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After finishing the last meal before attaining enlightenment, the Ascetic Gautama threw the golden bowl into the river and said:

"If I am to succeed in becoming a Buddha today, let this bowl go upstream, but if not, let it go downstream." (source)

Gautama was not yet a Buddha and I don't think he had psychic powers to make the bowl go upstream. Even if he had the power, it seems he was not doing it by himself.

Was Gautama expecting some divine being to answer his request?

Did a Deva or god make the bowl go upstream? If not, how did the Golden Bowl go upstream?

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It's called Saccakiriya. It basically uses the power of true speech. But it has to be something strong.

ex:

I have never lied in my life! If that is true, may this happen!

I have never stolen in my life! If that is true, may this happen!

I have never killed in my life! If that is true, may this happen!

Once the Buddha instructed Venerable Angulimala to invoke his Saccakiriya to help a pregnant lady. This is what he said: "Since I was born of Aryan birth, O sister, I am not aware of having intentionally deprived any living being of his life. By this asseveration of Truth may you be well! May thy unborn child be well!"

In this scenario it's a true statement about the future. There was no Deva involved.

  • Don't you think the golden bowl statement was just metaphorical? That it was to say the Buddha went in a different direction leading him to Nirvana ? – Donald Edwards Feb 11 '16 at 18:13
  • People who are not comfortable with magical incidents, try to give different interpretations to such things. But I don't see it in any metaphorical sense – Sankha Kulathantille Feb 11 '16 at 18:20
  • I am quite comfortable with believing in supernatural phenomena and I do not see any harm in believing either of the explanations. – Donald Edwards Feb 11 '16 at 18:24
  • No I didn't mean you personally. But that's usually the most likely origin of such interpretations. I see no convincing reason to deviate from the traditional account :) – Sankha Kulathantille Feb 11 '16 at 18:36
  • All Buddhist scriptures are some monks' interpretations since Buddha did not write it himself . It's just that your interpretation is more ancient than what I have mentioned. Guess we have to go by the Kalama Sutta and realize it ourselves. – Donald Edwards Feb 11 '16 at 18:41

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