Can human be possessed by another spirit?

There are six cases when the pārājika 1 is not committed:
1.When the bhikkhu is sleeping or in all other cases when he is not aware of the sexual intercourse when it takes place.
2.When the bhikkhu is not consenting.
3.When the bhikkhu has fallen into unconsciousness or is in a state of insanity.
4.When the bhikkhu, being possessed by another spirit, can no longer control himself.
5.When the bhikkhu is afflicted by an unbearable pain.
6.When the bhikkhu has committed this action before the rules have been established.

Bhante @Brahmali is above in line with Vinaya?


Yes, this is all in line with the Vinaya. There is no offence in these cases.


Thank you, Bhante @Brahmali.
What is the Pali word for spirit?
Do you believe a spirit can possess a human?
How another spirit possess my mind and body?
My understanding is that the idea a spirit can possess a human is a teaching against Buddhism.

Satti Sutta: The Spear

Staying at Savatthi. “Monks, suppose there were a sharp-bladed spear, and a man were to come along saying, ‘With my hand or fist I will bend back this sharp-bladed spear, fold it in two, and roll it up.’ What do you think? Would that man be able with his hand or fist to bend back that sharp-bladed spear, fold it in two, and roll it up?”

“No, lord. Why is that? Because a sharp-bladed spear isn’t easy to bend back, fold in two, or roll up. The man would simply reap his share of trouble & vexation.”

"In the same way, monks, when a monk’s awareness-release through good-will is cultivated, developed, pursued, handed the reins and taken as a basis, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated, & well-undertaken, any non-human being who would think of possessing that monk’s mind would simply reap his share of trouble & vexation.

“Thus you should train yourselves: 'Our awareness-release through good-will will be cultivated, developed, pursued, handed the reins and taken as a basis, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated, & well-undertaken. That’s how you should train yourselves.”

Satti Sutta: The Spear



I still do not understand how this is possible.
How someone possess my mind?
Isn’t this go against the teaching?

But venerable Ānanda, despite such a gross hint being made by the Gracious One, such a gross suggestion being made, was unable to penetrate it, and did not beg the Gracious One, saying: “May the Gracious One remain, reverend Sir, for the lifespan, may the Fortunate One remain for the lifespan, for the benefit of many people, for the happiness of many people, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, benefit, and happiness of Divinities and men,” like one whose mind was possessed by Māra.

you have to search in spiritualist literature to better understand the influence of spirits in our lives.

I really like Allan Kardec’s Spiritist Doctrine.

Simple obsession - Fascination - Subjugation - Causes of obsession - Means of
combating obsession.


Supernaturally. Or “supernormally”.

Or your actions can create tendencies that you do not want.

Perhaps you enjoy a cigarette a few times. Perhaps this becomes a regular occurrence. The nicotine finds its way into your brain. A dependency builds. The fumes of tobacco are almost invisible. They move through the air like a spirit or ghost. They enter your body.

Now you want cigarettes, and you get anxious when you don’t have them.

The fumes are like a spirit, like a demon, IMO.

Perhaps via reinforcing certain neurological associations, we can create tendencies that we do not want. We can create wants that “we” do not want. We want but we do not want to want. Demonic possession? We have wants that we do not want, needs that we do not need or want. Like a foreign entity has set up shop.

Forgive my nonsense!


Thank you Lucas.
I need some explanations using Sutta.

Well I can make sense out of any nonsense.
Say if I have a bacterial infection and so sick I do not know what I am doing.
But It is a bacteria possessing the body not the mind.

If I make a bad post in this forum, is that a result of Mara possessing my mind?


Then, monks, Māra the Evil One, having entered a certain company of Brahmas, spoke thus to me: ‘Monk, monk, do not meddle with this, do not meddle with this. For, monk, this Brahmā is a Great Brahmā, Victor, Unvanquished, All-seeing, Controller, Lord, Maker, Creator, Chief, Disposer, Master, Father of all that have become and will be. Monk, there were recluses and brahmans in the world before you, who scorned extension, loathed extension, who scorned cohesion, loathed cohesion, who scorned heat, loathed heat, who scorned motion, loathed motion, who scorned creatures, loathed creatures, who scorned devas, loathed devas, who scorned Pajāpati, loathed Pajāpati, who scorned Brahmā, loathed Brahmā. These at the breaking up of the body, at the cutting off of life, were established in a low group.

But, monk, there were recluses and brahmans in the world before you, who lauded extension, delighted in extension, who lauded cohesion, delighted in cohesion, who lauded heat, delighted in heat, who lauded motion, delighted in motion, who lauded creatures, delighted in creatures, who lauded devas, delighted in devas, who lauded Pajāpati, delighted in Pajāpati, who lauded Brahmā, delighted in Brahmā. These at the breaking up of the body, at the cutting off of life, were established in an excellent group. On account of this do I, monk, speak thus: “Please do you, good sir, do exactly what Brahmā says to you, do not go beyond Brahmā’s word. If you, monk, should go beyond Brahmā’s word, it will be with you, monk, as with a man who might beat back approaching glory with a stick, or, monk, as with a man who might miss the earth with his hands and feet as he was falling down hell’s precipices. Please do you, good sir, do exactly what Brahmā says to you, do not go beyond Brahmā’s word. Do not you, monk, see the seated company of Brahmā?”’ And so, monks, Māra the Evil One conducted me to the company of Brahmā.

