Do you believe in ghosts?

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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Simon E. » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:10 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:Simon, if you will, listen to today's teaching about minute 45. If that was not clear enough for you, I don't know what would be.

Dechen Norbu, it covers points I raised with Rinpoche. In person.
You have your relationship with him and his teaching..I have mine.
I honour yours.

:namaste:
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Tilopa » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:14 pm

Simon E. wrote:What do you fear Tilopa ?

Closed minded arrogance. It causes people to think they know everything. Very scary.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:17 pm

underthetree wrote:
Not at all. Have a look at Holographic Principle for a start (and please don't debate it with me - I have a clue how it works!). There is almost nothing 'real' about the quantum universe. And the debate about what constitutes consciousness is wide open.

Physicists are the rebels of science, the cutting edge. Many scientists from other branches have a worldview closer to Newtonian Physics principles than Quantum Mechanics. Of all scientists, physicists are the more open minded I've met.

Science is not a religion. It's just science.

It shouldn't be. The problem is when it becomes one. Then we call it Scientism, not science.

You can be a religious scientist. I'm related to one.

There are many. But as you may be aware, while we go through our academic training, a lot of articles of faith are presented as science unintentionally. Students are not alerted to such fact. I think one of the reasons for such scenario is the divorce between science and Philosophy.

The problem from all sides is fundamentalism. I find Richard Dawkins' professional atheism tedious, but not his science.

His "science" is also debatable. I can think of the selfish gene idea as very problematic one in philosophical terms. As long as he keeps himself to Biology he remains a good researcher. The moment he starts speculating about metaphysics I lose interest. He lacks qualifications to do so.

Religion is a hobbyhorse for the Dawkinses of this world, as science is to the people who found museums of creationism.

Two faces of the same tedious coin.

I do live in the UK, by the way, and it is indeed a stronghold of skepticism. Also of druids, wicca, every imaginable iteration of the New Age, Diamond Way and NKT Buddhists, Scientology... the list goes on.

I'm talking about the public presentation of science. It's heavily biased in favor of skeptics.

Personally, it's not the existence of unexplained phenomena that troubles me - I'm quite happy to adjust my outlook if and when any happen to manifest themselves to me.

No beef there whatsoever.

What bothers me is the notion that we have to accept some pre-existing belief system.

Couldn't agree more. Let me make clear I don't support such line of reasoning.

Every culture has the equivalent of ghosts, demons, fairies but they are all shaded differently according to local conditions.

Indeed. People are different, plants are different, animals are different, non visible beings are different.

This creates what we quaintly regard as folklore. It seems to me that what we are talking about on this thread is the need to accept a hybrid of dogma and folklore in order to practice Vajrayana.

Not at all.
To pretend, in other words, to be Tibetans or Medieval Indians. It doesn't seem practical or sensible, and I don't believe it is necessary.

Couldn't agree more!

The radiant beauty of the Dharma lies in experiencing it. The Dharma is a ship to ferry us over the oceans of Samsara. Like any ship, over the centuries it has picked up layers and layers of barnacle-like superstitions, suppositions, folk tales, cultural particularities. We should have our minds on the destination, not on the barnacles.

Those words could be mine.
Last edited by Dechen Norbu on Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:21 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Dechen Norbu wrote:Simon, if you will, listen to today's teaching about minute 45. If that was not clear enough for you, I don't know what would be.

Dechen Norbu, it covers points I raised with Rinpoche. In person.
You have your relationship with him and his teaching..I have mine.
I honour yours.

:namaste:

I hope you don't think I'm trying to force any kind of belief upon you. I'm glad to meet you, to see your interest and to know you learn with such a good teacher. I want you to think of this exchange as a healthy discussion among students with different perspectives. I wouldn't want to have you thinking this is a confrontation of sorts. We don't need to agree. :anjali:
It's terrible if we let bad feelings get in the way. I hope such is not or will ever be the case.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:03 pm

Yes, I think the point has been clearly and irrefutably made, and no need to belabour it. :)

I'll stick with my own direct experience as the best evidence of all -

- my experience, as formerly explained, of both spirits and of working and living with mental health professionals. LOL :)

No offence, of course, is intended in discussions here - apologies to anyone who may feel my responses were unwise or lacked compassion. ;)
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Simon E. » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:05 pm

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back
May the warm sun shine upon your face.
May the soft rains fall on your fields.

