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Hungry Ghosts! Hungry Ghost!
Hungry Ghosts: What Are Hungry Ghosts?
Hungry Ghosts are found within various Buddhist teachings, representing a condition or
realm that people may find themselves in after they die. Also known as, "preta" in Sanskrit, a
hungry ghost is often depicted in Tibetan Buddhism as having large, empty bellies with thin
necks and small mouths. An obvious metaphor, depictions of hungry ghosts illustrate the idea
that human beings can be consumed by desires such as greed, envy, obsession and
addiction, all of which never satisfy. In other words, the stomach always hungers but is not
satisfied. This is the meaning behind the portrayal of people after death as sometimes
becoming "hungry ghosts."
Hungry Ghosts Picture
The Condition of Hungry Ghosts
It is believed that hungry ghosts will continue to strive for
satisfaction until they learn to leave their earthly desires
behind. It is only then that they can be healed of their hunger
for physical desires that are no longer able to be satisfied.
Because of the hungry ghosts' strong connection to the past,
they are unable to live in the present moment, according to the
basic psychology of Buddhism. As a tradition, some
Buddhists still offer food on altars for the hungry ghosts that
may come to them for help.
Other Religious Beliefs About Hungry Ghosts
Interestingly in Taoism,
hungry ghosts seek
physical desires from the living but especially
drain energy from people who fear them. This
idea about ghosts is often shared today by
many paranormal investigators who believe the
presence of ghosts around people can be
draining, even to the point of causing physical
ailment. In Taoism, the hungry ghost is usually
appeased by chants and food offerings in the
hope that the spirit will have what it needs to
move forward in the life-journey.
Hungry Ghosts are also found within Chinese festivals,
especially in ancestor worship. Asian festivals that
commemorate and honor hungry ghosts also feature food
and drink offerings as well as pleasurable entertainment
for the lost spirits. It is believed that the hungry ghosts of
ancestors return to their relatives' homes once a year to
eat and drink. In China, ancient ancestor worship was
eventually combined with the Hindu/Buddhist belief in
hungry ghosts. Hinduism, from which Buddhism sprang,
teaches that hungry ghosts are spirits driven by passion
for certain objects of the spirits' desires.
Hungry Ghosts - Offerings!
Conclusions We Can Draw From the Teachings of Hungry Ghosts
Modern day ghost investigators know that ghosts often make their presence known in order to
receive help. Ghosts are people who are temporarily lost in this world. Very similar to the
descriptions of hungry ghosts, human spirits often want our help in order to find peace. It is
right that we acknowledge them, seeking to assist them onward in their journey. Just like the
teachings about hungry ghosts, many specters are mentally held captive by their own mind's
desire and strong connection with the past. Such ghosts are often unable to easily find
freedom in the present moment. The sooner we recognize our connection with this sometimes
forgotten piece of humanity, the sooner their suffering may end...

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