In the Theravadin Buddhist tradition, a number of discourses (Pali: sutta; Sanskrit: sutra) are believed to have the power of offering "protection" or to be "safeguards" (Pali: paritta; Sinhala: pirit or pirith) for the proliferation of safety and well-being. Each of these discourses can be traced back to the millennial-old Pali Canon; some of these discourses' protective powers are mentioned in the Canon itself, others in the Pali commentaries. These protection discourses are among the most widely known throughout traditional Theravadin lands.
Of these protection discourses, the most frequently recited are:
During communal gatherings in monasteries, one or all three of these discourses are often chanted. In addition, in countries such as Sri Lanka, the Metta Sutta is often chanted for its ascribed auspiciousness on public occasions, such as the opening of a new building. (At this time, on this web site, only the Metta Sutta's chanting guide has been completed.)
The Sinhala Pirit Potha ("The Book of Protection"), also known as Mahā Pirit Potha and the Catubhāṇavārapāḷi ("Text of the Four Recitals"), has been referred to as "The Buddhist Bible." This is a popular collection of 29 discourses from the Pali Canon. On-line sources of this text by renown monastics include:
Additional English-language translations for each of these (and other discourses) can be found at "Access to Insight" (ATI). For instance, each of the three aforementioned protective discourses (Mangala, Metta and Ratana Sutta) can be found in two canonical collections, the Khuddakapatha and the Sutta Nipāta. ATI indices of English translations from these collections can be found at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/khp/ and http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/, respectively.
Contemporary elaborations by acclaimed scholar-monks on the aforementioned three protective discourses can be found at: