Black Magic According To Buddha Dhamma

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    • #23715


      I wanted to ask, are occult practices mentioned in the tipitaka? Does black magic/charms affect a person who has attained magga phala? I am asking because I live in an area where use of charms against people out of jealousy is very common. Being a target of such practices, I was wondering, if research has been done on this subject.

      Normally in charm magic people experience material belongings or loved ones getting hurt in weird ways. It’s also common knowledge here that people do black magic through devil. I’m not sure how that translates to Buddhism but I’m sure the practitioner does rituals to summon unwholesome beings (pretas probably?) and have them do things they want. In exchange, these beings ask the person to do unspeakable acts like drinking blood, eating feces, doing even rape etc. These are how the stories go.

      Does the Buddha mention these practices and how to stay protected from them? I know attaining magga phala is the greatest refuge anyway but I am just curious.

    • #23716

      Mara is a deva from thge highest deva realm but he is often called a demon(to be clear there is an actual sentient being called Mara who is a deva and also kilesa mara which is the defilements of our own minds, he has been said to be the personification of these defilements. I have seen him being compared to as the Buddhist devil and satan before if I remember correctly.  A being who wants to deter someones virtue and ultimate goal like he tried to do with the Buddha. There are other devas like Mara. So if people do black magic it would more likely to me deal with devas and not petas. Just to give more examples it is most likely devas and not those in dugati:
      1) those in dugati are suffering and helpless and most likely have no magic nor power. Devas have power though.
      2) In Islam black magic is done by jinns. Jinns are the closest thing to devas, similar superpowers too. There are both good jinns and bad jinns, just as there are both good or bad devas and humans. Highest jinn is Ibliss, or Islamic Satan/devil
      3) in Christianity I believe black magic is done by demons. In Christianity there are good angels and bad angels. Bad ones are called fallen angels and sometimes called demonic, even Satan once the highest angel is called devil. Just as Mara is in the highest deva realm and with the most powers and also inclination to corrupt people and challenge the Buddha just like Christian Satan challenge Jesus and Islamic Satan. Just trying to point out interesting paralells to Mara in Buddhism to Christian Satan and Islamic Satan, or other Satan characters in other cultures. I’m sure someone has written a book or article on these paralells already. Point was it is most likely malevolent devas like Mara who do this.

      You ask:
      “Does the Buddha mention these practices”, here is a sutta relating to your topic:
      Kevatta Sutta DN11

      You bring up an interesting topic. I’m just wondering how does one undo black magic  or break free from black magic being done by devas on the order oh humans.

    • #23718

      Akmal wrote: “I wanted to ask, are occult practices mentioned in the tipitaka?”

      There are no “occult practices” per se mentioned in the Tipitaka.

      However, the word “occult” means “paranormal phenomena”, meaning phenomena that cannot be understood by modern science; see, the Wikipedia article, “Occult”.

      In the days of the Buddha, not only the followers of the Buddha, but also other yogis were able to engage in such actions as flying through the air (with the physical body) or even visiting deva and brahma realms with the “manomaya kaya” (which is the same as gandhabba).
      Such feats were achieved not by practicing “black magic” or mysterious procedures, but by cleansing one’s mind.
      – Non-Buddhist yogis did that by abstaining from immoral actions, speech, and thoughts, and also by suppressing the desire for sense pleasures.
      – Buddha’s disciples did those things by rooting out not only abstaining from immoral actions, speech, and thoughts, but also by eliminating sense desires by comprehending the dangers of sense pleasures.

      Therefore, we need to think about issues like this relating to mind phenomena depending on the context.

      In another example, “astral travel” can be done by cleansing one’s mind as discussed above. Furthermore, those who has cultivated such capabilities in their recent previous lives can develop such capabilities without much effort. The same with anariya jhana; those who had cultivated them in previous recent lives can “get them back” easily.
      – However, there people who are selling “their techniques” by promising to teach how to do astral travel. Those are hoaxes.
      – Therefore, one needs to be careful in addressing these issues.
      I do not have much time to address other issues, but these are my initial thoughts.

