ṛddhi (Sanskrit; Pāli, iddhi). A stock group of psychic powers which it is believed can be gained through meditation at the fourth level of trance (dhyāna). According to Pāli sources, these are the product of one of the six kinds of higher knowledge (abhiññā; Skt., abhijñā), and there are said to be eight such powers, namely:
- (1) to project replicas of oneself;
- (2) to become invisible;
- (3) to pass through solid objects;
- (4) to sink into solid ground;
- (5) to walk on water;
- (6) to fly;
- (7) to touch the sun and moon with one's hand;
- (8) to ascend to the world of the god Brahmā.
The Buddha and many of his disciples were said to possess these powers, as were many non-Buddhist ascetics. However, their use was frowned upon by the Buddha and he prohibited any display of them before lay folk. The Mahāyāna adopts a different attitude and sees the display of magic power by a Bodhisattva as a legitimate means of gaining converts. See also miracles; Pāṭihāriya.