The Four Protections

Regarding The Four Protective Meditations: recollecting the Buddha’s attributes at the time you pay homage to him is absolutely necessary in order to reinforce your confidence in him. The Metta Sutta, the Mittanisamsa Sutta, the Khandha Paritta, and “Sharing Loving-Kindness” are verses which we selected so that you may cultivate benevolent thoughts during the devotional practice.

You can choose one to recite each time you do some devotion, or if you have time, you may recite them all. The third protection is “Unattractiveness of the Body.” This section has been introduced to vandana by ancient Buddhists in order to reduce our attachment to the body by reminding us again and again of the true nature of the body. This knowledge reduces our pride and thought of permanence of the body. The last section of this protection is the recollection of death. As most people do not want to know anything about death, there is no opportunity for them to know the true nature of life. This recollection brings us face to face with the reality of life. It helps weaken the attachment to life, treasure, and wealth; it produces a sense of renunciation and compassion; and, when the time for our own parting arrives, it enables us to die in calm and self-possession. It also is used in some countries for recitation during the funeral ceremony held for a deceased relative or friend and for commemorating a death anniversary.