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Discourse on Atanatiya- Atanatiya Sutta

The discourse which is expounded to end a course of Pirith chanting is said to be effective on one hundred million world systems. Seven Tathagatas from Vipassi Buddha are worshipped and names of several Devas are mentioned in this Sutta.

Atanatiya Sutta is said to have been recited by Vaisravana, chief of Yakkhas, on behalf of four guardian gods of the cardinal points in the presence of the Enlightened One with a view to prevent hardship caused to four fold assembly  i.e. Bhikkhus, Bhikkhunis, male and female lay devotees, from non-humans etc. People show special interest in listening to Atanatiya Sutta because of the belief that it is efficacious enough to dispel demons. Bhikkhus chant this Sutta with dignified fear.  

Sumangala Vilasitha provides detail instructions as to how this Pirith or protective blessings should be chanted to dispel demons and curing diseased or demonized patients. According to the instructions contained in this book Karaniya Metta Sutta, Ratana Sutta and Dhajagga Sutta should be chanted on seven days. If the inhuman or Demon cannot be dispelled in this manner Atanatiya Sutta may be chanted. It is not proper to chant Atanatiya Sutta without chanting the above Suttas in advance. Monks chanting this Paritta or protective blessings should refrain from consuming meals prepared out of flesh or flour. Chanting should be done indoors. All the doors and outlets should be kept closed. Protection should be provided to the monks by armed persons.  Pirith chanting should be commenced with loving kindness thoughts towards the Bhikkhus.If the demon does not depart after chanting in that manner, the patient should be taken to an open space near a chetiya and Mangala Gatha should be recited there. If even that is not successful blessings of Devas should be sought. “This non-human does not listen to us .Now we are making the Buddha’s order.” Devas should be thus informed.

In case of a Bhikkhu being demonized, flowers, light, incense etc. should be offered to the Buddha and merit should be bestowed on all concerned. Thereafter Pirith should be chanted for the good and benefit of the affected Bhikkhu. The inhuman and demons should be requested not to harm and cause hindrances to a Bhikkhu who is an observant of moral and religious duties.

Thus have I heard:-On one occasion the Blessed One was living in Gijukula Pawwa –Vultures’ Peak near Rajagaha Nuwara. One day when the night was far advanced, four chief gods-guardian deities, having fortified all four corners with armies of Yakkhas, Gandabbas, Kumbhandas and Nagas and having watchers placed on guard came to the Blessed One, illuminating Gijukula Pawwa with their surpassing radiance, saluted the Blessed One and sat on a side. Some of the attendant Yakkhas saluted the Blessed One with honour and respect and sat on a side like their masters. Some others exchanged greetings with the Blessed One and stood by the side of the Buddha.

The third set of Yakkhas announced their names and lineage and sat on one side. Some others sat there without speaking.

King Waisrawana who was seated by the side spoke to the Blessed One.

“There are eminent and powerful Yakkhas who are not pleased with the Blessed One. Similarly there are eminent and powerful Yakkhas who are pleased with Blessed One. There are middle rank Yakkhas who are not pleased with the Blessed One. Similarly there are middle rank Yakkhas who are pleased with the Blessed One. There are inferior rank Yakkhas who are not pleased with the Blessed One. Similarly there are inferior rank Yakkhas who are pleased withThe Blessed One.  Generally, however, Yakkhas are not pleased with the Blessed One because He preaches Dhamma based on the abstinence from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying and liquor that causes intoxication. Teachings of the Tathagata are not pleasing and palatable to the majority of Yakkhas.”

“Bhante, Venerable sir,” King Waisrawana continued, “Remote recesses in the forest, in the woodland , not disturbed by the sound of men where the atmosphere is sound , with pure air to breath, where silent prevails, is congenial for monks to meditate in seclusion. However, there are Yakkhas who haunt these forests and some of them have no faith in the word of the Buddha.

“Bhanthe, May I please beg the Blessed One to be acquainted with the Atanatiya protection so that the Yakkhas who are not pleased with the teachings of the Blessed One may be tamed and made contended so that the monks, nuns, laymen and lay women could be at ease in the places of meditation guarded and protected and unharmed. By silence the Blessed one gave consent to the genuine suggestion.

