Questions And Points Put To Leigh Brasington On “Psychic Powers” In The Suttas

Honor and respect to Leigh Brasington, not only for his extensive teachings on the jhanas, but for all the thoughts, teachings and practices surrounding the Sāmaññaphala Sutta (DN 2) during the February 11, 2023 event Gradual Training on the Buddhist Path with Leigh Brasington: part 1 and part 2.

That day I left early during the second part before my statements about “psychic powers” were addressed which is OK because it seems a bulk of the audience questions and comments then came around these topics which I’m interested in. (The edited clip above from this daylong event includes these).

I, like Leigh, have little to no traditional formal credentials on these matters and agree it is better not to get too sidetracked on these so-called “psychic powers.” I also agree the miracle of instruction outweighs “psychic powers” yet I here below share some thoughts and musing (in the form of questions) that arose to the way Leigh currently sees these “powers” and what arose when listening to the audience questions and answers.

Maybe some of these powers are literal. Maybe they aren’t. Maybe it’s a mix, and yes maybe they’re something else entirely. Since I can’t prove Leigh’s takes aren’t wrong in any ways or forms it would not be wise to say they are inaccurate in any ways or forms. Much encouragement actually for science and meditators to investigate ESP and lucid dreaming — two of Leigh’s interpretations that I find interesting — as long as doing so leads toward cessation of dukkha not away from it.

Before reading my questions it may be helpful to check out:

Here are the points I briefly raised to Leigh in the start of the clip above during the first part of the event hopefully made more clearly now:

  • Reports of modern practitioners preforming acts of psychic powers
  • “Powers” laughed off in academia and academic careers not really allowed to explore these as credible possibilities
  • My grandmother when she died could barely recognize the time she found at her end with smart phones since she started growing up with no electricity, cars, indoor plumbing, etc. Such rapid change was only within around a 100 years. How much has life changed in thousands of years?
  • Pursuit of power and psychic power can also tempt and/or lead one astray from the path of liberation, nibbana, arhatship like some say happened with Devadatta
  • Many in very credible places of our current society know the importance of, highly value and relate many of the Buddha’s teachings but seem to ignore, dismiss, disregard, gloss over, and lambast other teachings of the Buddha

Finally, my questions surrounding the above video clip, which can be taken as rhetorical and/or traditional questions seeking an answer:

  1. If I’m getting this right Leigh mentioned during the portion of recalling past lives on the night of the Buddha’s awakening involved one past life recall detail every 1/56th of a second. How many mind moments are, or can be contained within a second according to Abhidhamma teachings? [Maybe I ought to do more research to answer this question myself]
  2. The night of the Buddha’s awakening was a time when there was a going beyond human, or at least other-than-human as later exclaimed (if I’m remembering right). How accurate or inaccurate might any of our guesses, assessments, understandings and commentaries be since we’re viewing this from a post-modern 21st Century Western scholastic human perspective?
  3. (How) could the terms/notions of Servitor and Eidolon apply to “having been one he [a monk] becomes many; having been many he becomes one”?
  4. How much can, or does doubt hinder development of these “powers”?
  5. What would be the psychological fall out and/or psychological implications for some individuals if any of these “powers” were actually preformed or witnessed? After beholding such “powers” how much then would such individuals let go of, or continue clinging to what they consider is and isn’t possible around this subject — perhaps even clinging tighter to defend their views because of the amount of time, money, energy, friends and social structures involved?
  6. How much, and to what extent do self-esteem, lack of self-esteem, failure, success, and other comparisons come into play when one considers developing, or not developing these powers along the path of awakening?
  7. What all are and aren’t psychological defense mechanisms when attempting to interpret these “powers” with what one currently understands as possible and not possible within today’s consensus reality? How much could what one thought was real and/or was led to believe was real then be upended and cause (temporary) psychological distress when one finds out at least part of the reality they once knew was not real?
  8. For Leigh’s quote: “Do look at it in the mythic language of the time to situate human experience in a much bigger picture than your own self-interested existence”
    • Since one wasn’t there how does one know for certain what was or was not myth in ancient times?
    • Do developing these “powers” have to (always) be considered in one’s own self-interest (especially in the light of the Buddha saying of the related Iddhipāda, “this is how these four bases of power, when developed & pursued, are of great fruit & great benefit”)?
  9. Could (comic book movies and/or) the general lack of consciousness (development) among current humanity (have) contribute(d) to any causes and/or conditions for Western humanity’s status quo perception that these “powers” don’t really exist and are not possible?
  10. In regard to comments about Devadatta, and excuse the lack of research, but didn’t the “evilest man in the world” Aleister Crowley (also) practice Dhyana or types of intense concentration practices?
  11. (Why) would the Buddha engage in falsehoods, or misrepresentations, or (gross) inaccuracies, i.e. mention “psychic powers” to impress King Ajātasattu? What other instances in the suttas are there of the Buddha doing this?
  12. Is it possible that instances of these “powers” could have been removed from some versions of the Pali cannon instead of, or in addition to mentions of these “powers” being a later insertion into some versions of the Pali cannon? Why or why not?
  13. Is there any requirement and/or importance for having to believe or not believe in any of these “powers” [in order for this topic to be in accordance with one’s current understanding of what one perceives as (consensus) reality?]
  14. (For Leigh’s last comment/response) how does getting from point a to point a twice by going twice around the world prove the Earth is any particular shape or lack of shape?
  15. (Ultimately,) do conclusions need to be drawn about these things?

