Psychic Powers

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.

Psychic Powers

Postby Future Bhikkhu » Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:14 am

I would like to know to what extent is your belief in the phsycic powers found in the Tipitaka. If you would like you could also explain why. :meditate:

Personally, I don't doubt the existence of such powers but I do doubt several of the incidences told in the Tipitaka. I leave my mind open on the subject until one day I may know for sure through meditation.

With metta,

:anjali:
Last edited by Future Bhikkhu on Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Phsycic Powers

Postby cooran » Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:31 am

Hello FB, all,

Psychic powers aren't that unusual - even today. They're just not important, and not worth wasting time developing.

These are some of the suttas where the Buddha spoke of Psychic powers:

AN 3.60 - Sangarava Sutta: To Sangarava
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

AN 41.4 - Mahaka Sutta: About Mahaka
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

DN 11 - Kevatta (Kevaddha) Sutta: To Kevatta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

AN 3.40 - Adhipateyya Sutta: Governing Principles
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

with metta
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Re: Phsycic Powers

Postby Future Bhikkhu » Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:37 am

Thanks for the links. I know their not important but they would be useful. :D

One of my favourite studies of the mind in the Buddhism is the power of it over matter, as you can see in my signature. I think they're an interesting side note to Buddhism.

With metta

:anjali:
The mind is everything; what you think you become.
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Re: Phsycic Powers

Postby Ben » Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:55 am

Future Bhikkhu wrote:Personally, I don't doubt the existence of such powers but I do doubt several of the incidences told in the Tipitaka. I leave my mind open on the subject until one day I may know for sure through meditation.

This attitude of open-mindedness will serve you very well in the development of your practice.
I wish you well.
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in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

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sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Phsycic Powers

Postby ricebowl » Fri Sep 27, 2013 6:38 pm

Cooran, thanks in sharing the link below. Read this sutta last evening and was very inspired out of seemingly nowhere in particular. Felt a tinge of dukkha so to speak as I learn about life as an ordinary lay person with or without psychic powers. I've got barely any psychic powers, a couple of years ago when I was in university I recalled how I used to do my tutorials religiously every evening. Next morning when I turned up to tutorial class or lectures, there will be classmates borrowing my tutorial answers from me. They appointed me the class rep in a particular semester, during that semester my duty apart from the class list, was disseminating my daily tutorial answers. First there were the boys, then the girls joined in the fun as well, zapping my answers at the library photocopier.

cooran wrote:AN 41.4 - Mahaka Sutta: About Mahaka
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

SN 41.4
PTS: S iv 288
CDB ii 1319
Mahaka Sutta: About Mahaka
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
© 2004

On one occasion a large number of senior monks were living near Macchikasanda in the Wild Mango Grove. Then Citta the householder went to them and, on arrival, having bowed down to them, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to them: "Venerable sirs, may the senior monks acquiesce to tomorrow's meal from me."

The senior monks acquiesced by silence. Then Citta the householder, sensing the senior monks' acquiescence, got up from his seat and, having bowed down to them, circumambulated them — keeping them to his right — and left.

When the night had passed, the senior monks put on their robes in the early morning and — taking their bowls & outer robes — went to Citta's residence. There they sat down on the appointed seats. Then Citta the householder, with his own hand, served & satisfied them with exquisite milk-rice mixed with ghee. When the senior monks had finished eating and had rinsed their bowls & hands, they got up from their seats and left. Citta the householder, having said, "Give away the rest," followed behind the senior monks.

Now on that occasion it was hot & sweltering. The senior monks went along with their bodies melting, as it were, from the meal they had finished. And on that occasion Ven. Mahaka was the most junior of all the monks in that Community. He said to the senior monk: "Wouldn't it be nice, venerable elder, if a cool wind were to blow, and there were a thundering cloud, and rain would fall in scattered drops?"

"Yes, friend Mahaka, that would be nice..."

Then Ven. Mahaka willed a psychic feat such that a cool wind blew, a thundering cloud developed, and the rain fell in scattered drops. The thought occurred to Citta the householder, "Such is the psychic power of the most junior of all the monks in this Community!"

Then when Ven. Mahaka reached the monastery/park, he said to the senior monk, "Is that enough, venerable sir?"

"That's enough, friend Mahaka — what you have done, what you have offered."

Then the monks went to their separate dwellings, and Ven. Mahaka went to his.

Then Citta the householder went to Ven. Mahaka and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to him, "It would be good, venerable sir, if Master Mahaka would show me a superior human attainment, a miracle of psychic power."

"In that case, householder, spread out your upper robe on the porch and put a pile of grass on it."

Responding, "As you say, venerable sir," Citta the householder spread out his upper robe on the porch and put a pile of grass on it.

