UPED aneka-vihitaṃ iddhi-vidhaṃ pacc-anu-bhoti (supernormal powers, #1 of 6 abhiñña)

Table of Contents

1. aneka-vihitaṃ iddhi-vidhaṃ

aneka-vihitaṃ iddhi-vidhaṃ pacc-anu-bhoti –
many-kinds (of) {manifold}-[supernormal]-power (he) experiences -
ekopi hutvā bahudhā hoti,
one (he) was, many (he) becomes,
bahudhāpi hutvā eko hoti;
many (he) was, one (he) becomes;
āvi-bhāvaṃ, tiro-bhāvaṃ;
(he) appears, (he) disappears;
tiro-kuṭṭaṃ tiro-pākāraṃ tiro-pabbataṃ
through-walls, through-ramparts, through-mountains,
asajjamāno gacchati,
unimpeded (he) goes,
seyyathāpi ākāse;
as-if (through) space;
pathaviyāpi ummujja-nimujjaṃ karoti,
(the) earth; emerging-from-(and)-diving-into (he) does,
seyyathāpi udake;
as-if (from) water.
udakepi abhijjamāne gacchati,
(on) water, not-sinking (he) goes-(across).
seyyathāpi pathaviyaṃ;
as-if (on) land.
ākāsepi pallaṅkena kamati,
(through) space (in) cross-leg-seating-posture (he) goes.
seyyathāpi pakkhī sakuṇo;
like (a) winged bird.
imepi candima-sūriye
the moon-(and)-sun,
evaṃ-mahiddhike evaṃ-mahānubhāve
so-mighty, so-powerful,
pāṇinā parimasati parimajjati;
(with his) hand (he) touches (and) strokes.
yāva brahma-lokā-pi
as-far-as (the) brahma-world-**
kāyena vasaṃ vatteti.
(his) body control (is) exercised.

Fire element


AN 11.15 metta, impervious from fire, poison

♦ 15. “mettāya, bhikkhave,
cetovimuttiyā āsevitāya bhāvitāya bahulīkatāya yānīkatāya vatthukatāya anuṭṭhitāya paricitāya susamāraddhāya
ekādasānisaṃsā pāṭikaṅkhā.
AN 11.15, AN 8.1 the benefits of metta
♦ katame ekādasa?
Which eleven?
sukhaṃ supati,
(1) “One sleeps easily,
sukhaṃ paṭibujjhati,
(2) wakes easily,
na pāpakaṃ supinaṃ passati,
(3) dreams no evil dreams.
manussānaṃ piyo hoti,
(4) One is dear to human beings,
amanussānaṃ piyo hoti,
(5) dear to non-human beings.
devatā rakkhanti,
(6) The devas protect one.
nāssa aggi vā visaṃ vā satthaṃ vā kamati,
(7) Neither fire, poison, nor weapons can touch one.
tuvaṭaṃ cittaṃ samādhiyati,
(8) One’s mind gains concentration quickly.
mukhavaṇṇo vippasīdati,
(9) One’s complexion is bright.
asammūḷho kālaṃ karoti,
(10) One dies unconfused and—
uttari appaṭivijjhanto brahmalokūpago hoti.
(11) if penetrating no higher—is headed for the Brahma worlds."
mettāya, bhikkhave,
“These are the eleven benefit that can be expected for one whose awareness-release through good will is cultivated, developed, pursued, handed the reins and taken as a basis, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated, and well-undertaken.”
cetovimuttiyā āsevitāya bhāvitāya bahulīkatāya yānīkatāya vatthukatāya anuṭṭhitāya paricitāya susamāraddhāya
ime ekādasānisaṃsā pāṭikaṅkhā”ti.

