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 jhana 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 jhana 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-jhana 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 jhana.

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.

Having been many, he becomes one
  1. 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.
  2. Like the venerable Cú¿a-Panthaka is said in order to point to a bodily witness of this multiple state; but that must be illustrated by the story. There were two brothers, it seems, who were called, “Panthaka (Roadling)” because they were born on a road. The senior of the two was called Mahá-Panthaka. He went forth into homelessness and reached Arahantship together with the discriminations. When he had become an Arahant, he made Cú¿a-Panthaka go forth too, and he set him this stanza:

As a scented kokanada lotus
Opens in the morning with its perfume,
See the One with Radiant Limbs who glitters
Like the sun’s orb blazing in the heavens (A III 239; S I 81).

Four months went by, but he could not get it by heart. Then the elder said, “You are useless in this dispensation,” and he expelled him from the monastery.

  1. At that time the elder had charge of the allocation of meal [invitations]. Jìvaka approached the elder, saying, “Take alms at our house, venerable sir, together with the Blessed One and five hundred bhikkhus.” The elder consented, saying, “I accept for all but Cú¿a-Panthaka.” Cú¿a-Panthaka stood weeping at the gate. The Blessed One saw him with the divine eye, and he went to him. “Why are you weeping?” he asked, and he was told what had happened.
  2. The Blessed One said, “No one in my dispensation is called useless for being unable to do a recitation. Do not grieve, bhikkhu.” Taking him by the arm, he led him into the monastery. He created a piece of cloth by supernormal power and gave it to him, saying, “Now, bhikkhu, keep rubbing this and recite over and over again: ‘Removal of dirt, removal of dirt.’” While doing as he had been told, the cloth became black in colour. What he came to perceive was this: “The cloth is clean; there is nothing wrong there. It is this selfhood that is wrong.” He brought his knowledge to bear on the five aggregates, and by increasing insight he reached the neighbourhood of conformity [knowledge] and change-of-lineage [knowledge].
  3. Then the Blessed One uttered these illuminative stanzas:

Now greed it is, not dust, that we call “dirt,” And “dirt” is just a term in use for greed; This greed the wise reject, and they abide Keeping the Law of him that has no greed. Now, hate it is, not dust, that we call “dirt,”
………
Delusion too, it is not dust, that we call “dirt,”
And “dirt” is just a term used for delusion;
Delusion the wise reject, and they abide
Keeping the Dhamma of him without delusion (Nidd I 505).

When the stanzas were finished, the venerable Cú¿a-Panthaka had at his command the nine supramundane states attended by the four discriminations and six kinds of direct-knowledge.

  1. On the following day the Master went to Jìvaka’s house together with the Community of Bhikkhus. Then when the gruel was being given out at the end of the water-offering ceremony, he covered his bowl. Jìvaka asked, “What is it, venerable sir?”—“There is a bhikkhu at the monastery.” He sent a man, telling him, “Go, and return quickly with the lord.”
  2. When the Blessed One had left the monastery:
    Now, having multiplied himself
    Up to a thousand, Panthaka
    Sat in the pleasant mango wood
    until the time should be announced (Th 563).
  3. When the man went and saw the monastery all glowing with yellow, he
    returned and said, “Venerable sir, the monastery is crowded with bhikkhus. I do not know which of them the lord is.” Then the Blessed One said, “Go and catch hold of the hem of the robe of the first one you see, tell him, ‘The Master calls you’ and bring him here.” He went and caught hold of the elder’s robe. At once all the creations vanished. The elder dismissed him, saying, “You may go,” and when he had finished attending to his bodily needs such as mouth washing, he arrived first and sat down on the seat prepared.

It was with reference to this that it was said, “like the venerable Cú¿a-Panthaka.”

  1. The many who were created there were just like the possessor of the supernormal power because they were created without particular specification. Then whatever the possessor of the supernormal powers does, whether he stands, sits, etc., or speaks, keeps silent, etc., they do the same. But if he wants to make them different in appearance, some in the first phase of life, some in the middle phase, and some in the last phase, and similarly some long-haired, some half-shaved, some shaved, some grey-haired, some with lightly dyed robes, some with heavily dyed robes, or expounding phrases, explaining Dhamma, intoning, asking questions, answering questions, cooking dye, sewing and washing robes, etc., or if he wants to make still others of different kinds, he should emerge from the basic jhana, do the preliminary work in the way beginning ‘Let there be so many bhikkhus in the first phase of life’, etc.; then he should once more attain and emerge, and then resolve. They become of the kinds desired simultaneously with the resolving consciousness.
  2. The same method of explanation applies to the clause having been many, he becomes one: but there is this difference. After this bhikkhu thus created a manifold state, then he again thinks, “As one only I will walk about, do a recital, [390] ask a question,” or out of fewness of wishes he thinks, “This is a monastery with few bhikkhus. If someone comes, he will wonder, ‘Where have all these bhikkhus who are all alike come from? Surely it will be one of the elder’s feats?’ and so he might get to know about me.” Meanwhile, wishing, “Let me be one only,” he should attain the basic jhana and emerge. Then, after doing the preliminary work thus, “Let me be one,” he should again attain and emerge and then resolve thus, ‘Let me be one’. He becomes one simultaneously with the resolving consciousness. But instead of doing this, he can automatically become one again with the lapse of the predetermined time.
  3. He appears and vanishes: the meaning here is that he causes appearance, causes vanishing. For it is said in the Paþisambhidá with reference to this: “‘He appears’: he is not veiled by something, he is not hidden, he is revealed, he is evident. ‘Vanishes’: he is veiled by something, he is hidden, he is shut away, he is enclosed” (Paþis II 207).

