World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Paritta

Article Id: WHEBN0010614069
Reproduction Date:

Title: Paritta  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Vaiśravaṇa, Ratana Sutta, Pāli Canon, Culture of Myanmar, Buddhist chant
Collection: Buddhist Practices
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Paritta

Translations of
paritta
English: protection, safeguard
Pali: paritta
Sanskrit: paritrana
Burmese: ပရိတ်
(IPA: )
Sinhala: pirit
Glossary of Buddhism
Lay Buddhist
Practices

devotional
Offerings · Bows
3 Refuges · Chanting
precepts
5 Precepts · 8 Precepts
Bodhisattva vows
other
Meditation · Giving
Supporting Monastics
Study · Pilgrimage

Paritta (Pali), generally translated as "protection" or "safeguard,"[1] refers to the Buddhist practice of reciting certain verses and scriptures in order to ward off evil fortune or dangerous conditions, as well as to the specific verses and discourses recited as paritta texts. The practice of reciting or listening to the paritta suttas began very early in the history of Buddhism.[2]

Contents

  • Uses 1
  • Discourse types 2
    • Reverential 2.1
    • Aid seeking 2.2
    • Blessing 2.3
  • Forms of expression 3
  • Collections 4
  • See also 5
  • Notes 6
  • Sources 7
  • External links 8

Uses

In the Pali literature, these short verses are recommended by the Buddha as providing protection from certain afflictions. The belief in the effective power to heal, or protect, of the saccakiriya, or asseveration of something quite true is an aspect of the work ascribed to the paritta.[3]

It is also widely believed that all night recitations of paritta by monks bring safety, peace and well-being to a community. Such recitations will also occur on auspicious occasions, such as the inauguration of a new temple or home or to provide blessings upon those who hear. Conversely, paritta discourses are recited on inauspicious occasions as well, such as at a funeral or on the death anniversary of a loved one. They may also be recited to placate antagonistic spirits.[4][5]

Discourse types

There are several paritta verses that are identified as such within the Pali Canon.

Reverential

Most paritta involve offering praise to the Buddha or, more broadly, the Triple Gem (Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha). Of these paritta, one of the best known is the Ratana Sutta (Sn 2.1) where, for instance, it states in part:

Whatever treasure there be either here or in the world beyond, whatever precious jewel there be in the heavenly worlds, there is nought comparable to the Tathagata (the perfect One). This precious jewel is the Buddha. By this (asseveration of the) truth may there be happiness.[6]

Aid seeking

A few paritta involve the asking directly for the aid of the Buddha. Examples of this type of paritta verse can be seen in the Candima Sutta (SN 2.9) and Suriya Sutta (SN 2.10) of the Samyutta Nikaya. In these two scriptures, the deities Canda and Suriya protect themselves from the attack of the eclipse deity Rahu by reciting short verses praising the Buddha and pleading for his protection:

"O Buddha, the Hero, thou art wholly free from all evil. My adoration to thee. I have fallen into distress. Be thou my refuge."[7][8]

In these cases, the Buddha is shown as specifically hearing and responding to the paritta; he enjoins Rahu to release the captive deities rather than have his "head split into seven pieces".[7]

Blessing

Another type of paritta relies on the virtue of the individual who is ascribed as reciting the paritta in the Canon, rather than making reference to the virtues of the Buddha. This type of paritta can be seen in the Angulimala Sutta, the story of the murderer-turned-monk Angulimala. On passing a pregnant woman experiencing a difficult labor, Angulimala is moved to provide assistance. Asking the Buddha how he can help, the Buddha tells him to provide a sort of blessing to the woman by reciting a short verse proclaiming his own virtue:

Sister, since I was born in the noble birth, I do not recall intentionally killing a living being. Through this truth may there be wellbeing for you, wellbeing for your fetus.[9]

This verse is now used as a blessing for expectant mothers in the Theravada Buddhist tradition.[10]

Forms of expression

The Buddha and the arahants (the Consummate Ones) can concentrate on the paritta suttas without the aid of another. However, when they are ill, it is easier for them to listen to what others recite, and thus focus their minds on the dhamma that the suttas contain, rather than think of the dhamma by themselves. There are occasions, as in the case of illness, which weaken the mind (in the case of worldlings), when hetero-suggestion has been found to be more effective than autosuggestion.[2] In the Gilana Sutta, even the Buddha Himself had the Seven Factors of Enlightenment recited to him by another monk to recover from a grave illness.[11]

While paritta texts generally are recited aloud, other mediums are known as well. In Thailand, paritta texts are printed on small pieces of cloth containing images of the Buddha or famous monks. Similar text- often in the Khom script- is sometimes incorporated into tattoos believed to have protective powers, known as Sak Yant.

Collections

Paritta discourses are widely used and known, even if not necessarily understood, throughout the Theravada Buddhist world. Popular collections of paritta verses are among the most widely known Pali texts in many Theravada countries.

