Can I Listen To The Dharma At Night?

Question: Is it not advisable to listen to pre-recorded Dharma teachings too late at night, in case it attracts unseen beings to come, who might cause disturbances? I am however only free at night to listen.

Answer: There are unseen beings here and there, around at all hours, although naturally more at night due to night’s weather being more conducive for more activities. However, this does not mean they will definitely come to disturb those listening to the Dharma, as it depends on karmic affinity. Some public Dharma talks go rather late into the night too. The Buddha himself sometimes taught at night to gods and such.

In fact, most listeners will never have any disturbances. When we hear cases of disturbances, it is a little like hearing of one car accident roughly once a week, leading to imagining that there are many accidents everywhere every day in the world, when the majority with millions of cars never get into any accident.

People tend to pay more attention on the relatively much fewer accident cases, than on non-accident cases, thus sharing news on accidents, which makes them seem like the norm, when it is not so. Just as it is not sensible to stop all car travel due to a few accidents, why should the Dharma not be listened to at night due to some apprehension?

Also, out of compassion for yourself and unseen beings (if around) is that, due to constraints above, when else can you and they better hear the Dharma? Those who regularly practise mindfulness of Buddha’s name (念佛) sincerely with right understanding in everyday life (and not just in emergencies) will not be disturbed , as there will be protection. Thus, you can listen to the Dharma at any time, if you do it sincerely, especially if with the above practice.

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