by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words
This page describes Buddha’s performance of Miracles (patihariya) contained within the book called the Great Chronicle of Buddhas (maha-buddha-vamsa), a large compilation of stories revolving around the Buddhas and Buddhist disciples. This page is part of the series known as the Buddha’s Sixth Vassa at Mount Makula. This great chronicle of Buddhas was compiled by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw who had a thorough understanding of the thousands and thousands of Buddhist teachings (suttas).
The Impudent and Arrogant Boast of The Heretic Sects
Upon hearing that Buddha had prohibited the bhikkhus from demonstrating miracles, heretics were confident that all the disciples of the Buddha would not breach such a ruling even on pain of death. They considered how they could take advantage of such a situation.
They went about the streets and alleys of the town bragging to the people: “In the past, to uphold our prestige, we had not made any attempt to display our super-normal power for (the sake of) a wooden alms-bowl. Only the disciples of Recluse Gotama have shamelessly done such things. It is said that Recluse Gotama, being a wise man, had caused all trace of the bowl to be lost by having it broken into pieces, and has also prescribed a ruling prohibiting the bhikkhus from performing miracles. We can now take advantage of the situation and challenge Gotama to perform a feat of miracles.”
Buddha’s Declaration to Perform Miracles.
On hearing the above news, King Bimbisāra approached the Buddha and discussed the question with this dialogue:
King: Most Glorious Buddha... did you prescribe a rule prohibiting the bhikkhus from performance of miracles?
Buddha: Yes... I did, gracious King!
King: Sectarians have been going round boasting that they would challenge the Buddha to feats of miracles. What would you do now?
Buddha: If they are going to stage performance of miracles, I too shall stage performance of miracles.
King: Have you not prescribed a ruling prohibiting the performance of miracles?
Buddha: Gracious King... I have not prescribed the rule for Myself, I have prescribed the ruling exclusively for my disciples!
King: Could a ruling be prescribed exclusively for the disciples, except the Buddha? Buddha: Gracious King... in such a case, I will put a question to you: Are there mango trees and fruits in your garden?
King: Yes, there are... Revered Sir.
Buddha: What action would you take against a person who chanced to pluck the fruits and eat them?
King: I will have to punish him in that case.
Buddha: Have you any right to enjoy the fruits by yourself?
Kings: Yes, I have... Exalted Lord, no action need be taken against me when I enjoy my own property.
Buddha: Gracious King... just as your authority prevails in this country with an area of three hundred yojanas, so My authority extends to one trillion world-systems (āṇākhetta). There cannot be any ruling for Me; only My disciples are subject to restrictions. I shall perform miracles.
King: Exalted Buddha... when will you perform the miracles?
Buddha: Gracious King.. four months from today, on the full moon day of Waso (Asalho), miracles will be performed by Me.
King: Exalted Buddha... at which place?
(The term Kandaṃba, means white mango tree; what the Buddha meant by
Kandaṃba rukkha was the mango tree planted by a gardener by the name of Kandaṃba.
The Buddha had chosen that place firstly, because this is the place where all the previous Buddhas used to perform miracles; secondly, to enable a greater number of people to witness the Great Event. The Buddha had decided this place which was a distance of forty-five yojanas and the time, after a lapse of four months.)
The Sectarians’ Schemes and Pretences
When the heretics heard of the bold declaration by the Buddha (that He would perform miracles on the full moon day of Waso, near the Kandhamba mango tree, in the country of Savatthi) they foresaw that they would be doomed forever. They, however, devised ways to mislead the people by false pretensions. They therefore agreed amongst themselves to dog the steps of the Buddha en route to Savatthi, and “to tell people (should they ask for explanation) that they had declared to stage a parallel performance of miracles in competition with the Recluse Gotama,” but that the Recluse Gotama was now running away from them in fear and thus they were dogging His footsteps not to lose sight of Him and give Him the chance to escape. “With this scheme of ours, we will even receive much gain and fame,” the heretics entertained the hope.
