Sacred Texts Journals Buddhist Articles Index Previous Next



(third series)

by Albert J. Edmunds






Devoted to the Science of Religion, the Religion of Science, and the Extension of the Religious Parliament Idea.



Volume XIV



{Scanned and edited by Christopher M. Weimer, April-May, 2002}

p. 358


Translated from the Originals by ALBERT J. EDMUNDS.

(Third Series).



   Numerical Collection, iii. 60 (not before translated). Compare also Middling Collection, Dialogue No. 6, translated in S. B. E. XI; Long Collection, Dialogue No. 11. translated in Dialogues of the Buddha (1899), each by Rhys Davids, and the former also into German by Neumann.

Mark Appendix xvi. 17, 18: And these signs shall follow them that believe: in my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak with [new] tongues; they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall in no wise hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

   O Brâhman, there are these three miracles.2 What three?--The miracle of psychical power, the miracle of mind-reading, and the miracle of education. What, O Brâhman, is the miracle of psychical power? In this case, O Brâhman, one enjoys in various ways a kind of psychical power: from being one he becomes multiform, from being multiform he becomes one; he appears and vanishes,3 he goes without hindrance to the further side of a wall or battlement or mountain, as if through air; he plunges into earth and emerges, as if in water; he walks on the water without dividing it, p. 359 as if on earth;1 like a bird on wing he travels through the air in the posture of meditation; and yonder sun and moon, so magical, so mighty, he feels and touches with his hand; while up to the world of God he reaches even in the body. This, O Brâhman, is called the miracle of psychical power.

   And what, Brâhman, is the miracle of mind-reading? In this case, O Brâhman, one reads minds by visible indication, and says: "Your mind is thus, your mind is so, your heart is so-and-so." Even if he read much, it is always as he says, and not otherwise. Again, O Brâhman, one reads minds not by visible indication, but by hearing the voice of men, demons or angels, and then declaring the state of mind; and even if he read much, he is always right. Nor alone by these means does he read, but he hears the sound of thought-vibrations from thinking and reflecting, and in this way comes to read the mind and heart. And, as before, he is always right. Then again, besides visible indication, voice and thought-vibration, one ascertains the trance-mind of a man absorbed in rapture beyond thought and beyond reflexion, by heart-to-heart perception, so that one can say: "From the determinate mental conformation of this friend, from the nature of his heart, he will think such and such a thought." And as before, he is always right. This, O Brâhman, is called the miracle of mind-reading.

   What, now, Brâhman, is the miracle of education?

   In this case, O Brâhman, one educates on this wise: "Think thus instead of so; consider thus instead of thus. Renounce this; train yourself in that, and abide therein." This, O Brâhman, is called the miracle of education. And these are the three miracles.2 Which of the three; think you, is the most excellent and most refined?

   Well, now, Gotamo, as to the miracle of psychical power, he who performs and experiences this has the benefit all to himself. This kind of miracle, Gotamo, appears to me a natural accompaniment of religion. And I think the same of the second, the miracle of mind-reading. But that last one, Gotamo, that miracle of education, appears to me the most excellent and most refined. Wonderful, p. 360 O Gotamo, marvellous, O Gotamo, is this good saying of yours; and we hold that you are endowed with all three of these miracles. Gotamo can indeed practise every one of the aforesaid psychical powers, from becoming multiform to reaching in the body unto the world of God. Gotamo can ascertain the trance-mind of a man absorbed in rapture beyond thought and beyond reflexion, by heart-to-heart perception, and can say from the determinate mental conformation and the nature of the heart what the thought will be. And Gotamo can educate by telling what to think and what to consider; what to renounce, wherein to train oneself, and wherein to abide.

   It is true, O Brâhman, that I have attained to all that you have said, and I will furthermore assert that I can do each of the three miracles in question.1

   But is there, Gotamo, a single other monk who is endowed with these miracles besides yourself?

   Brâhman, not only one, nor a hundred, nor two, three, four, or five hundred, but even more monks there are who are endowed with these miracles.

   But, Gotamo, where do these monks now dwell?

   In this very Order, O Brâhman!

   Excellent, O Gotamo! this is excellent! As one raises what had been thrown down, or reveals what has been hidden, or tells the way to him who has gone astray, or holds out a lamp in the darkness that those who have eyes may see the objects, just even so has the Doctrine been made clear by Gotamo in manifold exposition. And I, even I, take refuge in Gotamo, his Doctrine and his Order. May Gotamo receive, as a lay-disciple, from this day forth as long as life endures, me who have taken refuge [in him].



   Numerical Collection, Class XI. Quoted in The Questions of King Milindo (S. B. E. XXXV., p. 279). See also Jâtaka 169.

Luke x. 19: Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall in any wise hurt you.
Mark Appendix (as above).

   Eleven advantages, O monks, may be expected from the cultivation of Benevolence,--from practising it, developing, making it a vehicle and an aim, pursuing it, accumulating, and striving to p. 361 the height of its heart-deliverance. What are these eleven?--One keeps in peace, and wakes in peace; he dreams no evil dream; he is dear unto mortals and immortals; the angels watch over him; fire, poison, sword, can harm him not; quickly his heart is calmed; the aspect of his countenance is serene; he meets death undismayed; and should he fail of the Highest, he is sure to go to the world of God.



