pensum wrote: So if you provide an accurate account of the these events, like you we can dissect them and see if indeed science and logic come up short, and perhaps we'll all get lucky and finally get a first-person account which is reasonably reliable. .
That would be nice.
But the process of validation is complicated.
First of all, people who have such activities may be reluctant to reveal details or even admit it,
And we have to take it on faith that the person is giving an accurate and true account of events,
But, suppose someone presents as an honest accounting, some "unusual" activity (I will do that at the end of this post).
Were these events actual 'siddhis" or is it just some sort of common, though perhaps unusual phenomena?
Is what is offered as a possible 'siddhi" the result
of highly developed meditation practices,
some kind of specific Buddhist activity which is supposed to produce a particular type of ability?
That is the kind of information one usually needs to establish a direct cause-and-effect proof.
Many people claim to have extraordinary powers of perception (ESP) and so on, which might be called Siddhis,
but they themselves have never practiced Buddhist meditation of any sort.
What is the specific definition of a "Siddhi" for the purposes of such an investigation?
Many of the posts I make to this forum should indicate that I am a very skeptical person, and not easily led to believe in the validity of supernatural claims. I think people often see things they want to see, and create coincidences out of situations where in fact there are none. However, I have witnessed a lot of stuff that could
be regarded as beyond the ordinary, and I will share my own personal experience. But please note, I am not
claiming in any way that this is a siddhi, or the result of any sort of enlightened realization or anything like that. I only want to show that unusual things occur, and people can make their own assumptions about the causes.
My experiences took place about 20 years ago, when I had been living for a year or so at a (well known) Tibetan Buddhist facility in upstate new York. I participated in the usual daily activities, (sadhanas, occasional pujas, etc.) but nothing "concentrated"...it wasn't a solitary retreat or anything. But, lots of sitting meditation. During that time I found that if someone gave me something handwritten by someone else I did not know, I could tell something rather specific about the writer. This wasn't a case of handwriting analysis, but if i held the item and looked at it, I sensed some specific things about the person who had written it. I could even tell something about a letter in an envelope, without seeing the writing specifically. This was also subject to misinterpretation, as I shall explain.
I enjoyed exploring this 'ability" mostly for fun and the amusement of my friends. The most striking occurrence was when
one friend handed me a matchbook with a phone number scrawled on it, and asked me, 'what can you tell me about this person?" The process I would then engage in was to let my thoughts subside, allow my mind to go blank, and then say what it was that came to me. But when I did it this time, I felt very distracted, and I told my friend, "I'm sorry, I am having trouble doing this. for some reason, I keep thinking about Pit Bulls" (dogs). Her mouth dropped open and she cried, "WHAT?" and I said, "pit bulls. for some reason, I keep thinking about pit bulls." and she said, "The person who wrote this has pitbulls. He raises
pit bulls!!!" ....so, what I thought was a distraction was actually the "incoming message" if you want to call it that.
Around that same time, another person once handed me an envelope with a letter inside that she had received, and asked me to tell her about the person who wrote the letter, without opening the envelope. I told her that I thought the person who wrote the letter probably traveled a lot, that traveling was always on their mind, and that they always thought about being someplace else. Then she told me that the letter was from an inmate she writes to, who is serving a life sentence in prison. So, in one aspect, I was right about what I was sensing, but my interpretation of that sensation was way off.
There were a few other opportunities to do this, and always with some degree
(whatever that means) of accuracy. I asked a resident lama about this "ability" and he said not to get too hung up on it, it had causes and when those causes ceased it would too. So, I quit doing it. I quit "performing" it.
Of course, this is not the same as recalling past lives, or flying through the air or traveling through the ground. Generating heat is a kind of yogic activity that I think pretty much anyone can learn to do. But Since there was a mention of wanting some first-hand account, I thought I would share this, but how does one really determine that someone has accomplished a siddhi?