Buddhism view on talking with dead people

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Buddhism view on talking with dead people

Postby Nosta » Fri Sep 10, 2010 3:30 pm

How does buddhism see people who talk with spirits?

If we accept the buddhism view (spirits will reborn again right after death or maybe a few weeks later) how can someone explain the fact that some people will talk/contact with spirits from long deceased people?
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Re: Buddhism view on talking with dead people

Postby Astus » Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:18 pm

People can be reborn as spirits, it's called the realm of hungry ghosts. Not a good birth.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Buddhism view on talking with dead people

Postby plwk » Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:45 am

If we accept the buddhism view (spirits will reborn again right after death or maybe a few weeks later) how can someone explain the fact that some people will talk/contact with spirits from long deceased people?

If this is of any help....
Due to karma and craving minds...
Firstly, rebirth can manifest in different states of existence; from the Hells all the way to the Heavens and the Pure Lands of Buddhas/Bodhisattvas (As Astus had said it, the preta/hungry ghost realm is not a good one and traditionally classified as one of the three lower realms, the other 2 being the Hell and Animal realms)
Secondly, the length of 'time' in the varying states of existence. E.g those in the Heaven realms tend to have longer karmic duration and gets shorter as it goes down the 'existence's ladder rung'.
Thirdly, rebirth can manifest for X no. of times within one state of existence as long as the karmic duration and craving mind for it lasts. E.g some hungry ghosts have shorter/longer lives but if their karmic duration and craving minds are still strong in that realm, then they will continue to return to the same state until and unless some burst of good karma over weighs it, then one can be propelled upward or if some greater bad karma manifests, then they will go lower.

To take a quote from the Scriptures:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html
"So, Ananda,
there is kamma that is incapable (of good result) and appears incapable (of good result);
there is kamma that is incapable (of good result) and appears capable (of good result);
there is kamma that is capable (of good result) and appears capable (of good result);
there is kamma that is capable (of good result) and appears incapable (of good result)."

http://cttbusa.org/shurangama/shurangama30.asp
"When they have seventy percent emotion and thirty percent thought, they fall beneath the wheel of water into the regions of fire, where they come into contact with steam which is itself like a terrible blaze. In the bodies of hungry ghosts, they are constantly burned by that fire.
Even water harms them, and they have nothing to eat or drink for hundreds of thousands of kalpas."
Although one receives one’s due according to the evil karma one has created, a group can undergo an identical lot, and there are definite places where it occurs."

Read on here

There are many pious accounts like the ones below:
http://www.ymba.org/parable/parabfr3.htm
PARABLE 077: KARMA OF AN ANT
One day, during the time of the Buddha, Mahakasyapa (the highest in wisdom among Arhats) was standing beside Anathapindika (the most famous benefactor of the Order) in the Jeta grove. They were overseeing the ground- breaking for the Jetavana Monastery. Suddenly, a hint of sadness crossed Mahakasyapa's face. Anathapindika asked him what had happened. Pointing to a black ant scrambling amidst the rubble, Mahakasyapa recalled that for untold eons past, during the times of six transhistorical Buddhas, that ant had remained an ant. Even now, under Buddha Sakyamuni, the seventh Buddha, when Mahakasyapa himself had become an Arhat, the poor ant, after eons of rebirth, was still just an ant, condemned to scavenge for scraps of food, condemned to the sufferings of an insect's life -- as devoid as ever of wisdom! "It is only thanks to my spiritual penetration that I know this," explained Mahakasyapa. On hearing this, Anathapindika was deeply moved and could not but shed a tear of sadness.

PARABLE 083:CAUSE AND EFFECT (WILD FOX)
Story of Ch'an master Pai Chang who liberated a wild fox:
"One day, after a Ch'an meeting, although all his disciples had retired, the old master Pai Chang noticed an elderly man who remained behind. Pai Chang asked the man what he was doing and he replied: 'I am not a human being but the spirit of a wild fox. In my previous life, I was the head-monk of this place.
One day, a monk asked me, 'Is an enlightened person still subject to cause and effect?'
I replied, 'No, He is not subject to causality.'
For this reply alone, I got involved in retribution and have now been the spirit of a wild fox for five hundred years, and am still unable to get away from it.
Will the master be compassionate enough to enlighten me on all this.'
Pai Chang said to the old man: 'Ask me the same question and I will explain it to you.'
The man then said to the master:
'I wish to ask the master this: Is an enlightened person still subject to cause and effect?'
Pai Chang replied: 'He is not blind to cause and effect.'

