Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Six Realms: The Hungry Ghosts

We had quite a few more girls for this class. Some were brand new to dharma school, and others were quite familiar with the subject of hungry ghosts. Kim led the class, and using the image of the six realms, led a discussion on gakis, also known as hungry ghosts.

[Image from this website.]

Gakis wind up where they are due to greediness. In the six realms, there are two kinds of greediness. In the case of gakis, they have the feeling they don't have enough and can't take in nourishment. They have forgotten how. They want, and will do whatever they need to get, even lie, but they still can't be satisfied. If they can learn to be nourished by what they have, and to share, they have a chance of getting out of the Preta Realm. (Later in the school year we will cover the kind of greediness found in the Asura Realm.)

Several girls remembered that gakis have big stomachs but tiny necks and tiny mouths. Water turns into fire, and food turns into some disgusting thing, often related to the greedy reason they ended up in this realm. Together we strategised ways we could help the gakis learn to eat and to share.

For an activity, Kim had an outline picture of a gaki, and various grains, beans, and pasta to glue on the picture, especially in the gakis' stomachs, along with a bowtie pasta for the neck. The pasta mosaic was popular with the girls.

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