Dealing With Demons

Discuss the application of the Dharma to situations of social, political, environmental and economic suffering and injustice.
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The Cicada
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Dealing With Demons

Post by The Cicada » Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:12 am

I was curious about what different traditions of Buddhism say about "demonic" entities and how to deal with them. Always been interested in learning about the various types of beings mentioned in the sutras, but how does one deal with the nastier ones? In fact, knowing that Dharma protectors often destroy such beings, is it possible to "troll" or even tame them until they behave?

Thanks

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Nemo
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Re: Dealing With Demons

Post by Nemo » Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:32 pm

Pacifying, enriching, magnetizing and finally destroying and generally in that order.
To view sentient beings as pure evil is very Christian. Kindness and giving can break many demons. Some thrive on destruction.

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: Dealing With Demons

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:42 pm

This chapter from Buddhism of Wisdom and Faith discusses demonic obstacles, both "internal" and "external" from a Vietnamese Pure Land perspective.

Something I've always admired about Buddhism is how it treats ghosts.
Rather than casting them into the sea, or trying to cause further fear or harm, an attempt is made to connect them to the Dharma.
It's like seeing someone severely sick and offering medicine.

Some personal examples below.

Several years ago, I entered my bedroom late at night.
My eyes were drawn near the nightstand. I saw a very faint shadow, maybe 5' tall.
More than a visual impression was an emotional one: in this room was a very unhappy being, and it was angry to see me.
I said the first thing that came to mind, "om mani peme hung". The feeling in the room immediately changed.
A short while later, my husband felt a similar presence outside in the parking lot.
It bothered him enough that he mentioned it to me.

On another occasion, I encountered the ghost of a family member late at night.
It was again characterized by a strong impression of grief and anger. I couldn't fall asleep again until I put my mala on.
The next morning, I did several practices and recited a sutra for his benefit.
The rest of the visit was peaceful.

It's been the same for "internal" demons or dreams.
I used to have a lot of nightmares. Three times a week or more.
I would reach a point of peak terror in the dream, then call out "Amitabha!".
A golden light would wipe away the violent or terrifying image, then I'd wake up, completely comfortable with no lingering fear or anxiety.

In one dream, a decaying corpse was crawling towards me out of the basement.
I became Chenrezig in the dream for the only time in my life. I recited "om mani peme hung!" wrathfully towards it and woke up after three or four mantras.

As I've continued to practice over the years, encounters of this type, and especially nightmares, have become very rare.
I maybe have one nightmare a month now.
So as far as your average layperson encountering a terrifying presence awake or in dreams, I've found the Dharma to be of great help. Especially mantras, because simply hearing them brings benefit.
Amitābha!
OM PADMO USHNISHA VIMALE HUM PHAT (Lotus Pinnacle of Amoghapasha)
OM HANU PHASHA BHARA HE YE SVAHA ("Just by Seeing" Mantra)
AH AAH SHA SA MA HA (Six Syllables of Clairvoyance Mantra)


The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions.
Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva

joy&peace
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Re: Dealing With Demons

Post by joy&peace » Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:08 pm

Such things are created by the mind; transform the mind, and they are no longer there.
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha

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TharpaChodron
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Re: Dealing With Demons

Post by TharpaChodron » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:05 am

joy&peace wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:08 pm
Such things are created by the mind; transform the mind, and they are no longer there.
This.

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The Cicada
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Re: Dealing With Demons

Post by The Cicada » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:18 am

Nemo wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:32 pm
Pacifying, enriching, magnetizing and finally destroying and generally in that order.
Source(s)?
To view sentient beings as pure evil is very Christian. Kindness and giving can break many demons. Some thrive on destruction.
What I wrote may not communicate my intention accurately or you may be projecting to some extent. I didn't write that I think negative, "nasty" or "demonic" entities are all good or all bad. Also, I'm essentially saying that, considering that some Dharma protectors do destroy such entities, other alternatives like theoretically trolling it while it throws a tantrum in the invisible ether is mild. Goal is to get it into demon rehab, get it a demon job that reasonably accords with right livelihood considering its circumstance, let it raise a family of Buddhist or Buddhist-inclined hellions... maybe help it locate an affordable community college in one of the lower realms learning from a deceased deva now reborn and accomplished as a demon professor... Whole thing is hypothetical, mind you. Something along the lines of this meme, crude as it is:

FB_IMG_1537498059250.jpg
FB_IMG_1537498059250.jpg (21.03 KiB) Viewed 775 times
^Tasteless and immature, but you get the idea.
Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:42 pm
This chapter from Buddhism of Wisdom and Faith discusses demonic obstacles, both "internal" and "external" from a Vietnamese Pure Land perspective.

