Question: I heard some saying that chanting certain mantras or sutras attracts spirits (ghosts) as they also want to listen to the Dharma. Is there any truth in this? If so, does it really matter, especially if I sometimes chant at night?
Answer: Generally, chanting, just as it can catch the attention of seen human beings, can also catch the attention of unseen spirit beings. Whether it sustains attention is another matter. Just as not all humans are interested in chanting, not all unseen beings are. Most people, unless they are very sensitive, are unlikely to feel their presence. The truth this, unseen beings are already kind of around us, passing by day or night without us knowing, just as undetected insects cross our paths day and night too. When there is sincere reciting, there is natural connection to the Triple Gem’s blessings and protection (of the Buddhas, Dharma and Sangha). As such, there’s no need to be worried about this – especially if you have never had any strange encounters, which is the case for most.
Unfounded fear of relatively rare ghostly encounters should not be an excuse for not practising chanting as it is a powerful means for reminding us of the Buddha’s teachings and deepening our understanding of them.
Some unseen beings might want to come and learn by listening to chanting, or even practise along, while some beings might want to partake of the merits shared at the end of the chanting for their well-being. This is a reason why chanting should always be practised sincerely and mindfully – because both unseen gods and ghosts might be listening to the Dharma intoned; not just ourselves and those we are chanting with. It is in effect, when chanting sutras, delivering sermons on the behalf of the Buddha, as spokespersons. This is a reason why chanting is so meritorious, as it shares the greatest gift possible – the Dharma, that guides all to True Happiness. Unseen beings can read our minds’ understanding of the sutras and our intentions to share too, which is why chanting with right knowledge and motivation can be very beneficial in ‘translating’ or simplifying the sutras for them.
Especially if there is ‘detection’ of the presence of unseen beings, it is good to chant more of, for example, Amitabha Sutra and the name of Amituofo (Amitabha Buddha) to guide them to likewise be mindful of Amituofo with the right Faith, Aspiration and Practice to be reborn in Pure Land. This is important because merely having some or even much self-cultivated or shared merits does not necessarily leads to lessening of wandering spirits’ attachment to Samsara (and the life that just transpired), and it does not mean they will automatically have a skilful sense of direction, as to where to aspire to be born for further spiritual development. Even gods with wisdom appreciate redirection to Pure Land, as enlightenment is guaranteed there. Incidentally, Sakyamuni Buddha taught in the Amitabha Sutra, that anyone who is sincerely mindful of Amituofo and/or the sutra will be mindfully protected by all Buddhas. This is why we should practise sincerely.
Source : TheDailyEnlightenment.com
Posted by Shen Shi'an on March 21, 2013