Iddhis: "real" or not?

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Iddhis: "real" or not?

The iddhis are "real", i.e. they are supernormal powers that can interact with the physical world
16
84%
This iddhis are not "real", i.e. they are purely mental phenomena (created by the brain) like lucid dreams or out of body experiences
3
16%
 
Total votes: 19

Moggalana
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Iddhis: "real" or not?

Post by Moggalana » Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:42 pm

What do you think or believe? Please share your opinion.
Let it come. Let it be. Let it go.

santa100
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Re: Iddhis: "real" or not?

Post by santa100 » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:38 pm

According to: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; , there's a possibility that it's "real".....but.....only for those who have attained the state of fermentation-free awareness-release and discernment-release..

chownah
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Re: Iddhis: "real" or not?

Post by chownah » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:16 am

my views

All powers are mental phenomen as is the "real world" which it is suggested that the iddhis interact with.....my reference is the suttas "The All" and any of those directly describing the meaning of "the world" (i.e. "The World" sutta).
chownah

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ground
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Re: Iddhis: "real" or not?

Post by ground » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:46 am

They are as "real" as dukkha is "real" ... Having said this I do not know what option to select.

Kind regards

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Dan74
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Re: Iddhis: "real" or not?

Post by Dan74 » Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:04 am

I votes "yes" but I don't feel it is important for practice to believe one or the other.

It is important to have an open mind, however.
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Ben
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Re: Iddhis: "real" or not?

Post by Ben » Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:34 am

I tend to agree with you Dan.
Unfortunately for the vast majority of people the iddhis are effectively unreal in the truest sense of the word as they have no experience of them or are likely to. Like any real spiritual attainment and the Buddha's admonition to monks who demonstrated iddhis to lay people, I think that anyone posessing iddhis are not likely to announce them. Anyone who does so, in my book, are charletains, deluded or both.
kind regards

Ben
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IanAnd
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Re: Iddhis: "real" or not?

Post by IanAnd » Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:36 am

Moggalana wrote: The iddhis are "real", i.e. they are supernormal powers that can interact with the physical world

This iddhis are not "real", i.e. they are purely mental phenomena (created by the brain) like lucid dreams or out of body experiences

What do you think or believe? Please share your opinion.
In what way is the phrase "supernormal powers" being defined? "Super" as in "above" or "higher" or "surpassing" combined with "normal" meaning "above|higher|surpassing normal?" Which would be similar to "metaphysical powers," i.e., "meta" meaning "above" or "beyond|higher|transcending" combined with "physical" meaning "above|beyond|higher than|transcending the physical."

super- [soo' pər] [L < super, above < IE * eksuper (> Gr hyper) < * eghs (> EX-1) + * uper,OVER] prefix
1. over, above, on top of [superstructure, superscribe]
2. higher in rank or position than; superior to [superintendent]
3. a) greater in quality, amount, or degree than; surpassing [superfine, superabundant]
b) greater or better than others of its kind [supermarket]
4. to a degree greater than normal [supersaturate]

meta- [met'ə] [< Gr meta, along with, after, between, among < IE * meta < base * me-, between] prefix
[supposed analogy to metaphysics] going beyond or higher, transcending: used to form terms designating an area of study whose purpose is to examine the nature, assumptions, structure, etc. of a (specified) field [metalinguistics, metacriticism]

And in what way might these powers be "higher" or "surpassing" the normal powers of a human being? Might they only be "higher" in the sense that what was not noticed before is now noticed? And couldn't what is now noticed be associated with a previously arising phenomenon (such as a facial expression, for example, which, within the context of its expression, might indicate a certain train of thought which in turn provides a clue to something previously unnoticed within the associative range of a subject that is presently being discussed by two or more people)? And would any of this be considered mysterious or a mystery except within the mis-perception of those who did not notice the clue-giving phenomenon?

I'm only attempting to establish some ground rules so that you can figure this out for yourselves. If you understand the words you are using, it makes it easier to "see clearly" what took place — rather than to be influenced by superstition or idle speculation.