Leigh mentioned this sutta with a bhamin about demonstration of psychic power, a demonstration of revealing, and a demonstration of instruction:

Then Saṅgārava the brahmin went up to the Buddha, and exchanged greetings with him. When the greetings and polite conversation were over, he sat down to one side and said to the Buddha:

“Master Gotama, we who are called brahmins make sacrifices and encourage others to make sacrifices. Now, Master Gotama, both of these people—the one who sacrifices and the one who encourages others to sacrifice—are doing good for many people on account of that sacrifice. But, Master Gotama, when someone has gone forth from the lay life to homelessness, they tame, calm, and extinguish themselves alone. That being so, they are doing good for just one person on account of that going forth.”

“Well then, brahmin, I’ll ask you about this in return, and you can answer as you like. What do you think, brahmin? A Realized One arises in the world, perfected, a fully awakened Buddha, accomplished in knowledge and conduct, holy, knower of the world, supreme guide for those who wish to train, teacher of gods and humans, awakened, blessed. He says, ‘Come, this is the path, this is the practice. Practicing like this, I realized the supreme culmination of the spiritual life with my own insight, and I make it known. Please, all of you, practice like this, and you too will realize the supreme culmination of the spiritual life, and will live having realized it with your own insight.’ So the teacher teaches Dhamma, and others practice accordingly, in their hundreds and thousands, and hundreds of thousands.

What do you think, brahmin? This being so, are they doing good for just one person or for many people on account of going forth?”

“This being so, Master Gotama, they are doing good for many people on account of going forth.”

When he said this, Venerable Ānanda said to Saṅgārava, “Brahmin, which of these two practices do you believe has fewer requirements and undertakings, yet is more fruitful and beneficial?”

Saṅgārava said to Ānanda, “Those such as the masters Gotama and Ānanda are honored and praised by me!”

For a second time, Ānanda said to Saṅgārava, “Brahmin, I didn’t ask you who you honor and praise. I asked you which of these two practices do you believe has fewer requirements and undertakings, yet is more fruitful and beneficial?”

For a second time Saṅgārava said to Ānanda, “Those such as the masters Gotama and Ānanda are honored and praised by me!”

For a third time, Ānanda said to Saṅgārava, “Brahmin, I didn’t ask you who you honor and praise. I asked you which of these two practices do you believe has fewer requirements and undertakings, yet is more fruitful and beneficial?”

For a third time Saṅgārava said to Ānanda, “Those such as the masters Gotama and Ānanda are honored and praised by me!”

Then it occurred to the Buddha, “Though Ānanda asked him a sensible question three times, Saṅgārava falters without answering. Why don’t I give him a way out?”

So the Buddha said to Saṅgārava, “Brahmin, what came up in the conversation among the king’s retinue today, sitting together in the royal compound?”

“Master Gotama, this came up: ‘Formerly, it seems, there were fewer mendicants, but more of them displayed superhuman demonstrations of psychic power; while these days, there are more mendicants, but fewer display superhuman demonstrations of psychic power.’ This is what came up in the conversation among the king’s retinue today, while sitting together in the royal compound.”

“Brahmin, there are three kinds of demonstration. What three? A demonstration of psychic power, a demonstration of revealing, and a demonstration of instruction.

