How to Feed a Hungry Ghost

by Carolyn White

Japanese scroll painting c.1800

Hungry ghosts sport big bellies and thin throats.
They crave:  happiness, attention,
But even when told:  How lovely, how smart,
They remain unnourished, unable to swallow.
How to feed them?
What stops their whine?
The plea in their eyes?

Don’t say surgery.
Don’t schedule a shrink.

Here’s my suggestion:
Let’s gather our families and leave our jobs
And for an hour inhabit the hungry ghost of our choice.
Quickly let’s build a house with sunlit windows,
So profligate with love bricks glow.

Now here’s the hard part:
Whatever happens, sit still.
Maybe the swelling will go down in the belly,
Maybe nectar opens the throat. No matter.
In this place of vast and stunning beauty,
One that fulfills all needs,
Let us let go urgent matters and recite together:
        I am joyful.
        I am wise.
        Child of sunlight 
        and flowers.


How to Feed a Hungry Ghost comes from Carolyn White’s book of poems, Climbing The Bodhi Tree (One Bird Publication: 2016). Carolyn is a student of Thich Nhat Hanh and practices with the Lansing Area Mindfulness Community in Lansing, Michigan. 

Did you know:       Michigan is the only place in the world with a floating post office. The J.W. Westcott II is the only boat in the world that delivers mail to ships while they are still underway. They have been operating for 125 years. 

Hungry Ghost     
The Realm of  Hungry Ghosts: Working with Attachments and Addictions.  Tara Brach
In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate, MD.
Hungry Ghost Coffee Bar, NY 

The Yogi’s Question

              The yogi had spent many years now in solitude looking deeply into the mysteries of life. He had questioned and investigated so many things about himself and the world around him. He spent hours, days, weeks in meditation and contemplation, but yet, there was one question that still eluded him after all those years. Not being content with this not-knowing he decided to leave his solitude and seek an answer from the one everyone was calling Buddha. After several months of journeying, asking where he can find this man Buddha, the yogi was finally in his presence. There were many people there who wanted an audience with the Wise One and so the yogi waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, the yogi was able to approach the Buddha. Continue reading “The Yogi’s Question”

A Tree, a Memory, and a Path

In the course of Buddhist history, and as far as trees are concerned, the Syzygium jambos, commonly known as rose apple tree, has gotten the short end of the stick. Or, should I say the short end of the branch. Few have actually heard of the rose apple tree, any rose apple tree, let alone the rose apple tree that played such a monumental role in the Buddha’s inward journey. Sure, we all have heard of the Ficus riligiosa, aka, the Bodhi Tree, and how the Buddha attained his enlightenment sitting under one. Continue reading “A Tree, a Memory, and a Path”