This is an article series on how ancient sages, prophets, mystics and saints practiced the miraculous. The purpose of this series is to inspire and empower. This is article #2 in the series. Article #1 can be found here: The Flying Saint.
The following story regards the Buddha and is from the Lalitavistara Sutra.
In due course he arrived at the banks of the great river Ganges. At
that time the great river Ganges was swollen and flowed on the same level as its
banks. Now since the Buddha wanted to cross the river, he approached a ferryman about this.
The ferryman told him, “Gautama, you must pay the crossing fee.”
The Buddha replied, “Sir, I do not have any means to pay the crossing
Then he flew through the air from one shore to the other.
When the boatman saw this, he felt great regret, thinking, “Oh no, how sad! How
could I refuse to give a ferry ride to such a venerable man worthy of being served!”
He then fainted and fell to the ground.
Later the boatman recounted the story to King Bimbisāra: “Your Majesty, when I
asked the mendicant Gautama to pay the crossing fee, he told me that he did not have
money to pay the fare. Instead he just flew through the air from one bank to the other!” When King Bimbisāra heard this, he waived the crossing fee for monks from that day onward.
In this way the Buddha traveled through the land. Finally he arrived at the city of Varanasi. At dawn he dressed, put on his mendicant robe, and took his alms bowl. Then he entered the city of Varanasi to seek alms. Soon he had acquired enough offerings and sat down for his meal.
There are many stories of the Buddha levitating, but this is one of my favorite because it contains two consecutive instances of him not having money and getting by just fine.
People unfamiliar with energy and consciousness, tend to lament about money. I have conducted thousands of Coaching sessions with people whose main aim was “money”. But in this story, Guatama crossed the river and had dinner without a cent of money. The meaning of this story is, that excessive focus on money can prevent what you need and want, from manifesting.
That’s not to say that the story is only allegorical. I consider the miracle stories of the Buddha to be factual. He really did levitate. I’m fascinated how, in the old days, people took skills such as levitation, for granted. Both the boats man and the King take levitating as a special event, but not one that is unheard of. The miraculous was not commonplace to them, but it was not denied entirely, as in modern times.
The Buddha does not levitate to show-off, but only when absolutely necessary or to teach a lesson. He needed to get to an important sermon on Varanasi. But as is typical in sacred scripture, there is always more to a story than meets the eye, additional layers to uncover. One of the secret layers of this story:
He goes to seek alms in town so that he can have dinner. Some people have felt ashamed or awkward for the Buddha. Why does he have to beg?
But he doesn’t! Just like he did not really depend on the boats man and could fly over the river, he is not dependent on begging for food and could likely manifest it out of thin air or have manna fall from Heaven, if he so intended. The asking for a ferry ride and the asking for food are not about him or for him. They are done for the sake of the people, to give them opportunity to deny or show compassion. Had he levitated over the river from the get-go, that opportunity would have been wasted.
An interesting side-note on Levitation: The word Levitation comes from the Latin “Levitas” which means lightness. The more light your state is, the more one tends to float, as seen in the previous article in this series. The latin Levitas, by the way, likely originates with Greek and even earlier with Hebrew, where the “Levites” where the priestly class that were allowed to be close to God.
To summarize: Raise Your Consciousness Level, and all else will be taken care of.