And what is the demonstration of psychic power? It’s when someone wields 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. They control the body as far as the Brahmā realm. This is called the demonstration of psychic power.

And what is the demonstration of revealing? In one case, someone reveals by means of a sign: ‘This is what you’re thinking, such is your thought, and thus is your state of mind.’ And even if they reveal this many times, it turns out exactly so, not otherwise.

In another case, someone reveals after hearing it from humans or non-humans or deities: ‘This is what you’re thinking, such is your thought, and thus is your state of mind.’ And even if they reveal this many times, it turns out exactly so, not otherwise.

In another case, someone reveals by hearing the sound of thought spreading as someone thinks and considers: ‘This is what you’re thinking, such is your thought, and thus is your state of mind.’ And even if they reveal this many times, it turns out exactly so, not otherwise.

In another case, someone comprehends the mind of a person who has attained the immersion that’s free of placing the mind and keeping it connected. They understand: ‘Judging by the way this person’s intentions are directed, immediately after this mind state, they’ll think this thought.’ And even if they reveal this many times, it turns out exactly so, not otherwise. This is called the demonstration of revealing.

And what is a demonstration of instruction? It’s when someone instructs others like this: ‘Think like this, not like that. Focus your mind like this, not like that. Give up this, and live having achieved that.’ This is called a demonstration of instruction.

These are the three kinds of demonstration. Of these three kinds of demonstration, which do you consider to be the finest?”

“Regarding this, Master Gotama, a demonstration of psychic power is experienced only by the one who performs it, occurring only to them. This seems to me like a magic trick.

And the demonstration where someone reveals something by means of a sign, or after hearing it from humans, non-humans, or deities, or by hearing the sound of thought spreading as someone thinks and considers, or by comprehending the mind of another person, is also experienced only by the one who performs it, occurring only to them. This also seems to me like a magic trick.

But as to the demonstration where someone instructs others: ‘Think like this, not like that. Focus your mind like this, not like that. Give up this, and live having achieved that.’ I prefer this demonstration, Master Gotama. It’s the finest of the three kinds of demonstration.

It’s incredible, Master Gotama, it’s amazing, how well this was said by Master Gotama. We regard Master Gotama as someone who possesses these three kinds of demonstration. For Master Gotama wields the many kinds of psychic power … controlling the body as far as the Brahmā realm. And Master Gotama comprehends the mind of another person who has attained the immersion that is free of placing the mind and keeping it connected. He understands: ‘Judging by the way this person’s intentions are directed, immediately after this mind state they’ll think this thought.’ And Master Gotama instructs others like this: ‘Think like this, not like that. Focus your mind like this, not like that. Give up this, and live having achieved that.’”

“Your words are clearly invasive and intrusive, brahmin. Nevertheless, I will answer you. For I do wield the many kinds of psychic power … controlling the body as far as the Brahmā realm. And I do comprehend the mind of another person who has attained the immersion that is free of placing the mind and keeping it connected. I understand: ‘Judging by the way this person’s intentions are directed, immediately after this mind state they’ll think this thought.’ And I do instruct others like this: ‘Think like this, not like that. Focus your mind like this, not like that. Give up this, and live having achieved that.’”

“But Master Gotama, is there even one other mendicant who possesses these three kinds of demonstration, apart from Master Gotama?”

“There’s not just one hundred mendicants, brahmin, who possess these three kinds of demonstration, nor two, three, four, or five hundred, but many more than that.”

“But where are these mendicants now staying?”

“Right here, brahmin, in this Saṅgha of mendicants.”

“Excellent, Master Gotama! Excellent! As if he were righting the overturned, or revealing the hidden, or pointing out the path to the lost, or lighting a lamp in the dark so people with good eyes can see what’s there, Master Gotama has made the teaching clear in many ways. I go for refuge to Master Gotama, to the teaching, and to the mendicant Saṅgha. From this day forth, may Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge for life.”

