Questions on Ghosts
I posted regarding ‘psychic kids’ and Patricia posed some interesting questions which I have answered. With respect to Patricia, I am posting it here as it will benefit others. The actual blog post is: http://blog.tsemtulku.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/2010/06/?p=4416
Tashi delek dear Tsem Rinpoche!
Thank you very much for posting this!
I have a question to you: As it is said that the bardo takes in general around 49 days and after that comes the new rebirth. What is it than that is left of the person who have died? I mean for instance: a psychic women`s husband died 5 years ago, but still she can have contact to him; he is still around her.
I’ve heard once even some people perceive a ghost, let´s say their own relative who have died, it is actually not anymore their relative but just “la-energy” of the dead person which remained and in truth the relative actually already got a new rebirth. This la energy can stay for 7 generation. This is even more scary to me, because it is just energy, actually not the dead person`s mind anymore, but who can still communicate and help the living people. Sorry but I do not really understand that, how this can be possible. Can you please tell us something about this?
Or did I got a wrong information and it is more like this: that a person who died but can be perceived by humans as a ghost, actually had a rebirth in the realm of spirits?Or did there something go wrong, like their rebirth did not happen because they are trapped within the bardo /cannot go into “the light” because of a trauma or whatever?
How many types of spirits are existing according buddhism, do they all belong to the class of hungry ghosts?
My Dear Patricia,
Your questions require complex answers, but I will be brief and sincerely hope it helps you.
- Generally there are many types of hungry ghosts or just ghosts. They travel at the speed of thought and also can live hundreds of years almost like some sort of mini titan. So it is possible for people of many generations to see the same being after many generations. Even seven or eight generations and so on.
- The amount of beings existing in the realm of spirits/ghost far far far exceeds that of humans. Their population is huge.
- Spirits have various personalities just like animals and humans. You can generalize them. Like people from the North will be generally taller than of the South. That is very general with many exceptions of course.
- You have the bitter, nasty, harmless, weak, powerful, quiet, noisy, dysfunctional, sneaky, kind, helpful ghosts and with many more personalities. Because ghosts have the ability to travel superfast they have a sort of clairvoyance. They can reak havoc with their clairvoyance because it is limited and hence can give advice that turns out wrong in the long run. But seemingly the advice is ok in the short run with or without knowing it from their side.
- The ghosts can change shapes and forms to appear to you in the form you find comfortable to communicate with you or to frighten you. They wish to communicate for many reasons such as loneliness, anger, expressing their sorrows, or some wish to assist in their own way for something in return.
- Some spirits can even appear to the untrained as Tara!!! Zong Rinpoche told us, some appear as Tara to people!!! So we have to be extremely careful when dealing with them. Better not to deal with them but be aware of their presence.
- To elicit favours from them like asking for lottery number, eliminating an enemy, or getting information from them could be dangerous in the long run depending on their characters. Should be avoided. Being careful to not simply do binding rituals or order them here or there. They can get you back in a way you least suspect. Better to leave them alone.
- Basically if they are in this form, it does not arise from positive karma. So the results cannot be generally positive.
- If they are in the ghost realm, something definitely went wrong. To take rebirth in that realm generally requires one’s mind to have extreme great attachment to a place, person, thing, idea or the such. That attachment is what binds them to their situation until karma is ‘finished’. When they go into the light, it could be another realm, or rebirth. It is not going into a ‘heaven’ as we know it.
- If there are psychics or people who can perceive these beings it is important to do protection and blessing prayers daily if we have to contact or see them. If seeing them is beyond our control, then daily protection would be good. It would bless the person seeing them and bless the ghosts also. Ghosts are moved by altruism or great compassion emanating from a being. Some Practices good to do daily are any of the below:
- Protectors such as Setrap, Four Faced Mahakala, Pelden Hlamo
- Black Manjushri
These practices would bless the person, bless the environment and bless the spirits contacted/seen.
I hope the above helps you.
For further questions re the practices you may contact Beng Kooi.
I wish you well,
Dear Rinpoche, a few questions if I may…
With the influences of media and upbringing, we are conditioned to fear what/who we do not understand. is there any reason we should fear these entities?
