Jul 11, 2017

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 8 Comments

About the Realm of Demons: Lesson 5: BELIEVE BUT DO NOT UNDERSTAND MEANS TO DEFAME DHARMA (Tin mà không hiểu tức là phỉ báng chánh pháp)

About the Realm of Demons: Lesson 5: BELIEVE BUT DO NOT UNDERSTAND MEANS TO DEFAME DHARMA  (Tin mà không hiểu tức là phỉ báng chánh pháp)

About the Realm of Demons: Lesson 5: Believe but do not understand means to defame Dharma

In the previous articles, you must have known and understood the demon’s scams or tricks. Therefore, the word “demon” has been used in many idioms like “demonic tricks”; “As cunning as the demons were”; “ghost guides the way, demon leads the path” or when putting a curse on someone, they yell “Demon will take you away”.

However, there are some demons that get fortunate to listen to the Buddha’s teaching, eventually they get disenchanted and in result there are changes in their mind and behavior. During the period when the Buddha was still in Saha world, he conquered and gave instruction to a female devil that usually had killed and eaten children. Kolitha Moggallana sometimes went to demon’s land to give them Dharma lessons. When Guru Rinpoche arrived in Tibet, he conquered the indigenous demons, disseminated the dharma and instructed them to become Dharma protectors.

Guru Rinpoche conquered the indigenous demons, disseminated the dharma and instructed them to become Dharma protectors.

​I remember there was a question of someone whose comment in the article “Buddhism is gracious, why worshiping the killer” (Implying Guan Gong written in Dao Bi Ngan’s article): “When Guru Rinpoche went to Tibet, conquered the indigenous demons and gave instruction to demons to become Dharma protectors, what is the difference?” That question have shown that that person did not read carefully the article of Dao Bi Ngan, it also means that the question did not focus into the category mentioned in the article, so it was not answered. It looks like when there is a presentation talking about “The car’s design more and more becomes the main factor that leads to increase in purchase”, then someone asks a misleading question, about “How good is the car’s engine?” However, I will answer that question anyway.

The demons in Tibet, which were conquered and instructed by Guru Rinpoche to become Dharma protectors, were metaphysical beings. They are only supporters who have responsibility to protect Dharma practitioners, they act like bodyguards whose responsibility to protect their master, so that we should not worship or reverence them. They have to always fulfill their responsibility because they have made commitment with Guru Rinpoche. The similar event has been written in Earth-Store Bodhisattva’s Orgiginal Vows Sutra (chapter 8):

 “…The Demon Lords crossed their hand and pay their reverence to the Buddha, said: “Dear Buddha, when we go to garden, village, urban area or anywhere, there are people (male or female) who accumulate merit (even it is thin just like a hair) from practicing Dharma, hang up a prayer flag or a precious umbrella and give purification of offerings to the Buddha, with picture of Bodhisattvas, or give offering by a verse, a sutra sentence, then demon lords ourselves will pay our reverence to them as same as we pay our reverence to the Buddha (in past, in present and in future). We will command other demons that have power and local god of earth or land guardian must protect them, keep them from all evil events, accidents or any incurable diseases, even unflavored issues away from them!”…

“Dear Buddha, if when we go to garden…

Therefore, according to the above sutra paragraph, Dharma practitioners do not have to pay reverence or worship any demons, even demon lords, because they respect Dharma practitioner as same as they have respect to the Buddha. In Tibet, it does not matter to know whether they worship or reverence to demons because no matter where you are from, you need to follow the Buddha’s teaching in sutras. Also, Guru Rinpoche has never told us to worship or pay reverence to demons, even they are Dharma protectors. According to Guru Rinpoche’s instruction: “When getting involve into unfortunate events, instead of having strong faith in Triratna, if you ask for helps from charm ceremonies or from demons, then it is the sign knowing that you just show your doubt about Mahayana. Remembering never show your disbelief into the Buddha’s teaching”(According to “Guru Rinpoche’s teaching on the Nature Perfect Sutra”, page no.149, Publisher: Thien Tri Thuc).