Numbered Discourses 3.60
6. Brahmins
With Saṅgārava

The raw unedited YouTube transcription of the above edited YouTube clip:

integrating presence the longer title Josh is on there had

probably might cut off but thanks for the the teaching and the reading and the teaching and the insights on this uh I

couldn’t help but notice the comment on the idiopatas here and how what I see for more teachers is that they’d get

splown off pretty easy not theity bodies themselves I’m sorry the psychic powers so-called psychic powers that can uh has

said to come from these and um I know the city Maga talks about this there’s reports even of modern practitioners

with this stuff but not much it seems to be hidden I want to get your take on it because I see different possibilities

like you know it gets laughed off in Academia people’s careers are jeopardized if they really talk about

this kind of thing you know there’s things like um uh maybe the reality was

structured you know think of how life was different just a hundred years ago and talking all this time ago you know

people can get into trouble people can get LED off the path and start making this the point of the path like Dave

adata and things like this there’s so many different possibilities I’d like to hear what why teachers kind of stray

from this or even though and then the other thing is um so many people respect the Buddha but then they but then they

they blow off some of his teachings you know but they really respect other ones so yeah I think that’s enough

so I’ll get into the psychic powers in detail when we get to that this

afternoon and what I think was going on and you know their importance are lack

thereof so yeah now we get to stuff that people wanted to talk about

earlier besides Giannis the various psyche

Powers so again when one’s mind is concentrated pure and bright Etc

One Direction inclines it to creating a mind made body from this body one

creates another body having material form mind made complete in all its parts

not lacking any faculties so that would be cloning yourself it

sounds like it’s material right and it’s identical

um I uh you know I never managed to pull that off in fact I don’t even see how you

could pull that off maybe it means something else wait there’s a bunch of similes

suppose a man were to draw a reed out from its sheaths you would think this is

the Reed this is the sheets the Reed is one thing the sheath is another

man were to draw a sword out of a scaven he would think this is a sword this is a Scabbard they’re different things or

pull a snake out of its law he would think this is a snake this is a slow therefore one creates a mind made body

is everybody clear on that no right so what’s going on here

uh I’ve heard it explained is learning to do out of body experiences

right uh okay um you know I read this it was like uh this is some

sort of psychic thing I don’t understand and so let’s just set it aside for a

moment here and then we get to the knowledge of the

modes of superpowers natural powers with one mind is just concentrated Etc

one exercise of the various modes of supernormal power having been one it

becomes many I think many he becomes what your peers and vanishes he goes

unimpeded through walls ramparts and mountains as though they were space he Dives in and out of the orifice or water

he walks on water without seeking as if it is Earth sitting cross-legged he travels through space like a winged bird

with his hand he touches and strokes the Sun and Moon so mighty and Powerful he

exercises Mastery over the body as far as the Brahma world

yeah okay I have never seen anybody walk on water well one time in Sweden I did in the

winter okay but I don’t think that’s what they’re talking about um

I I’d sometimes walk through walls I use this trick called a door and I don’t think that’s what they’re

talking about all right this is this is Magic right okay

so I was in Portugal and uh staying with a student who had became really good

friends with and he was very interested in lucid dreaming and we were talking he

mentioned wake induce lucid dreaming w-i-l-d Wild

and he said that it’s possible to go from a normal waking State of Consciousness directly into a lucid

dream and so of course I immediately looked it up in Google and read all about it and

the mind State you’re to produce is very much like what you produce

coming out of the fourth genre and now in a lucid dream this is a dream where you know you’re dreaming and you

start trying to do various things right like fly through the air or walk on

water oh is that what’s going on is the Mind Made body learning the awakened

Deuce lucid dreaming technique because what you’re doing is you’re creating another body right

and then you go walk a water and fly through the air and all the rest of it

this makes more sense to me I mean I have a background in science yeah if somebody can really walk on

water I’d love to see that you know all you got to do is give a demonstration I got San Francisco Bay just a couple

miles down the road here you know walk over to San Francisco yeah I’ll believe you when I see it

all right so I’m thinking that that’s what’s going on here that this is

basically learning to do wake induce lucid dreaming now you might be thinking well do you have any other evidence for

that well actually I do in the angutura nikaya book three suited number 60 a

Brahman is having a conversation with the Buddha about miracles and the Buddha says well there’s three

Miracles and one of the Miracles is these various things walking a water flying through the air

another Miracles knowing the minds of others and the brahmana says yeah but those two only benefit the one who does

them it’s like a private event oh if you’re having a lucid dream it

only benefits the one who does it it’s like a private event so that

matches as well there’s a third miracle and that’s the miracle of instruction and actually that is pretty miraculous