MN 50 invulnerability in 9th smp

It’s the 9th attainment, sañña vedayita nirodha , perceptions & feelings cessation, where that invulnerability happens
MN 50 excerpt
Once upon a time, Evil One, the venerable Sañjīva was sitting at the root of a certain tree attaining the stopping of perceiving and feeling. Then, Evil One, cowherds, goatherds, yeoman farmers, travellers, saw the venerable Sañjīva sitting at the root of that tree attaining the stopping of perceiving and feeling; having seen him, it occurred to them: ‘Indeed it is wonderful, indeed it is marvellous, that this recluse is just sitting dead. Come, we will cremate him.’ Then, Evil One, these cowherds, goatherds, yeomen farmers, travellers, having collected grass and sticks and cow-dung and having heaped them over the venerable Sañjīva’s body, lit the fire and departed.
There’s another sutta where Sariputta while in sitting meditation gets hammered in a head by a yakkha that might have been fatal had he not been in attainment number 9. Instead, he comes out with a slight headache if I recall. (sutta ref. anyone?)

KN Ud: Udāna 8.9 Dabba goes out in blaze of glory, and levitation

Paṭhamadabbasuttaṃ 79
The First Discourse about Dabba
Thus I heard: At one time the Gracious One was dwelling near Rājagaha, in Bamboo Wood, at the Squirrels’ Feeding Place. Then venerable Dabba Mallaputta went to the Gracious One, and after going and worshipping the Gracious One, he sat down on one side.
While sat on one side venerable Dabba Mallaputta said this to the Gracious One: “Now is the time for my Complete Emancipation, Fortunate One.”
“Now is the time for whatever you are thinking, Dabba.”
Then venerable Dabba Mallaputta, after rising from his seat, worshipping and circumambulating the Gracious One, after going up into the sky, and sitting in cross-legged posture in the air, in the firmament, entering the fire-element, and emerging, attained Complete Emancipation.
Then while venerable Dabba Mallaputta—after going up into the sky, and sitting in cross-legged posture in the air, in the firmament, entering the fire-element, and emerging—was attaining Complete Emancipation, his body burning and being consumed, there was no charcoal and no ash evident.
Just as while ghee or oil is burning and being consumed there is no charcoal and no ash evident, so also while venerable Dabba Mallaputta—after going up into the sky, and sitting in cross-legged posture in the air, in the firmament, entering the fire-element, and emerging—was attaining Complete Emancipation, his body burning and being consumed, there was no charcoal and no ash evident.
Then the Gracious One, having understood the significance of it, on that occasion uttered this exalted utterance:
“The body broke up, perception ceased,
All feelings became cool,
Mental processes were pacified,
consciousness came to rest.”

SN 41.4 shooting fire through keyhole

And then there’s SN 41.4 for another demonstration of mastery over fire, 4th jhana prerequisite:
13Then Citta the householder approached the Venerable Mahaka, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him: “It would be good, venerable sir, if Master Mahaka would show me a superhuman miracle of spiritual power.”
14“Then, householder, spread your cloak upon the verandah and scatter a bundle of grass upon it.”
15“Yes, venerable sir,” Citta the householder replied, and he spread his cloak upon the verandah and scattered a bundle of grass upon it.
16Then, when he had entered his dwelling and shut the bolt, the Venerable Mahaka performed a feat of spiritual power such that a flame shot through the keyhole and the chink of the door and burnt the grass but not the cloak.295 “” Citta the householder shook out his cloak and stood to one side, shocked and terrified.
17Then the Venerable Mahaka came out of his dwelling and said to Citta the householder: “Is this much enough, householder?” [291]
18“That’s enough, Venerable Mahaka. What’s been done is sufficient, Venerable Mahaka, what’s been offered is sufficient. Let Master Mahaka delight in the delightful Wild Mango Grove at Macchikāsaṇḍa. I will be zealous in providing Master Mahaka with robes, almsfood, lodgings, and medicinal requisites.”
19“That is kindly said, householder.”
20Then the Venerable Mahaka set his lodging in order and, taking bowl and robe, he left Macchikāsaṇḍa. When he left Macchikāsaṇḍa, he left for good and he never returned.

