Podcast | Studying And Practicing With “The Iddhipāda-Vibhaṅga Sutta — An Analysis Of The Bases Of Power”: “Psychic Powers,” Practice Combinations And Miscellany (6 of 7)

Series introduction:

While I reference some non-Buddhist material most everything in the notes and podcasts for this series on The Iddhipāda-Vibhaṅga Sutta are solely my effort to relate considerations, questions, experiences, explorations, suggestions, interpretations and practices involved and associated with this sutta.

This series comes via seven categories/blog posts/podcasts:

  1. Introduction; the key encapsulation/encoding/summary paragraph of the whole sutta which includes and weaves in the four powers; and a reading of one of two translations for the sutta
  2. Unpacking of the hindrances and the other of two translations for the sutta
  3. A (type of) situational awareness
  4. 32 parts of the body
  5. Perceptions of night, daytime and light
  6. “Psychic Powers,” practice combinations and miscellany
  7. Summary, findings, observations and comparisons

In more detail, the four Iddhipāda — sometimes translated as bases of psychic power, bases of power, base of spiritual power, accomplishments, wings to success, or roads to power — are:

  1. chanda: desire; enthusiasm; purpose; wish
  2. viriya: persistence; energy; effort; will
  3. citta: intent; consciousness; knowing mind; mental development; devoting mind to; heart-mind
  4. vīmaṃsā: investigation; inquiry; discernment; discrimination; reason; interest; intelligent curiosity; [(perhaps a new contribution, or for chanda:) balanced and helpful enthrallment, fascination]; feedback and fine tuning, adjustment; learn from doing

Along with aiding our even mundane accomplishments and mastery, perhaps the Iddhipāda play a significant role in approaching will — the way one decides on and initiates action — and at the core of The Iddhipāda-Vibhaṅga Sutta is an analysis of will along with instructions for its training, development, and use.


“Psychic Powers”

When the four bases of psychic power have been developed and cultivated in this way, they wield the many kinds of psychic power: multiplying themselves and becoming one again; appearing and disappearing; going unimpeded through a wall, a rampart, or a mountain as if through space; diving in and out of the earth as if it were water; walking on water as if it were earth; flying cross-legged through the sky like a bird; touching and stroking with the hand the sun and moon, so mighty and powerful; controlling the body as far as the Brahmā realm.

[Integrating Presence note: beginning of portion perhaps left out of this sutta but included in others where the psychic powers are repeated with the same language:]

With clairaudience that is purified and superhuman, they hear both kinds of sounds, human and divine, whether near or far.

They understand the minds of other beings and individuals, having comprehended them with their own mind. They understand mind with greed as ‘mind with greed’, and mind without greed as ‘mind without greed’. They understand mind with hate as ‘mind with hate’, and mind without hate as ‘mind without hate’. They understand mind with delusion as ‘mind with delusion’, and mind without delusion as ‘mind without delusion’. They understand constricted mind as ‘constricted mind’, and scattered mind as ‘scattered mind’. They understand expansive mind as ‘expansive mind’, and unexpansive mind as ‘unexpansive mind’. They understand mind that is not supreme as ‘mind that is not supreme’, and mind that is supreme as ‘mind that is supreme’. They understand mind immersed in samādhi as ‘mind immersed in samādhi’, and mind not immersed in samādhi as ‘mind not immersed in samādhi’. They understand freed mind as ‘freed mind’, and they understand unfreed mind as ‘unfreed mind’.

They recollect many kinds of past lives. That is: one, two, three, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand rebirths; many eons of the world contracting, many eons of the world expanding, many eons of the world contracting and expanding. They remember: ‘There, I was named this, my clan was that, I looked like this, and that was my food. This was how I felt pleasure and pain, and that was how my life ended. When I passed away from that place I was reborn somewhere else. There, too, I was named this, my clan was that, I looked like this, and that was my food. This was how I felt pleasure and pain, and that was how my life ended. When I passed away from that place I was reborn here.’ And so they recollect their many kinds of past lives, with features and details.

