the loudest voice I have ever heard him use, Master Fwap shouted “Phat!” Then he said “Phat!” again, in an even louder voice.

He started to shout “Phat! Phat! Phat! Phat.” Then the Oracle started to shout “Phat!” repeatedly, along with Master Fwap, in an even louder voice.

The combined sound of their shouted “Phats” was significantly amplified by the echoing “Phats” that the cave boomed back at them. Within a few minutes the sound of the shouted and echoed “Phats” became almost deafening. My ears started to ring like they did during a rock concert.

“Phat! Phat! Phat! Phat! Phat!” they shouted intensely, over and over, as they both walked repeatedly up and down the sides of the cave. I was convinced the two of them had come totally unglued when, without warning, they both suddenly stopped.

Turning toward me, they both started to walk over to where I was sitting dumbfounded in front of the fire. They gracefully seated themselves on either side of me, in cross-legged positions, neatly tucking their ochre robes under their legs.

After all of their shouting, the sudden silence in the cave now seemed deafening. My ears were still ringing from all of the shouted and echoed “Phats,” but for some reason I couldn’t quite figure out, the silence that now filled the cave seemed even louder than their combined shouting had been.

We sat in silence for several more minutes, staring into the fire. Gradually the ringing in my ears subsided, and turning my head from side to side I closely examined first Master Fwap’s expression, and then the Oracle’s expression, in an attempt to figure out what they were up to.

But it was no use. They had both closed their eyes and had entered into a state of deep meditation. I assumed I should do the same thing, and so I closed my eyes and started to practice the “Blue Sky” meditation technique I had recently read in The Handbook for Enlightenment.

Initially, as The Handbook had instructed, I began to picture a beautiful blue sky without any clouds in it. Then, as it had outlined, I imagined that my body felt very light, as if it were floating.

I continued to practice the visualization by feeling I was merging my body and mind into an endless blue sky that went on forever.

After a few minutes had passed, I began to feel that the blue sky and I were merging and that I was actually becoming one with the blue sky that stretched on endlessly, in every direction, never beginning and never ending, into infinity.

I continued to hold the image of myself as an infinite blue sky that was both peaceful and blissful, just as The Handbook had instructed. I managed to do this fairly effortlessly. My thoughts slowed down much more quickly and without the usual effort it took me, and then without a major act of will on my part, they finally stopped completely.

Unexpected things then started to happen. I was minding my own business being a thoughtless, infinite blue sky of peace and bliss, when Master Fwap and the Oracle suddenly showed up in the middle of my sky!

To make matters even weirder, they were both on snowboards, and Master Fwap had an extra snowboard with him: I recognized it immediately—it was my long board.

The scene changed and I wasn’t the sky anymore. I was back in my body, somehow suspended in the sky along with Master Fwap and the Oracle. Looking down, I saw that my long board had attached itself to my feet, although I was standing on my board barefoot like a surfer and didn’t have my snowboarding boots on. Then the world went crazy. Master Fwap and the Oracle began to giggle and, effortlessly turning their snowboards around in the middle of the blue sky, they started to snowboard directly ahead of me on out into the infinite blue sky that lay before us. I figured what the hell and immediately started to skyboard after them.

Without knowing how I could do it, I found I was able to skyboard through the sky as proficiently as I could snowboard down a mountain on deep powder. The blue sky that the three of us were now skyboarding through had some type of density to it; I was able to cut and carve, as were Master Fwap and the Oracle, against the sky’s textured surface. The three of us were truly riding high!

As we skyboarded, we went lower into the blueness, and I could see something up ahead of us that looked like a long red fog bank. When we got very close to it, I could see that it wasn’t actually a red fog bank that I was seeing. The sky up ahead was instead composed of lots of different textured layers, all of which were colored in varying hues of red.

Master Fwap unexpectedly cut left, as did the Oracle, and I automatically followed. Master Fwap entered a section of the sky composed of a particularly neon pink red, and then suddenly he disappeared. Then the Oracle disappeared into the textured neon pink sky, and I was suddenly alone on my board in the middle of the blue sky.

I aimed my snowboard for the place where I had seen them disappear. When I reached it I heard a loud cracking sound, like thunder, and suddenly I could see them both again boarding on ahead of me. We had entered into a neon red-textured dimension, and we were shooting through it at an incredible speed.

As the three of us boarded the dimension together, I became aware we were passing over something big. Looking down I saw what I can only describe as a high-tech city passing underneath us. Its buildings were primarily pyramid shaped, and I could see crowds of some sort of beings that looked a little bit like people walking along the streets between the buildings.

But before I could get a further look, I saw a dark violet patch of sky looming ahead of us. Master Fwap aimed for it and disappeared into it. The Oracle and I followed him in.

The violet dimension was charged with more energy than the neon pink dimension had been. I heard a series of loud static explosions similar to the noise a radio makes when a lightning storm causes its speaker to crackle and pop.