Back to the Guan Gong issue, he was a human being, a real historical figure, but his character and his will are only known via the novel “Romance of Three Kingdom” written by La Quan Trung. He killed many people to nurture his own selfish ambition: scrambling for power of royalty, not to protect his people or his country like Tran Binh Trong. Thus, after death, he would have to go tothe hell, and he was not worthy to become a demon lord. Even if he became a demon lord, we should not have to pay our reverence or worship him because “Taking refuge in Triratna does not worship angel, god, demon and object”, which is a basic lesson that every Dharma practitioner has to remember and follow. And if saying he achieved full awakening, so he should be called the Holly Guan Gong, then this saying lacks of the scientific basic and spiritual evidence, which is contrary to the Buddha’s instructions. The Buddha has taught that: one should have in mind that human rebirth is so rare and precious that he should not miss this opportunity to practice Dharma (According to Forty-two Chapter Sutra and Maha Ratnakuta Sutra), and a human being has possibility to become Buddha if practicing Dharma, meanwhile other beings (like demons) do not have that possibility. Therefore, if Guan Gong called as the demon lord, then how is it possible for him to achieve full awakening?

What they are in present would be main important point


From here, we can conclude that “Demon Lord” Guan Gong is far more different from the Demon Lords, which has been conquered and instructed by Guru Rinpoche to become Dharma protectors. One is real event (Guru Rinpoche used his divine eyes to see them and used Dharma power to instruct them and have them becoming Dharma protectors); the other side is fiction, unreal story. Chinese people tend to sanctify heroes in their country. There are many “holy people”, who have vague background, have been listed like “Queen of Five Elements” or “Le Son Queen”.

Another point of view saying that the demon lords could be considered to be the incarnations of this Bodhisattva or that Buddha, so we need to pay our reverence to them. If saying that, then Bodhisattvas is an ancient Buddha, and in the past life, Manjushri Bodhisattva was the Guru of six other Buddhas, so in many Sutras, why do they still pay their reverence, worship the Buddha? In opposite, in past lives, the Buddha was an animal or demon, so would we stop paying our reverence to and worshipping the Buddha? What they are in the present would be the main important point, which we should focus on, not their past lives. From that point of view, we would have right attitude and behavior.

Lotus Flower Estrade in Song Nguyen Tantra House

There is also a point of view stating that the four heavenly kings were the incarnation of ancient Buddha. However, why do they still follow the regulations on heaven realm? Also why do other heaven gods not pay reverence to them as same as to the Buddha? In conclusion, what they are in present would be main important point, from this point of view; we should have right attitude and behavior.

I remember a story that happened three year ago. An acquaintance of Mat X came to visit. He saw that Mat X did not worship local land guardian (god of earth) and god of wealth anymore, and then he asked Mat X and got the answer: Following to the Buddha’s instruction, a Dharma practitioner is not allowed to worship “angel, god, demon and object”. This acquaintance yelled: “Why is that possible? I wonder if there is a fighting, an argument happened, and then who would resolve all problems? Local police, the president of province or the president of country? Same here, “land should be ruled by god of earth, river should be ruled by god of water?”

However, the statement above is totally wrong considering in the Buddha’s theory. The reason has been explained clearly in chapter 8, Earth-Store Bodhisattva’s Original Vows Sutra mentioned above. Of course, we should not mention this point to people who are not Dharma practitioners. Meanwhile, Dharma practitioners, who have made a vow to take refuge in Triratna, could be seen as the Buddha’s child and have a role of noble prince, then all little spirits, little demons, even the demon lords have to show their respect and protect him. The same meaning could also imply via example: if someone is a child of president, then he or she will have bodyguards going along to protect; if someone is a child of president of province, then local police will have to pay attention to his or her safety.

The statement “land should be ruled by god of earth, river should be ruled by god of water” only applies to normal people who do not practice Dharma, do not make a vow to take refuge in Triratna. Thus, they would usually get overwhelmed or harmed by evil demons.

