Levitation and a Simple Bhikkhu

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Mr Man
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Re: Levitation and a Simple Bhikkhu

Post by Mr Man » Sun Jun 15, 2014 10:23 am

If we wish to believe or disbelieve in things like levitation so be it. In my opinion given the current state of play for most of us, it would make more sense to be sceptical. I'm not sure if this goes against the notion of faith as taught through Theravada but my perception of faith is that faith not born of experience will always remain fragile. This does not mean that faith does not have its use but we need to keep our faith in perspective and acknowledge it's fragility rather than try and justify it.

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pilgrim
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Re: Levitation and a Simple Bhikkhu

Post by pilgrim » Sun Jun 15, 2014 1:18 pm

Mr Man wrote:
Hi pilgrim
It would seem to me that your argument is a "Non sequitur".
I'm not arguing that iddhi is explained by Quantum Physics. I'm saying that an understanding of iddhi could possibly be discovered when we acquire more knowledge in the science of Quantum Physics.

perkele
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Re: Levitation and a Simple Bhikkhu

Post by perkele » Sun Jun 15, 2014 1:23 pm

Mr Man wrote:Hi pilgrim
It would seem to me that your argument is a "Non sequitur".
Yes, that's quite right.

That's the quite common standard response to such supernatural things and someone is disinclined to believe them on the grounds of how he understands or believes the world to function: Quantum physics may explain it.

Besides the wrong statement
pilgrim wrote:Because iddhi contradicts the current laws of physics and the emerging science of Quantum Physics have lots of weird stuff that contradict these same laws.
that quantum physics contradicts the current laws of physics. That's a very confused statement, obviously coming from no informed background at all. Quantum physics is part of the current understanding of physics. But it is somehow weird and seems to leave lots of possibilities for weird stuff. So many could say in good faith with regards to almost everything: Quantum physics may well explain it.

But just substituting one kind of faith for another will obviously not help the heretic disbeliever.

And why should it?

So I completely agree with this:
Mr Man wrote:I'm not sure if this goes against the notion of faith as taught through Theravada but my perception of faith is that faith not born of experience will always remain fragile. This does not mean that faith does not have its use but we need to keep our faith in perspective and acknowledge it's fragility rather than try and justify it.
With that said, questioning another's experience, trying to evict some explanation that is convincing to one's intellectual taste, will also never make it own experience.


So it's kind of a dilemma from the outset.


I cannot understand the partisanship that has developed out of this. I think we see a good demonstration here of the reason why the Buddha forbade his monks to speak about or demonstrate their psychich powers to laypeople.

(No accusation of ill-intent here towards the venerable bhikkhus.)

_/\_

perkele
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Re: Levitation and a Simple Bhikkhu

Post by perkele » Sun Jun 15, 2014 1:25 pm

pilgrim wrote:
Mr Man wrote:
Hi pilgrim
It would seem to me that your argument is a "Non sequitur".
I'm not arguing that iddhi is explained by Quantum Physics. I'm saying that an understanding of iddhi could possibly be discovered when we acquire more knowledge in the science of Quantum Physics.
So you believe that. And what does it help?

:anjali:

perkele
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Re: Levitation and a Simple Bhikkhu

Post by perkele » Sun Jun 15, 2014 1:52 pm

Regarding questions of faith, and fights ensuing over it: There is a good sutta on such occasions to always hold close to heart, discussing among others the point of "safeguarding of the truth".

:anjali:

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Mkoll
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Re: Levitation and a Simple Bhikkhu

Post by Mkoll » Sun Jun 15, 2014 1:56 pm

perkele wrote:Regarding questions of faith, and fights ensuing over it: There is a good sutta on such occasions to always hold close to heart, discussing among others the point of "safeguarding of the truth".

:anjali:
Canki Sutta

One of my favorites.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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pilgrim
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Re: Levitation and a Simple Bhikkhu

Post by pilgrim » Sun Jun 15, 2014 2:04 pm

perkele wrote:
pilgrim wrote:
Mr Man wrote:
Hi pilgrim
It would seem to me that your argument is a "Non sequitur".
I'm not arguing that iddhi is explained by Quantum Physics. I'm saying that an understanding of iddhi could possibly be discovered when we acquire more knowledge in the science of Quantum Physics.
So you believe that. And what does it help?

