Buddhism FAQ0 >> 3. Magical Powers
(Frequently Asked Questions About Buddhism)
3. Are there any magical powers described in Buddhism?
With meditation a person achieves many trance states
See : Buddhism_FAQ2_Trance_States ,
See : What is Buddhism & What is Buddhist Awakening? The path of Buddha in Pali is called 'magga' (sanskrit : marg) and the followers of the path can be called as 'maggic' (sanskrit : margic/margik). It is probable that when Greeks in Afghanistan(then Bactria) learnt Buddhism , the word 'magga' & 'maggic' might have travelled to west & later came to be known as 'magic' , because this was true magic using supernatural powers after attaining advanced trance states of enlightenment. Even today, many monks can display magical powers such as levitating in air etc.
List of Magical Powers
Buddha has described many supernatural powers associated with advanced trance states, these are described in SN2.152-Abhinna, SN 51.20_Iddhipada-vibhanga_Sutta, Kevaddha_Sutta (Digha Nikaya 1.11), Samannaphala_Sutta (Digha Nikaya 1.2), AN100.1-10._The_Refinement_of_the_Mind_-_I, AN100.11-15._The_Refinement_of_the_Mind_-_II and also in many places.
1. Body as a sheath : The person can come out of body like a sword from its sheath or like a snake from its dwelling.
2. One to many & many to one : The person can create many replicas, make them work as per wish and them make many to one.
3. Vanish : The person can vanish or reappear
4. Goes unimpeded through walls, ramparts, and mountains as if through space. He dives in and out of the earth as if it were water.
5. Walks on water without sinking as if it were dry land.
6. Fly through the air like a winged bird while in sitting posture in meditation
7. Touches and strokes even the sun and moon, so mighty and powerful
8. Arch-angel worlds : Exercises influence with his body even as far as the Brahma worlds(Arch-angel worlds).
9. Clairaudience: Hears by divine ear any sounds far or near , divine or human
10. Mind Reading : One knows the awareness of other beings, other individuals, having encompassed it with one's own awareness. One can read minds of others & know presence of passion, aversion, etc just like a person watching reflection in mirror, also can make other creatures think & decide in a particular manner as well as make them act.
Besides these, one can recollect past lives of others (earlier rebirths) and also one can discern,by the divine eye, where that person has gone after death (reborn in what state).
Reasoning for Existence of Magical Powers
As mentioned in the Buddhism_FAQ2_Trance_States when a person achieves full enlightenment or even 6th trance state(samadhi), then he achieves infinite consciousness i.e. experiences expansion of his consciousness to entire universe in infinity as if all within(vinnan-ananch-ayatanam). So if entire universe is within grasp of consciousness then every part is within control similar to a person moving one's own hand.
However there is a caution that no harm should be done to any creature. It is said that if anyone practices magic for anyone's harm then one loses all the ability and would suffer a bad state. Buddha has mentioned that one Sambri(or Sambara) , the asura priest (of demons) invented harmful Sambri magic and went to hell to suffer for a long time
SN1-version2 : Sutta 269
and anyone who practices magic for harming others will also suffer in hell for 100 deva(god) years (or 3.65 million human years), whereas one deva day is considered equivalent to 100 human years.
Monks at Pathgate Institute (https://www.pathgate.org) have done significant progress & displayed powers on camera.
Youtube Videos of Some Monks Performing :