Besides, talking about virtue, human beings have more virtue than demons. Only one has enough virtue to be rebirth into human. Have you ever seen anyone have to show his respect to other person who has lower virtue than him? A person with high virtue would never pay reverence or worship anyone who has lower virtue than him. Therefore, we are Dharma practitioners, who make a vow to take refuge in Triratna and keep or observe five percepts, have a noble role as theprince of the universal lord of Dharma (implying to the Buddha). If we pay our reverence or worship the demon lords in the role of the prince, would they dare to accept all such worship? Of course not, because they know that if they accept, that will lead to their loss of blessing or exhaustion of merit severely.

May all Buddhists not defame the Buddha just because of unfortunately getting involve in the group of wrong view

However, if Dharma practitioners do not understand the Buddha’s teaching, keep paying reverence to god of wealth to nurture their greedy instead, or worshipping demons due to their fear, then all that activities will not bring any benefit to both sides. Of course, it does not matter to people, who do not practice Dharma or do not follow the Buddha’s teaching because they are just normal people, and then they will have to “flatter the boat if they want to cross the river”.

For the Dharma practitioners, who understand and follow the Buddha’s teaching, should show their graciousness to demons by not paying reverence or not worshipping them because if we do that, it will cause to their loss of blessing. There is a statement: “Enthusiasm without knowledge will lead to destruction”; the Buddha has taught us: “Believe in me but do not understand me also means to defame me!” !

May all Buddhists not defame the Buddha just because of unfortunately getting involve in thegroup of wrong view.


See you in article 6.

Phuoc Thanh village, 27/05/2013

Translated by Mat Chanh Tan

Original Vietnamese version: Bài 5: Tin mà không hiểu tức là phỉ báng chánh pháp

About the Realm of Demons:


Lesson 1: WHO IS A DEMON?



Lesson 4: Spiritual medium and spiritual power 




  1. Dear Holy Guru,

    I take great delight in reading your lesson 5: Believe but do not understand means to defame Dharma.

    In this lesson, you give the clear explanation on the true meaning of dharma protectors as well as remind Buddhist practitioners of worshiping who are worthy of in order to avoid from the bad consequennces.

    A lot of controversy has arisen about dharma protecters, with all sorts of arguments about if some dharma protectors are enlightened beings or not and if some are demons or another type of beings. This has led to much confusion for Buddhist practitioners. In Vietnam, many Buddhist practitioners have thought that Guan Gong is a dharma protector and he is worthy of worshiping.

    After reading your lesson, I understood that dharma protectors are the good demons who were conquered  and then given the instruction  by Buddha and Guru Rinpoche to become the protectors for Buddhist practitioners. Likewise, the bodyguard has the resposibility to protect his master. On the other hand, Guan Gong is far different from Dharma protectors. Because the story of Guan Gong to become a dharma protector is only a rumour and hardly credible. Therefore, as a true Buddhist, we should not worship any demons or any dharma protectors. Of course, if worshiping Guan Gong, we will violate the vow when we take refuge in the three Jewels, leading to defame Dharma.

    I would like to thank you for your clarification about dharma protectors, which helps us to keep far away from a group of wrong viewers.

    May you and your consort have a good health and live long for the sake of all sentient beings.

    I also rejoice in the good deeds of Mat Chanh Tan, who has made great efforts to translate your lesson into English. His translation supports to flourish your discourse all over the world for the sake of all sentient beings.

    May Mat Chanh Tan attain all legitimate wishes and be at ease on the path to enlightenment.

    May all sentient beings achieve the happiness of Buddha’s nature.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  2. JeongGeun Mok says:

    Dear Guru

    Thank You for the teaching


    May myself grow right view & Good understanding

    thank you


    Om MaNi PadMe Hum

  3. Tantra Upatissa says:

    Dear Guru thanks for sharing this lesson.

    I hope we may not loose ourselves in time of misfortune and start praying to demons.

    May you live longer life and get enlightened.

    May all beings be free from suffering and get enlightened.

