... these powers do not necessarily indicate an arahant. The suttas describe the Buddha developing these powers before he was an arahant. As I posted, even Satan has these powers...
As Colette Caillat put it, in relation to knowledges in Jainism:
Knowledge is an essential attribute of the soul (jiva). It accrues according to the norms of valid knowledge (pramana):
- The mediate knowledge (paroksa), rests on the indirect perception through the sensory organs. It is of two kinds and it presents two degrees:
. representative knowledge (mati), which is related with personal experience;
. traditional knowledge, which is acquired ex auditu thanks to the teachings of the Jina with the help of sacred texts.
The second furnishes to the first the corroboration of testimony, and these two degrees of knowledge are indissolubly associated.
- The immediate knowledge (pratyaksa) permits the direct perception. It comprises three degrees:
. the avadhi-jnana, which permits to apprehend directly the material objects and which is sometimes innate (thus among the celestial beings and the infernal beings), sometimes acquired (thus among the human beings);
. the manahparyaya-jnana which reaches the mental modes, that is to say, other people’s thoughts.
. the third and the highest degree embraces all other forms of knowledge: it is the kevala-jnana, or omniscience, which alone is absolute and perfect.
Patanlali, in his aphorism on Yoga (the bible of Raja Yoga), says that they (avadhi-jnana & manahparyaya-jnana), are unnecessary fetters.
Buddha says the same - unnecessary and optional. And that he loathes them, knowing how some beings can use them (see the price for using these "magic tricks" harmfully, in SN 11.23).
Christ tells his disciples that he has to perform miracles, in order to have them listen to him. But that the truth is elswere; and that he does not like to do such debased things.
Therefore, knowing the mind of others; or playing kasina with matter, is not a necessity to reach the kevala-jnana (higher jhana).
Far from it.
There is way too much emphasize in modern "buddhism" on these powers. And echt Buddhism is turning into plebeian voodoo.
Any demons, or lower gods, or "initiated" human (heading for the lower realms, in case of their overwhelming raga and/or dosa and/or moha,) are able to perform these lowlife tricks.
As a human, only direct knowledge by oneself, (starting with right view,) is valuable - and one should not be attached to these powers; if ever one chooses to "turn one's mind" towards them ("when there is an opening").
Now one can always send back to the sender.
"This is not mine, this is not me, this is not my atta - this is all yours - all yours!" - rightfully & mindfully.
The Noble & ignoble way:
And no; that does not mean that one should be non-judgmental - as in being amoral.
It just means that one should leave in the external, (viz. being mindful - SN 35.245
), the disgusting and the non-disgusting. Ultimately, indifferent to both, in equanimity, mindful and clearly aware.
Here the "judgment," as an act of determination, is the assessment that neither one is proper; as far as freeing the citta is concerned.
In other words, letting them in, by considering them "ours"; and having the indriyas descend in the ayatanas, is just defiling the citta.
Silence & secrecy are the prerogatives of the deluded.
First comes knowledge of the settled rule of the Dhamma (viz. paññavimutti - liberation by discernment); afterwards knowledge of Nibbāna.
Pubbe kho, susima, dhammaṭṭhitiñāṇaṃ, pacchā nibbāne ñāṇan'ti.
.... going forth as a thief of the Dhamma in such a well-expounded Dhamma and Discipline as this has results that are far more painful, far more bitter, and further, it leads to the nether world.
Yā evaṃ svākkhāte dhammavinaye dhammatthenakassa pabbajjā, ayaṃ tato dukkhavipākatarā ca kaṭukavipākatarā ca, api ca vinipātāya saṃvattati.
Some working for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
In this world with its ..., māras, ... in this population with its ascetics.... (AN 5.30).
We are all possessed - more or less.
And what, bhikkhu, is inward rottenness? Here someone is immoral, one of evil character, of impure and suspect behaviour, secretive in his acts, no ascetic though claiming to be one, not a celibate though claiming to be one, inwardly rotten, corrupt, depraved. This is called inward rottenness.”