Gods protected Buddha

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Re: Gods protected Buddha

Postby Indrajala » Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:40 am

Kyosan wrote:I don't agree that thinking this is arrogant because as Buddhists we are supposed to judge for ourselves what to believe.


You call yourself Buddhist yet deny some core teachings of the Buddha. This is hubris.

That is my judgement and there's nothing wrong with my making judgements like this. In fact, that is what i MUST do. I think that all beings who is seeking the truth need to use their own judgement in finding the truth and shouldn't rely too much on faith. Faith in a good teacher is important but not blind faith.


You are free to think and believe whatever you will. However, if you're going to call yourself a Buddhist and then turn around and deny core teachings of the Buddha (in this case half the cosmology), you are merely making contradictory statements. Nobody will take you seriously if you claim to be a Buddhist while denying core teachings of the Buddha.


Perhaps devas exist in some way. I don't believe that they exist as actual beings but perhaps they exist in our minds somehow. There are many things in the sutras that I don't understand.


By your own admission you don't understand many things in sutra. So, would it not be wiser to remain silent on things you don't know much about rather than making judgements with little to no understanding?
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Re: Gods protected Buddha

Postby Blue Garuda » Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:15 am

Kyosan wrote:
This is a little off topic but, I was involved in a discussion about "gods in Buddhism" on a non-Buddhist forum a few months ago. I said that, though there are gods (devas) in Buddhism I didn't believe in them myself but didn't think that other Buddhists would consider that important and they wouldn't consider me to be less of a Buddhist because of it. Do you think that statement is generally true? I'm asking because after I made that post I wasn't 100% sure that it was true. :smile:


I have seen interpretations which treat the realms as simply moods or states of mind we fall into, and rebirth as not a literal post-mortem transference of the mind from being to being, but a metaphor for constant change.

At the other extreme I know those whose Tantra involves daily work with the spirit realms, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as real beings. I'm personally closest to the latter understanding of the realms and the beings within them, and have faith based upon my guru, as he repeatedly gives me guidance which works, and my faith based on my own experiences within Vajrayana practice.

There is a course a spectrum of views in betweeen those extremes, and we also have to consider the contextualisation of the different interpretations of the emptiness of inherent existence, including that of ourselves.

Our understanding of reality and our faith in that reality is central to our path - and sometimes we may fall into the trap of thinking that because that path works for us, other paths must be inferior. Again, at the two extremes, threads with accusations of 'superstition' or 'hinayana' applied to other Buddhists, rise from such wrong thinking and lack of compassion.

I'll make the assumption that Shakyamuni would have been raised with an understanding of gods and spirits, possibly through local culture and possibly through reading - for example I think the Ramayana tales would have been available to him.

Now, I find it improbable that after his enlightenment, the Buddha would suddenly teach that these realms of beings are just moods or emotions and we are 'reborn' whenever our mind changes state, and that they are no longer to be understood as 'real' realms with 'real' beings. He had the vocabulary simply to talk of moods and states of mind in plain words, so why confuse his disciples?

As an enlightened being, there is no contradiction in his making use of them, or accepting their help, to further his wish to teach others, and in including them in his teachings as beings which were probably already familiar to his disciples as part of their cosmology.

If we encounter beings from other realms, or feel another person has misunderstood Buddha's teachings, or when a being from any realm appears hostile, or when we want their help, there is one simple approach which works in all contexts - Compassion, a mind which is beyond harm and harming.

Buddha would therefore not have needed the help of the gods, but out of Compassion he involved them in his work.

maitri

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Re: Gods protected Buddha

Postby Individual » Sun Dec 26, 2010 2:25 pm

Huseng wrote:
Kyosan wrote:I don't agree that thinking this is arrogant because as Buddhists we are supposed to judge for ourselves what to believe.


You call yourself Buddhist yet deny some core teachings of the Buddha. This is hubris.

That is my judgement and there's nothing wrong with my making judgements like this. In fact, that is what i MUST do. I think that all beings who is seeking the truth need to use their own judgement in finding the truth and shouldn't rely too much on faith. Faith in a good teacher is important but not blind faith.


