Author Topic: Demonic present in Buddhism  (Read 3243 times)


Demonic present in Buddhism
« on: May 01, 2012, 03:46:39 PM »
Always wondering about this.  How does a Buddhist in Western society go about getting help if coming upon Demonic entity?   I know Catholic church here in the US  would grant exorcism (after extensive research/ request and loooong wait) to Christian members.   At the same time, holy water or Cross may be used for protection in  lesser case.    What does Buddhism have to deal w/ situation like this?

No, nothing of that nature has happened to me, as I used to go sit by myself in the woods, isolated area, next to the river at night or even in the cemetery - or maybe it did and I just didn't know it.   Now, I don't do it anymore, it may be quiet but just doesn't feel right. 


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Re: Demonic present in Buddhism
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2012, 06:33:10 PM »
Hello Falkov,

Well well well - and you ask this on a forum that anyone can read.
Here in Holland - or Western Europe in general - exorcism is rare. I know it is done here in some Pentecostal circles. Of the two or three people that told me about it, two regarded it as harmful to the person that was 'helped'. One found it wonderful, i must admit.
The point is - in my view - that in those cases in fact no-one saw a demon, but from the bad behaviour or the madness of the 'helped' person, the leader of the church would decide, that there must be demons present. And then Jesus Christ is called upon - by the whole congregation - to chase out the demons.

In two of the cases I know, the preacher-man was in fact confronted with a psychiatric patient. Jumping to the conclusion that a patient is possessed is premature, to put it very friendly. It would be proper to gain a knowledge of when your treatment (i.e. exorcism) can help, and when not. Trying exorcism in all cases is outright dangerous. At any rate in those two cases: the patients went even more crazy (and not only at that moment).

OK. I just wanted to say that, I suppose.
I fact, you talk about "coming upon [a] Demonic entity". 

Let us investigate the field further.
In Western Buddhism, meditation is put central. It is even felt, that Buddhism does not acknowledge Gods. Whereas in Asian stories, it is clear, that even the Gods rejoice in the birth and enlightenment of Gautama, and he teaches the Gods and his deceased mother after his enlightenment.

You ask: "How does a Buddhist in Western society go about getting help   . . .   "
Well, my first teacher insisted, that one should do prostrations before the sitting meditation. I am convinced, that that is a ritual for invoking help. Just as I am convinced, that meditating as a group has a protecting quality. (On the other hand, you can all make the same mistake, of course.)

Somehow I find it difficult to fathom what you are asking for. I find that I am reluctant to share personal experience on this point, at this time.

So I will just leave it at this for this moment.

P.S.:  "Always wondering about this.", you wrote.
If that is so, and with your amount of experience and your background, you maybe should simply ask how you have been protected all your life. And if there is anything you can do in return or in cooperation.


I hope this helps.


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Re: Demonic present in Buddhism
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2012, 09:28:19 PM »
I`m a sceptic where it comes to demonic posesions and exorcism, i`ve always thought that the afflicted are people with medical issues that may or may not gain some temporary relief from exhaustion or placebo after the exorcism. Just imagine being someone with say a mental problem being physically restrained by a crowd of deluded people who won`t believe you no matter what you say, it must be torture. I think the devils invented by the church are imaginary; if they were real and water and words would drive them away, poor guys must be disintegrated each time the victim takes a shower or watches tv.

I do believe in the possibility of the existence of beings in other realms and dimensions, but without any solid data it`s difficult to know if some of them can and choose to interfere with this realm. From the buddhist point of view, all i know about these things i read here: devas & asuras. I think there are stories about these beings interfering with humans in asian buddhist folklore, but i don`t know how many (if any) can be found in the actual suttas.

There have always been monks living and meditating in the forest and other remote areas, and i think most of the things assaulting us in such conditions are conjured up in our own minds. I`ve spent nights alone in the forest long time ago (when i was 16) and the ones with no moon can be very intimidating, you hear animal footsteps and all kinds of noises a few yards away and there is no visual clue to what`s going on - then the unguarded mind starts filling up blanks with any number of fantasies.

It would be interesting to find out if one of the well established meditation teachers addressed this issue before. I think the religion and folklore data is unreliable and compromised by superstition.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 09:30:58 PM by Masauwu »
The summer river:
although there is a bridge, my horse
goes through the water.


Re: Demonic present in Buddhism
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2012, 10:27:04 PM »
It would be interesting to find out if one of the well established meditation teachers addressed this issue before.

Exactly why I asked!   I got to know one of the well-known monk in Washington DC area many many years ago, did have a chance to ask him about this. He didn't say much about it- neither deny nor confirm.   I remember telling him about me going out for a drive alone at around 1-2 am through areas known to be hunting grounds , once or twice a week for a few years, and sometimes just sat and meditated there for a while.    I was told not to go there any more, and I didn't really want to push for an answer either. 

Since, I have been going out by myself to isolated areas all the time, especially at night but not as much as I used to and usually at the park -for a quiet meditative session.     I always maintain awareness of the surrounding and keep my thought/ mind in check.  So far, nothing out of ordinary.   However, if there's an overwhelming feeling of some kind in the surrounding area, then it's probably a good time to move on - kinda like suddently finding myself in a middle of party w/ loud music and people running around and I am not on the guest list-type. 

This is not exactly a subject which I want to explore by myself w/ very limited knowledge and training.   I do prefer to consult w/ someone who is an expert, but so far I have not come across such an individual. 

« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 05:39:49 AM by Falkov »


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Re: Demonic present in Buddhism
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2012, 06:17:54 AM »
Hmm, yes, experts on demons are only as numerous as a persons faith in the phenomenon.

Having been brought up in pentecostalism, I've been involved in exorcisms and agree that what ever reality there is to it, it is the mental aspect that determines a persons health. In africa it is common place to have demons cast out of you weekly, and i can tell you it is spectacular, but more about how a person sees the world than an 'entity'. I have never seen a physical object move on it's own, though I have heard animals react when I thought I was in the presence of one. obviously the animal was most likely reacting to my fear!

i've had experiences that are classically demonic (conversations, presences and the like) but they are all explainable a 'mind made', no different from the 'self' apparently living in me (less apparent these days as, like demons, the belief has subsided to zero).   

I personally think it could be a useful tantra for some people as I found it leaving christianity.

there are good reasons not to be in deserted areas after dark, but they are more mundane and deadly and think they are 'selves'.

getting it done


Re: Demonic present in Buddhism
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2012, 02:40:58 PM »
Thank you both for answering, I do appreciate time and effort.  As I  have done "a little more" research- it seems just like Light and darkness, Black / white , Good / Not good, Yin and Yang,  there maybe such a being as demons.  However, it's our own mind that gives them power- through negative thoughts and fear.   Mind can do many great things, as well as creating unimaginable destruction.   As it was said, be the master of your own mind, or ( undisciplined) mind will master you.

Some may ask, why on earth do I go out at night?  I answer, the same reason why I continue my (Sati) meditation even during  the busiest time of day and and in chaotic places.   Meditation doesn't stop when one leaves sitting cushion, from a protected shelter. 


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Re: Demonic present in Buddhism
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2012, 10:27:45 AM »

The main (only?) "demon" you will meet on the Buddhist path is Mara. Mara is not an external demon, it is the dark side of your mind that will try to mess up your practice and draw you away from living in truthfulness. It may manifest as something seen externally or heard, but it's not, it's just parts of your mind resisting the changes you are going through.

Good point you make about taking mindfulness off the cushion. This is an essential progress on the path. It's why we use the term "meditation practice". You are practising entering the states of mindfulness for use in daily life.

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