How do demon like beings operate acording to Budhism?

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How do demon like beings operate acording to Budhism?

Postby Ervin » Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:09 am

Peace. Hi everyone. My understanding is that in Budhism there are teachings about the existence of demons and other evil beings. Now how do they operate and are they subject to karma?
If they are subject to karma then are they us gone bad? I would appreciate your thoughts on the subject.

Thanks
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Re: How do demon like beings operate acording to Budhism?

Postby maybay » Sat Dec 24, 2011 11:00 am

Demons don't listen. Not understanding their own situation they create suffering for themselves and others. They are closed to reason and persuasion, so for everyone else they appear irrational and demonic.

The line between good and evil runs through every man - Solzhenitsyn
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Think nothing and everything
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Re: How do demon like beings operate acording to Budhism?

Postby tomamundsen » Sat Dec 24, 2011 8:33 pm

All sentient beings are subject to karma, there is no get out of jail free card.

I'm not sure what exactly you mean by demons. Do you mean beings in the hell realms? Or do you mean the demons in the hells that inflict the pain and suffering on hell beings? Or do you mean dharma protectors and wrathful deities?

Darma protectors and wrathful deities are usually completely enlightened, so they wouldn't be subject to karmic retribution simply because they wouldn't be engaging in karmic activity.
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Re: How do demon like beings operate acording to Budhism?

Postby kirtu » Sat Dec 24, 2011 9:09 pm

Ervin wrote:Peace. Hi everyone. My understanding is that in Budhism there are teachings about the existence of demons and other evil beings. Now how do they operate and are they subject to karma?
If they are subject to karma then are they us gone bad? I would appreciate your thoughts on the subject.


Hi Ervin!

In Buddhism in general demons are sentient beings (beings with a mind) who have accumulated a great deal of negative karma. In some cases they also have accumulated a great deal of positive karma that ripens as power. Karma is multifaceted and no one aside from a Buddha can understand all the effects of karma. Everything we say, think and do is an action of speech, mind and/or body respectively and has a definite result.

The demons are indeed subject to karma. They have a lifespan just like other beings. Unfortunately they spend virtually all of their time creating more negative karma as a result of which they will fall deeper and deeper into negative realms and situations.

Interestingly there is a thread right now on yakshas, a particular class of low level gods that could be classified as demons too.

Kirt
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Re: How do demon like beings operate acording to Budhism?

Postby tomamundsen » Sat Dec 24, 2011 9:23 pm

tomamundsen wrote:All sentient beings are subject to karma, there is no get out of jail free card.

Well, other than achieving the 8th bhumi. Or arhatship if you swing that way.
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Re: How do demon like beings operate acording to Budhism?

Postby Ervin » Sun Dec 25, 2011 2:21 am

Peace. So they are not like the Satan and his demons/ jins who ate trying to lead you astray like in Monotheism?

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Re: How do demon like beings operate acording to Budhism?

Postby Konchog1 » Sun Dec 25, 2011 2:36 am

Ervin wrote:Peace. So they are not like the Satan and his demons/ jins who ate trying to lead you astray like in Monotheism?

Thanks
No, not really. They're like humans but with magic powers and supernatural qualities. There is the concept of Mara tempting the Buddha but there is the opinion that he's a allegory.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mara_%28demon%29

So no, Mara will not try and trip you up, but some Buddhist schools believe a spirit might curse you if you pour boiling oil out in to his living room or something (as happened to one guy at e-sangha).
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Re: How do demon like beings operate acording to Budhism?

Postby steveb1 » Sun Dec 25, 2011 2:38 am

1) But can't beings be released from Karma by a Buddha or an enlightened being? Didn't Buddha essentially liberate the infamous killer who made a necklace with the fingers of his victims... as well as liberating in this life... many other people?

2) If the above is correct, cannot there are also beings who are not liberated in this life or in other incarnations, but inhabit some type of posthumous life wherein they are the functional equivalent of demons?

If the above propositions are generally correct, then is it unreasonable to think that some demons can be liberated, if not while existing in a hell realm, but - say - from a living person by way of exorcism? If memory serves, is not Tibetan Buddhism deeply infused with native Himalyan shamanism? And doesn't shamanism's chief concern lie in knowing the spirits, living, dead, good, bad, theriomorphic/totemistic, etc . ... and being deliberately possessed by spirits (the famous "Oracle" scene in Kundun comes to mind) - as well as performing exorcisms?

Again, if memory serves, did not the great Tibetan Buddhist Padmasambhava famously perform an exorcism in which he applied Compassionate Wisdom to the demon and persuade it of its own innate Buddhahood and cajol it to "go to the Light", thereby saving the victim as well as guiding the suffering demon toward liberation?