Buddha left Rājagaha for Savatthi
The matter of performance of miracles cropped up some time about the full moon day of Tabaung, Phagguno, in the year (108) one hundred and eight of the Great Era. It was about the First waning of Tabaung that the Buddha went on alms-round in Rājagaha and left that city for Savatthi in the company of disciples.
The heretics also started their journey simultaneously and travelled almost together, trailing behind the Buddha all along the way, receiving food and partaking from the same place, starting off and halting at the same time, sleeping at the same place and resuming the journey after breakfast at the same time the next morning. When asked by the people: “What makes you go along with the Buddha?” They gave the same answer as stated above. Crowds of people went along intending to witness the performance of miracles.
The Buddha travelled along the route, and on arrival at Savatthi, took residence at the Jetavana monastery. The heretics, having travelled along with Him, built a pavilion of heartwood of clutch wood out of the fund of one lakh raised by their disciples at their request. They decorated the pavilion in grand and novel way with blue lotus blooms and boastfully announced that this would be their centre for the performance of miracles.
King Pasenadi Kosala went to the Buddha and asked: “Most Exalted Buddha, the heretics have already got a pavilion built. May I have your permission to build a pavilion for you.” He replied: “Gracious King... you need not build it. I have a donor at hand who is prepared to build it.” “Is there any person capable of building a pavilion for you other than myself?” “Gracious King.... Sakka (the King of Devas) will build it,” was the reply. The King asked: “Most Exalted Buddha.... at which place would you be pleased to perform miracles?” “Gracious King near the Kandamba mango tree,” was the reply.
The heretics were greatly shaken when they heard of the news “the Buddha will perform miracles near the mango tree,” and so they discussed with their supporting lay people to buy and fell all the mango trees, even day-old sprouts, growing within a radius of one yojana around the city of Savatthi.
An Account of Kandamba Mango Tree
The Buddha entered the city of Savatthi, accompanied by His disciples, to receive food on the morning of full moon day of Waso, (Asalho).
Incidentally, the royal gardener, named Kanda, was scaring away crows which were attracted by the scent of a big ripe mango fruit within the folds of an old nest of red ants on the mango tree. He eventually picked it with the idea of offering it to the King.
On his way, he beheld the Buddha and then a fresh idea dawned on him:
“If the King were to enjoy this mango fruit, his reward would be something like eight or sixteen pieces of money, which would not keep me going for the whole of my life; if this was offered to the Buddha, I would get, in return, immeasurable benefit throughout the cycle of rebirths.”
With this devotional faith, he offered it to the Buddha while on his way to the King.
Whereupon, the Buddha turned round and looked at the Venerable Ānanda, who being perceptive understood what the Buddha wanted him to do. He handed the stone alms-bowl that had been offered to the Buddha by the four Great Brahmas. The Buddha then lowered the bowl to accept the gift offered by the gardener Kanda. Then the Buddha showed signs of wishing to sit down at the spot.
Venerable Ānanda spread a robe over the spot for the Buddha and went ahead to prepare some mango squash and offered it to Him. After partaking of the mango squash, the Buddha called upon the royal gardener and said: “Lay devotee Kanda... scrape the earth and have that mango seed planted here.” When Kanda had sowed the seed, the Buddha washed His hand right on top of the mango seed.
As soon as Buddha had washed His hands over the seed, a sprout of the size of the stock of a harrow came up; the sprout continued to grow gradually to a height of fifty cubits even as they looked on. The main stem put out four main branches sideways, into four directions, and the fifth shooting upwards each one measuring fifty cubits. The main branches, in turn, put out small branches and abundance of fruits, till gradually the whole tree was full of bunches of ripe fruit.
All the bhikkhus who arrived later could also partake of the fruits (there being enough and to spare). On hearing the marvellous appearance of the strange mango tree, King Pasenadi Kosala issued a royal order to the effect that no one must cut the tree and caused a number of security personnel to be posted around the tree.
