Cycle of Life

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Rituals to Appease and Protect Oneself from the Hungry Ghosts

Published Hulyo 19, 2012 by jptan2012

In my last two posts, I talked about and introduced to you the DREADED HUNGRY GHOST MONTH and also talked about the EFFECTS OF THE HUNGRY GHOST MONTH.

As I always said it is useless to know about all these things if we are unable to protect ourselves. It is because of this that I would like to share with you some rituals that we can do to help protect us from the ill effects of the Hungry Ghost Month and the Hungry Ghost Festival.

Some people will make more elaborate offerings liek the one depicted in the photo. However, simply offerings the ones that I’ve listed are good enough.

First, you must KEEP THE HUNGRY GHOSTS ‘HAPPY’, and you do this by feeding them. Some people say that you should do this every single day of the Hungry Ghost Month, but some say you should do this only on the eve of the Hungry Ghost Festival. Personally, I think this should be done every single day of the Hungry Ghost Month from the first day to the last.

What you need to do is quite simple. You need to put a bowl of cooked rice; a small cup of rice wine or any liquor; 3 different bowls of beans (red beans, chick peas, mung beans); a small slab of tofu or bean curd; a piece of any kind of fruit; a bowl of cooked peanuts; and a small portion of meat – any meat will do. Optional are lighting of 2 red candles and 2 incense sticks. However, I do these two as well. Also, you should put some Yin Money or Hell’s Money, which in the Philippines is available in Ongpin or any Chinatown. I also leave some real coins, which is considered as Yang Money, to balance the Yin energy of the Hell’s Money.

You should leave these things outside your main door. If you have a gate, you can also do this outside your gate, but if might cause some problems, just the main door of your house will do. I leave all these things outside the house for a full month of the Hungry Ghost Month, and only replacing some of the food if they start to spoil or rot.

Some people say that the bigger amount you put the better. But just follow your instincts and put just enough.

By doing this, you are preventing the Hungry Ghosts to enter your house to ‘look for food’, and sometime food can be your chi.

You can also do this in your office. If you happen to pass by an establishment or house that has this kind offering outside, it is customary to put some coins or small bills. It is like dropping and blessing the hungry ghosts with some yang energy to help them re-enter samsara (cycle of life).

At the end of Hungry Ghost Month, throw away the all the food and burn Hell’s Money. Donate the coins to a temple or church.

VISIT YOUR ANCESTORS’ grave or in the case of the Buddhist their spirit dwelling tablet. Light some incense and offer some food. It’s best to do this at the first 7 days of the Hungry Ghost Month.

VISIT A TAOIST OR BUDDHIST TEMPLE to ask for protection. Praying to any Buddha, Bodhisattva, Deity or Immortal is acceptable, but if possible visit a Taoist temple or Buddhist temple that has the images of the known protectors like Amitabha Buddha, Sun Wukong, Kuan Kong, Chung Kwei. Try to offer some fruits, flowers and incense.

LIGHT SOME LOTUS CANDLES. Lotus candles are simple candles made in the shape of a lotus, this is because lotus symbolizes purity and by lighting lotus candle you bless the hungry ghost with yang energy and purity. Two things that they need most to get out of hell.

Lotus Candles. You can also simply get candles in lotus shaped glass.

LIGHT SOME RED LANTERNS outside of your house (or window or balcony if living in a high rise) the whole month of the Hungry Ghost Month if you live near the ocean, river, lake or any body of water and if possible, let some lotus candle float on the body water on the eve of the Hungry Ghost Month.

PUT SALT ON YOUR DOORSTEP, WINDOWS, AND EVERY CORNER OF THE HOUSE. This is to ensure that the place is constantly cleansed of any form of Yin energy.

CONSTANTLY PLAY SOME MANTRA OR SUTRA in your house. You can do this by buying some CD or altar paraphernalia that constantly play different kinds of mantra or sutras. You do this not to drive them away, although it may drive them away, but more importantly to help them get the benefit of the mantra.