You are free to think and believe whatever you will. However, if you're going to call yourself a Buddhist and then turn around and deny core teachings of the Buddha (in this case half the cosmology), you are merely making contradictory statements. Nobody will take you seriously if you claim to be a Buddhist while denying core teachings of the Buddha.


Perhaps devas exist in some way. I don't believe that they exist as actual beings but perhaps they exist in our minds somehow. There are many things in the sutras that I don't understand.


By your own admission you don't understand many things in sutra. So, would it not be wiser to remain silent on things you don't know much about rather than making judgements with little to no understanding?

If devas are real, tell one to send me an e-mail because I would enjoy a discussion with one.

--raises middle finger at the sky--

Where are you, hmm? Indra, throw a lightning bolt at me! C'mon, you worthless coward! :jedi:

Hmm. It seems devas are only things to be read in books -- and for people to muse about, in flames, in smoke, crystal balls, shadows and spots out light out of the corner of one's eyes -- these types of perceptions all have one thing in common. They are all murky. :)
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Re: Gods protected Buddha

Postby Individual » Sun Dec 26, 2010 2:32 pm

It is said that the devas are fettered by pride. If this were true, it would seem it would be easy to manipulate them by appealing to their pride. If a person strokes the gods' egos through ritual devotion, that should bring fruit. And if a person deflates the gods' egos through mockery of myth, mockery of ritual devotion, and insulting the gods directly, that should bring fruit also.

However, practically in life we do things and the gods seem to be irrelevant. People make ritual sacrifices that go unheard and people like Richard Dawkins call religion a joke, and they are untouched by the gods.

So, if there are gods, I don't blame anyone for disbelieving in them, because the gods certainly do a good job of making themselves invisible, even to their supporters.
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Re: Gods protected Buddha

Postby Indrajala » Sun Dec 26, 2010 3:43 pm

Individual wrote:So, if there are gods, I don't blame anyone for disbelieving in them, because the gods certainly do a good job of making themselves invisible, even to their supporters.


And I am saying that Buddha did indeed affirm the existence of such entities and if you think he really was enlightened and knew what he was speaking about then you must take his thoughts on the matter seriously.

If you think he was flat out wrong, then you hold yourself as better than the Buddha and your own teachings superior to his. If you were a monk that would be one qualification needed for creating a division in the sangha.

You can go to hell for that. In this case you're just proclaiming your own superiority to the Buddha. Don't expect much sympathy.

Can I ask if you have refuge vows?
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Re: Gods protected Buddha

Postby nirmal » Sun Dec 26, 2010 7:20 pm

Our refuge is only in Lord Buddha and the Triple Gems. Buddhists pay homage to the gods because they were asked to do so by the Buddha.

The Buddha taught his disciples six subjects of mindfulness.The last one of which is the mindfulness of the gods(devanusmrti).One should remember the gods and then they will surely help.

Buddha won Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi under the Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya because the gods helped to subdue demons.

In the Avatamsaka Sutra the Buddha is surrounded by an assembly of human and non human beings including many gods and godlings. Even the small ones of earth, trees and forests were assembled to protect the Buddha.

Even the small divinities of earth can help us obtain the siddhi(power) of samatha.

It is sad to see that even Buddhist mistake their own religion as atheistic and say that there is no need to pay attention to the gods.
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Re: Gods protected Buddha

Postby Blue Garuda » Sun Dec 26, 2010 7:38 pm

Individual wrote:It is said that the devas are fettered by pride. If this were true, it would seem it would be easy to..............


If........if ................ all your assumptions were to be correct, why would a proud god take the least bit of notice of you, me or a modern pundit, as you assert they should? You then argue against yourself by writing that other human acts go unheard by the gods - how do you know? I hear lots of things but don't react to them.

I understand the humour of your treatment, but shouting at the clouds because deities don't give us a sign is surely suitable only for religions which look to an omnipotent God to be their personal saviour.

The topic examines the relationship between Buddha and the gods, not the relationship beween us and the gods, nor whether they exist or not.