Also, what constitutes "real" (what meaning does this word have) within the context of the question of which opinions are being asked?
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV

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Re: Iddhis: "real" or not?

Post by Moggalana » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:04 am

Hello Ian,

with Iddhi I specifically meant the following powers:
  • - Multiplying the body into many bodies, then collapsing it into one again.
    - Vanishing and appearing at will (invisibility).
    - Passing through solid objects as if through space (intangibility).
    - Rising and sinking in the ground as if in the water.
    - Walking on water as if on land.
    - Flying.
    - Touching anything at any distance (e.g. the moon or sun).
    - Traveling to other worlds (like the world of Brahma) with or without the body.
This sounds a lot like a list of action-hero super-powers. That is what I meant with supernormal. I wanted to know if people believe that the Buddha or any highly trained contemplative is able to do these things (flying, walking on water etc.). There are, of course, several ways to interpret this sort of abilities. If taken literally, this is superstition, right? But there is perhaps another way to explain this, and it was Freawaru's thread that reminded me of an alternative explanation. Could these powers perhaps refer to lucid dreams or out of body experiences (phenomena produced by the brain)? If you look at lucid dreaming reports, people often do exactly the things that are mentioned in the list above. Personally, I can only remember one or two lucid dreams but in them I also did these things (flying, passing through solid objects etc.).

Then there are some other powers. Reading the mind of others for example. Ajahn Chah was rather good at this supposedly. And for that you already provided a good explanation:
IanAnd wrote:And couldn't what is now noticed be associated with a previously arising phenomenon (such as a facial expression, for example, which, within the context of its expression, might indicate a certain train of thought which in turn provides a clue to something previously unnoticed within the associative range of a subject that is presently being discussed by two or more people)? And would any of this be considered mysterious or a mystery except within the mis-perception of those who did not notice the clue-giving phenomenon?
I wouldn't consider this as mysterious. Paul Ekman is known for his research on facial expressions and specifically micro-expressions. There are some people who are naturally good at this, so called Truth Wizards, but this skill is also trainable. Secret Service agents seem to be good at it apparently but Paul Ekman also tested a couple of tibetan buddhist monks and they were even better.

I think meditation can really enhance one's abilities and lead to skills that may seem magical but are not. And because of this superstition might arise. I guess, another way of framing my original question could have been: Are you superstitious or not? And is this helpful or rather impeding in one's own practice.
Let it come. Let it be. Let it go.

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Re: Iddhis: "real" or not?

Post by daverupa » Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:30 am

Iddhis will be supranormal, then, if present at all, and I think we need not take the full iddhi template in toto. Swimming through earth? An Upanisadic power ascribed to the Vedic ancients; used in the mendicant debates of the day as a rhetorical tool; metaphorically interpreted according to the four elements scheme as signifying utter lack of clinging to an element thus enabling 'swimming through it' - these all seem more likely than a literal reading or seeing it as purely mythical.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "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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IanAnd
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Re: Iddhis: "real" or not?

Post by IanAnd » Sat Jun 18, 2011 5:42 am

Hello Moggalana,

It sounds as though from your explanation that you have your head on straight. That's all I was endeavoring to figure out by asking the questions I asked.
Moggalana wrote:Hello Ian,

with Iddhi I specifically meant the following powers:
  • - Multiplying the body into many bodies, then collapsing it into one again.
    - Vanishing and appearing at will (invisibility).
    - Passing through solid objects as if through space (intangibility).
    - Rising and sinking in the ground as if in the water.
    - Walking on water as if on land.
    - Flying.
    - Touching anything at any distance (e.g. the moon or sun).
    - Traveling to other worlds (like the world of Brahma) with or without the body.
This sounds a lot like a list of action-hero super-powers.
Indeed it does. Fantasy land, and not the terrain of level headed, down-to-earth awakening or self-realization.
Moggalana wrote:That is what I meant with supernormal. I wanted to know if people believe that the Buddha or any highly trained contemplative is able to do these things (flying, walking on water etc.).
As you probably have surmised, I obviously do not hold to any such views. And am happy to hear that you don't either.

Do you know anyone in your experience who could perform such feats? I know I don't. Not even Chris Angel or David Blaine are able to fly on their own or walk on water without the aid of illusion, and both of these men are trained, professional magicians.
Moggalana wrote:There are, of course, several ways to interpret this sort of abilities. If taken literally, this is superstition, right? But there is perhaps another way to explain this, and it was Freawaru's thread that reminded me of an alternative explanation. Could these powers perhaps refer to lucid dreams or out of body experiences (phenomena produced by the brain)?
They might. It's difficult to tell without having those who would have used these characterizations here to question in order to learn what they may have meant by using these descriptions.
Moggalana wrote:Then there are some other powers. Reading the mind of others for example. Ajahn Chah was rather good at this supposedly. And for that you already provided a good explanation:
IanAnd wrote:And couldn't what is now noticed be associated with a previously arising phenomenon (such as a facial expression, for example, which, within the context of its expression, might indicate a certain train of thought which in turn provides a clue to something previously unnoticed within the associative range of a subject that is presently being discussed by two or more people)? And would any of this be considered mysterious or a mystery except within the mis-perception of those who did not notice the clue-giving phenomenon?
I wouldn't consider this as mysterious.
Yes, that was my point. Constant mindfulness rewards one with the ability to catch (become aware of) previously unnoticed phenomena. It's a natural outcome of the practice of mindfulness. Which is why mindfulness in general is so highly praised and regarded in the discourses.
Moggalana wrote:I think meditation can really enhance one's abilities and lead to skills that may seem magical but are not. And because of this superstition might arise.
I agree.
Moggalana wrote:I guess, another way of framing my original question could have been: Are you superstitious or not? And is this helpful or rather impeding in one's own practice.
Speaking from experience, having a superstitious mind only led to wrong views becoming established, which later needed to be recognized and discarded. This is why I think the approach of endeavoring to view Gotama as a human being (outside the realm of the mythical persona that sometimes comes through certain descriptions, both ancient and modern) is so important when one is reading the discourses.

I employed the practice of constantly referring to my own experience of actual human nature to help guide me with regard to figuring out what Gotama may have meant by his many statements. It actually helped me to build a realistic mental picture of the man as I would relate back to actual people I have known in my own life who were similar to what he was describing. And, of course, at all times I employed unrelenting realistic discrimination when endeavoring to figure out the reality of what was being stated and in arriving at conclusions.

Your experience with life (and constantly referring back to it) is what will keep you grounded, and enable you to avoid taking tangents into fantasy land and becoming influenced by that. Seeing things "as they actually are" without projecting delusion or illusion onto those phenomena is a learned and trained discipline. Indeed, that is the heart of the practice.

All the best to you and your practice,

Ian
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV

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Re: Iddhis: "real" or not?

Post by nathan » Sat Jun 18, 2011 7:25 am

A related link.
A discussion of developing what some refer to as iddhis in this PDF document:

Ten kasinas & others.pdf

"This is a translation of Pa Auk Sayadaw’s Dhamma talk on MahaAssapura Sutta. However the chapters ‘The Ten Kasinas’ and ‘The Four Immaterial Jhanas’ are adapted from the book Knowing and Seeing so as to avoid repetition in translation work. Only a slight editing has been added to these excerpts. These additions are from the translation of the MahaAssapura Sutta dhamma talk. The rest of the other chapters are translated directly from the aforesaid Dhamma talk in Burmese. The style of translation follows the Burmese way of speaking as used during the talk."

http://www.visuddha-m-c.com/vmc%20sg/.. ... others.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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Re: Iddhis: "real" or not?

