If we are researching the reality or non-reality of events like that, doing a bit of study into stage magic helps. My first recommendation would be the book "Houdini on Magic", which after many decades appears to be still in print and also available used.
Harry Houdini (real name Eric Weiss), as some may know, was a consummate magician and showman in his day who, in the latter part of his career, focused his efforts on exposing fraudulent spiritual mediums. He'd consulted mediums himself when he was grieving the loss of his beloved mother, and became furious when his insight into trickery revealed to him how those he visited defrauded the public.
Much of "Houdini on Magic" is for other performers, describing how to perform various tricks or how to make a good impression upon an audience. But there is one chapter (a somewhat long one, I recall) that goes into significant detail about Houdini's battle with a medium named Margery. Margery, prior to meeting Houdini, had quite a following, and even convinced scientists who imposed the best controls upon her they could design that she was the real deal. Houdini proved that everything Margery did - causing objects to float, making voices come forth from the empty air, and so on - was just a bundle of magician's tricks. He did the same thing with countless other mediums, but Margery I believe was his most famous, and well-documented, case.
I'm not trying to say that paranormal events don't happen; I actually happen to think they do. I wouldn't make the absolute claim no one can levitate, though I am skeptical. But in this case, that monk's move from being out in the open to near the curtain was an immediate tell. Why did he do that? If he needed to be a distance from his interviewer, why did he pick right next to the curtain, and right in the center of it where there is likely an opening from which a support could be extended? Any charlatan could do the same, and since the field of claimants to paranormal power is, regrettably, heavily populated with charlatans, we have to consider the likelihood that - due to using similar methods - this fellow is one of them.
I'd think someone who was really a master of levitation would be somewhat similar to a master of the guitar in one respect. A real guitarist can play on a sidewalk, in a coffee shop, or in the middle of a mall; a phony might stand in front of a closed curtain, behind which plays a CD of Segovia as s/he silently plucks dampened strings.
It's a moral crime, imo. In this case, it discredits Buddhism. Should there be people out there with genuine psychic powers, a performance like this robs them of credibility as well. It inspires all of us to trust one another at least a bit less.
In a field of study like this, we are required to consider stringent criteria for verifying experiences. We are looking for diamonds in a field of coal, where each coal-lump says "Hey, look at me, I'm a diamond!"
This is a very good point, too! Granted, I'm not particularly concerned with the credibility of genuine psychics. While the abundance of illusionists makes us scrutinize them all the more, it's not necessarily unfair. Ideally we should be sceptical of any claim no matter how many times we have been lied about it. We are forgiving to people who haven't or about claims we have not heard before out of generosity, not because it's the intellectually honest or a consistent thing to do.
Omhu Cuspor wrote: It's a moral crime, imo. In this case, it discredits Buddhism. Should there be people out there with genuine psychic powers, a performance like this robs them of credibility as well. It inspires all of us to trust one another at least a bit less.
Besides, genuine psychics should be able to live up to the fairer, stricter standards anyway, so not much of a loss to them this is.
But what the charlatans are doing is make a mockery of not just the "real psychics" if those exist, but of just regular, genuine believers. The tricksters exploit the believers' willingness to accept things uncritically and make them believe lies. It also makes a frankly disgusting and disrespectful mockery of the spiritual traditions themselves. There are real benefits to meditation. It helps people keep a healthier heart and a cooler head and for many it is a spiritual practice through which they find emotional peace. This is a perfectly respectable and realistic promise that gets called into question in the public mind, because cynical woosters and frauds hope to make a quick buck by callously lumping it in together with promises of magical powers.
I"m no expert, but from what I have read, is that "psychic powers", or whatever you call them or however you define them, are RESULTS from your training; Zen and Tantrik literature abound with references to hallucinations, levitations, OOBE's, telepathy, and things of this nature.
In Zen, they are called "makkyo", They are basically things that distract you from the original aim of your path, which as a Buddhist, is "enlightenment", or satori.. Check more here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makyo
I don't affirm the existence of these things, but my perspective does not preclude their existence.
My questions to you are:
What are you training for?
And what are you willing to give up to attain your goal?
The Force is with you, always.
At any rate, that is a very unique set of goals. Give naught, get all... Best of luck to you.
Fyxe wrote: Why would I have to give up anything?
Hi Fyxe. I think the inference of Gisteron and J.K. Barker here rests in a perception that attainment of almost anything is a trade-off; we must let go of one thing to attain another.
We can see this in all sorts of human ambitions. Billionaire J. Paul Getty once opined that his aspiration to be a powerful, wealthy businessman of necessity made him an inadequate husband; he was unable to devote the necessary time and energy to both roles simultaneously to be successful at each of them. The child who aims to do well in his/her school studies has to sacrifice time playing baseball or reading comic books. Someone devoted to indulgence in an addiction gives up both healthy relationships and a healthy body. The one who seeks enlightenment may have to give up much - some mix of wealth, social interaction, status, physical pleasure, and possibly a portion of the level of sanity required to navigate Earthly life; I recall an early teacher of mine once commenting, "There are a lot of saints in mental hospitals."
Buddha sacrificed his kingship. Jesus sacrificed his life. Gandhi sacrificed physical pleasure to a very significant degree. Yogananda sacrificed his ability to support himself (being forced to turn to his father for financial support for much of his life). In less esoteric pursuits, Jimmy Carter decided to trade a relaxed retirement for a continued life of service. Countless LGBTQ individuals have sacrificed family, occupation, and friendships to attain self-acceptance and self-expression. Three newsworthy Western individuals have had their freedoms seriously restricted in recent years for choosing to make the public aware of nefarious deeds perpetrated by national leaders.
Everything in this realm of existence costs something else; we are always choosing between mutually exclusive alternatives. To slightly paraphrase the Dread Pirate Roberts from the The Princess Bride: "Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying sell you something."
So, imo the question remains relevant. What are we willing to give up to get what we want?
I think Force powers should really be viewed in the same way that the bible used miracles, like walking on water.
It was because Jesus was being promoted as a hero that tales of his exploits were exaggerated. The idea of miracles was very old and was long used as a sign that God was with a particular person. However, it should be of noteworthy significance that Moses, being trained in Egypt, did miracles but so did the priests of Egypt by the writer's standards. So either God was with them both or neither were doing actual miracles but rather things that most people didn't know how to do. Science. When science is mythologized you get miracles.
Miracles exist in Star Wars because it serves as the proof that the Force "is with" a certain individual. So Force powers where never about literal magic that the Force can do but rather SYMBOLIC of the mysterious connection between a person and the Force that is meant to illustrate the supernatural quality of the Force.
And it isn't that the Force is magical in the sense of some kind of Warlock or Witch, but rather magical in the sense of a Wiccan whose close connection with the earth is part of their experience with natural herbs and whatever else they might use. The Force is magical in the same sense that the sun, clouds, trees, are all magical. But do you see it? Do you appreciate the awesome quality of it all? Or do you devalue you these things because our species constantly puts prices on them and turns them into paper and other things that eventually becomes trash?
Everything in Star Wars, just like everything in the bible, wasn't and isn't to be taken literally.
Taking things literally is how people often negate spirituality and turn religion into vanity.
Star Wars was never supposed to be taken literally. The Bible claims it is. One is well-defined fiction and the other is an ancient text which has different expectations, but wasn't written as a fun story.
Talk all you want about literary criticism of them both, but that's a lousy comparison.
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TM: Carlos Martinez
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