Author: By Linus Leong
Ghosts? Who hasn't discussed ghosts sometime in during their lives? In this category you will find many diverse explanations. Until we discover what is behind the phenomenon that we call ghosts, there will be many more stories and fables regarding this subject. In my opinion, there is one thing that is for sure. A ghost is some kind of residue memory from a time gone by, a bit like how ley lines are left - by the energy of someone who has walked down familiar territory many times. A spirit is something quite different and this is the essence of who we are. To me it is the encryption that marks our soul in this dimension and can be easily carried to another dimension - a bit like our two heroes in "The Meadow."
Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival - Zhong Yuan Jie (-C')
By Linus Leong
By now you should probably be aware of the 2008 Summer Olympics to be held in Beijing, China, this coming August. However, there is at least another event going on in (and beneath) China during August.
Every year, during the seventh month of the Chinese Calendar, it is believed that the Gates of Hell will be opened and all Hell beings (well, not nearly all, only those well-behaved ones) will be set to roam freely on Earth for a month. In this month, many spirits roamed the world in search of their past memories to fulfil their unforgotten attachments. As such, these are called the "hungry ghosts" and the festival is also called the Hungry Ghost Festival.
The Hungry Ghosts festival occurs on the 15th night of the 7th Lunar month which falls on the 15th of August this year. This festival is different from the more well-known Qing Ming Festival, or the tomb-sweeping day which is now an official holiday in China and is predominantly an ancestor worshipping day. The Ghost Festival on the other hand is for the ancestors to return the visit and is a festival of elaborate rituals of joss sticks and paper money, food offerings, and opera shows for the deceased.
The festival is also influenced by Buddhist teachings introduced into China. In the Buddhist's Ullambana Sutra, Mahamaudgalyayana, one of the chief disciples of the Buddha, well-known for his psychic powers, searched for his deceased mother during one of his meditation session. He found his mother being reborn in the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts due to her previous greed. Seeking Buddha's advice, he eased his mother's suffering and eventual rebirth into a human form by performing various rituals of merits creation and offerings. This is the famous "Mahamaudgalyayana Saving His Mother" storyline which is often performed in Chinese opera. In the Chinese context, more emphasis is placed on offerings to the ancestors than to the Sangha, or monks, as in the original Ullambana practice in Buddhism.
There are similar festivals around the world as well. These include the El Día de los Muertos Festival in Mexico, the Chugen and O-Bon Festivals in Japan as well as the Vu Lan Festival in Vietnam. This shows that people today are still in awed and respectful towards the mysterious underworld. For the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival in particular, it is a yearly reinforcement and reminder of one's filial responsibility towards the mother and other ancestors in general.
Copyright @ eChinaExpat.com
Read more about the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival , and other Chinese culture at Expat Articles. Linus is an expat living in China. He writes about China and the Chinese Culture for eChina Expat at [http://www.echinaexpat.com]eChina Expat, a platform for Chinese Culture, China Travel, Feng Shui and general China expat tips for expatriates and tourists living in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing and other China cities.
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THE MEADOW -- A SPIRITUAL ROMANCE
"The Meadow" is an epic love story unlike anything told before. The storyline threads an earthly path through four life times, from ancient Mexica to contemporary Pakistan, and affords the reader glimpses of a place known as "The Meadow" - an inter-life waterhole where souls rest between lives.
This is a story about life and all its complexities. It is about the eternal love of two characters that seem destined to be together but who repeatedly fail to bond due to a nemesis that tracks them from life to life, tearing them apart.
The stage of "The Meadow" includes hate and retribution, international espionage and political deceit, interspersed with the brilliance of an autistic savant, offspring of the female protagonist, who tries to solve the secret and mystery of the eagle in order to save his mother.
The frustrated lovers thus have only one option - to unite in the Meadow - a place they forget all about each time they incarnate into a new life.
This site is dedicated to "The Meadow", a book of more than 600 pages and has yet to be published, but it is also devoted to sharing information about life beyond the trapdoor of death, inviting the reader to question everything, from dogmatic beliefs to the establishment.
There are many related articles here and we hope that there will be something for everyone. We hope to encourage communication and discussion between likeminded individuals willing to share their experiences to further our common goals of advancement into the future whilst learning from each other.