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Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera
Buddhism does not deny the existence of good and evil spirits. There are visible and invisible beings or spirits in the same way as there are visible and invisible lights. We need special instruments to see the invisible light and we need a special sense to see the invisible beings. One cannot deny the existence of such spirits just because one is unable to see them with one's naked eyes. Theses spirits are also subject to birth and death. They are not going to stay permanently in the spirit form. They too exist in the same world where we live.
A genuine Buddhist is one who moulds his life according to moral causation discovered by the Buddha. He should not be concerned with the worshipping of these gods and spirits. However, this kind of worshipping is of some interest and fascination to the multitude and has naturally brought some Buddhists into contact with these activities.
Regarding protection from evil spirits, goodness is a shield against evil. Goodness is a wall through which evil cannot penetrate unless a person opens the door to an evil influence. Even though a person leads a truly virtuous and holy life and has a good shield of moral and noble living that person can still lower his shield of protection by believing in the power of evil that would do harm to him.
The Buddha has never advised His followers to worship such spirits and to be frightened of them. The Buddhist attitude towards them is to transfer merits and to radiate loving-kindness to them. Buddhists do not harm them. On the other hand, if man is religious, virtuous and pure in mind, and if he is also intelligent and possesses strong will-power and understanding capacity, then such a person could be deemed to be much stronger than spirits. The evil spirits would keep away from him, the good spirits would protect him.
Source: Buddhist Study and Practice Group, http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhism/
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