(The mango tree was named after the gardener, Kanda, who planted the tree, hence “Kandamba Rukkha.” The Buddha was referring to this mango tree when He had told King Bimbisāra and King Pasenad Kosala that He would perform miracles near Kandamba mango tree, in answer to their query. This was a fact unknown to the heretics, and they had therefore arranged with their followers for the destruction of all mango trees, inclusive of sprouts, in and around the city of Savatthi, at their own expense so that the Buddha could not perform miracles.
Drunken men of the locality also had their share of fruits to enjoy with great satisfaction. They turned to the heretics and they decried their low and selfish motives saying: “Ha..... you ruined heretics, you have destroyed all the mango trees, and uprooted even day-old sprouts in and around the city of Savatthi, for fear that the Recluse Gotama would perform miracles near (a white mango tree that you had in mind); but the miracles will take place near the mango tree planted by gardener Kanda,” and they attacked the heretics by throwing the seeds of the mangoes they had eaten at them.
The Pavilion of The Heretics was destroyed by The Wind ‘God’
Sakka (Indira) ordered the wind god: “Blow down the pavilion of the heretics, uprooting even the posts and dump it in the garbage.” The wind god did as he was told.
Sakka asked the sun god to cause intense heat for the sectarians by taking his mansion down a little. The sun god did as he was bid.
The wind god was asked again by the Sakka to create a whirlwind exclusively at the place of the heretics. The wind god did as he was bid, with the result that the heretics were soaked with perspiration and covered with dust, and they resembled the big red ant-hills.
Sakka then asked the rain god to pour torrential rain together with hail stones. The rain god did as he was bid, with the result that the heretics looked like oxen with white and red spots all over their bodies.
The heretics, with their pavilion wrecked beyond repair, could not withstand the intense heat and the force of the whirlwind accompanied by hail, they became crestfallen and helpless under the hopeless conditions, and there was no alternative but to run away helterskelter wherever their legs could carry.
Purana Kassapa drowned Himself
Thus the six heretic teachers ran away in different directions. Meanwhile, a male servant servitor devotee of Purana Kassapa, who was a farmer, thought: “Now it must be time for my noble teachers, to perform miracles. I will go and see the miracles.” He released the oxen from the plough, and carrying the pot in which he had brought his gruel early in the morning, a rope and the goad, he arrived at the spot where his Sage was expected to show his feat of miracle. When he saw Purana Kassapa running hastily he asked him: “Most Rev. Sir.... I have come to witness your performance of miracles, and where are you bound for?” Purana Kassapa replied: “What good could my miracle do? Just hand me the pot and the rope.” Taking the rope and the pot he ran straight to the banks of a nearby running stream, got the pot filled with sand, and tying the pot tightly round his neck with the rope sprang into the running current to end his life. This was marked by some bubbles floating on the surface of the stream while he was reborn in the plane of misery known as Avīci.
It is natural that:
(a) those who are ignorant, unenlightened are destined to suffer for a long time, through many transient existences;
(b) those noble, virtuous, intelligent and enlightened persons enjoy the maximum of peace, joy and benefits.
Such is the nature of the world.
Addresses made by The Buddha’s Disciples at The Feats of Miracle
Towards the evening on that day, Sakka realized that it was his duty to arrange for the creation of a jewelled pavilion for the Buddha and so he commanded Vissukamma to create a great pavilion extending over twelve yojanas, profusely covered with blue lotus blooms and adorned with seven kinds of jewels. The Sangha and the laity would assemble around the Buddha in this pavilion.
Towards the evening on that day, the Buddha left His Scented Chamber to take up temporary residence at the pavilion, which was created by Vissukamma, getting ready for the demonstration of the feat of miracles, and on arrival sat on the jewelled throne of the size of one yojana and under a white celestial umbrella of the size of three yojanas.
It will be recalled that a period of four months had elapsed since the last full moon day of Tabaung when the Buddha had given intimation to King Bimbisāra of His desire to demonstrate a feat of miracle near the Kandamba mango tree. This piece of news had spread far and wide ever since, and now all the bhikkhus, bhikkhunīs and male and female lay devotees had gathered around the Buddha on four sides, i.e., at the front, back, left and right, and 12 yojanas long on each side; 24 yojanas from end to end and 72 yojanas in circumference. All the celestial beings from ten thousand world-systems had also assembled at this place at the same time.
