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Can we get help from above?

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  • Can we get help from above?

    Dear monastics,

    Some months ago I listened to a dhamma talk of a monk called Yuttadhammo on Youtube.
    If I understood that monk right, he stated that people who devote themselves to the teachings of Buddhism, or good people in general, can been regarded as "joining the mafia" - they get protection by devas.
    Additionally, in articles on Buddhist cosmology I read that there are specific devas which in other cultures are referred to as "guardian angels". They are said to help and assist human beings or protect certain areas.
    Please correct me if I misrepresent that.

    Would you confirm that that is true?
    If yes, what powers do these guardian angels have?
    Can they, for example, arrange a good employment for a human being? Or can they, say, protect wildlife sanctuaries?

    If yes, how do they do that?
    And how does one get their favour?

    Alright, I stop here for now. I could go on with more questions, but I don't want to make this thread too long and confusing.

    Again, I am most grateful for any answer. Thank you so much for providing this forum.

    Kind regards,

  • #2
    Dear Michael,

    Buddhism is essentially an atheistic religion. There may be heavenly beings, and they may well offer protection, but the Buddha did not say they should be worshipped or asked for favours. A much more effective way to have protection is to keep the 5 precepts, this will keep away a lot of bad stuff. :-) Also, I recall the Buddha once said, "Those who protect the Dhamma are protected by the Dhamma." So if you read, listen to and share the teachings with others, that may offer protection according to the Buddha

    With metta,

    Bhante J.R.


    • #3
      Again, thank you very much for your reply, Bhante Jhanarato.

      Your reply already answers the next question that I was about to ask.
      I wanted to ask whether you think it reasonable to ask the gods for protection.
      It makes sense to me, however, that taking responsibility for oneself by cultivating the Dhamma in ones life and taking up the five precepts is preferable to that.

      Kind regards,
      Michael Steinfeld


      • #4
        Dear Ajahn Jhanarato,

        I was reminded of this topic again after hearing Ajahn Nyanadhammo in one of his talks speaking about a Buddhist protection chant. He recited it in Pali and then translated it to English. His translation went as follows (I hope I represent that correctly):

        "The Buddha, the Enlightened one, is my refuge. By the power of this statement that I have no other refuge, by the power of this statement may all of you be protected."

        And then it is repeated for the Dhamma and the Sangha.

        As I would like to use this chant myself, I would like to find the Pali original of it.
        I couldn't figure out the Pali words in it, so I tried to google it in English but I couldn't find anywhere.

        Can you help me there?

        With great respect and appreciation for your help,
        Michael Steinfeld


        • #5
          Dear Michael,

          The chant you are after looks as follows in the Pali:

          N'atthi me saraṇaṃ aññaṃ,
          Buddho/dhammo/sangha me saraṇaṃ varaṃ,
          Etena saccavajjena,
          Sotthi te hotu sabbadā.

          With metta.


          • #6
            Dear Ajahn, I was wondering what kind of protection does the above Pali chant give and does it truly work?

            with metta, Bryan


            • #7
              Dear Bryan,

              This particular chant is a general blessing for a person's well-being. It does not have any clear limits for what it can and cannot do.

              Does it work? You certainly have the placebo effect. That is why it is always good to let people know that you are chanting for them. Apparently placebos work even if you know that they are placebos!

              Beyond the placebo effect it gets a bit more tricky. It seems common for people to pick up the "vibes" of physical locations and other people. In my experience, this "vibe" is often connected to the character of a person or the use of a particular place. I remember some years ago visiting a mental hospital that had not been used since the 1950s or so. Apparently all sorts of gruesome "treatment", including lobotomy and electric shock therapy, had been used at this facility. The atmosphere was tangibly "dark", or at least that was how I experienced it. There are other locations, such as the meditation hall at Bodhinyana Monastery, that have a serene and peaceful feeling. You just have to walk in and immediately you feel more at ease and peaceful. So what does this mean? I think it means that our mental states have an effect on our environment and the the people around us. If this is right, then chanting, done with the right attitude, may indeed affect the person to whom it is directed. I accept that there is a lot of uncertainty here. It would be interesting to see some proper scientific research on this.

              With metta.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Ajahn Brahmali View Post
                I think it means that our mental states have an effect on our environment and the the people around us.
                Venerable Ajahn Brahmali,

                Our mental states have an effect on the environment on a gross level. An ordered and serene mind, will more incline to have a tidy an clean room. It's like the room is an extension of our inner chambres.
                Our mental states can definitely have an effect on our environment. A "post-samadhi-smile" is just very contagious and makes other people happy.
                Our mental states and strong emotions can surely affect and infect a non-living environment. Every thought is a little electro-magnetic pulse in our brain, which extends the locus of our skull, be it very subtle. On a quantum-level, there is a "quantum field", which holds all of our consciousness and body together. This field has properties like "non-locality", meaning that another human receptacle on the other side of the planet, attuned to this, can certainly be influenced by this (example: mother and daughter). Another reason of this "picking up" after several years, is "quantum information" that is stored by this field in other things, like walls ...
                The reason why dark places like torture chambers can be impregnated by negativity, is that we as persons in extreme situations have kind of radiation, comparable to nuclear radiation, but much more subtle. This radiation can be received and stored by something like a torture chamber. Silenced and pure beings like you, can pick up those subtle radiations, even decades afterwards.

                This is only the esoteric and quantum theories on this ...

                May you have a blesses 2013,


                • #9
                  Dear Ajahn Brahmali,

                  Thank you very much for your answer. Yes, that is the chant I was looking for.

                  Dear Bryan Reigle,

                  Here you can download a talk of Ajahn Nyanadhammo ('The Ten Paramis - Part Two') in which he mentions this particular chant in the context of sacca (truthfulness). If you don't want to listen to the whole talk, at 26:00 minutes Ajahn Nyanadhammo begins talking about sacca as a quality that can provide protection.

                  With metta,



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