Thursday, January 2, 2014

Tantric Buddhism & Ghosts (密宗與鬼)

My brother in dharma introduced a very old Tantric Buddhist master to me and he taught me one mantra that sounds like “Om Benza Sattva Hum Ah”. The master asked me to recite this mantra whenever and wherever possible with sincerity and asked me to dedicate the merit to all sentient beings at the end of my recitations. According to this old master the mantra has great merit and its power is capable to chase away all ghosts and good for protection from all harms.


Let’s not judge if the old master is correct, this has brought up the question:



 “Is Tantric Buddhism best in exorcising ghosts?”


Well, in the perspective of Tantric Buddhism, ghosts do exist. But ghosts are treated in a very different term: ghosts are called ‘in between bodies’ (中陰身) while the mind only scholar would say ghosts are ‘in between existence’ (中有身). Understanding this fact, we can conclude that there is no need to deal with ghosts as they are just part and parcel of our lives: we too will become ‘in between bodies’.


Indeed in Japanese Mantrayana (東密), the Fudo Myoo (不動明王) have two servants holding ropes who can tie up as many ghosts as possible but it is not so in Tibetan Buddhism: all rituals must comply with the theory of “mind only” or “emptiness”; hence there will be no such treatments on ghosts.


According to mind only scholars, whatever we do will turn into ‘seed’ (種子) and this seed is stored in our 8th consciousness: the Alaya (啊賴耶). And when this seed germinates at the right timing, then ghostly apparition appears and this definitely caused a psychological impact to a person. As such, ‘exorcism’ at this point is only a psychological treatment in every sense: in the perspective of Tantric Buddhism and modern psychiatry.


On the other hand, if the person really ‘sees’ a ghostly apparition with his or her naked eyes, then the best way is to deliver it to the other side and not to treat it in any other way as this will bring very bad karmic effects to the practitioner. Personally, I don’t believe that by simply reciting a mantra and making a few hand gestures that anyone can interfere with the spirit’s karma.


Having said so, it is not easy to get a right person who can deliver our ‘in between’ brothers and sisters; the soothing effect of any rituals, hence is perhaps psychologically so to speak. Anyone who tries to exaggerate this matter and make fantastic stories out of ghosts; he or she is not showing a good example of proper Buddhist behaviors.

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