Guardian god, King Waisrawana having realized that the Buddha had consented recited the Atanatiya Protection.

  1. 01. I pay homage to Vipassi Buddha who possessed the eye of wisdom. I pay homage to Sikhi Buddha who was compassionate towards all beings.
  2. 02. I pay Homage to Vasabha Buddha who was free from all defilements and possessed the ascetic energy. I pay homage to Kakusanda Buddha who won over the fivefold host of Mara.
  3. 03. I pay homage to Konagama Buddha who lived the holy life having shed all defilements. I pay homage to Kassyapa Buddha who was completely free from defilements.
  4. 04. I pay homage to Gautama Buddha, Sakyan son, Anagirsa, who possesses full confidence in finding the way to total emancipation and proclaimes Dhamma that dispels all evil and puts an end to             suffering.
  5. 05. Who so ever in the world have extinguished the fire of passion and   have perceived through meditation realities (Dhamma) in their actual form and who have refrained from telling lies and carry tales may those mighty men be free from fear.
  6. 06. Gautama Buddha who is dear to gods and men, who possesses the highest wisdom accompanied by the highest behavior, who is mighty and fearless all pay homage to you. I pay homage to you and previous Buddhas.

07.  When the glowing sun arises it is called day and it is the end of the night. The direction from which the sun arises is called the East. There is a vast stretch of water carried by rivers and is called the ocean.

08. The Eastern quarter of this mighty ocean which is to the East of mount Mahamera is called the Eastern region.

09. The ruler of this region, King Dhatarattha, is the guardian of this region.

10. This custodian king has a retinue of attendants-Gandabbas.So King Dhatarattha is the sovereign lord of the Gandabbas.

11. King Dhatarattha is attended by Gandabbas and he enjoys their      music and dancing. I have heard that this king has many sons, all named Inda.

12. These sons are mighty and they are ninety one in number.

13. They see the Buddha, kinsman of the sun, from their region far away and pay homage to him, saying, “We pay homage to Him who is mighty, passionless, fearless, and unique among the mankind and the noblest among men.”

14. Non-humans too pay homage to the Exalted One saying “He looks at the mankind with his divine eye.  We have often heard about it. Therefore we question them whether they pay homage to the Buddha.

15.     They too say “We pay reverence to Gautama, the conqueror, the Enlightened One who is blessed with knowledge and virtues.”  

16.     The direction from where petas (spirits), back biters, murderers and fierce brigades and deceitful beings are removed is the direction to the South of Mount Mahamera and is called the Southern quarter.

17.       The custodian of this quarter is the Great King Virulha who has a retinue of attendants -Kumbhandas. So King Virulha is the sovereign lord of the Kumbhandas.

18.        King Virulha is attended by Kumbhandas and he enjoys their music and   dancing. I have heard that this king has many sons, all named Inda.

19.        These sons are mighty and they are ninety one in number. They see the Buddha, kinsman of the sun, from their region far away.

20.        They pay homage to him, saying, “We pay homage to Him who is mighty, passionless, fearless, and unique among the mankind and the noblest among men.”

21.        Non-humans too pay homage to the Exalted One saying “He looks at the mankind with his divine eye.  We have often heard about it.

22.        Therefore we question them whether they pay homage to the Buddha.  They too say “We pay reverence to Gautama, the conqueror, the Enlightened One who is blessed with knowledge and virtues.

23.        When the glowing sun sets it is called night and it is the end of the day time.

24.       The direction from which the sun sets is called the West.

25.        There is a vast stretch of water carried by rivers and is called the ocean. The Western quarter of this mighty ocean which is to the West of mount Mahamera is called the Western region.

26.         The ruler who is the guardian of this region is King Virupakkha.  This custodian king has a retinue of attendants-Nagas. So King Virupakkha is the sovereign lord of the Nagas.