I’m sitting here in Oakland California I’m exhaling and flapping a loose piece

of Flesh in my throat making some compression waves in the air

that go into a microphone get turned to the digital stuff go over the internet come out of the speaker on your computer

go into your ear and hopefully the idea I had in my mind when I exhale to make

those sounds appears in your mind that seems really miraculous that seems even

more miraculous than walking on water and uh they’re going to carry a number

11 the Buddha says what is the miracle of instruction

and he gives the gradual training without the supernormal powers

okay so yeah this is what’s going on here all right

so that’s what I’m going to say is going on with this the first two of the six

psychic powers are learning the awake induced lucid dreaming technique and

then applying it the next one is the knowledge of the Divine ear

when one spine is concentrated Etc one here’s of uh one hears both kinds of

sound the Divine and the human those which are distance and which are near so this is clear audience

you know people have ESP they can hear things far away this is that’s what’s being described here it’s it’s a

well-known phrase we have a term for it clairaudience uh modern science says

they can’t detect it but you know absence of evidence is not evidence of

absence all right we don’t know what’s going on but certainly it’s reported enough that it got its own name right

and then the next one is knowledge of encompassing the minds of others uh one directs and inclines it once it’s

concentrated one understands the minds of beings and persons have an Encompass them with their own

and he understands the mind was lust without loss with greed with hatred

without with delusion Etc the list actually is taken out of the

Sati patana sutas jammed in here I don’t think it was originally there but it’s

this is mind reading this is ESP and we have the phrase extra sensory

perception so this is another well-known thing well interestingly enough

if you get well concentrated and you have a least bit of talent for

any of this that Talent is enhanced okay

I can’t I can’t claim that you know I go and Retreat and I do the johnnas and I know

what we’re having for lunch no but I have had experiences now whether it’s

just me misjudging the the arithmetic around probabilities or picking up subtle cues

but I’ve had experiences that would match ESP and I have them more frequently on Retreat when I’m doing a

lot of concentration practice we don’t have to know what ESP is

scientifically to say that it is a phenomena that gets reported and whatever that phenomena is whether it’s

scientifically valid or not and I’m not saying one way or the other it does seem

to be enhanced by a concentrated mind and it can show up as clear audience

or as Clairvoyance knowing the mind of others okay

and whether it’s scientifically true or not yeah we’ll leave that to the Sciences to find out

and then there’s the knowledge of recollecting past lives

with mind us concentrated Etc one directs and inclines says to the

knowledge of recollecting well it actually says previous dwellings

and then it says one recollects one birth two bar three four five ten twenty

Thirty forty fifty hundred a thousand hundred thousand many ends of world contraction many odds of world expansion

many eons of world contraction and expansion recollecting there I had such

a name belong to such a clan had such an appearance such as my food such as my

experience of Pleasure and Pain such my lifespan passing away from that state every arose there there too I had a name

plan Etc okay

um in the first watch of the night on the night of his Awakening the Buddha stepped through the first four genas

and then in some of the sutas it says he recollected his past lives

now as a mathematician I always want to run the numbers okay so first watch of the night this is

India this is on the Equator so night and day of the same length 12 hours three watches of the night right so four

hours in four hours the Buddha was able to remember hundred thousand past lives

it said so do the arithmetic you can do this in your head I’m sure divide a hundred thousand into four hours you do

that right you all got it uh 17th of a second and not only that in 17th of a second

the Buddha has to remember name Clan appearance food

that’s eight things in seven tenths of a second 156 of a second to remember each one of

these 56 different things a second non-stop

for four hours I don’t think we should take this literally

uh there’s and passage in

um one of Stephen batchelor’s books that I’ll bring up and read to you in the moment when

my Kindle comes up but before that happens

we can take a look at the next one which is the Divine eye which is with one’s

mind thus concentrated Etc One Direction inclines it to the

knowledge of the passing away and reappearance of beings

uh his beings passing away and reappearing inferior and Superior beautiful and ugly

fortunate unfortunate he understands how beings fare according to their karma thus

these beings who were endowed with bad conduct of body speech and mine who reviled the noble ones held wrong views

undertook actions governed by wrong views with the breakup of the body after death have reappeared in a plane of

misery bad destinations there were Realms in hell but these beings who were

endowed with good conducts good speech behind who did not revile the noble ones held right views undertook actions

governed by right views with the break of the body have reappeared in good destinations in the Heavenly world

okay so the night of his Awakening the Buddha supposedly in the second watch of the night watched beings rear Rising uh

dying and reappearing passing and rear Rising so for four hours the Buddha sat there