Post by IanAnd » Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:05 pm

nathan wrote:A related link.
A discussion of developing what some refer to as iddhis in this PDF document:

Ten kasinas & others.pdf

http://www.visuddha-m-c.com/vmc%20sg/.. ... others.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Hi Nathan,

Might you have an unbroken, updated link to this pdf? The link above shows the following: Error 404: File Not Found

Edit: Nevermind I found a working link here: http://www.mediafire.com/?mzmmcloglwz#2" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Might you be able to point out precisely where in this document (page number and text reference) you are referring to this further discussion?
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV

nathan
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Re: Iddhis: "real" or not?

Post by nathan » Sat Jun 18, 2011 7:35 pm

IanAnd wrote:Might you have an unbroken, updated link to this pdf? The link above shows the following: Error 404: File Not Found

Might you be able to point out precisely where in this document (page number and text reference) you are referring to this further discussion?
Try the link on this page:
http://www.visuddha-m-c.com/vmc%20sg/ebooks.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Page 11
4. Recollection of Past Lives Abhiñña
After training the mind by these 14 ways the meditator can change to the Pychic Powers. However it is mentioned that before that one should practise these 14 ways for a hundred times, a thousand times, for many times. Having gained mastery over the mind by these 14 ways, what should the meditator further do? In the Maha Assapura Sutta the Buddha taught the 11th cause for one to be called a Samana (i.e. a monk):
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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Re: Iddhis: "real" or not?

Post by befriend » Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:47 am

the minds potential for growth is limitless in terms of devoping morality by doing so we increase our energy. if everything is made of energy, including humans, and humans have the ability to increaese there psycho energetic state to what is incredible vast, why is it so hard that anything would be impossible.
nothing can destroy a man who has lived a pure life

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Re: Iddhis: "real" or not?

Post by icyteru » Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:05 pm

IanAnd wrote:
Moggalana wrote: The iddhis are "real", i.e. they are supernormal powers that can interact with the physical world

This iddhis are not "real", i.e. they are purely mental phenomena (created by the brain) like lucid dreams or out of body experiences

What do you think or believe? Please share your opinion.
In what way is the phrase "supernormal powers" being defined? "Super" as in "above" or "higher" or "surpassing" combined with "normal" meaning "above|higher|surpassing normal?" Which would be similar to "metaphysical powers," i.e., "meta" meaning "above" or "beyond|higher|transcending" combined with "physical" meaning "above|beyond|higher than|transcending the physical."

super- [soo' pər] [L < super, above < IE * eksuper (> Gr hyper) < * eghs (> EX-1) + * uper,OVER] prefix
1. over, above, on top of [superstructure, superscribe]
2. higher in rank or position than; superior to [superintendent]
3. a) greater in quality, amount, or degree than; surpassing [superfine, superabundant]
b) greater or better than others of its kind [supermarket]
4. to a degree greater than normal [supersaturate]

meta- [met'ə] [< Gr meta, along with, after, between, among < IE * meta < base * me-, between] prefix
[supposed analogy to metaphysics] going beyond or higher, transcending: used to form terms designating an area of study whose purpose is to examine the nature, assumptions, structure, etc. of a (specified) field [metalinguistics, metacriticism]

And in what way might these powers be "higher" or "surpassing" the normal powers of a human being? Might they only be "higher" in the sense that what was not noticed before is now noticed? And couldn't what is now noticed be associated with a previously arising phenomenon (such as a facial expression, for example, which, within the context of its expression, might indicate a certain train of thought which in turn provides a clue to something previously unnoticed within the associative range of a subject that is presently being discussed by two or more people)? And would any of this be considered mysterious or a mystery except within the mis-perception of those who did not notice the clue-giving phenomenon?

I'm only attempting to establish some ground rules so that you can figure this out for yourselves. If you understand the words you are using, it makes it easier to "see clearly" what took place — rather than to be influenced by superstition or idle speculation.

Also, what constitutes "real" (what meaning does this word have) within the context of the question of which opinions are being asked?
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