Now, this possessor of supernormal power who wants to make an appearance, makes darkness into light, or he makes revealed what is hidden, or he makes what has not come into the visual field come into the visual field.

  1. How? If he wants to make himself or another visible even though hidden or at a distance, he emerges from the basic jhana and adverts thus, “Let this that is dark become light” or “Let this that is hidden be revealed” or “Let this that has not come into the visual field come into the visual field.” Then he does the preliminary work and resolves in the way already described. It becomes as resolved simultaneously with the resolve. Others then see even when at a distance; and he himself sees too, if he wants to see.
He goes unhindered through walls, through enclosures, through mountains, as though in open space
  1. He goes unhindered through walls, through enclosures, through mountains, as though in open space: here through walls is beyond walls; the yonder side of a wall, is what is meant. So with the rest. And wall is a term for the wall of a house; enclosure is a wall surrounding a house, monastery (park), village, etc.; mountain is a mountain of soil or a mountain of stone. Unhindered: not sticking. As though in open space: just as if he were in open space.
  2. One who wants to go in this way should attain the space-kasina [jhana] and emerge, and then do the preliminary work by adverting to the wall or the enclosure or some such mountain as Sineru or the World-sphere Mountains, and he should resolve, “Let there be space.” It becomes space only; it becomes hollow for him if he wants to go down or up; it becomes cleft for him if he wants to penetrate it. He goes through it unhindered.
Dives in and out of the ground
  1. He dives in and out of the ground (pathaviyá pi ummujjanimmujjaí): here it is rising up that is called “diving out” (ummujja) and it is sinking down that is called “diving in” (nimmujja). Ummujjanimmujjaí = ummujjañ ca nimmujjañ ca (resolution of compound).

    One who wants to do this should attain the water-kasina [jhana] and emerge. Then he should do the preliminary work, determining thus, “Let the earth in such an area be water,” and he should resolve in the way already described. Simultaneously with the resolve, that much extent of earth according as determined becomes water only. It is there he does the diving in and out.
On unbroken water
  1. On unbroken water: here water that one sinks into when trodden on is called “broken,” the opposite is called “unbroken.” But one who wants to go in this way should attain the earth-kasina [jhana] and emerge. Then he should do the preliminary work, determining thus, “Let the water in such an area become earth,” and he should resolve in the way already described. Simultaneously with the resolve, the water in that place becomes earth. He goes on that.
  2. Here is the text: “He is normally an obtainer of the earth-kasina attainment. He adverts to water. Having adverted, he resolves with knowledge: ‘Let there be earth.’ There is earth. He goes on unbroken water. Just as men normally not possessed of supernormal power go on unbroken earth, so this possessor of supernormal power, by his attaining of mental mastery, goes on unbroken water as if on earth” (Paþis II 208).
Seated cross-legged he travels like a bird furnished with wings
  1. Seated cross-legged he travels: he goes seated cross-legged. Like a winged bird: like a bird furnished with wings. One who wants to do this should attain the earth kasina and emerge. Then if he wants to go cross-legged, he should do the preliminary work and determine an area the size of a seat for sitting cross-legged on, and he should resolve in the way already described. If he wants to go lying down, he determines an area the size of a bed. If he wants to go on foot, he determines a suitable area the size of a path, and he resolves in the way already described: “Let it be earth.” Simultaneously with the resolve it becomes earth.
  2. Here is the text: “‘Seated cross-legged he travels in space like a winged bird’: he is normally an obtainer of the earth-kasina attainment. He adverts to space. Having adverted, he resolves with knowledge: ‘Let there be earth.’ There is earth. He travels (walks), stands, sits, and lies down in space, in the sky. Just as men normally not possessed of supernormal power travel (walk), stand, sit, and lie down on earth, so this possessor of supernormal power, by his attaining of mental mastery, travels (walks), stands, sits, and lies down in space, in the sky” (Paþis II 208).
With his hand he touches and strokes the moon and sun so mighty and powerful
  1. With his hand he touches and strokes the moon and sun so mighty and powerful: here the “might” of the moon and sun should be understood to consist in the fact that they travel at an altitude of forty-two thousand leagues, and their “power” to consist in their simultaneous illuminating of three [of the four] continents. Or they are “mighty” because they travel overhead and give light as they do, and they are “powerful” because of that same might. He touches: he seizes, or he touches in one place. Strokes: he strokes all over, as if it were the surface of a looking-glass.
  2. This supernormal power is successful simply through the jhana that is made the basis for direct-knowledge; there is no special kasina attainment here. For this is said in the Paþisambhida: “‘With his hand … so mighty and powerful’: here this possessor of supernormal power who has attained mind mastery … adverts to the moon and sun. Having adverted, he resolves with knowledge: ‘Let it be within hand’s reach.’ It is within hand’s reach. Sitting or lying down, with his hand he touches, makes contact with, strokes the moon and sun. Just as men normally not possessed of supernormal power touch, make contact with, stroke, some material object within hand’s reach, so this possessor of supernormal power, by his attaining of mental mastery, sitting or lying down, with his hands touches, makes contact with, strokes the moon and sun” (Paþis II 298).
  3. If he wants to go and touch them, he goes and touches them. But if he wants to touch them here sitting or lying down, he resolves: “Let them be within hand’s reach. Then he either touches them as they stand within hand’s reach when they have come by the power of the resolve like palmyra fruits loosened from their stalk, or he does so by enlarging his hand. But when he enlarges his hand, does he enlarge what is clung to or what is not clung to? He enlarges what is not clung to supported by what is clung to.
He wields bodily mastery even as far as the Brahma-world
  1. Even as far as the Brahma-world: having made even the Brahma-world the limit. He wields bodily mastery: herein, he wields self-mastery in the Brahma- world by means of the body. The meaning of this should be understood according to the text.