Thereupon, the old man was greatly awakened; he prostrated himself before the master to thank him and said: 'I am indebted to you for your appropriate reply to the question and am now liberated from the fox's body. I live in a small grotto on the mountain behind and hope you will grant me the usual rites for a dead monk.'
The following day, Pai Chang went to a mountain behind his monastery, where in a small grotto he probed the ground with his staff and discovered a dead fox for whom the usual funeral rites for a dead monk were held.
There is a story for which I have read before but can't find the link now where one hungry ghost was so used to its own existence for a long time that it scoffed at the benefits of a human rebirth whilst extolling its own.

How does buddhism see people who talk with spirits?

Some opinions...
On necromancy and talking to 'spirits', whether learned as an art or by 'natural intuition'...I was told...
1. Until and unless one is equipped with a realized mind with skill in means for pretas or other classes of spiritual beings and with Bodhicitta as motivation, the results are often samsaric and can/have often ended up in untold unwholesomeness.
2. Often, it is known that this is a gray area and counterfeit can occur both from the communicator to the 'being', where in the latter, there are other 'unseen' beings to humans or animals like samsaric pretas, yakshas, rakshasas and so forth masquerading as the beloved departed or just one's own deluded 'monkey' mind. Perhaps, this link will help...
3. A quote from the Mahayana Brahmajala Sutra....
http://www.ymba.org/bns/bnsframe.htm
29. On Improper Livelihoods
A disciple of the Buddha should not, for the sake of gain or with evil intentions, engage in the business of prostitution, selling the wiles and charms of men and women.
He must also not cook for himself, milling and pounding grain.
Neither may he act as a fortune-teller predicting the gender of children, reading dreams and the like.
Nor shall he practice sorcery, work as a trainer of falcons or hunting dogs, nor make a living concocting hundreds and thousands of poisons from deadly snakes, insects, or from gold and silver.
Such occupations lack mercy, compassion, and filial piety [toward sentient beings].
Therefore, if a Bodhisattva intentionally engages in these occupations, he commits a secondary offense.

One personal example...
My beloved maternal grandmother passed on in 1987 and it was about 2003 that I had a dream of her imploring and showing me that her grave (located in another state in my country) had been vandalised even showing me a crack on her tombstone and bloodstains. I related on this dream to my mother, who is a Christian and open-minded enough to listen. So she contacted my relatives staying in that state and after a thorough check, there was nothing.
I had always maintained in my heart that this dream was a possible counterfeit, the sense of wariness from my own practice as a Buddhist and as my own late grandmother had issued a solemn reminder before she passed on to all of her children, grandchildren and kindred to avoid any form of divination/sorcery in conjuring her as she WILL not respond and if SOMETHING did respond, it will not be her! :tongue: :jumping: . She wanted us to get on with our lives and prevent us from enriching the charlatans and falling prey to spiritual counterfeits.
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Re: Buddhism view on talking with dead people

Postby mudra » Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:51 am

Not sure whether this is relevant to what the OP was interested in but there is one point in plwk's post that can't be emphasized enough when these mediums "talk to the dead" (very popular in certain parts of Asia and certainly where I live) is that many spirits (sentient beings in their own right of course) or even worse perhaps even the medium themselves when taking advantage of the bereft person's wish to do something for their dearly departed, are extraordinarily adept at imitating their voices and having some kind of knowledge insight into the relationship convince the living relatives to make all kinds of offerings and so forth. Not only are they conning the family but they are doing a rather nasty thing in that they are increasing people's attachments/reducing the family's ability to accept impermanence and move on.

IMHO, the whole thing is really something that is best to avoid. Better to make offerings to the Buddha, or help those in need etc, and dedicate the merit to the deceased. Better yet, work on developing Bodhicitta,
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