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What Do You Think of Ghosts?

VagabondVagabond Explorer
edited September 2013 in General Banter
What do you guys think of ghosts? I live in a 150 year old house and grew up "hearing strange noises" and have a bunch of stories of things breaking. Oddly enough, I don't believe in ghosts and because I never saw anything (although plenty of people claim to have had seen things in the house), I think I was hearing ordinary noises and telling myself they were something more. A couple of stories like a pantry with a loop-hook lock swinging open and having a plate crash to the ground and others make me doubtful of being doubtful of ghosts, so I really don't know. I'm curious as to what YOU think and what you think Buddha thought of ghosts. Thanks

Comments

  • Well, the Buddha said that one of the hell realms is full of hungry ghosts who can never satiate their hunger. Others are full of demons.

    I've heard and read enough stories that I think the spirits of the deceased exist in another dimension that is only thinly veiled from our own. A friend of mine who's a staunch non-believer was really disconcerted to repeatedly see her mother hanging around, after she'd passed away. After 6 months of visitations from her mother, she finally got up the nerve to ask her many siblings if they'd seen anything unusual. They'd all seen their mother, too. I have a few stories and experiences that have convinced me that there's something to this. Science will eventually be able to explain it.
    pegembaraVictoriouscvalue
  • I've encountered nothing that one could refer to as a ghost. And it makes little sense to me. Beyond that, I haven't got much to add. :-/
  • I really hope that science will be able to prove ghosts in some way. How wild is it that we haven't been able to yet though? Cuz there's one thing I know, and that's you can never DISPROVE something if it doesn't exist. So if ghosts DON'T exist, we'll be stuck in the same predicament we are now with interpreting if they are real or not. However, if they DO exist, science MUST be able to prove it some day.
  • hm... Well, animals seem to be able to detect "ghost" or spirit activity. I wonder what that's about?
  • It's a shame we never hear of ghost catepillars or ghost bacteria swarming around. It always has to be a human or one of his pets.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Gee I'm glad Buddhism is the scientific religion.
    riverflowMaryAnnecvalue
  • What do you guys think of ghosts?
    I don't.
    http://www.assap.ac.uk/newsite/htmlfiles/MADS.html
  • “Here, friend, as I was coming down from Mount Vulture Peak, I saw a skeleton moving through the air. Vultures, crows, and hawks, following it in hot pursuit, were pecking at it between the ribs, stabbing it, and tearing it apart while it uttered cries of pain.345 It occurred to me: ‘It is wonderful, indeed! It is amazing, indeed! That there could be such a being, that there could be such a spirit, that there could be such a form of individual existence!’”

    For if I had spoken about it, others would not have believed me, and if they had not believed me that would have led to their harm and suffering for a long time.

    http://palicanon.org/index.php/sutta-pitaka/samyutta-nikaya/part-ii-the-book-of-causation/776-sn-chapter-viii-19-lakkhan-asa-yutta-connected-discourses-with-lakkhan-a
    :hair:
  • pegembara said:

    “Here, friend, as I was coming down from Mount Vulture Peak, I saw a skeleton moving through the air. Vultures, crows, and hawks, following it in hot pursuit, were pecking at it between the ribs, stabbing it, and tearing it apart while it uttered cries of pain.345 It occurred to me: ‘It is wonderful, indeed! It is amazing, indeed! That there could be such a being, that there could be such a spirit, that there could be such a form of individual existence!’”

    For if I had spoken about it, others would not have believed me, and if they had not believed me that would have led to their harm and suffering for a long time.

    http://palicanon.org/index.php/sutta-pitaka/samyutta-nikaya/part-ii-the-book-of-causation/776-sn-chapter-viii-19-lakkhan-asa-yutta-connected-discourses-with-lakkhan-a
    :hair:

    "I saw a man whose testicles were like pots moving through the air. When he walked, he had to lift his testicles onto his shoulders, and when he sat down he sat on top of his testicles. Vultures, crows, and hawks, following him in hot pursuit, were stabbing at him and tearing him apart while he uttered cries of pain…"

    :eek2:
    pegembaraJeffrey
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Oh, gee, thanks. Nightmares tonight! :hair:
    Arthurbodhiriverflowcvalue
  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `     ` `     ` Outa Range Fridays thru Sundays South Carolina, USA Veteran
    edited September 2013
    I think that ghosts are very spooky things you just cannot give in to.
    Definitely things without which you can indeed put.
  • wrathfuldeitywrathfuldeity Veteran
    edited September 2013
    errr...ahhh...aren't we also ghosts (or a mere reflection) that are unbound but contained in a time and circumstance, hellishly hungry for something of substance, aimlessly wondering about and yet also dimly aware that something is not quite right.