An example of such a collection is the Sinhala Pirit Potha ("The Book of Protection"), also known as Maha Pirit Potha and the Catubhanavarapali ("Text of the Four Recitals"). It has also been referred to as "The Buddhist Bible." This collection is typically given an important place in the Buddhist home, and is even treated with veneration. The book contains a collection of twenty-four or twenty-nine discourses (suttas)[12] almost all delivered by the Buddha, and found scattered in the five original collections (nikayas) in Pali, which form the Sutta Pitaka, the "Canonical Discourses."[2] Below, these discourses and related canonical sources are identified.[13]
1. Sarana-gama ("Going for Refuge") Khp 1
2. Dasa-sikkhapada ("Ten Training Precepts") Khp 2
3. Samanera-pañha ("Novice Questions") Khp 4
4. Dvattimsakara ("32 Body Parts") Khp 3
5. Paccavekkhana ("Reflections on Monastic Requisites") MN 2 (excerpt), passim
6. Dasa-dhamma Sutta ("Ten Dhamma Discourse") AN 10.48
7. Mahamangala Sutta ("Great Blessings Discourse") Khp 5, Sn 2.4
8. Ratana Sutta ("Three Treasures Discourse") Khp 6, Sn 2.1
9. Karaniya Metta Sutta ("Lovingkindness Discourse") Khp 9, Sn 1.8
10. Khandha-paritta ("Aggregates Protection") AN 4.67
11. Metta-anisamsa ("Lovingkindness Advantages Discourse") AN 11.16
12. Mitta-anisamsa ("Friendship Advantages Discourse") Ja 538
13. Mora-paritta ("The Peacock's Protection") Ja 159
14. Canda-paritta ("The Moon's Protection") SN 2.9
15. Suriya-paritta ("The Sun's Protection") SN 2.10
16. Dhajagga-paritta ("Banner Protection") SN 11.3
17. Mahakassapa Thera Bojjhanga ("Elder Maha Kassapa's Factors of Awakening") SN 46.14 (Gilana Sutta I)
18. Mahamoggallana Thera Bojjhanga ("Elder Maha Moggalana's Factors of Awakening") SN 46.15 (Gilana Sutta II)
19. Mahacunda Thera Bojjhanga ("Elder Maha Cunda's Factors of Awakening") SN 46.16 (Gilana Sutta III)
20. Girimananda Sutta ("To Girimananda Discourse") AN 10.60
21. Isigili Sutta ("About Isigili Discourse") MN 116
22. Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta ("Setting in Motion the Dhamma Wheel Discourse") SN 46.11
23. Maha-samaya Sutta ("The Great Assembly Discourse") DN 20
24. Alavaka Sutta ("Concerning Alavaka Discourse") SN 46.11
25. Kasi Bharadvaja Sutta ("Farmer Bharadvaja Discourse") Sn 1.4
26. Parabhava Sutta ("On Ruin Discourse") Sn 1.6
27. Vasala Sutta ("On Outcasts Discourse") Sn 1.7
28. Sacca-vibhanga Sutta ("Analysis of the Truth Discourse") MN 141
29. Atanatiya Sutta ("Atanatiya Discourse") DN 32

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Rhys Davids & Stede (1921-25), p. 426, entry for "Paritta2" (retrieved 08-14-2008 from "U. Chicago" at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.2:1:1923.pali provides the following translations: "protection, safeguard; (protective) charm, palliative, amulet." Also see Piyadassi (1999a) who translates paritta as "protection," and Anandajoti (2004) who translates it as "safeguard."
  2. ^ a b c Piyadassi (1999a).
  3. ^ C.A.F. Rhys Davids, Dialogues of the Buddha, part 3, p. 186.
  4. ^ Anandajoti (2004), p. v.
  5. ^ The use of paritta to ward off menacing spirits can be found, for instance, in the Pali commentaries to both the Ratana Sutta and the Karaniya Metta Sutta.
  6. ^ Piyadassi (1999d).
  7. ^ a b Piyadassi (1999b).
  8. ^ Piyadassi (1999e).
  9. ^ Thanissaro (2003).
  10. ^ Piyadassi (1999a), "Preface."
  11. ^ Piyadassi (1999c).
  12. ^ Of the twenty-nine paritta texts listed below, Piyadassi (1999a) does not include the first five texts as part of the twenty-four discourses that he includes in the collection, although he identifies the first five texts as preliminary material. Anandajoti (2004) enumerates all twenty-nine texts as part of the paritta collection.
  13. ^ Table based on Anandajoti (2004), pp. ix-xi.

Sources

  • Anandajoti Bhikkhu (edition, trans.) (2004). Safeguard Recitals. Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society. ISBN 955-24-0255-7.
  • Piyadassi Thera (trans. only) (1999a). The Book of Protection: Paritta. Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society. Retrieved 08-14-2008 from "Access to Insight" at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/piyadassi/protection.html.
  • Piyadassi Thera (trans.) (1999b). Candima Sutta: The Moon Deity's Prayer for Protection (SN 2.9). Retrieved 08-14-2008 from "Access to Insight" at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn02/sn02.009.piya.html.
  • Piyadassi Thera (trans.) (1999c). Gilana Sutta: Ill (Factors of Enlightenment) (SN 46.16). Retrieved 08-14-2008 from "Access to Insight" at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn46/sn46.016.piya.html.
  • Piyadassi Thera (trans.) (1999d). Ratana Sutta: The Jewel Discourse (Sn 2.1). Retrieved 08-15-2008 from "Access to Insight" at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.2.01.piya.html.
  • Piyadassi Thera (trans.) (1999e). Suriya Sutta: The Sun Deity's Prayer for Protection (SN 2.10). Retrieved 08-14-2008 from "Access to Insight" at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn02/sn02.010.piya.html.
  • Rhys Davids, C.A.F., Dialogues of the Buddha, part 3.
  • Rhys Davids, T.W. & William Stede (eds.) (1921-5). The Pali Text Society’s Pali–English Dictionary. Chipstead: Pali Text Society. A general on-line search engine for the PED is available at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/pali/
  • Thanissaro Bhikkhu (trans.) (2003). Angulimala Sutta: About Angulimala (MN 86). Retrieved 08-14-2008 from "Access to Insight" at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.086.than.html.

External links

  • Anandajoti Bhikkhu (edition and trans.) (2006). Daily Chanting, a weekly sequence of paritta chants (80 pages)
  • Paritta Chanting audio files Examples of Paritta in the Burmese style.
  • Chandrabodhi chants the Ratana Sutta and other suttas in an 'Indian style' at freebuddhistaudio
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.