and he’s looking around going that guy just died wow this couple’s

having sex oh he’s gonna be their baby that guy just died and uh oh he was bad

that couple said he’s going to have a miserable existence so you’re thinking the Buddha is sitting there for four hours watching people die and other

people have sex I’m not buying it okay

it just it just doesn’t fit with my picture of

what was going on um so this is from Stephen batchelor’s after Buddhism


uh here we go this critical assessment of the doctrines of rebirth and Karma risk

overlooking a crucial important role that they have played in historical Buddhist cultures

to dismiss them as an unverifiable metaphysical beliefs of a former age fails to recognize how they serve to

situate human life within a vision of the cosmos rather than conceiving of one’s life as

a brief flicker of self-interested Consciousness on the surface of the

Earth people with these beliefs could see in the Mythic language of their time how

all living beings are intimately connected to a complex series of causal conditions

that preceded their existence as well as to a seemingly infinite

unfolding of future consequences for which each was in some small way

responsible in providing a sense of humility connectedness and responsibility this

worldview encouraged people to consider the significance of their existence in

the selfless context of the immensity of life and not reduce it to the surface

of their egotistical greed and hatred heaven so that’s going to be my interpretation

of these last two so these six Super normal psychic powers

I’m going to put in three categories we can do lucid dreaming

extra sensory perception and a way of expressing the interconnectedness

and giant unfolding of the human process over time in the Mystic language of the

time of the Buddha I’m sure there are going to be some questions

what do you got Josh

uh you’re still muted

how about now yeah good and you’re you’re a fabulous narrator as

well as explainer so thank you I’ve heard that cornfield Sharon Salzburg

Jack Ingalls Joseph Goldstein all talk about being with deepamma

and seeing her uh in more than one place

at one time all kinds of types of things and I don’t know she’d

hold the potato and it would get hot in her hand and I guess what they used to

she used to tell them is don’t get caught up in this stuff this is something my teacher taught me I think

it was mundira in Myanmar but he taught me because I was able to understand that

but don’t like think that this is anything that you need to do yeah

uh I’ve heard these stories as well I haven’t seen any demonstrations yet

you know I’ve heard a lot of stories I’ve heard a lot of stories okay okay I

mean that’s how I got to be a Storyteller I heard a bunch of stories right so I I’m a scientist I want to see

for myself so if you can cook a potato in your hand by holding it please do so

for me um you know I can find videos I’m sure on the internet of you know people

walking on water and flying through the air you know I just I just want to see it in person that’s all I’m asking

um I can’t say what deep and wild was up to I can’t say I can’t vouch for the

veracity of what Sharon Joseph and Jack were saying I just can’t because I wasn’t there I’m

getting it third hand and yeah I don’t know

but I was just suggesting that there is a

different way to see some of these powers and I’m suggesting there’s a different way to see them than the usual

interpretations I don’t think you could find another teacher on this planet that would interpret these six things in the

way I just interpreted them gonna stick by my interpretation until somebody can give be a better

demonstration it’s just as simple as that uh it it fits my understanding of reality and I

don’t I don’t have to invent any magic I know people want a magic Buddha I’ve

actually had teachers basically tell me that they didn’t use those words but that’s what they were saying they wanted

a magic Buddha I don’t want a magic Buddha I want a human being who is able

to wake up because I’m not magic I I’m just a human being I want a path that a

human being can follow if waking up involves me walking on water I ain’t

going to get anywhere so yeah I can do the genres I can do

inside practice it’s where I’m most interested

as for deepamas saying don’t get lost in this it’s a story about a Tibetan who

studied with his master and you know after some years his master says okay you got it now go off and

practice so the guy goes off finds a cave and practices for 20 years it was not

too far from a village there was a river between his cave in the village and over the 20-year span he learned to walk on

water shortcut into town so it goes into town one day and he hears his teacher is coming and he gets

really excited so he goes back to his cave and it does whatever you do when you’re going to have guests come to your

caves fix it up and pretty soon his teacher shows up a couple days later and they have a joyful reunion and

eventually his teacher says well what did he learned and he stands up all proud and he walks across the river and

he walks back and he comes back to his teacher smiling big and this teacher looks at him says you just wasted 20

years of your life there’s a bridge a quarter mile Upstream uh yeah don’t waste your time with these

things but do look at it in the Mythic language of the time to situate Human Experience in a much bigger picture than

your own self-interested existence I think Stephen Bachelor nailed it thank

you Don yeah can you imagine the shape we’d be

in with this culture today if people had Godlike powers so

so you know the precepts you talk about the precepts how hard would Temptation be if you could be someplace in your