When he had spoken thus, I, monks, spoke thus to Māra the Evil One: ‘I, Evil One, know you; do not think that I do not know you. Māra, you are the Evil One. And whoever, Evil One, is a Brahmā, and whatever are Brahmā-companies, and whatever are Brahmā-conclaves, all are in your grasp, all are in your power. It occurs to you thus, Evil One: ‘Let this one too be in my grasp, let this one too be in my power.’ But I, Evil One, am not in your grasp, I am not in your power.’


Saṃyutta Nikāya 35
Connected Discourses on the Six Sense Bases
114. Mara’s(1)

Itivuttaka: The Buddha’s Sayings
The Section of the Threes
68. Attachment (1)

Saṃyutta Nikāya 22
Connected Discourses on the Aggregates
63. In Clinging


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Thanks Lucas.
I am glad that you have all the info in your finger tips.
So here Mara means some mental state?

what you said makes sense.

I put the topic title on google


In traditional Buddhism, four metaphorical forms of “māra” are given:[5]

Kleśa-māra, or Ma̋ra as the embodiment of all unskillful emotions, such as greed, hate and delusion.
Mṛtyu-māra, or Māra as death.
Skandha-māra, or Māra as metaphor for the entirety of conditioned existence.
Devaputra-māra, the deva of the sensuous realm, who tries to prevent Gautama Buddha from attaining liberation from the cycle of rebirth on the night of the Buddha´s enlightenment.

Mara (demon) - Wikipedia




459. Do spirits influence our thoughts and our actions?

“Their influence upon them is greater than you suppose, for it is very often they who direct both.”

There are a number of words, depending on the sort of spirit you are after, or perhaps the sort of spirit who is after you! Yakkhas are traditionally quite naughty in this respect, and there is a rich vein of Buddhist folklore about people being harassed by them. Then there are the petas, the “departed spirits,” who are supposedly used in black magic. As a monk you hear such stories quite regularly. And although I have never been personally invited to exorcise a possessed person, I have been to quite a number of ghost bustings to rid houses and restaurants of unwanted occupants.

Interestingly, this prevalent Buddhist belief is not matched by similar cases in the EBTs. In the few cases where the EBTs speak of possession, it is normally Māra who is the culprit; see for instance MN 49 and MN 50, as well as SN 2.30 and SN 4.18. Yet Māra is used so frequently as a metaphor for defilements that it is difficult to know whether to take it literally even in these “possession” contexts. So it seems the EBTS are at best ambivalent about the idea of possession. And even if they are read as supporting it, it is no more than a minor aspect. At the same time, it would be going too far to say that possession goes against Buddhist teachings, even the EBTs. The strongest case that can be made, I believe, is that the EBTs are silent about this.

My personal position is that I don’t know. Moreover, I think it is quite irrelevant. I prefer practical matters.


It seems the Buddhist idea of mental toughness is actually not having ill will :slight_smile:

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I know some monks in Sri Lanka are involved with exorcism which I believe against Buddha’s teaching.
If you are invited to an exorcism how do you handle it?

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My assumption would be that it is not really a matter of possession, but quite likely a mental problem, such as acute psychosis. I would then chant the Mettā Sutta and say some soothing words. The idea is create a nice atmosphere where everyone calms down and feels at ease. It’s amazing what simply chanting the Mettā Sutta can do, especially if the afflicted person/people are Buddhist. If it is a temporary mental imbalance, then this is often all that is required and the problem will often gradually disappear on its own. If it is a more persistent or serious issue, I would recommend them to see a psychiatrist.

I am more prone to believe that spirits may reside in houses. This follows from Buddhist ideas of attachment, whereby a spirit may be attached to the house they occupied in a previous life as a human. They may then linger in this house for a while before they are able to let go and move on. It is possible, I think, for others sometimes to pick up the presence of such spirits and perhaps feel uneasy about it. :ghost: You can see why they would! To get rid of such spirits you have to satisfy their craving in some other way, such as by doing an act of generosity in their name, to send them some thoughts of kindness, to ask for and give them forgiveness, etc. In these situations, too, we would chant the Mettā Sutta and hope that the good vibes are sufficient to make the spirit more on.

In this way no harm is done, either to the possessed or the possessor. To deliberately harm a spirit would be against Buddhist principles.


Thank you, Bhante. It makes sense.

When monks attend to places affected by spirits, some monks advise them to refrain from consuming or bringing meat etc. to the house.
What do you think about it?