Magic Khmer Monk

Buddhism? – Animism? Miracles? Should Monks perform Miracles?

Thai Brahmins


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In this clip is a very valid and interesting aspect of the relationship between Animism, Brahminism and Buddhism in both Thailand and Cambodia, and the debate whether or not it is fitting for Buddhists to practise Saiyasart (Occult Magick), and Animist rites. Humanly it is a personal viewpoint, but if one studies and follows the Buddhist Canon, then it is perhaps not permitted, at least as far as Bhikkhus are concerned, due to the clear statement on this matter purported to have been made by the Buddha Sakyamuni to the Brahmin merchant Gewata after having been asked if he could send a Bhikkhu to his town to make a show of paranormal powers in order to increase the faith of the people in Siddharthas Dhamma. The Buddha refused after 2 times being asked, and then explained to Gewata what kind of miracles are existent, and which ones are those that the Buddha permitted to perform;

These were explained in a detailed list which i have not the power to expound here, suffice to say that the third of the three categories of Miracle contains all of the 227 rules of conduct of the Buddhist Vinaya, as well as supplementary comments.

the list is a very long one, but basically, miracles are classed into 3 categories:-

1. Idtibatiharn – such as floating, splitting oneself up into multiple bodies, or changing from many bodies to one body. Walking through mountains, walls etc, Invisibility, diving under the ground,walking on water, using ones hand to wipe out the sun (cause an eclipse), or the moon, or to travel to the Brahma worlds and come back in an instant.

2.Atesanabatiharn:- to read minds, hearts, feelings, or memories of another. These forst two categories were not admonished by the Buddha, because it would not cause people to have faith in Buddhism, due to the fact that those who are not faithful will criticize such miracles saying that one does not need to be enlightened to perform such magics, rather, any person who studies these occult arts can acheive these abilities without having to have become a Buddha. The third category of miracle is known as “Anusasaniyabatiharn. Anusasaniyabatiharn is useful and admonishable for the Bhikkhu to practise, because this kind of miracle is that of the perfect practise of renunciation and purity (the dhamma), which will lead to great goodnees, purity, compassion and wisdom. This practise is the most difficult, selfless and hard to attain miracle of all (becoming an Arahant – enlightened saint). The attainment and practise of anusasaniyabatiharn brings fruit to both the person practising, and thos in his immediate vicinit or who are related to him in some way.Apart from the practise of purity of speech action and thought, in addition the Bhikkhu who acheives the state of beng that is classed as the miracle of anusasaniyabatiharn (batiharn means miracle), should refrain from the following;

The profession of Dierachanawicha (animal or animist magic), make readings from bodly organs, visions, or interpret accidents, predict dreams, or peoples faces or palm reading. To refrain from fire rituals or worship, walking on oil, cast spells, or anything that has blood. Refrain from being a kata master, witch doctor, medicine man, snake. or scorpion charmer,treat rat bites, interpret birdsong, crystal gazing, weapons or people by their appearance. To refrain from making war predictions,or astrological/astronomical predictions, such as meteorites, eclipses etc. Refrain from predicting the weather or the future of common folk. Refraining from making amulets that bring luck or misfortune, love or dissention.Refrain from speaking spells such as katas to silence people’s mouths, or make hands shake or deaf ears. Refraining from blessing homes, clear bad karma, cast out evil spirits, pay devotion and offerings to brahma, the Sun or the Moon. To refrain from ceremonies to bless a site for building a house, or a piece of land. To refrain from making a homosexual become heterosexual or the other way round. Refrain from blowing prayer water, or sprayng it (as we often see with the wooden brush) – to refrain from preparing medicines and ointments for curing headaches, animal bites, perform any kind of cutting or piercing of the skin, or to take care of a young child, give medicines or to clean wounds. Blood is particularly to be avoided (sak yant???).


The Bhikkhu who is ordained with the dedication to practise “Brahmacarya” (pure life heart and mind),aims for the liberation from “Kilesa” (attachment to selfish pleasures and craving), ceremonial dogmatic rites that are occult or astrological in nature. This kind of Bhikkhu is seen to be demonstrating the Miracle of anusasaniyabatiharn ceaselessly 24 hours each day.This is how Buddha explained the performing of Miracles to The Brahmin Gewata (son of the mayor of the town) when getawa visited in the Mango grove of the wealthy mogul Bavarika to ask for miracles to be demonstrated.

“You see Gewata, a Bhikkhu whose precepts are so pure as these, will never have to confront any dangers in any time and place and shall be safe, because of his “Sila” (precepts of purity). He is comparable to a King who has conquered all his Royal enemies already. This kind of Bhikkhu will have inner peace and happiness and have perfection as his protection.”

Having said this, when we study the Tripitaka (Buddhist Canon) in detail, we can find passages that refer to Budddha admitting that some Bhikkhus did perform the first two kinds of Miracles which the Buddha did not approve of; Idtibatiharn and Atesanabatiharn. But Lord Buddha did not see well of it, nor did he support it in any way at all, because it is the same kind of behaviour that illusionists and circus magicians can also appear to perform (as in the “Indian Rope trick”).Buddha explained that the stron point and base foundation fo the practise and behaviour of an ordained member of the Sangha, is the practise of perfecting one’s bodily behaviour (actions) and speech and mind to let it become soft and gentle and light. Not to practise things which may cause common folk to come and pay devotion, respects and make offerings to you for.In the Buddha’s time, there were many Bhikkhus running around showing off their powers, and this is how Buddha came to have to mae a statement on the topic.He is purported to have commented that; “There are many Brahmin preists and magicmen who make a profession out of Dierachanawicha” (dierachana means “animal” and “Wicha” means Arts or Craft/Knowledge – meaning Animistic magic). “All they desire is to show off with Miracles. But the Disciples of the Buddha should have the profession (not meaning job, – think of the word “to profess”, meaning to vow) of developing their inner and outer purity through the practise of Dharma! Not to do like the brahmins.” The Brahmins would show powers in order to the commoners in order to get them to come and make rich offerings and pay devotion honor and respect, which is one fo the “Kilesa” that a Bhikkhu should be refraining from and cutting the roots of..The demonstration of the miracle of Anusasaniyabatiharn was suported and wished for by Buddha, and said to bring limitless blessings and fruits to those who practise it and those in their vicinity.

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