Ghost Festival

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Ghost Festival

Postby unspoken » Sun Apr 03, 2011 4:35 pm

There's a period of time in every year where a lot Chinese people will starting to fold burning papers and offering foods in front the grave of their relatives. And sometimes I see paper-made items burn for offering to those passed-away relatives. And I saw a paper written in Chinese words something about the hell and human world passport. I do not believe in what most of them believe, thinking burning paper folded in ornament shapes will definitely send some "hell money" to them.

But one thing confused me. Is there those "officers" that will bring you to hell for judgement when you are going to Avicci Hell? If there are, do those who suffers in Avicci Hell be able to come out for some particular reason and stay here for a while? Or just stay there and suffer until their bad karma worn out?
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Re: Ghost Festival

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:01 am

Hello, Unspoken,
The Festival of Ghosts is not a Buddhist tradition at all, but part of Chinese folk religion.
As for the Avici Hell, maybe this will help: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avici.
:namaste:
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Re: Ghost Festival

Postby plwk » Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:49 am

There's a period of time in every year where a lot Chinese people will starting to fold burning papers and offering foods in front the grave of their relatives. And sometimes I see paper-made items burn for offering to those passed-away relatives.
Unspoken, are you referring to the Chinese 'All Souls Day', 'Qing Ming' or the Hungry Ghost festival?
In the former, they do offerings at the graves and/or ancestral plaques in the temple/home whereas in the latter, it is done at the roadside or designated sites/temples although a small number seem to do it at the graves too. Both are folk/culture based celebrations but in the latter, it is celebrated by the Chinese Mahayana Buddhists (and also some other East Asian cultures around the world) as Ullambana Day and not as 'Hungry Ghost Festival' and some of the local Malaysian Thervadin temples have their own version of this Ullambana celebration.
And sometimes I see paper-made items burn for offering to those passed-away relatives. And I saw a paper written in Chinese words something about the hell and human world passport. I do not believe in what most of them believe, thinking burning paper folded in ornament shapes will definitely send some "hell money" to them.
Over the years, my attitude has been just this: I don't subscribe to what they do but neither do I cast judgement on them. It is of more benefit that I concentrate on my own practice and let others see the beauty and value of the Buddha Dhamma in my life.
But one thing confused me. Is there those "officers" that will bring you to hell for judgement when you are going to Avicci Hell?
What do you think of this? Devaduta Sutta
If there are, do those who suffers in Avicci Hell be able to come out for some particular reason and stay here for a while? Or just stay there and suffer until their bad karma worn out?
See these:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html
"When he says thus: 'For I have seen that some person killed living beings... had wrong view. I saw that on the dissolution of the body, after death, he had reappeared in states of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell,' I concede that to him.
"When he says thus: 'It seems that one who kills living beings... has wrong view, will always, on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in the states of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell,' I do not concede that to him.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html
"Punna, there are four kinds of kamma proclaimed by me after realization myself with direct knowledge. What are the four?
There is dark kamma with dark ripening,
there is bright kamma with bright ripening,
there is dark-and-bright kamma with dark-and-bright ripening, and
there is kamma that is not dark and not bright with neither-dark-nor-bright ripening
that conduces to the exhaustion of kamma.

"What is dark kamma with dark ripening?
Here someone produces a (kammic) bodily process (bound up) with affliction, he produces a (kammic) verbal process (bound up) with affliction, he produces a (kammic) mental process (bound up) with affliction. By so doing, he reappears in a world with affliction. When that happens, afflicting contacts touch him. Being touched by these, he feels afflicting feelings entirely painful as in the case of beings in hell. Thus a being's reappearance is due to a being: he reappears owing to the kammas he has performed. When he has reappeared, contacts touch him. Thus I say are beings heirs of their kammas. This is called dark kamma with dark ripening.

