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Some Basic Questions About the Hungry Ghosts and the Hungry Ghost Month Answered (2): Are All Spirits of Our Dead Loved Ones that We See Are Hungry Ghosts?

Published Agosto 25, 2017 by jptan2012

In the preceding post, I briefly talked about how it is not a good thing when you continuously see your dead relative after 49 days because chances are they became a hungry ghost.

However, they’re some exceptions to the rule.

In the earlier post, I said that once a person passed away his consciousness (soul/spirit) would reincarnate with 7 or 21 or 35 o 49 days. If they didn’t reincarnate on the 7th day, they will reincarnate on the 21st day, if not then on the 35th day, then again if not they will definitely reincarnate on the 49th day. I also said that they would most likely reincarnate as another human being or animal or even in the hells or hungry ghost. This statement is base on the Buddhist sutras.

An average person will most likely reincarnate as another human being or as animal. But if they’re so bad they might reincarnate in the hells. However, I also seem to notice that there are a number who reincarnate as hungry ghosts also. These are basically the ones that we feel like they’re still in the house continuously taking care of us.

But I also said that they are exceptions to the rule. Our consciousness can also reincarnate as heavenly beings, or as an Asura, or as an Arhat, Pratyekabuddhas, or Bodhisattvas or Buddhas.

In this article, allow me to focus on heavenly beings because this is more plausible than being reincarnated as an Asura or Arhat, or Pratyekabuddha! Much more to reincarnate as a Bodhisattva or Buddha!

In Buddhism, a person with a very good heart can reincarnate as a heavenly being, meaning they are beings that are in the heavens. Depending on the stage of their consciousness, as a heavenly being they may or may not reincarnate back as human beings again. But as heavenly beings, they exist in a cosmic world or another world that we cannot see, but they may see us.

It is possible that some human beings who passed away may reincarnate as a heavenly being. If they do, they can continue to watch over us, but don’t go thinking that most of our dead loved ones will turn out to be an heavenly being because it is quite a difficult ‘path’ to being a heavenly being.

A loved one who became a heavenly being will definitely not be felt in the house. They will not be guarding your house all the time and you will not see or feel them. They will not be walking on your peripheral vision, or still staying in their room. If that is the case they are hungry ghosts.

However, these heavenly beings will definitely watch over us. More than that whenever we feel like problems are overwhelming they will definitely make themselves felt so that they can continue to reassure us or help us feel better. They may also manifest in dreams and lead us to the right path. I would like to make it clear though that they will never appear in our dreams as a sad spirit or even crying one, they will always appear either happy or neutral and they will send signals of what one should do.

Occasionally we may physically see them but almost always as silhouette, but during those times, there will be no fear, and we will most likely have an overwhelming feeling of peace or reassurance especially at times when we have problems.

There are times also that they may appear as a butterfly or as a bird or we may smell them or smell a flower. But in these circumstances we will always get the feeling of peace or reassurance.

To put it simply, if you see the image of your dead relative often like once a year (believe me this is considered often enough) then chances are your relative became a hungry ghost. Thus dedicating to them the merits when you recite a sutra will help them have a better ‘life’.

What are the sure indications that they may have become heavenly beings:

  1. You dream about them only when you are extremely sad or in a very bad situation.
  2. During these dreams they give you a feeling of peace and reassurance that things will become better.
  3. If you see them, you see them in silhouette form and there is no sense of fear only peace, maybe happiness, and reassurance. You
  4. They may manifest as a butterfly, as a bird and again they will appear at that time you’re thinking about them, and you will know that it’s them. Again they only bring a feeling of peace and reassurance.
  5. They only manifest at a time when you need some reassurance or help. They won’t manifest just because you want to.

I dedicate this post to the mother of BM who surely has the manifestation of a heavenly being. Not to mention that it was confirmed by Guru Lama!

TO UNDERSTAND MORE ABOUT THE HUNGRY GHOST MONTH, HUNGRY GHOSTS, IT’S EFFECTS, RITUALS AND PROTECTION READ THE FOLLOWING HUNGRY GHOSTS SERIES:

YOU MAY WISH TO READ THE FOLLOWING ALSO:

OR YOU CAN CLICK ON THE CATEGORY – KUWENTO TUNGKOL SA HUNGRY GHOST MONTH.

 

For questions, comments, and suggestions please email sanaakosirickylee@gmail.com

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The Ten Realms of Existence in Buddhism (1): The First Six Lower Realms

Published Nobyembre 8, 2016 by jptan2012

When I wrote the post entitled – IS THERE A FENG SHUI RELEVANCE TO ALL SOULS DAY – I know that this is really the time for me to write about the topic that I have always wanted to write but has withheld from writing it because I’m not sure whether my readers are ready for it and also if it is the right time.