Something I've always admired about Buddhism is how it treats ghosts.
Rather than casting them into the sea, or trying to cause further fear or harm, an attempt is made to connect them to the Dharma.
It's like seeing someone severely sick and offering medicine.

Some personal examples below.

Several years ago, I entered my bedroom late at night.
My eyes were drawn near the nightstand. I saw a very faint shadow, maybe 5' tall.
More than a visual impression was an emotional one: in this room was a very unhappy being, and it was angry to see me.
I said the first thing that came to mind, "om mani peme hung". The feeling in the room immediately changed.
A short while later, my husband felt a similar presence outside in the parking lot.
It bothered him enough that he mentioned it to me.

On another occasion, I encountered the ghost of a family member late at night.
It was again characterized by a strong impression of grief and anger. I couldn't fall asleep again until I put my mala on.
The next morning, I did several practices and recited a sutra for his benefit.
The rest of the visit was peaceful.

It's been the same for "internal" demons or dreams.
I used to have a lot of nightmares. Three times a week or more.
I would reach a point of peak terror in the dream, then call out "Amitabha!".
A golden light would wipe away the violent or terrifying image, then I'd wake up, completely comfortable with no lingering fear or anxiety.

In one dream, a decaying corpse was crawling towards me out of the basement.
I became Chenrezig in the dream for the only time in my life. I recited "om mani peme hung!" wrathfully towards it and woke up after three or four mantras.

As I've continued to practice over the years, encounters of this type, and especially nightmares, have become very rare.
I maybe have one nightmare a month now.
So as far as your average layperson encountering a terrifying presence awake or in dreams, I've found the Dharma to be of great help. Especially mantras, because simply hearing them brings benefit.
Monlam, this is a sincere experience and I thank you for sharing it. I'm not saying I've seen any spirits or demons, but if I had, you are someone that I would certainly want to rely on for advice and support. Thank you for sharing this.
joy&peace wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:08 pm
Such things are created by the mind; transform the mind, and they are no longer there.
What you're saying is true, but if we look at what you've said closely, it's also true of many conventional problems that irk us. Murder, sexual exploitation, corruption, oppression. If you look at them from a higher standpoint, they dissolve in the same way that a violent criminal will no longer "be there" if we zoom into their crowbar and view it on the subatomic level, or zoom out to see the majesty of the spinning Earth they stand upon from orbit.

It's also true in the sense that we generally consider people who claim to see such things to be nuttier than peanut butter cookies cooked by cat ladies for a dead uncle who's visiting next week. But I'm addressing this to those who see such things as having a certain "reality"—for lack of a better word.
TharpaChodron wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:05 am
This.
*Spies Tharpa from treehouse and hides.*

"Tharpa is only in my mind.."

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Re: Dealing With Demons

Post by joy&peace » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:51 am

No, "we" don't. :smile: :anjali: :D
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha

joy&peace
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Re: Dealing With Demons

Post by joy&peace » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:52 am

I would simply and use less words. And use different ones. Illusion, suffering, etc.
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha

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The Cicada
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Re: Dealing With Demons

Post by The Cicada » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:57 am

joy&peace wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:51 am
No, "we" don't. :smile: :anjali: :D
Not easy to explain, helpful friend. :smile:

:namaste:

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Dan74
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Re: Dealing With Demons

Post by Dan74 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:04 am

The Cicada wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:12 am
I was curious about what different traditions of Buddhism say about "demonic" entities and how to deal with them. Always been interested in learning about the various types of beings mentioned in the sutras, but how does one deal with the nastier ones? In fact, knowing that Dharma protectors often destroy such beings, is it possible to "troll" or even tame them until they behave?

Thanks
I haven't had any direct encounters that I'm aware of. But of course plenty with 'my own demons.'

