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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
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