A Female Lay Devotee, Gharani’s Address
At the assembly, Gharani, a female lay devotee and an anāgāmin with great power, stood in front of the Buddha and paying obeisance with palms together, made her address: “Most Exalted Buddha... when there is a daughter of yours such as myself, we see no need for you to exert yourself. May I be kindly permitted to demonstrate a feat of miracle?”
Whereupon, He asked: “Dear daughter Gharani... how would you demonstrate your feat of miracle?”
“Most Exalted Buddha... I shall cause the earth portion of the universe into water thereby turning the entire world-system into a uniform mass of water. I shall transform myself into a water hen and dive to reappear at the eastern edge, then likewise at the western, northern and southern edge of the universe, and then at the centre of the universe.
Whereupon, a certain person might ask as to who I am, and the people would answer: ‘She is Gharani, daughter of the Buddha, a female anāgāmin.’ This would lead the people to say: ‘This display of power is only the prelude, the power of a daughter of the Buddha, a young woman. The power of the Buddha must indeed be infinite.’ In consequence, all the heretics would naturally lose courage and flee without even daring to glance back at You.”
The Buddha told her: “Dear daughter Gharani, I knew you have the power to demonstrate such a feat of miracle, but the bouquet of flowers (attached to the winning post) was not meant for you.” Gharani considered that the Buddha had not given her permission for good reasons; it might be that there was someone far superior than her in respect of power in the performance miracles. So she remained at a suitable place.
The Buddha contemplated: “If, in this manner, I should ask my sons and daughters, in the mildest of these spectations, covering twenty-four square yojanas, they will rise up bravely and with the mien of a lion king, make such wildly confident declarations. In this way, the attribute of my sons and daughters will be already revealed.” He therefore asked other disciples, both males and females, about their individual achievements. The disciples courageously disclosed the way in which they would display their feat of miracles in His presence.
Cula Anāthapiṇḍika’s Address
Amongst those male and female disciples, who made such bold statements, Cula Anāthapiṇḍika was one who had this to say: “Most Exalted Buddha... when there is a anāgāmī disciple of yours such as myself, there is no need to exert yourself. Let me be kindly permitted to demonstrate a feat of miracles.”
Whereupon, Buddha asked him: “Dear son Anāthapiṇḍika... in what form would you demonstrate a feat of miracles?”
The lay disciple, Anāgāmin Anāthapiṇḍika replied:
“I will transform my body into that of Brahmā’s body, which measures 12 yojanas, and then by slapping one of the upper arms with the open palm of the other hand, produce the thunderous sounds of a great rain storm in the midst of the throngs of people present here.
Whereupon, people would ask: ‘What sort of sound is that?' and the others would answer: ‘This is the sound of the clapping of the arms by the young rich man, Anāthapiṇḍika, who is an anāgāmī-disciple of the Buddha.’ This would lead the heretics to say: ‘This is only the prelude, the power of a young lay-disciple. The power of the Buddha cannot even be guessed.’ In consequence, they would naturally lose courage and flee without even daring to glance back at You.”
He told him: “Dear Anāthapiṇḍika... I know that you have the power to display the feat of miracles; but you had better wait.”
A Seven Year Old Samaneri, Cira’s Address
A young samaneri of seven years old, known as Cira, who had acquired patisambhidāñāṇa, after paying obeisance, requested the Buddha: “Most Exalted Buddha... may I be permitted to display my feat of miracles?”
He asked her: “Dear young daughter Cira, in what form would you display your feat of miracles?”
“Most Exalted Buddha... I will bring three mountains, namely, Sineru, Cakkavalapabbata and the Himalayas to this spot, where the feat of miracles is being demonstrated, and place them in a row. I will transform myself into a Braminy duck and coming out from these mountains fly about freely without any hindrance.
