Articles elaborating the teachings

The 37 Aids to Awakening - Part 4

The Four Iddhipada (steps to spiritual power)

Iddhi means spiritual power and pada means steps.  So these are the four steps to spiritual power.  They relate to our stillness (samadhi) practice.  They lead us to samadhi as a natural progression from the Four Applications of Mindfulness.  And the applications of mindfulness are a natural progression from the efforts which purify the mind to make it ready for meditation.  

Spiritual power refers to supernormal powers and the power to realize full Awakening.  Supernormal powers are things like being able to duplicate yourself, walking through walls or on water and communicating with another at a great distance.  Not everyone who is spiritually advanced develops these powers.  AND they can be developed by people who are not spiritually advanced, who can then use these powers to harm others.  Having supernormal powers can be considered a hindrance to the Path if we get attached to them.  What is most important is using these powers to realize Awakening.

The iddhipada are:

1. Enthusiasm (chanda).  This is a positive desire, the desire to purify the mind and to meditate.  We use this enthusiasm to make the four efforts to keep us on track until samadhi reaches maturity.

Under October 2019, #29, Consistenly on the Path is a short Dhamma talk by Bhikkhu Thanissaro on using desire.

2. Energy.  It arises as samadhi deepens.  It arises on its own.  Once it has arisen, we don't need much desire/enthusiasm as our happiness from samadhi is creating energy.  So desire dies down and energy pulls us along from this point on.

3. Mind (citta).  This refers to mental development.  Mental development is letting go of the hindrances and developing the factors of Awakening.  

4. Investigation/inquiry.  Investigating gives us the information to use wisdom power to let go of the now subtle hindrances and to develop the factors of Awakening. 

Ajahn Vayama gives a lovely Dhamma talk on the Iddhipadas at this link.

 

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