People are first haunted by their inner demons, before they become ghosts haunting haunted places, who might in turn become others’ outer demons. Haunted by unresolved and deluded attachment and aversion, both in this life and from life to life, this is why we wander in the rounds of rebirth, as humans, ghosts or otherwise. The primary exorcism we need then, is personal repentance to transform our dark demons with the light of wisdom, to find peace instead of suppress them in denial, fear, shame… only to have them haunt on in body and mind.
As the tenth (and last?) episode of the series reminds us, ghosts are… guilt, secrets, regrets, failure, wish, grief… These are the stuff that haunt. They are hauntings themselves. When not resolved in time, they spill over into the next life, possibly into others’ too. Living humans can be so haunted by themselves and their ghostly karmic creditors, that they eventually become ghostly karmic creditors too, who haunt on, tormenting one another. There are changes in name and form from life to life, yet bad history repeatedly haunts us when its lessons are not thoroughly learnt.
We need to awake from terrible recurring nightmares and hallucinations. But what if the experienced is not a dream, and is a true haunting? How do we sift illusion from reality? How do we prevent mental problems from becoming spiritual problems? The universal solution is to wake up spiritually. Even if tortured, never succumb to the lure of suicide or murder, by mistaking it to end all suffering, to restart it all. As karma runs on, killing does not ‘kill’ the karma from killing. May we be mindful of Buddha, to be more Buddha-like; to be less haunted by demons, to be less demon-like.