7th lunar month (commonly known as Ghost Festival)

It is believed that hungry ghosts are released from hell during the 7th month. As such, should we not go home late during the 7th month?







another common question is whether burning or offering hell or ghost money for our ancestors works? We see much of this practice during the 7th lunar month Ghost Festival.

Master Sheng Yen gives his discourse on this:

Burning ghost money is not a part of Buddhist culture, nor is it a Buddhist belief. This is a part of Chinese culture that has more of a comforting effect rather than any substantial use for the dead. Therefore, Buddhism advocates reciting the Buddha’s name, preaching the Dharma or reciting the sutras for the deceased, to enable them to become detached, let go of the suffering, and be reborn in the Buddha’s Pure Land.

Even a news portal has picked up on this topic and produced a commentary on the practice of burning paper offerings:

Seems like quite a balanced view. I like this passage in the article:

“There is a Chinese saying that ‘no possessions can be brought along to the next existence; the only thing that follows one is his deeds, or ‘karma’ ( 万般带不去,唯有业随身 )… Witnessing how fire consumes every ‘former possession’ of the deceased, even an illiterate peasant or young child was able to understand this sense of total relinquishment at death.”

So what can we do to benefit our ancestors?

BW Monastery’s own Venerable Bensi talks about how doing Pujas (法会) can help: