Buddhist view on trance.

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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hermitwin
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Buddhist view on trance.

Post by hermitwin »

From a Buddhist perspective, how can we explain the mediums who go into a trance and claim to be possessed by certain gods/spirit eg monkey god, San Tai Zi etc?
Mr. Seek
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Re: Buddhist view on trance.

Post by Mr. Seek »

Possession by spirits is common throughout the five nikayas and the vinaya.

Not just possession of humans, but also possession of devas, brahmas, etc.

Can be done not just by lowly evil-minded spirits, but also by beings we might consider to be literal "angels", dwelling high up in some heaven, albeit it with a highly distorted mindset. E.g. Mara is depicted to be at the peek of the sensual world.

As for people who purposefully put themselves into a trance, who then get possessed by spirits, either by consent or not... Well, it's obviously frowned upon. I think there's this one excerpt in DN 1 where this is slightly referenced:
“Or: ‘Whereas some contemplatives & brahmans, living off food given in faith, maintain themselves by wrong livelihood, by such “animal” arts as:
- calculating auspicious dates for marriages—both those in which the bride is brought home and those in which she is sent out; calculating auspicious dates for betrothals and divorces; for collecting debts or making investments and loans; reciting charms to make people attractive or unattractive; curing women who have undergone miscarriages or abortions;
- reciting spells to bind a man’s tongue, to paralyze his jaws, to make him lose control over his hands, or to bring on deafness;
- getting oracular answers to questions addressed to a spirit in a mirror, in a young girl, or to a spirit medium;
- worshipping the sun, worshipping the Great Brahmā, bringing forth flames from the mouth, invoking the goddess of luck—
the contemplative Gotama abstains from wrong livelihood, from “animal” arts such as these.’
What is your question aimed at, anything more specific?
Snp 5.11—"Having nothing, free of clinging: That is the island, there is no other."
SteRo
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Re: Buddhist view on trance.

Post by SteRo »

hermitwin wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 5:33 pm From a Buddhist perspective, how can we explain the mediums who go into a trance and claim to be possessed by certain gods/spirit eg monkey god, San Tai Zi etc?
Since buddhist perspective does not deny worldly perspective that might be a case for psychiatry.
Exhaling अ and inhaling धीः amounts to བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ . (This is the esoteric essence of the yoga of continuous flow which is no different from the universal flux of materiality. Therefore exoteric natural science provides vital guidelines.) अञ्जलि वागीश्वर
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Aloka
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Re: Buddhist view on trance.

Post by Aloka »

hermitwin wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 5:33 pm From a Buddhist perspective, how can we explain the mediums who go into a trance and claim to be possessed by certain gods/spirit eg monkey god, San Tai Zi etc?
Vivid imaginations and self- hypnotism ?

:shrug:
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confusedlayman
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Re: Buddhist view on trance.

Post by confusedlayman »

If u can let go any thoughts and adopt to new thought at will, then u dont need to worry about ghost poseessing mind etc...

The max they can do is put thoughts in ur head knowing that u will do papanca and suffer it... if u dont do that then no one has any ability to harm u mentally
I may be slow learner but im at least learning...
form
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Re: Buddhist view on trance.

Post by form »

Jhanas are sometimes translated as trances
hermitwin
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Re: Buddhist view on trance.

Post by hermitwin »

Mr. Seek wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 5:39 pm Possession by spirits is common throughout the five nikayas and the vinaya.

Not just possession of humans, but also possession of devas, brahmas, etc.

Can be done not just by lowly evil-minded spirits, but also by beings we might consider to be literal "angels", dwelling high up in some heaven, albeit it with a highly distorted mindset. E.g. Mara is depicted to be at the peek of the sensual world.

As for people who purposefully put themselves into a trance, who then get possessed by spirits, either by consent or not... Well, it's obviously frowned upon. I think there's this one excerpt in DN 1 where this is slightly referenced:
“Or: ‘Whereas some contemplatives & brahmans, living off food given in faith, maintain themselves by wrong livelihood, by such “animal” arts as:
- calculating auspicious dates for marriages—both those in which the bride is brought home and those in which she is sent out; calculating auspicious dates for betrothals and divorces; for collecting debts or making investments and loans; reciting charms to make people attractive or unattractive; curing women who have undergone miscarriages or abortions;
- reciting spells to bind a man’s tongue, to paralyze his jaws, to make him lose control over his hands, or to bring on deafness;
- getting oracular answers to questions addressed to a spirit in a mirror, in a young girl, or to a spirit medium;
- worshipping the sun, worshipping the Great Brahmā, bringing forth flames from the mouth, invoking the goddess of luck—
the contemplative Gotama abstains from wrong livelihood, from “animal” arts such as these.’
What is your question aimed at, anything more specific?
In South East Asia, it's quite common for people to seek mediums who go into a trance for answers to their problems. I'm just curious as to how they can summon these spirits at will. Are these spirits hungry ghosts? Are they devas? A monk once said that it's very unlikely that these mediums can summon any devas since the devas are at a higher realm.
2600htz
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Re: Buddhist view on trance.

Post by 2600htz »

Hi:

In the suttas there are some accounts of certain gods or spirits taking possesion of someone´s body (ex: Mara "the evil one").
There are also accounts of people making "spiritual scams", which constitutes probably 99.99% of this mediums.

Regards.
Mr. Seek
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Re: Buddhist view on trance.

Post by Mr. Seek »

hermitwin wrote: Tue Dec 01, 2020 8:22 pmI'm just curious as to how they can summon these spirits at will. Are these spirits hungry ghosts? Are they devas? A monk once said that it's very unlikely that these mediums can summon any devas since the devas are at a higher realm.
That's the field of magick and psychic power. I'll advise against actively exploring such details. A lot of things are possible If you've got the meditative momentum. Only unbinding is worthwhile though, the rest is just shadow play.

Not exclusive to Asia and Buddhists. Can get very ugly. As you said it, there's a lot of uncertainty involved, particularly if one doesn't know what they're doing.
Snp 5.11—"Having nothing, free of clinging: That is the island, there is no other."
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