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.
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.