Sunday, December 01, 2002

Psychic Powers

Hi! If a person is able to use psychic powers for good purposes, to help others and not for money and fame, is that good? I remember Mogallana used such powers to help the devotees see the 'true face' of a lady who pretended to bear the child of the Buddha, thus prventing a lot of confusion and unneccessary porblems.

If a person has psychic powers and uses one to help others out of love and compassion, doesn't that become a gift? Just like those gifted doctors who help others throught their skills etc (eg li3 shi2 zhen1), doesn't that make them like a Bodhisattva who helps others out of their suffering? Of course, that cannot be the ultimate goal, but i would like to think it is one of the methods to help relieve suffering from others....Just would like to share some thoughts :)

I agree but

Psychic powers and wonders are not to be revealed.
Anyone who reveals such powers openly is doing wrong.

-Vinaya Cullavagga 5.8.2

The monastic discipline prohibits display of psychic powers. The Buddha takes this very seriously. Monks can be expelled for doing so. This is because psychic powers attact a lot of blind followers. Even Devadatta had psychic powers- though he was evil. The Buddha wants people to be attracted to the Dharma for its goodness, not to psychic powers. So when you hear TRUE monks' stories of display of psychic powers to help people, they are

1. Usually not public displays
2. Usually shown to selected people who "need" psychic powers to be convinced of the teacher to humble them.
3. Usually used for life or death situations, with understanding of karma.
4. Usually "legends" or acidentally seen accounts
5. Usually displayed to people who already have enough wisdom.

The above also applies to the Buddha. So if a master uses psychic powers otherwise, they are in theory breaking an important precept. If a master displays psychic powers to awe someone, and does not comments on it, letting the person spread word of his power, it is also wrong. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

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