Three things that come to mind that may be helpful are:

1. chanting

2. feeding the demons as explained by Tsultrim Allione

3. dropping the dualistic attitude to 'them'.

On that last one, there's a Zen story.

A monk asked the master: "What is one to do when the six robbers are laying siege to the house?"
The master replied: "They are members of one's own family."

Simon E.
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Re: Dealing With Demons

Post by Simon E. » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:35 am

To say that demonic entities only exist in the mind is meaningless.
It is true to the extent that all beings, events and phenomena have no independent existence.
But as HHDL quoted when asked if the Dharmapalas exist 'they are as real as you are'.

No more, but no less real.
Back to fishin' folks... :namaste:

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Re: Dealing With Demons

Post by amanitamusc » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:13 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:35 am
To say that demonic entities only exist in the mind is meaningless.
It is true to the extent that all beings, events and phenomena have no independent existence.
But as HHDL quoted when asked if the Dharmapalas exist 'they are as real as you are'.

No more, but no less real.
:good: Lets be real JP.

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Re: Dealing With Demons

Post by joy&peace » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:43 pm

...
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha

joy&peace
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Re: Dealing With Demons

Post by joy&peace » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:43 pm

This is precisely the definition given by Shantideva.

When you become enlightened, you are enlightened to your Buddha Nature. Mara can no longer touch you.
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha

joy&peace
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Re: Dealing With Demons

Post by joy&peace » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:45 pm

...
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha

joy&peace
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Re: Dealing With Demons

Post by joy&peace » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:46 pm

Demonizing humans and individuals is NEVER good. I could write countlessly, endless pages, but there is only no need for that.

Criticising and trying to stand in each others' way is infinitely less helpful than stating positively, what you think is good.
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha

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Re: Dealing With Demons

Post by cyril » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:56 pm

The Cicada wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:12 am
I was curious about what different traditions of Buddhism say about "demonic" entities and how to deal with them.
Parittas in Theravada, various sutras and dharanis in Mahayana, tonglen, sang & serkyem, various dokpa practices, chod, action mantas, etc in TB.
Always been interested in learning about the various types of beings mentioned in the sutras, but how does one deal with the nastier ones?
"Machig's Complete Explanaition" gives a fairly detailed description of each type of being from a Chod perspective.
In fact, knowing that Dharma protectors often destroy such beings, is it possible to "troll" or even tame them until they behave?
Not all such beings are tamable; that's what I heard.
"You have to make the good out of the bad because that is all you have got to make it out of."
- Robert Penn Warren -

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Re: Dealing With Demons

Post by amanitamusc » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:02 pm

TharpaChodron wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:05 am
joy&peace wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:08 pm
Such things are created by the mind; transform the mind, and they are no longer there.
This.
Takes a Master.

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: Dealing With Demons

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:10 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:35 am
To say that demonic entities only exist in the mind is meaningless.
It is true to the extent that all beings, events and phenomena have no independent existence.
But as HHDL quoted when asked if the Dharmapalas exist 'they are as real as you are'.

No more, but no less real.
:good:

Don't underestimate the strength of latent seeds of fear.
This isn't to squabble but to share the need to be prepared.

The experience with a family member was the most scared I've been in a while, and it was someone I knew.
Seeing the illusory nature of fear was far from my mind, unfortunately.

Thinking of a buddha is always helpful, especially when you can do nothing else.
Last edited by Monlam Tharchin on Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Amitābha!
OM PADMO USHNISHA VIMALE HUM PHAT (Lotus Pinnacle of Amoghapasha)
OM HANU PHASHA BHARA HE YE SVAHA ("Just by Seeing" Mantra)
AH AAH SHA SA MA HA (Six Syllables of Clairvoyance Mantra)


The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions.
Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva

amanitamusc
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Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:32 am

Re: Dealing With Demons

Post by amanitamusc » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:22 pm

joy&peace wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:46 pm
Demonizing humans and individuals is NEVER good. I could write countlessly, endless pages, but there is only no need for that.

Criticising and trying to stand in each others' way is infinitely less helpful than stating positively, what you think is good.
On the relative level there is good and bad.Would we be better off with no laws for instance?

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