:anjali:
It would seem to me that your argument is a "Gish Gallop".

SarathW
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Re: Levitation and a Simple Bhikkhu

Post by SarathW » Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:40 am

The Buddha gave the same answer when asked the second time. At
the third request, the Buddha told him about the three kinds of
miracles which he had known and realized by his own insight. The
first was the miracle of psychic power (iddhi patihariya) consisting
in the ability to become many and pass through walls, to fly through
the air and walk on water, and even to visit the Brahma world. It was
rejected by the Buddha because it could be mistaken as the black art
called Gandhari magic
. The second, the miracle of mind reading
(adesana patihariya) was also rejected because it might be mistaken
as practice of cintamani or ‘jewel of thought’ charm called Manika
magic. He recommended the performance of the third miracle, the
miracle of the power of the Teaching (anusasani patihariya) as it
involves the practice in Morality, Concentration and Wisdom
leading finally to the extinction of defilements (Asavakkhaya ana)
and the realization of ibbana, the cessation of all suffering. This is
the greatest miracle that can only exist during a Buddha sasana.

http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf/PDF_Budd ... havana.pdf
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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beeblebrox
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Re: Levitation and a Simple Bhikkhu

Post by beeblebrox » Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:26 am

Hi SarathW,

Thank you for sharing this miracle of a teaching. This is why I have faith.

:anjali:

Denisa
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Re: Levitation and a Simple Bhikkhu

Post by Denisa » Mon Jun 16, 2014 4:19 am

SarathW wrote:The Buddha gave the same answer when asked the second time. At
the third request, the Buddha told him about the three kinds of
miracles which he had known and realized by his own insight. The
first was the miracle of psychic power (iddhi patihariya) consisting
in the ability to become many and pass through walls, to fly through
the air and walk on water, and even to visit the Brahma world. It was
rejected by the Buddha because it could be mistaken as the black art
called Gandhari magic
. The second, the miracle of mind reading
(adesana patihariya) was also rejected because it might be mistaken
as practice of cintamani or ‘jewel of thought’ charm called Manika
magic. He recommended the performance of the third miracle, the
miracle of the power of the Teaching (anusasani patihariya) as it
involves the practice in Morality, Concentration and Wisdom
leading finally to the extinction of defilements (Asavakkhaya ana)
and the realization of ibbana, the cessation of all suffering. This is
the greatest miracle that can only exist during a Buddha sasana.

http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf/PDF_Budd ... havana.pdf
SarathW, I read somewhere that the Buddha exhibit psychic powers to a large gathering of his relatives to change their mind. How can it be justified according to what you wrote above?

Thanks in advance.

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TheNoBSBuddhist
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Re: Levitation and a Simple Bhikkhu

Post by TheNoBSBuddhist » Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:18 am

Denisa, first find that passage, then the point can be more precisely discussed....
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....

Denisa
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Re: Levitation and a Simple Bhikkhu

Post by Denisa » Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:52 pm

Denisa wrote:
SarathW wrote:The Buddha gave the same answer when asked the second time. At the third request, the Buddha told him about the three kinds of
miracles which he had known and realized by his own insight. The first was the miracle of psychic power (iddhi patihariya) consisting in the ability to become many and pass through walls, to fly through the air and walk on water, and even to visit the Brahma world. It was rejected by the Buddha because it could be mistaken as the black art called Gandhari magic. The second, the miracle of mind reading (adesana patihariya) was also rejected because it might be mistaken as practice of cintamani or ‘jewel of thought’ charm called Manika magic. He recommended the performance of the third miracle, the miracle of the power of the Teaching (anusasani patihariya) as it involves the practice in Morality, Concentration and Wisdom leading finally to the extinction of defilements (Asavakkhaya ana) and the realization of ibbana, the cessation of all suffering. This is the greatest miracle that can only exist during a Buddha sasana.

http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf/PDF_Budd ... havana.pdf
SarathW, I read somewhere that the Buddha exhibit psychic powers to a large gathering of his relatives to change their mind. How can it be justified according to what you wrote above?

