How did the Hungry Ghost Month come about?

  • Living
  • Friday, 09 Aug 2019

Feng shui master Louis Loh

Feng shui master Louis Loh unravels the "mystery" of how the Chinese seventh month came to be associated with ghosts, and explains the different perspectives of this particular month.

Loh said that, originally, ghosts were not associated with the seventh month. But, according to Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism, the seventh month is a time to present offerings to the ancestors and other deceased spirits.

During this time, it is common to see the Chinese conducting roadside prayers at night. Actually, they are presenting offerings to wandering spirits, to appease them, hoping the spirits would not go hungry.

"The Chinese Mahayana Buddhists present offerings during this time to the Triple Gems (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) and hold ceremonies to accumulate merits for their deceased loved ones, so that their dearly departed can attain liberation," said Loh.

The Taoists, on the other hand, observe Zhongyuan, the main festival in the seventh lunar month, where they conduct ceremonies to worship the Great Emperor Lord of the Earth (Diguan Dadi), and hold ceremonies to free the deceased spirits from sufferings so that they can attain peace, explained Loh.

To the Confucians, Loh said, the seventh month is the time of the Autumn Harvest. On the 15th day, they remember the good deeds of their ancestors and and pay respects to them. "The ritual is also an act of filial piety in Confucianism," he said.

"Due to the combined willpower (of those who practise this) and the activities conducted this month, the seventh month became somehow associated with ghosts. This is what we call the 'Law of Attraction'," Loh said.

Loh's father used to sell gauze fabrics. "During the seventh month, his business would be especially brisk. Apparently, there were more injuries and accident cases in the hospitals during this period," Loh said.

He added that there are more burials in the seventh month than any other month.

"I am not a superstitious person. Instead I am the type who would conduct objective researches to explore matters from different angles.

"However, my experience also tells me that the willpower of humans is truly amazing," he said.

Loh's advice is that people do more good deeds in their daily lives. “When we keep our circle positive, none of the negative spirits can do any harm to us.”appeaseappease

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