A traditional Irish greeting for you Dechen Norbu.

:namaste:
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby dharmagoat » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:54 pm

Hello everyone, I'm back. Did I miss anything?
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Andrew108 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:00 pm

Anything is possible when it comes to experiences.
Dharma isn't about taking on the beliefs of others. Dharma is more about looking at the 'fact' of experience. How experience arises or does it arise and so on.
If you practice Chod then seeing ghosts shouldn't disturb you because you don't posit their existence as external to your experience of them. I sometimes wonder if the internet images and news stories we are swamped with is the modern-day equivalent of seeing ghosts. On the internet everything is possible but can't exist independently of our experience of it - of our naming of it as other. I would suggest this is much the same for ghosts. They can't exist externally prior to our naming of them and when they do seemingly appear in experience - well then anything is possible.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby asunthatneversets » Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:53 pm

Important to remember that disbelief is still a form of belief (one simply believes something isn't true). Anything can be turned into a religion/belief system, including atheism, agnosticism, science, psychology etc... all depends on how one relates to these things.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:29 pm

Simon E. wrote:May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back
May the warm sun shine upon your face.
May the soft rains fall on your fields.

A traditional Irish greeting for you Dechen Norbu.

:namaste:

Lovely!
Thank you Simon.

All the best.

:anjali:
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Sherlock » Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:48 am

Huseng wrote:
underthetree wrote:It's tricky.

Personally I don't believe in, say, nagas, because they seem culturally specific to a place quite distant from my own - I wouldn't expect a Tibetan to believe in pixies, by the same token. I don't find that the Buddhist cosmology (in terms of ghosts and demons) has much relevance to me here in the UK. I do, however, believe that when Tibetans talk about 'devas' they are touching on the same thing that an old Devonian might mean by 'pixie.' So yes, I do believe in the (usually) unseen presence of the supernatural, woven into our experience of the everyday, but that's about as specific as I dare to be. Before meditating in certain places I will make an offering to the powers of that particular spot. Not based on any New Age or spiritual philosophy, but just on how things feel, based on a lifetime of spending a lot of time alone in the deep countryside. Hedging my bets? Of course. But...


Curiously, Indian nagas and Chinese dragons (long 龍) share many similar characteristics. They are both said to affect the rain, manifest as serpents and require placation and offerings. Historically in China most villages would have a dragon shrine.


Apologies for resurrecting an old thread, but it's interesting to note that the descriptions of jinn in Islamic esoteric lore are also similar to nagas. They do not like practitioners who eat fish, onion or garlic (very likely an Indian influence), are guardians of great wealth, can be of many different schools and religions and morw.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Sara H » Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:39 am

Huseng wrote:Today I was discussing with someone about the nature of devas, ghosts, spirits and other non-manifest beings that are said to affect our world. He mentioned he is agnostic about such things.

I'm aware that a lot of Buddhists in the west take an agnostic view about these things, going so far as to say it is unimportant. I suppose on one hand that is true if you're focused on meditation and living ethically as chief concerns, but then as I've been cautioned before by one yogi in Nepal you need to be aware of malicious devas and other non-manifest beings, otherwise they will cause disturbances and hindrances to one's practice. There are prescribed pujas for this sort of thing he explained. Historically this has been a concern as well in many countries, hence the guardians out in the front of many temples.

To remain agnostic is your right of course, but I don't think we can deny that Buddhist cultures the world over have a view that devas and so on really do exist (they're not metaphors or purely psychological phenomena, but rather they possess their own sentient-subjective existences; the undeveloped eye unable to perceive them).

This is something that I don't see a lot of people really taking to in the English speaking world, besides maybe some Tibetan Buddhists. Even then, discussion of ghosts, devas and pretas is likely to raise eyebrows, even summon scorn from others. I know Ajahn Brahm likes to tell ghost stories and he's quite clear in his assertion that deva really do exist and interact with the world in ways usually unseen. However, that is one side of western Buddhism you don't see so much.

So it begs the question how this is going to develop.