If Buddha is able to interact with the gods and teaches us that they are real, how do you think your evidence based on your absence of personal interaction with the gods in any way negates those teachings?
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Re: Gods protected Buddha

Postby Kyosan » Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:41 pm

Huseng wrote:
Kyosan wrote:Perhaps devas exist in some way. I don't believe that they exist as actual beings but perhaps they exist in our minds somehow. There are many things in the sutras that I don't understand.


By your own admission you don't understand many things in sutra. So, would it not be wiser to remain silent on things you don't know much about rather than making judgements with little to no understanding?

I admitted that there are many things in the sutras that I don't understand but I don't think that puts me at a disadvantage. I'm sure that the same is true for the vast majority of Buddhists. The sutras and the Buddhist teaching are not easy to understand and are often interpreted differently by different people.

To me the issue of what devas are is a non-issue. I used to question that but there are other questions that I now consider more important and take priority. I am more concerned about the essential Buddhist teaching. I take it as my task to understand the essential Buddhist teaching, and when I become a bodhisattva that is what I need to teach others by skillful means.
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Re: Gods protected Buddha

Postby Kyosan » Mon Dec 27, 2010 8:00 pm

Yeshe wrote:
Kyosan wrote:
This is a little off topic but, I was involved in a discussion about "gods in Buddhism" on a non-Buddhist forum a few months ago. I said that, though there are gods (devas) in Buddhism I didn't believe in them myself but didn't think that other Buddhists would consider that important and they wouldn't consider me to be less of a Buddhist because of it. Do you think that statement is generally true? I'm asking because after I made that post I wasn't 100% sure that it was true. :smile:


I have seen interpretations which treat the realms as simply moods or states of mind we fall into, and rebirth as not a literal post-mortem transference of the mind from being to being, but a metaphor for constant change.

At the other extreme I know those whose Tantra involves daily work with the spirit realms, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as real beings. I'm personally closest to the latter understanding of the realms and the beings within them, and have faith based upon my guru, as he repeatedly gives me guidance which works, and my faith based on my own experiences within Vajrayana practice.

There is a course a spectrum of views in betweeen those extremes, and we also have to consider the contextualisation of the different interpretations of the emptiness of inherent existence, including that of ourselves.

Our understanding of reality and our faith in that reality is central to our path - and sometimes we may fall into the trap of thinking that because that path works for us, other paths must be inferior. Again, at the two extremes, threads with accusations of 'superstition' or 'hinayana' applied to other Buddhists, rise from such wrong thinking and lack of compassion.

I'll make the assumption that Shakyamuni would have been raised with an understanding of gods and spirits, possibly through local culture and possibly through reading - for example I think the Ramayana tales would have been available to him.

Now, I find it improbable that after his enlightenment, the Buddha would suddenly teach that these realms of beings are just moods or emotions and we are 'reborn' whenever our mind changes state, and that they are no longer to be understood as 'real' realms with 'real' beings. He had the vocabulary simply to talk of moods and states of mind in plain words, so why confuse his disciples?

As an enlightened being, there is no contradiction in his making use of them, or accepting their help, to further his wish to teach others, and in including them in his teachings as beings which were probably already familiar to his disciples as part of their cosmology.

If we encounter beings from other realms, or feel another person has misunderstood Buddha's teachings, or when a being from any realm appears hostile, or when we want their help, there is one simple approach which works in all contexts - Compassion, a mind which is beyond harm and harming.

Buddha would therefore not have needed the help of the gods, but out of Compassion he involved them in his work.

maitri

Yeshe


Thank you Yeshe for answering my question.

I now clearly see that the statement I made on the other board was wrong. When I made that statement I was assuming that other Buddhists think like me. I should have said that some Buddhists consider devas important and some don't.
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Re: Gods protected Buddha

Postby nirmal » Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:43 am

Once I was advised seek the help of Tu Ti Kong, the Earth Deity.One of my dogs died and its spirit was still hanging around. It used to come into my house when I was meditating and it loved to lick my face.The whole face would itch like mad.This itch was different and unbearable. Protectors were around but it is their nature to allow one's ancestors and spirits of the animals reared by us into the house without any hindrance.Such is their nature. I was advised to seek the help of Tu Ti Kong by performing a small fire offering to him.During that offering, I asked Tu Ti Kong to take the dog spirit along with him as it was a hindrance to my meditation.After that, I had no more trouble from that dog spirit.Even a small deity like him helped me along my path. Based on my experience, I have always kept my respect for all deities however small for that is what I have learned from the teachings of Buddha.
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Re: Gods protected Buddha

Postby Individual » Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:12 pm

Huseng wrote:
Individual wrote:So, if there are gods, I don't blame anyone for disbelieving in them, because the gods certainly do a good job of making themselves invisible, even to their supporters.


