By B.M. Seneviratna Bandara
Pirith or Paritta provide protection and refuge of
Triple Gem. The whole Three -pitakas themselves can be
considered as Pirith. Suttas like Ratana are considered
specially as Pirith.
Pirith is chanted in four quanta (Banawara). However,
there are two subsequent additions of Sutta to be
chanted as quanta.
The fifth quantum beings with Dhamma Chakkapavattana
Sutta and the sixth quantum includes Suttas such as Jaya,
Gini, Chakka and so on.
Pirith fall into three sequences: 1. Preached by the
Buddha. E.g.: Ratana Sutta, 2. Approved by the Buddha.
E.g.: Atanatiya Sutta and 3. Imitative. E.g.: Jaya
Some doubt that certain Suttas such as Isigili Sutta,
Atanatiya Sutta and so on have been absorbed by Pirith
through Mahayanic influence.
Compleat factual force of Triple Gem is contained both
in Pirith preached by the Buddha and in Pirith approved
by the Buddha.
There can be a force even in Seevali charm which is
supposed to have been completed in accordance with
magic. The force of actual Buddhist Pirith tremendous.
Even a drop of water or a twisted thread, which was
subjected to the chant is a blessing to the beings.
When the duties of both the chanters and the hearers are
duly fulfilled the highest effect which should be
derived from Pirith is produced. In order to be
effective, chanters should chant with correct
pronunciation, loving kindness and meaning it, and the
audience must also be with devotees.
As Pirith is a precious doctrine, it is good in every
respect that it be chanted frequently by anyone.
Jaya Mangala Gathas and Suttas such as Mangala, Ratana
and Karaniya and so on are called “Seth Pirith’. Only
the Monks preach the Pirith called “Vath”. Pirith such
as seven day, ninety hour, thirty hour (Sinhala) are
typed according to duration.
Pirith beyond thirty hours duration are chanted with
special rites such as vowing to God, planting a ‘Kap’,
drumming and so on failure of which may cause disaster.
The Buddha preached Pirith Suttas on special reasons and
Ratana Sutta was preached by the Buddha, to end fear of
complaints, devils and famine in Vesali.
Chief Pirith Suttas are Ratna, Chanda, Dhajagga, Mara
By the chant of Pirith factual deeds are performed. In a
disaster like an ailment or on a needy occasion, getting
Pirith chanted is profitable.
Pirith are chanted both by Monks and laymen. There are
provincial chanting differences also.
The Four Noble Truths embody, the Wheel of Norm.
(Dhamma Chakkapavattana Sutta). Sacca Vibhanga Sutta is
the synopsis of Dhammachakkanapavattana Sutta. Parabhava
and Wasala Suttas expound the downfall of man. A man can
prosper by abstaining from those materials mentioned in
the above two Suttas Mettanisansa Sutta points and
results of friendship. Even today, Angulimala Sutta is
chanted to facilitate delivery of children almost all
the Stanzas in Ratana Sutta are Buddhist charms which
can be utilised against devilish dread and planetary
influence, and also for subduing of enemies and the rise
of paddy harvest.
By chanting Pirith mental and physical distress can be
alleviated disgrace and railing can be desisted on
life’s span can be prolonged while he is under devilish
disaster. E.g.: Prince Dighayu.