Special revelation - Buddhist perspectives

Many Buddhists often accept kinds of supernatural revelation, where they believe in the existence of supernatural beings. They do not accept that truth is revealed by a God.


Buddhist traditions transmit stories of miraculous events. For example, it is believed that the Buddha was able to stand immediately after his birth and it is said that he immediately took seven steps. These are regarded as testaments to his special status as an individual with a unique potential to become a Buddha.

Later in life, the Buddha performed miracles in which he exhibited his special powers, achieved as a result of his powerful meditation practice. The Buddha's enlightened disciples also on occasion demonstrated similar miraculous powers. The most famous miracle associated with the Buddha was when he issued fire and water from his body at the same time – this took place near a town called Sravasti. The Buddha and various disciples were also able to visit other realms of existence. These things were possible through the special powers the Buddha and others had developed through meditation.

Overall, the Buddha said that showing off such powers was not very useful and that the greatest miracle was the transformation of an ordinary human being into an enlightened person.

None of these events were regarded as bestowed by or as evidence for the existence of a God.


Buddhists generally take dreams quite seriously and also believe that visions about truth can come to you. The most famous story of a dream in Buddhism is the dream of Queen Maya before the Buddha’s birth.

One full moon night, sleeping in the palace, the queen had a vivid dream. She felt herself being carried away by four devas (spirits) to Lake Anotatta in the Himalayas. After bathing her in the lake, the devas clothed her in heavenly cloths, anointed her with perfumes, and bedecked her with divine flowers. Soon after a white elephant, holding a white lotus flower in its trunk, appeared and went round her three times, entering her womb through her right side. Finally the elephant disappeared and the queen awoke, knowing she had been delivered an important message, as the elephant is a symbol of greatness in Nepal.Traditional Buddhist Story

Problems for the believer of different views about God

As Buddhists do not believe in a God figure, they do not believe that individuals from other religions can receive revelation of that sort. They can easily accept that anyone can have a vision of something supernatural such as an angelic being or other supernatural beings. Buddhists tend towards seeing revelations received in other traditions as either coming from a minor supernatural being or being a simple delusion or figment of the imagination. Buddhists think that supernatural beings do not know the truth and are stuck in samsara like human beings are.

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