Luke, thanks for the link and post.
You might also enjoy reading What Makes you Not a Buddhist, by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse
particularly the chapter on emptiness - excerpts:
Milarepa took refuge from a storm in a Yak’s horn without the horn becoming larger or Milarepa becoming smaller. The nature of emptiness – You might think that the story of Milarepa’s yak horn is merely a fairy tale. Or, if you are the credulous type, you might believe that it was a case of sorcery performed by the Tibetan yogi. But it is neither. If we really analyze, as Siddhartha did, we will find that labels such as ‘form”, “time”, “space” “direction” and “size” are easily dismantled. Our limited logic.
We are stuck with our short-term thinking and bound by practicality. For us, something must be tangible and immediately useful in order to be worth our investment of time and energy. With our limited rationale, we have a set definition of what makes sense and what is meaningful – and emptiness cannot fit inside our heads. This is because the human system operates on one inadequate system of logic even though there are countless other systems of logic available to us. When we read in Buddhist teaching that one day in hell is equal to five hundred years, we think that these religious figures are just trying to frighten us into submission. But imagine a week’s holiday with your best beloved, it goes like the snap of the fingers. On the other hand, one night in prison with a rowdy rapist seems to last forever.
Some of us may limit a little bit of the unknown into our system of thinking. A small handful of so-called gifted people might have the courage or skill to go beyond convention, and as long as their view isn’t too outrageous they may be able to pass themselves off as artists such as Salvador Dali. There are a few celebrated yogis who deliberately go just a little bit beyond what’s conventually accepted and are venerated as “divine madmen”. But we cannot, or will not, comprehend that which is beyond our own comfort zone. We are not programmed to think, I can fit into that yak horn without changing my size or shape. We cannot break our conceptions of small and big. Instead we continuously confine ourselves with our safe and narrow perspectives that have been handed down for generations. We can only go as far as our rational mind allows. When presented with the concept of a man fitting inside of a yak’s horn without change in size, we have a few choices We can be “rational” and refute the story by saying that it is simply not possible. Or we can apply some kind of mystic belief in sorcery or blind devotion and say Oh Yes, Milarepa was such a great yogi, of course he could do this and even more. Either way our view is distorted, because denying is a form of underestimating, and blind faith is a form of overestimating."
His Holiness Dalai Lama, in The Story of Tibet tells of such an act to inspire faith:
There is a story in the Tibetan texts where Phagpa was giving an initiation to Kublai Khan. He drew a mandala for the initiation, in front of him, and then that whole mandala appeared in the clouds of the sky above as well. It was Phagpa who did this”
“ And this is a correct use of the siddhi. I think that at the end of the forty-six precepts of a Bodhisattva, there is mention of a Bodhisattva wielding these powers. The Bodhisattva realizes that he or she can help others discipline their minds with such displays, even though you learn that you shouldn't use these powers all the time. So this means if there is a real purpose, not just for showing off but for the benefit of others, then if there are no nother negative circumstances, you should use these powers”