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The demons aren't out there

Demons are not blood-thirsty ghouls waiting for us in dark places; they are within us, the forces that we fight inside ourselves. Tsultrim Allione

 

Halloween. Diwali. Day of the Dead. All Saint's Day. Samhain.

It's the time of year when, as my pagan friends say, the veils between the worlds are thin, and the living and the dead come into closer contact than usual. Or at least become more aware of their proximity.

Fear of what might be over there abounds, so we bring out vampires, zombies, evil spirits.

But our fears are misdirected.

"Demons
are our obsessions and fears, chronic illnesses, or common problems like depression, anxiety, and addiction. They are not blood-thirsty ghouls waiting for us in dark places; they are within us, the forces that we fight inside ourselves. They are the inner enemies the undermine our best intentions."
--Tsultrim Allione

To the ancient Greeks, demons, or daemons, were guiding spirits, divine creatures to be trusted and relied upon. That changed in the middle ages when the Christian church attacked pagan beliefs, and demons were blamed for all the evils of the world.

Buddhism sees both aspects. At once. When met with kindness, acceptance, and awareness, the very things that scare us most can protect us. (For details, see Allione's book, "Feeding Your Demons.")

The malignant male and female demons
Who create myriad troubles and obstructions
Seem real before one has reached enlightenment.
But when one realizes their true nature
They become Protectors,
And through their help and assistance
One attains numerous accomplishments.
-- Milarepa

If you're not yet enlightened and you find the demons troublesome, there is a rather delightful solution.

"If you think nonhumans might be trying to harm you because you are indebted to them in some way, you can give them 'offering cakes.' ... It is not necessary to make a proper ritual cake. You can offer anything or just imagine that you're making some form of restitution. ... It is not the ritual that is important here, but the psychological process of saying, 'Come in, have some cake, and stop bothering me.'"
--"The Practice of Lojong" by Traleg Kyabgon

Works for me.

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