The Wings to Awakening

PART II: D. THE FOUR BASES OF POWER

Iddhi, the Pali word translated here as "power," has so many meanings that no one English equivalent can do them all justice. Other equivalents that have been suggested include success, accomplishment, and prowess. In the context of the bases for power, however, the word specifically means the supranormal powers that can be developed through concentration, such as levitation, walking on water, clairaudience, clairvoyance, remembrance of past lives, the ability to read the minds of others, and the ending of mental effluents. In the Buddhist analysis, only the last of these powers is transcendent. It is the only one absolutely necessary on the path to Awakening. The others are optional and not always desirable, for an unawakened person might find that the attainment of any one of them can cause supranormal greed, aversion, or delusion to arise in the mind. The texts record cases where even Arahants, not fully sensitive to the effect that their actions might have on others, display their powers in inappropriate contexts. This was why the Buddha forbade his monastic disciples from displaying their powers before the laity. None of the displayable powers, he said, is any match for the wonder of a teaching that, like his, gave the promised results when put into practice [D.11].

Still, there is no denying that some people acquire these powers in the course of their meditation, and they need guidance in how to use them properly so that their powers can actually help, rather than hinder, their practice. This is the role that the standard formulae for the bases of power play in the teaching. They show how the mastery of any of the first five powers can be fit into the outline of frame-of-reference meditation [II/B] so that the process of mastery can lead to the sixth and most important power, the ending of the effluents, thus resulting in release.

The texts explain the bases of power in two standard formulae: brief and extended. The brief formula runs as follows:

There is the case where a monk develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire and the fabrications of exertion. He develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on persistence...concentration founded on intent...concentration founded on discrimination and the fabrications of exertion.

One of the texts [64] states that these formulae define the process whereby the bases of power are developed; another [63] states that they define the bases of power themselves. The contradiction here can be resolved by noting that the first text defines the bases of power as "whatever practice leads to the attainment of power, the winning of power." Because these processes definitely lead to the attainment of power, they would count as at least part of the bases of power. The first text is probably alluding to the fact that there is more to the process, which is included in the extended formula, discussed below.

Each of these four bases has three component parts: the "fabrications of exertion" (which the texts equate with the four right exertions), concentration, and the mental quality-desire, persistence, intent, or discrimination-on which the concentration is based. According to 172, desire, persistence, and intent are present in all states of jhana. Thus the phrase "concentration based on desire" refers to a concentration in which all three qualities are present, but with desire dominant. We should note here that desire in this case means desire directed toward the goal of the practice. This desire does not count as craving, which as a cause of stress is directed at further states of becoming in the round of rebirth. Although the desire for Awakening, when it is not yet realized, can be a cause for frustration, that frustration is counted as a skillful emotion, as it leads to further efforts along the path [179]. It is to be transcended, not by abandoning the desire, but by acting on it properly, as explained below, until gaining the desired results.

Discrimination, the fourth mental quality, is not always inherent in jhana, although when functioning as evaluation it plays a role in the first jhana, and is definitely present in the fifth factor of noble right concentration [150], which leads to Awakening. Furthermore, the extended formula for the bases of power shows that discrimination is necessary for the thorough mastery of concentration based on desire, persistence, intent, or discrimination itself so that-in the course of gaining mastery-one develops mindful discernment into the causal patterns of the mind and so can reach Awakening.

We have already shown that the development of concentration involves the three qualities called for in the first stage of frames-of-reference meditation [II/B]: ardency (right exertion), alertness, and mindfulness. Thus the brief formula for the bases of power, as a description of concentration practice, can be equated with the first stage of frame-of-reference meditation.

There are many popular Western writings that criticize the four qualities listed in the bases of power-desire, persistence (effort), intent (will), and discrimination (the discriminating mind)-as enemies of proper meditation, both in that they interfere with the calming of the mind and are antithetical to the goal of the Unfabricated, which lies beyond desire, effort, and the categories of discrimination. The first part of the extended formula deals with the first of these criticisms.

