Why Buddha Didn’t Like Miracles

Miraculous Buddha

It’s no no stretch to say Buddha’s life was basically surrounded by miraculous events and people.
Even his conception was conceived immaculately, coming to his mother in her dreams in the form of a white elephant.
His birth was miraculous as well; as the story goes, he was able to walk upright and talk immediately.
But these stories don’t exactly fall inline with the adult Buddha we know.
After all he rarely performed miracles…and even spoke out against them.

A Story

One time, Buddha was entering a city to preach the teaching of the eight-fold path.
He was greeted by a man named Kevaddha.
Paying respect, the man asked Buddha:
“Lord, Nalanda is a successful city. The people living in Nalanda are prosperous, and they have confidence in the Blessed One. Lord, it would be beneficial if the Blessed One appointed a monk to work a marvel of supernormal power, so that the people of Nalanda might become much more confident in the Blessed One.”
The Buddha looked thoughtful for a minute, then replied:

“Kevaddha, I do not teach the Law to bhikkhus (Buddhist monks)  in that way.” The Buddha gave the same answer when the question was put to him again and again. But after the third question, the Buddha replied that there were three kinds of supernormal levels:

1. The power to appear as many persons, to pass through walls, to fly through the air, walk on water. All these are physical actions the ordinary people cannot perform.

2. The power to read other people’s minds.

3. The power to be able to guide people according to their development, for their own good, using suitable methods to fit these people.

At the end of the day, Buddha said, if the first two were used to impress people, it was no better than the performance of a magician.
They make an impression on people, but they don’t help alleviate suffering.
But the third power does.

The Most Important Miracle

The third miracle is the most important because it actually changes a person’s entire frame of mind.
That is, they begin the road toward enlightenment and true happiness.
According to Buddha, a truly miraculous event is when you see a person living in ignorance and you help them rise above it.
This eventually became a rule within Buddhism, part of the Vinaya book for monks.
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