Whereupon people would ask: “Who is this little girl?” and the others would answer: ‘This is Cira, a young samaneri of the Buddha.’ This would lead the heretics to say: ‘This is only the introductory performance, the power of only a seven-year old Samaneri. The power of the Buddha cannot even be conjectured.’ In consequence, they would naturally lose courage and flee without even daring to glance back at You.”
(Such remarks are applicable to subsequent cases of similar nature and no attempt will be made to reproduce them hereafter.) The Buddha gave the same reply, and she was not permitted to display her feat of miracle.
A Seven-Year Old Arahat Sāmaṇera, Cunda’s Address
Next, a young seven-year old arahat sāmaṇera, Cunda, who had acquired patisambhidāñāṇa, after paying obeisance, made a request: “Most Exalted Buddha... may I be kindly permitted to display my feat of miracles?” He asked: “Dear son Cunda, in what form would you display your feat of miracles?”
“Most Exalted Buddha... I will shake the gold Eugenia tree (which is regarded as the victory pennant of the universe) by its stem and bring the fruits that fall to feed the audience here; and again, I will bring flowers from the coral tree Erythrina indica in Tāvatiṃsa and give them to the audience here.”
The Buddha gave the same reply as before and did not permit the young novice to display his miracle.
Next, Uppalavana Therī requested the Buddha to display her feat of miracle and the
Buddha asked her: “In what form would you demonstrate?”
“Most Exalted Buddha... I will create an audience extending to the length of 12 yojanas, occupying a space of 36 yojanas in circumference. I will transform myself into a Universal Monarch and surrounded by a Universal Monarch’s attendants come to pay homage to you.”
He replied: “I know that you have the power” but did not grant permission for demonstration as in the previous cases.
The Venerable Mahā Moggallāna’s Statement
Next, Venerable Mahā Moggallāna requested permission to demonstrate a feat of miracle. The Venerable’s request took the form a dialogue between the Buddha and himself:
Moggallāna: Kindly permit me to perform a feat of miracle.
Buddha: Dear Son Moggallāna... how would you demonstrate?
Moggallāna: I will reduce the Mount Meru to the size of a mustard seed, shelve it in between the fissures of my teeth and chew it in the presence of the spectators.
Buddha: How else would you demonstrate?
Moggallāna: The earth will be rolled up like a small thin mat and I will keep it in between my fingers.
Buddha: Any other way?
Moggallāna: Like a potter’s wheel (for grinding earth), I will turn up the great earth and feed the populace here with the fertile top soil that lies under the surface.
Buddha: How else?
Moggallāna: This earth will be put on the palm of my left hand, and human beings will be placed on another island continent.
Buddha: Any more?
Moggallāna: Most Exalted Buddha.... I will use Mount Meru like the shaft of an umbrella and placing the earth on top of it like the folds of an umbrella, I will walk in space to and fro, holding both in one hand, like a bhikkhu with an umbrella in his hand.
The Buddha told Venerable Mahā Moggallāna: “Dear son Moggallāna... I know you have great power to demonstrate feats of miracles,” but did not permit him to perform them. The Venerable Mahā Moggallāna came to understand: “Permission was not given to him because the Tathāgata had in mind greater and nobler miracles than his to perform.” So he remained at a proper place.
The Buddha further pointed out to the Venerable Mahā Moggallāna: “Dear son, this victory bouquet is not earmarked for you. I, the Buddha, have the power to accomplish any task that lies beyond the achievement of any other person. It is no wonder that there is no match for Me when I have become a Fully Self-Enlightened Buddha. I had no equal even when I was born as an irrational creature and my pāramī accomplishment was still immature.” At the request of Venerable Moggallāna, the Buddha propounded Kanha Usaba Jātaka (vide Ekanipata: 3-Kurunga vagga, the ninth Jātaka).