There is the case where a monk develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire and the fabrications of exertion, thinking, 'This desire of mine will be neither overly sluggish nor overly active, neither inwardly restricted nor outwardly scattered.' (Similarly with concentration founded on persistence, intent, and discrimination.)

This passage shows that the problem lies, not in the desire, effort, intent, or discrimination, but in the fact that these qualities can be unskillfully applied or improperly tuned to their task. If they were absent, the practice-if it could be called a practice-would stagnate from loss of direction or motivation. If they ran wild, they would interfere with mindful concentration. So the trick is not to deny them, but to tune them skillfully so that they will help focus the mind on the present moment. Thus, for instance, in the practice of meditation, as with any skill, it is important not to focus desire too strongly on the results one hopes to get, for that would interfere with the mind's ability to focus on giving rise to the causes leading to those results. If, instead, one focuses desire on putting the causes in proper order in the present moment, desire becomes an indispensable part of the process of mastery.

Passage 67 deals with the second criticism-that desire, etc., are antithetical to the goal-by showing that these qualities are necessary for anyone who pursues a path, but are automatically abandoned on reaching the goal at the path's end. The image of the path is important here, for it carries important implications. First, the path is not the goal; it is simply the way there, just as the road to the Grand Canyon should not be confused with the Grand Canyon itself. Even though many stretches of the road bear no resemblance to the Grand Canyon, that does not mean that the road does not lead there. Secondly, the path of practice does not cause the goal, it simply leads there, just as neither the road to the Grand Canyon nor the act of walking to the Grand Canyon can cause the Grand Canyon to be. The goal at the end of the Buddhist path is unfabricated, and therefore no amount of desire or effort can bring it into being. Nevertheless, the path to the goal is a fabricated process [105], and in that process desire, effort, intent, and discrimination all have an important role to play, just as the effort of walking plays a role in arriving at the Grand Canyon.

The final section of the extended formula hints at how these qualities may be directed toward Awakening.

He keeps perceiving what is in front and behind so that what is in front is the same as what is behind, what is behind is the same as what is in front. What is below is the same as what is above, what is above is the same as what is below. [He dwells] by night as by day, and by day as by night. By means of an awareness thus open and unhampered, he develops a brightened mind.

This passage refers to the total mastery of concentration. As one frees the mind from such distinctions as front/behind, above/below, and day/night, one creates an awareness that is open and bright, unhampered by the normal limitations that come with a conscious sense of being located in time and space. This is the type of awareness needed for the attainment of the supranormal powers. Many meditators tend to stop here, satisfied with their new-found powers, but the Buddha urges them to go further. As 161 shows, the full perfection of this type of awareness requires that one be extremely sensitive to the presence of mental defilements that might place subtle limitations on it. This process of sensitivity is nothing other than the second stage of frames-of-reference meditation [II/B], in which one focuses on the phenomenon of origination and passing away of mind states that are limited and unlimited, concentrated and unconcentrated, taking the brightness of one's awareness-the mind in-and-of itself-as one's frame of reference.

The next stage of practice is outlined in a passage that builds on 161. This passage [167], shows that full mastery of power requires that one abandon even the notion that "I am" the master of the power, or that "my mind" is concentrated. The proper attitude, in the face of the power, is to "incline the mind to the Deathless." Such an attitude, according to M.102 [MFU, pp. 81-82], involves simply noting what is present as present, without fashioning anything further out of it. This is the third stage of frames-of-reference meditation [II/B], the entry into emptiness that simply notes, "There is this...." When this level of skilled discrimination is reached, the power has been fully mastered at the same time that the mind stands on the verge of non-fashioning and Awakening.

Because of their association with supranormal powers, the bases of power have generally been slighted in Western writings on Buddhism. If we count the five strengths as identical with the five faculties, the bases of power are the only set in the Wings to Awakening that has not yet been the subject of a book in the English language. The situation in Asia, however, is very different. There, the bases of power have been extrapolated from their specific context and are frequently cited as guides to success in general. In whatever task one may undertake-directed toward worldly ends or toward the Dhamma-one must bring to bear the qualities of desire, persistence, intent, and discrimination, skillfully balanced with concentration and right exertion, if one wants to succeed at one's task.