And I am saying that Buddha did indeed affirm the existence of such entities and if you think he really was enlightened and knew what he was speaking about then you must take his thoughts on the matter seriously.

If you think he was flat out wrong, then you hold yourself as better than the Buddha and your own teachings superior to his. If you were a monk that would be one qualification needed for creating a division in the sangha.

You can go to hell for that. In this case you're just proclaiming your own superiority to the Buddha. Don't expect much sympathy.

Can I ask if you have refuge vows?

Can I ask if you're a Christian\Muslim or a Buddhist?
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Re: Gods protected Buddha

Postby Blue Garuda » Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:38 pm

nirmal wrote:Once I was advised seek the help of Tu Ti Kong, the Earth Deity.One of my dogs died and its spirit was still hanging around. It used to come into my house when I was meditating and it loved to lick my face.The whole face would itch like mad.This itch was different and unbearable. Protectors were around but it is their nature to allow one's ancestors and spirits of the animals reared by us into the house without any hindrance.Such is their nature. I was advised to seek the help of Tu Ti Kong by performing a small fire offering to him.During that offering, I asked Tu Ti Kong to take the dog spirit along with him as it was a hindrance to my meditation.After that, I had no more trouble from that dog spirit.Even a small deity like him helped me along my path. Based on my experience, I have always kept my respect for all deities however small for that is what I have learned from the teachings of Buddha.


In Tibetan Buddhism we have a ceremony called Phowa, whereby the consciousness of the dead being is assisted in transference to its next life, such as entry into a Pure Land. It is a very blissful practice and also helps the bereaved, especially if they feel that the dead being has not fully departed. The assistance of holy beings is sought, as is protection from harmful obstructions.
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Re: Gods protected Buddha

Postby nirmal » Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:11 pm

Yeshe wrote:
nirmal wrote:Once I was advised seek the help of Tu Ti Kong, the Earth Deity.One of my dogs died and its spirit was still hanging around. It used to come into my house when I was meditating and it loved to lick my face.The whole face would itch like mad.This itch was different and unbearable. Protectors were around but it is their nature to allow one's ancestors and spirits of the animals reared by us into the house without any hindrance.Such is their nature. I was advised to seek the help of Tu Ti Kong by performing a small fire offering to him.During that offering, I asked Tu Ti Kong to take the dog spirit along with him as it was a hindrance to my meditation.After that, I had no more trouble from that dog spirit.Even a small deity like him helped me along my path. Based on my experience, I have always kept my respect for all deities however small for that is what I have learned from the teachings of Buddha.


In Tibetan Buddhism we have a ceremony called Phowa, whereby the consciousness of the dead being is assisted in transference to its next life, such as entry into a Pure Land. It is a very blissful practice and also helps the bereaved, especially if they feel that the dead being has not fully departed. The assistance of holy beings is sought, as is protection from harmful obstructions.


I usually make 9 large lotuses or build a ship about 2 metres long and sometimes make dragon boats as vehicles to transfer the consciousness of the dead beings for the Phowa which is held twice a year at the centre.It's like helping them to cross to the other shore.My Vajraguru conducts the Phowa and members contribute in any way they can.
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Re: Gods protected Buddha

Postby nirmal » Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:36 pm

Year before last, I made 2 dragon boats all filled with offerings. This is the other dragon boat.It was a joy making them.We do it our way.
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Re: Gods protected Buddha

Postby Blue Garuda » Tue Dec 28, 2010 6:07 pm

Thnak you for sharing the pictures. It must be a wonderful ceremony. :)

I was referrring to Phowa performed for a specific individual, whose consciousness is called from the Bardo within 49 days of death, purified of defilements, and assisted to enter their next rebirth. For this, a name and picture are helpful. A fire ceremony is involved.

