Son wrote:However it is true that inner or mental demons are an entirely different story than "external" or physical demons. Reading this thread, I have to point out it's important to recognize that no demon is a sentient being--it's either a figment of the mind or a physical product of "mind." Asuras are not "demons," they're nothing similar to demons. They're mostly like other worldly devas. Demons can be a small nuisance and range to being seriously intense, some of them can indeed grow to Biblical proportions, and things like "my name is Legion for I am Many," do exist. They're just much less of a problem for Buddhists and in general nowadays, on account of Gautama's supreme teaching! Thank you Supreme Buddha. Many of the Bodhisattvas, and also Bhaisajyaguru and Amogasiddhi are useful for dealing with demons.
Gyalpo could be translated as king demon or king malevolent spirit. Many of this class of being afflict peoples minds and cause disease or wars. Pehar, an oath bound Gyalpo, even possess his oracles to this very day. They are sentient beings. Many yakshas and rakshasas could be called demons. You are woefully ill informed about Buddhist cosmology.
I would say the same about you. For years I have extensively studied Buddhist cosmology. Oops. What's more important than reading about the other spheres of existence and knowing this or that term ("yaksha" or "gyalpos"), is actually seeing the other worlds for yourself, perceiving them and gaining insight into them through recollection. Regardless of one's cultural or textual knowledge, it means nothing in comparison to firsthand experience and a clear, meditated mind, unobscured by superstition. With what you just said, it sounds like you're interpreting events and particular uses of terminology in whatever way you feel convenient. You could translate "Gyalpo" into "demon," but why do you feel that applies to this topic? Obviously when I said "demons," I was not referring to gyalpos. I'm not sure I've experienced a gyalpo. It's funny
that you say I'm ill informed about Buddhist cosmology, since I haven't said one word about cosmology or other spheres of existence...
Are you possessed by Pehar Gyalpo? Can you tell me that Pehar Gyalpo is a living deva, and not just a spiritual manifestation? What practices and practical knowledge of yours can you apply to this? What value does this have to this thread, anyway? This doesn't regard asuras, it regards Mara and demonic influences. I myself have never been possessed by Pehar Gyalpo, so I can't say if he's a spirit or a deva, but I've met devas and they don't really "possess" people, not in a way that evil spirits do.
The "demons" that some others have been referring to in this thread are not sentient beings, not remotely in any sort of Buddhist cosmology, and I was replying in the same way as those others. I'm sure that the original poster wasn't referring to Asuras when he spoke of "Mara and demons manifesting
." Now, it is obviously thought that in many ancient accounts there are references to asuras and devas. But with many traditional contexts it is always confusing, because the same words, terms, and meanings are frequently used to refer to either a sentient being who is malevolent toward people, or any tricky spirit who is malevolent toward people. Now, there are negative, tricky, obscuring spirits that are just spirits
, that people call "demons." And then yes, there are asuras who are living beings. Similarly to how some Christians might refer to a negative spirit in their house as "Satan," but obviously this is not a sentient being named Satan, they are simply using the common epithet Satan to describe this spirit.
You call a deva-being "demonic" if it obscures your practice, but that doesn't mean the spiritual demons are sentient creatures. Again, from experience they are not. On the other hand asuras do sometimes actively impair Buddhist practice and morality in general, but I feel like the original poster should have a spiritualistic response rather than asuras. Also, most people never deal with asuras or devas, even if they're trying to.
Here are some quotes from Will's link to Shurangama Sutra.
“You are still not aware of the subtle demonic events that
can occur when you cultivate shamatha and vipashyana. If you
cannot recognize a demonic state when it appears, it is because
the cleansing of your mind has not been proper. You will then be
engulfed by deviant views.
“You may be troubled by a demon from your own skandhas
or a demon from the heavens. Or you may be possessed by a
ghost or spirit, or you may encounter a li ghost or a mei ghost.
If your mind is not clear, you will mistake a thief for your own
You may be troubled by a demon from your own skandhas;
that is, a demon produced from your own mind, or one of the ten
kinds of demons produced from the form skandha, which is also of
your own making. Or it may be a demon from the heavens. Why
should a demon from the heavens come to disturb you? It’s because
you have cultivated to the point that you have some samadhi.
-There are demons, negative spirits and ghosts; and then on the other hand there are sentient beings. I don't think other-worldly beings or cosmology really would help the original poster's inquiry.
Devas have their own body, their own feelings and consciousness, and they live their own life with their own agenda in their own world. They don't "manifest" themselves as all of these things, temples and monks and so forth. It's all right to talk of and deal with various sorts of spirits as "devas" or "asuras," but to really believe that an asura is so caught up with the goings on of the human world in these ways can eventually cause delusions. For example, that a figmentary negative spirit that's influencing you is a sentient being.
Not to say that devas or asuras don't influence humans--of course they do. And what's more, they have many magikal capabilities beyond us.
But that isn't really the purpose of the thread, to talk about the other spheres of existence. There are many godly deities throughout the many Buddhist traditions that are not devas, they're not living beings, they're just deities but those Buddhists use the term and meaning of their Buddhist terminology for deva to refer to that deity. Many of them were adopted from the cultures who accepted Buddhism later.
The Nechung medium was required to undergo trance on at least ten separate occasions. In the most dramatic event, following days of parades, athletic meetings and religious convocations, he marched in a regal procession south of the city to a field below the Potala, where, wielding his bow, sword and trident before a bonfire, he ritually dispersed the negative spirits of the old year.
Now in this account, it is clear that the medium was not dealing with asuras. You cannot perform a ritual and force humans or even animals to disperse from an area, let alone heavenly beings
. What was dispersed here were demons--"negative spirits." They were not sentient beings with their own bodies and consciousness. This is something that I myself have experienced. Have you ever met an asura? You can't "ritually banish" them, they're living people. For the Tibetan traditionalists, it's the same with ghosts. Many people speak of pretas as though they are spirits of the dead. Sure you can influence other beings just like animals, but one shouldn't confuse ghosts and pretas, or negative spirits with asuras. And one shouldn't read or study Buddhist knowledge and make it to mean whatever suits their own conceptions. Many of these sorts of study resources are very vague and very jumbled up with different perspectives. For the most part, even spiritual Tibetans don't care much about the other-worldly beings, they're just like most other humans who are experiencing their own intrapersonal and interpersonal spiritual relationships.
The most crucial thing to keep in mind is that you should not claim this or that just by words, and that you should use your own experience when dealing with topics like these. I have dealt with many, many demons both internal and external throughout my life and mostly in other people's lives. And I know what an asura is like, and there's no way to confuse the two. Demonic spirits
aren't sentient beings, they're not beings, they're hardly there. Although as one person has implied they certainly should be thought of with the same altruism, compassion and wisdom, because they rely on our own mind. It's always important to be clearly discerning and focused on what you're really perceiving.
Most people never ever in their lives see devas or asuras, or pretas. In some places, people don't even see wild animals! It's helpful to remember this: there are many, many forms of mythical animals that are not based on living animals, and yet the real animal beings themselves are not influenced by these mythical creatures or don't rely on them, they don't care about mythical creatures. Similarly, devas are not usually so caught up in human affairs. However I imagine that in Tibet, where spiritual attainments and vision are much greater than with other cultures in the world, the deva affairs are much more related.
Sorry, most of this is very far from the point of this thread, but it's important to clarify that I'm being concerned with spiritual demons and not otherworldly beings. Regardless of how some otherwordly beings impair spiritual practice at high levels of samadhi. I was definitely not speaking in a cosmological context when talking about demons, and my post had nothing to do with "gyalpos" or "yakshas."