jcsuperstar wrote:also what about phra pidta? is that a real guy or anything?
I don't know anything about its origin.
I suppose it might be a real fellow; there is a Hindu-like ascetic practice that some of the most austere Thai monks used to undertake (though not any more as far as I know), which consisted in blindfolding oneself or making an adhiṭṭhāna to keep one's eyes closed for a certain period. My teacher's teacher, Khrubar Brahmajak, did this for four years in his early days as a dhutanga monk. For the first two years his fellow monks would lead him by the hand on almsround each day. Then he abandoned all companionship and just relied on his sense of touch and hearing to navigate his way out of the forest and into the village.
Khandhānaṃ rāsaṭṭhaṃ, āyatanānaṃ āyatanaṭṭhaṃ,
Dhātūnaṃ suññaṭṭhaṃ, indriyānaṃ adhipatiyaṭṭhaṃ,
Saccānaṃ tathaṭṭhaṃ aviditaṃ karotītipi ‘avijjā’.
It prevents knowing the meaning of heap in the aggregates, the meaning of actuating in the sense-bases, the meaning of voidness in the elements, the meaning of predominance in the faculties, and the meaning of suchness in the truths, thus it is called ‘ignorance’.
(Visuddhimagga XVII. 43)