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Buddhism and magic rituals

Are magic rituals and spells forbidden in Buddhism or this is something that is not even mentioned in the Dharma?
Is there any Buddhist who believes/practices some kind of magic?

Comments

  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran
    edited November 2016
  • BhanteLuckyBhanteLucky Monk since 2014 A Forest Monastery Veteran

    Yes Dhammachick's link is super useful if you're interested in Buddhism and Magic. http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/comment/485398#Comment

    As to whether it is forbidden or practised:
    Once someone gets really awesome meditation or enlightened, they generally (but not always) get superpowers such as flying, mind-reading, super-vision or super-hearing, or the ablility to travel to different planes of existence. There was one monk in the Buddha's lifetime who had a glowing finger, so he was given the job of showing people to their huts after dark!
    I don't know if you would consider than magic.
    That kind of thing is mentioned again and again, many times, in the Pali suttas.
    And it's not something you can cultivate or cause to happen. It just happens if you are awesome at meditation, or enlightened.
    It is not seen often these days, or at least I never have. At the monastery I often hear stories of monks who have superpowers, but they are always just stories that someone else tells of someone they used to know.

    Hmm, what else?... the Buddha laid down a rule that monks are forbidden from prophecy and fortune telling, which is sort of magic.

    Lot of Thai Buddhists believe in magic and use charms and superstitious things, but that's not buddhism, it's just folk-superstitions. Some bad monks make a lot of money by selling and blessing magical amulets, and usually someone dies every few years in Thailand by testing their magical amulet in heavy traffic or with a gun.

  • There are magic based Buddhist paths. Shingon, Tendai and Tantra schools for example. Mantrayana, the path of Buddhist chanting has a number of levels, including the magical.
    https://greatmiddleway.wordpress.com/2012/07/13/mantrayana-the-vehicle-of-mantra/

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    I'm not in the slightest bit superstitious. Touch wood, such things just don't bother me. Fingers crossed they don't exist.... ;)

    SpinyNorman
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    If they could be proved to be truly efficacious we would have a science built up around blessings and magic by now. Since we don't, I kind of suspect the presence of woo...

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Some people have called me a psychic ...Umm...Or was that psycho ??? Oh well they sound similar.... :wink: :lol:

    On a more serious note:
    I only practice the magic of the mind...After all...

    "The most essential method which includes all other methods is to behold the mind-The mind is the root from which all things grow-If you can understand the mind, everything else is included!"

    ~BodhiDharma~

    lobsterDhammaDragonGus123Walker
  • @BhanteLucky said:
    There was one monk in the Buddha's lifetime who had a glowing finger, so he was given the job of showing people to their huts after dark!

    dhammachick
  • The Buddha forbid magic and spells, but those elements crept in from folk religion in several Buddhist countries. One of the books found in the Buddhist caves in Dunhuang was "A Monk's Book of Spells".

    lobster
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited November 2016

    That depends on how you define "magic". Is seeing past lives "magic"? Is knowing others minds magic? Is manipulating chi energy magic?

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    In the Zen practice I limped along in, what others referred to as "magic" were capacities of a less important sort. OK, there were 'magical' powers, but, as my mother once observed about levitation, "if you could do it, would it make any difference?"

    Maybe so. Maybe not ... just don't get sucked into the potential power trip.

    lobster
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran
    edited November 2016

    Attachment to rites and rituals is traditionally considered as one of the ten fetters of becoming, as described by the Sutta Pitaka (the others being: belief in a self, doubt about the teachings, sensual desire, ill will, lust for material existence, lust for immaterial existence, conceit, restlessness and ignorance).

    In Paul Carus's "Gospel of the Buddha," we find an excerpt from "Questions of King Milinda" where the Buddha is quoted as saying:

    "Rituals have no efficacy;
    prayers are vain repetitions;
    and incantations have no saving power.
    But to abandon covetousness and lust,
    to become free from evil passions,
    and to give up all hatred and ill-will,
    that is the right sacrifice and the true worship."

    The belief in the efficacy of talismans and other superstitions are extraneaous introductions to Buddhadharma by local folk as it spread throughout the different lands of Asia.

    person
  • smarinosmarino florida Explorer
    edited November 2016

    Probably best to ask the Tibetans on this one. I always considered them the wizard end of Buddhism :]

    Take a look at their Nechung oracle on youtube videos sometime and tell me what you think of that. It's clearly some form of demonic possession, and I don't necessarily mean devil-like in a Christian sense, but it does not look positive to me either. It also could just me a physiological event. Difficult to say, and I personally don't want any part of it. The Dali Lama talks about how he uses little balls (I don't remember what they're called, but he lets them roll around and determines what they mean by that) to make decisions too, along w/ consulting the different oracles.

