It is certain that ghosts and spirits exist amongst us in this world. Their presence is pervasive. Yet, they too yearn for a sense of ‘dignity’, and as such, would at times make their presence ‘known’.
In conjunction with the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar, Sin Chew Daily’s Supplementary editorial organized a public forum on the topic of the month – ghosts and spirits. Buddhist Pastor Chia Song Peng from Kechara Buddhist Organization of Malaysia and Christian Pastor Enoch Lam from Hong Kong were the speakers invited to share their perspectives on ‘ghosts’ in the forum.
The sensational forum, titled ‘Are there ghosts among us? Or are ghosts merely an abstraction?’ was organized by the Xiao En Group. The forum attracted an enthusiastic crowd of 500 odd audience members and was a memorable event for them.
The emcee for the night was the Daily’s deputy editor-in-chief of the supplementary editorial, Chen Yoke Lim. Pastor Chia Song Peng and Pastor Enoch Lam approached the topic with much delight. Both speakers gave rational analyses on the sensitivity of the topic and complemented their chilling stories with some food for thought. According to Pastor Chia, the six realms of existence in Buddhism refer to the realms of gods, humans, asuras (demi-gods), ghosts, animals and hell beings.
Of the six realms, the first three are referred to as the ‘upper realms’ while the last three are known as the ‘lower realms’. As the beings in the three ‘lower realms’ experience more suffering, we should have a kind heart and extend our compassion towards them by making offerings to the Three Jewels on their behalf in order to lessen their pain.
Handling the Body of the Dying Person is an Important Matter
Pastor Chia relayed that at the time of death, the dying person will see a ray of light. For the deceased, this indicates that the consciousness is leaving the physical body. At this critical moment, the handling of the physical body is an important matter. It is preferable to touch the head of the deceased in order for his/her consciousness to leave the body from the crown of the head.
This way the deceased can have a better rebirth. Pastor Chia also advised to not disturb the mind of the person who is about to pass away. The consciousness of the recently deceased will be able to perceive the family members around him/her. The consciousness may cling onto the loud cries and linger around, therefore not being able to take rebirth. If the consciousness misses the window period of 49 days to take rebirth, he/she would fall into the ghost realm.
As a matter of fact, Pastor Chia revealed that there are not many differences between ghosts and humans. They are among us and there are those with good tempers and those with bad tempers. If one dies due to an accident, their consciousness would become fixated towards the incident, and he/she becomes a lingering ghost at or around the scene of accident.
“There are people who die of natural causes who are very attached to their living quarters. They miss their home deeply. As time is not a factor for the ghost, it might linger around the home for 10 or perhaps even 100 years. Even though the family has already moved away, the ghost will still loiter there.”
At times, the ghost may have an urge to make its presence known to people. It might possess a body to create a situation. This is commonly known as “paranormal occurrence”. Pastor Chia said that in Buddhism, the Chinese seventh month is an important time to practice filial piety. Through making offerings to the ThreeJjewels, Buddhists dedicate the merits generated to their deceased family members in order for them to have a good rebirth.
The ghost is able to perceive prayers that are performed with a compassionate heart. The generated merits from an external source are dedicated to the deceased. Such care should be extended until the ghost is able to let go of its attachment and stubbornness. Then, it will take rebirth.
Pastor Enoch Lam: Belief in the Existence of Ghosts would Create Ties with Ghosts
Pastor Enoch Lam said that because ghosts want people to worship them, they manipulate people so that they would pray to them, to make them feel proud of themselves. In actuality, humans are superior to ghosts. Bewitched by ghosts, people become inferior instead.
According to Pastor Lam, what’s worse is when ghosts damage relationships between people. To be possessed by ghosts or to experience constant spirit disturbances, would lead to a person’s mood most definitely being effected. In the end it might even destroy the person’s life. This is the ghost’s most potent trick.
Pastor Lam pointed out that the door for the spirit can only be opened only when one chooses to. The most basic requirement for it to open up is to choose to believe in the existence of ghosts. Once the person has opened the door, he/she will form a tie with the ghost. Pastor Lam said that it is when one’s awareness is weak that he/she is most vulnerable to the ghost’s intrusion. He pointed out that most reported incidences of paranormal occurrences take place during the time right before sleep and right before waking up.
From the scientific point of view, these are the times when the brain’s alpha wave is most active. It is easier for the ghost to interfere during the alpha wave state. Besides that, being in deep thought and during meditation are also times when one is vulnerable to ghost possession. This is due to the prolonged state of being in an active alpha condition. Pastor Lam said, the other point of vulnerability is during sexual orgasm, as the period of being in an alpha wave state is prolonged. There are cults that encourage their followers inappropriate sexual conducts due to the desire in achieving such state.
Hence, it is easy for ghosts to take possession. Pastor Lam mentioned that different religious practices reflect the different beliefs of the afterlife. When loved ones pass away, Christians believe that the deceased would go to heaven. Therefore, crying over the death is just an emotional response. The deceased and their family members will meet again in a time to come.
Therefore, there is no need to be so sad. “Western graveyards are clean and neat. This is where their departed loved ones went to heaven. Hence, there would not be much fear of the graveyard.”
Disturbed by Ghosts – A Matter of Actively or Passively Seeking Them
Pastor Lam said that there are usually two types of ways that lead to one being disturbed by ghosts – active and passive ways. The active ways are approaches such as tarot card reading, used to interact with the ghost directly. The passive way is inevitable, such as being born with the ‘third eye’.
One might look up his/her family tree and find that an ancestor was able to communicate with the paranormal, whether as a medium or a sorcerer. An ancestor has opened such a channel to the paranormal and it affects the later generations of the family.
Pastor Lam also said that one only has to generate love and care from the bottom of the heart and strive towards the light to distance oneself from being controlled by the ghost.