People watching the Chinese Opera. Notice the empty front chairs, they’re reserved for the Hungry Ghosts.

PLAY THE CHINESE OPERA on the eve of the Hungry Ghost Festival. In the olden time, Chinese Opera are played by actors on the street to an ‘empty’ audience. This is because it is believed that the Opera will distract the Hungry Ghosts and not wreak havoc. Nowadays, living people also watch these operas, but they usually leave the first one or two rows empty, because they’re reserved for the Hungry Ghosts.

Of course, it’s not practical for you to play the opera, what some people do is put a TV set or a radio and just leave it on to a ‘happy’ program. It is said that this will distract the hungry ghosts and make them believe that there are real people and therefore they won’t enter your house. The energy that you’re emitting by playing the radio or TV is also a yang energy that attracts them.

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 Dreaded Hungry Ghost Month

Published Hulyo 17, 2012 by jptan2012

One of the most famous Chinese festivals, other than Chinese New Year and Moon Cake Festival, is the Hungry Ghost Festival, which also happens to be one of the most dreaded festival and month of the Chinese.

The Hungry Ghost Festival happens on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month, however, unlike the other festivals, like the Chinese New Year wherein the changing of the Flying Stars happens on a specified time and date, the preparation and effect of the Hungry Ghost Month, as the term indicates, lasts for a month. It actually starts on the first day of the 7th lunar month, peaks on the 15th day, which is the Hungry Ghost Festival, and ends on the last day of the 7th lunar month.

Every year, if you follow the Gregorian/Western calendar, the Hungry Ghost Month lands on different dates. Sometimes, it starts in July and ends in August, or starts in August and ends in September. But it always cuts across August of the Gregorian calendar. For this year (2012), the Hungry Ghost Month starts on August 17 and ends on September 15. The peak is on August 30, 2012, which is the date of the Hungry Ghost Festival.

But what is the Hungry Ghost Festival or Hungry Ghost Month?

Hungry Ghost Month is actually simply called Ghost Month (鬼月, Guǐ Yuè) in Chinese, the word Hungry is added in the words Ghost Months to clarify the nature of the ghosts that best characterized this season…they’re HUNGRY!

During this month, it is believed that the King of Hell opens the gate of hell to release and allow the spirits in hell or ghosts to be free and roam our world. It is believed that the hungry ghosts will visit families and other humans, thus it is said that there’d be more paranormal and ghostly manifestation during this month. Furthermore, hungry ghosts will also look for victims that they can bring with them to hell, and thus there’d be more accidents, more than that because of the strong yin and negative energy of this season, business becomes bad and it is highly advisable that one shouldn’t sign any contract, move to a new house, get operated on during the entire Hungry Ghost Month.

Why are they considered hungry?

Buddhism and Taoism both have a slightly different version of the Hungry Ghost. For Buddhism, Hungry Ghost is in one of the Six Realms of Existence, and they are simply a form of existence. However, for Taoism, Hungry Ghosts are (1) spirits of people who have not yet gone through a reincarnation and are largely forgotten by their descendants, (2) spirits of really bad people and they’re currently being punished, (3) spirits of really sad people who died of a violent death or suicide, (4) lost spirits who harbored so much yin energy or yin feelings while they were sill living.

They’re hungry because they are unable to get food from their living love ones because their violent or yin dominant death has blocked their connection with their loved ones, they don’t have any love ones on earth, or simply they have been forgotten. It is said that a deceased love one will have connection with us for a few more years, and depending on how we treat their spirits they may enter the samsara (cycle of life) immediately or go to hell as an hungry ghost. It is also said that ghost still needs sustenance in the other existence, and they get it from us in the form of offerings. These people not receiving any are then thrown into the pit of hell and become hungry ghosts.

Since most of these ghosts lived a negative life or died a violent death, many of them still harbor ill feelings towards their fate, so when they’re released they also try to do us harm. Thus all of us need to be extra careful.

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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