A story of Shinran's meeting with a hungry ghost
This is a painting of Shinran and a Gaki on Mt Tsukuba ( from the Jofuku-Ji temple in Ozone Tsukuba).
As we know, unlike other Buddhist schools, in Jodo Shinshu there are no ceremonies to feed the hungry ghost (segaki). In relation with this, I recently found a story from Tsukuba and the surrounding area involving Shinran Shonin’s visit to Mt Tsukuba.
It is said that Shinran was staying at some lodging house at the foot of Mt Tsukuba the night before his planned ascent of the mountain. While he slept he dreamed of a boy who announced himself as the messenger of Nantai Gongen ( the male god of the mountain). The boy went on to beseech the great priest to visit the middle one, of 3 caves he would find on the mountain`s slopes.
Shinran found the cave and entered. First he found two jars with a little water in them. Then deeper into the cave he found a gaki (a hungry ghost).
The tormented spirit told Shinran that because of past evil actions he was now suffering terrible hunger and thirst. However, due to the merciful kindness of the deities of the mountain every day, he and the other gaki could drink one drop of water each day.The Gaki then went on to beg Shinran for relief in the form of food or water.
Shinran, however, did not believe that just because one had a bad karma, one had to suffer so much. He was certain that ANYONE who said nembutsu would be saved.
And this, according to the story, is exactly what happened. After saying nembutsu with the Gaki for a day- he was saved and taken to the Pure Land by a mysterious cloud.
It is said that this story was a proof for followers of Tsukuba area that it was not necessary to make offering to gaki because they can save themselves with nembutsu of faith.
I am asking those who know more about this story and the Jofukuji temple, to share their knowledge here. Is this temple belonging to Jodo Shinshu? And if yes, to what branch?
http://amida-ji-retreat-temple-romania. ... ungry.html
ANIMALS GO TO HEAVEN
The Buddha teaching is unique amongst the world religions: it is not only for humans and gods; it is also for animals. There are numerous stories that relate how animals who associate with good humans or are well treated, go to heaven after they die.
The first example is that of the Bodhisattva’s HORSE Kanthaka. The Introduction to the Jataka Commentary (which is one of the earliest records we have of the Buddha’s early life) tells us how when the Bodhisattva Siddhattha renounces the world, his horse Kanthaka is so deeply saddened that he dies broken-hearted, but obviously with a wholesome last thought-moment. He is reborn as the deva Kanthaka in the heaven of the Thirty-three Gods (Sakra’s heaven).
The next famous animal story is found in the story of the Buddha’s solitary retreat in the Parileyya. The Vinaya (V 1:337-357) records how in the 10th year of the ministry, when a dispute arises amongst the monks of Kosambi who even tell the Buddha off when he tries to counsel them. After trying hard to reconcile them and failing, he quietly leaves for a solitary retreat in the Parileyya forest where he is attended by a like-minded ELEPHANT (he leaves his own tribe for the joy of solitude). Watching how the Buddha prepares warm water every morning the elephant Parileyyaka himself prepares it for the Buddha. He also offers the Buddha wild fruits and takes care of his robe and bowl.
A MONKEY, watching the elephant, offers the Buddha a honeycomb. Later, however, in his excitement, the monkey falls on a sharp stump, immediately dies and is reborn in the heaven of the Thirty-three Gods. So too the elephant, who becomes the deva Parileyyaka. This full story is given in the Dhammapada Commentary (see “Buddhist Legends,” book 1 story 5).
Then there is the well known story of the FROG deva in the Vimana Vatthu (Vv 852-88). It is said that once a frog sits listening to the Buddha teaching. Although not knowing human language, it is captivated by the Buddha’s soothing voice. As he listens entranced, a farmer, leaning on his pole, immediately pierces him to death. The frog is reborn in the heaven of the Thirty-three as Manduka Deva (the frog deity). He appears before the Buddha in all his glory to sing his praises. (The full story is given in the Vimana Vatthu Commentary: see “The Minor Anthologies” vol 4 pages 102 f.)