With clairvoyance that is purified and superhuman, they see sentient beings passing away and being reborn—inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, in a good place or a bad place. They understand how sentient beings are reborn according to their deeds: ‘These dear beings did bad things by way of body, speech, and mind. They spoke ill of the noble ones; they had wrong view; and they acted out of that wrong view. When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell. These dear beings, however, did good things by way of body, speech, and mind. They never spoke ill of the noble ones; they had right view; and they acted out of that right view. When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in a good place, a heavenly realm.’ And so, with clairvoyance that is purified and superhuman, they see sentient beings passing away and being reborn—inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, in a good place or a bad place. They understand how sentient beings are reborn according to their deeds.

[end of portion perhaps left out of this sutta]

When the four bases of psychic power have been developed and cultivated in this way, they realize the undefiled freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom in this very life. And they live having realized it with their own insight due to the ending of defilements.”

[Please reach out with any corrections and suggestions for my inclusion(/guesses) of expanding/extending/filling in the omitted redundant text indicated by “…” from:]
Linked Discourses 51
2. Shaking the Stilt Longhouse
20. Analysis
https://suttacentral.net/sn51.20/en/sujato


57. 5. He resolves with knowledge (§48): when he has accomplished these things consisting of the planes, bases (roads), steps, and roots, of success (to supernormal power), [387] then he attains jhána as the basis for direct-knowledge and emerges from it. Then if he wants to become a hundred, he does the preliminary work thus, “Let me become a hundred, let me become a hundred,” after which he again attains jhána as basis for direct-knowledge, emerges, and resolves. He becomes a hundred simultaneously with the resolving consciousness. The same method applies in the case of a thousand, and so on. If he does not succeed in this way, he should do the preliminary work again, and attain, emerge, and resolve a second time. For it is said in the Saíyutta Commentary that it is allowable to attain once, or twice.

58. Herein, the basic-jhána consciousness has the sign as its object; but the preliminary-work consciousnesses have the hundred as their object or the thousand as their object. And these latter are objects as appearances, not as concepts. The resolving consciousness has likewise the hundred as its object or the thousand as its object. That arises once only, next to change-of-lineage [consciousness], as in the case of absorption consciousness already described (IV.78), and it is fine-material-sphere consciousness belonging to the fourth jhána.

59. Now, it is said in the Paþisambhidá: “Normally one, he adverts to [himself as] many or a hundred or a thousand or a hundred thousand; having adverted, he resolves with knowledge, ‘Let me be many.’ He becomes many, like the venerable Cú¿a-Panthaka” (Paþis II 207). Here he adverts is said with respect only to the preliminary work. Having adverted, he resolves with knowledge is said with respect to the knowledge of the direct-knowledge. Consequently, he adverts to many. After that he attains with the last one of the preliminary-work consciousnesses. After emerging from the attainment, he again adverts thus, “Let me be many,” after which he resolves by means of the single [consciousness] belonging to the knowledge of direct-knowledge, which has arisen next to the three, or four, preparatory consciousnesses that have occurred, and which has the name “resolve” owing to its making the decision. This is how the meaning should be understood here.

