Ire, Loves Well, obviously the Chinese ‘All Souls Day’ or day of remembering the dead doesn’t happen in November 1, or to be more accurate about it on November 2. All Saints Day / All Souls Day is a big deal for a lot of Filipinos and perhaps Catholics in the world. But is there is Feng Shui significance or relevance to this special day?
For Chinese, especially those who are in the older generation, it is very important that we remember our ancestors or loved ones who passed away, this is taken as a sign of respect but at the same time, it is believed that we should not earn their ire by forgetting about them, or we should earn their approval so that they can help shower blessing upon the living. This is why remembering our loved ones or dead ancestors are important part of the life of a Chinese. In fact, a lot of us have images of our ancestors in our home, where we light incense and offer food on special occasions. The older generation will offer incense everyday. This may be a little too excessive.
In Buddhism, according to the Medicine Buddha Sutra, when a person dies his or her consciousness will undergo rebirth within 7 days or 21 days or 35 days or 49 days. I will clarify that it will go through rebirth on the first day, it will have to wait for 7 days, then if you didn’t go through rebirth on the 7th day then on the 21st day if not then it will be 35th day, until 49th day. If you don’t go through rebirth in the first 5 stipulated days, then you will sure go rebirth on the 49th day.
But rebirth doesn’t necessarily mean rebirth here on earth as human.
There are different levels of possible rebirth and starting from the bottom they are the following:
- Hungry Ghost
- Animal Kingdom
- Heavenly Beings
The first six are considered as the lower realms wherein the being still has an attachment and the last four are considered as the upper realm wherein the being or our consciousness no longer has any attachment. Once one is born in the upper realm, his or her consciousness no longer goes back to any of the lower realm.
It should be noted that for Catholics or Christianity, heaven is the ultimate goal, for Buddhism is a better place than the first five but it is still a place where in desire and attachment exist and one can still go down to the other realms. It is also not the most desired realm. I will talk about the 10 realms further in a future post.
I will also discuss the difference between Hungry Ghost and the Hell in another post.
But for now what I want to show is that for Buddhism, one can be born in different realms, until we reach Buddhahood.
So when a person dies, his consciousness or soul as Christians would call it will be born again in one of these realms. As humans 98% we will be born in either the realm of Hell or Hungry Ghost or Animal Kingdom or Human (again). If we have been good we might be born in the realm of an Asura or a Heavenly Beings.
This is where remembering and offering ‘good merits’ to our departed love ones or ancestors will become important. For example, your loved one or ancestor was born in the realm of the Hell or Animal Kingdom or Hungry Ghost, by offering good merits to them such as praying for them or chanting mantras or reciting sutras for them will shortened their suffering in the lower realms of Hell or Hungry Ghost or Animal Kingdom. On the other hand, if they were born in the realm of Human, by offering good merits to them their life will be better. If their current life is bad it will become better, if it is already good it will become even better. And if they were born as an Asura or Heavenly Beings then their life will even become better or they maybe pushed up to being born as Arhat or a Pratyekabuddha.
But this is the thing. Days like ‘All Souls Day’ are important because it forced us to remember them on these days. However, it certainly doesn’t mean that we should only remember them on this day. In fact, it is very important that we offer prayers or mantras or sutras or incense to them everyday. And by remembering them and offering merits to them everyday, we in turn make our life better. Because we are interconnected with each other. They may have a totally different life now but because of affinity with each other we are somewhat linked to each other. And if we send them merits, in a way we also get our own merits.
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