Here is the text: “‘He wields bodily mastery even as far as the Brahma- world’: if this possessor of supernormal power, having reached mental mastery, wants to go to the Brahma-world, though far, he resolves upon nearness, ‘Let it be near.’ [402] It is near. Though near, he resolves upon farness, ‘Let it be far.’ It is far. Though many, he resolves upon few, ‘Let there be few.’ There are few. Though few, he resolves upon many, ‘Let there be many.’ There are many. With the divine eye he sees the [fine-material] visible form of that Brahma. With the divine ear element he hears the voice of that Brahma. With the knowledge of penetration of minds he understands that Brahma’s mind. If this possessor of supernormal power, having reached mental mastery, wants to go to the Brahma- world with a visible body, he converts his mind to accord with his body, he resolves his mind to accord with his body. Having converted his mind to accord with his body, resolved his mind to accord with his body, he arrives at blissful (easy) perception and light (quick) perception, and he goes to the Brahma- world with a visible body. If this possessor of supernormal power, having reached mental mastery, wants to go to the Brahma-world with an invisible body, he converts his body to accord with his mind, he resolves his body to accord with his mind. Having converted his body to accord with his mind, resolved his body to accord with his mind, he arrives at blissful (easy) perception and light (quick) perception, and he goes to the Brahma-world with an invisible body. He creates a [fine-material] visible form before that Brahma, mind-made with all its limbs, lacking no faculty. If that possessor of supernormal power walks up and down, the creation walks up and down there too. If that possessor of supernormal power stands … sits … lies down, the creation lies down there too. If that possessor of supernormal power produces smoke … produces flames … preaches Dhamma … asks a question … being asked a question, answers, the creation, being asked a question, answers there too. If that possessor of supernormal power stands with that Brahma, converses, enters into communication with that Brahma, the creation stands with that Brahma there too, converses, enters into communication with that Brahma there too. Whatever that possessor of supernormal power does, the creation does the same thing’” (Paþis II 209).

  1. With the divine eye: remaining here and extending light, he sees the visible form of that Brahmá. And remaining here he also hears the sound of his speech and he understands his mind.
  2. He converts his mind according to his body: he converts the mind to accord with the material body; taking the consciousness of the basic jhana, he mounts it upon the body, he makes its going slow to coincide with that of the body; for the body’s mode of going is slow.
  3. He arrives at blissful perception and light perception: he arrives at, enters, makes contact with, reaches, the perception of bliss and perception of lightness that are conascent with the consciousness whose object is the basic jhana. And it is perception associated with equanimity that is called “perception of bliss”; for equanimity is called “bliss” since it is peaceful. And that same perception should be understood to be called “perception of lightness” too because it is liberated from hindrances and from the things that oppose it beginning with applied thought. But when he arrives at that state, his physical body too becomes as light as a tuft of cotton. He goes to the Brahma-world thus with a visible body as light as a tuft of cotton wafted by the wind.
  4. As he goes thus, if he wishes, he creates a path in space by means of the earth kasina and goes on foot. If he wishes, he resolves by means of the air kasina that there shall be air, and he goes by air like a tuft of cotton. Moreover, the desire to go is the measure here. When there is the desire to go, one who has made his mental resolve in this way goes visibly, carried by the force of the resolution like an arrow shot by an archer.
  5. He converts his body to accord with his mind: he takes the body and mounts it on the mind. He makes its going swift to coincide with that of the mind; for the mind’s mode of going is swift.