The air in this dimension was textured with what looked like some kind of undecipherable hieroglyphic writing. Beings that looked like huge American Indians began flying past us in the air. The giant Indian beings didn’t seem to be aware of the three of us. It was like watching TV; I had the sense that I could see them, but they couldn’t see us.

Over the course of what seemed like several eternities, Master Fwap, the Oracle, and I skyboarded through hundreds more dimensions. Each dimension we skyboarded through was totally different; some dimensions had beings in them, and some didn’t. Each dimension had its own unique color and texture. Some of the dimensions were what I can only describe as “feeling” dimensions, and others were “knowing” dimensions.

The “feeling” dimensions were very emotional for me. Some of them felt very familiar, like I had been in them before. One or two of them produced an intense poignant longing on my part, and I almost didn’t want to leave them. There was no pain in any of them; they were all happy places and I wanted to abide in them forever. But then they would disappear, and we would skyboard into “knowing” dimensions.

I call them “knowing” dimensions because I knew so many different things in each one of them. Memories and prior knowledge would awaken somewhere deep inside of me as we boarded through them. In each of the “knowing” dimensions, I felt like I was a completely different type of person, with a different personality, different memories, and also a different structural knowledge of how the dimension I was currently skyboarding through worked.

When I would leave one of these “knowing” dimensions, the knowledge, memories, and personality I had briefly assumed would quickly disappear.

During the middle of our interdimensional skyboarding, I opened my eyes. Much to my surprise, I discovered I was back in the cave of enlightenment. The fire in front of me had almost gone out. I looked at Master Fwap and the Oracle, and as I did, they both opened their eyes and stared back at me. Then the two of them began to laugh.

“What you have just experienced,” the Oracle said to me, “was snowboarding through different dimensions. Fwap and I thought it was time we introduced you to the high-performance world of astral athletics. How did you like it?”

“I don’t know what to say. There was just so much … and in some of the dimensions we skyboarded through, I didn’t want to come back to this world.”

“But you never left it,” commented Master Fwap, in a dry tone of voice.

“I mean, sure, if you say so, you know more about this stuff than I do. But I definitely was in a lot of other places at the same time that I was here in this cave.”

Both of them laughed heartily, as if I had made some kind of particularly funny joke.

“Master Fwap,” I inquired, after their laughter had subsided, “why were you yelling ‘Phat!’ before all of this happened? Is it a word, does it have a special meaning?”

“Yes,” he replied, “It is a very powerful mantra. It is normally used to remove impure spirits and forces from a physical area that is connected to interdimensional openings.”

“So you two were doing some kind of astral housecleaning when you were engaging in all of that yelling?”

“Yes,” he slowly replied. “I have never quite thought about it in that exact way, but I suppose yours is as good a description of what we were doing as any other would be.”

“What would your Tantric Buddhist description of it be?” I asked.

“We refer to the mantra as a purification ritual. It is inevitable, just as dust collects in a room over a period of time, that astral forces collect in an interdimensional access area. Most of them are unimportant, but when the location is an interdimensional place of power that is particularly intense—as is the case with the cave we are currently occupying—occasionally powerful negative forces and beings are drawn here. They like the energy that emanates from the cave. But they are destructive forces, and so we must sweep them out.

“ ‘Phat!’ is a particularly powerful mantra that causes them, when it is uttered loudly by a person with occult power, to flee. The vibrational sound of the mantra terrifies these malefic beings, just as dogs are frightened by thunder or the sounds of cannons or guns.

“We have not been to this cave for some years, and it needed a good cleaning,” he continued to explain. “Neither the Oracle nor I wanted any of those forces around when we opened the dimensions for you. Some of them might have tried to slip into those beautiful worlds we passed through and tried to bring harm to them.”

“How could they do that?”

“On their own, they couldn’t. They don’t have enough energy to open up the gateways to the higher astral worlds. But if they had slipped in through the gateway, using our power to give them access, they could have polluted or destroyed some of those dimensions and hurt or destroyed some of the higher astral beings that live in them.

“Always use ‘Phat!’ when you find yourself in an impure or aurically negative physical location, when you need to purify it. Just as fire can purify physical things, the mantra ‘Phat!’ can purify astral spaces.”

I was about to ask Master Fwap the first of several hundred questions that were now exploding into my mind, when he said, “Now we must sleep. We need rest after all of the physical and interdimensional traveling we have done together today. We can talk more about the experience we had this evening tomorrow, if you like.”

Master Fwap put more wood on the fire, which had burned down to a few glowing embers by this time. After he had added the new wood, the fire immediately started to burn and crackle and warm us.

The Oracle retrieved blankets and pads from the back of the cave, and the three of us bedded down in front of the fire. I closed my eyes, then opened them and gazed into the heart of the fire. That was the last thing I remember before falling asleep: the bright red and white flames in the fire pit, burning on into the Himalayan night.