Mental Health and Care: Buddhist Spiritual Elements in Fostering a Healthy State of Mind Among Peranakan Chinese Community in Malaysia

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Nik Nur Azizah Nik Halman, Azlina Abdullah, Novel Lyndon


Mental health has been a crucial influence in determining the quality of life. In Malaysia, the statistics highlighted that almost half-million citizens suffered from stress symptoms and depression triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this study has discovered a contemporary approach in maintaining a healthy mental state. Buddhist spiritual activities are the method applied by the Kelantan’s Peranakan Chinese in Malaysia for their mental health and care. The purpose of this study is to scrutinize spiritual activities and their benefits in fostering a healthy state of mind. Additionally, this study applied phenomenology qualitative research as the method of study. The data was collected by engaging in interviews and observation involving five informants in chosen Chinese Peranakan’s neighborhood. The findings indicated that spiritual activities are performed by the Peranakan Chinese either at home or at Buddhist temple. Some of the activities are praying, fasting, ‘Dhana’ (donation), applying the concept of wholehearted faith in Buddha, fostering a ‘Free Life’ lifestyle, and merit-making (doing good deeds). The rituals and benefits of each spiritual activity are also explained in detail. The spiritual elements bring a positive impact to Peranakan Chinese’s quality of health. Lastly, this study can be used by the Malaysian Ministry of Health in structuring an initiative to decrease the statistics of mental health issues reported in Malaysia.

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