Can Religious/ Holy places like temples or churches be haunted?

You may have heard people telling you that they have encountered a scary experience like being pulled in the legs or pressed when they were staying at a holy place. They may tell you to keep away from the place.

And to that, I would say, you need to take a close look at the person telling you that. What kind of person he or she really is inside if she had had ‘bad’ experience. Especially if they are the only person who said that while others are okay or have positive experience from visiting there.

Above: Photo for illustration purposes only.

Yes, it is possible, from my experience staying at temples for retreats that spirits of the deceased may reside in a temple, church or other places of worship. In fact, I have read in some forums and had few friends telling me that their friends who could ‘see’ ghosts/spirits had said there are a ‘high concentration’ of such beings in places of worship.

But I wish that you hear me out from another perspective.

First, many holy places are build around graveyards or places that had been known to be haunted. Sometimes, the locals would willingly donate a piece of land for a religious practitioner or leader to build a church, temple or place of worship.

I have known of a place in Thailand where the land is known to be haunted for hundreds of years. Crops never grow and children who happened to play in that place who see scary things. There was a woman, in her 70s, whose grandma had played in the place as a child and ran for her life when she saw a head floating on a tree. So we can imagine how many years since this Thai lady was already 70 plus when she told me the story when her grandma was a young girl.

The land was subsequently donated to a nun who build a temple for practice. There were no more fearful sightings.

But, when people with bad intention and thoughts came to the temple to stay, they may sometimes feel uneasy, frightened and some experienced having been pulled off the bed or being pressed on when asleep.

This phenomenon is not unique and it happened in a number of temples. Good temples actually where the abbot and residents there really do spiritual practice.

Does this sound totally illogical to you? Let me explain…

As I have mentioned, many places of religious practice are build in or around places known for haunting, or cemeteries or places where many people had been killed. It is the nature that some people who owned such land which they could not do anything with (coz no one would buy it and whatever they do on the land will not succeed) to a ‘worthy’ cause.

If the monastic person is someone who practices well, they would not be affected by haunted places. Instead, through their kindness and compassionate energy, they radiate and send out the merits of their practice with these ghosts or spirits, thus calming and soothing their hearts.

Sometimes these spirits had been there for hundreds of years. They could not get any relatives to do meritorious offerings to them as their next-of-kin had long passed. So they remain there, unable to leave and take rebirth.

Since the abbot ended up with them as they came in a single package with the land, some would not cast them or hurt them. They are persuaded to practice on their own, till their merits are enough for them to finally be able to leave the place and take rebirth. At the same time, they also receive merits from resident practitioners and monastics who stay there.

Slowly their mind get transformed. They saw a way out. For the first time, in a very long long time they felt peace. No longer hungry, cold, thirsty and agitated.

Imagine you are someone who do not have your own home. You suffered in agony in hunger, pain, loneliness for a long long time. One day, a kind holy man took you in and you sensed compassion and kindness radiating from him to you. You are taught to practice and build up the store of merits. Instantly you find your being transformed. But you cannot leave yet as your time and merit store is not yet sufficient.

You have immense gratitude to the holy person who are kind to you.

Also, a good practicing person naturally have many powerful guardian beings that surround them. Usually they co exist. That is why yes, there  can be ghosts and spirits in holy places. But their behavior is very different from ‘unregulated’ haunted places where it is spooky and have spirits that are vindictive and angry.

As a spirit you could read the minds and hearts of people. Know what they are thinking even though you may not speak their language. Spirits understand thoughts telepathically and do not require language to express it.

When you see people coming to the temple or church for practice and worship, you feel happy. Because often when they send out love or transfer merits, you receive too.

But then, sometimes you see bad hearted people. People that could hide their true nature from the rest of the world. But you could hear and understand their ugly thoughts and nasty schemes. Especially if they dislike or disrespect the abbot or try to harm.

What would you do when you come across someone like that?  Surely you would sabotage the person rite? Do things that scare them a little to keep them in check. Just minor thing and nothing life threatening.

Because, some spirits do have very strong code of ethics and gratitude that surpass most humans. They will protect someone who show them kindness and a way out of their wretched existence. Spirits can read mind and thoughts even though they do not speak the same language as you as all thoughts exist in a single universal language, the language of the heart. If they perceive a visitor to have bad thoughts, ill intention or actually plan to do something horrible, they would ‘take action’ in an attempt to protect the abbot as well as other occupants of the temple. That visitor, may encounter some less pleasant experience when staying there.

Regardless of any place we visit, be in a place of worship, nature or an unfamiliar place, it is good to respect the occupants (whether alive or otherwise) who are residing in the place. Wish them well and mean no harm in our speech and action. That is a good way to keep us safe wherever we go.


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