The attainment of nirvana and developing supernatural powers in Buddhism
The Pali Canon is greatly debated by historians and followers alike. Some believe it is the exact words of Buddha from the fifth century B.C., transferred in the oral tradition for many centuries and finally transcribed to written form. Others believe it has additions and deletions by followers of the first century B.C. when it was written. It contains three parts called pikitas, which translates to the word, baskets. The collection is called tipitaka meaning three baskets. The three works include the Vinaya Pitaka, the Sutta Pitaka and the Abhidhamma Pitaka. The Vinaya Pitaka addresses the code of ethics for the nuns and monks of the Buddhist faith. It lists rules for them to follow that Buddha deemed necessary. The Sutta Pitaka has five sections called nikayas. This section is accepted by all factions of Buddhism as the authentic works of Buddha. These chapters are prose. The final category, the Abhidhamma Pitaka, this book focuses on the underlying principals from the other pitaka. It describes mind, matter, and their relationship. Some of the supernatural powers that Buddha describes for attainment are mind reading, the ability to talk to the dead, see past lives, walk through solid objects such as walls, walk upon water, teletransportation, traveling to various realms of existence and others. Moggallana (Maudgalyayana), one of Buddha’s disciples, had many of the powers and honed them far more than any of the others. He was found stoned to death. When the citizens came to Buddha to ask why Moggallana did not stop them, since he had the supernatural power to do so, Buddha replied that Moggallana saw his previous life where he killed his parents and decided that this type of death was fitting. Supernatural powers do not protect you from your karma, they are only abilities picked up along the road to perfection. This ability to develop the powers while training the mind toward perfection is one of great interest to many. It shows that Buddha believed that these powers were quite normal for the disciplined mind and available to all. Truly, taken with the information contained in other religions and traditions, this doesn’t vary from the belief of many ancient cultures. The difference is that Buddha, while describing the steps to take in the journey to Nirvana, also shows the pathway to attainment of these powers. The Abhidhamma Pitaka, describes the steps and shows how to successfully accomplish them. Buddha however, warns that the supernatural feats are not the end result. If the student is sincere in the attempt to become a better individual, he will not find them nearly as exciting once his spirit is developed enough to attain the powers. By this time, the novelty is transcended and the powers are used to help others. Much like the struggling entrepreneur attempting to make a business grow, the money along the way is a by product and not as important as the achievement of success.
Many of the skills that for centuries were described as powers of the Gods, Buddha believed were powers of man. His detailed outline in the Pali Canon pave the road to the knowledge necessary and offer a map for those seeking training. Most interestingly, his belief strongly follows others interested in the supernatural. It is that these capabilities are possessed by all and with the appropriate training, released and harnessed for use in everyday life. Conrad Raw is an expert on practical techniques for personal and spiritual development. He is a bestselling co-author with Wayne Dyer and Brian Tracy and is the author of "The Zensation Manual: Forbidden Secrets of Personal and Spiritual Development". Visit http://www.themindwizard.com/ to get your free video course on how to activate your true potential.