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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 1:11 pm 
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I guess I should predicate this by saying I come a somewhat eccentric family...

It seems like most of the people in family have seen a ghost at some point or other (myself not included). Therefore, I was raised in an environment where the fact that people can see spirits is an accepted notion, and is treated rather matter-of-factly. To get to the point, there are all these stories in my family of someone seeing a departed relative shortly after their death (or in some cases years later,) and I was always told that these people were just checking in on us. I am inclined to believe that the people who have related these stories are at least telling the truth from their own side (they certainly believe they saw what they claim)

So my question is, if we assume that these apparitions did appear, according to buddhist thought, do we have to assume that the individuals in question have taken birth in the lower realms as preta etc?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:21 pm 
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When I imagine finding myseslf in hell or the realm of hungry spirits after death, I wonder if I would even think much about those I had left behind. I might even resent and envy them, still in this world, which, horrible as it is, is a walk in the park compared to the hunger realms or hell.
If I found myself in heaven, where there is only pleasure and no suffering, I wonder if I would even care about them. If I did, I would feel deep satisfaction, because that would be proof that the causes I made in the past had made it possible for me to feel compassion for others even when I myself am not suffering. That would be proof, in my mind, that I had cultivated bodhisattva consciousness during the life I had just left, and could hope to transcend even heaven in the future and reach enlightenment.
When the spirit (life force) leaves the body, it moves on in accordance with the causes made in the past.
It seems to me that a spirit who stays in this world, manifest as the person he/she once was does so by cause. There must be some sense of frustration, something left undone that must be finished before they can leave this world behind. Or maybe it's an attachment to the body left behind, or attachment to loved one in this world. I don't think we common mortals have the wisdom to know anyone's path through past, present and future.
What I do believe as a Buddhist is that living beings are never born, never die, we just change form in accordance with causes and conditions. I have never seen a ghost appear to me looking exactly as somone did while alive, but I have got feelings during sitting practice, especially when I think of my parents, that have gradually increased my conviction that we can commune with those who have lived and died in this world. I believe not only that our thoughts reach them and help or harm them, but also that their thoughts reach us as well, and that we can learn from them to our mutual benefit.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:50 pm 
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meepmeep wrote:
So my question is, if we assume that these apparitions did appear, according to buddhist thought, do we have to assume that the individuals in question have taken birth in the lower realms as preta etc?


Strictly speaking, no. Rebirth types are infinite although this diversity manifests directly in different temporary hells that people hear about that can be individual, in effect tailored by individual karma.

Ghosts as thought of in the West could be imagination, beings in hell realms, or individual hell realms, or hungry ghost realms or deva (lower god) realms manifesting through a form of clairvoyance (and there are other possibilities as well). When we see this phenomena, our particular mentality interprets what we see and we see that rather than the actual phenomena. We see what we are conceptually primed to see.

But strictly speaking these manifestations are not necessarily evidence of lower rebirth themselves.

Of course this is my opinion and you should ask a teacher this question.

Kirt

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:01 pm 
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I second Kirtu's opinion.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:16 am 
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From what I've heard the ghost realm is really diverse and not just the starving beings wandering in the deserts with swollen bodies and shrunken necks.

I've heard that there is a great variety in terms of their comfort also. So some are in immense agony and others feel okay.

This is one of those few Buddhist subjects that would be tricky to verify, like cosmology or historical accuracy.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:28 pm 
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Don't think so as not all spirits beings are necessarily from a lower realm. There is also said to be deva realms where spirit beings live, AKA angels, etc. which are considered happy destinations.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:59 pm 
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My family also takes spirits of the deceased being seen as regular. What they are seeing is not clear to me, but they have the appearance of family members that died. There used to be a lot more poltergeist type things happening before I became Buddhist. Now things moving around is very rare. The last thing I recall noticing was shampoo bottles tumbling off the shelf in the shower at night, harmless fun I suppose. I like to think what little I do Buddhistically has benefited the unseen movers in some way.

I have come to the conclusion that people who deny spirit phenomenon happens are mentally unsound because their view of reality and reality do not match. :coffee:
It's kind of like denying that Obama is president. Yeah it's possible their experience and information is so limited that they are not at fault for coming to that conclusion, but almost certainly there is a considerable amount of denial going on. Probably because they're afraid of what lurks in the dark instead of being sincerely concerned about the beings that suffer in the dark.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:25 pm 
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Yes.

I think it has to do with being attached to the 5 aggregates


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:42 pm 
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Does anybody know any details about the 30 Warrior attendants of King Gesar? Such as their names, origins, correspondences to Mahasiddhas, etc? Thanks, very much appreciated.

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