Miracles of Gautama Buddha

Miracles of Gautama Buddha
Painting of the first sermon depicted at Wat Chedi Liem in Thailand.

Gautama Buddha was alleged to possess superhuman powers and abilities; however, due to an understanding of the workings of the skeptical mind, he reportedly responded to a request for miracles by saying, "...I dislike, reject and despise them,"[1] and refused to comply. He allegedly attained his abilities through deep meditation during the time when he had renounced the world and lived as an ascetic. He supposedly performed such miracles to bring the most benefit to sentient beings and he warned that miraculous powers should not be the reason for practising his path.



It is said[2] that immediately after the birth of Siddhartha Gautama, he stood up, took seven steps north, and uttered:

"I am chief of the world,
Eldest am I in the world,
Foremost am I in the world.
This is the last birth.
There is now no more coming to be."

Naturally, a new born child cannot immediately talk; the child requires further development in order to speak fluently. In his respective era, Buddha claimed that he was only a natural son of his parents. This saying that is attributed to the newborn Buddha as an utterance of his supremacy is unproven and he eventually claimed that he is only a path finder and not a salvation giver. This claim was meant to indicate that Buddha was a human being and not a god.

The golden bridge

During the third week after The Buddha's Enlightenment, the devas were unsure about whether Siddhartha Gautama had truly attained enlightenment or not. As proof of his enlightenment, The Buddha, using only his mind, allegedly created a golden bridge in the air, and walked up and down the bridge for an entire week.

Twin miracle

After the Buddha returned to his father's kingdom, uncertainty still existed about whether Gautama Buddha was really enlightened or not. In response, the Buddha allegedly displayed the Yamaka-pātihāriya or the "Twin Miracle", called so because of its simultaneous production of apparently contradictory phenomena; in this case, fire and water.

The twin miracle entailed Gautama Buddha producing flames from the upper part of his body and streams of water from the lower part of his body, alternating this, and doing similarly between the left and right sides of his body.

Afterwards, the Buddha took three giant steps, arriving in Tavatimsa. There, he preached the Abhidharma to his mother who had been reborn there as a Deva named Santussita.


On one occasion, the Buddha allegedly flew into a Brahma's world, and explained to the Brahma that all things are transient and temporary and devoid of independent existence. After being persuaded by the Buddha's words, the Brahma decided to follow The Buddha's Dharma.

The Brahma then requested a competition of powers between the two of them. Whenever the Brahma hid himself, the Buddha ended up pointing out where he was located. Then, the Buddha hid himself in voidness and meditation but the Brahma could not spot him. The Brahma's faith in the Buddha was increased.

Taming the elephant

Devadatta was a cousin of the Buddha. Devadatta was tormented from early in his life by jealousy against his cousin. After scheming against Gautama to no avail, Devadatta set loose an elephant, known as Nalagiri or Dhanapala, to destroy the Buddha. One account is that as this elephant, who had been intoxicated into a crazed state by his keepers, ran through the town towards the Buddha, a frightened woman accidentally dropped her baby at the Buddha's feet. Just as the elephant was about to trample the child, The Buddha calmly reached up and touched the elephant on the forehead. The elephant became calm and quiet, then knelt down before the Buddha.

The clean water

Gautama Buddha asked his disciple Ananda to get him some drinking water from a well. Ananda, however, repeatedly told the Buddha that the well was filled with grass and chaff, and thus not drinkable. Despite this, the Buddha continuously asked Ananda for the well's water; eventually, Ananda went to the well. As Ananda walked to the well, the Buddha allegedly expelled all the grass and chaff from the well which resulted in the water becoming radiant and clean.

Walking on water

It is recounted as one of the Miracles of Buddha that Gautama Buddha walked on water by levitating over a stream in order to convert a brahmin to Buddhism.[3] However, there is no mention of this miracle in the Pali Canon or other Buddhist scriptures.

Power over nature

R.C. Amore recounts a miracle from the first chapter of Mahavagga (Book of the Discipline, IV) where the Buddha displayed his power over nature. When an area was inundated by a flood, he commanded the waters to stand back so that he could walk between them on dry ground.[4]

The Day of Miracles

The first full moon of the year is celebrated in the Vajrayana tradition as the Day of Miracles, or Chotrul Duchen in Tibetan, to commemorate the final day of the 15 days of miraculous display by the Buddha. He performed the miracles during this time to overpower the six teachers of non-Buddhist views, called Tirthikas, who challenged him. When the Buddha first received the challenge, he moved to another kingdom of India[where?] and he continued to avoid the teachers until he had visited all the kingdoms. Finally, he had the kings of these lands and their retinues accompany him to the final kingdom[where?]. There, at an arranged field, he allegedly displayed his miraculous powers for 15 days to increase the devotion and merit of future disciples. Through these acts, which are observed annually by the prayer festival of the Gelugpa Monlam Chenmo, the Buddha defeated the teachers.

Other miracles

Other miracles and powers that Gautama Buddha is alleged to have possessed and exercised include Iddhi, Telepathy, super-hearing, divine seeing, and seeing past lives. These are described in the Mahasihanada Sutta and other suttas in the pali canon.[5]

See also


  1. ^ The Long Discourses of the Buddha, A Translation of the Dīgha Níkāya by Maurice Walshe
  2. ^ Life of the Buddha
  3. ^ Schulberg, Lucille Historic India (Great Ages of Man: A History of the World's Cultures) 1968:New York Time Inc. Page 69--Stone bas relief depicting the levitation of Buddha
  4. ^ Jesus' walking on the sea: an investigation of the origin of the narrative
  5. ^ Maha-sihanada Sutta

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