Then Ven. Mahaka, having entered his dwelling and bolted the door, willed a psychic feat such that flame shot through the keyhole and the space around the door, burning up the grass but not the robe.

Then Citta the householder, having shaken out the robe, stood to one side — in awe, his hair standing on end. Ven. Mahaka came out of his dwelling and said, "Is that enough, householder?"

"That's enough, venerable sir — what you have done, what you have offered. May Master Mahaka delight in the charming Wild Mango Grove at Macchikasanda. I will be responsible for your robes, almsfood, lodgings, & medicinal requisites."

"That is admirably said, householder."

Then Ven. Mahaka — having set his lodging in order and taking his bowl & robes — left Macchikasanda. And in leaving Macchikasanda, he was gone for good and never returned.[1]


Note
1.A rule in the Cullavagga (Cv 5.8.2) forbids monks from displaying feats of psychic power to lay people. There is no way of knowing whether the incident in this sutta predated or postdated the formulation of that rule, but this story illustrates the reason for that rule: If word of Ven. Mahaka's display of psychic power became known among lay people, they would pester him for more displays and he would know no peace. At the same time, he would attract their alms, perhaps to the detriment of the other monks. That's why he had to leave for good.

See also: AN 6.41.
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Re: Phsycic Powers

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Sep 27, 2013 7:25 pm

What about psychic powers in the present day?

What do you make of Buddha Boy not eating for many months and sitting for days on end?
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Re: Phsycic Powers

Postby daverupa » Fri Sep 27, 2013 7:37 pm

Buddha Boy slapped some folk a couple times a while back, which was interesting. His followers beat up five photojournalists (!), kidnapped two people (!!), and claim that he's the reincarnated Buddha (!!!)... it's not conducive to confidence, Bhante, and secular explanations begin to appear more reasonable.
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    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Phsycic Powers

Postby Viscid » Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:44 pm

I've not seen any convincing claim of psychic powers yet. Every time I look for incontrovertible demonstrations of such powers, I am always left utterly disappointed. It appears that people who make such claims simply don't scrutinize their beliefs and intuitions voraciously enough. I'd love for there to be some magical element in the world, I'm not against supernaturalism, but the fallibility of human judgement is too great to trust any anecdotal evidence or personal intuitions.
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Re: Phsycic Powers

Postby Kusala » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:14 pm

Future Bhikkhu wrote:I would like to know to what extent is your belief in the phsycic powers found in the Tipitaka. If you would like you could also explain why. :meditate:

Personally, I don't doubt the existence of such powers but I do doubt several of the incidences told in the Tipitaka. I leave my mind open on the subject until one day I may know for sure through meditation.

With metta,

:anjali:


Have Scientists Finally Discovered Evidence for Psychic Phenomena? http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the ... -phenomena

'...modern quantum physics has demonstrated that light particles seem to know what lies ahead of them and will adjust their behavior accordingly, even though the future event hasn't occurred yet. For example, in the classic "double slit experiment," physicists discovered that light particles respond differently when they are observed [for a simple explanation of this experiment, see this video]. But in 1999, researchers pushed this experiment to the limits by asking "what if the observation occurred after the light particles were deployed." Surprisingly, they found the particles acted the same way, as if they knew they were going to be observed in the future even though it hadn't happened yet [for more details on this experiment see this wiki entry].


Such trippy time effects seem to contradict common sense and trying to make sense of them may give the average person a headache, but physicists have just had to accept it...'
Image

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Re: Phsycic Powers

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Sep 28, 2013 9:08 am

Future Bhikkhu wrote: I leave my mind open on the subject until one day I may know for sure through meditation.


I think that's the best approach. I've seen some things I can't explain.
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Re: Psychic Powers

Postby seeker242 » Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:41 am

If you think about it, if these powers are not real and the Buddha said they were, that would mean the Buddha was just lying about it. But is it even possible for a Buddha to lie like that? I don't think that's even possible!
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Re: Phsycic Powers

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:20 pm

Future Bhikkhu wrote:Thanks for the links. I know their not important but they would be useful. :D


In real-world, ordinary-people settings they are apparently not very reliable, which is the main reason they have never been scientifically proven, so they are not particularly useful. :juggling:

Future Bhikkhu wrote:One of my favourite studies of the mind in the Buddhism is the power of it over matter, as you can see in my signature [The mind is everything; what you think you become.]

That's an entirely different issue. Mind and body do clearly influence each other at all sorts of levels and stuff like a positive attitude improving your immune response is now pretty well accepted even by western medicine. Is that a "psychic power"? I don't know - I think it depends on your definitions.

:namaste:
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Re: Psychic Powers

Postby Kusala » Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:37 am

Why we ALL have psychic powers: How thought premonitions and telepathy are more common than we think http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... think.html
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Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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