Month of Ghosts? No, A Month of Auspiciousness!
Most people mistakenly believe that July (in lunar calendar) is the month of ghosts because transcendental deliverance is meant for sentient beings in the three wretched realms, and that they are all ghosts. So, according to folk customs, there are many taboos about July, such as the saying that “nothing is suitable.” So, no celebrations are considered suitable to be held in July, such as marriage, moving homes, beginning construction on a building, opening a business, etc. However, this, in fact, is a misunderstanding.
There is no such thing as a good or bad time to do anything. As the saying goes, “whatever situation we are facing is governed by the universal law of nature, which, in turn, is shaped by our minds,” that is to say our thoughts. When our thoughts change, everything changes accordingly. How do we change things? We foster a good heart, say good things, and do good deeds. The best way is to recite Amitabha Buddha’s name.
The Hungry Ghost Festival on July 15 of the lunar calendar is actually “The Buddha’s Joy Day,” a day when, as the name suggests, the Buddha rejoices. So, the day is neither of bad luck nor taboo, but of “The Sangha Absolution Day (1),” when the Sangha of the ten directions spent three months of diligent cultivation to succeed. Also known as “The Yulan Festival,” it is to perform transcendental deliverance of our parents and other relatives as a form of expressing filial piety. Thus, it is called the Filial Piety Festival as well. Therefore, July is the month for us to show gratitude to all sentient beings and repay the kindness of our parents. We can call it a month of a field of blessings or a month of merit. This is because everywhere we go, people are chanting Buddhist sutras, reciting Amitabha’s name, and making offerings to the Triple Gem. Instead of ghosts or taboos, July is a month of auspiciousness indeed.
(1)It is also called “the Uposatha Day” during which monks establish their “Purisuddhi” (Purity of conduct) and individually declared their shortcomings before their fellow brother monks and seek absolution.
(Translated by the Pure Land School Translation Team;
edited by Eddie Cao)
Faith in, and acceptance of, Amitabha’s deliverance
Single-minded recitation of Amitabha’s name
Aspiration to rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land
Comprehensive deliverance of all sentient beings