   Cullavaggo v. 8. (translated in S. B. E. XX., p. 81).

Mark viii. 11, 12: And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek a sign? Verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.

   Ye are not, O monks, to display psychical power or miracle of superhuman kind before the laity. Whoever does so is guilty of a misdemeanor.



   Cullavaggo v. 6. (Translated in S. B. E., XX., p. 75). See also Jâtaka 203.

Luke x. 19, as above. (Justin Martyr adds centipedes.)

   Now at that season a certain monk died of the bite of a serpent. They told the matter to the Blessed One. . . . And he said: "Now surely that monk, O monks, did not diffuse his Benevolence toward the four royal breeds of serpents! Had he done so, he would not die of the bite of one."

   (The reason why I capitalise Benevolence is because it is a technical term, and means literally and forcibly willing what is good. By a systematic practice of this love-meditation, or projection of affectionate thought-waves toward all creatures, Gotamo, as we have read in a former translation, became the Deity of a by-gone cycle.)



   Long Collection, Dialogue No. 12. (Translated in Rhys Davids's Dialogues of the Buddha, 1899.)

John iii. 16, 17: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through him.
Jude 23: And some save, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

   Lohicco the Brâhman spake thus unto the Blessed One: "O Gotamo, just as if a man had caught another by the hair who was p. 362 falling over the precipice of hell, lifted him up, and set him safe upon firm land; just even so have I, who was falling over the precipice of hell, been lifted up and set safe upon firm land by Gotamo."

   (Fausböll and Rhys Davids translate bho Gotama! by "venerable Gotama." I have translated bho, when standing alone, as "friend": one might have said "gentleman," in the low complimentary sense denounced by Tennyson. Bho, when coupled with a name, is a familiar address, equivalent to our calling a man Smith or Jones, without the "Mister." The Buddhists resented this arrogant familiarity on the part of the Brâhmans toward the Master, and nicknamed the entire priestly caste "Bho callers," in consequence. Gotamo was the Master's family or clan-name, answering to our Smith, etc.; and rightly to appreciate the snobbery of the Brâhmans, we must imagine them saying: "Shakespeare, I want to talk to you.")



   Udâna v. 5: Cullavaggo ix. 1. (Translated in S. B. E., XX., p. 304.)

Galatians iii. 28: There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female; for ye all are one man in Christ Jesus.
Mark iii. 34, 35: And looking round on them which sat round about him, he saith, Behold, my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
John xv. 14, 15: Ye are my friends, if ye do the things which I command you. No longer do I call you slaves; for the slave knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I heard from my Father I have made known unto you.

   Just, O monks, as the great rivers,--to wit: the Ganges, the Jamna, the Rapti, the Gogra, the Mâhi,--when they fall into the great ocean, renounce their former name and kind and are counted as the mighty sea: just even so, monks, do these four castes,--to wit: the Nobles, the Brâhmans, the Tradesfolk, and the Slaves,--when they have gone forth from domestic life into the homeless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline made public by the Tathâgata, renounce their former name and clan, to be numbered with the Sâkya philosophers.



   Long Collection, Dialogue No. 26.

   (Translated from the King of Siam's edition, because not yet printed in Roman letters.)

p. 363

John xiv. 26: But the Comforter which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my Name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Revelation xx. 6: Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: over these the second death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

   Monks, in the days of the men of eighty thousand years there will arise in the world a Buddha named Metteyyo (i.e., the Benevolent One; Sanskrit, Maitreya), a Holy One,1 a supremely Enlightened One, endowed with wisdom in conduct; auspicious, knowing the universe; an incomparable Charioteer of men who are tamed; a Master of angels and Mortals, a Blessed Buddha; even as I have now arisen in the world, a Buddha with these same qualities endowed. What he has realised by his own supernal knowledge he will publish to this universe, with its angels, its fiends, and its archangels, and to the race of philosophers and brahmins, princes and peoples; even as I now, having all this knowledge, do publish the same unto the same. He will preach his religion, glorious in its origin, glorious at the climax, glorious at the goal, in the spirit and the letter. He will proclaim a religious life, wholly perfect, and thoroughly pure; even as I now preach my religion and a like life do proclaim. He will keep up a society of monks numbering many thousand, even as I now keep up a society of monks numbering many hundred.



p. 358

2. Pâtihâriya is the regular word for a display of magical power or jugglery, and is best rendered "miracle." The word Iddhi, translated "psychical power," is more dignified. Burnouf renders it "puissance surnaturelle."

3. Luke xxiv. 31, 36: And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. . . . And as they spake these things, he himself stood in the midst of them.

John xx. 19, 26: When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. . . .

And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them, Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

p. 359

1. Mark vi. 48, and parallels (told of Christ): And seeing them distressed in rowing, for the wind was contrary unto them, about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking on the sea.

Matthew xiv. 29 (told of Peter): And he said, come. And Peter went down from the boat, and walked upon the waters, to come to Jesus.

2. In Dîgha No. 11, Gotamo says: "It is because I see the danger in miracles of psychical power and of mind-reading, that I detest, abhor and despise them." In the uncanonical Sanskrit Divyâvadâna, he says that he commands his disciples not to work miracles, but to hide their good deeds and show their sins.

p. 360

1. In this and similar cases the tedious repetitions of the original are condensed into the style of our Western rhetoric.

p. 361

1. Arhat, and so always.