Working With Spirits Towards Worldly Goals

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Gaden_Wangchuk
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Working With Spirits Towards Worldly Goals

Post by Gaden_Wangchuk »

Not looking so much to debate the rationality or existence of spirits, but I know people and have studied (myself) esoteric and occult practices, and have even seen some who manage to combine them with Buddhist practice as well.

I've recently come to learn however that it's considered a minor transgression of vows to make offerings to worldly spirits. Specifically, it said sacrifices such as animals or living beings, but it did seem to read as generally anything to do with worldly spirits is to be refrained from, other than pacifying practices or karmic debts.

For the longest time, I was alright with propitiation and praise of worldly deities and spirits, so long as one recognized that refuge in them does not lead to ultimate enlightenment or any of the advanced stages on the path. Basically, work with them in worldly matters if you feel called to do so, but don't expect to reach any advanced Dharmic "benchmarks" so to speak. Now I'm re-examining this belief.

So I'm curious as to how others view this minor downfall and thoughts on it.

I am aware the best course is to ask your teacher, but I'd like to the thoughts of other practitioners, even if you share the thoughts of your teacher on the matter. To my knowledge this is a publicly known downfall as well, but if I'm mistaken and it cannot be discussed publicly, then let me know.
M.G.
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Re: Working With Spirits Towards Worldly Goals

Post by M.G. »

None of my Buddhist teachers ever told me this was a problem. One of my former gurus, who’s not a particularly fringe figure, basically used to encourage such practices, so long as practitioners didn’t take refuge in such worldly powers or mistake these kinds of actions for dharma.

I’m not a scholar, and as with so much in Buddhism, there’s probably sizable disagreements among teachers on this point.
Toenail
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Re: Working With Spirits Towards Worldly Goals

Post by Toenail »

If you work with worldly spirits and then you stop petitioning them, neglect offerings etc. you can get provocation from it. It is one cause of provocations that is described in abidharma.
Malcolm
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Re: Working With Spirits Towards Worldly Goals

Post by Malcolm »

Gaden_Wangchuk wrote: Wed Sep 29, 2021 5:40 am
I've recently come to learn however that it's considered a minor transgression of vows to make offerings to worldly spirits.
False.
Specifically, it said sacrifices such as animals or living beings, but it did seem to read as generally anything to do with worldly spirits is to be refrained from, other than pacifying practices or karmic debts.
Yes, no live sacrifice. Generally, unless HYT, no meat.

But there are offerings to worldly spirits, for example, there is the Jvalamukha Water offering to pretas. It is a sutra rite, anyone can do it without transmission.

And in HYT, there are offerings made to Indra, and so on, the eight naga kings, etc. These are all worldly beings.
"Death stands before all who are born."
— Ācārya Aśvaghoṣa
Soma999
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Re: Working With Spirits Towards Worldly Goals

Post by Soma999 »

Working with wordly spirits can means a variety of practice and possibility. So for precise answer maybe you can specify a specific exemple

There are all kind of spirits in the invisible world, and some can be dangerous. If you don’t have clear guidance and know what you are doing, maybe it is wise not to do it.

If you worship wisdom beings, Buddhas, wordly spirits may help you without even having to ask anything.
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Minobu
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Re: Working With Spirits Towards Worldly Goals

Post by Minobu »

For me they are friends . some are on the Dharma path . the ones that seem to do stuff for me.,anyway.

so i send them Odaimoku or a recitation of a few chapters of the Lotus Sutra as a gift .

when in an initiation like Medicine Buddha I hope they attend with me.

when doing other Tantric Sadhanas I always include them in sending >>>>>>>
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Könchok Thrinley
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Re: Working With Spirits Towards Worldly Goals

Post by Könchok Thrinley »

Malcolm wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:28 pm But there are offerings to worldly spirits, for example, there is the Jvalamukha Water offering to pretas. It is a sutra rite, anyone can do it without transmission.
Do you happen to have a link to the text or the text itself? It is something I have been looking for.
“Observing samaya involves to remain inseparable from the union of wisdom and compassion at all times, to sustain mindfulness, and to put into practice the guru’s instructions”. Garchen Rinpoche

For those who do virtuous actions,
goodness is what comes to pass.
For those who do non-virtuous actions,
that becomes suffering indeed.

- Arya Sanghata Sutra
Dharmaswede
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Re: Working With Spirits Towards Worldly Goals

Post by Dharmaswede »

Gaden_Wangchuk wrote: Wed Sep 29, 2021 5:40 am Not looking so much to debate the rationality or existence of spirits, but I know people and have studied (myself) esoteric and occult practices, and have even seen some who manage to combine them with Buddhist practice as well.

I've recently come to learn however that it's considered a minor transgression of vows to make offerings to worldly spirits. Specifically, it said sacrifices such as animals or living beings, but it did seem to read as generally anything to do with worldly spirits is to be refrained from, other than pacifying practices or karmic debts.
This might be a wild guess, but it does sound like these 'people' have been practicing in the Western esoteric and occult tradition, in which it is often conceived of as black magic, or at least lower magic.

My impression of the Tibetan tradition is that it is not so... puritanical. Your motivation is paramount here.

Personally, It has helped me a great deal to drop this idea of it being 'bad' to work spiritually for worldly goals. That being said, I would like the emphasize the importance of having proper motivation for doing so.