dipa ma cooking food with fire from hand

Dipa Ma learned to cook food by making the fire element come out of her hands. She could also change the earth element into the water element, which she demonstrated to Munindra by diving into a patch of ground and emerging with her clothes and hair wet. If she had to walk alone at night, Dipa Ma could duplicate her body, creating a companion for herself so that no one would bother her.

john chang hand heats up and flames paper

Taoist master john chang doing similar trick with heated hands, starts at around 2 min 30 sec;



SN 51.22 simile of iron ball and floating cotton

see SN → SN 51 → SN 51.22 for full sutta
“It’s incredible and amazing that the Buddha is capable of going to the Brahmā realm by psychic power with a mind-made body! And that he has personal experience of going to the Brahmā realm by psychic power with this body made up of the four primary elements!” “Ānanda, the Realized Ones are incredible and have incredible qualities. They’re amazing and have amazing qualities.
Sometimes the Realized One immerses his body in his mind and his mind in his body. He meditates after absorbing into a perception of bliss and lightness in the body. At that time his body becomes lighter, softer, more workable, and more radiant.

Ajahn Mun’s teacher levitating

(from Ajahn Mun spiritual biography)
Ācariya Mun described his teacher as someone with a smooth, serene temperament who inspired deep devotion. A rather strange feature of Ācariya Sao’s practice was his tendency to levitate while in samādhi, his body hovering quite noticeably above the floor. At first, doubtful that his body was indeed floating, he opened his eyes to see for himself. As soon as his eyes opened, concern about the condition of his body caused his citta to withdraw from samādhi. He promptly fell back to the floor, landing hard on his buttocks which was sore and bruised for many days. In truth, his body did float about three feet above the floor. But by opening his eyes to check, he lost the mindfulness needed to maintain his citta in samādhi. Withdrawing suddenly from samādhi caused him to come crashing to the floor, like any other object dropped from a height. Practicing samādhi later and feeling his body levitate again, he kept mindfulness firmly focused within that state of samādhi, and then, carefully opened his eyes to look at himself. It was obvious to him then that he did levitate. This time, however, he didn’t fall back to the floor, for mindfulness was present to maintain total concentration.
This experience taught Ācariya Sao a valuable lesson about himself. Yet being an exceptionally careful, meticulous person, he wasn’t entirely convinced. So he took a small object, inserted it into the underside of the thatched roof in his hut, and continued to meditate. When he felt his body beginning to float again, he firmly focused his citta in samādhi, and he was able to float upward until he reached that small object in the thatch. Drawing level with it, he slowly reached out and very mindfully took it in his hand so that he could bring it back down by means of samādhi. This meant that once he had it in his grasp, he gradually withdrew from samādhi to the point where his body could slowly, and safely, descend to the floor – a point still short of complete withdrawal from samādhi. Experimenting like this, he became convinced of his ability to levitate, though this did not occur every time he entered samādhi.
From the beginning of his practice to the end of his life, Ācariya Sao’s citta tended to have this smooth, imperturbable quality; in sharp contrast to the wholly adventurous nature that characterized Ācariya Mun’s citta. Unlike him, Ācariya Sao was not so motivated to live dangerously, seeking adventure; nor did he tend to perceive the variety of unusual phenomena that Ācariya Mun invariably did.

Dipa Ma (1911-1989)

Supernatural powers: the ability to transform one of the four basic elements of the physical world (earth, air, fire, and water) into another.
Divine ear: the ability to hear sounds near and far, on earth and in other realms.
Divine eye: The ability to see into the future, to see things near and far, on earth and in other realms.
Knowledge of one’s former births and the previous births of others.
Knowledge of the states of mind of other beings; that is, the ability to “read” or know the minds of others.
According to Munindra, Dipa Ma demonstrated each of these powers to him. The following accounts are based on Munindra’s recollections. “You may not believe it,” he said, “but it’s true.”


Once Munindra was in his room when he noticed something unusual in the sky outside his window. He looked out and saw Dipa Ma in the air near the tops of the trees, grinning at him and playing in a room she had built in the sky. By changing the air element into the earth element, she had been able to create a structure in mid-air.