27.         King Virupakkha is attended by Nagas and he enjoys their music and    these sons are mighty and they are Ninety one in number. They see the Buddha, kinsman of the sun, from their region far away and pay homage to him, saying, “We pay homage to Him who is mighty, passionless, fearless, and unique among the mankind and the noblest among men.”

30.     Non-humans too pay homage to the Exalted One saying “He looks at mankind with his divine eye.  We have often heard about it. Therefore we question them whether they pay homage to the Buddha.

31.      They too say “We pay reverence to Gautama, the conqueror, the Enlightened One who is blessed with knowledge and virtues.

32.       To the North of the beautiful Maha Meru Mountain there lies the beautiful Uthurukuru (the Northern continent) Men who are not selfish and not attached to women are born in this region.

33.       They do not sow and do not use ploughs in the field but they get crops spontaneously grown for their consumption.

34.       Clean and sweet-scented rice parched of red powder and husk and boiled in golden pots is available for their consumption.

35.        They make use of cows as single hoofed vehicles and ride about from place to place on them. They make use of other animals as single hoofed vehicles and ride about from place to place.

36.       They make use of pregnant women as vehicles to go from place to place.

      They make use of men as vehicles to go from place to place.

37.         They make use of girls as vehicles to go from place to place.

                        They make use of boys as vehicles to go from place to place. 

38.        King Vesamuni’s yakkhas use vehicles of ephants and horsesas well as divine vehicles and travel in every direction.

39.        The king is in the possession of chariots, palaces, and palanquins. In celestial regions he has well built cities. Their names are Atanata, Kusinata, Parakusitanata, Natapuriya and Parakusinata. Beyond that there is a city named Janogha and there are cities named Kapilavantu, Navanavati, Ambara, Ambaravati and the kingdom of Alakamanda. Venerable Sir, this King Kuvera has another Kingdom named Visana.  It is because of this reason that king Kuvera is also called Vessavana.

              There are king Kuvera’s investigators who hold investigations and make the results known to the king. They are named Totola, Tattala, Totatala, Ojasi, Tejasi, Tatojasi, Sura, Raja, Aritta and Nemi. In the kingdom of Visana there is a lake called Dharani from which rain clouds draw water and cause to rain. The assembly hall of Yakkhas is called Bhagalavati.

40.               There are trees bearing fruits perpetually.  On these trees there are many birds.  The cry of peacocks and herons as well as the melodious songs of Kokilas are often heard in the vicinity.

41.              Near the lake birds cry”jivamtivaka” as if they are praying for long lives. The bird Otthavacittaka, jungle fowls, crabs and Pokkharasataka birds roam in the woods and lakes.  

42.              Parrots, Maina birds and Dandamanawaka birds produce pleasing and affecting sounds and the beauty of Kuvera’s lake prevails during all seasons.

43.              The Northern quarter of this mighty ocean which is   to the North of mount Mahamera is called the Northern region. This quarter is under the custody of the great King named Kuvera.

44.                He has a retinue of attendants –Yakkhas. King Kuvera is the sovereign lord of the Yakkhas. He is attended by Yakkhas and he enjoys their music and dancing.

45.                  I have heard that this king has many sons, all named Inda. These sons are mighty and they are ninety one in number.

46.                  They see the Buddha, kinsman of the sun, from their region far away and pay homage to him, saying, “We pay homage to Him who is mighty, passionless, fearless, and unique among the mankind and the noblest among men.”

47.                  Non-humans too pay homage to the Exalted One saying “He looks at mankind with his divine eye.  We have often heard about it. Therefore we question them whether they pay homage to the Buddha. 

48.                  They too say “We pay reverence to Gautama, the conqueror, the Enlightened One who is blessed with knowledge and virtues.” 

           “Bhante – Blessed One, This is Atanata Paritta- protective chant, by virtue of which monks, nuns, laymen and lay women may live at ease, guarded, protected and unharmed.” 