63. Monks, whoever neglects these four bases of power neglects the noble path going to the right ending of stress. Whoever undertakes these four bases of power undertakes the noble path going to the right ending of stress. Which four?

There is the case where a monk develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire and the fabrications of exertion. He develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on persistence... concentration founded on intent...concentration founded on discrimination and the fabrications of exertion.

Whoever neglects these four bases of power neglects the noble path going to the right ending of stress. Whoever undertakes these four bases of power undertakes the noble path going to the right ending of stress.
S.LI.2

64. Ananda: What, lord, is power? What is the base of power? What is the development of the base of power? And what is the path of practice leading to the development of the base of power?

The Buddha: There is the case, Ananda, where a monk [1] wields manifold supranormal powers. Having been one he becomes many; having been many he becomes one. He appears. He vanishes. He goes unimpeded through walls, ramparts, and mountains as if through space. He dives in and out of the earth as if it were water. He walks on water without sinking as if it were dry land. Sitting crosslegged he flies through the air like a winged bird. With his hand he touches and strokes even the sun and moon, so mighty and powerful. He exercises influence with his body even as far as the Brahma worlds. {Just as a skilled potter or his assistant could craft from well-prepared clay whatever kind of pottery vessel he likes, or as a skilled ivory-carver or his assistant could craft from well-prepared ivory any kind of ivory-work he likes, or as a skilled goldsmith or his assistant could craft from well-prepared gold any kind of gold article he likes; in the same way, the monk wields manifold supranormal powers....}

[2] He hears-by means of the divine ear-element, purified and surpassing the human-both kinds of sounds: divine and human, whether near or far. {Just as if a man traveling along a highway were to hear the sounds of kettledrums, small drums, conchs, cymbals, and tom-toms. He would know, 'That is the sound of kettledrums, that is the sound of small drums, that is the sound of conchs, that is the sound of cymbals, and that is the sound of tom-toms.' In the same way...the monk hears...both kinds of sounds: divine and human....}

[3] He knows the awareness of other beings, other individuals, having encompassed it with his own awareness. He discerns a mind with passion as a mind with passion, and a mind without passion as a mind without passion. He discerns a mind with aversion as a mind with aversion, and a mind without aversion as a mind without aversion. He discerns a mind with delusion as a mind with delusion, and a mind without delusion as a mind without delusion. He discerns a restricted mind as a restricted mind, and a scattered mind as a scattered mind. He discerns an enlarged mind as an enlarged mind, and an unenlarged mind as an unenlarged mind. He discerns an excelled mind [one that is not on the most excellent level] as an excelled mind, and an unexcelled mind as an unexcelled mind. He discerns a concentrated mind as a concentrated mind, and an unconcentrated mind as an unconcentrated mind. He discerns a released mind as a released mind, and an unreleased mind as an unreleased mind. {Just as if a young woman-or man-fond of ornaments, examining the reflection of her own face in a bright mirror or a bowl of clear water would know 'blemished' if it were blemished, or 'unblemished' if it were not. In the same way...the monk knows the awareness of other beings....}

[4] He recollects his manifold past lives (lit: previous homes), i.e., one birth, two births, three births, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, one hundred, one thousand, one hundred thousand, many aeons of cosmic contraction, many aeons of cosmic expansion, many aeons of cosmic contraction and expansion, [recollecting], 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus he remembers his manifold past lives in their modes and details. {Just as if a man were to go from his home village to another village, and then from that village to yet another village, and then from that village back to his home village. The thought would occur to him, 'I went from my home village to that village over there. There I stood in such a way, sat in such a way, talked in such a way, and remained silent in such a way. From that village I went to that village over there, and there I stood in such a way, sat in such a way, talked in such a way, and remained silent in such a way. From that village I came back home.' In the same way...the monk recollects his manifold past lives....}