(walking through walls)

Changing denser elements to air produced only slightly less astonishing occurrences. Sometimes Dipa Ma and her sister Hema arrived for interviews with Munindra by spontaneously appearing in his room, and Dipa Ma occasionally left by walking through the closed door. If she was feeling especially playful, she might rise from her chair, go to the nearest wall, and walk right through it.

(mastery of fire element)

Dipa Ma learned to cook food by making the fire element come out of her hands. She could also change the earth element into the water element, which she demonstrated to Munindra by diving into a patch of ground and emerging with her clothes and hair wet. If she had to walk alone at night, Dipa Ma could duplicate her body, creating a companion for herself so that no one would bother her.

(tested by skeptical professor)

Dipa Ma’s abilities in this regard were once tested by a third party. Munindra knew a professor of Ancient Indian History at Magadh University who was skeptical about psychic powers. Munindra offered to prove the existence of such powers, and the two of them set up an experiment. The professor posted a trusted graduate student in a room where Dipa Ma was meditating to watch and make sure she didn’t leave the room. On the appointed day, the student verified that Dipa Ma never left her meditation posture, and yet, at the very same time, she appeared at the professor’s office ten miles away and had a conversation with him.

(warping time and space)

Dipa Ma and Hema once used their extraordinary powers in tandem to move a bus. One afternoon in Rangoon, they were waiting at a bus stop. When the bus finally arrived, over an hour late, they realized they were going to miss their engagement some distance away. Because it was important to arrive on time, they both began to concentrate and got the bus back on schedule. “During the samadhi [absorptive] state,” Munindra explained, “they made resolutions and moved the bus even while sitting in it. They shortened the time and distance. It can be done. The Buddha did this with Angulimala. When Angulimala was trying to kill the Buddha, he kept running after him, but the Buddha didn’t move, and still he could not catch him. This was because the Buddha used his powers to make the distance always the same.”
When the Burmese diplomat U Thant was about to become the new secretary general of the United Nations, Munindra, knowing that U Thant would give an acceptance speech, asked Dipa Ma to go into the future and remember the content. She recited the speech, and Munindra recorded it. A month later, according to Munindra, U Thant gave the exact speech, word for word, just as Dipa Ma had predicted.

Beyond time and space

Dipa Ma said she could go back to the time of the Buddha and listen to his sermons. When I asked her how she did this, she smiled and said, “I went back mind-moment by mind-moment.” I must have looked stunned, because she smiled and said, “Oh, you don’t have to do that for Nibbana [enlightenment] to happen.” Then she laughed and added, “It was really fun. It just takes a lot of concentration.” The look in her eyes when she said this—she looked so free, so pure.
Michele McDonald

To see with the Divine Eye

Dipa Ma could look inside the body and describe exactly how the brain and heart functioned, with scientific accuracy and at a level that clearly exceeded her own education. She described new devices created in different parts of the world. She would tell Munindra about a new invention, what it looked like, what it was for, where it was kept. Munindra had developed ways of testing his students’ abilities, and when he checked up on Dipa Ma’s descriptions, he found that they were always 100 percent accurate.
Munindra asked her to see what was going on in the room next to her and describe it to him. He would then verify it. Then he had her systematically extend the power of divine sight to places more and more distant, but places where he could verify the accuracy of her report. She had never been to Bodh Gaya, for instance, and he had her describe it to him—where the Bodhi tree was, what things remained there from antiquity. He had been temple superintendent for many years and knew intimate details of the site.
Jack Engler
According to some of her students, Dipa Ma could visit the various realms of existence described in Buddhist cosmology— the heaven and hell realms, for example. She would describe the different beings living there and what was happening all around them. Once in a while, she would offhandedly refer to her travels to other dimensions.