           “If any monk, nun, layman, or laywoman learns this Atanatiya protection chant by heart and repeats it without making mistakes and if any non-human – male or female Yakkha, youth or maiden Yakkha, Yakkha minister, or any Yakkha or Yakkha attendant, male or female Gandhabba, youth or maiden Gandhabba, Gandhabba minister, or any Gandhabba or Gandhabba attendant, male or female Kumbhanda youth or maiden Kumbhanda, Kumbhanda minister, or any Kumbhanda or Kumbhanda attendant,  male or female Naga youth or maiden Naga, Naga minister, or any Naga or Naga attendant were to walk with him or her or stand ,sit or lie down with him or her with malicious intent he will not receive hospitality from any township, will not get a place to live and not be allowed to live in the Kingdom of Yakkhas.  Further he would not be accepted or given in marriage but would be reproached (by casting remarks on his deformed teeth or eyes or any part of the body) and non-humans will put an empty bowl on his head and split it (the head) into seven pieces.
 O Bhante, Venerable Sir, there are non –humans who are fierce, violent, given to retaliation; those non-humans heed neither to the (four) great kings nor to their ministers nor to their attendants. They are called the rebels against the (four) great kings.

           Even as in the Kingdom of Magadha, the thieves heed neither to the king of Magadha nor to the ministers, nor to the attendants and are called rebels against the king of Magadha. So there are non-humans who are fierce, violent and given to retaliation; those non-humans heed neither to the (four) great kings nor to their ministers nor to their attendants. They are called the rebels against the (four) great kings.

            Venerable Sir, if any non-human – male or female Yakkha, youth or maiden Yakkha, Yakkha minister, or any Yakkha or Yakkha attendant, male or female Gandhabba, youth or maiden Gandhabba, Gandhabba minister, or any Gandhabba or Gandhabba attendant, male or female Kumbhanda youth or maiden Kumbhanda, Kumbhanda minister, or any Kumbhanda or Kumbhanda attendant,  male or female Naga youth or maiden Naga ,Naga minister, or any Naga or Naga attendant, were to walk with him or her or stand ,sit or lie down with him or her with malicious intent the molested one should inform, cry allowed and shout to those yakkhas to the mighty Yakkhas , their commanders or chief commanders , saying “This Yakkha is seizing me,talking possession of me, is harassing me intensely and would not let me go”

            Such appeal should be made to the following Yakkhas, mighty Yakkhas, commanders and chief commanders:-

49.             Inda, Soma, Waruna, Bharadvaja, Prajapati, Chandana, Kamasettha, Kinnighandu, Nighandu

50.             Panada, Opamanna, Devasuta, Matali, Chitrasena, Gandhabba, Nala, Raja, Janarshaba, Satagira, Hemavata

51.             Purnaka, Karatiya, Gula, Mandiya, Pancalachandaya, Alawaka, Parjannya , Sumana,Sumukhaya Maniya,Maneeyawaraya, Deerga,Serisaka

These are the Yakkhas, mighty Yakkhas, and the Commanders, to whom molested one shold inform, cry aloud and shout “This Yakkha is seizing me, taking possession of me, is harassing me intensely and would not let me go”

 “Bhante, Venerable Sir, “This is Atanatiya Protection will help monks and nuns, laymen and laywomen may live at ease, guarded, protected and unharmed.”

          “Blessed One, May we leave now as we have many urgent duties to attend. Thus the four great kings sought permission from the Buddha to go back.

            The Blessed One gave permission for them to leave. “Great kings, it is time for your departure.”

            Four great kings rose from their seats, worshipped the Buddha with reverence, circled round Him on His right and vanished immediately.

Some of the attending Yakkhas too rose from their seats and like the great kings saluted the Buddha in reverence, circled round Him on His right and vanished. Some others exchanged greetings with the Buddha, conversed with Him in a friendly manner and then vanished. Yet others worshipped the Buddhas with clasped hands and then vanished. Some others announced their names and ranks and then vanished. Others kept silence and vanished.

            When it dawned for the next day the Blessed One related word by word what the great king Vesamuni said and instructed the monks to learn Atanatiya Protection by heart and to make use of it constantly. This Atanatiya Protection will be for your benefit. Monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen will be able to live with ease. You will be guarded and protected and you will be able to live without harm from non-humans. When the Buddha said this, the monks being very happy, rejoised with the words of the Blessed One.    
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