According to Buddhism, certain populations of beings cannot be perceived with human eyes and ears. They are the suffering beings in the hungry ghost realm and the hell realm. These beings are imprisoned by karmic obstacles where they couldn't help themselves towards liberation. They rely on living ones for merit dedication. Then, their suffering would be lessened with liberation at last. The lifespan of the hell beings and hungry ghost beings is extensive. They could live up to tens of thousands of years. In the seemingly infinite time, they suffer endlessly. These beings cannot be free from the abyss of despair. Only their living relatives and friends could help them through dedication, which is greatly beneficial.
I was somewhat doubtful of the existence of these beings when I first practiced in the cemeteries. I was brave enough to go on a solitude practice because I didn’t believe in ghosts. Yet, I heard sorrowful weeping, frightful cry, etc. These sounds were very disturbing day and night without a moment of peace. It was scary and heart-wrenching at the same time. I began to weep with them the sadder it went. They tried to communicate with me, but I couldn’t comprehend then. Not knowing what they were delivering, my ears were pierced with their shriek. They cry incessantly that I couldn’t practice. So, I tried to communicate with them, “I’d recite sutras and dedicate the merit to you. If you could help me with my practice, I will surely liberate you all once my practice is fulfilled.” As soon as I made the vow, they stopped the crying.
Since then, my practice in the cemeteries has been smooth and successful. When I sit for meditation every night, I could see boundless beings with missing body parts. They come to me at night. Why though? They come for blessings in lines. That made me wonder, "What can be done to liberate them free from suffering?" The idea of the Water, Land, Air Dharma Assembly emerged. It is a grand puja for the liberation of ghost beings. It went from a small puja to the annual assembly at the Taoyuan Arena.
All along, I oversee and participate in the assembly with gratitude. These beings were once my fore-parents and ancestors. We are closely connected. If they can be free from suffering and attain the ultimate happiness, it is also our greatest bliss of all.