    • #23843

      Thank you for your responses.

      I am aware of Abhinna powers. I should have phrased my question better. I wanted to ask if phenomena such as spirit possession being done either willingly by a spirit/mara/yaksa/demon or through black magic is effective on Ariyas or those with Noble attainments.

      It is sometimes said that spirit possession or mind-related paranormal phenomena is done by building on the person’s worst nightmares/fears. I suppose someone without bad gathi i.e. to the level of say an Anagami would not be affected due to these. I was asking if such an example exists in Tipitaka.

      I read somewhere that Ven. Moggallana in one of his past lives was a high-ranking Yaksha (not sure if term is right) and theres a story of him possessing a young boy. Is it possible for a Yaskha to possess someone with noble attainment?

      I come from an area where out of jealously, people buy amulets from black magic experts who can cast these spells and have unwholesome spirits/beings possess the targeted people and inflict unspeakable harm on them. Being a potential target of such practices, I wonder how to deal with such situations.

      In my previous religion which was Islam, we used to recite verses from Qur’an and the effects of black magic or spirits/demons were lessened and even removed. I don’t know how Buddha would recommend dealing with such situations. I know arahants would have no problem even if someone casted a spell on them because they cannot suffer mentally.

      I’m clearly on the right path, have felt enormous change and purification of the mind using teachings in this website. But I’m still curious as to how one can protect oneself in these cases. I thought chanting buddham saranam gacchami (with understanding) would work in uplifting black magic effects, but I don’t know how that would work.

      Ofcourse I know that there’s no protection out there (anicca) and being target of the effects of these occult practices might very well be kamma vipaka of my past actions, but just like crossing the road without looking left and right is a foolish thing to do, in the same way, simply giving in to these practices without doing anything about them would do me any good either. And I do not feel reciting a mundane religion’s verses is a way to go either because there must be some higher wisdom in the supramundane aspect of Dhamma that can help me in this area.

      Thank you.

    • #23844

      Akmal wrote: ” I wanted to ask if phenomena such as spirit possession being done either willingly by a spirit/mara/yaksa/demon or through black magic is effective on Ariyas or those with Noble attainments.”

      Relevant basic ideas are discussed in the post, “What Does Buddha Dhamma Say about Creator, Satan, Angels, and Demons?“.

      Mara is different from other “bad beings”. Mara is a deva in the highest deva realm. He wants people to engage in moral activities and to be reborn as devas. But he is opposed to Buddha and his disciples because he thinks attaining Nibbana is bad.
      – However, other bad beings who are in either the lower realms or the first deva realm tend to try to direct people to do “bad things”.

      Neither type can harm true disciples of the Buddha, especially those who have attained magga phala.

      Now, PEOPLE doing “black magic” is a different topic. Yes. I know that in Sri Lanka (especially in the old days), some people used to do certain things (“black magic”) to try to harm their enemies. But that practice losing ground now, because people are more informed.
      – I do not really know whether those practices are effective or not.
      – However, just like good thoughts can positively affect other people, bad thoughts can negatively affect targeted people. That is especially true if the “targeted person” has bad character qualities.

      The bottom line is that if one lives a moral life and follow the Noble Path, one cannot be influenced by such external forces. It is those with bad character and weak minds who can be affected.
      – People in Asian Buddhist countries also play “sutta chantings” in their houses regularly. I remember that it was done every morning while getting ready for school/work.
      – That could have an effect of “keeping bad beings away” too. It is also conducive to a calm mindset; see, “Buddhist Chanting“.

      One should also keep one’s house/environment clean. That can have a significant effect on one’s mindset. A simple, moral life goes together with simple, clean environment.
      – Just like bad character qualities tend to attract bad friends, unclean environment will attract flies, cockroaches, mice, etc. and make that environment even more unhealthy.
      – If one can visit a temple especially in Asian countries, one can clearly see that it is a simple and clean environment for a positive mindset, and that it is conducive to contemplation (bhavana).

