SN20.5 Non-human possession

SN 20.5 includes the following passage:

“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.”

It’s the phrase “non-human being who would think of possessing that monk’s mind,” that I’m wondering about.

I haven’t seen any other references to this - so an oddity? late addition?

I’ve heard Ajahn Brahm tell “ghost stories” from his stay in Thailand, and it would only be one step further to say that ghosts or “non-humans” could derange a person (a different translation for “possess”)

Any comments or thoughts appreciated,

with Metta,



Dear Jessica,

I don’t think that passage is a late addition because since the ancient times, all cultures and civilisations have shared common belief of supernatural beings who can possess human. That’s true for ancient Indian of the Buddha’s time too…