    Now that kind of a scary thought....bhawwhahahhahah
    lobsterriverflow
  • BonsaiDougBonsaiDoug Simply, on the path. Veteran
    Dakini said:

    Well, the Buddha said that one of the hell realms is full of hungry ghosts who can never satiate their hunger. [...]

    I've often wondered, from a Buddhist perspective, if "ghost encounters" were some sort of contact with this realm?
  • I lived in Bergen-Belsen, in an army camp that served as a hospital for the 'survivors' of the WW2 concentration camp and right where I lived there were death rates running in the hundreds-per-day which continued for a good few weeks.

    Just down our street (we lived in an old German army barrack block converted into married quarters) was a huge graveyard where the 'survivors' were buried. The bulk of the concentration camp corpses were the ones bulldozed into mass graves; you may have seen the film footage.

    During my three years at this camp I didn't see one single ghost, though I must admit, even though I was a soldier, I wouldn't go down into the cellars at night. It was scary down there.

    There were a few ghost stories about the camp though; one that was corroborated by a female military policewoman; where an army padre was called in to bless a house (ex German army barrack block) because of some strange happenings there (noises mostly).

    I don't know; I'm kinda inclined not to believe in ghosts.

    riverflow
  • Spirits are as real as me or you they are very unfortunate beings its good to develop compassion for them and recite Sutra's or Mantra's in their presence to bless them.
    cvalueTheEccentricseeker242
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Oh my.
  • Dakini said:

    Well, the Buddha said that one of the hell realms is full of hungry ghosts who can never satiate their hunger. [...]

    I've often wondered, from a Buddhist perspective, if "ghost encounters" were some sort of contact with this realm?
    Yes in Theravada there is said to be one type of hungry ghosts called Paradattūpajīvīka-peta who are thought to be capable of appearing in the human realm to try to relieve their suffering by seeking to gain in the share of the meritious deeds of their human relatives.

    See the Tirokudda Kanda Sutta at:
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/pv/pv.1.05.than.html

    See also the Janussonin Sutta at:
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an10/an10.177.than.html

    From the Petavatthu atthakatha, there is the following story about Ven. Sariputta's mother who was born as a hungry ghost:
    A hungry ghost who had been Sariputta’s mother in a fairly recent life, was born in miserable circumstances, ‘naked and hideous’ as a result of ‘misconduct in speech’ and abuse to passing recluses and beggars. She managed, as a hungry ghost, to approach Sariputta, told him she had been his mother and that now as a hungry ghost, she lived in hunger and thirst, feeding on ‘the thrown out, the expectorated, sputum, nose-mucus, phlegm’, not to mention the ‘pus and blood of cattle’. She requested Sariputa to make offerings and dedicate the merit to her so she may be ‘freed from eating pus and blood’. Sariputta consulted the other elders and approached King Bimbisara who then prepared a great offering for the Buddha and his monks. He handed it over to Sariputta who gave it all on behalf of the hungry ghost. On rejoicing in the offering dedicated to her, she immediately acquired food, clothes and other properties and became released from suffering.
    @Dakini Perhaps you may suggest to your friend who keeps seeing her departed mother that she should make some offerings to monks and dedicate the merit to her mother.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    They never enter my thoughts, such is the significance or influence they've had... Can't be bothered, one way or the other....
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    Never seen one but I don't doubt at all they are real. Although, staying at an old Buddhist temple for retreat and getting up at 2 AM to go to the bathroom and having the strange feeling that you are being watched, when you know everyone else is sleeping! I don't see any reason to believe they aren't real.
    pegembaracvalue
  • They just don't got the spirit anymore. :coffee:
    MaryAnneVastmind

  • If there is such a thing as 'ghosts'... I have a really hard time believing that whatever is going on on the 'other side' - where ghosts mingle in the company of other ghosts- it's so boring and uninspiring that said ghosts sorely miss what's going on here on Earth and feel compelled to hang around being pests and annoyances to us living folks.