Lastly, I think spiritual bypassing is relevant to reflect upon in this context. It was defined by John Welwood as the "tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks."
Earl Grey
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Re: Working With Spirits Towards Worldly Goals

Post by Earl Grey »

Malcolm wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:28 pm
Gaden_Wangchuk wrote: Wed Sep 29, 2021 5:40 am
I've recently come to learn however that it's considered a minor transgression of vows to make offerings to worldly spirits.
False.
Specifically, it said sacrifices such as animals or living beings, but it did seem to read as generally anything to do with worldly spirits is to be refrained from, other than pacifying practices or karmic debts.
Yes, no live sacrifice. Generally, unless HYT, no meat.

But there are offerings to worldly spirits, for example, there is the Jvalamukha Water offering to pretas. It is a sutra rite, anyone can do it without transmission.

And in HYT, there are offerings made to Indra, and so on, the eight naga kings, etc. These are all worldly beings.
Could you please share information on where to find this, how to do it, and perhaps if you are willing, your own experience in it?
Malcolm
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Re: Working With Spirits Towards Worldly Goals

Post by Malcolm »

Earl Grey wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 11:21 am Could you please share information on where to find this, how to do it, and perhaps if you are willing, your own experience in it?
Not sure were you can kind the Jvalamukha rite, though there is a stray translation of mind out in the wild of it. Otherwise, the HYT material needs to be learned from your teacher and tradition.
"Death stands before all who are born."
— Ācārya Aśvaghoṣa
Gaden_Wangchuk
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Re: Working With Spirits Towards Worldly Goals

Post by Gaden_Wangchuk »

Toenail wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:24 pm If you work with worldly spirits and then you stop petitioning them, neglect offerings etc. you can get provocation from it. It is one cause of provocations that is described in abidharma.
Is this a Theravada view? As you mentioned the Abidharma.

Sounds interesting though, and would appreciate if you could further elaborate on this.
Toenail
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Re: Working With Spirits Towards Worldly Goals

Post by Toenail »

Gaden_Wangchuk wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 5:00 pm
Toenail wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:24 pm If you work with worldly spirits and then you stop petitioning them, neglect offerings etc. you can get provocation from it. It is one cause of provocations that is described in abidharma.
Is this a Theravada view? As you mentioned the Abidharma.

Sounds interesting though, and would appreciate if you could further elaborate on this.
Sorry I think I got confused. In abhidharma it is said that spirits can receive offerings through mental dedication. I think Vasubandhu mentions this in his Abidharmakosa. It is semi-related to the topic, I dont know why I confused it. The provocations through neglect of offerings and sacrifices for spirits is written in the medicine tantras I believe? You can ask Malcolm, he mentioned it here some years ago in context of someone being scared of a certain minor demon that cannot be named on this board.
Gaden_Wangchuk
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Re: Working With Spirits Towards Worldly Goals

Post by Gaden_Wangchuk »

Malcolm wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:28 pm
Gaden_Wangchuk wrote: Wed Sep 29, 2021 5:40 am
I've recently come to learn however that it's considered a minor transgression of vows to make offerings to worldly spirits.
False.
Specifically, it said sacrifices such as animals or living beings, but it did seem to read as generally anything to do with worldly spirits is to be refrained from, other than pacifying practices or karmic debts.
Yes, no live sacrifice. Generally, unless HYT, no meat.

But there are offerings to worldly spirits, for example, there is the Jvalamukha Water offering to pretas. It is a sutra rite, anyone can do it without transmission.

And in HYT, there are offerings made to Indra, and so on, the eight naga kings, etc. These are all worldly beings.
Leaving the HYT and practices that are still relatively Buddhist in nature aside (I had to quote the whole post however so that I can hopefully post this), your first point on it being a minor transgression is false is what I wanted to investigate further.

I came under the impression due to a portion of a text stating that in the Jonang Kalachakra tradition, It could have been a misunderstanding on my end, but that is how i initially interpreted it. The book to my knowledge is not restricted, so I can find and cite the passage if that helps any. Your response indicates however that this is not a common view or practice, so i did want to see if you have any insight into the Jonang Kalachakra practices?
Malcolm
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Re: Working With Spirits Towards Worldly Goals

Post by Malcolm »

Gaden_Wangchuk wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 6:14 pm
Malcolm wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:28 pm
Gaden_Wangchuk wrote: Wed Sep 29, 2021 5:40 am
I've recently come to learn however that it's considered a minor transgression of vows to make offerings to worldly spirits.
False.
Specifically, it said sacrifices such as animals or living beings, but it did seem to read as generally anything to do with worldly spirits is to be refrained from, other than pacifying practices or karmic debts.
Yes, no live sacrifice. Generally, unless HYT, no meat.

But there are offerings to worldly spirits, for example, there is the Jvalamukha Water offering to pretas. It is a sutra rite, anyone can do it without transmission.

And in HYT, there are offerings made to Indra, and so on, the eight naga kings, etc. These are all worldly beings.
Leaving the HYT and practices that are still relatively Buddhist in nature aside (I had to quote the whole post however so that I can hopefully post this), your first point on it being a minor transgression is false is what I wanted to investigate further.

I came under the impression due to a portion of a text stating that in the Jonang Kalachakra tradition, It could have been a misunderstanding on my end, but that is how i initially interpreted it. The book to my knowledge is not restricted, so I can find and cite the passage if that helps any. Your response indicates however that this is not a common view or practice, so i did want to see if you have any insight into the Jonang Kalachakra practices?
Post the passage….
"Death stands before all who are born."
— Ācārya Aśvaghoṣa
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