He arrives at blissful perception and light perception: he arrives at perception of bliss and perception of lightness that are conascent with the supernormal- power consciousness whose object is the material body. The rest should be understood in the way already described. But here there is only the going of consciousness.

  1. When it was asked, “As he goes with an invisible body thus, does he go at the moment of the resolution-consciousness’s arising or at the moment of its presence or at the moment of its dissolution?”, an elder replied, “He goes in all three moments.”—“But does he go himself, or does he send a creation?”—“He does as he pleases. But here it is only the going himself that has been given [in the text].”
  2. Mind-made: mind-made because created by the mind in resolution. Lacking no faculty: this refers to the shape of the eye, ear, etc.; but there is no sensitivity in a created visible form. If the possessor of supernormal power walks up and down, the creation walks up and down there too, etc., all refers to what a disciple creates; but what the Blessed One creates does whatever the Blessed One does, and it also does other things according to the Blessed One’s pleasure.
  3. When this possessor of supernormal power, while remaining here sees a visible object with the divine eye, hears a sound with the divine ear element, knows consciousness with the penetration of minds, he does not wield bodily power in doing that. And when, while remaining here, he stands with that Brahma, converses, enters into communication with that Brahma, he does not wield bodily power in doing that. And when he makes his resolve described in the way beginning “though far, he resolves upon nearness,” he does not wield bodily power in doing that. And when he goes to the Brahma-world with a visible or an invisible body, he does not wield bodily power in doing that. But when he enters upon the process described in the way beginning, “He creates a visible form before that Brahma, mind-made,” then he wields bodily power in doing that. The rest, however, is said here for the purpose of showing the stage prior to the wielding of the bodily power. This, firstly, is (i) success by resolve (§45).
  4. The difference between (i) success as transformation and (ii) success as the mind-made [body], is as follows (see §22, 24, 25, 45).

(i) One, firstly, who performs a transformation [406] should resolve upon whatever he chooses from among the things beginning with the appearance of a boy, described as follows: “He abandons his normal appearance and shows the appearance of a boy or the appearance of a nága (serpent), or the appearance of a supaóóa (winged demon), or the appearance of an asura (demon), or the appearance of the Ruler of Gods, or the appearance of some [other sensual-sphere] deity, or the appearance of a Brahmá, or the appearance of the sea, or the appearance of a rock, or the appearance of a lion, or the appearance of a tiger, or the appearance of a leopard, or he shows an elephant, or he shows a horse, or he shows a chariot, or he shows a foot soldier, or he shows a manifold military array” (Paþis II 210).

  1. And when he resolves he should emerge from the fourth jhana that is the basis for direct-knowledge and has one of the things beginning with the earth kasina as its object, and he should advert to his own appearance as a boy. After adverting and finishing the preliminary work, he should attain again and emerge, and he should resolve thus: “Let me be a boy of such and such a type.” Simultaneously with the resolve consciousness he becomes the boy, just as Devadatta did (Vin I 185; Dhp-a I 139). This is the method in all instances. But he shows an elephant, etc., is said here with respect to showing an elephant, etc., externally. Herein, instead of resolving, “Let me be an elephant,” he resolves, “Let there be an elephant.” The same method applies in the case of the horse and the rest.

This is success as transformation.

  1. (ii) One who wants to make the mind-made [body] should emerge from the basic jhana and first advert to the body in the way already described, and then he should resolve, “Let it be hollow.” It becomes hollow. Then he adverts to another body inside it, and having done the preliminary work in the way already described, he resolves, “Let there be another body inside it.” Then he draws it out like a reed from its sheath, like a sword from its scabbard, like a snake from its slough. Hence it is said: “Here a bhikkhu creates from this body another body possessing visible form, mind-made, with all its limbs, lacking no faculty. Just as though a man pulled out a reed from its sheath and thought thus: ‘This is the sheath; this is the reed; the sheath is one, the reed is another, it was from the sheath that the reed was pulled out’” (Paþis II 210), and so on. And here, just as the reed, etc., are similar to the sheath, etc., so too the mind-made visible form is similar to the possessor of supernormal power, and this simile is given in order to show that.

This is success as the mind-made [body]



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

9 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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