Back to: Ghosts
Ghosts can be found within religion and Buddhism.
Buddhism does teach the existence of ghosts through story
and imagery, most specifically through what are called, "hungry
ghosts." Hungry Ghosts
are used as a metaphor demonstrating that ghosts do suffer through
attempting to fulfill earthly desires. It is an exercise in futility, because ghosts find themselves without physical bodies to be able to act out such lusts. The seventh month is believed by many followers of Buddhism to be a time when ghosts and
spirits come out of the lower realm and interact with people. So a Ghost Festival of sorts is honored, paying homage to ancestors through various rituals designed to ease the
suffering of ghosts and possibly aid in
direction. It is believed by Buddhists who celebrate the festival that their
ancestors visit them, so it is a time to prepare elaborate meals, ceremonies
and offerings to help them in their journey in the afterlife.
In Buddhism, hungry ghosts are simply suffering spirits who should be treated with compassion
and not feared. Some Buddhists believe ghosts should be led to the light
through chanting and explanation of Buddhist teachings, until the golden light
of Buddha is seen and can be advanced to by the ghost.
The same Buddhists also teach
that ghosts can
people through their concern and love for them. It is also thought that
some ghosts are lost due to not understanding their own death and the existence
of the afterlife. Other ghosts are believed to remain earthbound due to
self-created fear, guilt and shame - all forms of self condemnation which need
to be worked through. Ghosts may not have a concept of time and remain
stuck in the year of their own passing, an illusion created by their mind.
Some Buddhists also teach ghost possession can occur when ghosts who
suffer from earthly lusts and addictions seek to fulfill those desires
or "highs" through another's physical body.
Buddhism and Hinduism
have influenced each other, though they have fundamental differences.
Buddhism does find its roots within Hinduism, as Buddha was born into a Hindu
family, but later found enlightenment which spawned new, radical teachings
upon which Buddhism was founded. Teachings concerning ghosts in Hinduism also exist.