    They've got nothing better to do, prettier to see, more interesting to talk about than coming back here wandering in graveyards, or haunting houses, scaring people and throwing ashtrays? I mean, really?

    I'm not saying they don't exist, or that something doesn't go on once a person passes on into another existence (IF there IS another existence)... But what would be the point to stay HERE and resist all that? Some people say spirits and ghosts that haunt are "lost" or "Confused" because of tragic or sudden death. I don't buy that. I'm sure other spirits/ghosts would be all too happy to reach out and yank them over to where they belong. ;)

    There are people who also believe that what the living does here on earth can somehow influence and/or actually 'control' what spirits or ghosts do or don't do. This always amazes me- the arrogance to believe we can control even the spirit realm! Most of us can't even control our own lives or households! LOL Maybe I'm just jaded from being exposed to that type of "woo-woo" magical thinking for so many years... ?


    riverflow
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    I am open-minded about ghosts and spirits, etc.

    But it drives me nuts when someone wants to say in one thread that Buddhism is the scientific religion, and in another thread says matter-of-factly that ghosts exists. Such people either don't have the foggiest conception of science, or don't understand Buddhism. Ya can't have it both ways.
    riverflowCitta
  • him she had been his mother and that now as a hungry ghost, she lived in hunger and thirst, feeding on ‘the thrown out, the expectorated, sputum, nose-mucus, phlegm’, not to mention the ‘pus and blood of cattle’.
    Wait, they had McDonalds back then?





    I know I know horrible. I'm sorry :D
    MaryAnnekarmabluesJeffrey
  • vinlyn said:

    I am open-minded about ghosts and spirits, etc.

    But it drives me nuts when someone wants to say in one thread that Buddhism is the scientific religion, and in another thread says matter-of-factly that ghosts exists. Such people either don't have the foggiest conception of science, or don't understand Buddhism. Ya can't have it both ways.

    What it means is, even if you remove all this stuff, the other stuff like meditation, precepts, mindfulness, etc. would still make Buddhism scientific.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Baloney...in the nicest way possible. ;)

    You don't understand science.
    riverflow
  • vinlyn said:

    Baloney...in the nicest way possible. ;)

    You don't understand science.

    I said Buddhism is scientific. I didn't say Buddhism is a science. I hope you see the difference.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Let's see...I have a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Geology...yeah, I think I understand the concept of science.
  • vinlyn said:

    Let's see...I have a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Geology...yeah, I think I understand the concept of science.

    On the internet, everybody seems to have a master's degree.;)
  • Well, if forced to think about ghosts, here are my thoughts.

    Many or most people, Buddhists included, believe ghosts exist in some manner and form. The monks who wrote the Sutras obviously believed in ghosts, demons, gods, and a host of other paranormal stuff.

    A lot of people have a "ghost story" of some sort. When scientific methods are brought to bear, actual evidence of ghosts disappears. Given people's reluctance to admit that memory and senses can and do fool us, most people who believe will never doubt no matter how much you argue.

    My only other thought is, nobody has ever been hurt by a ghost. It's the living we have to watch out for.


    MaryAnneriverflowCittavinlyn
  • Not everybody can see ghosts. In my family, my mom is the only person who sees the ghosts of death relatives a few times. One time, she saw her aunt came in her dream to tell her that she is wet and cold. The next day, my mom went to check her tomb and she saw her tomb was flooded. Another time, she saw her sister-in-law came in her dream, this time she was half awake so she was very frightened, she screamed Namo Amitabha loudly and the ghost of her sister-in-law disappeared.

    Ghosts are dead people who are still very much attached to this world so they can't leave. Such as if they are murdered, they are extremely angry and want to revenge so they can't rest. Or they have unfinished business or they were not ready to die or they are bound to this world because their love ones cry for them too much... Those are wandering ghosts who can't let go of their attachment.
  • I don't doubt your mothers sincerity cvalue. I think there are other explanations. But you have described your family and cultural belief.
    vinlyncvaluekarmablues
  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran
    Vagabond said:

    What do you guys think of ghosts? I live in a 150 year old house and grew up "hearing strange noises" and have a bunch of stories of things breaking. Oddly enough, I don't believe in ghosts and because I never saw anything (although plenty of people claim to have had seen things in the house), I think I was hearing ordinary noises and telling myself they were something more. A couple of stories like a pantry with a loop-hook lock swinging open and having a plate crash to the ground and others make me doubtful of being doubtful of ghosts, so I really don't know. I'm curious as to what YOU think and what you think Buddha thought of ghosts. Thanks

    @Vagabond

    Read the Atanatiya sutta. There is protection there if you need it.

