Anapanasati - Mindfulness of Breathing by Bhikkhu Nanamoli

By Bhikkhu Nanamoli

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All these practices tend to be animistic or “Tantric,” concerned with spirits and ghosts; it is practices of this sort that result in the permanent splitting off of sects. ” It is even more pronounced in certain Mahàyàna sects, which have gone so far as to become confused with other religions and have assumed forms so strange that one cannot recognize them as Buddhist sects at all. Thinking it over one sees that all these practices are worthless and belong with the defilements of craving and attachment; insofar as they do satisfy, it is only because they conduce to faith.

10) Supernormal powers (iddhi-palibodha): Some people become attached to the idea of gaining miraculous or magical powers, which they find very tempting. Anyone who is infatuated with the desire to possess supernormal powers and practises meditation specifically for this purpose may very easily become deranged. The meditator must get rid completely of any wish to possess supernormal powers; only then will his practice proceed directly towards the Noble Paths and Fruits, and to Nirvàõa. This is 59 how to get rid of the Impediment of Supernormal Powers for those who have not yet started practice.

For the trainee to look to the Buddha or anyone else to help him keep his resolution to practise is once again mere superstitious ritualism. He must move ever forward, never backward into the abyss of ignorance, never living in the world of magical powers. Every step of the meditator’s practice must be guided by all the reason, intelligence, and insight he has at his disposal. (12) Paying homage to the Buddha by way of practice: This custom is observed every day or each time when the practice is over.

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