Personally I'm comfortable with saying devas, pretas, nagas and so on exist, but in a lot of company I usually don't touch on it unless asked. Today's conversation got me thinking of how this is a point that is being overlooked in at least the English speaking world. It is often seems to be called "a belief" and then tucked away somewhere out of sight.

I've had some first hand experience with these sorts of things as has my Spouse,
But usually it's best not to pay them too much mind.
It's ironic, that in the west, Buddhism tends to shy away from such topics, and yet also in the west, shows like "Ghosthunters" are so popular.

I think there's a fear, that if these sorts of things are talked about, that people will scare off the scientific crowd that often rejected Christianity.

But for me, I think it's important to just say the truth as I've experienced it, and not worry too much about what other people think.

I tend to follow the same trend as you and not bring it up unless asked.

Mainly, because it isn't a main part of training with the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, unless it comes up for an individual person and needs to be adressed, and, can be a sortof fascination, and distraction all of it's own.

That they exist, doesn't mean that we have to go off chasing after them.

Just offer them merit if it seems good, and sit still and pass on.

A qualified monk or priest is very qualified to talk about these sort of things if they come up.

In Gassho,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Red Faced Buddha » Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:59 am

The female members of my family have sometimes had dreams in which they talk to some dead relatives(my great-grandmother for instance.)And they are/were perfectly sane.So unless my great-grandmother was reborn as a preta but somehow retained both her appearance and memory from her former lifetime enough to go visit several of her children,I guess I believe in ghost.
A person once asked me why I would want to stop rebirth. "It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want to be reborn."
I replied. "Wanting to be reborn is like wanting to stay in a jail cell, when you have the chance to go free and experience the whole wide world. Does a convict, on being freed from his shabby, constricting, little cell, suddenly say "I really want to go back to jail and be put in a cell. It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want that?"
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:07 am

Preta are not the only types of ghosts/spirits out there or in here (taps side of skull with index finger). There are many classes of them.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Arjan Dirkse » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:10 pm

I don't believe in ghosts myself...or anything that normally gets labeled as "supernatural".

Still, it's fine if anyone else wants to believe in that.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Indrajala » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:45 pm

Arjan Dirkse wrote:I don't believe in ghosts myself...or anything that normally gets labeled as "supernatural".

Still, it's fine if anyone else wants to believe in that.


The word "supernatural" is misleading. It implies to goes against the laws of nature.

There is nothing in the known laws of physics that would preclude the possibility of immaterial sentient lifeforms existing.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Arjan Dirkse » Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:04 pm

[quote="Huseng"
There is nothing in the known laws of physics that would preclude the possibility of immaterial sentient lifeforms existing.[/quote]

True, but so far all empirically attested lifeforms have a material "base", the body...if you take the idea of a lifeform, I find it hard to imagine of a way they could exist in a matter that is not based upon a material substance. Or how we as material lifeforms would be able to communicate with them, or ascertain their existence, if they lack a material nature.

That is not saying they couldn't exist in some way...I just don't know that they do exist. Perhaps I lack imagination ;)
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Indrajala » Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:10 pm

Arjan Dirkse wrote:That is not saying they couldn't exist in some way...I just don't know that they do exist. Perhaps I lack imagination ;)


Plenty of sane people around the world in many different cultures experience hauntings, ghost encounters and so on.

The evidence is there. It doesn't match contemporary theory, but ideally theories should reflect evidence rather than the other way around.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Arjan Dirkse » Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:18 pm

Huseng wrote:
Arjan Dirkse wrote:Plenty of sane people around the world in many different cultures experience hauntings, ghost encounters and so on.


True, but it's all anecdotal. I don't know of any cases that were investigated and where it was concluded that they were indeed genuine ghosts.

I'm not saying those people are lying, or insane. Ghosts and other immaterial lifeforms are a cultural fact of life for many people, and suggestion is a powerful force. Also sleep paralysis explains a lot of ghost stories.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:25 pm

Arjan Dirkse wrote:True, but so far all empirically attested lifeforms have a material "base", the body...
Well, gee whiz! Has it occured to you that maybe that has to do because the starting hypothesis behind the experiment is to prove that "all empirically attested lifeforms have a material "base""? And, really, given sciences materialist bent, an experiment that tried to prove that some "attested lifeforms" do not "have a material "base" would be impossible within the confines of a (materialist) scientific paradigm.
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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