"And what is bright kamma with bright ripening?
Here someone produces a (kammic) bodily process not (bound up) with affliction, he produces a (kammic) verbal process not (bound up) with affliction, he produces a (kammic) mental process not (bound up) with affliction. By doing so, he reappears in a world without affliction. When that happens, unafflicting contacts touch him. Being touched by these, he feels unafflicting feelings entirely pleasant as in the case of the Subhakinha, the gods of Refulgent Glory. Thus a being's reappearance is due to a being: he reappears owing to the kammas he has performed. When he has reappeared, contacts touch him. Thus I say are beings heirs of their kammas. This is called bright kamma with bright ripening.

"What is dark-and-bright kamma with dark-and-bright ripening?
Here someone produces a (kammic) bodily process both (bound up) with affliction and not (bound up) with affliction... verbal process... mental process both (bound up) with affliction and not (bound up) with affliction. By doing so, he reappears in a world both with and without affliction. When that happens, both afflicting and unafflicting contacts touch him. Being touched by these, he feels afflicting and unafflicting feelings with mingled pleasure and pain as in the case of human beings and some gods and some inhabitants of the states of deprivation. Thus a being's reappearance is due to a being: he reappears owing to the kammas he has performed. When he has reappeared, contacts touch him. Thus I say are beings heirs of their kammas. This is called dark-and-bright kamma with dark-and-bright ripening.

"What is neither-dark-nor-bright kamma with neither-dark-nor-bright ripening that leads to the exhaustion of kamma?
As to these (three kinds of kamma), any volition in abandoning the kind of kamma that is dark with dark ripening, any volition in abandoning the kind of kamma that is bright with bright ripening, and any volition in abandoning the kind of kamma that is dark-and bright with dark-and-bright ripening: this is called neither-dark-nor-bright kamma with neither-dark-nor-bright ripening.

"These are the four kinds of kamma proclaimed by me after realization myself with direct knowledge."
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

Anguttara-Nikaya: Ekanipata: Ekadhammapali: Pañhamavagga
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Re: Ghost Festival

Postby unspoken » Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:15 am

plwk wrote:
Unspoken, are you referring to the Chinese 'All Souls Day', 'Qing Ming' or the Hungry Ghost festival?
In the former, they do offerings at the graves and/or ancestral plaques in the temple/home whereas in the latter, it is done at the roadside or designated sites/temples although a small number seem to do it at the graves too. Both are folk/culture based celebrations but in the latter, it is celebrated by the Chinese Mahayana Buddhists (and also some other East Asian cultures around the world) as Ullambana Day and not as 'Hungry Ghost Festival' and some of the local Malaysian Thervadin temples have their own version of this Ullambana celebration.


yes I am referring to that. Because here Theravadin temples also have those Hungry Ghost festivals.

And thank you for the information you gave :namaste:
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Re: Ghost Festival

Postby pegembara » Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:45 am

Then Janussonin the brahman went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One, "Master Gotama, you know that we brahmans give gifts, make offerings, [saying,] 'May this gift accrue to our dead relatives. May our dead relatives partake of this gift.' Now, Master Gotama, does that gift accrue to our dead relatives? Do our dead relatives partake of that gift?"

"In possible places, brahman, it accrues to them, but not in impossible places."


Janussonin Sutta: To Janussonin
(On Offerings to the Dead)
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Ghost Festival

Postby pilgrim » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:03 pm

The Theravada temple I attend celebrates Qing Ming. They don't call it Ghost Festival. What we do is to offer dana, chant parittas and then have a transference of merits ceremony. Buddhism has a clever practice of adopting native customs and incorporating it into itself.
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Re: Ghost Festival

Postby plwk » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:23 pm

The Theravada temple I attend celebrates Qing Ming. They don't call it Ghost Festival. What we do is to offer dana, chant parittas and then have a transference of merits ceremony. Buddhism has a clever practice of adopting native customs and incorporating it into itself.
True, that's the ingenuity that is oft decried by the 'purists'...
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

Anguttara-Nikaya: Ekanipata: Ekadhammapali: Pañhamavagga
VSM VMM WBB TBHT WTBT My Page
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