[5] He sees-by means of the divine eye, purified and surpassing the human-beings passing away and re-appearing, and he discerns how they are inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate in accordance with their kamma: 'These beings-who were endowed with bad conduct of body, speech, and mind, who reviled the noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views-with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. But these beings-who were endowed with good conduct of body, speech, and mind, who did not revile the noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views-with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destinations, in the heavenly world.' Thus-by means of the divine eye, purified and surpassing the human-he sees beings passing away and re-appearing, and he discerns how they are inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate in accordance with their kamma. {Just as if there were a tall building in the central square [of a town], and a man with good eyesight standing on top of it were to see people entering a house, leaving it, walking along the street, and sitting in the central square. The thought would occur to him, 'These people are entering a house, leaving it, walking along the streets, and sitting in the central square.' In the same way...the monk sees-by means of the divine eye, purified and surpassing the human-beings passing away and re-appearing....}

[6] Through the ending of the mental effluents, he remains in the effluent-free release of awareness and release of discernment, having known and made them manifest for himself right in the here and now. {Just as if there were a pool of water in a mountain glen-clear, limpid, and unsullied-where a man with good eyesight standing on the bank could see shells, gravel, and pebbles, and also shoals of fish swimming about and resting, and it would occur to him, 'This pool of water is clear, limpid, and unsullied. Here are these shells, gravel, and pebbles, and also these shoals of fish swimming about and resting.' In the same way, the monk discerns, as it is actually present, that 'This is stress...This is the origination of stress...This is the cessation of stress...This is the way leading to the cessation of stress...These are effluents...This is the origination of effluents...This is the cessation of effluents...This is the way leading to the cessation of effluents.' His heart, thus knowing, thus seeing, is released from the effluent of sensuality, released from the effluent of becoming, released from the effluent of ignorance. With release, there is the knowledge, 'Released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'

This is called power.

And what is the base of power? Whatever path, whatever practice, leads to the attainment of power, the winning of power: That is called the base of power.

And what is the development of the base of power? There is the case where a monk develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire and the fabrications of exertion. He develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on persistence...concentration founded on intent... concentration founded on discrimination and the fabrications of exertion. This is called the development of the base of power.

And what is the path of practice leading to the development of the base of power? Just this noble eightfold path: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This is called the path of practice leading to the development of the base of power.
S.LI.26 {+ D.2}

65. If a monk attains concentration, attains singleness of mind founded on desire, that is called concentration founded on desire. He generates desire, endeavors, arouses persistence, upholds and exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen...for the sake of the abandoning of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen...for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen...(and) for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, and culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen. These are called the fabrications of exertion. This is desire, this is concentration founded on desire, these are the fabrications of exertion. This is called the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire and the fabrications of exertion.

If a monk attains concentration, attains singleness of mind founded on persistence, that is called concentration founded on persistence...

If a monk attains concentration, attains singleness of mind founded on intent, that is called concentration founded on intent...

If a monk attains concentration, attains singleness of mind founded on discrimination, that is called concentration founded on discrimination. He generates desire, endeavors, arouses persistence, upholds and exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen... for the sake of the abandoning of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen...for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen...(and) for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development and culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen. These are called the fabrications of exertion. This is discrimination, this is concentration founded on discrimination, these are the fabrications of exertion. This is called the base of power endowed with concentration founded on discrimination and the fabrications of exertion.
S.LI.13

66. Analysis. These four bases of power, when developed and pursued, are of great fruit and great benefit. And how are the four bases of power developed and pursued so as to be of great fruit and great benefit?

There is the case where a monk develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire and the fabrications of exertion, thinking, 'This desire of mine will be neither overly sluggish nor overly active, neither inwardly restricted nor outwardly scattered.' He keeps perceiving what is in front and behind so that what is in front is the same as what is behind, what is behind is the same as what is in front. What is below is the same as what is above, what is above is the same as what is below. Night is the same as day, day is the same as night. By means of an awareness thus open and unhampered, he develops a brightened mind.

He develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on persistence...concentration founded on intent...concentration founded on discrimination and the fabrications of exertion, thinking, 'This discrimination of mine will be neither overly sluggish nor overly active, neither inwardly restricted nor outwardly scattered.' He keeps perceiving what is in front and behind so that what is in front is the same as what is behind, what is behind is the same as what is in front. What is below is the same as what is above, what is above is the same as what is below. [He dwells] by night as by day, and by day as by night. By means of an awareness thus open and unhampered, he develops a brightened mind.

And how is desire overly sluggish? Whatever desire is accompanied by laziness, conjoined with laziness, that is called overly sluggish desire.

And how is desire overly active? Whatever desire is accompanied by restlessness, conjoined with restlessness, that is called overly active desire.

And how is desire inwardly restricted? Whatever desire is accompanied by sloth and drowsiness, conjoined with sloth and drowsiness, that is called inwardly restricted desire.

And how is desire outwardly scattered? Whatever desire is stirred up by the five strands of sensuality, outwardly dispersed and dissipated, that is called outwardly scattered desire.

And how does a monk dwell perceiving what is in front and behind so that what is in front is the same as what is behind, and what is behind is the same as what is in front? There is the case where a monk's perception of what is in front and behind is well in hand, well-attended to, well-considered, well-tuned ('penetrated') by means of discernment. This is how a monk keeps perceiving what is in front and behind so that what is in front is the same as what is behind, and what is behind is the same as what is in front.

And how does a monk dwell so that what is below is the same as what is above, and what is above is the same as what is below?

There is the case where a monk reflects on this very body, from the soles of the feet on up, from the crown of the head on down, surrounded by skin, and full of various kinds of unclean things: 'In this body there are head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, gorge, feces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, skin-oil, saliva, mucus, fluid in the joints, urine.' This is how a monk dwells so that what is below is the same as what is above, and what is above is the same as what is below. [30]

And how does a monk dwell by night as by day, and by day as by night? There is the case where a monk at night develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire and the fabrications of exertion by means of the same modes (permutations) and signs and themes that he uses by day, and by day he develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire and the fabrications of exertion by means of the same modes and signs and themes that he uses by night. This is how a monk dwells by night as by day, and by day as by night.

And how does a monk-by means of an awareness open and unhampered-develop a brightened mind? There is the case where a monk has the perception of light, the perception of daytime [at any hour of the day] well in hand and well-established. This is how a monk-by means of an awareness open and unhampered-develops a brightened mind. [147]
(The above discussion is then repeated for persistence, intent, and discrimination.)

When a monk has thus developed and pursued the four bases of power, he experiences manifold supranormal powers....He hears-by means of the divine ear-element, purified and surpassing the human-both kinds of sounds: divine and human, whether near or far....He knows the awareness of other beings, other individuals, having encompassed it with his own awareness....He recollects his manifold past lives....He sees-by means of the divine eye, purified and surpassing the human-beings passing away and re-appearing....Through the ending of the mental effluents-remains in the effluent-free release of awareness and release of discernment, having known and made them manifest for himself right in the present.

This is how these four bases of power, when developed and pursued, are of great fruit and great benefit.
S.LI.20

67. I have heard that on one occasion Ven. Ananda was staying in Kosambi, at Ghosita's Park. Then the Brahman Unnabha went to where Ven. Ananda was staying and on arrival greeted him courteously. After an exchange of friendly greetings and courtesies, he sat down to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to Ven. Ananda: What is the aim of this holy life lived under the contemplative Gotama?