Creation of A Walk
After recounting the Kanha Usaba Jātaka, the Buddha created a jewelled Walk, which extended from one end to the other end at a group of ten thousand world-systems, standing from east to west in a row. The ten thousand Mahā Merus in the ten thousand worldsystems served as posts in the creation of the Walk. The eastern perimeter of the Walk rested on the edge of the eastern-most world-system; the western perimeter of the Walk rested on the western end of the western-most word system. The width of the Walk was twelve yojanas. The bordering surfaces on either side of the Walk were golden in colour; the middle portion of the entire Walk was filled with earth of rubies, and the rafters, beams, purloins were finished with various kinds of shining gems, the roofing was of gold, and balusters lining the Walk were of gold; ruby and pearl grains were spread like sand on entire surface of the structure.
On each of the four sides of the Walk, extending to 12 yojanas, was the audience of human beings. The number of devas, humans and Brahmās was uncountable. It was in the midst of such an audience that the Buddha demonstrated the Twin Miracles. The following is an excerpt, in abridged form, from the Pāli Text.
(1) When there were flames of fire appearing from the upper part of the body, there were streams of water flowing from the lower part of the body and when there were flames of fire appearing from the lower part of the body, there were streams of water flowing from the upper of the body.
(2) When there were flames of fire appearing from the front part of the body, there were streams of water flowing from the back part of the body and when there were flames of fire appearing from the back part, there were streams of water flowing from the front of the body.
(3) When there were flames of fire appearing from the right eye, there were streams of water flowing from the left eye and when there were flames of fire appearing from the left eye, there were streams of water flowing from the right eye.
(4) When there were flames of fire appearing from the right ear, there were streams of water flowing from the left ear and when there were flames of fire appearing from the left ear, there were streams of water flowing from the right ear.
(5) When there were flames of fire appearing from the right nostril, there were streams of water flowing from the left nostril and when there were flames of fire appearing from the left nostril, there were streams of water flowing from the right nostril.
(6) When there were flames of fire appearing from the edge of the right shoulder, there were streams of water flowing from the edge of the left shoulder and when there were flames of fire appearing from the edge of the left shoulder, there were streams of water flowing from the edge of the right shoulder.
(7) When there were flames of fire appearing from the right hand, there were streams of water flowing from the left hand and when there were flames of fire appearing from the left hand, there were streams of water flowing from the right hand.
(8) When there were flames of fire appearing from the right side of the body, there were streams of water flowing from the left side of the body;and, when there were flames of fire appearing from the left side of the body, there were streams of water flowing from the right side of the body.
(9) When there were flames of fire appearing from the right leg, there were streams of water flowing from the left leg; and, when there were flames of fire appearing from
the left leg, there were streams of water flowing from the right leg.
(10) When there were flames of fire appearing from each of the ten fingers and the ten toes, there were streams of water flowing from the spaces between each of the ten fingers and the ten toes; and, when there were flames of fire appearing from the spaces between each of the ten fingers and the ten toes, there were streams of water flowing from each of the ten fingers and the ten toes.
(11) When there were flames of fire appearing from some individual hairs of the body, there were streams of water flowing from the other individual hairs.
(12) When there were flames of fire appearing from some individual pores of the body, there were streams of water flowing from the other individual pores.
From these different parts of the body there was emanation of six different colours of light, namely, dark blue, gold, red, white, crimson, resplendent, in pairs, in streams or in groups.
(N.B. The Buddha developed tejo-kasiṇa-jhāna based on fire (tejo) meditation device for the appearance of flames of fire from the upper part of the body and developed āpo-kasiṇa-jhāna based on water (āpo) meditation device for the flow of streams of water from the lower part of the body. The same principle was applied in reversing the order of performance of the Twin Miracle.)
It should be borne in mind that the flames of fire did not get mixed with the streams of water and vice versa. They remained in their own orbit. Since there can be no two simultaneous thought moments in one instant of time, creation of flames of fire and creation of streams of water took two separate moments, taking turns in alternation, although they would appear to synchronize and be taking place simultaneously in the minds of ordinary average persons. The mental creation happened in very great speed although separately. This may be attributed to (a) the moment between each state of mind of the Buddha being extremely short, (b) speed of mind, (c) having reached the climax of mastery in the attainment of jhānas. The flames of fire and streams of water emitted from the Buddha’s body went up to the summit of the universe and descended on the edge of the ten thousand worldsystems.
