Wednesday, June 8, 2016

MIRACLES the Buddha performed

G.P. Malalasekera, Dictionary of Pali Proper Names (Pali Text Society) via; edited and illustrated by Dhr. Seven, Crystal Quintero, and Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly
The Buddha created a walkway in space then walked to the World of the Thirty-Three.
The Buddha was against performing miracles, perceiving some inherent danger in them. He lauded something more miraculous -- teaching the path to enlightenment. He regularly used some of those powers to aid in teaching without making a grand display. Yet there was a time, seven years after his enlightenment, when he did make a grand display that lasted more than two weeks.
When the Buddha set down a monastic (vinaya) rule forbidding the exercise of supernatural powers by Buddhist monastics -- following a miracle performed by the monk Pindola Bhāradvāja -- ascetics from other schools went around saying that from then on they would not perform miracles except with the Buddha.
King Bimbisāra, a noble disciple who ruled Rajagaha (Rajgir), reported this matter to the Buddha, who at once accepted the challenge.

He explained that the training rule was laid down for disciples and did not apply to their enlightened teacher.

Thereafter he went to Sāvatthi, the place where all buddhas perform the miracle of the "double appearances” (yamaka pātihāriya).

Artist's rendition of flames and water emanating simultaneously (
In response to a request by King Pasenadi of Savatthi, the Buddha said he would perform the miracle at the foot of the Ganda-amba (Ganda's mango or amba) tree on the full moon day of the month of Asālha [July]. This was the seventh year after his enlightenment (DA.i.57).
Mango tree miraculously sprouts from seed.
The ascetics of other traditions therefore uprooted all of the mango trees for a league (3 miles) in all directions. Nevertheless, on the promised day, the Buddha went to the king's garden, accepted a mango offered to him by Ganda, and caused a marvelous tree to sprout from its seed.
The people, discovering what the other ascetics had done, attacked them, and they had to flee in every direction. During their flight Pūrana Kassapa committed suicide.

The Buddha creating a miraculous walkway in the sky (Mig_T_One/
Devas and humans extended for 100+ miles.
The multitude [of devas and humans] who had assembled to witness the miracle extended for a distance of 36 leagues. The Buddha then miraculously created a jeweled walk [bridge] in the air by the side of the Gandamba tree.

When the Buddha's disciples knew what he had in mind, several of them offered to perform miracles so as to refute the insinuations of the other ascetics that they could not.

Among such disciples were Gharanī, Culla Anātthapindika, Cīrā, Cunda, the chief female disciple foremost in magic powers Uppalavannā Theri and the male disciple foremost in magic powers Maha Moggallāna Thero.
Thunder and lightning from the world of the weather akasha-devas (
Earliest human representation of the Buddha
The Buddha declined their offers and related the Kanhausabha and Nandivisāla Jātakas (rebirth tales).
Then, standing on the jeweled walk, he proceeded to perform the Twin Miracle (yamaka-pātihāriya), so called because it consists of the appearance of phenomena of opposite character in pairs: for example, producing flames from the upper part of his body and a stream of water from the lower then alternating the two.

Flames and streams of water proceeded alternately from the right and left sides of his body (DA.l.57); DhA.iii.214f. explains how this is done:

From every pore of his body an aura of six-colored rays shot forth upwards to the realm of Brahmā and downwards to the edge of the world-system (cakkavāla).

Levitation (
The miracle lasted for a long time, and as the Buddha walked up and down the jeweled terrace he taught the multitude from time to time.

It is said that he performed miracles and delivered sutras (delivered "sermons," as it were) for 16 days, according to the various psychological dispositions of those present in the assembly to watch.
  • [Buddhas have the miraculous power of knowing peoples' minds, dispositions, and capacities and are therefore able to teach just the right thing for their rapid progress toward insight.]
At the conclusion of the miracle, the Buddha -- following the example of his predecessors (buddhas of the past) -- made his way in three strides to the space plane known as the "World of the Thirty-Three" (Tāvatimsa).
The Buddha in the World of the Thirty-Three, teaching his mother the Abdhidharma.
He went there to teach the Abhidharma to his biological mother Queen Maya who, having passed away when he was only a week old, had been reborn in that world as a devaputta, figuratively a "son of god" but actually meaning "one reborn among the devas."
The Twin Miracle is described in the Sumangala Vilāsinī (DA.i.57) and in great detail in the Dhammapadatthakathā (DhA.iii.204); see also J.iv.263ff. The DhA. version appears to be entirely different from the Jātaka version. The latter is very brief and lacks many details, especially regarding Pindola's miracle and the preaching of the Abhidharma in the World of the Thirty-Three.

The account given in the Divyāvadāna (Dvy., 143-66) is again different; the miracle was repeatedly performed by the Buddha (see, e.g., Candanamālā), and it is often referred to, for example, at J.i.77, 88, 193; Ps.i.125; SNA.i.36; AA.i.71; MA.ii.962; Mil. 349; Vsm.390; PvA.137; Dāthāvamsa i.50.

The Twin Miracle at Sravasti (
The miracle was also performed by the Buddha's relics; see, for example, Mhv.xvii.52f.; Sp.i.88, 92.
It is said (Mil.349) that 200 million beings (most of them devas) penetrated to an understanding of the Dharma at the conclusion of the miracle.

It is noteworthy that due to its complexity and difficulty, the Twin Miracle can only be performed by a buddha (Mil.106).

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