    • #31495

      “Mara is a deva in the highest deva realm. He wants people to engage in moral activities and to be reborn as devas.”

      Just curious: Is “Mara” as designation of this deva the same word “mara” as in relating to death?

    • #31496

      The Pāli word for death is “marana“.

      However, I should have mentioned that “Māra” could have one of two meanings, depending on the context.

      – One is Māra Devaputta, a Deva, who gave a lot of trouble to the Buddha because he was against people attaining Nibbana. His mindset is as follows: “Deva realms are so blissful. People should engage in good deeds and get rebirth in Deva realms.” He does not understand that he himself could be born in an apāya in the future.

      – The other Māra is the “kilesa māra” referring to the defilements in a person’s mind. Those are temptations to engage in sensual pleasures. I think you could be referring to this second usage.

    • #31497

      Before Dhamma I used to be pretty successful in occult stuff. There are ways to bring or manifest beings from other realm and bound them, there are actually so many things one can do thru “invisible” mechanics if one understand them one can do certain things but it always comes with the price. I studied it most of my life (to create things the way I want before understanding Anicca nature) so if anyone is interested I can answers questions to some extent but those theories of magic practice does not show true nature of this world, it’s more like biology or medicine, for example you have medical concepts but they do not include gandhabba or other factors of true nature, even magic being “spiritual” so to speak – it does not include true mechanics of the world but only related to it’s own convenience.

      So for example, you want to make certain object that have certain power, most likely astrological one. To do so one need to understand how planets move and how to elect one to catch up “essence” of such planets, there need to be correspondence to those planets on the basis of mechanics or theory of magic, but one need to think how real this theory is in the sense of what is really happening – someone just put it together on his own or experience based on many experiments to make some sense of it and put it into “mechanics” but in reality behind this theory may be other things that are really in work.

    • #31498

      I was thinking about what cubibobi asked: “Is “Mara” as designation of this deva the same word “mara” as in relating to death?”

      Yes. There is also a connection of Māra to death or “marana” in the following sense.

      In Ariya Vinaya, death is inevitably “attached” to birth (jāti). Wherever there is birth, there will ALWAYS be death.
      – Therefore, in Ariya Vinaya (i.e., for Noble Persons) whatever causes the birth-death cycle to continue is the REAL death or “marana.”
      – Now, those who do not realize the drawbacks and dangers in kāma (sense pleasures) are going to be subjected to the rebirth process or “marana
      – That is why Māra Devaputta is associated with marana. He encourages people to enjoy sense pleasures, even though he discourages immoral behavior. But as long as one does not realize the bad consequences and dangers in engaging in even harmless sense pleasures, one will NOT be able to escape the “kāma loka“. As long as one is in kāma loka, the possibility of succumbing to temptations and ending up in the apāyā will be there (until one becomes a Sotapanna/Sotapanna Anugāmi)
      – That is why the Buddha always referred to Māra Devaputta as a “bad influence” and equated to “death”. That death or “marana” means the inability to reach release from the cycle of suffering.

      It is a bit deeper point. Please feel free to ask questions.

    • #31499
      y not

      The deva planes need not be feared by those who have attained Sotapanna or Sakadagami Stage. True, there will be death there as well, but there is no other way, unless they attain the Arahanthood here in this life – or else through attaining Anagami Stage and bypassing the kama loka altogether.

      Attaining a HUMAN birth is to be feared. One should strive to make this human birth the last one. Once the suffering is seen and experienced; and once its SUPREME VALUE has been shown through the compassion of an Ariya or Ariyas, one need not come back to such a gross material, disgusting existence.

      The Buddha, while ever reminding us of the reality of falling back to the apayas and the ultimate futility in pursuing a deva existence as an aim in itself, recognized its value for those on the way to Nibbana.

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