Thanks in advance.
SarathW, this is where I read it, luckily there's an online version:
Chapter 6
The Buddha Visits His Birthplace
King Suddhodana desires to see the Buddha
On hearing that the Buddha was preaching the Dhamma in Rajagaha, King Suddhodana was desirous of seeing Him. Nine courtiers, each with a large following, were sent on nine successive occasions to invite the Buddha to Kapilavatthu. Contrary to the King's expectations all nine attained Arahantship and joined the Order. Since Arahants are indifferent to worldly things they did not convey the King's message to the Buddha.
The disappointed King finally dispatched Kaludayi, who was a playmate of the Buddha. He agreed to go on condition that he would be allowed to enter the Order.
He, too, hearing the Dhamma, attained Arahantship and entered the Order. But unlike the others he conveyed the message to the Buddha and persuaded Him to visit His aged royal father. The Buddha, attended by a large retinue of His disciples, journeyed the whole distance preaching the Dhamma on the way, and arrived in Kapilavatthu in two months.
Arrangements were made for Him to stay in the Park of Nigrodha, a Sakyan. The conceited elderly Sakyans, without paying Him due obeisance, put forward the younger ones to salute Him. The Buddha subdued their pride by rising into the air and exhibiting the "Twin Wonder." The King, seeing this wonderful sight, saluted Him immediately, saying that it was his third salutation. Then all the other Sakyans paid Him due respect. Thereupon the Buddha came down from the sky and sat on the prepared seat. The relatives too sat down to listen to Him.
. . .
6th Year - Mankula Hill
Just as He performed the "Twin Wonder" (Yamaka Parihariya) to overcome the pride of His relatives at Kapilavatthu, here too He did the same a second time to convert others.

Source: A Manual Of Buddhism by Venerable Narada Maha Thera (http://purifymind.com/ManualBuddhism.htm)
Also I found a very good explanation (below) by Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu regarding a similar situation. Wise monks use their psychic abilities to good effect when teaching, one example was Ācariya Mun Bhuridatta Thera. Read "The Boxer" on pg# 194 in his autobiography (http://www.forestdhamma.org/books/english).
But as the sutta shows, even the Buddha's description of these teachings was not enough to win over Baka or the members of his following. They were convinced only when the Buddha then performed a feat of psychic power that (1) even Baka could not fathom and (2) illustrated the Buddha's major point. Up to then, in identifying Mara and the range of Baka's power, the Buddha was in effect saying, "I see you, but you don't see me." With his display of psychic power, in which brahma and his following could not see him but could hear his voice, he demonstrated his point in such graphic terms that Baka and his following were immediately won over.

In this way, the protagonists of this sutta react in a way very different from that of a typical modern reader. We at present, when reading this sutta, may be more impressed with the Buddha's explanation of his awakened knowledge than we are with the account of his display of psychic power, for after all, both aspects of the sutta — the description of the Buddha's knowledge and the description of his psychic power — are, for us, just that: descriptions. But, for those who witnessed it, his display of power was an undeniable fact that went beyond words. They saw him go beyond their range. Prior to that display, they regarded his claims of knowledge simply as that: mere claims. When he showed, however, that he could perform a miracle that even Baka could not perform, they were forced to concede his superiority. Thus this sutta imparts a lesson often forgotten at present, that the Buddha taught not only by word but also by example, and that some of his examples required a dimension of power that even the gods could not match.

Source: Introduction to Brahma-nimantanika Sutta (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html)

SarathW
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Re: Levitation and a Simple Bhikkhu

Post by SarathW » Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:37 pm

Thanks for the link.
There is another story why Buddha reserve the right to perform miracles while he prohibit others to do so.
Perhaps we have to direct this question to another learned friend in the forum.
:)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

Aki
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Re: Levitation and a Simple Bhikkhu

Post by Aki » Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:13 pm

Mr Man wrote:I'm not sure if this goes against the notion of faith as taught through Theravada but my perception of faith is that faith not born of experience will always remain fragile.
Western thought always made me curious. Can I know, do you have faith in Nibbana?
I'm only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand. If you're a troll :rolleye:, find someone else please :guns:, I'm an IBM (Innocent Buddhist Monk) for 40+ years.

