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Pāṭihāriya (Pāli, ‘wonder’, ‘marvel’, ‘phenomenon’). A device that could be put to use in winning converts to Buddhism. Canonical Buddhism acknowledges three: the wonder of magic power (iddhi-pāṭihāriya), of mind-reading (ādesanā-pāṭihāriya), and of instruction (anusāsana-pāṭihāriya). The use of displays of the first two to impress and convert laypersons was severely criticized by the Buddha, because they were feats which non-Buddhist ascetics could also perform and because they played upon people's credulity. He stressed the absolute sovereignty of the third device, instruction in the dharma, because it was a means of communicating truths that were intelligible and beneficial to its audience and not a form of exhibitionism like the others.

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