Heaven realm

During the three-month retreat [at Insight Meditation Society], on one of those crystal clear autumn days in New England when the sky is blue with a few puffy clouds and the trees are a display of light and flames and color, we took a walk outdoors. We were sitting by a lake on a rock, and the lake was reflecting all these colors.
There were a number of people there, and one of them said to Dipa Ma, “This must be just like the heaven realms”—we knew she had traveled to the different realms. And she just looked at him and said, “No, it’s nothing like it at all. It’s okay, but really it doesn’t even touch it.”
Jack Kornfield
Dipa Ma’s spiritual powers enabled her to predict her students’ futures. “She predicted my teaching career quite elaborately at a time in my life when I wasn’t teaching at all,” says Joseph Goldstein. “I think she saw the whole course of my life.”

Knowledge of the future

Towards the end of my three-month retreat, she looked at me and said, “When you go back home you will teach metta [lovingkindness meditation] in hospitals.” This statement was puzzling to me since I hadn’t had any connection with hospitals. But I thought, “Okay.”
I wasn’t back home a month before someone from Children’s Hospital called asking if I would come and run the biofeedback center. It was amazing. So I thought, “Okay, this is the hospital part.” This was a children’s hospital, and most of the kids coming in had stress-related conditions: migraines, bellyaches, phobias, different things, so I would teach them metta. I was doing biofeedback as the context, but I was really teaching them how to do lovingkindness for themselves and for their critters and for other kids. I wondered if she sent the job or just knew it was coming. When I got that phone call, it was like Dipa Ma was calling me to do that.
Michelle Levey
Dipa Ma was said to have an uncommonly strong ability to communicate telepathically with her students.

Beyond language

As my retreat job, I’d been washing dishes at her house for my last two weeks. When I told her I was leaving, she offered to do a blessing. She asked me all kinds of grandmotherly-type questions, like whether or not I was married and what work I did. Then she said something in Bengali, put her hands on my head, and it was like being hit by a lightning bolt. All of a sudden I felt as if she knew exactly what was in my mind, and we were having this conversation together that was beyond language. . . . We were communicating on a whole new level, just between the essence of our minds . . . pure communication between her consciousness and mine. I felt like I was hit in the head, in a good way. . . . After the blessing I had this incredible euphoria. I remember walking in the door of the Insight Meditation Society and feeling like I was walking above the ground.
Carol Constantian Lazell

Mind to mind

Whenever I came to Dipa Ma with some difficulty in my meditation practice, she would look into my eyes with that tranquil, samadhi-like gaze while I was speaking. Before the translator even began, I would feel a tickling in the back of my brain. Something would go “click,” and the problem would simply disappear, along with whatever emotional difficulty I might have had with it.
I believe she was capable of psychic or telepathic linking, working directly with others’ minds. She taught me silently that the answer to any internal problem was in the basic mind state and not in her words or in any technical adjustment of attention. She gave me the answer to my difficulties by sharing another state of consciousness in which that problem simply didn’t exist. It was a sudden, instant shift, like a psychic chiropractic adjustment.
Daniel Boutemy

Mind Made body clones

Ajahn Mun

from "stillness flowing" bio of ajahn chah
It was during the Rains Retreat at Wat Khao Wongkot that Luang Por first heard the name of the monk who was to become a legendary figure in Thailand, the most revered monk of his generation. Today, on the shrines of houses, shops and offices throughout Isan, a photograph of Luang Pu Mun can commonly be seen in a place of honour just below that of the Buddha himself. The most common of these photographs reveals a slight figure dressed in the sombre robes of the forest monk, standing with an almost ghost-like stillness amongst unearthly trees, his hands clasped in front of him, radiating an austere composure. He seems to be looking right through the camera and straight into the viewer’s heart. It is an inspiring but discomfiting picture. It challenges all that the viewer takes for granted.
The stories and anecdotes featuring Luang Pu Mun, related by his students and contemporaries, are startlingly reminiscent of the accounts of great monks found in the Buddhist scriptures. Although a certain amount of hyperbole may be expected from such sources, the comparisons are not fanciful. Luang Pu Mun was an exemplary forest monk who was so devoted to the ascetic, peripatetic way of life that for a period of over fifty years he did not spend two consecutive Rains Retreats in the same monastery. It was only at the very end of his life, when he could no longer walk, that he gave up his daily alms-round. His psychic powers were, by all accounts, stupendous and the sharpness and penetration of his reflective powers, breathtaking. For many Thai Buddhists, Luang Pu Mun represents an utterly convincing proof that enlightenment exists and is attainable in this day and age.

