Samma Sambuddha's attitude towards Miracles

May 2013 edition

Samma Sambuddha's attitude towards Miracles

Article summary

Let’s find out the reaction of Lord Buddha (Samma Sambuddha) towards practicing miracles in Buddhism!

When the Samma Sambuddha was once living at Nalanda in the Pavarika Gorve, a man by the name of Kevaddha went up to the Samma Sambuddha paid homage to him and said;

My Lord, Nalanda is a successful city. The people living in Nalanda are prosperous and they have confidence in the blessed one! Lord, it would be good, if the blessed one appointed a Bhikku to work a marvel of super-normal power, So that the people of Nalanda might become much more confident in the Blessed one.

The Samma Sambuddha replied;

"Kevaddha, I do not teach the law to Bhikkus in that way" the Samma Sambuddha gave the same reply when the question was put to him the second and the third time. after the third question the Samma Sambuddha replied that there were three kinds of super-normal marvels;

  • The marvel of super-normal power to appear as many persons to pass through walls, to fly through the air, walk on water, all these are physical actions the ordinary people can't perform.
  • The super-normal power to read other people's minds.
  • The super-normal power to be able to guide people to develop their mental status, for their own good using suitable methods to fit these people. In another way this is called the ability of explaining pure dhamma to others for their betterment.

The first 2 super-normal powers if displayed for their own sake in order to impress people are no different from the performance of magicians.

A Bhikku who practices such worldly miracles is a source of shame, humiliation and disgust. Such, actions may impress & win converts followers, but they do not bring enlightenment to help them put an end to suffering.

The 3rd kind of super-normal power though which may be called a miracle helps people to get rid of suffering. This is the only super-normal power that is fit to the practiced.

The only miracles that should be performed are these. When you see a man full of passion, craving & greed you teach him to free from passion, craving & greed. When you see a man is a slave to hatred & anger you teach him to free from those. When you come across a man who is ignorant & who can't see the true nature of the world (everything in this world is not the way we want and that cause to suffering when there is continuous suffering exists we become destitute) you use your powers to help him overcome his ignorance. There are worthy miracle you can perform.

The advice to Kewaddha was also offended to the Vinaya Rules, which forbid performing miracles to impress people & gain comforts, without helping them to be enlightened. Whoever do such super-normal miracles which includes to the first 2 facts Samma Sambuddha was so displeased about those demonstrations. The blessed one always said anyone with these powers must never show off powers just to impress simple ignorant people.

So, in the month of celebrating Samma Sambuddha’s life events, be kind enough to yourself. Explain to your own self that you should not attract towards miracles.

One should keep attract towards to the pure dhamma which cease desires, hatred & ignorance. That’s the true miracle and if you are with pure dhamma your desire, hatred & ignorance will cease accordingly.

So attraction towards to the dhamma will not be harmful to you. May all worlds all beings attain Nirvana soon!!!

Rajitha Viduransi | Kelaniya, Sri Lanka