Don't Show Off Your Spiritual Powers
Ven. Master Hsuan Hua
Mahamaudgal-yayana was foremost in spiritual powers, but the World Honored One
repeatedly warned him not to casually show off his spiritual powers. Why?
Because not everyone has spiritual powers. If you indiscreetly manifest your
spiritual powers, ordinary people will be amazed and infatuated by them and
will worship them. Consequently, people with spiritual powers will have many
people making offerings to them, while those who don't have them might not
receive any offerings. Therefore, the Buddha forbade his disciples from
casually displaying their spiritual, so as to protect cultivators of the
should not praise their own virtue and say that they are enlightened, or claim
to be Patriarchs or Bodhisattvas. Those are serious lies that will cause
one to fall into the Hell of Pulling
Tongues. This is no joke. Only people who don't know anything would behave
in such a conceited way. Truly wealthy people never say to others, "You
know what? I have all these diamonds and precious gems. I have more treasures
than all the treasures in the world put together." If you advertise
yourself like this, bandits will definitely target you and find a way to rob
your treasures. The same thing happens in cultivation. You can't tell people,
"I have spiritual powers. I hear the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas talking,
and I see them appear before me." If you say that, you are giving the
demon king an opportunity to come in and work with you, control your
activities, and make you part of his retinue.
should clearly recognize whatever states they encounter; they shouldn't let
those states affect them, but should use Samadhi power to influence states.
Don't make reckless claims or tell lies about having attained certain
spiritual powers or seen certain states. You should know that such states are
the mischief of demons, who want to destroy your resolve for the Way and make
you go insane. These are signs of demonic possession; these states are not
real. The section on the Fifty
Skandha-Demon States in the Shurangama
explains this very clearly. I hope you will investigate it thoroughly and not
be fooled by such states. Otherwise it will be too late for regret.
who investigate Chan should not get attached to states. It is said,
"When the Buddha comes, slay the Buddha. When the demon comes, slay the
demon." Slay anyone who comes, no matter who it is. This
is not being attached to any conditioned dharmas or any marks and appearances.
Cultivators should apply effort single-mindedly. They have no time to mind
other people's business. Don't be arrogant, and don't be greedy for fame or
benefits. If you have such thoughts, you have entered a demonic state.
matter what the circumstances, cultivators should never become self-satisfied
and arrogant, and think they are something special. They must be very careful
not to make mistakes in cause and effect. Otherwise the consequences will be
concentrate on upholding pure precepts in order purify the three types of
karma: physical, verbal, and mental. People with spiritual powers would
certainly never admit that they have them; how much the less should people
without spiritual powers make reckless claims. Wouldn't that just be creating
the causes for falling into the hells? It's scary! If your mouth karma isn't
pure, you'll undergo punishment in the Hell
of Pulling Tongues. Don't be reckless. Always watch over yourself. Don't
misbehave and talk a lot of nonsense. If you plant impure causes, you'll
receive impure retributions.
A talk given on June 6, 1981
from “Venerable Master Hua’s Talks on Dharma” Volume 10