It seems that, rare among world religions, Buddhism includes demons within its paradigm and ethic of compassion. Not even the Christian model does this: while Jesus granted the Garasene demon's ("Legion") request to not be "cast into the abyss", but rather into a swine herd, the result was a mass suicide of pigs - and thus presumably, the actual return of "Legion" to "the abyss". In the rest of the New Testament and Christian history, demons are to be despised, reviled, and banished, with no compassion directed to them; for to do so would be to direct compassion to Satan, "the Lord of demons". Thus Buddhism seems to bring a refreshing, lone beacon of restraint, wisdom, and compassion to this otherwise dark subject.
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Re: How do demon like beings operate acording to Budhism?

Postby Malcolm » Sun Dec 25, 2011 2:59 am

steveb1 wrote:1) But can't beings be released from Karma by a Buddha or an enlightened being?


No.



Didn't Buddha essentially liberate the infamous killer who made a necklace with the fingers of his victims... as well as liberating in this life... many other people?



All a buddha can do is give you teachings. The rest is up to you.



If the above propositions are generally correct, then is it unreasonable to think that some demons can be liberated, if not while existing in a hell realm, but - say - from a living person by way of exorcism? If memory serves, is not Tibetan Buddhism deeply infused with native Himalyan shamanism? And doesn't shamanism's chief concern lie in knowing the spirits, living, dead, good, bad, theriomorphic/totemistic, etc . ... and being deliberately possessed by spirits (the famous "Oracle" scene in Kundun comes to mind) - as well as performing exorcisms?


In point of fact, it is rather the other way around. Tantric Buddhist ritual provided a structure and syntax around which Himalayan "shamans" constructed many rites derived from Buddhism. But to some extent it was also a two way street, with aboriginal poeples in India and the Himalayas being influenced by Tantric ritual and influencing Tantric ritual. It is mostly the former, however, and not the latter.

N
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Re: How do demon like beings operate acording to Budhism?

Postby Vipassualty » Sun Dec 25, 2011 3:38 am

kirtu wrote:
Ervin wrote:Peace. Hi everyone. My understanding is that in Budhism there are teachings about the existence of demons and other evil beings. Now how do they operate and are they subject to karma?
If they are subject to karma then are they us gone bad? I would appreciate your thoughts on the subject.


Interestingly there is a thread right now on yakshas, a particular class of low level gods that could be classified as demons too.

Kirt

,
And certainly, once no longer concerned with their concealment, a yakkha would appear to a Christian, e.g., to be not at all different than a demon.

By definition, a demon cannot be "fully enlightened." http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... bbana.html

Hi, Kirtu. You will probably find this unusual sutta very interesting. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: How do demon like beings operate acording to Budhism?

Postby catmoon » Sun Dec 25, 2011 4:11 am

@ Steveb1

Was going to reply to your post, but found Namdrol beat me to it - with exactly the same ideas!

Indeed the serial killer found liberation, but through his own study and effort. All the Buddhas do is provide the pointing finger, but as you can tell from the story, your basic Buddha is very good at it, very persuasive. But there was nothing stopping the man from saying "Screw this bleep" and storming off to kill more people.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
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Re: How do demon like beings operate acording to Budhism?

Postby Vipassualty » Sun Dec 25, 2011 4:31 am

catmoon wrote:@ Steveb1

Was going to reply to your post, but found Namdrol beat me to it - with exactly the same ideas!

Indeed the serial killer found liberation, but through his own study and effort. All the Buddhas do is provide the pointing finger, but as you can tell from the story, your basic Buddha is very good at it, very persuasive. But there was nothing stopping the man from saying "Screw this bleep" and storming off to kill more people.


Also, see: The Alavaka Sutta: To the Alavaka Yakkha. wherein Lord Buddha liberates a murderous yakkha from the endless wheel of suffering. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying at Alavi in the haunt of the Alavaka yakkha. Then the Alavaka yakkha went to the Blessed One and on arrival said to him: "Get out, contemplative!"

[Saying,] "All right, my friend," the Blessed One went out.

"Come in, contemplative!"

[Saying,] "All right, my friend," the Blessed One went in.

A second time... A third time, the Alavaka yakkha said to the Blessed One, "Get out, contemplative!"

[Saying,] "All right, my friend," the Blessed One went out.

"Come in, contemplative!"

[Saying,] "All right, my friend," the Blessed One went in.

Then a fourth time, the Alavaka yakkha said to the Blessed One, "Get out, contemplative!"

"I won't go out, my friend. Do what you have to do."
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Re: How do demon like beings operate acording to Budhism?

Postby steveb1 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:05 am

Thanks to everyone who replied to my question - much appreciated :)
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