mind that you’re not supposed to be that you knew everything that was going on in

people’s heads um you know the question for me is I I

believe it’s possible and I’ve seen glimpses but where’s the

need Beyond self right so if there’s if there’s no need Beyond self

you know you can’t you can’t get anywhere but

I I would say the easiest thing when I think a supernatural Powers I

think of things that I or people would know

that you don’t know where the information comes from you just know something’s true and then it happens to

be true um and I know that

cultivation of in in Access concentration you can cultivate

right or um you can cultivate to know the difference between yes and no

answers so do I turn right on the path do I turn left on the path to get water

you know without knowing physically with any physical cues you can

have the gut tightened or release and you can cultivate that and over time no

right and no answers I do know that I’ve tried that that

practice and yeah I wasn’t very good at it but if you can do it great because that

way you look thirsty well it takes belief and it takes a need so a need

Beyond self so if you’re practicing it the need Beyond self would be to help

others right or to help yourself so you could help others yeah to get further on

the path and so forth right yeah yeah there’s a lot out there that you

know science doesn’t know I don’t know we don’t know how to tap into it and everything else

yeah just make sure you don’t neglect the parts of the path that we know work get

your mind concentrated investigate reality bill are these Divine Powers uh supposedly

the result of Jonna concentration

uh no of Jana when his mind is thus concentrated pure and bright on blemish sweet from defects neighbor wieldy the

same sort of stuff One Direction inclines it to exactly whatever the divine power is

walking on water Etc so it’s a result of Jonah supposedly the Buddha’s evil

cousin David Atta he’s never referred to as a relative of the Buddha and the sutas but never mind

um was a master of the John has learned all the divine all these supernormal powers and you know used them to impress

King Prince ajitisatu into becoming his follower and uh

you know the David Atta story is interesting if you go to my website and click on essays I have an essay on David

Atta uh but yeah supposedly he could do all his evil stuff because he was good at the Jonas uh I suspect that if you

have evil intentions you’re not going to be good at the job but that’s my guess

Catherine yes

um I just wanted to comment I’m sort of understanding these last

verses about uh Powers cities

um kind of like that was what they thought then about Powers which could be

described as hyper natural or

um yes sort of and one is see one thing left out is how

meditation makes you smarter and having a concentrated pure and

bright mind is like a smarter mind so I think would be great if Humanity

evolved to be able to have this kind of mind and then we could take care of each

other better and have a better Planet so there are powers or abilities that a

crew I believe with um with concentrated

meditation practice sustained meditation practice and I can certainly see it in

my life yeah very definitely I mean if you get well well concentrated mind

you can more clearly see what’s going on that makes you smarter if you have a

well-concentrated mind you’re ego self has been quieted so now you can

operate with not quite so much ego in the world and you learn that that actually works better so yeah definitely

um but these are kind of Miracle really yeah I mean yeah a suit superpowers really

yeah it’s it they’re absolutely amazing and I’m doing my best

so but yeah I mean it would be great if if this was taught in school if everybody could learn you know these

genic States that would be fantastic but you know they can’t even get mindfulness in some

places because that’s too weird and there there’s definitely a lot of people in this country in particular who

do not want smarter people I mean the Republican party in Texas back in the

1990s I think it was at a platform plank opposing teaching critical thinking they

wanted stupid people so they could do the stupid jobs to manipulate them right yeah and that’s

why they also want to get rid of public education of course some of them yeah yeah it’s really it’s got quite a mess

here but I can’t solve all the messes but I can share with you a little bit about the gradual training

yes thank you right okay Malcolm

yeah thanks uh thanks Lee I’ve met deeper Ma and I’ve um you know practiced with people that seem like they’ve read

my mind but I’ve never really worried about whether you know you can get

Divine eyes or walk on water or anything like that from because for me it’s all

about just being free from suffering so I’ve never you know I’ve heard I’ve no I

know Stephen Bachelor already Bachelor I’ve read other people um Alan Wallace for example is kind of

diametrically opposed to Stephen Bachelor practice with Alan but uh I’m

wondering but for me it’s I just kind of take it as it comes so what’s what what

I experienced myself is what is most important as far as I’m concerned and uh but I’m