    They work w/ mandalas, energies and all that tantric stuff. Very, very different than my Zen background. I fully understand why you would need a teacher to work w/ what they work with because you could get caught up in it and have serious, serious problems. W/ Zen, the teacher merely points the way.

    Of course Tibetan is a mixture of the original earth based religion of Bon and traditional Buddhism, so it would be very different.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Not all Tibetan practitioners subscribe to everything that is out there. Just sayin'. My teacher spends 6 months a year in Tibet and doesn't get into any of that oracle business. There are different "sects" within Tibetan Buddhism as well, the HHDL is only the head of one.

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    Then again, the performance of magic rites are not inherent in the teaching of the Buddha.
    It is the addition of local traditions observed in the different countries where Buddhism spread.

  • Alas, i cannot give source materials due to memory impairments, but i do remember the things that i read in the Sutras that make sense to me. One thing i remember is the Buddha saying that not all who Attain (Enlightenment) will experience super-normal powers. However, he himself and many of those close to him were reported to travel great distances in a brief time, walk over rivers, and many other extra-ordinary things.

    i very much like what genkaku quoted his (no doubt beloved) mother as saying:
    "if you could do it, would it make any difference?"

    Another reading i remember that helps me is the story of the 'feeble minded' fellow who was allowed to live in the monastery and sweep the walkways. Everyone was sure he could never attain Understanding, except the Buddha Guatama, who advised him to be mindful as he breathed in, and breathed out. (If anyone can help with the source of this Buddha-tale, i would be appreciative.)

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited November 2016

    @smarino said:
    Probably best to ask the Tibetans on this one. I always considered them the wizard end of Buddhism :]

    Take a look at their Nechung oracle on youtube videos sometime and tell me what you think of that. It's clearly some form of demonic possession, and I don't necessarily mean devil-like in a Christian sense, but it does not look positive to me either.

    The oracles (nearly all of them are women, btw) are pure, unadulterated Inner Asian shamanism. Most oracles are healers as well as clairvoyants/soothsayers, like their Siberian and Mongolian counterparts who do soul retrievals. Mystic Fire Videos had a film on VHS called "Oracles of Ladakh" (I don't know if it's still available in any format), that showed the women going into trance and the whole nine yards. It was identical to a film I have on a Siberian shamaness doing the same.

    Tibetans even today prefer traditional healers, hands-on healing, over the Buddhist-trained herbal doctors. Even Heinrich Harrer commented on that. More of that earth-based and earth goddess-based religion survives than the Buddhist theocracy would like to acknowledge. IME Tibetan doctors don't approve of shamans and mystical energy healers at all.

  • IME - what does this mean?

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited November 2016

    In My Experience it means IME

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Bugger...I thought it meant "I'm enlightened" :wink:

    SpinyNormankarastiDhammaDragonperson
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Shoshin said:
    Bugger...I thought it meant "I'm enlightened" :wink:

    MBH = My brain hurts

    ID = Oi dunno

    SSDD = Same shit, different day :p

    Shoshin
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @lobster said:
    In My Experience it means IME

    It can also mean Input Method Editor, which is the piece of interface in computer operating systems responsible for helping you input non-roman character sets into text boxes.

    Abbreviations are a wild and bewildering area, and much depends on the search domain...

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    @Kerome said:

    @lobster said:
    In My Experience it means IME

    It can also mean Input Method Editor, which is the piece of interface in computer operating systems responsible for helping you input non-roman character sets into text boxes.

    Abbreviations are a wild and bewildering area, and much depends on the search domain...

    I think @Tiddlywinds is merely concerned or confused by terms used on a quotidian basis on discussion forums.... She began a thread on same, titled 'OP'....

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Usually you can determine what it means within context. Urban dictionary is one of the better places to find abbreviations for internet discussion forums.

    @Nehan there is a wide scope of things one could consider magic. If you are wanting to do love spells to make a person fall in love with you, that, IMO, isn't a very skillful use of time or effort and leaves little respect for the wishes of the other person in an attempt to manipulate them. But there are also traditions that can fall into "magic" depending who you ask. It just depends what your reasoning is and mostly what your expectations are. Many people who practice spellcraft view them only as prayers, chants, or meditations. What you think about them plays a big part, I think. I'd look at what you are hoping to accomplish and your intent and expectation and see how that fits within Buddhism and what Buddha said about magic and such things. Deceitful manipulation of the free will of others would be a big no-no. So would refusing to accept things as they are and thinking magic might change it.

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    Whereas using magic to shuffle the meaning of all abbreviations in people's minds would merely be amusing o:) but also neatly bringing together the various strands of this thread and winning teh internetz!

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