requesting help from devas

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jcsuperstar
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requesting help from devas

Postby jcsuperstar » Sat Mar 21, 2009 7:00 am

how is this done? i see people talk about not relying on devas etc, but never have i been taught, outside of a christian perspective, how to actually ask a deva for help or whatever it is that is done. is there a sutta that talks about this? or was this just some common indian practice? is it just a matter of plopping some food in front of a statue and making a wish?
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Re: requesting help from devas

Postby Dhammanando » Sat Mar 21, 2009 8:59 am

Hi JC,

jcsuperstar wrote:how is this done? i see people talk about not relying on devas etc, but never have i been taught, outside of a christian perspective, how to actually ask a deva for help or whatever it is that is done.


In the Atanatiya Sutta (DN. 32) the Buddha gives the names of those devas who have vowed to render assistance to those who have gone for refuge. So, learn their names and when you're in dire straits just give them a yell.


    "Learn by heart, monks, the Atanata protection, constantly make use of it, bear it in mind. This Atanata protection, monks, pertains to your welfare, and by virtue of it, monks and nuns, laymen and laywomen may live at ease, guarded, protected, and unharmed."

    — Atanatiya Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.32.0.piya.html

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
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    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

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Re: requesting help from devas

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:07 am

Greetings,

But would they still be devas 2500ish years on?

They could have been George W Bush by now... :thinking:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: requesting help from devas

Postby Ben » Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:52 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

But would they still be devas 2500ish years on?

They could have been George W Bush by now... :thinking:

Metta,
Retro. :)


Hi Retro

I think they're yakkhas actually in the Atanatiya and I'm not sure how long their lifespans are.
Kind regards

Ben
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in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

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sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: requesting help from devas

Postby Dhammanando » Sat Mar 21, 2009 10:52 am

Hi Retro,

retrofuturist wrote:But would they still be devas 2500ish years on?


Probably. They are very long-lived and there are lots of modern anecdotes testifying to the efficacy of the Atanatiya Paritta in instigating interventions on their part.

One thing I forget to mention regarding the Atanatiya Paritta is that it was regarded by the commentators as a last resort for persons being harrassed by an amanussa. According to Buddhaghosa the victim of harrassment should first spend seven days reciting the Mettasutta, Dhajaggasutta and Ratanasutta. Only if this fails to solve the problem should he chant the Atanatiya Paritta to summon help from the yakkha chieftains.

Ben wrote:I think they're yakkhas actually in the Atanatiya...


The word 'yakkha' can be used as an honorific for devas, gandhabbas, nagas etc. The ones named in the sutta belong to several different classes of amanussa.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,

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Re: requesting help from devas

Postby Nadi » Sat Mar 21, 2009 11:56 pm

Thank you Bhante, that is an interesting sutta.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I have heard that we can offer the merits of our practice (keeping the precepts, meditation etc.) to the devas, and they will help us when we are facing danger.

With metta,
Nadi
With Metta,
Nadi

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Re: requesting help from devas

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:27 am

thanks a lot
very interesting stuff
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: requesting help from devas

Postby SeerObserver » Sun Mar 22, 2009 5:57 am

jcsuperstar wrote:how is this done? i see people talk about not relying on devas etc, but never have i been taught, outside of a christian perspective, how to actually ask a deva for help or whatever it is that is done. is there a sutta that talks about this? or was this just some common indian practice? is it just a matter of plopping some food in front of a statue and making a wish?

In addition to what is intentional there is a belief that often times when a practitioner is making a resolution before a Buddha statue, to an arahant, or other similar examples, that it is actually devas and the like who sometimes intervene. Though this is not to say that there are not instances where "prayers" (I prefer to call them resolutions) have not been heard/answered by the targeted party.

The premise is similar to the justification often used for kumon tong. These beings increase their own merits by aiding another presumably virtuous being in a virtuous task/situation. These devas and other such beings are in need of merit and linger before their next rebirth. Performing merits will obviously lead to a better rebirth for them and in order for them to have the maximum opportunity they linger around merit fields. Wats, uposathas, shrines (presumably at the residences of virtuous people), and other such locations are merit fields.
Last edited by SeerObserver on Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: requesting help from devas

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:57 pm

Here is an interesting perspective from Ven. Dhammika, which happens to coincide with the timing of this thread and subject:

http://sdhammika.blogspot.com/ March 22, 2009 blog post

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Re: requesting help from devas

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:02 pm

retrofuturist wrote:But would they still be devas 2500ish years on?

They could have been George W Bush by now... :thinking:

Most deva realms include lifespans of around 9 million years or greater, so we are pretty safe that it is not George W. Bush. :tongue:


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