Thursday, 7 May 2009

Buddhist Meditation and Supernatural Powers

I was out with a friend of mine the other day, who considers himself somewhat of a mystical psychic and claims to have cultivated some powers from the great beyond. We began discussing this notion of supernatural events that one can observe during deep meditation as he thought us "Buddhists" could harness these types of powers. This is not a new notion of course; lots of people have speculated about mystical enlightenment and magical powers of the mind garnered from the unseen. I’ve even heard some Buddhists to have claimed to be mind readers, have the ability to levitate and to astral project themselves at will.

I did agree that there has been some scientific studies done of Buddhist monks brain waves during meditation and that they have shown a much different wave pattern than most people. I also agreed that meditation can possibly cause rather strange and sometime very controllable dreams, a sort of sleeping astral projection if you will. It is not surprising to also hear about some that can withstand extreme physical pain, yet seem completely unbothered. My agreements with him stopped there and I argued to him that these things and other unusual seemingly mystical abilities are besides the point to meditation.

He pressed me about mind reading, ESP, super natural Tibetans that can morph into any object and some monks ability to enter a spirit world at will. I told him I thought some communication and observations are much like a radio frequencies. If we are tuned into the same station we may notice things that we never did before. And while I have experienced, as I'm sure many of you have as well, some very awe inspiring moments during meditation and the practice of mindfulness, I certainly do not consider them to be supernatural, but rather just better understanding of our true nature.

I think if we practice meditation and mindfulness to obtain some type of extra special powers or some supernatural abilities, we are not only missing the point, we are just pursuing yet another want. If one does experience something magical or mystical during their practice, I think it is important to keep them in perspective, realizing that they aren't the purpose of the practice. It maybe what they end up realizing in the end is unimaginably, unquestionably and unmistakably far more profound than reading someone else's mind or floating over a rug. Well, OK, I don't know, I could be totally wrong.

I told him, "If you really want to be a mind reader, perhaps you should start with your own mind. That is where the true magic is." He laughed and said, "I sense you are annoyed." I chuckled, “You are a mind reader!”

8 comments:

  1. Siddhis, yes, another appearance to form an attachment to. They don't come with any "get out of samsara free" pass.

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  2. It is hard to believe that the Buddha and other monks lied. Buddha in many suttas in Tipitaka said it thousand times, if you do meditate according to the instructions given, you yourself will be able to perform such supernatural acts like appearing and disappearing, walking on water and emanating light, mind reading, recollecting the memories of past live etc. I don't think Buddha lied. The only failure of us is that we don't follow His instructions. The saints who regularly practice meditation, they can be able to do anything, I believe.

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    1. certain times as such.. leads to unexpected results.. buddha taught us to not really "care" about d results.. though wen we try to not really "care" abt d results it so does happen... d inevitabality to "question" d truth :)

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    2. what are his instuctions as stated above

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  3. how do i learn how to do that im intrested in having Supernaturaal abilties

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    1. to learn is "desire" nd wen u desire... it wud nt happen.. u wud hve to follow his teachings.. :)

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  4. ...but someone who titles his website "progressive buddhism", an effort to improve upon the Buddha, will never get that ... it's all about ego and scoring points. Even core ideas are not apprehended, otherwise there would not be this effete lack of seriousness in the tone!

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