Iddhi: 6 definitions


Iddhi means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

Iddhi.—(F) “Psychical power”.

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

Iddhi refers to “power”, ”magical power”. The magical powers constitute one of the 6 kinds of higher spiritual powers (abhiññā, q.v.). One distinguishes many kinds of magical powers:

  1. the power of determination (adhitthān' iddhi), i.e. the power of becoming oneself manifold;
  2. the power of transformation (vikubbana iddhi), i.e. the power of adopting another form;
  3. the power of spiritual creation (manomaya iddhi), i.e. the power of letting issue from this body another mentally produced body;
  4. the power of penetrating knowledge (ñāna-vipphara iddhi), i.e. the power of inherent insight to remain unhurt in danger;
  5. the power of penetrating concentration (samādhivippharā iddhi) producing the same result.

The magical powers are treated in detail in Vis.M. XII; Pts.M., Vibh.—(App.). They are not a necessary condition for final deliverance.

context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

Iddhi (इद्धि) refers to “magical processes” related to the Sanskrit Ṛddyabhijñā: one of the six “superknowledges” (abhijñā), according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter XLIII.

There are ten kinds of iddhi (magical processes) defined in sources such as Paṭisambhidā, Visuddhimagga and Atthasālini:

  1. Adhiṭṭhānā-iddhi, magic by virtue of an act of will,
  2. Vikubbanā-iddhi, magic of bodily transformation.
  3. Manomayā-iddhi, creation of a physical body, the double of oneself.
  4. Ñāṇavipphārā-iddhi, magic resulting from an intervention of knowledge.
  5. Samādhivipphārā-iddhi, magic resulting from an intervention of the mind in concentration.
  6. Ariyā-iddhi, noble magic,
  7. Kammavipākajā-iddhi, magic resulting from the retribution of actions.
  8. Puññavato-iddhi, magic belonging to the deserving person.
  9. Vijjāmayā-iddhi, magic of the scientific order, resulting from progress in the sciences.
  10. Tattha-tattha-sammāpayogapaccayā-ijjhanaṭṭhena-iddhi, magic the success of which is assured by a correct undertaking in such and such a realm.
Mahayana book cover
context information

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

iddhi : (f.) prosperity; potency; psychic power.

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

Iddhi, (Vedic ṛddhi from ardh, to prosper; Pali ijjhati). There is no single word in English for Iddhi, as the idea is unknown in Europe. The main sense seems to be “potency” .—1. Pre-Buddhistic; the Iddhi of a layman. The four Iddhis of a king are personal beauty, long life, good health, and popularity (D. II, 177; M. III, 176, cp. J. III, 454 for a later set). The Iddhi of a rich young noble is 1. The use of a beautiful garden, 2. of soft and pleasant clothing, 3. of different houses for the different seasons, 4. of good food, A. I, 145. At M. I, 152 the Iddhi of a hunter, is the craft and skill with which he captures game; but at p. 155 other game have an Iddhi of their own by which they outwit the hunter. The Iddhi, the power of a confederation of clans, is referred to at D. II, 72. It is by the Iddhi they possess that birds are able to fly (Dhp 175).—2. Psychic powers. including most of those claimed for modern mediums (see under Abhiññā). Ten such are given in a stock paragraph. They are the power to project mind-made images of oneself; to become invisible; to pass through solid things, such as a wall; to penetrate solid ground as if it were water; to walk on water; to fly through the air; to touch sun and moon; to ascend into the highest heavens (D. I, 77, 212; II, 87, 213; III, 112, 281; S. II, 121; V, 264, 303; A. I, 170, 255; III, 17, 28, 82, 425; V, 199; Ps. I, 111; II, 207; Vism. 378 sq. , 384; DA. I, 122). For other such powers see S. I, 144; IV, 290; V, 263; A. III, 340.—3. The Buddhist theory of Iddhi. At D. I, 213 the Buddha is represented as saying: “It is because I see danger in the practice of these mystic wonders that I loathe and abhor and am ashamed thereof” . The mystic wonder that he himself believed in and advocated (p. 214) was the wonder of education. What education was meant in the case of Iddhi, we learn from M. I, 34; A. III, 425, and from the four bases of Iddhi, the Iddhipādā. They are the making determination in respect of concentration on purpose, on will, on thoughts & on investigation (D. II, 213; M. I, 103; A. I, 39, 297; II, 256; III, 82; Ps. I, 111; II 154, 164, 205; Vbh. 216). It was ar offence against the regulations of the Saṅgha for a Bhikkhu to display before the laity these psychic powers beyond the capacity of ordinary men (Vin. II, 112). And falsely to claim the possession of such powers involved expulsion from the Order (Vin. III, 91). The psychic powers of Iddhi were looked upon as inferior (as the Iddhi of an unconverted man seeking his own profit), compared to the higher Iddhi, the Ariyan Iddhi (D. III, 112; A. I, 93; Vin. II, 183). There is no valid evidence that any one of the ten Iddhis in the above list actually took place. A few instances are given, but all are in texts more than a century later than the recorded wonder. And now for nearly two thousand years we have no further instances. Various points on Iddhi discussed at Dial. I. 272, 3; Cpd. 60 ff.; Expositor 121. Also at Kvu 55; Ps. II, 150; Vism. XII; DhA. I, 91; J. I, 47, 360.

Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Sanskrit dictionary

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Iddhi (इद्धि).—(= Pali-Prakrit id.; MIndic for ṛddhi), magic power: Mahāvastu ii.322.1 (verse; read) marūṇa rājā vaśir iddhiprāpto (or perhaps vaśi riddhi°, see this; text divides wrongly, va śiriddhi°).

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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