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  • Ghosts

    Hi Bhante,

    I've been following Ajahn Brahm's talks on You Tube for over a year now. In my opinion he's an excellent meditation teacher, and his talks have helped me to have a more positive approach towards the difficulties I face in my life. I'm really grateful for this.

    That said, I've noticed that recently he's been talking quite a bit about ghosts. Stories including the likes of ghosts interfering with doorbells, ghosts sending emails, ghosts turning up at weddings and so on.

    Really not sure what to make of this. Is he playing with our heads a bit?

    I understand that ghosts are part of Buddhism, but what I'm wondering is how much focus or attention we should give to them. I'm not saying they don't exist, but people can have very fertile imaginations, and can embellish and exaggerate things. And make up stuff too. My other concern is that when people lose a loved one, they can often be highly emotional, and so called psychics and mediums can take advantage of that for financial gain.

    When Ajahn Brahm tells a ghost story, sometimes at the end of it he says, "True story". Really? Was he at the wedding? Was he at the house with the dodgy telly, or doorbell?

    Did the Buddha say anything about how much attention we should give ghosts. Is there anything mentioned about this in the Suttas?

    Again, I want to say that I still think highly of Ajahn Brahm. I've learned so much from his teachings.

    P.S did you notice I used the sandwich technique?

  • #2
    Haha, Hi Pam, nice Sandwich. Except that I'm not Ajahn Brahm, so you are sandwiching the wrong person.

    I should say sorry for taking a long time to respond. The monastery's internet was down for about a month.

    Having lived with Ajahn Brahm for about three years now, I got used to his ways. He's a person, and just like all persons he just has habits, interests, etc. And in this case it's just that he likes his ghost stories. When he gives a talk he enjoys himself as well. He also keeps telling his favorite jokes in the monastery that everybody has heard many times already. It's not that these jokes have much essence of Dhamma in them, but they do serve to lighten the mood. That's just Ajahn's way of doing things.

    It's similar with the ghost stories. Ajahn Brahm finds them amusing and to be something different. Many people who come to the monastery and to the talks in the city center do like them as well. But just as the jokes they are not the essence of the Dhamma.

    Personally I find some of his ghost stories a bit dodgy. But then again, what do I know. It doesn't much matter anyway, as in the Buddha's teachings ghosts do not play much of a role. They occur here and there, but they are mostly just mentioned along with all other kinds of beings such as humans and animals. The way the Buddha told us to think about ghosts therefore is mainly as just another realm which is impermanent and suffering.

    Thanks for asking this question. I'm sure some other people have used similar thoughts and will benefit.

    With metta!


    ( Did you also notice my sandwich? )


    • #3
      Top notch sandwich there!

      Have a wonderful rains retreat. I hope you get plenty of Jhanas.



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