Supranormal (or so-called Psychic Powers) in the (Buddhist) Pali Cannon

Monks, spend time with Sāriputta and Moggallāna. They are wise monks who assist their companions in the Holy Life. Monks, Sāriputta is like a parent, Moggallāna is like a babysitter. Monks, Sāriputta leads one to the attainment of stream-entry, Moggallāna leads one to the highest goal. . .

Selection from Saccavibhaṅgasutta — Analysis of Truth
Maudgalyāyana (PaliMoggallāna), also known as Mahāmaudgalyāyana or by his birth name Kolita

Linked below are places in the Pali Cannon mentioning supranormal abilities or so-called “psychic powers.”

But first, a few questions (even though it is not worth wasting much energy defending the significance of seemingly fantastical things in comparison to where the masses still reference (their) reality: the TeeVee news media which is currently still being dumbed down to around a 5th grade level, and also whatever is on social media in alignment with it.)

Why would supranormal abilities even be mentioned by, or in association with a historical figure so psychologically developed and adept by today’s scientific standards that neuroscience and psychology is finally catching up with some of the Buddha’s teachings?

How do psychologists into Buddhism who deny psychic phenomena respond to Moggallana, often said to be foremost in psychic powers among the senior disciples of the Buddha? Was Moggallana delusional? If so, was the Buddha delusional for not saying anything about Moggallana’s delusions?

If these abilities are only mere mythology or metaphor how did they originate? Where did the ideas come from? If from the imagination, how does that work?

Why spend so much time detailing and mentioning “psychic powers”?

Why were “psychic powers” so important to Devadatta the Buddha’s cousin and brother to his wife, and whom some say was his arch nemesis?

What is the significance, if any, of the (establishing of the) monastic rule prohibiting public displays of psychic power for anyone except the Buddha?

It’s when a mendicant develops the basis of psychic power that has immersion due to enthusiasm, and active effort. They think: ‘My enthusiasm won’t be too lax or too tense. And it’ll be neither constricted internally nor scattered externally.’ And they meditate perceiving continuity: as before, so after; as after, so before; as below, so above; as above, so below; as by day, so by night; as by night, so by day. And so, with an open and unenveloped heart, they develop a mind that’s full of radiance.

They develop the basis of psychic power that has immersion due to energy … mental development … inquiry, and active effort. They think: ‘My inquiry won’t be too lax or too tense. And it’ll be neither constricted internally nor scattered externally.’ And they meditate perceiving continuity: as before, so after; as after, so before; as below, so above; as above, so below; as by day, so by night; as by night, so by day. And so, with an open and unenveloped heart, they develop a mind that’s full of radiance.

And what is enthusiasm that’s too lax? It’s when enthusiasm is combined with laziness. This is called lax enthusiasm.

And what is enthusiasm that’s too tense? It’s when enthusiasm is combined with restlessness. This is called tense enthusiasm.

And what is enthusiasm that’s constricted internally? It’s when enthusiasm is combined with dullness and drowsiness. This is called enthusiasm constricted internally.

And what is enthusiasm that’s distracted externally? It’s when enthusiasm is frequently distracted and diffused externally on account of the five kinds of sensual stimulation. This is called enthusiasm distracted externally.

And how does a mendicant meditate perceiving continuity: as before, so after; as after, so before? It’s when the perception of continuity is properly grasped, attended, borne in mind, and comprehended with wisdom by a mendicant. That’s how a mendicant meditates perceiving continuity: as before, so after; as after, so before.

And how does a mendicant meditate as below, so above; as above, so below? It’s when a mendicant examines their own body up from the soles of the feet and down from the tips of the hairs, wrapped in skin and full of many kinds of filth. ‘In this body there is head hair, body hair, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, diaphragm, spleen, lungs, intestines, mesentery, undigested food, feces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, grease, saliva, snot, synovial fluid, urine.’ That’s how a mendicant meditates as below, so above; as above, so below.

And how does a mendicant meditate as by day, so by night; as by night, so by day? It’s when a mendicant develops the basis of psychic power that has immersion due to enthusiasm, and active effort, with the same features, attributes, and signs by day as by night. And they develop it with the same features, attributes, and signs by night as by day. That’s how a mendicant meditates as by day, so by night; as by night, so by day.