Loka Vivarana Pāṭihāriya (The Miracle of Unveiling of The Universe)
Following the demonstration of the Twin Miracle, the Buddha performed the miracle of unveiling of the Universe. This is how it was performed. He entered the rūpā-vacara kiriya fourth jhāna based on white object meditation device (odata-kasiṇa); arising therefrom, He made the resolution: “Let there be illumination throughout the ten thousand universes.” Instantaneously, the whole universe, right from the human world up to the Akkaniṭha-Brahmā realm became illuminated.
All the human beings could have full view of the universes from Catumahārajika Deva region to Akkaniṭha-Brahmā realm even as they stayed in their own residences. They could see all the celestial beings therein going about their daily life in their many special and various planes with all the lakes, gardens, thrones, couches, tiered-roof mansions, carriages, regalia, in happy joyous mood, disporting themselves fully enjoying a luxurious life in their jewelled brilliant flying mansions of their own creation, themselves and everything radiantly bright.
In the sixteen rūpa-vacara planes, some radiant Brahmās, still and serene as statues made of assorted jewels, were seen enjoying the tranquillity of samāpatti, while others were seen engaged in discussing the profound and delicate essence of the Dhamma. They were clearly seen with human eyes by virtue of the Glories of the Exalted One.
In the same way, down and deep in the earth, there are eight great infernal planes, and each plane has four sides or minor regions of punishment, sixteen in all, known as Ussada niraya. In between every three universes is a minor region of punishment known as
Lokanta niraya. These are regions of utter darkness. In each plane of misery, there are beings in great agony, serving terms of punishment according to their deserts, depending upon the intensity of their guilt. All the people on this earth could see these planes of misery and miserable beings clearly, by virtue of the glories of the Exalted One.
All the devas and Brahmās in the ten thousand universes, who had arrived by means of their great powers, could be seen paying homage to the Buddha with hands raised and heads bowed in adoration and with minds filled with overwhelming wonder and devotion. They uttered stanzas in praise of the splendours and glories of the Buddha and spoke words of exuberant joy and happiness.
All these strange phenomena, such as the Twin miracles, six Radiations from the body of the Buddha and ten thousand universes could be seen by all the people on this earth, caused much delight and reverential faith.
Miraculous Display of Iridescence in Six Colours.
(1) (NĪLA) Dark-blue radiation: The Buddha, who had demonstrated the Twin Miracles, had caused, by virtue of yamaka patihariya-ñāṇa, radiation from His body: the dark-blue radiation emanated from where the hair and the beard grew and the iris of the eye, with the result that the whole sky appeared to have been sprinkled and scattered with powder of antimony or covered by the butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea) and the blue lotus flowers; it resembled a moving fan made of bluish-green rubies; the whole sky was flooded with the sapphire blue light.
(2) (PĪTA) Yellow Radiation: emanated from the skin and the sockets of the eyes and all the golden parts of the Buddha. The entire environs were brightened by a golden colour as though the whole area was poured over with liquid gold or covered by a garment of gold, or as if saffron was sprinkled and golden silk cotton flowers strewn over it.
(3) (LOHITA) Red Radiation: emanated from flesh and blood and certain parts of the eyes and other red parts of the body. The entire environmental area was brightened by the red light as though dyed with vermilion or coated over with red liquid of lac, or covered with red velvet, or as if cloaked with flowers of Pentapeters phonecea, and Indian coral were strewn over it. The whole area was strangely and beautifully brightened by this radiation.
(4) (ODATA) White Radiation: emanated from the bones, teeth, the eye-tooth of the Buddha and the whites of the eyes. The whole area looked as though covered with milk flowing constantly from silver pots, or with a silver ceiling hung with silver leaves and plates laid out layer upon layer, or a silver fan in motion, or as if wild jasmine, white lores, streblus asper, jasmine, Arabian jasmine were strewn over the place.