However, in hindsight this is something that I should have written before I even wrote and posted about the article about the Feng Shui relevance of All Souls Day. But having said that, I still believe that everything works and happened on its right time. And maybe it is really meant for me to write this now.

For Christians, when you die you either go to hell or heaven, maybe purgatory. And there you stay forever, that’s the only rebirth you experience. But in Buddhism, it is said that one goes thru reincarnation or rebirth, and there are different realms that you go to, the first six realms which are considered as the lower realm you go through that several times.

What are these SIX LOWER REALMS?

  1. HELL. To put it plainly this is a realm very similar to what Christians believe in. This is where you undergo punishment for your sins. If I’m not mistaken, in the Bible, hell is described as a lake of fire. In Buddhism, the lake of fire is just one part of hell. There are many different stages and parts of a hell. But needless to say in all those parts you go through retribution by a lot of suffering from your offenses in your other lives.
  2. HUNGRY GHOST. This is somewhat akin to hell, only the difference is that some Hungry Ghost still has the capacity to live amongst humans. You undergo suffering and retribution in this realm by feeling that you have a physical body but are unable to touch physical things. One of these things is food. Technically speaking, Hungry Ghosts may be nice or temperamental. They retain characteristics of human in terms of temperament and personality.
  3. ANIMAL. Simply put you are born as an animal, which is seen as a lesser being because of several attachments and inability to fully discern right and wrong. And most animals have a short life span and also are less fortunate than humans.
  4. HUMAN. This is us. If you are human, it is considered that you have enough good karma for you to be born as one. Because humans have the power to right things and learn new things and learn about the dharma (Buddha’s Teachings). But take note that we are still in the lower realm, and we are not in the highest in the lower realm.
  5. ASURA. Asura’ are unseen being that are better off than humans, they still need to learn things and they have their own realm of existence. They can see us, but we cannot see us. It is said that you are born as an Asura if as a human you are very generous but tends to have foul mouth and a bad temper. I guess one example of this is to take the story of Robinhood. Somebody like will be born as an Asura because he did a lot of good things but at the same time he stole things.
  6. HEAVENLY BEINGS. There are so many stages in Heavenly Beings that I will discuss in the future. But as a heavenly being one has some kind of supernatural power, but one has no physical body. A Heavenly Being lives in a place much like what the Bible described. However, as a heavenly being they still need to learn more about the Dharma. Some of the gods and deities of Taoism are considered as Heavenly Beings in Buddhism. In the lowest realm of Heavenly Beings are the Demons, who guard the lower realms like hell. And heavenly beings can be reborn as an Asura or Human or Animal, but their life span is much longer than that of human. Heavenly beings can help protect those in the lower realms like humans. In fact, in the Sutras a lot of the Lord and Yakshas and ‘Demons’ have committed to protect the people who read and carry or own the Medicine Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Earth Store Bodhisattva Sutra, and the Surangama Mantra Amulet.

Everybody in the lower realm undergoes rebirth. One can go up to Heavenly Beings or go down to Hell depending on one’s karma. As long as we don’t achieve Samadhi we will continue to be born in one of these realms.

We only stop samsara (cycle of rebirth) once we have attained Samadhi. And we enter the 4 higher realms. I will discuss that on my next post.

For questions, comments and suggestions please email sanaakosirickylee@gmail.com

 

Is There A Feng Shui Relevance to All Souls Day?

Published Oktubre 31, 2016 by jptan2012

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:

  1. Hell
  2. Hungry Ghost
  3. Animal Kingdom
  4. Human
  5. Asura
  6. Heavenly Beings
  7. Arhat
  8. Pratyekabuddha
  9. Bodhisattva
  10. Buddhahood

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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“The Diamond of Perfect Wisdom Sutra” is One of the Holiest and Powerful Sutra Amulet That You Can Keep: A Special Recite – A – Sutra Article.

Published Oktubre 14, 2016 by jptan2012

In the preceding post I talked about how a sutra is also used an amulet. This can be a traditional sutra or a miniature sutra. Each of these sutras will definitely be a protective amulet, but more than that they also have different peripheral blessings that they bestow to anyone who has them.

sutra-amulets

These are just one copy each of the very limited copies sent to me by my Guru Lama of the THE SUTRA OF THE PAST VOWS OF THE KSITIGARBHA BODHISATTVA, THE DIAMOND OF PERFECT WISDOM SUTRA and THE MEDICINE BUDDHA SUTRA. Sutras are also used as very powerful amulets, that is why you will often old Buddhist Chinese houses has a copy of the Sutra on their altar though they might not be reciting the sutra itself.