One of the longest stories in world literature, that is, the Udena cycle, found in the Dhammapada Commentary (book 2 story 1). It is actually a cycle of nested stories spanning many lives leading to the Buddha’s time. In one of the stories, during a plague, a poor luckless wandering man named Kotuhalaka reaches a herdsman house and is given some food. The herdsman feeds his DOG with the same food. Kotuhalaka looks with envy at the dog. That night, Kotuhalaka dies from over-eating, and his thinking about the dog leads him to be reborn as the bitch’s puppy.
Now, a pratyeka Buddha (a solitary fully self-awakened Buddha who does not establish his teaching) regularly comes to the house for alms, and the dog (Kotuhalaka) takes a liking to him. When the pratyeka-buddha finally leaves, the dog is saddened and dies. The commentators remarks that dogs, unlike humans, are straightforward and lack deceit. So upon dying, he is reborn in the heaven of the Thirty-three as a deva.
One of the most famous animal stories is that of the Abhidhamma bats. The Dhammapada story (book 14 story 2) tells us in an interesting aside, that 500 youths, witnessing the Buddha perform the twin wonder (a miracle of fire and water radiating from his body), decide to go forth under Sâriputta. It is said that in Kassapa Buddha’s time, they were BATS living in a cave where two monks were reciting the Abhidhamma. So enthralled were they by their sound, although not knowing its meaning, they pass away into the heavens, and are reborn in Sâvatthî. (See “Buddhist Legends” 3:51 f)
Hi sinweiy, do you know which Sutras it is stated in where hungry ghosts can achieve birth?
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.
"And then, Ananda, after the living beings who have slandered and destroyed rules and deportment, violated the Bodhisattva precepts, slandered the Buddha’s Nirvana, and created various other kinds of karma, pass through many kalpas of being burned in the inferno, they finally finish paying for their offenses and are reborn as ghosts.
”If greed for material objects was the original cause that made the person commit offenses, then, after he has finished paying for his crimes, he takes shape when he encounters material objects, and he is called a strange ghost.
”If it was greed for lust that made the person commit offenses, then, after he has finished paying for his crimes, he takes shape when he encounters the wind, and he is called a drought-ghost.
”If it was greed to lie that made the person commit offenses, then, after he has finished paying for his crimes, he takes shape when he encounters an animal, and he is called a mei ghost.
”If it was greed for hatred that made the person commit offenses, then, after he has finished paying for his crimes, he takes shape when he encounters worms, and he is called a ku poison ghost.
”If it was greed for animosity that made the person commit offenses, then, after he has finished paying for his crimes, he takes shape when he encounters degeneration, and he is called a pestilence ghost.
”If it was greed to be arrogant that made the person commit offenses, then after he has finished paying for his crimes, he takes shape when he encounters gases, and he is called a hungry ghost.
”If it was greed to be unjust to others that made the person commit offenses, then after he has finished paying for his crimes, he takes shape when he encounters darkness, and he is called a paralysis ghost.
”If it was greed for views that made the person commit offenses, then, after he has finished paying for his crimes, he takes shape when he encounters essential energy, and he is called a wang-liang ghost.
”If it was greed for deception that made the person commit offenses, then, after he has finished paying for his crimes, he takes shape when he encounters brightness, and he is called a servant ghost.
”If it was greed to be litigious that made the person commit offenses, then, after he has finished paying for his crimes, he takes shape when he encounters people, and he is called a messenger ghost.
”Ananda, such a person’s fall is due to his totally emotional level of functioning. When his karmic fire has burned out, he will rise up to be reborn as a ghost. This is occasioned by his own karma of false thinking. If he awakens to Bodhi, then in the wonderful perfect brightness there isn’t anything at all
”Moreover, Ananda, when his karma as a ghost is ended, the problem of emotion as opposed to discursive thought is resolved. At that point he must pay back in kind what he borrowed from others to resolve those grievances. He is born into the body of an animal to repay his debts from past lives.
sinweiy wrote:hmm, not sure yet, maybe can find it in 佛说救拔焰口饿鬼陀罗尼经(Buddha Speaks of Liberating Hungry Ghost Sutra) which is not translated in english. i will take a look out.
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