My first post here - I am from Canada's Westcoast and have not been a Buddhist practitioner for very long and am still learning alot of things. I practice Chinese Mahayana Buddhism and took the Three Jewel Refuge only about a few weeks ago. The Ullambana (Ghost) Festival is coming up and our temple is going to be chanting Emperor Liang's Repentence service for it. I was just curious generally about it's history, creation etc - sorry if this is a stupid question!
I know it was created to cleanse the karma of Emperor Liang's consort whom had passed away at a very early age and been reincarnated into a large, foul looking snake with worms literally chewing at it's belly as retribution for abusing her position as an Empress, abusing palace staff and maids, and general bad deeds. The snake one evening was said to have approached the Emperor in his private quarters and explained the situation to him. The Emperor consulted with Ch'an (Zen) Masters following the encounter and he had ten chapters of this repentance text commissioned - after the ceremony was performed, his wife's spirit was successfully released from it's...erm....serpent vessel.
If anyone knows anything more about it, please share!