August 1 is the first day of lunar July in 2019 and lunar July is viewed as the ghost month in Chinese tradition since it is the time when the border security between the yin-yang worlds is a bit slack so the shadowy beings could easily sneak into the human domain to wreak havoc.
Ghostbuster Zhong Kui and his ghost servant – ink painting by Ming Dynasty emperor Xianzong (明宪宗) in 1485.
Zhong Kui was a scholar in life. After his death he became a ghost, and after cultivated Taoism in the shadow world, he became a ghostbuster.
The 9th Ming emperor was also an extraordinarily faithful man who fell in love at the age of 15 with his servant 17 years his senior and never loved another woman again in his life.
Where there are ghosts there are ghostbusters.
Traditionally in Chinese culture, Daoists are regarded as professionals in this field. However, the best ghostbuster in Chinese legend is not a Daoist but a scholar.
As legend has it, Zhong Kui (钟馗), a highly accomplished Tang Dynasty scholar, missed the top prize of the state academic examination purely due to his unappealing appearance.
He killed himself out of shame and somehow was appointed by the king of the yin world (the world of the dead) to work in the yang world (the world of the living) as a ghostbuster.
Sometimes you probably do need an ugly face to deal with ugly elements in the human world when smiles fail to do the job.
Zhong Kui passes through a rotten bridge – ink painting by Ming Dynasty artist Dai Jin (戴进)
Although Zhong Kui becomes a ghostbuster, he is, nevertheless, still a yin being and cannot be exposed in the daylight but has to hide under an umbrella.
Ghostbuster Zhong Kui patrolling the human world – ink painting by Gong Kai, a 13th-century Chinese artist.
Ghostbuster Zhong Kui is drunk – an ink painting by Jin Nong, a 17th-century Chinese artist.
Kind of a Chinese grim-reaper. 😀👍
All Things Chinese
Actually, Zhong Kui is viewed in Chinese culture as a grim eradicator who deports the ghostly aliens back to their yin world.
But there are grim-reapers in Chinese mythology: a pair of tall and slim figures, one covered in white hood and robe and another in black, representing yang and yin respectively.
Allegedly, when death approaches, the pair would appear to escort the deceased to a courtroom at the border of the yin-yang worlds where their karmic debts (how much they own others through their negative actions, words and thoughts) and credits (what they earned by making other beings lives better via their good actions, words and thoughts) are to be calculated before a judge prior to reincarnation.
In reality, of course, there is no such judge. The karmic balance is auto-calculated by the system of the universe, and the system does not judge whether an action, a spoken word, or a thought is positive or negative. What you are going to experience in the future (in life or in death) depends on your own wishes (what you desire) and on the wishes of other people or beings in this world or other worlds in this life or previous lives for you (what you deserve).
This applies not only to individuals but a family, a community, a people and a nation.
Ghosts from the earth – ink painting by Luo Pin, an 18th-century Chinese artist.
Death approaches this woman, and the fearful pair, one in white and one in black, have appeared and escorted her on her journey from the yang world to the yin world.