Chasing Hungry Ghosts

This is not the average run of the mill blog about another ghost story - yet it has to do with ghosts, unseen wraiths that cause continual havoc in our physical world.
These particular ghosts we have all had occasion to be effected by.
They can become poisonous and destructive if left unchecked - they can possess us and direct us.
You must always be on the look out for them, for they are hard to spot, usually shielding their real needs and desires behind a facade that will make you think that what you are about to engage in is perfectly fine.

The Hungry Ghost in mythology is a creature depicted with a small mouth and small hands and a huge belly that needs to be continually fed in small amounts but can really never be satiated.
It is left wanting and needing more. 
We all have lurking hungry ghosts inside each and every one of us.

Myth is often tied to an aspect of our souls and our selves. It is a way of explaining that which is hard to understand. Like Gods and Goddesses that embody characteristics of our humanity, good and bad, and archetypes which help explain personality types.

The Hungry Ghost is a concept in certain Chinese religions representing beings who are driven by intense emotional needs in an animalistic way.

Both Buddhism and Taoism share the idea that hungry ghosts can emerge from neglect or desertion of ancestors.

According to the Hua-yen Sutra evil deeds will cause a soul to be reborn in one of six different realms.

The highest degree of evil deed will cause a soul to be reborn as a denizen of hell, a lower degree of evil will cause a soul to be reborn as an animal, and the lowest degree will cause a soul to be reborn as a hungry ghost.

Desire, greed, anger and ignorance are all factors in causing a soul to be reborn as a hungry ghost because they are motives for people to perform evil deeds.

             The Hungry Ghost Festival is celebrated during the 7th month of the Chinese calendar.

According to tradition, during the 7th month of the Chinese calendar the gates of hell are opened up and the hungry ghosts are free to roam the earth where they seek food and entertainment.
These ghosts are believed to be ancestors of those who have forgotten to pay tribute to them after they died.
They have long thin necks because they have not been fed by their families.
Tradition states that families should offer prayers to their deceased relatives and burn hell money. It is believed that "hell money" is a valid currency in the underworld and helps ghosts to live comfortably in the afterlife.

Families also pay tribute to other unknown wandering ghosts so that these homeless souls do not intrude on their lives and bring misfortune.

A big feast is held for the ghosts on the 15th day of the 7th month, where people bring samples of food and place them on the offering table to please the ghosts and ward off bad luck. Live shows are also put on and everyone is invited to attend.
The first row of seats is always empty as this is where the ghosts are supposed to sit to better enjoy the live entertainment.
(source information: wikipedia)

There is an aspect of this hungry ghost mythos in all of us.

The hungry ghost does not always live in another world with entry into our world only once a year begging for food.

The food might be real physical food that is supposed to sustain these creatures in traditional beliefs but it can also relate to 'other' types of sustenance that feed our egos and souls.

Our ancestors, forgotten and alienated crave for soul food and may live vicariously through us to get what they need with or without or permission.

This might be through addictions to substances or emotional requirements, needs of the flesh and the mind and often to the detriment of the body that these ghosts inhabit.

They are never satiated...always hungry always looking for more, no matter how much they get.
If a battle is not fought to contain these hungry ghosts we can be continually haunted by them.

So beware in feeding the hungry ghost in others and be aware of the hungry ghost inside of yourself!

Once you start to feed it its hunger intensifies and may become an overwhelming and uncontrollable aspect of life.

I love the concept of hungry ghosts - as scary as they are.
I can understand their relevance when interpreted through myth and story telling.
Stories have a way of allowing us, as intelligent people, to draw our own conclusions in a way that makes sense to us as individuals.

Your ghosts will be different to mine. Your hungry ghost will want something different than mine do.

These ghosts can be triggered by our own reoccurring stories and beliefs about ourselves that fire up the hunger within us.
We are compelled to feed that hunger.
We then own these ghosts and we get trapped in the never ending cycle, like the relatives of ancestors that feel obliged to offer gifts and food so as not to incur the wrath of their personal ghosts.

Sometimes the fear of ignoring the ghost is far greater than trying to fight its grip.

If you must feed these ghosts be careful to give love only for these ghosts carry a truck load of hurt and no matter what they ask for in the end only love will fill them up.

Be kind to your hungry ghosts!
Love them, and quieten their voices so that you can slowly let them go.
You will survive without them.


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