Temple of Peace

Ghosts and the power of suggestion

Sawaki Rôshi:

People often ask me if ghost exist. Anyone who thinks about such matters is a ghost.

Uchiyama Rôshi:

Sawaki Roshi always expressed himself unequivocally. As long as you don't believe in ghosts, there are no ghosts, but once you become confused to whether ghost exist or not, you become a ghost yourself because of your confusion.

When someone believes a spiritualist who tells him that he is haunted by an ancestor's soul, or that they can call up the soul of a dead person and solve all his problems, he becomes firghtened, is swindled out of his money, and loses his wits. One who can't walk a straight line in such matters really is a ghost. Moreover, a person who is easily influenced by the power of suggestion is unreliable. When he gets sick he gets sick and his condition deteriorates, he becomes really foolish. Even after his body has recovered from the illness, he still suffers, thinking that his doctor has given up on him. And he can't regain his wits because of the suggestion that he is sick. Under these conditions, he can easily be influenced by a charismatic religious leader and after a mesmerizing prayer, incanation, or laying on of hands believes that he has been cured. Anyone who is easily manipulated is a ghost.

Sawaki Rôshi:

People often say that they saw the spirit of a dead person or that they dreamed of so and so when he was dying. It's just another detail in the vast landscape of samsara.

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