A New Perspective on the Ghost Festival

13 September 2012 - 10:00pm Comments Off

Recently, local Chinese daily Nanyang Siang Pau interviewed Pastor Chia Song Peng, a Buddhist pastor of Kechara House Buddhist Association Malaysia, and he revealed in the interview that the “beings will take rebirth into the lower realms or into the ghost realm if, at the time of death, they cannot let go of their stubborn attachment, hatred and greed. “

Pastor Chia mentioned that, in fact, such ghost beings are always present among us as they share our common space and dimension. Their presence is all-pervasive. Human beings with high sensitivity or trained practitioners might be able to perceive their presence. This is what is means to be able to ‘see ghosts’ or to ‘sense the paranormal’.

On explaining incidents of possession, he said one of the reasons why a person can be possessed by ghosts is due to his or her karma inherited from his or her past life. There might be unsettled karmic debts or attachments; one is not simply possessed by ghosts without a reason. Pastor Chia further explained that:

Another explanation for incidents of possession is that of the ghost seeking help. As the ghost is unable to communicate directly through the realms, it resorts to possessing a body as a medium to convey its message. Not all ghost possession occurs for the malicious intent of causing people harm.

Talking about ways to appease possessive ghosts in Buddhism, Pastor Chia said during the blessing ceremonies, the Tibetan Buddhist Pastor would recite Vajrayana prayers and seek the help of Lord Setrap’s powers to appease the possessive ghosts. On reasons to take rebirth as spirit, Pastor Chia expressed that:

For a person to take rebirth in the ghost realm after death, one has certainly accumulated many negative karmas.

Even though the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar is known as the ‘ghost month’, Pastor Chia said it’s actually a time to reflect upon the moral values of respecting the ancestors, whereas in Buddhism, the month is treated as a ‘holy month’.

The word ‘Ullambana’ in Sanskrit means to ‘rescuing those who are hanging upside-down’.

The Ullambana festival in Buddhism is a day observed to remember the ancestors and a time to alleviate wandering spirits and ghouls of their suffering and agony.

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