(Ajahn Mun saves Ajahn Chah with supernormal powers)

(Ajahn Chah had already wandered for a few days into the forest after visiting Ajahn Mun. Is it just coincidence Ajahn Mun appeared to save his life, or was it a mind made body or rupa body? Whatever type of body, it was real enough to fight off the wild dogs). The fact that after the dogs left, that all that Ajahn Chah saw was darkness, no sound of Ajahn Mun walking away with the a bright torch, tells you it was supernormal powers)

The Buddha taught monks to constantly recollect the fragility of life and the ever-present threat of death, to spend every moment well, and take nothing for granted. At night, monks are encouraged to reflect on all the various ways they might die before the following dawn: snake bites, scorpion bites, an awkward fall, appendicitis … the list is soberingly long. Dwelling in tropical forests, where their insecurity is palpable and virtually impossible to forget, is particularly conducive to this kind of contemplation.
One night in a thick forest in Nakhon Phanom, a roving pack of wild dogs caught the scent of Luang Por as he sat meditating in his glot. The motionless form of a cross-legged monk must have been a strange and unsettling sight to them. Within a few moments, Luang Por was jerked from mindfulness of his breath to the awareness of a snarling mass of angry creatures, with a mosquito net his only protection. Fear coursed through his body and with a supreme effort, Luang Por steadied his mind. Following the ancient tradition, he made a solemn resolution:
I did not come here to hurt anyone or anything. I have come to practice Dhamma, in order to realize liberation from suffering. If I have ever oppressed you in a past life, then kill me so that I may pay off my debt. But if there is no bad blood between us, then please leave me in peace.
Luang Por closed his eyes. The wild dogs circled his glot, howling fiercely and racing in to lunge at him from all sides, only to be confused by the thin cotton net that enclosed him. As soon as one of them dared to bite through it and expose the net’s flimsiness, Luang Por knew it would be the end, and he became afraid once more. Then suddenly, out of the thick blackness of the night, Luang Pu Mun appeared, holding aloft a blazing torch and walking straight towards the wild dogs. Halting at the side of Luang Por’s glot, he scolded them sharply, ‘Go! Leave him alone!’ He lifted a length of wood as if to strike them, and the wild dogs, stunned and thrown into disarray, ran off. Luang Por relieved and grateful to Luang Pu Mun for saving him, opened his eyes to a scene of complete darkness and silence.
The next morning, Luang Por set off down the trail with a heightened sense of the connection he felt to Luang Pu Mun. Together with the Postulant Gaew, his only remaining companion, he was soon to need every ounce of mental strength he possessed to face his most testing examination so far.

(potentially mind made body of V.Mun visits V.Chah)

The Rains Retreat at Wat Pah Bahn Nong Hee was not all blood-and-thunder grimness. On the contrary. One night as Luang Por lay down to sleep at the end of a long period of meditation, he was greeted by a vision of Luang Pu Mun standing in front of him holding out a glittering jewel. Luang Pu Mun said, ‘Chah, I’m giving this to you. See how bright and radiant it is.’ Luang Por sat up and stretched out his right hand to receive the jewel. At that moment, he woke up and found himself sitting on his mat, hand forming a fist, as if grasping something supremely precious. Luang Por’s spirits received a tremendous spur from that auspicious vision, and for the remainder of the retreat, he was fired by an unquenchable enthusiasm for practice.

There are lots more examples throughout the Dhamma vinaya, but those are some of the obvious memorable ones that stuck out.