Ananda: The holy life is lived under the Blessed One with the aim of abandoning desire.
Unnabha: Is there a path, is there a practice, for the abandoning of that desire?
Ananda: Yes, there is....
Unnabha: What is the path, the practice, for the abandoning of that desire?
Ananda: There is the case where a monk develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire and the fabrications of exertion. He develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on persistence...concentration founded on intent...concentration founded on discrimination and the fabrications of exertion. This, Brahman, is the path, this is the practice for the abandoning of that desire.
Unnabha: If that's so, then it's an endless path, and not one with an end, for it's impossible that one could abandon desire by means of desire.
Ananda: Well then, Brahman, let me question you on this matter. Answer as you see fit....Didn't you first have desire, thinking, 'I'll go to the park,' and then when you reached the park, wasn't that particular desire allayed?
Unnabha: Yes, sir.
Ananda: Didn't you first have persistence, thinking, 'I'll go to the park,' and then when you reached the park, wasn't that particular persistence allayed?
Unnabha: Yes, sir.
Ananda: Didn't you first have the intent, thinking, 'I'll go to the park,' and then when you reached the park, wasn't that particular intent allayed?
Unnabha: Yes, sir.
Ananda: Didn't you first have [an act of] discrimination, thinking, 'I'll go to the park,' and then when you reached the park, wasn't that particular act of discrimination allayed?
Unnabha: Yes, sir.
Ananda: So it is with an Arahant whose mental effluents are ended, who has reached fulfillment, done the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, totally destroyed the fetter of becoming, and who is released through right gnosis. Whatever desire he first had for the attainment of Arahantship, on attaining Arahantship that particular desire is allayed. Whatever persistence he first had for the attainment of Arahantship, on attaining Arahantship that particular persistence is allayed. Whatever intent he first had for the attainment of Arahantship, on attaining Arahantship that particular intent is allayed. Whatever discrimination he first had for the attainment of Arahantship, on attaining Arahantship that particular discrimination is allayed. So what do you think, Brahman? Is this an endless path, or one with an end?
Unnabha: You're right, sir. This is a path with an end, and not an endless one....
S.LI.15

68. Ananda: Venerable sir, does the Blessed One have direct experience of going to the Brahma world by means of supranormal power with a mind-made body?

The Buddha: Yes, Ananda....

Ananda: But does the Blessed One also have direct experience of going to the Brahma world by means of supranormal power with this very physical body, composed of the four great elements?

The Buddha: Yes....

Ananda: It's awesome and marvelous that the Blessed One should have direct experience of going to the Brahma world by means of supranormal power with a mind-made body, and of going to the Brahma world by means of supranormal power with this very physical body, composed of the four great elements.

The Buddha: Tathagatas are both awesome, Ananda, and endowed with awesome qualities. They are both marvelous and endowed with marvelous qualities. Whenever the Tathagata merges his body with his mind and his mind with his body, and remains having alighted on the perception of ease and buoyancy with regard to the body, then his body becomes lighter, more pliant, more malleable, and more radiant.

Just as when an iron ball heated all day becomes lighter, more pliant, more malleable, and more radiant; in the same way, whenever the Tathagata merges his body with his mind and his mind with his body, and remains having alighted on the perception of ease and buoyancy with regard to the body, then his body becomes lighter, more pliant, more malleable, and more radiant.

Now, whenever the Tathagata merges his body with his mind and his mind with his body, and remains having alighted on the perception of ease and buoyancy with regard to the body, then his body rises effortlessly from the earth up into the sky. He then experiences manifold supranormal powers. Having been one he becomes many; having been many he becomes one. He appears. He vanishes. He goes unimpeded through walls, ramparts, and mountains as if through space. He dives in and out of the earth as if it were water. He walks on water without sinking as if it were dry land. Sitting crosslegged he flies through the air like a winged bird. With his hand he touches and strokes even the sun and moon, so mighty and powerful. He exercises influence with his body even as far as the Brahma worlds.

Just as a tuft of cotton seed or a ball of thistle down, lightly wafted by the wind, rises effortlessly from the earth up into the sky, in the same way, whenever the Tathagata concentrates his body in his mind and his mind in his body, and remains having alighted on the perception of ease and buoyancy, then his body rises effortlessly from the earth up into the sky. He then experiences manifold supranormal powers...even as far as the Brahma worlds.
S.LI.22


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