Yes, there are cases that you will fear these beings such as:
- If you have offended them in any way, shape or form.
- Taken anything from them.
- Ask them for help and then later ignored them.
- They gave help and you are suppose to give them something in return and you didn’t.
- If someone has cursed you or send magic to you using them.
- Harming a person they are close to or ‘protecting’. These are just some examples people ‘might’ fear them or have experienced disturbances.
- But it would be good to put that fear into actual results for example by concentrating on intense Setrap practice which will bring intense benefits on so many levels not just pacifying the disturbances or the objects of your fear.
And if we do, should we learn to suppress the feeling of fear. by suppressing the fear, should we then substitute it with compassion and kindness?
- We should apologize to them from our hearts and not do it again.
- Do what we have promised once and for all unless totally impossible but don’t break the law doing so.
- If we have done none of the above 6 points except number 5, then we don’t need to fear or put that fear in remedial actions such as Tsongkapa or Setrap practice.
- Generate great pity for the state they are born in without being condescending but genuine pity and wish them well.
- Generating great compassion towards them will help a lot and do practices such as Tsongkapa and Setrap. Dedicate the merits of that practice to them and all beings who suffer, and be genuine in it. They will feel it.
- You can’t suppress fear or pretend you don’t feel it. But remember they are suffering much more than you from loneliness, cold, reliving tragedies/disappointments, hunger, thirst and great attachments. If you look at a dog who’s on the streets, starving, hurt and when you go near to feed, bite you, you don’t feel anger. But even more compassion for what has been done to the poor dog. Same example for spirits. Some are nasty and harmful because they have been given a lot of pain. They are in pain and deserve your pity not so much fear.
When harmed by what we believe to be a spirit/ghost… what should we do, where do we go? i have personally experienced a ‘confrontation’ of sort with an entity and after going to different practitioners who takes trance, i eventually found one who could help me. (this happened prior to my knowing of Kechara).
- Kechara is not the only place that can help. Many places can help. But Kechara is qualified to help when necessary.
- As to what to do, this will take up much more space to explain. For now, I have a book, please refer to that and read it thoroughly. It will help a lot. The book is called ‘Protection from Black Magic and Spirits’. Please direct people to that book would help a lot.
- In general, practicing the 8 verses of Thought Transformation, Tsongkapa Guru Yoga then capped off with Setrap would be very very very good for general disturbances. More ferocious disturbances would require variations of the above or certain rituals. If you do the above three practices very well and daily, you will be ok. Really. Sometimes annoyingly these spirits can come get us later, years later, when we are at a low point. They watch. But doing these practices would be a great protection, blessing yourself and ‘them’. By Blessing them, they eventually go away.
Why do some advice from ‘deities’ work and some don’t. it doesn’t mean that they are fake, i am sure because; they have managed to help others in the past.
- The level of the deities are important. The level of the deities that are being used to nullify whatever is disturbing you is very important.
- How long the disturbance has been with you. If it has been a very long time, then it will not have instant effect. It will take time. Like if you see the best doctor in the whole world, but your disease is very old, it will take time.
- Karmic disposition of the person who needs help. Sometimes the karma is so heavy, the helping deity cannot help you.
These are some of the possible reasons.
In Mahayana, i was advised to learn and recite the Great Compassion Mantra (大悲咒) when i feel uneasy in certain situations. is there a mantra in Vajrayana practice that is similar? would reciting Lama Tsongkhapa’s Migtsema help? or would Setrap? Green Tara?
- Definitely doing the Great Compassion Mantra, Tsongkapa’s migtseyma, Setrap and Green Tara would help. It depends on your affinity to which Deity and your karma.
- For some Green Tara would be and some not. It is not Green Tara’s fault, it is the affinity of the person.
- But for sure all these above practices are for much higher purposes, so protection for spirits is a minor side benefit.
- We should engage in these practices for development of wisdom, compassion, skilful means, letting go of attachments, anger and the like.
Thank you for your time and kind sharing, Rinpoche
I hope the above helps you.
June 12, 2010