Aki
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Re: Levitation and a Simple Bhikkhu

Post by Aki » Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:40 pm

perkele wrote:I think we see a good demonstration here of the reason why the Buddha forbade his monks to speak about or demonstrate their psychich powers to laypeople.
Buddha forbade speaking about their meditative attainments (eg. jhana) and psychic powers because some shameless monks (alajji) bragged about it for the sake of their stomach.
. . .
“At present Vajjī is short of alms-food … Nor is it easy to keep oneself going by gleaning or by favour. What now if we, by some strategem, all together, being on friendly terms and harmonious, should spend a comfortable rainy season and not go short of alms-food?”
. . .
Then these monks spoke praise to householders concerning this or that condition of further-men, saying, “Such a monk is possessed of the first musing … such a monk is a sixfold super-knowledge man.” Then these (men) thought: “Surely we have gained, surely there is a profit for us that such monks have come to us for the rains. Surely such monks as these monks, virtuous and of good character, never came to us for the rains before.” Accordingly these did not on their own account eat meals—they gave not to parents, they gave not to wife and children, they gave not to slave or servant, they gave not to friend or colleague, they gave not to blood-relations, as they gave to the monks. Accordingly these did not on their own account take savoury solid foods or drinks—they gave not to parents, they gave not to wife and children, they gave not to slave or servant, they gave not to friend or colleague, they gave not to blood-relations, as they gave to the monks. Thus these monks became handsome, of rounded features, their complexions bright, their skins clear.

The enlightened one, the lord, rebuked them, saying:

“How can you, monks, for the sake of your stomachs, speak praise to householders concerning this or that condition of further-men? It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

“Whatever monk should speak of a condition of further-men to one who is not ordained—if it is a fact, there is an offence of expiation.”

...
Condition of further-men means: musing, freedom, concentration, attainment, knowledge and insight, making the Way to become, realisation of the fruits, destruction of the corruptions, delight in solitude for the mind devoid of the hindrances.
...
Should speak of means: there is an offence of expiation for saying to one who is not ordained, “I will attain the first musing.”

Should speak of means: there is an offence of expiation for saying to one who is not ordained, “I am attaining the first musing.”

Should speak of means: there is an offence of expiation for saying to one who is not ordained, “I attained the first musing.” … “I am possessed of the first musing … I am master of the first musing … The first musing is realised by me.”

-Bhikkhu Vinaya http://suttacentral.net/en/pi-tv-bu-vb-pc8
I'm not saying that the Bhikkhu who started the thread fell into this offence, obviously not according to the intention presented in his posts. Also he didn't write for the sake of his stomach. I went through his other posts and I can't see even a hint where he ask favours from the forum members, from his introduction it looks like he is well supported.
ArkA wrote:In some threads there’s a talk about levitation. Just sharing my experience.
. . .
Personally, witnessing this levitation was very inspiring, but more inspiring was the old bhikkhu’s simple life, and wise words. As the Buddha mentioned what matters is the insight, not the supernatural powers.

“Buddha taught us all that needed for Nibbana, never stray away from his words,” was his final advice to me.

Hope this inspires some of you!
Further, he didn't speak about his own attainments.
ArkA wrote:How you know this to be the case?
As a bhikkhu, I can't tell you certain things.
If anyone doubting me since I also wrote some stories (not my own attainments), I have no intention of expecting anything from this forum, as mentioned in the introduction section, I'm merely here as per a request by a young monk. My intention was to inspire someone (if willing) but not to force faith.

Thank you.
I'm only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand. If you're a troll :rolleye:, find someone else please :guns:, I'm an IBM (Innocent Buddhist Monk) for 40+ years.

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