On levitation, you can believe what you want, but in SN 51.22 gives explicit instructions, and a clear distinction between a mind made body and body made of rupa and four elements.

The skeptical professor in the Dipa ma case pretty much sums up the whole situation, on why it’s not worth arguing. No matter if you have the most credible witness, Oprah, whatever famous tv news anchor, after a few years everyone forgets anyway, and a new generation of disbelievers grow up who don’t trust Oprah and the skeptical professor, etc.

I’ll continue to add to this essay as I come across more cases from the pali suttas and Ajahn Mun books, but you guys can help out and post what you come across in this thread.

Anyone know where the Pindola story happens? Is it only in the vinaya, or both vinaya and suttas? The Buddha made a rule about not showing off psychic powers, levitation, after Pindola levitated into the air to pick up a bowl.


I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Have been thinking about finding “stuff” like this lately, and this time it paid well being a bit of a lazy yogi :person_in_lotus_position:‍♂️



Thank you for this amazing list. I had always wondered at these and having them all collected is indeed wonderful.

We should also mention the minor superpowers that show up in our lives. For example, I have learned to see in the dark and have witnesses to that fact.

But more significant to us all is that immortality is not one of the superpowers. Death takes all superpowers. :pray:


Pindola levitates to win bowl

Vinaya, Kullavagga, 5th Khandhaka


8.1[36] Now at that time the Setthi of Râgagaha had acquired a block[37] of sandal-wood of the most precious sandal-wood flavour. And the Setthi of Râgagaha thought, ‘How would it be if I were to have a bowl carved out of this block of sandal-wood, so that the chips[38] shall remain my property, and I can give the bowl away?’ And the Setthi of Râgagaha had a bowl turned out of that block of sandal-wood, and put it in a balance, and had it lifted on to the top of a bamboo[39], and tying that bamboo at the top of a succession of bamboos, he let it be known, saying, ‘If any Samana or Brahman be an Arahat and possessed of Iddhi, let him get down the bowl. It is a gift to him!’

Then Pûrana Kassapa went to the Setthi of Râgagaha, and said to him, ‘I, O householder, am [79] an Arahat and possessed of Iddhi. Give me the bowl.’

‘If, Sir, you are an Arahat and possessed of Iddhi, let your reverence get down the bowl!’

Then Makkhali Gosâla, and Agita Kesa-kambalî, and Pakudha Kakkâyana, and Sañgaya Belatthiputta, and Nigantha Nâta-putta went severally to the Setthi of Râgagaha, [and preferred the same request, and received the same reply.]

Now at that time the venerable Mahâ Moggallâna and the venerable Pindola Bhâradvâga, having dressed themselves early in the morning, went into Râgagaha, duly bowled and robed, for alms. And the venerable Pindola Bhâradvâga said to the venerable Mahâ Moggallâna: ‘The venerable Mahâ Moggallâna is both an Arahat and possessed of Iddhi. Go, friend Moggallâna, and fetch down this bowl, for this bowl belongs to thee.’

‘The venerable Pindola Bhâradvâga also is both an Arahat and possessed of Iddhi. Go, friend Bhâradvâga, and fetch down the bowl, for this bowl belongs to thee.’

Then the venerable Pindola Bhâradvâga, rising up in the air, took the bowl, and went thrice round Râgagaha (in the air). And at that time the Setthi of Râgagaha stood in his dwelling-place with his wife and children, and holding up his clasped hands in reverent salutation, he exclaimed, ‘May the venerable Bhâradvâga be pleased to descend upon our dwelling-place.’ And the venerable Bhâradvâga descended into his dwelling-place. Then the Setthi of Râgagaha took the bowl from the hands of the venerable Bhâradvâga, and filled it with costly food, and presented it to the venerable Bhâradvâga. And [80] the venerable Bhâradvâga took the bowl, and departed to his Ârâma.

