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  • Question on White Magic/ Black Magic, Demons and Buddhism

    I have a family friend who is an "exorcist" from another religion. He does not know anything about my father-in-law who suffered from stroke and was bed-ridden for 5 years. During the last five years, he has never utter a word, refuses to walk, eat or drink.

    Two weeks ago, this friend of ours asked to see my wife. Through our conversation, he said that he sense that my father-in-law should have passed on many years ago, he is very curious why and thus initiated the conversation. From the conversation, my wife explained that my father-in-law who is a Thai kept a pair of child ghost/ spirits during his younger days. The intention was to keep them in check so it will not hurt other people, and with enough merits, they can re-incarnated. However, my father-in-law did a lousy job and did not take care of the ghost/ spirits.

    This person explained that since the stroke, these entities has latched onto my father-in-law's body and refuses to let him pass on. If he starts an exorcism, he can get rid of these entities but father-in-law will pass on. My wife agreed. We did the exorcism on Monday night. The person, said, he only caught one child and two entities that has been attracted by the body's condition. We are supposed to have session two on the 28th. By Wednesday afternoon, my father-in-law passed away due to choking.

    I was beyond shock. Firstly, I did not expect death to come so soon but the exorcist was very certain it is just around the corner. Secondly, I am both a science person and a buddhist. This experience has totally whack what I have hold firmly. Coincident? Maybe. The week before the exorcism, he did a blessing for my aunt who was suffering from last stage of cancer. He explained that my aunt was held back by spirits and he had open the door for her to move on. As he was explaining what he did, the phone rang and the news broke that my aunt has passed away! This means she died during his blessing. I lost two family members in 6 days apart and both are related to his "work".

    I have always beleive falling sick is part of life. Is there really demons/ spirits out there that causes us to fall sick or holding us back so that we cannot die?
    Secondly I feel bad that the so called spirits/ ghosts has been killed by him. He told me that what my father-in-law did with the spirits will follow us through the blood lineage. Which means my whole family will be at risk as these spirits are seeking revenge.

    From a Buddhism perspective, what can we do? In my opinion, I do not think there should be anymore "exorcism" as I feel that the transmit of metta might do a better job. But how do we really know that we are reaching out to these spirits or person? We are tied by our own karma, but according to him we are also tied by our ancestor's karma. I do not want my life to be paralyzed by this experience but my family now is a big believer of this person's words.

    I meditate a little, listen to talks and read buddhist text. None of it really prepares for this experience.

    With metta.

  • #2
    Dear Simon,

    I do not know enough details of your situation to give you a precise and thorough answer, but I will try to give you some guidance.

    my father-in-law who is a Thai kept a pair of child ghost/ spirits during his younger days
    I would suggest that this is very difficult to know. Your wife has probably heard this from her father. Her father, being a Thai, is most likely used to describing a lot of phenomena in terms of ghosts and spirits, without there necessarily being much evidence. I would suggest you should be very careful in just believing this sort of statement. There are simply too many unknowns.

    By Wednesday afternoon, my father-in-law passed away due to choking.
    Well, choking could be a quite natural death. Perhaps it had nothing to do with the exorcist. Or it could be that the exorcist had some spiritual impact on your father-in-law that made him understand that it was time to let go, and that he died on that account. Or it could be that your father-in-law was upset by the exorcism being performed (even if he was unconscious he may have known what was going on), and choked because of that. It seems likely to me that the exorcist had some impact on your father-in-law, but it may have had nothing to do with spirits.

    This means she died during his blessing.
    This is quite common. A blessing often makes a dying person relax and let go. This is often the time they will die. It is often the holding on that keeps us alive, even when staying alive is not really worthwhile.

    He told me that what my father-in-law did with the spirits will follow us through the blood lineage.
    Don't just believe this sort of stuff. Often it is the very believing in these things that make them come true. If one uncritically believes such things, one will sometimes unconsciously act in such a way that it will fulfill the prophesy, a so-called self-fulfilling prophesy.

    I feel that the transmit of metta might do a better job.
    Exactly. If there are any spirits, always use metta. By killing spirits, you may actually be creating more bad kamma. It is this that will be a curse for the future, not the spirits. By practicing metta, you are creating good kamma and this will turn into a blessing in the future. Moreover, if there are any spirits, the metta will often make the spirits move on. To help you, invite a good monk or nun to your house to do some chanting and spreading of metta. You will never know for sure whether the spirit(s) has departed, but if you practice in this way these things will stop bothering you after a while. Kindness and compassion is always the right way.

    according to him we are also tied by our ancestor's karma
    This goes against the basic Buddhist ideas of karma.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Good luck!

    With metta.

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    • #3
      Hello Simon,

      I also have a suggestion. If you feel that spirits truly exist in your presence. To help yourself transmit metta to the spirits, you could make some gesture offerings, such as burning some incense, lighting a candle, offer some fresh flowers ... anything you think would be proper. Of course the physical objects might hold no meaning for the spirits/ghosts, but your intentions will be more clear and it should in fact help you to more easily transmit metta.

      With metta.

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