SuttaCentral

Are all these things superhuman?


#1

In the training rule linked below, “Development of the path” is defined as

the four applications of mindfulness, the four right efforts, the four bases of supernormal power, the five spiritual faculties, the five spiritual powers, the seven factors of awakening, the noble eightfold path.

And “A superhuman quality” are defined as

A superhuman quality: absorption, release, stillness, attainment, knowledge and vision, development of the path

Does this mean that it requires (or is?) a superhuman quality merely to try to abandon one’s bad tendencies? If a monastic says, “I practice for the lessening of my bad tendencies,” do they commit a pārājika?

And is any form of meditation practice therefore impossible for ordinary people? If someone claimed to practice satipaṭṭhāna–and not even to its culmination–they would appear to be claiming a superhuman quality.

I now feel like I may need to disavow any previous implication I might have given that I possess superhuman qualities.


#2

If a monk says “I practice for the lessening of my bad tendencies”, he does not commit a pārājika.

Also, the parajika is about lying about having achieved a superhuman quality.

Also, even though “development of the path” (maggabhāvanā) is used, it refers to attaining, obtaining, mastering, realizing the four satipatthanas or four right efforts etc. — and not just practicing them.


#3

Ah, I see. Though it might still be an offense requiring confession, no? I am not well versed in Pali, but I don’t see why someone should just accept that the words switch meanings between two nearby passages, particularly when the passages are being used to establish definitions.

Yes, understanding these words to be identical in meaning across the passages would mean that every aspect of the path, and one’s participation in it, would be kept from laypeople. It’s unexpected, but so is a significant and silent redefinition of a term you’ve just finished defining.


#4

“Superhuman” is just one translation, there is also “Supernormal” which just means not ordinary. All these “powers” require seclusion from sensual desires, a certain level of asceticism, and thus most people do not have them. So yes, asceticism in general is not ordinary, let alone the effects of it.