Details about multiplying from Chapter 10 of Visuddhimagga — The Path of Purification
  • Could “Having been one he [a monk] becomes many; having been many he becomes one” be in any way related to reproductive ability yet being celibate? And if money is a symbol of power enabling the acquisition of multiplicity but monks are not allowed to handle or be directly involved with money, could this also play into this power? What about the opposite, those who aren’t monks, who aren’t celibate and who’s creational energy in entangled with monetary systems?
    • These are obscure modern day considerations but to reiterate the aforementioned thread, how might the following influence this ability of having been one s/he becomes many; having been many s/he becomes one:
  • [Not mentioned in podcast: how might mastery of this power of “having been one he [a monk] becomes many; having been many he becomes one” play into any kind of conscious choices for rebirth(s) especially during the last mind moment?]
  • Why gain (these) powers? Are they only for monks? Well, the Buddha advised training to attain them. One can summons the purported psychic powers as motivation for practice, especially wholesome desire. Don’t be afraid of, or dismiss (your) worth and spiritual power when it comes to this. The Buddha was very wise and helpful on so many things and he’s saying this is OK to practice and develop and the attainment quite possible. Furthermore, these or similar powers can address usually unseen influences to (acquire knowledge to) help alleviate suffering and/or contribute to less suffering. 
  • scientific studies of past lives
  • The following passage for me clearly expounds empathy beyond just empathing feeling and emotions for the section: “He knows the awareness of other beings, other individuals, having encompassed it with his own awareness. He discerns a mind with passion as ‘a mind with passion,’ and a mind without passion as ‘a mind without passion.’ …..”
  • Why might some of these powers be harder to gain than others (at this time)? Could collective kamma, if that is a thing, play into this? Could developing certain powers be more conducive to certain eras than others? For example, intuition and the knowing of minds might be found more in today’s culture climate of valuing the (thinking) mind so much. Perhaps in other eras where the means and modes of physicality were more dominate the related physical developed spiritual/psychic powers were more prevalent? Or perhaps considering some claims of highly advanced prohibiting and controlling technology upon matter forms?
  • Also, how do the powers mentioned in the Iddhipāda-Vibhaṅga Sutta correspond with any accepted mainstream studies in scientific community establishments? What are the parallels? Today’s quantum science allows for much of this phenomena — like temporary replication and the phasing of particles to waves and vice versa — but only on the micro level. And especially when external technology is involved. When will the (popularly) established scientific community consider this scaling up?
  • What are the benefits of “With his hand he touches & strokes even the sun & moon?” Is this to be taken literally? Metaphorically could it mean influence in and from realms beyond our everyday reality?
  • How does perception play into everything here?

Practice Combinations

  • How is the (subtle) energy of the 32 parts of the body in various environments and after ingesting various substances — like food, drink and medicine — and does this correlate to (perceptions of) night and day? If so, how?
  • Similarly, how is space and environment when focusing primarily on 32 parts, and how are the 32 parts when focusing on space and environment?
  • If possible, how could one contain (distracting) energy within the meditation object itself instead of being pulled away from and/or one’s attention lost to the meditation object?
  • The next three techniques are similar:
    1. (After practicing actively with this sutta) equanimously allow (the attention to work in a) passive receptivity within the container of this sutta (and perhaps applicable to other meditation techniques) — observing the fluctuation of attention from theme to theme: the 32 parts, environment, perceptions of light, etc. 
    2. After thoroughly studying, contemplating and practicing with this sutta establish as a meditation object and lightly hold in awareness the consciousness(es) involved with this sutta, and/or feeling and tuning into the various energetic signatures and/or the root (or core) energy involved
    3. (Breathing in and out of, and/or blending breath with) this entire sutta as meditation object (allowing what may of it arise and pass)
  • For a potential practice of combining all the major constituents in this sutta: keep the mentioned perceptions of night (or day) steadily persistent in the background of awareness while in the foreground address the 32 parts of the body as well as the aforementioned type of situational awareness (both using the perception of light perhaps), or vice versa for the background/foreground.
Doodle with the four symbols/icons on top representing sun/light; day & night; a space for situational awareness; and a “layered” meditator for the 32 parts of the body
  • Since the mind will likely want inclusion, invite the mind into exalted participation with however you practice
  • If experiencing (hindering) doubt perhaps ask, “is [whatever is happening and] my approach a skillful and helpful means of practicing with this sutta? And what adjustments and balancing are needed — not too much, not too little — in order to progress and gain mastery?
  • One can also check practices mentioned here with Five Faculties/Powers:
    1. Faith/Conviction (saddhā bala) – addresses doubt
    2. Energy/Effort/Persistence (viriya bala) – addresses laziness
    3. Mindfulness (sati bala) – addresses heedlessness
    4. Concentration (samādhi bala) – addresses distraction
    5. Wisdom/Discernment (paññā bala) – addresses ignorance
  • Other benchmarks, check-ins, gauges, feedback mechanisms, and audits [to be touched on briefly when feeling lost and unclear]:
    • attitude?
    • relationship?
    • the attitude to the relationship?
    • the relationship to the attitude?
    • What kind of pleasure is involved? Is it present or absent?
    • What hindrances are present?
    • Without blaming, criticizing, or being judgemental, what are the strengths and weaknesses?

