Yutang Lin

Ghosts upon encounter are not to be afraid of;
Once crossed over this body, we are the same.
Past relations not shallow, they come for help.
Dedicate merits to them to share emancipation.


Some people are afraid of ghosts. In fact, once we crossed over this body, we will all be the same; so why need we be afraid of them? This kind of encounters is due to past karmic relationships. They are in desperate hardship with none to turn to for help, except to those connected in past lives through deep association or flesh-and-bone relations, or to advanced practitioners to ask for their blessing of merits. We should, based on empathy that yields mutual help and compassion that extends universal salvation, dedicate merits accrued from all sorts of good deeds and Dharma practices toward them. Once they are free from their predicaments through such help they would not appear again.

Some practitioners, upon such encounters, would temporarily suspend their regular practices. This is a mistaken approach that misplaces the causes of such phenomena. Dharma practices are not the reason for such encounters. The reason why they would not disappear is that the practitioner's Bodhicitta is not pure enough, and the dedication of merits has not been universal to all beings. A practitioner should make use of such encounters as an opportunity for more diligent practices, and an impetus for more accumulation of merits for dedication to those beings so as to enable them to become liberated from the ghost realm. Thereby the practitioner's compassion would also grow in expanse and in purity. Thus is the proper way to resolve such matters.

Written in Chinese on October 23, 2002
Translated on November 2, 2002
El Cerrito, California

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