I'm sorry to be late to this particular conversation, so if my question has already been answered, I beg your patience.
Let's accept the claim that there have been instances of rainbow body among Eastern Christians for the sake of argument. I don't know if there have been or haven't. Some in this thread seem convinced there have been. So let's try some clarification questions:
*When & where was the most recent verifiable instance of rainbow body in this tradition?
Nobody "verify" this kind of result in christian mystical tradition. When after death, they discover that the body is missing from the tomb after just couple of days, they just consider that "God took him with the body also", and they consider this as a sign of his great spiritual realization. That's it.
You can find a lot of recordings of facts like this in some texts called "teachings of the olders".
I remember a story which impressed me, from such a texts of "desert fathers", about a monk, who came suddenly at a monastery in Sinai, become a monk, practiced the contemplative hesychast tradition very seriously in his cell, without talking almost with anybody, and after some years died suddenly, and his body disappeared from the tomb after couple of days. Even the authors if this old texts asked themselves who was this man, what was his real name, what was his history before coming to the monastery.. But they all praised his high spiritual realization, his great humbleness.]What is the content of the practice that produces this fruit in this tradition?
A quote from a older post of mine:
"Also, I've seen that a lot of people have a very deformed opinion about Christianity on Buddhist site. I've been very interested about this subject and I can tell you one thing: there are extremely interesting aspects in mystical "technologies" of orthodox church. I'm referring at the practice of the Hesychast. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hesychasm
- a poor presentation)
The purpose of this exact contemplative practice, which has a specific physical posture, an exact point of concentration (at the level of the heart , exactly where is located the indestructible thigle in buddhism), and even an specific practice of breath retention, is very clearly explained in the oral tradition. (yes, there is a very powerful oral tradition). The purpose of this practice is to bring the mind into the heart so as to practise both the Jesus Prayer and sobriety with his mind in his heart. The descent of the mind into the heart is taken quite literally by the practitioners of Hesychasm and is not at all considered to be a metaphorical expression.
What is very interesting is the fact that in the first stages, the formula of prayer start repeating by itself in the mind. At the next level, the practitioner start practicing this prayer even in dreams, remaining perfectly aware.
There is also an extensive knowledge of the "warms" which appear in the body, when the practitioner starts to advance in this contemplative prayer. For example it is very clearly stated that the first warm that appear in the physical body, are not "the right ones" ( a warm which induce sexual feelings), only the higher forms of this warms are the one which are used, when the mind is very clear, and the monk is overwhelmed by a very powerful felling of love for all the creatures, and the wish to sacrifice himself for the good of others.
Then, at the higher stages, we enter in the domain of "revelation", when the mind stops completely (even the prayer stops), and in that "emptiness" appear "the Uncreated Light". Here, the mystics talk about the apophathic character of this experiences, which is beyond any possible definition (is beyond god or bad, beyond light and dark, etc).
Interesting are the results of this practice: at an advanced stage, the practitioner could live completely without food and it will be warmed by the warm of prayer. (Even in my country, there are advanced practitioner like this, who are hiding for peoples, and in the winter, they are almost without cloths, even at -20-30 degrees C, in the mountain, in caves.
At the highest stage; the practitioner will experience "the Uncreated Light" continuously, without any break, even in sleep, and here they acquire all kinds of extraordinary power: levitation, extraordinary knowledge, etc. But the essential characteristics of this advanced practitioners/saints is the overwhelming love, and the extraordinary capacity to sacrifice themselves for anybody, (with great joy!), a deep humility, and (the essential aspect) the continuous experience of "Uncreated Light". There are hundreds of example like this in the history of orthodox Christianity.
But what impressed me the most is the fact that in the texts which records this facts, there are also a lot of references at a strange phenomenon: sometimes when a great saint like this one died, his body was impossible to be found in the next days. This is a very known phenomenon, and it is considered a clear sign that the realization of that individual was so complete, that "God took him with the body" also.
There is a powerful oral transmission in this essential practice of orthodox Christianity (this is by definition "the method" of orthodoxy), because it is very clearly sad that it is dangerous to start practicing this method without a guide.
Of course, what I told you here is only a very very short presentation of a complex mystical path/tradition"Is there a historical claim associated with that practice? I mean a history of transmission. If so, from where is it said to have been transmitted?
Oral Hesychast transmission. But they are no at all obsessed with this concept of transmission. It is just very clear known that you can't enter on this path without receiving this practices and being carefully guided by an "older" (this is how they call a very advanced hesycast practitioner, which is very hard to find indeed).
They also consider themselves the "real" christians, (" this is the meaning of the "orthodox"), and in general they consider all the other paths wrong/inferior. A little like Buddhists