And how, with an open and unenveloped heart, does a mendicant develop a mind that’s full of radiance? It’s when a mendicant has properly grasped the perception of light, and has properly grasped the perception of day. That’s how, with an open and unenveloped heart, a mendicant develops a mind that’s full of radiance.

And what is energy that’s too lax? …

And what is mental development that’s too lax? …

And what is inquiry that’s too lax? It’s when inquiry is combined with laziness. This is called lax inquiry.

And what is inquiry that’s too tense? It’s when inquiry is combined with restlessness. This is called tense inquiry.

And what is inquiry that’s constricted internally? It’s when inquiry is combined with dullness and drowsiness. This is called inquiry constricted internally.

And what is inquiry that’s distracted externally? It’s when inquiry is frequently distracted and diffused externally on account of the five kinds of sensual stimulation. This is called inquiry distracted externally. … That’s how, with an open and unenveloped heart, a mendicant develops a mind that’s full of radiance.

Exceprt from:
Linked Discourses 51
2. Shaking the Stilt Longhouse
20. Analysis

Selections via SuttaCentral.net mentioning supranormal/”psychic” powers:

  1. AN10.90
  2. AN10.97
  3. AN11.10
  4. AN1.188-197
  5. AN1.235-247
  6. AN1.394-574
  7. AN3.101
  8. AN3.102
  9. AN3.144
  10. AN3.156-162
  11. AN3.40
  12. AN3.60
  13. AN4.191
  14. AN4.276
  15. AN4.45
  16. AN5.100
  17. AN5.23
  18. AN5.28
  19. AN5.67
  20. AN5.68
  21. AN6.2
  22. AN6.41
  23. AN6.54
  24. AN6.70
  25. AN7.71
  26. AN8.19
  27. AN8.28
  28. AN8.30
  29. AN8.70
  30. AN9.35
  31. AN9.83
  32. AN9.84-91
  33. AN9.92
  34. DN10
  35. DN11
  36. DN14
  37. DN16
  38. DN17
  39. DN18
  40. DN24
  41. DN26
  42. DN28
  43. DN29
  44. DN2
  45. DN30
  46. DN33
  47. DN34
  48. DN3
  49. MN103
  50. MN104
  51. MN108
  52. MN118
  53. MN119
  54. MN129
  55. MN12
  56. MN149
  57. MN151
  58. MN16
  59. MN25
  60. MN37
  61. MN49
  62. MN50
  63. MN56
  64. MN6
  65. MN73
  66. MN77
  67. MN86
  68. MN91
  69. MN92
  70. MN99
  71. SN12.70
  72. SN14.15
  73. SN16.9
  74. SN21.1
  75. SN21.3
  76. SN22.101
  77. SN2.26
  78. SN22.80
  79. SN22.81
  80. SN40.1
  81. SN40.2
  82. SN40.3
  83. SN40.4
  84. SN40.5
  85. SN40.6
  86. SN40.7
  87. SN40.8
  88. SN40.9
  89. SN41.4
  90. SN4.20
  91. SN43.12
  92. SN43.7
  93. SN45.155
  94. SN51.10
  95. SN51.11
  96. SN51.12
  97. SN51.13
  98. SN51.14
  99. SN51.15
  100. SN51.16
  101. SN51.17
  102. SN51.18
  103. SN51.19
  104. SN51.1
  105. SN51.20
  106. SN51.21
  107. SN51.22
  108. SN51.23
  109. SN51.24
  110. SN51.25
  111. SN51.26
  112. SN51.27
  113. SN51.28
  114. SN51.29
  115. SN51.2
  116. SN51.30
  117. SN51.31
  118. SN51.32
  119. SN51.33-44
  120. SN51.3
  121. SN51.4
  122. SN51.5
  123. SN51.6
  124. SN51.77-86
  125. SN51.7
  126. SN51.8
  127. SN51.9
  128. SN52.12
  129. SN5.5
  130. SN6.14
  131. SN6.5
  132. SN6.6
  133. SN8.10
  134. SN8.12
  135. Thag10.7
  136. Thag1.38
  137. Thag16.9
  138. Thag17.2
  139. Thag18.1
  140. Thag19.1
  141. Thag20.1
  142. Thag21.1
  143. Thag6.10
  144. Thag6.1
  145. Thig11.1
  146. Thig13.5
  147. Thig5.1

Published by josh dippold

IntegratingPresence.com

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