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?

2 Answers 2


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


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 ? Feb 11, 2016 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 Feb 11, 2016 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. Feb 11, 2016 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 :) Feb 11, 2016 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. Feb 11, 2016 at 18:41

I believe the golden bowl statement was metaphorical. For me it signifies an important lesson:

World cannot be understood by looking at it in the same manner we are used to. It will require us applying our thinking and understanding against the grain sometimes. Like the current of the river may fall through normally, but one need not be limited by its direction. We should not limit ourselves into traditional way of thinking, and mundane frames of understanding. After all, that frame of thinking is the main reason why we are here, stuck in sansara.

Albert Einstein : “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Lord Budhdha: "Sabbe Pruthajjana Unmaththaka" - All those who are not actively striving for Nirvana, are not right in their mind.

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