Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Write-up on Super Powers sharing

On 6th June, Titus and Fuzhong did a sharing on the Jhanas and super powers in relation to Buddhism. Starting off, they made the disclaimer that obtaining super powers should not be the goal when we learn the Dharma. In fact, the chase for super powers would only impede our cultivation of the mind (which is what gives us superpowers as pleasant side-effects).

It’s no wonder so many super powers have to do with the mind:
Mind-reading (Telepathy)
Moving things with your mind (Telekinesis)
Seeing the future in your mind (Psychic/Precognitive dreaming)
Seeing people, that are not in your presence, in your mind (Clairvoyance)
Controlling other’s minds...with your mind. (Mind control)
...I could go on forever...or see this.

Moving on, they asked the youth sitting in a circle to guess which super powers we think the Buddha had. Suprisingly, the Buddha had almost, if not all, of these powers(!!). That we never knew the Buddha had all these powers, shows a lot: they play little part in aiding us towards Nibbana.


Titus and Fuzhong then shared on the 9 Jhanas. Being something none of us have attained, it was quite a hard concept to explain - it’s similar to when your parents tell you “when you grow up, you will understand” - only those who have experienced it know for sure to tell the tale.

Nevertheless, I personally feel that they did a very good job explaining it with the use of analogies and examples and I found it fascinating! For example, here is a simple (hopefully) diagram:

1st Jhana                                 3rd Jhana                          2nd Jhana
Delightful sensations             Contentment                            Joy
(As you can see, it narrows down to the middle.)

4th Jhana is no longer on this scale because contentment has elements of ignorance.
From 5th Jhana onwards it becomes a lot more intense.

Their sharing was punctuated with anecdotes, stories of the Buddha’s experiences, and jokes - not only from Titus and Fuzhong, but from Bhante and the rest of us sitting in a circle. :)

This was personally one of my favourite sessions because it cleared many of my misconceptions about Buddhism -- through dialogue with Bhante, Titus and Fuzhong who have so much to share in a humble, yet inspiring manner. ^^

Hopefully, you, reader, are not discouraged that super powers seem unattainable. The first step is just to breathe. :)

See you soon!
Jia Hui

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