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Cattari Iddhipada

The Four Power-Paths

References:

The Pali Line: Part IV The 10th Question, Part 1 The Powers
Warren: Buddhism in Translations: I 69. World-Cycles I 65. The Six High Powers

Pali MO Hare Horner Punnaji Bodhi Nanamoli Rhys Davids (Mrs)Rhys Davids Thanissaro Walshe Woodward
Iddhipada The Four Power Paths psycic power
[AN 5.67]
basis of psychic power ?Supernatural Powers, psychic powers Bases for Spiritual Power Bases for Spiritual Power (early: four paths to saintship[1], The Wonodrous Gift) Mystic Potencies The Four Bases of Power Roads to Power The Four Bases of Effective Power [SN 4.43.12.xvii-xx]
Chanda Intent, Wishing, Wanting desire-to-do intention desire desire, zeal zeal, rapture and pleasure desire Desire Intention Desire
Viriya Energy, virility energy energy Practice energy energy energy energy, effort Persistence energy energy
Citte emotion, heart (having the heart for it; mental strength) thought consciousness, mind emotion, mood mind [purity of] mindmind thoughts thoughts intent, mind consciousness idea
Vimansa Reminiscence, Re-memberance, Recollection, Investigation investigation investigation investigation investigation investigation discrimination investigation Investigation, Consideration both found in [SN 5.51.15]

 

Pali Text Society
Pali English Dictionary
Edited by T. W. Rhys Davids and William Stede
[EDITED ENTRY]

 

Iddhi: [Vedic rddhi 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.... 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.... 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.... - 2. Psychic powers. including most of those claimed for modern mediums... 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... 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 Iddhipada. They are the making determination in respect of concentration on purpose, on will, on thoughts and on investigation.... It was an offence against the regulations of the Sangha 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.... 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...

 


The Four Power Paths
He begets the Powerpath Consisting of Effort-upon-Effort at Confounding Wish-HighGetting;
He begets the Powerpath Consisting of Effort-upon-Effort at Confounding Energy-HighGetting;
He begets the Powerpath Consisting of Effort-upon-Effort at Confounding HeartFelt-HighGetting;
He begets the Powerpath Consisting of Effort-upon-Effort at Confounding Reminiscence-HighGetting.
And this is thrown in for a fifth: Exertion.

Walshe (LD:18.22, pp 297):
"Here a monk develops concentration of intention accompanied by effort of will,
concentration of energy...,
concentration of consciousness...,
and concentration of investigation accompanied by effort of will."

Nanamoli/Bodhi (MLD:16.26):
"He develops the basis for spiritual power consisting in concentration due to zeal and determined striving;
he develops the basis for spiritual power consisting in concentration due to energy and determined striving;
he develops the basis for spiritual power consisting in concentration due to [purity of] mind and determined striving;
he develops the basis for spiritual power consisting in concentration due to investigation and determined striving.
And enthusiasm is the fifth."

Bhk. Bodhi alone (CD:II:51.1, pp1718):
"Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu develops the basis for spiritual power that possesses concentration due to desire and volitional formations of striving. He develops the basis for spiritual power that possesses concentration due to energy and volitional formations of striving. He develops the basis for spiritual power that possesses concentration due to mind and volitional formations of striving. He develops the basis for spiritual power that possesses concentration due to investigation and volitional formations of striving."


[1]From: PTS: dn.16.1.3.htm:

3.59. '"Whosoever, Ananda, has thought out and developed, practised, accumulated, and ascended to the very heights of the four paths to saintship, and so mastered them as to be able to use them as a means of (mental) advancement and as a basis for edification -- he, should he desire it, could remain in the same birth for a kalpa, or for that portion of a kalpa which has yet to run." Now the Tathagata has thought out and thoroughly practised them [in all respects as just now fully described], and might, should he desire it, remain alive for a kalpa, or for that portion of a kalpa which has yet to run.'

Walshe [3.3, pp 246]: "...the four roads to power...century..." And he footnotes: 1. Iddhipada. 2. Kappan va tittheyya kappavasesan va. This passage is much disputed. The usual meaning of kappa is 'aeon' (but see PED for other senses). DA, however, takes it to mean 'the full life-span' (i.e. in Gotama's day, 100 years: cf. DN 14.1.7). DA also takes avasesa to mean 'in excess' hesitation, and preferring the lesser 'miracle', I have translated the sense of kappa (as I take it) by 'a century'. This, of course, accords with DA. I have, however, adopted the usual meaning of avasesa as making good sense. For the Buddha, the 'remainder' would have been twenty years. PTS translators of the parallel passages have differed in their interpretations. Whereas RD in DN preferred 'aeon', Woodward as SN 51.10 (followed reluctantly by Hare at AN 8.70!) has 'allotted span', and at Ud 6.1 he tersely remarks: 'Supposed by some to mean "the aeon or world-period"'. It may be noted that LDB has 'world-period', while Mrs Bennett discreetly omits the passage."

Walshe's understanding takes the magic out of this ... something I do not think the writers would have done even if the Buddha's intention was 100 years. Very long lifespan (700, 1000 years) is something that is frequently mentioned in the literature of power. It doesn't really take the full development of the Four Power Paths to live to be 100.


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