The following was translated from Indonesian language from tanhadi.blogspot.com. I’ve added notes in places I don’t necessarily agree, and where I want to comment.
Abhinna (Abijna, Abhinnanana) is related to higher mental abilities, which can only be owned by those who succeed in meditation, when the life of the past and this time he was successful in meditation, then the rest of that ability can still be seen in the present life.
Abhinna achievements can vary for each person, because it is associated with the object of meditation are used when meditating.
Example: If we use a solid object (pathavi) , then we can make everything into a solid, although others see it as it is, for example, someone who can walk on water, water for him it has become solid, but others say / see it was walking on water.
Note – I don’t know anything about this. I’ve never read anything that states such a thing from the Buddhist texts, but I’ve not read them all. The author might be adding Indonesian or other cultural beliefs.
There is some evidence for people having innate or natural psychic abilities related to the abhinna achievements. Karma in past lives has a very strong influence. If someone who has recently meditated and been able to attain some of the abhinnas, their attainments will be very limited if the karma of their past was negative.
TYPES OF ABHINNA
Having Abhinna is very useful for someone to broaden and deepen our views of life and the mysteries of the universe. The experience can help us penetrate the knowledge which previously has not been understood by man.
Use of Abhinna must be in accordance with the precepts, because this ability could degenerate and disappear if we violate the precepts.
Vern’s Note – Personally, having experienced some of the abhinnas, I don’t think the precepts have anything to do with abhinna or jhana coming or not coming. This is a constant beating drum among Buddhists which results in people believing that without being a strong, moral Buddhist who follows all the precepts very closely, one cannot attain jhana or abhinna. This strengthens the religion of Buddhism, the group, and makes it seem more powerful than it need be. The truth is, at least in my own view and direct experience, one need not follow any precepts at all and one can still enjoy jhana, and abhinna after following a simple but regular practice of meditating on the breath, and mindfulness.
There are six kinds Abhinna, they are:
The Ability of the Physical Inner (Iddhividhi / iddhividha )
Namely: a person directs his thoughts on iddhi form, it can be a lot of people, from many people back into one again, he walked through a wall, or a mountain fortress, he could dive and come up through the ground, it can disappear, walk on water, with sitting melayang- crossed he can fly the sky, with his hand to touch the sun, it also can visit the realms of his gods.
With this capability; we can do a lot of good deeds to help others far away from the hustle or remotely, so that when these people need our help (emergency), immediately we can be there to provide help to him.
Vern’s Note – I’m not sure whether all of the abhinnas are to be taken to mean precisely what they are saying. I mean, even though I’ve had some experiences in the abhinna realm, I don’t know that this first abhinna is stating fact, or phenomenological perspective of the person experiencing it. At the present time, having not experienced any of this abhinna, I have to say that I don’t believe it is stating explicitly that reality is such that a morphological person can do these things. Now, in the mind anything is possible, and maybe that’s what it is referring to? Hard to say. I think this resembles some of the experiences of people who claim to do astral projection or projection of their bodies in other places. Out of body experiences are rather common among those who have traumatic accidents and might be teetering between biological life and death.
I think astral projection is probably possible. I haven’t experienced it, so I can’t say much about it.
Ear God (Dibbasota) – the Divine Ear
Vern’s Note – this is usually referred to as the “Divine Ear” or Clairaudience abhinna.
Namely: the ability to hear the voices of humans and gods, far or near.
With this capability; we can hear the conversation of creatures around us or in remote areas, so that we can get information quickly.
Vern’s Note – I have possibly had this at a time before I was meditating. One time I was on my bed in a very calm and almost mindless state, when I heard distinctly a male voice that wasn’t mine say, “Alex needs teaching.” This startled me and I actually looked around the the small room. There was nobody in the house, nobody in my room, and there was no radio or other electronic device on at all. The voice was very clear, and loud enough to hear without a doubt. After some confusion and settling back into another semi-relaxed state, I heard, “See what you can do.”
That was it. Never heard another voice after that. This was 1992, and before I began meditating. Was it some sort of abhinna? Not if you believe the strict Buddhist interpretation of it which says the person experiencing it must have been spending time in the fourth meditative jhana in order to have the divine ear. So, anyway, just a point of data that doesn’t mean much. Oh, and Alex, was my first wife. She had gone to Europe for a while, and when she returned she had completely changed – her appearance, her personality, everything. I didn’t have a way to contact her then, and still don’t now. So, the message has gone undelivered.
Reading the Mind (Cetopariyanana / Paracittavijanana)
Namely: the ability to know the minds of other creatures, including the thoughts of others.
With this capability we can read / know the minds of others, so that allows us to solve the problems of others, although the person does not want to reveal his identity. Similarly, by having this inner ability, we can not be deceived by others who want to do evil.
Vern’s Note – this one is very real to me as I’ve experienced it to a substantial degree some years ago. I did some video about it, and you can read more about it here.
Recall Past Lives ( Pub Benivasanusatti / Pubbenivasanussatinana)
That is: The ability to remember past lives from one birth to thousands of complete details about birthplace, where grew up, family, name, ethnicity, happiness, suffering, age limit, many future developments and destruction.
Vern Note: Someone told me recently that this included beings other than humans. Not sure on that.
With this ability ; we can address many issues related to its past life or lives of the Buddha and his disciples. With this abhinna, even scriptural truths can be tested.
Vern’s Note – I don’t know anything about this from personal experience. I haven’t seen any past lives. Some monks claim to be able to see thousands of past lives in detail. From my perspective, it doesn’t make sense. I don’t see how someone could sit for 1-2 hours and then claim to have seen 100,000 of their past lives. How many would that be each minute? To what detail could anything be seen in that short amount of time? Or, maybe time becomes irrelevant in these experiences. I cannot discount it. But, at this time, without experience with this abhinna, I cannot say much about it at all.
Eyes of God (Dibbacakkhu)
Namely: the ability to see what would happen in the future, allowing a person to see objects or beings heavenly and earthly, far or near, and invisible. Having the capacity to know about the death and birth of beings , why there are beings who are born miserable, suffering, or being born in nature hell, born fun, happy or born into paradise.
With Eyes god (Dibbacakkhu); we can help one to see births beings, why someone fared like this and that, why someone ugly, handsome, beautiful, healthy and so on. We also can determine a person’s life in the future, track the whereabouts of a person after death and where he will be reborn in accordance with the present karma. You can also prove yourself whether 31 realms was true or not and so on.
Vern’s Note – this Abhinna I know to be true from personal experience. I am not sure to the extent at which things can be known, but I have definitely experienced this abhinna. You can see my experience about knowing the beginning of, and the end of a newborn human life here.
Eradication of Defilements (Asavakkhayanana)
Namely: the ability possessed only enumerated by an arahant, Private Buddha or fully enlightened. This ability can not be generated by Samatha bhavana or to attain jhana, this ability can only be achieved by implementing Vipassana Bhavana.
Is the cessation of all defilements, he reached the great enlightenment (bodhi) in the sense that when the saint died will not be born back.
For some people who have Abhinna, it is known as ‘magic.’
The magic is not necessarily of a holy man because he has achieved sanctity, and there may still have a desire to satisfy its appetites, so it can harm other people. These people can practice unscrupulous magic. It is urged that the holy man not do anything that violates the precepts.
Vern’s Note – I don’t know about this. I didn’t have any desire to use Abhinna for any nefarious means, but maybe some do. Can it be used in that way? I don’t know. I’m not sure it can be called upon when needed… Mine seems to have occurred when I was in Jhana 4 and when getting into Jhana on a regular basis while meditating.
If you want to read more about Abhinna and some of my experiences, you can find more here.