    Cheers
    Victor


  • Vagabond said:

    What do you guys think of ghosts? I live in a 150 year old house and grew up "hearing strange noises" and have a bunch of stories of things breaking. Oddly enough, I don't believe in ghosts and because I never saw anything (although plenty of people claim to have had seen things in the house), I think I was hearing ordinary noises and telling myself they were something more. A couple of stories like a pantry with a loop-hook lock swinging open and having a plate crash to the ground and others make me doubtful of being doubtful of ghosts, so I really don't know. I'm curious as to what YOU think and what you think Buddha thought of ghosts. Thanks

    @Vagabond

    Read the Atanatiya sutta. There is protection there if you need it.

    Cheers
    Victor

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.32.0.piya.html
    Victorious
  • buddhitaksobuddhitakso Explorer
    edited September 2013
    image
  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran
    Vagabond said:

    What do you guys think of ghosts?

    I try to relate to all ghosts on an individual basis. I think it unfair to generalize when it comes to these denizens of the lower realms.

    Being ghosts, they have it pretty rough. It's as rough as it gets, unless you're a Hinayanist or one those guys selling ice cream from a push cart - those guys have it really rough. Anyway.... considering the rough nature of their existence it would be totally unfair, not to mention disrespectful, to treat ghosts as anything other than individuals.

    Weren't ghosts discovered by the Huns?
    cvalueCinorjer
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    I don't know whether they are "real" or not, but I've had unexplainable experiences, and so have others I know, including people seeing dead loved ones inexplicably intervene in accidents and other things that make no logical sense.

    For a couple of years, my youngest repeatedly described a man that would visit him at night. He was about 2, and maybe it was a pretend friend, maybe not. He would describe him in great detail, and we could hear him having conversations in his room, conversations that appeared 2 sided, and not in the way that kids talk to their toys.

    My personal beliefs are that there is something to it. I don't think some people become ghosts and just stay that way forever, hanging out in the ghost bar annoying people on earth. I think they are genuinely spirits who passed who weren't quite prepared, or were shocked at what happened when they died and aren't quite able to complete the journey right away. Usually in time they do, everyone I know who had some experience, reported it within a short time (ie less than a year) after the death of the person. In time they seem to move on eventually. The idea that people who died 100 years ago coming back to visit doesn't make sense to me, but I haven't experienced it. I have a friend who is a "ghost hunter" and her experiences are pretty interesting. i do think some people are more sensitive to it than others.
    cvalue
  • A young wife fell sick and was about to die. "I love you so much," she told her husband, "I do not want to leave you. Do not go from me to any other woman. If you do, I will return as a ghost and cause you endless trouble."

    Soon the wife passed away. The husband respected her last wish for the first three months, but then he met another woman and fell in love with her. They became engaged to be married.

    Immediately after the engagement a ghost appeared every night to the man, blaming him for not keeping his promise. The ghost was clever too. She told him exactly what has transpired between himself and his new sweetheart. Whenever he gave his fiancee a present, the ghost would describe it in detail. She would even repeat conversations, and it so annoyed the man that he could not sleep. Someone advised him to take his problem to a Zen master who lived close to the village. At length, in despair, the poor man went to him for help.

    "Your former wife became a ghost and knows everything you do," commented the master. "Whatever you do or say, whatever you give you beloved, she knows. She must be a very wise ghost. Really you should admire such a ghost. The next time she appears, bargain with her. Tell her that she knows so much you can hide nothing from her, and that if she will answer you one question, you promise to break your engagement and remain single."

    "What is the question I must ask her?" inquired the man.

    The master replied: "Take a large handful of soy beans and ask her exactly how many beans you hold in your hand. If she cannot tell you, you will know she is only a figment of your imagination and will trouble you no longer."

    The next night, when the ghost appeared the man flattered her and told her that she knew everything.

    "Indeed," replied the ghost, "and I know you went to see that Zen master today."

    "And since you know so much," demanded the man, "tell me how many beans I hold in this hand!"

    There was no longer any ghost to answer the question.

    SOURCE: http://www.101zenstories.com/index.php?story=65
    cvalueMaryAnne
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