I do know of Phowa ceremonies where the names of the deceased are read out and the ceremony is dedicated to them, but I think this is more of a generally expressed compassionate wish than a direct intervention. I'm sure that all such ceremonies asking for assistance from holy beings are also a comfort to the bereaved.

Are the boats set alight or do they carry lanterns and incense?
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Re: Gods protected Buddha

Postby nirmal » Tue Dec 28, 2010 6:53 pm

Yeshe wrote:Thnak you for sharing the pictures. It must be a wonderful ceremony. :)

I was referrring to Phowa performed for a specific individual, whose consciousness is called from the Bardo within 49 days of death, purified of defilements, and assisted to enter their next rebirth. For this, a name and picture are helpful. A fire ceremony is involved.

I do know of Phowa ceremonies where the names of the deceased are read out and the ceremony is dedicated to them, but I think this is more of a generally expressed compassionate wish than a direct intervention. I'm sure that all such ceremonies asking for assistance from holy beings are also a comfort to the bereaved.

Are the boats set alight or do they carry lanterns and incense?


What we do is chant sutras in a group in front of a table full of offerings. Then the Vajraguru blesses the names of the participants and their ancestors.We also pray for our past 7 lifes' parents and chant and pass merits onto wandering spirits who have no one to pray for them.Then The Vajraguru blesses all the offerings and after the transference of merits, the offerings are set alight.What the spiritual world gets is the spiritual shape of the offerings.
I usually make the offerings for the wandering spirits and souls at home before taking them to the centre.A few hundred thousand of spirits hang around my house at that time.The most beautiful part is that they are very obedient though quite restless.I usually tell them to sit at a big open piece of ground next to my house and tell them to chant while waiting for the ceremony.None of my neighbours or my family members are disturbed and we can sleep in peace every night even during the month of the hungry ghosts. The happiest days of my life are during ceremonies like these as we are still in a good position to help them
What I put in the dragon boats is sandalwood, 5 coloured rice, all sorts of beans,a mala to encourage them to chant, dry food, biscuits,5coloured incense sticks,a piece of driftwood from the beach, mantras,paper clothes, bread, Chinese herbs,twigs of a mango tree,rock sugar, red dates and a few other things.Then the problem of lifting the fully laden dragon boat starts.It becomes pretty heavy.
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Re: Gods protected Buddha

Postby Blue Garuda » Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:16 pm

nirmal wrote:
Yeshe wrote:Thnak you for sharing the pictures. It must be a wonderful ceremony. :)

I was referrring to Phowa performed for a specific individual, whose consciousness is called from the Bardo within 49 days of death, purified of defilements, and assisted to enter their next rebirth. For this, a name and picture are helpful. A fire ceremony is involved.

I do know of Phowa ceremonies where the names of the deceased are read out and the ceremony is dedicated to them, but I think this is more of a generally expressed compassionate wish than a direct intervention. I'm sure that all such ceremonies asking for assistance from holy beings are also a comfort to the bereaved.

Are the boats set alight or do they carry lanterns and incense?


What we do is chant sutras in a group in front of a table full of offerings. Then the Vajraguru blesses the names of the participants and their ancestors.We also pray for our past 7 lifes' parents and chant and pass merits onto wandering spirits who have no one to pray for them.Then The Vajraguru blesses all the offerings and after the transference of merits, the offerings are set alight.What the spiritual world gets is the spiritual shape of the offerings.
I usually make the offerings for the wandering spirits and souls at home before taking them to the centre.A few hundred thousand of spirits hang around my house at that time.The most beautiful part is that they are very obedient though quite restless.I usually tell them to sit at a big open piece of ground next to my house and tell them to chant while waiting for the ceremony.None of my neighbours or my family members are disturbed and we can sleep in peace every night even during the month of the hungry ghosts. The happiest days of my life are during ceremonies like these as we are still in a good position to help them
What I put in the dragon boats is sandalwood, 5 coloured rice, all sorts of beans,a mala to encourage them to chant, dry food, biscuits,5coloured incense sticks,a piece of driftwood from the beach, mantras,paper clothes, bread, Chinese herbs,twigs of a mango tree,rock sugar, red dates and a few other things.Then the problem of lifting the fully laden dragon boat starts.It becomes pretty heavy.