Miscellany

  • Where does the heart (Chitta) come into this sutta? Can this sutta be explored while abiding in the Brahmaviharas — loving-kindness, compassion, vicarious joy and equanimity?
  • Already mentioned in hindrances portion, what (exactly) does “the fabrications of exertion” mean?
    • Does this mean making up (and knowing well) a certain energy and intent with persistence to carry out what’s mentioned in this sutta (and similar stuff like the eightfold noble path factors and stuff directly or indirectly involving attainments)?
    • If there’s “fabrications of exertion” is there (then) a type of non-fabricated exertion (for humans)?
    • [woo woo speculation alert:] If so, depending on what it is, like for example: if the non-fabricated, or minimally fabricated exertion of breath was established, operated and happening somehow outside of the 3D human realm, could the phrase “the fabrications of exertion” be subtle humor hinting at some beings or forces who think they significantly influence and control the (unconscious) human breath, that that too is a fabrication (thus sapping their notion of power over those without breath mastery)?

54. 3. The eight steps should be understood as the eight beginning with zeal; for this is said: “What are the eight steps? If a bhikkhu obtains concentration, obtains unification of mind supported by zeal, then the zeal is not the concentration; the concentration is not the zeal. [386] The zeal is one, the concentration is another. If a bhikkhu … supported by energy … supported by [natural purity of] consciousness … supported by inquiry … then the inquiry is not the concentration; the concentration is not the inquiry. The inquiry is one, the concentration is another. These eight steps to power lead to the obtaining of supernormal power (success) … to fearlessness due to supernormal power (success)” (Paþis II 205). For here it is the zeal consisting in the desire to arouse supernormal power (success), which zeal is joined with concentration, that leads to the obtaining of the supernormal power. Similarly in the case of energy, and so on. That should be understood as the reason why they are called the “eight steps.”

From Chapter 10 of the Visuddhimagga — The Path of Purification

A very rare and specialized (hypothetical) situation not mentioned: Since there’s prohibition of public display of psychic powers for monastics, what if — with or without psychic ability or foreknowledge to know who he could encounter that may know of his (other) whereabouts — a monk created a version of himself to go to a public market to search for the requisite of needed medicine (and/or materials to make medicine)? In other words, what if he were to encounter a lay practitioner who knew that monk during that time had duties elsewhere and were to question the monk on how he could possibly be here instead of there. Would this be a public display of psychic powers? Could the psychic ability or foreknowledge to know who he could encounter there, or the lack of this change whether it would be considered a public display of psychic power? How? What if there was a situation where medicine needed to be procured this way?


Resources

Reason as the basis of accomplishment is root. Three bases of accomplishment are not roots. (The four bases of accomplishment) Are accompanied by roots. Are associated with roots. Reason as the basis of accomplishment is root also accompanied by root. Three bases of accomplishment should not be said to be, roots also accompanied by roots; (they) are accompanied by roots but are not roots. Reason as the basis of accomplishment is root also associated with root. Three bases of accomplishment should not be said to be, roots also associated with roots; (they) are associated with roots but are not roots. Three bases of accomplishment are not roots, are accompanied by roots. Reason as the basis of accomplishment should not be said to be, not root, accompanied by root or not root, not accompanied by root. (The four bases of accomplishment) Are with cause. Are conditioned. Are not visible. Are not impingent. Are not material. Are supramundane. Are cognizable by one way; are not | cognizable by another way. Are not defilements. Are not objects of the defilements. Are not associated with the defilements. Should not be said to be, defilements also objects of the defilements or objects of the defilements but are not defilements. Should not be said to be, defilements also associated with the defilements or associated with the defilements but are not defilements. Are not associated with the defilements, are not objects of the defilements.