(5) (MANJEṬṬHA) Crimson Radiation: emanated from the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, thereby beautifully brightening up the environs as though covered by a net of coral and flowers of the barleria prionitis species.
(6) (PABHASSARA) Resplendent radiations: emanated from a single hair on Buddha’s fore-head, nails of the fingers and toes, and all parts that shone, thereby brightening up the region as though filled with many constellations of the evening star and with flashes of lightning and currents of electricity. It was indeed a wondrously beautiful scene.
——Excerpts from Patisambhida Maggaṭṭhakatha, Second Vol.——
The emanation of the six-hued radiance was indeed a strange phenomenon which resembled the continuous flow of streams of liquid gold, silver and ruby from a fountainhead shooting up to the roof of the universe and then descending to the edge of the universe. All the thousands of universes merged into a great elegant wonderful and beautiful golden mansion as it were with beams, rafters of assorted precious jewels.
The Buddha delivered Discourses while walking on The Walk
On that day, the Buddha preached discourses in harmony with the inclinations of the people, at intervals while demonstrating the Twin Miracles on the Walk, which was laid from east to west, across the thousands of world-systems. He suspended the performance of miracles to allow a short interval of rest for the audience who, in return, said: ‘Sādhu’ as a gesture of gratitude. It was during these intervals that He looked into the dispositions of each and every member of the audience, who formed a sea of beings. To this end, He observed the mental process of each one of them by the exercise of cittanupassanā, noting the sixteen different mental attitudes of each individual. One may imagine the speed of mind of the Fully Self-Enlightened Buddhas.
As stated above, the Buddha performed miracles and preached the Dhamma in harmony with the disposition and inclinations of the people (beings), only after He had looked into and considered their mind process, with the result that numerous beings were emancipated from the sentient existence through realization of the Four Noble Truths.
Indeed, it was the occasion of a great triumph of the Dhamma, “Dhammābhisamaya.”
Creation of Buddha’s Own Double
The Buddha looked into the minds of individual persons, amongst a great company of beings, to find out if there were any who were capable of raising questions according to His own desire (so that He might furnish the right answer, in return) but He could not find anyone. So, He created His own double, that gradually grew into two, then into three into four, into hundreds, by multiplication.
There was an exchange of series of questions and answers between himself and the created Buddhas, alternately taking turns to raise questions and to answer. The created Buddhas took up different postures, some were standing, some lying down, some walking and some sitting, while engaging in the dialogue.
The glow and splendour of the six hues of radiations, together with flames of fire and streams of water of the twin miracles of the Buddha, and brilliancy of the created Buddhas, combined to light up the whole stretch of the sky, producing a confused array of gorgeousness to an extent that lay beyond the capability of the sāvakas.
A great number of devas and Brahmās spoke eulogies in praise of the glory, greatness and grace of the Buddha. The whole sky rang with the songs of the celestial beings. They poured showers of celestial flowers, the music from the thousands of musical instruments of the celestial beings combined with those of the human beings rent the air. It was indeed, as if a single grand festival of all beings was being celebrated.
Twenty Crores of Humans, Devas and Brahmās gained Emancipation
Such an uncommon feat of Twin Miracles was demonstrated by the Buddha by virtue of asādhārana-ñāṇa, wisdom peculiar to the Fully Self-Enlightened Buddhas and not shared with Paccekabuddhas and sāvakas. Having had the opportunity to witness the miracles as well as listen to the preaching delivered at intervals, twenty crores of human beings, celestial Brahmās and other beings were emancipated at this great gathering of the Feat of Miracles.
An opportunity will be taken here for the reproduction of a relevant Stanza composed in adoration of the attributes of the Fully Self-Enlightened Buddha, in Pāli and vernacular, to promote the sense of devotional faith in the Buddha.
(N.B. Here the author reproduced a verse “Yamakapāṭihāriya Vandanā” of veneration in praise of the display of Twin Miracle. Being a repetition in Pāli and Burmese of the performance of the Twin Miracle described above, we left this portion untranslated.)