This is a topic I saw last year on a separate forum, but can’t for the life of me remember where.
I had heard of at least 3 accounts of invincibility during jhana (and 3 accounts of time skipping), and was always curious how it could have appeared to any passerby. Then, while reading the 10000 Songs of Milarepa, I found a description of one such incident.
First, the three that I recall (and please forgive me if I get the accounts wrong):
Ajahn Mun’s Biography, p. 434: ‘The Adventures of Acariya Chob’
“All awareness of the external world, including his physical presence, had utterly disappeared. Which meant that awareness of the tigers had also disappeared. His citta had ‘converged’ completely, dropping to the very base of samãdhi, and many hours passed before it withdrew from that state. When his citta finally withdrew, he found that he was still standing in the same position as before. His umbrella and alms bowl were still slung over his shoulder, and in one hand he still carried a candle lantern, which had long since gone out.”
An account I read on the internet somewhere of a monk who, while meditating in a shack near a river, entered into a deep state of meditation. During it, he had apparently a very nice experience where he watched two lights flying around and dancing. When he awoke, he found that his shack was gone, and the area around him was completely destroyed. He want back to the village for alms, and found out that the river near where he had been meditating had flooded, and the whole area had been underwater for several days.
Ajahn Brahm told a story once, of his own student, who got into such a deep state of meditation that, apparently, it looked like he had died. The wife of the student rushed him to the hospital, after they found no pulse. They then tried to bring him back using a defibrillator, to no avail. It was only after they had declared him dead that the student awoke. Apparently, it was a very nice meditation that he was having. (Hard for me to remember which talk this was from, so my apologies).
The other three accounts of time skipping are of the masters Han Shan, Xu Yun, and Sheng Yen. Han Shan, while he was walking through the forest, stopped for a brief moment to enjoy a deep meditation, and when he awoke, he found dust all in his abode. Xu Yun, after making taro, went into meditation while waiting for it to finish. Instead of several minutes, he sat for several weeks, and only awoke because of a neighboring monk coming in to check up on him, having not heard from him and seeing nothing but tiger tracks around his place. Sheng Yen, while several hundred books between floors, to a library, suddenly had the thought “Who is moving the books?” after which he awoke and found that 2 hours had passed, and all his work had been completed.
Finally, this account that I just read shows how the invincibility can appear, to external parties.
When the Jetsun Milarepa was practicing the River-Flow Samadhi and observing silence in the Riga Daya Cave of Nyi Shang of Mon, a few local huntsmen came that way. Seeing the Jetsun sitting motionless, they were all struck with wonder and doubt. After staring at him for a while, they suddenly became frightened and ran away. After a time they crept back one by one. Drawing their bows, they asked the motionless Jetsun: “Are you a human or a ghost? If you are a man, answer us.” But the Jetsun still sat motionless without uttering a word. The huntsmen then shot many poisonous arrows at Milarepa, but none of them could hit him. They tried to throw him into the river, but they could not lift his body. Then they lit a fire, but even this could not bum him. Finally, they moved his body [by lifting the seat and ground he sat on] and heaved it over a steep cliff into the great turbulent river below. Yet, still in a serene lotus posture, the Jetsun’s body did not touch the water, but floated above the river. Then it started moving upward and finally came back to rest in its original place, all this without Milarepa
having uttered a single word.
10000 Songs of Milarepa, Pg. 287
Now, one can imagine how, in the first case, the tigers probably also had a hard time dealing with the monk, and how, in the second case, the monk might have been rooted to the floor, making it impossible to be moved. These are curiosities that I’d had, and I’m quite happy to have at least some answer to them.
I wonder if anyone else has stories such as these; I find them riveting and faith-inspiring.
However, not too interested in discussing their factuality, as that’s a different topic, and one which the Buddha already addresses.
So, does anyone have any additional stories? Or perhaps can supplement #2 and #3 with additional details?