Abijña or the Six Psychic and Mystical Higher Powers are the psychic and mystical powers that are attained through living a virtuous life combined with meditation. It was said that Gautama Buddha, being free from suffering and having been Enlightened have achieved Abijña. But since Buddha wanted to his followers to attain enlightenment, he rebuked miracles and instead emphasized on the path of virtue and living a good life.
Buddha has recognized that a man, with meditation can free himself from the boundaries set by the physical world. However the goal of the meditation is never to achieve super human powers, but rather the attainment of peace and enlightenment. He often scolded monks who displayed their powers for the sake of glory and vanity.
Many monks and nuns were said to be able to possess Abijña but do not show these powers off to others. Many of them live in recluse or meditate in the mountains. It is said that they were able to achieve spiritual growth and thus their bodies became free from gravity, heat or cold, their minds able to travel far distances or even read another person’s thoughts.
Through immense meditation and living a pure life monks and nun gained psychic abilities, miraculous powers and defied physical boundaries. They were able to look into the past and future, perform miracles, multiply themselves and so on.
What are the Six Higher Psychic Powers?
The Sanskrit and Pali texts of the Samaññaphala Sutta translated as the Fruits of a Contemplative Life mention about Abijña or the six higher powers. Buddha teaches that living a contemplative life leads to virtues and gifts that are both that benefit man not only in his day to day life, but also will benefit him spiritually. He also mentions that the contemplative life gives higher powers which is gained through this way of life.
The contemplative life is a result of adhering to the Eightfold Path. One of the most important teachings of Buddha is to FOLLOW THE RIGHT WAY through the Eightfold Path. He teaches that both mind and body has to live a life of being clean. He teaches meditation and mindfulness. And when one constantly meditates, he or she can liberate the mind and gain psychic power, enlightenment and perform miracles.
There are six higher powers or abjiña. These psychic powers sprout from much meditation, virtuous practice and mindfulness.
I. Iddhi-Vidha or Higher Powers – The power over matter that allows a man to walk on water or walk through earth and walls.
II. Dibba-Sota or the Divine Ear – Clairaudience or the psychic ear, the power to know things by hearing them whether in this realm or in the heavens; whether near or far.
III. Ceto-Pariya-Ñana or Mind Reading – Telepathy
IV. Pubbe-Nivāsanussati or Knowing One’s Past Lives
V. Dibba-Cakkhu or The Devine Eye – This is the ability to know other’s karmic paths. It what we now know as psychic abilities.
VI. Asavakkhaya or Freedom from mental suffering and intoxicants – This is being free from thoughts that cause suffering such as wanting and desiring.
The Abijña are just parts of the 10 Fruits of the Contemplative Life. Buddha teaches that we must avoid in indulging in them, lest we forget the end goal which is liberation from desire and thus attaining Enlightenment. But he mentions that the lay people may use them to assist others in order to help in their lives.
He states that out of the six higher powers, the sixth is the most important and is the hardest to gain. Because by attaining the sixth psychic gift, one is near the point of freedom from Samsara or reincarnation.