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I will show you some spectacular acts.

the Wanderling

Venerable Pindola Bharadvaja is one of the Buddha's sixteen disciples named in The Amitabha Sutra. Under the Buddha's auspices he attained the holy fruit of Arhat. Once when in a jubilant mood, he said to the faithful:

"Do you think flying in the sky is magical?
I will show you some spectacular acts."

He then jumped up into the sky, FLEW all around and performed many miraculous acts. The faithful were all impressed and praised him without ceasing. The Buddha was very displeased upon learning of this incident. He asked the Venerable to come forth and admonished him, "My teaching uses morality to change others and compassion to save living beings. It does not use magic to impress and confuse people. You have misused magic today. As punishment you to stay in this world to work for more merits and to repent for this misbehavior."

A second example of the Venerable Pindola Bharadvaja's ability to fly ends with the same results --- the Buddha admonishing him --- hences a possible other version of the same event is found in the Amitabha Sutra, and goes like:

"Pindola Bharadvaja means "unmoving sharp roots." To the present day he has not entered Nirvana because he broke a rule. Although the Arhats around the Buddha had spiritual powers, they were not allowed to display them casually. Once an elder called JyotiËka carved a bowl out of sandalwood, put it on top of a high pole, and said, 'Whoever can use his spiritual powers to get the bowl down can have it.' Pindola Bharadvaja couldn’t resist the temptation, and used his powers to get the bowl down. 'Since you’re so greedy for sandalwood bowls that you display your spiritual powers,' said the Buddha, 'you will not be allowed to enter Nirvana. Instead, you must stay here and be a field of blessedness for living beings.' Pindola Bharadvaja is still in the world, but no one knows where."

AMITABHA SUTRA 112 (link to page 142).

Some time ago twenty-two western Buddhist teachers met with His Holiness The Dalai Lama to discuss a variety of Buddhist realted issues.

The conference was organized by Lama Surya Das, a native of New York who is now a teacher in the Tibetan Nyingmapa tradition. Each of the teachers had practiced for at least a dozen years in either Japanese or Korean Zen, the four major Tibetan schools, Thai or Sri Lankan Buddhism, or the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, a Western school based on Great Britain. There were laypeople, monks and nuns, psychologists, scholars, essayist, translators; some had meditated in caves, others had Western doctorates. Most were actively teaching Buddhist meditation, not only in the West, but in Asia, Russia, and countries like South Africa and Brazil.

In response to questions on PSYCHIC POWERS SUCH AS FLYING His Holiness concluded:

"As far as I know, zero Lamas today can do that. Some meditators living in caves around Dharamsala are HIGHLY REALIZED and possibly capable of such attainments." (source)

The revered Indian spiritual teacher Sri H. W. L. Poonja (1910-1997), also known as Poonjaji or Papaji, a master in his own right, is considered in religious circles as the foremost disciple, devotee, follower or advocate of the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Anybody who holds themselves up to be anybody in the present day Advaita Vedanta come Enlightenment movement a la Ramana, but too young or not born in time to have studied under Ramana, had to have at one time bellied up to Poonja in some fashion or the other in order to flaunt their credibility. Regardless of his latter day followers and any credibility they may or may not radiate, Poonja himself was the real thing. The quote below is from his biography. He was not some ancient saint who somebody said somebody said they saw something, but a modern day personage that reported the following:

"In the last forty years or so I have met thousands of sadhus, swamis, gurus, etc. I have been to Kumbha Melas which millions of pilgrims attended; I have been to many of the big ashrams in India; I have toured the Himalayas, meeting many reclusive her­mits there; I have met yogis with great siddhis, men who could actually fly."

There many similar stories as Venerable Pindola's above related to flying. In Zen lore for example, recorded in the Sungkao-seng chuan, Ying-fung was a Ch'an (that is, Zen) monk who had received instruction from Ch'an master Nan-chuan. From his meditative practice, Ying-fung attained supernatural powers. Once he saw two armies fighting each other. In order to stop the fight, he FLEW over the battlefield and the soldiers were too busy looking at him flying to fight. He did many unusual things like this. To show his miraculous power, he died standing on his head and nobody was able to overturn him. His sister was a nun, who came and scolded him, "Old brother, when you were alive you did not behave according to the rules. Now when you died, you still want to show off and confuse people." After saying this, she touched the body lighly, and it fell down immediately. (source)



In 1931 British writer Paul Brunton traveled to India and stayed at ashrama of Maharshi Sri Ramana, one of the first western writers to do so. It was his book A Search in Secret India that opened up eastern mysticism to the west. His son Kenneth Thurston Hurst produced an excellent biography of his father: PAUL BRUNTON: A Personal View (published by Larson Publications)in which he recalls many fascinating vignettes about his father. He mentions, for instance, that Brunton discovered early on that he had "certain occult abilities" and even revelled in their exercise. At one point, however, he received an inner warning that if he wanted to grow spiritually he would have to desist from exploiting these faculties. He heeded the warning and took to seriously cultivating the art of Meditation.

Because the Venerable Pindola Bharadvaja misused magic, although at the Attainment level of an Arhat, he did not in his lifetime enter Nirvana . Magic cannot increase our virtue or eradicate defilements. Careless use will only build more obstacles to emancipation. It is obvious that magic is not the solution for cycles of Rebirth (Enlightenment). Only practicing virtue is the sure and steady approach toward the Buddha Path.

Thus said, the following, by Sri Swami Sivananda from his paper Satsanga and Svadhyaya, is being offered as a cautionary word of advice:

"Another great blunder people generally commit is that they judge the Enlightenment of Sadhus by the Siddhis they display. In the world generally, the common inclination is to judge the merits and ability of a Sadhu through his Siddhis. It is a blunder indeed. They should not judge the Enlightenment of a Sadhu in this way. Siddhis are by-products of concentration. Siddhis have nothing to do with Self-realization. A Sadhu may manifest Siddhis due to strong passions and intense desires, and if that be the case, he is undoubtedly a big householder only. You must believe me when I tell you that Siddhis are a great hindrance to spiritual progress, and so long as one is within the realm of Siddhis and does not try to rise above it and march onwards, there is not the least hope of God-realization for him. But, this does not mean that a person manifesting Siddhis is not a realized soul. There are several instances of such persons who have exhibited several Siddhis purely for the elevation and uplift of the world, but never for selfish motives.

"During the days of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa a certain Sadhu approached him and showed two Siddhis: one was that he could roam about without being seen by anybody. The other was that light emanated from portions of his body when he walked.

This man, after some time, began misusing his power, entering the apartment of a lady unseen, fell in love with her and LOST his two powers.

In the world generally, the common run of people and even educated persons judge Sadhus by their Siddhis only. It is a serious blunder and hence I seriously warn you." (source)


Howard Hughes, Da Vinci, and Flying Machines



The above offered through the graceful services of:
Venerable Master Hsing Yun
The Buddhist Perspective on Magic and the Supernatural

Toward a New Spiritual Ethic, Kate Wheeler, “Yoga Journal,” Vol. 115, March/April, 1984, pgs. 38-39.