  4. Tantra Upatissa says:

    Om Mani Padme Hum

  5. Mô Phật!

    Mật thúy rất hoan hỉ với thiện hạnh dịch bài Tin mà không hiểu tức là phỉ báng chánh pháp  sang tiếng Anh của Mật Chánh Tấn  cầu nguyện cho huynh luôn tin tấn thực hành pháp để được thành thông thế sự cầu mong tất cả chúng sanh luôn có duyên lành biết đến chánh pháp OM ah hùm

  6.  Tantra Mahavita says:

    Querido Guru : Muchas gracias por compartir estos maravillosos articulos. Los protectores del Dharma son los practicantes que conquistaron sus propios demonios . No hay ningun demonio , fuera, solo nuestra Mente, con la vision equivocada… los genera . Gracias a nuestro  Guru y a las enseñanzas de Buda decubrimos la vision correcta ,estando en el presente , punto principal de la practica. Que todos los budistas no difamen al Buda simplemente por desafortunadamente involucrarse en el grupo de la vision equivocada .Que nuestro Amado Guru tenga salud y pueda vivir muchos años para beneficio de todos los seres sensibles. Que todos los seres sensibles tengan la felicidad y sus causas de felicidad . Que todos los seres esten libres de sufrimiento y sus causas de sufrimiento . Que todos los seres sintientes nunca separado de la felicidad que no conoce el sufrimiento. Que todos los seres vivan en la ecuanimidad libre de apego y aversion . OM MANI PADME HUM

  7. Tantra Amishuta says:
    Dear Holy Guru,

    I thank you for this lesson. I love learning more and more about Buddhism each day. I can understand that we should not worship gods, angels, demons and such. We show respect to you our Guru, and Buddha for the lessons we learn and for taking us on our path to enlightenment. I appreciate your work for us and have much respect for you. I have learned over the years that it is true money does not make for happiness but kindness and being good to others brings inner peace. Not that we should do these things for inner peace but rather because being good to each other and loving one another is being good to ourselves. But that’s not even right because there is no self. We are all connected so if you think of it that way it only seems natural that we are good to each other creating good Karma for all. Thank you for all of your lessons and for taking me under your wing. May you be well for the sake of all sentient beings and may we find the path to enlightenment and teach others so they may find the path to enlightenment as well. Om Mani Padme Hum

    • Mật Diệu Hằng says:
      Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con xin phép dịch comment của đạo hữu Tantra Amishuta sang tiếng Việt như sau:

      “Kính bạch Thầy tâm linh tôn quý!

      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã cho con đọc bài viết này. Càng ngày con càng cảm thấy hoan hỷ hơn khi được học nhiều về đạo Phật thông qua việc đọc bài hàng ngày. Con hiểu rằng chúng con không nên thờ thiên, thần, quỷ, vật. Chúng con nên sùng kính vị Thầy và chư Phật bởi vì chỉ có Thầy và chư Phật dạy chúng con những bài học quý báu và dạy dỗ chúng con được bước đi trên hành trình giác ngộ. Con hoan hỷ tán thán công hạnh của Thầy vì những điều cao đẹp Thầy đã làm cho hữu tình và con rất kính trọng Thầy.

      Đã từ lâu con hiểu rằng tiền không mang lại hạnh phúc mà chính tâm từ và thiện hạnh mới giúp con người có được sự bình an nội tại. Chúng con làm những điều này không chỉ vì mong cầu an lạc cho bản thân mà khi chúng con yêu thương hữu tình, làm những điều tốt đẹp cho hữu tình thì chúng con sẽ nhận lại những điều tốt đẹp đến với bản thân. Tât cả chúng con đều có mối quan hệ duyên nghiệp với nhau nên khi chúng con tạo thiện hạnh không ái ngã thì chúng con sẽ tạo ra nghiệp tốt cho bản thân và cho cả chúng sanh.

      Con chân thành cảm tạ ơn Thầy vì những bài học Thầy dạy con và vì Thầy đã giúp đỡ, để tâm cho con được bay lên bầu trời giải thoát bằng đôi cánh bồ đề tâm của Thầy.

      Con cầu nguyện Thầy khỏe mạnh và trụ thế lâu dài vì sự lợi lạc của tất cả chúng sanh.

      Cầu nguyện chúng con vững bước trên đạo lộ giải thoát và giúp đỡ được chúng sanh tiếp cận với con đường giải thoát.

      Om Mani Padme Hum.”

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