wondering why did the Buddha put I don’t know what they said in this Suitor why

did he talk about it was it about kind of sitting uh the king straight about

David Atta um what was his motive for doing this

because it’s not is it that important it’s it’s part of the gradual path to Awakening he’s talking about here so why

did he what are you what are your thoughts on why he put it in there okay two possibilities one it wasn’t in the

original it was inserted later because of course if you’re a real

spiritual teacher at that time and even later then of course you can walk on

water and fly through the air I mean it that’s that’s what it means to be a real spiritual teacher in the mind of a lot

of people and so as as for support

you could walk on water and fly through the air and all this other stuff so a lot of the miracle stuff was inserted

later was this part of what was inserted later I don’t know but the king wants to know what are some

of the visible fruits of the spiritual life and so the Buddha puts this in because

this would impress the king he’s trying to help the king get a good night’s

sleep basically right and if the king gains faith in the dhamma the Buddha

figures all right this is going to bring some peace to his mind which is what he’s looking for

right and so the Buddha puts this in there uh yes you can learn to the way

conduced lucid dreaming technique in in their dreams walk on water you know the king is not going to learn that and walk

on water or anything like that but it will impress the king that this is a path that actually has a heart it really

does have amazing fruits and so maybe he actually did put this in this one just

because it would be useful as a pedagogical device for helping the king

to understand but I can’t say whether that was why or whether it was inserted later it

certainly it’s interesting because you know there’s the poly Canon did you know there are four versions of the polycanon

they’re almost identical but there’s the Sri Lankan version and there’s the Burmese version and there’s the Thai

version and one of them has a second version I don’t can’t remember where the sub Burmese or or the Sri Lankans

so there’s actually four different versions and they’re pretty similar you know it’s mostly typos as to what’s

different but for the long discourses

the supernormal powers don’t show up in all of discourse 2 through 12. in some

versions there’s some versions without some some of the suit is between 2 and 12 don’t have the supernormal powers and

in some versions all of the suit just between 2 and 12 have supernormal powers so clearly inserting supernormal Powers

was the thing they did now when did he get inserted who knows I

mean maybe at the time of the death of the Buddha there was no magic no supernormal powers anywhere maybe there

was some um the 24th suta in the long discourses

a monk comes to the boot and says he’s just rubbing because the Buddha never performed any miracles in the Buddhist

if they ever tell you I was going to perform miracles and the monk goes no well you didn’t describe how the world

ends or begins did I ever say I was going to describe how the world is no

until the monk left anyhow but it it’s a poorly composed suta it’s one of the

most poorly composed suits in the thing but here’s the Buddha not being said he never performed

miracles right and yet there are other suit just with he’s got fire and water coming out of either hand and all sorts of stuff so

I’m most interested in trying to figure out what’s there that doesn’t have any of the magic

it doesn’t have any supernormal stuff what’s the teachings when we remove all

the stuff that’s uh a bit unbelievable and that’s that’s what I’m basing my study on

Mike hi um I think just to sort of comment on

this I think this kind of relates to the teachings of uh the hindrance of doubt that I heard from Bonte Guna rantana

that’s slightly different than the way you presented it where he was saying that when we uh that there’s things that

we could know from our own direct experience and there’s things that we can know from speculation and so if we things that are speculation if we put a

belief in those things and all of a sudden we find out that oh maybe it’s been proven that nobody can walk on

water that nobody can do that then that’s just going to cause us to doubt the things that we actually also know

from our own direct experience so like I know in the morning when I get up and I scroll on my phone I’m looking at memes

and stuff like that usually by the afternoon I get in a grumpy state of mind and I know that from my own direct experience but you know but I don’t know

uh you know I’ve got a friend who’s a flat earther and he and I think the world’s round but I’ve never flown up

and looked at it like all the science suggest that but if I found out that the world was actually flat that would cause

me to doubt whether or not scrolling on my phone makes me um you know Grumpy in the afternoon And

So It causes it it Waters the seeds of Doubt for your own direct experience when you place too much sort of like

Faith or hope into things that are just speculation and being able to draw the distinction between what’s actually

speculation and what’s actually um your own direct experience and so to me all of this stuff about like like

like sort of you outside you haven’t seen it so it’s just speculation so I don’t think there’s really much use in

um in a in a hardcore belief in it and until until you have until it is your own direct experience which I believe

the Buddha said is your truest teacher yes exactly no that’s a very great point but I can guarantee you that worth the

Earth is round because I’ve been around it twice so

Published by josh dippold

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