The Old Testament Prophet Elisha
In the case of the Old testament prophet Elisha, we have the old story of the master Elijah looking for his successor … another man with samadhi attainments or the capability of quickly attaining samadhi attainments (because of past life cultivation). You can find countless stories like this in Indian literature where a master or sadhu makes a trip and then asks for someone to become his student, or foretells that some child will become a future master.
How is this possible? Why is it done?
As to the how, it’s the same method the Elijah used — a master can see the past life connections and capabilities of students. That in itself is a samadhi attainment. If you get religious and say that it’s "God’s handiwork" on the left side over here, then you have to be consistent and say the same thing applies to the right side over there…especially when you find the same phenomenon over and over again in various cultivation schools.
Even the Zen school has stories of masters traveling the country looking for successors, who then stay with them for awhile until the great work is completed. Same with Hinduism and Taoism and Sufism. For instance the Fourth Zen Patriarch went out of his way into the mountains to find the Fifth Zen Patriarch and teach him the dharma, which is just one famous Zen story of a teacher looking for a good student to carry on the tradition. The famous Muslim poet -adept Rumi also had a teacher with such a close relationship. In fact, it’s probable that his teacher, although disliked, had the Tao whereas Rumi probably had just samadhi achievements, but you cannot say this for sure. In the Bible the prophet Daniel is one who may have had the Tao, but once again there is not enough information to tell for sure.
Why is this done - that a master seeks a disciple? So that the lineage does not die out, so that the lineage continues unbroken. Otherwise a people become spiritually lost. The history of every cultivation school - because of impermanence - is that they are all destined to die out over time. A master’s responsibility to his people and lineage is to find a successor and help him attain the Tao and hopefully a stage of attainment even higher than his own. That’s why Elisha asked Elijah for a double portion of his spirit.
Many traditions have men of Tao which is why in the Bible we have the prophet Balaam. Though of a different tradition, he had the power to curse the Israelites because of his samadhi, too.
Now remember, the samadhi attainments are universal, and you’re not a master if you don’t have them. Even higher up the scale are the enlightenment attainments classified by the Bodhisattva bhumis, but those are rare to be found in the line of Jewish prophets and in Christianity among its saints. In the world we have humans, then rich humans, then kings. Above them we have the asuras, then the Desire Realm heavenly beings. A first dhyana samadhi master ranks above ALL these, and second dhyana master above the first, and so on it goes. Above the samadhi masters come the enlightened masters in terms of spiritual attainments, which have ten ranks, and above them come the fully enlightened beings, called Buddhas (which is just a word and has nothing to do with Buddhism other than its that terminology we’re using). So when you spurn a real samadhi master - from whatever religion - and bow before the rich, or famous or some elected official - even the head of a country - actually you’ve got your head all mixed up as to the higher and lower.
Anyway, Elisha performed many miracles during his life, most of which you can once again find in Eastern stories as well. Why? Because they are the same old samadhi powers, not miracles from God. You, too, if you cultivate, can achieve them. It just depends upon your cultivation skills and efforts. Of course to control ignorant people and nations, or just to speak to the uneducated, you call them "acts of God" or other such things that will work to have the effect you desire. It’s like the President of a country putting a fancy name on some bill to get it passed. It’s all skillful means, of course.
One such story, to show the commonality of samadhi powers we think unique, concerns the story of Elisha raising the son of the Shummanite woman.
Is this unique? No. We can go to Tibet where we find the female adept Yeshe Tsogyel who did something similar for a youth who had died. Yeshe Tsogyel actually reached the second of the Bodhisattva bhumis, and if you want to read her story you can pick up a copy of Sky Dancer by Keith Dowman. There are lots of reasons she reached a higher stage of attainment than Elisha or Elijah, but we cannot go into that here.
The relevant story? …
I could pick countless stories and show you the same wonders in the East as in Western traditions. Why is this possible? Once again, because it’s from cultivating meditation techniques and attaining samadhi. You’re prejudiced or just ignorant and uniformed if you say the Eastern stories are fake and Biblical are real, or one is heathen and one is because of God.
When you study the stages of cultivation, the commonality of cultivation methods, the universality of the process, expedient means and so forth, you’ll find each religion trying to call itself supreme when all that matters is that people cultivate and reach these stages themselves. They all involve empty mind, stainless mind, a mind free of thought — and THAT STATE is non-denominational. Think about it….how could it not be? All samadhi powers originate from cultivating the chi and mai, shen and empty mind. Dwell on this. Think about this deeply. It’s all SCIENCE.
So next time you hear the word "prophet" in the Bible, think "samadhi master," and then think of the masters of the East as well and their clear teachings on how to cultivate samadhi and the Tao. And oh yes, the Christian saints were not really saints unless they had cultivated samadhi; you can elect to call someone a "saint" but you can’t elect them to have had samadhi attainments if they did not, and that’s the only thing that truly qualifies them for the title.
Then you’ll really be in line with the spirit and calling of the Bible for you to cultivate and draw nearer to the Source.
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