  1. Now the people heard, ‘The venerable Pindola Bhâradvâga, they say, has got down the Râgagaha Setthi’s bowl.’ And those people, with shouts loud and long, followed in the steps of Pindola Bhâradvâga. And the Blessed One heard the shouts loud and long, and on hearing them he asked the venerable Ânanda, ‘What now, Ânanda, does this so great shouting mean?’

The venerable Pindola Bhâradvâga, Lord, has got down the Râgagaha Setthi’s bowl; and the people thereof are following in his steps with shouts loud and long.’

Then the Blessed One, on that occasion and in that connection, convened a meeting of the Bhikkhu-Samgha, and asked Pindola Bhâradvâga, ‘Is it true, as they say, that you, Bhâradvâga, have got down the Râgagaha Setthi’s bowl?’

‘It is true, Lord.’

The Blessed Buddha rebuked him, saying, ‘This is improper, Bhâradvâga, not according to rule, unsuitable, unworthy of a Samana, unbecoming, and ought not to be done. How can you, Bhâradvâga, for the sake of a miserable wooden pot, display before the laity the superhuman quality of your miraculous power of Iddhi? Just, Bhâradvâga, like a woman who displays herself for the sake of a miserable piece of money[40], have you, for the sake of a miserable [81] wooden pot displayed before the laity the superhuman quality of your miraculous power of Iddhi. This will not conduce, Bhâradvâga, either to the conversion of the unconverted, or to the increase of the converted; but rather to those who have not been converted remaining unconverted, and to the turning back of those who have been converted.’

And when he had rebuked him, and had delivered a religious discourse[41], he addressed the Bhikkhus, and said: ‘You are not, O Bhikkhus, to display before the laity the superhuman power of Iddhi. Whosoever does so, shall be guilty of a dukkata[42]. Break to pieces, O Bhikkhus, that wooden bowl; and when you have ground it to powder, give it to the Bhikkhus as perfume for their eye ointments[43]. And you are not, O Bhikkhus, to use wooden bowls. Whosoever does so, shall be guilty of a dukkata[44].’

what does the pali really say here?

Just, Bhâradvâga, like a woman who displays herself for the sake of a miserable piece of money[40], have you, for the sake of a miserable [81] wooden pot displayed before the laity the superhuman quality of your miraculous power of Iddhi.

The old PTS translations often censor the more graphic original.

One memorable line I remember from the Vin., Ven. Thanissaro’s translation, goes something like, “Monks, it would be better for you to insert your penis into the mouth of a poisonous snake than have sexual intercourse with a woman.” (anyone know the citation for that one?)


This afternoon I suddenly realized the answer would be really easy to find. Go to a dhamma site, search for “penis”, and know that there aren’t going to be that many matches! :slight_smile:

from BMC intro, probably goes with vin. parajika #1. This is such a great passage. It’s an unforgettable image (both similes), easy to remember. Also note how intertwined this is with rebirth. Rebirth in the Dhamma and Viyana is embedded anywhere. It’s really laughable people could seriously consider Buddhism without rebirth. It’s perfectly reasonable to doubt phenomena you haven’t directly witnessed yourself, but there is no doubt what the Buddha’s stance was.


“‘Worthless man, haven’t I taught the Dhamma in many ways for the fading of passion, the sobering of intoxication, the subduing of thirst, the destruction of attachment, the severing of the round, the ending of craving, dispassion, cessation, unbinding? Haven’t I in many ways advocated abandoning sensual pleasures, comprehending sensual perceptions, subduing sensual thirst, destroying sensual thoughts, calming sensual fevers? Worthless man, it would be better that your penis be stuck into the mouth of a poisonous snake than into a woman’s vagina. It would be better that your penis be stuck into the mouth of a black viper than into a woman’s vagina. It would be better that your penis be stuck into a pit of burning embers, blazing and glowing, than into a woman’s vagina. Why is that? For that reason you would undergo death or death-like suffering, but you would not on that account, at the break-up of the body, after death, fall into a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, hell. But for this reason you would, at the break-up of the body, after death, fall into a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, hell….