(The four bases of accomplishment) Are not fetters.* Are not ties.* Are not floods.* Are not bonds.* Are not hindrances.* Are not perversions.* Have objects. Three bases of accomplishment are not consciousness. Consciousness as basis of accomplishment is consciousness. Three bases of accomplishment are mental concomitants. Consciousness as the basis of accomplishment is not mental concomitant. Three bases of accomplishment are associated with consciousness. Consciousness as the basis of accomplishment should not be said to be, associated with consciousness or not associated with consciousness. Three bases of accomplishment are conjoined with consciousness. Consciousness as the basis of accomplishment should not be said to be, conjoined with consciousness or not conjoined with consciousness. Three bases of accomplishment are generated by consciousness. Consciousness as the basis of accomplishment is not generated by consciousness. Three bases of accomplishment are co-existent with consciousness. Consciousness as the basis of accomplishment is not co-existent with consciousness. Three bases of accomplishment accompany consciousness. Consciousness as the basis of accomplishment does not accompany consciousness. Three bases of accomplishment are conjoined with, generated by consciousness. Consciousness as the basis of accomplishment is not conjoined with, not generated by consciousness. Three bases of accomplishment are conjoined with, generated by, co-existent with consciousness. Consciousness as the basis of accomplishment is not conjoined with, not generated by, not co-existent with consciousness. Three bases of accomplishment are conjoined with, generated by, accompany consciousness. Consciousness as the basis of accomplishment is not conjoined with, not generated by, does not accompany consciousness.

*Complete as for defilements in previous paragraph.



Again, this series comes via seven categories/blog posts/podcasts:

  1. Introduction; the key encapsulation/encoding/summary paragraph of the whole sutta which includes and weaves in the four powers; and a reading of one of two translations for the sutta
  2. Unpacking of the hindrances and the other of two translations for the sutta
  3. A (type of) situational awareness
  4. 32 parts of the body
  5. Perceptions of night, daytime and light
  6. “Psychic Powers,” practice combinations and miscellany
  7. Summary, findings, observations and comparisons

Audio: Studying And Practicing With “The Iddhipāda-Vibhaṅga Sutta — An Analysis Of The Bases Of Power”: “Psychic Powers,” Practice Combinations And Miscellany (6 of 7)

Out of this placement of King and Priest as the highest offices of this world emerged the restatement of the ancient ritual of establishing two pillars at the entrance of every temple, oriented to the rising sun (rising son = Horus Rising or Horizon) coming over the horizon on the first day of spring on the vernal equinox. These two pillars represent the Line of the King and the Line of the Priest, who established their lineages to control the Land and the Law throughout history to the present time.

The storyline of the Isis and Osiris mystery cult is simple and quite instructive. There are nine godheads in the primary Egyptian Pantheon known as the Ennead. Anu sits at the top of the Council of Nine (the Ennead). Below him are two sets of brother/sister twins (husband and wife) that embody the physical Earth in its primordial elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Out of these emerge another two sets of brother/sister twins (husband and wife), representing the polarity of dark and light in the false light matrix of the hologram containment field. These are Isis and Osiris on the light side, from who emerges the prodigal Sun/Son Horus, who rises in the east at the Horizon (Horus Rising). Set and Nephthys counter the light as it is extinguished on the western horizon by Set as he removes the light of the day at Sun-Set and gives it over to his sister/wife to cover the Night. Light and Dark, Black and White, the never-ending polarity, displayed for all to see on every Masonic temple floor, in Westminster Abbey and many more.

from p.43 and p.104 of An Overview of the World System of Bondage and Separation from Life

Published by josh dippold

IntegratingPresence.com

8 thoughts on “Podcast | Studying And Practicing With “The Iddhipāda-Vibhaṅga Sutta — An Analysis Of The Bases Of Power”: “Psychic Powers,” Practice Combinations And Miscellany (6 of 7)

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