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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:16 am 
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You hear about many people attaining enlightenment all over the place in China hundreds of years ago. Are there any enlightened teachers alive and active? I have a secondary question concerning this. What some may call "buddhist super powers". You hear stories from hundreds of years ago of cultivated people everywhere showing fantastic abilities they developed through Samadhi attainments. You see none of these things in the modern day. The only current case can come close to offering is the Magus of Java. The few videos on the internet i've found, portray him using chi to light a newspaper on fire, pushing chopsticks through solid surfaces, and practicing acupuncture using his own bodies chi currents to stimulate muscle spasms. Supposedly. Are things like this still going on in that part of the world? The cultural revolution sent millions of practitioners of the arts scattering into nearby countries. Many made it further than that. Are people still meditating on auspicious clouds of Dharma light in the quiet places of the world?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:06 am 
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In my opinion there are many enlightened masters alive and teaching today.

I dont really consider miracles and powers to be important.
They are mostly parable and dont really get to the heart of the matter.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:16 am 
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I agree with Nangwa's statements, and will add that while there are people with (differing degrees) of mastery of Siddhis/powers nowadays and I personally know some of them but will digress, they are not necessary for awakening.

In the Sushima Sutta, the awakened and liberated arhats did not have powers because they did not train or master in all the jhanas and focused more on the insight/wisdom which led to their awakening and liberation.

See: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:34 am 
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I'll agree that Samadhi attainments should be considered a convenient byproduct of correct practice, not the goal. To quote a master, "super-powers and insanity are twins". Meditation for the goal of siddhi's seems foolish. A lot of people went insane in the transcendental new age wave in the 60-70's that swept through colleges. My question is why these powers were so commonly seen in the past, and what has changed in the past that presently we see none of them? As to the true enlightened masters question, i'm a skeptic at heart. For better or worse. Seems most modern "masters" are just offering lip service.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:49 am 
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Matticus wrote:
A lot of people went insane in the transcendental new age wave in the 60-70's that swept through colleges.

Really?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:56 am 
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Matticus wrote:
I'll agree that Samadhi attainments should be considered a convenient byproduct of correct practice, not the goal. To quote a master, "super-powers and insanity are twins". Meditation for the goal of siddhi's seems foolish. A lot of people went insane in the transcendental new age wave in the 60-70's that swept through colleges. My question is why these powers were so commonly seen in the past, and what has changed in the past that presently we see none of them? As to the true enlightened masters question, i'm a skeptic at heart. For better or worse. Seems most modern "masters" are just offering lip service.
There still is... but monks have a Vinaya rule not to display powers to lay people. There are some heavy-shamatha teachers who does teach how to obtain siddhis... I think Pa Auk Sayadaw and others does teach some to people openly.

It is said that the Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw taught Di Pa Ma how to obtain the powers and she literally was able to walk through walls, etc.

As for enlightened masters, you need to have right view and understanding of Dharma first, and ability to discern... it is not easy, so you need to examine the teacher and see whether he/she is speaking about awakening from experience, and whether their awakening accords with Right View.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 4:19 am 
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Matticus wrote:
As to the true enlightened masters question, i'm a skeptic at heart. For better or worse. Seems most modern "masters" are just offering lip service.

I sure there are more than a few who are just offering lip service.
The key is to find a teacher who makes a difference for you and your spiritual path.
None of the other stuff really matters all that much.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:41 am 
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Matticus wrote:
My question is why these powers were so commonly seen in the past, and what has changed in the past that presently we see none of them?

Well what most likely changed is the fact that people are now far less gulable then they used to be. Now we are way more suspicios of anyone displaying any kind of spectacular ability and we tend to first investigate and then believe.
Now i'm not saying iddhis/siddhis are fake since I myself am very interested in the subject. It seems to me that iddhis should be achievable through meditation by exercising the awareness in the same way that we can control a dream only when we are AWARE that it is a dream. So I believe that the same would aply to this reality. Once we develop the awareness to such a degree something like the siddhis should be possible.

So I will not give up on the idea that iddhis/siddhis are possible until I myself will be able to enter and master all the jhanas, and only then see for myself if they are or are not possible.

That being said I do think it is very conveniant and suspicios that many people say "oh super powers or miracles don't matter because they are not the true goal of the path but rather an obstacle since it would increase your ego and bla bla bla". The point is that miracles iddhis super powers or whatever you want to call them are the best way to prove to people that we are living an illusory existence and that there is a way out of it.

SImply put if a monk has iddhis/siddhis I see no valid reason why he should not display them other then the fact that he does not posses such abilites. Displaying such powers could only show once and for all that this reality is not what most of the people think it is. Also it could be proof that the certain master is for real. I mean out of two masters teaching Buddha's way I would certainly trust the one that could also prove to me that what he is teaching really works.

I know the goal of buddhism is the end of suffering not siddhis. But once someone reaches this goal they are not human anymore. They are something else, something beyond, something better. Man is the bridge between beast and superman. So if one passes this bridge and becomes a being that knows no suffering they should also have some new and spectacular abilities.

Of course this is only speculation and until we ourselvs master the jhanas and maybe even become enlightened we cannot say for sure.

You also said that "super-powers and insanity are twins". That could be very accurate. Let's say that through meditation we could learn to use our awareness in such a way that we could alter our perception of reality. So one could control the mind in such a way that he could literraly see himself moving an object with his mind or flying through the air. But that would only be his subjective perception of reality. Like a dream. Others could not see what he would see. So it would appear like a form of insanity to other people when someone says look i can move that object with my mind and the others don't see anything happen.


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