Book of Protection which is an anthology of selected discourses
of the Buddha compiled by the teachers of old, was originally
meant as a handbook for the newly ordained novice. The idea was
that those novices who are not capable of studying large portions
of the 'Discourse Collection' (Sutta Pitaka) should at
least be conversant with the Book of Protection. Even today it
is so. The twenty four discourses are selected from the five Nikayas
or the original Collections in Pali containing the Buddha's discourses.
The fact that the book was meant for the novice is clear from
the prefatory paragraphs that precede the discourses.
precepts are ten, and not five which are the basic principles
of the lay follower. The novice is expected to observe the ten
precepts. This is followed by the 'Questions to be Answered by
a Novice' and the 'Thirty Two Parts of the Body' which is really
a type of meditation on the constituent parts of one's body. Then
comes the 'Four-fold reflection of a Monk', and finally the 'Ten
Essentials (Dhammas)' to be reflected upon by one who has
gone forth to live the holy life. The discourses come next. If
one patiently and painstakingly studies these discourses, he could
gather a good knowledge of the essentials and fundamental teachings
of the Buddha.
The Maha-Samaya Sutta and the Atanatiya sutta ending
the book may appear to some as pointless, but a careful reader
will no doubt appreciate their relevance. In the essay on the
Value of Paritta an attempt is made to show what Paritta
means to a Buddhist.
have endeavoured to keep as close as possible to the original
wording of the text without making it too literal a translation
on the one hand, and a word for word translation on the other,
and have avoided translating the Pali stanzas into verse (except
the stanzas of discourses No. 5, 11, 19) in order to give a very
faithful, easy and readable rendering. I have preserved the synonymous
words and repetitions found in the Suttas since they are
the ipsissima verba of the Buddha handed down to us through
all the Suttas the word 'Bhagava', the Blessed One',
an epithet of the Buddha, is frequently used. To avoid using the
same word too often in the translation, I have, at times, used
the word 'the Buddha' for 'Bhagava' or a personal pronoun
to denote him.
The Pali words and names included in this work are lacking in
diacritical marks. In some places however, the smaller type with
such marks are used. But students of Pali may not find any difficulty
in pronouncing them. The reader may refer to the Khandha-vatta
Jataka (No. 203) when studying the Khandha Paritta.
Angulimala Paritta is a short discourse that does not appear
in the Book of Protection (Paritta text), but as it is
a Paritta made use of by expectant mothers in Buddhist
lands, I have included it in the Appendix. Other Pali stanzas,
used by the Buddhists when reciting the Parittas, are also
included in the Appendix with their English renderings.
am indebted beyond measure to Mr. V. F. Gunaratna, retired public
trustee of Sri Lanka, for his painstaking reading of the script,
his careful and valuable suggestions, and for writing the Foreword.
The Ven. Kheminda Maha Thera assisted me in finding the references,
the Ven. Siridhamma Thera in reading the proofs, and Mr. K. G.
Abeysinghe in typing the script. I am grateful to them. To Miss
K. Jayawardana of Union printing Works and her staff who took
a keen interest in the printing of this work, I am thankful. Last,
but far from least, my thanks are due to Messrs
D. Munidase and U. P. de Zoysa for all the help they have given
2519: May 1975
Colombo 5, Sri Lanka.