All sutras offers some blessings when one read it, but when use as a sutra some are more powerful than others, only because the Buddha himself has made it as such. Don’t get me wrong all are powerful but the Buddha himself has indirectly assigned specific additional blessings in some of these sutras. These additional blessings are mentioned in the actual teachings of the Buddha as stated in the sutra itself.

Some of these sutras that are considered really powerful are THE DIAMOND OF PERFECT WISDOM SUTRA, THE MEDICINE BUDDHA SUTRA, THE GOLDEN LIGHT SUTRA and THE SUTRA OF THE PAST VOWS OF EARTH STORE (KSITIGARBHA) BODHISATTVA.

As I said one of the most powerful sutra is “THE DIAMOND OF PERFECT WISDOM SUTRA”, (also called “The Vajra Cutter Perfection of Wisdom Sutra” or “The Vajra Sutra” or “The Vajra Cutter Sutra” or “The Diamond Sutra). According to the Buddha, as stated in the said sutra when one recites and comprehends the said sutra one’s merits or blessings will exceed that of person who fills a trichiliocosm with the seven jewels and gives them away in charity. It will be difficult for me to explain a trichiliocosm but that should be tremendous amount of merits.

Paragraph 11: “Subhuti, what do you think? If a person fills a trichiliocosm with the seven jewels and gives them away in charity, wouldn’t the merit attained by this person be great?” Subhuti said, “Extremely great, World Honored One. Why? The nature of merit is empty; therefore the Tathagata says that this merit is great.” The Buddha said: “But if a person comprehends and follows even a four-line verse of this sutra, and teaches it to others, this person’s merit would exceed that of the former example. Why? Subhuti, all buddhas and all of their teachings on unsurpassed complete enlightenment originate from this sutra.

Paragraph 19: “Subhuti, what do you think? If there were as many Ganges Rivers as the grains of sand in the Ganges, wouldn’t the amount of sand contained in all those Ganges Rivers be great?” Subhuti said, “Extremely great, World Honored One. If even the number of the Ganges Rivers is innumerable, how much more so their grains of sand?” “Subhuti, now I tell you truthfully: If a good man or good woman fills as many trichiliocosms as the grains of sand in all those Ganges Rivers with the seven jewels, and gives them away in charity, wouldn’t this merit be great?” “Extremely great, World Honored One.” The Buddha said to Subhuti: “If a good man or good woman is able to comprehend and follow a four-line verse of this sutra and teach it to others, their merit will be far greater.”

You might be wondering what has merits to do with protection and blessings. A merit is another term for good karma, so simply reciting and understanding THE DIAMOND SUTRA creates unbelievable merits for us.

Allow me to share a short story about somebody who has greatly benefited from THE DIAMOND SUTRA as shared by my Guru Lama. This is the story of an illiterate Tibetan who was born in exile in India. Kunchen is the second son of a family who left Tibet for India at that time China was attempting to assassinate the Dalai Lama. His family supposedly left Tibet 2 years after the Dalai Lama left.

I won’t go into details how difficult it is for Tibetans to live in a country whose climate is totally different from them, or at least, where they were assigned by the Indian Government, which is in Dharamsala. Kunchen’s older brother, who was born in Tibet, was put in a monastery so that he can become a monk, something that is quite a common practice amongst Tibetan Buddhists.

Kunchen became the eldest, and all he remembers that his father has to go to a different place to work, so it was left to his mom and Kunchen to run the house. Kunchen has 2 more younger siblings. Kunchen had a difficult life and so when he reached 18 he decided to leave his family and took his to get work in other parts of India.

Kunchen, found himself working from one employer to another. He seems to be a skilled worker and can easily learn new things, however, it seems his biggest problem that he seems to have a deep-seated anger that he was born poor and somehow without any particular reasons he has detested all his employers.

Soon Kunchen got married and had sons and daughters of his own. He and wife both had to work to make ends meet, and still Kunchen can’t hold a job for more than three years. Although he still considered himself as Buddhist, most Tibetans are and can’t see themselves otherwise, he has never practiced his faith.

Kunchen seems to unable stop problems from arising also. His eldest son had an accident and became bedridden, and then her daughter was sexually molested by an Indian neighbor and she became a mother at 15 years of age. On top of that, money seems to be always a problem, and while Kunchen has always been drinking liquor, these two incidents made him more dependent in alcohol.

It was at this time that Kunchen’s wife tried to look for her mother – in – law whom she has never met. You have to understand the mentality of the Tibetan women or wives, once they got married if they have a problem they normally will seek out the parents of their husbands and not their own mothers. And this is what Kunchen’s wife deed. It took a long time for her to track down her in – laws because Kunchen has stopped communicating with them.

When Kunchen’s mom got the letter she immediately decided to go and pay visit Kunchen a visit. One of her grandsons went with her, but at that time Kunchen’s father had already passed away.

After the initial emotions of seeing each other for a long time, Kunchen’s mother encouraged them to go home with her. She is still in Dharamsala but their life is so much better now, but maybe out of shame for abandoning his family, Kunchen wouldn’t hear of any of it. Because she cannot do anything for them other than to give them some monetary help, she talked to the wife of Kunchen and confirmed that they are still basically Buddhist. She then left with them a book, a traditional sutra, and told them to place it on their altar. The daughter then claimed that both she and Kunchen are unable to read. The mother then informed her that it doesn’t matter and to just put the book on their altar. That book, Kunchen and her wife alter found out is a copy in a traditional sutra form of THE DIAMOND OF PERFECT WISDOM SUTRA.

diamond-sutra2

This is a copy of the big and small THE DIAMOND OF PERFECT WISDOM SUTRA (traditional sutra amulet and sutra amulet) that my Guru Lama sent me. They are quite limited. I only have 10 of the big ones, and 7 of the small ones.

According to my Guru Lama, Kunchen claimed that as soon as he received the traditional sutra, things started to get better. Now, at the age of more than 60, and even he still can’t read, Kunchen and his wife owns several businesses. His grandson from her daughter who bore the child at 15 was the one who helped them run their business. Kunchen made sure all his grandchildren are able to go to school, and they help him with reading the documents but Kunchen and his wife makes the decisions. Of course, now that his grandchildren are older they get to make decisions also.

Kunchen swears that it was THE DIAMOND OF PERFECT WISDOM SUTRA left in the house by his mother who started all the good luck. In fact, Kunchen claims that the atmosphere seems altogether became different. Is this feeling psychological?

I think not, because THE DIAMOND SUTRA itself stated that wherever the sutra is, it is as if the Buddha and Buddha’s revered disciples were also present. And who are the Buddha’s revered disciples, they are the Bodhisattvas or Pratyekabuddhas! This means the place itself becomes holy. In fact, if one recites the sutra, that place should be venerated as a Buddha – shrine. That’s how powerful THE DIAMOND SUTRA is. And remember Kunchen nor his wife could have not read this because they are both illiterate.

Paragraph 20: “Furthermore, Subhuti, wherever one teaches or recites so much as a four-line verse of this sutra, that place should be venerated as a Buddha-shrine by heavenly beings, human beings, and asuras in this world. How much more so is the case where one can completely remember, comprehend, and follow this sutra! Subhuti, you should know that such a person has achieved the highest, rarest of accomplishments. Wherever this sutra is present, it is as if the Buddha and the Buddha’s revered disciples were also present.”

This is indeed one of the most powerful sutra and simply having this will definitely shower upon the holder/owner not only great protection but also wonderful blessings of wealth, health, harmony, and peace.

Paragraph 29: “Subhuti, if a good man or good woman renounces their life for charity in the morning as many times as there are grains of sand in the Ganges, and does likewise at noon and in the evening, continuing thus for immeasurable hundreds of thousands of millions of kalpas; and if someone else hears this teaching and gives rise to unwavering faith, the merit of the latter would far exceed that of the former. How much more the merits of those who transcribe, recite, remember, follow, and explain this sutra to others!

In fact, if you have this sutra, the Buddha has instructed that heavenly beings and asuras, aside from human being should come and make offerings. That shows how holy and powerful and important this sutra is. That is also the reason why it should be put on the altar or on a high clean dry place. It should never be put on the floor, or chair, or bed, or dining table.

Paragraph 30 Sentence 5: Subhuti, wherever this sutra is present, all the heavenly and human beings and asuras in all the worlds should come and make offerings. You should know that its presence is equivalent to a pagoda that all should venerate and pay homage to, by circumambulating or scattering flowers and incense around its grounds.”

Paragraph 43: “Subhuti, if a person accumulates the seven jewels into mounds equivalent to all Mt. Sumerus in the worlds of a trichiliocosm and gives them away in charity, and another person recites, remembers, followed, and teaches this prajna paramita sutra or even a four-line verse of this sutra to others, the merit of the former would not be a hundredth, or even a billionth, of that of the latter. In fact, the merit of the latter would be so great that no comparison, by calculation or by analogy, could possibly be made.”

In my future posts, I will talk about stories of people who have benefitted simply by having this sutra at home.

Get a PDF copy of the English Version of the Sutra by clicking on the link below:

The Diamond Sutra

For questions, comments, and suggestions please emails sanaakosirickylee@gmail.com

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