Many ancient techniques are teaching that humans have the capacity to gain extraordinary powers through various techniques, such as meditation, static dancing, drumming, praying, fasting, psychedelics and so on.
The Buddhism as philosophy acknowledged the existence of advanced powers. Buddha also expected his disciples to be able to attain these abilities, but not to become distracted by them.
Donald Lopez Jr, a professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at the University of Michigan, describes the many abilities ascribed to Buddha:
‘With this enlightenment, he was believed to possess all manner of supernormal powers, including full knowledge of each of his own past lives and those of other beings, the ability to know others’ thoughts, the ability to create doubles of himself, the ability to rise into the air and simultaneously shoot fire and water from his body. . .
Although he passed into nirvana at the age of eighty-one, he could have lived “for an aeon or until the end of the aeon” if only he had been asked to do so’. (source)
Numerous historical anecdotes of people with “extended human capacities” exist. Swami Rama in Living with the Himalayan Masters wrote:
I had never before seen a man who could sit still without blinking his eyelids for eight to ten hours, but this adept was very unusual.
He levitated two and a half feet during his meditations. We measured this with a string, which was later measured by a foot rule.
I would like to make it clear, though, as I have already told you, that I don’t consider levitation to be a spiritual practice.
It is an advanced practice of pranayama with application of bandeaus (locks).
One who knows about the relationship between mass and weight understands that it is possible to levitate, but only after long practice. . .
He (also) had the power to transform matter into different forms, like changing a rock into a sugar cube.
One after another the next morning he did many such things. He told me to touch the sand – and the grains of sand turned into almonds and cashews.
I had heard of this science before and knew its basic principles, but I had hardly believed such stories. I did not explore this field, but I am fully acquainted with the governing laws of science. (source)
It is up to the readers to decide if this stories are true. Those who are subscribes to various ancient teachings would be more inclined to believe that these stories and tales are actually true.
With science shedding light on the possible truths of ancient mysticism, it’s not implausible to think that, at one time, these abilities were more common knowledge.
Number of parapsychological studies have yielded significant results, especially when examining the findings that have come from quantum physics.
The theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory, Max Planck, stated that he “regards consciousness as fundamental” and that he regarded “matter as derivative from consciousness”.
Planck also said that “we cannot get behind consciousness” and that “everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing postulated consciousness”.
Dalai Lama has supported his viewpoint:
Broadly speaking, although there are some differences, I think Buddhist philosophy and Quantum Mechanics can shake hands on their view of the world.
We can see in these great examples the fruits of human thinking. Regardless of the admiration we feel for these great thinkers, we should not lose sight of the fact that they were human beings just as we are. (source)
The Professor of Physics of Physics and Astronomy at John Hopkins University, R.C. Henry, explains things even further:
A fundamental conclusion of the new physics also acknowledges that the observer creates the reality.
As observers, we are personally involved with the creation of our own reality. Physicists are being forced to admit that the universe is a “mental” construction.
Pioneering physicist Sir James Jeans wrote: “The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine.
Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.
Get over it, and accept the inarguable conclusion. The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual. (source)
Harvard and the Himalayan Monks
The Harvard Professor of Medicine, Herbert Benson, together with his team of researchers visited the monasteries in the Himalayan Mountains back in the 1980s.
They studied the monks who lived there and who used g Tummo (a yoga technique) to raise the temperature of their fingers and toes by as much as 17 degrees.
The team also studied the advanced meditators in Sikkim, India, who could lower their metabolism by 64 percent.
The research team from Harvard, in 1985, made a video of monks who could dry cold, wet sheets only with the body heat.
These are many others remarkable feats, and this is not the first time science has examined humans who can do extraordinary things.