Phowa as I understand within the Gelugpa is specifically for a person's consciousness whilst they are in the Bardo state or nearing death. It may be done for oneself or for another being. I have never heard of Phowa for any being already exisiting in one of the realms, unless already dying, as it would be like wishing for their death.

What you describe as Phowa seems more like the Hungry Ghost Festival:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_Festival
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Re: Gods protected Buddha

Postby nirmal » Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:45 pm

[/quote]


Phowa as I understand within the Gelugpa is specifically for a person's consciousness whilst they are in the Bardo state or nearing death. It may be done for oneself or for another being. I have never heard of Phowa for any being already exisiting in one of the realms, unless already dying, as it would be like wishing for their death.

What you describe as Phowa seems more like the Hungry Ghost Festival:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_Festival[/quote]

We don't do Phowa as the Vajraguru can just shut his eyes and send the persons consciousness from the Bardo state into the Buddha's mind.He uses the energy of the physical nerves(I think). It's done in a matter of minutes.I hope I have said the right thing.
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Re: Gods protected Buddha

Postby nirmal » Tue Dec 28, 2010 8:12 pm

I have never heard of Phowa for any being already exisiting in one of the realms, unless already dying, as it would be like wishing for their death.

When I participate in the ceremony, first my name is blessed to show that I am the one who is asking for prayers for my ancestors. Following that the names of my ancestors are blessed.So both I and my ancestors get blessings.The Phowa you were talking about is different from what we do in the ceremony for the dead.It was a mistake on my part for using the word Phowa.
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Re: Gods protected Buddha

Postby Blue Garuda » Tue Dec 28, 2010 8:39 pm

nirmal wrote:I have never heard of Phowa for any being already exisiting in one of the realms, unless already dying, as it would be like wishing for their death.

When I participate in the ceremony, first my name is blessed to show that I am the one who is asking for prayers for my ancestors. Following that the names of my ancestors are blessed.So both I and my ancestors get blessings.


Yes, but that is not Phowa. Phowa has nothing to do with you or your ancestors.

The consciousness of a person who dies enter the Bardo. They eventually move on to their next life. Phowa is a ceremony transferring that consciousness from the Bardo on to the next life, within 49 days of a person's death. Unless a being is close to death, Phowa is never performed for beings which are alive in any of the realms.

From what you say, you are talking of something entirely different, as I say it seems most like the Hungry Ghost Festival, described in Wiki like this:

''The Ghost Festival, also known as the Hungry Ghost Festival, is a traditional Chinese festival and holiday celebrated by Chinese in many countries. In the Chinese calendar (a lunisolar calendar), the Ghost Festival is on the 15th night of the seventh lunar month (14th in southern China).

In Chinese tradition, the fifteenth day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar is called Ghost Day and the seventh month in general is regarded as the Ghost Month (鬼月), in which ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from the lower realm. Distinct from both the Qingming Festival (in Spring) and Chung Yeung Festival (in Autumn) in which living descendants pay homage to their deceased ancestors, on Ghost Day, the deceased are believed to visit the living.

On the fifteenth day the realms of Heaven and Hell and the realm of the living are open and both Taoists and Buddhists would perform rituals to transmute and absolve the sufferings of the deceased. Intrinsic to the Ghost Month is ancestor worship, where traditionally the filial piety of descendants extends to their ancestors even after their deaths. Activities during the month would include preparing ritualistic food offerings, burning incense, and burning joss paper, a papier-mache form of material items such as clothes, gold and other fine goods for the visiting spirits of the ancestors. Elaborate meals (often vegetarian meals) would be served with empty seats for each of the deceased in the family treating the deceased as if they are still living. Ancestor worship is what distinguishes Qingming Festival from Ghost Festival because the latter includes paying respects to all deceased, including the same and younger generations, while the former only includes older generations. Other festivities may include, buying and releasing miniature paper boats and lanterns on water, which signifies giving directions to the lost ghosts and spirits of the ancestors and other deities.''


Do you have a link which describes this as Phowa as I'm confused? :)
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