This is a slightly edited extract from the notes for the now published post Studying And Practicing With “The Iddhipāda-Vibhaṅga Sutta — An Analysis Of The Bases Of Power”: Summary, Findings, Observations And Comparisons (7 of 7):
Perhaps the four protective meditations on foulness, death, loving-kindness and the Buddha are helpful to address non-benevolent powerful forces not so keen on the rise in power of those whom align with more benevolent intents.
Meditation on death could perhaps deter those who threaten with death to invoke (and feed on the subsequent) fear. Death meditation could also deter those who would like to keep on and on with tactic after tactic to block progress with the faulty reasoning that one’s current existence is eternal so what’s the big deal with messing around with someone if doing so is only a blip in the grand scheme of things.
Loving-kindness can protect against mischievous beings only crying out for kindness (and not really realizing it); for those who still have a conscience but have temporarily forgotten it; and towards those who seek to provoke anger, violence, ill-will and retaliation (as fuel).
Meditation on death and loving-kindness may protect against any harmful actions of nihilists since they resonate with death and the energy of loving-kindness may be a reprieve from their bleakness.
And of course meditation on the Buddha — and the true awareness represented thereby — appeals as a deterrent for more seemingly middle of the road, non-benevolent forces, especially those who seek to connive using (false) knowledge, deception, distractions, deterrents, tricks, foolery, games, etc.
Finally meditation on foulness can deter (those forces appealing to) lust, seduction and misuse of sexual energy.
Recollection of the Buddha’s qualities (buddhanussati bhavana) can be practised to overcome the lack of interest and boredom during meditation which will also bring a sense of respect and confidence (saddha) in the Buddha and inspire the meditator to continue meditating with joy and gladness. Loving kindness meditation (metta bhavana) can be the antidote to feelings such as resentment, anger, ill-will and hatred which can appear as a mental hindrance (vyapada) and negatively affect one’s meditation. When the meditator’s mind is overcome by sensual desire (kamacchanda) and lust negatively affecting the process of meditation, contemplation of the unattractive nature of the body (asubha bhavana) would be the protective meditation of choice. Finally, recollection of death (marananussati bhavana) can be practised as the powerful antidote to laziness, lethargy and lack of motivation while creating a sense of heedfulness, urgency, motivation and energy in the meditator to continue with the meditation.https://drarisworld.wordpress.com/2018/12/01/four-protective-meditations-caturarakkha-bhavana-in-theravada-buddhism/