My Teacher

I realized it may be hard for some people to believe, but it is said my teacher Dipa Ma could bake a potato in her hand and, even better, make it taste like chocolate…

She could walk through walls… She was known to duplicate her body and demonstrably be in two places at once…

Sometimes, walking through the streets of Rangoon at night, she materialized a companion for herself…

She also spontaneously appeared out of nowhere for appointments with her teacher…

Dipa Ma could read your mind and reveal what you kept hidden in your heart…

One time she looked one month into the future and described the exact content of speech that U THANT the secretary-general of the United Nations, was going to deliver…

She could send her mind to different realms of experience and back thousands of years to hear the Buddha give a talk…

She could do many things we normally consider unbelievable…

Dipa Ma never used these powers for public display, but at times they became one of her teaching tools with people she trusted…

She always used them without fanfare or egotism –rather, like a natural, almost casual offering of a very different perspective on things.

Witnessing such phenomena certainly expanded our notions of the universe and the boundaries of life…

They revealed a far bigger world than I had imagined…

Phenomena such as these psychic powers happen within the laws of nature…

They are considered paranormal only because of our definition of what is normal is very limited…

Even with a slight expansion of our understanding, we push against usual definitions of the laws of nature. We have, for instance, learned to play at the edge of gravity, and thus we routinely fly from place to place and even explore outer space..

The level of psychic powers that Dipa Ma demonstrated result from the mastery of concentration…

In Buddhism, concentration is considered to be the path of power, because as we concentrate, all of our usually scattered energy comes together into wholeness…

The more we concentrate, the more energy returns to us, and this energy empowers us…

With highly developed concentration, it is possible to experience that moment or pivotal point where conventions of time and space, matter and solidity first arise.

At that point, the world is very malleable…

However, because psychic phenomena happen through power of mind rather than through wisdom, they are not considered ultimately freeing.

This is why students are encouraged not to be seduced by them…

Munindra taught these practices to Dipa Ma because she had a natural concentration, and because they are ancient practices he wished to revive…

Most important, he taught them to Dipa Ma because he knew her purity of heart, and that she wouldn’t misuse them…

All the while he was guiding her in developing these powers, he held their attainment in clear perspective, saying “These powers are not important.

Enlightenment is important.

These powers can bring one’s downfall if used wrongly, if used with ego, thinking that ‘you’ are the one that is powerful…

These powers are little things…

It is fun, like magic…

It is not important…

Wisdom is important”…

While these powers may seem remarkable and highly advanced, the path of concentration does not necessarily purify our view of the nature of life, our vision of the truth…

Concentration may not clarify our sense of who we are and what lives are about…

It’s through the development of wisdom the we discover the true nature of our minds, of our thoughts and feelings…

Paying very careful attention, we see that the body and mind, which have seemed solid and defined entities, are actually a bubbling, dancing, constantly changing flow of events…

We see that this mind and body, while distinguishable, are also inseparable and interdependent…

We see how the body affects the mind and the mind affects the body, in a great interplay of being…

We see the laws of interdependence in the world around us and realize we are joined to all in this immeasurable flow we called life…

Recognition of our interdependence brings forth unfabricated loving kindness…

Through mastery of concentration, we might find the natural world more vast than we have supposed it to be, we might be able to play in the world in an extraordinary way, but that is not the freedom our practice intends…

Upandita’s translator, struggling to express these concepts in English, once said, “One can have all these powers and do all those amazing things and still be a … um, um, …. a loser”…

True freedom is the fulfillment of wisdom and boundless compassion…

Our ability to see clearly and love fully are the greatest of powers…

Dipa Ma was adept in both the path of power and the path of wisdom…

And even though she had such extraordinary psychic powers, whenever I think about her, what I recall as most remarkable is that she was empty of self, and the most loving person I have ever met…

– Sharon Salzerb / The Practice of Transformation

– A Heart as wide as the World