FROM THE RELIGIOUS PERSPECTIVE
Not only Christians, but Babylonians, Arabians, Buddhists, Taoists, and Hindus, all try their best to release everything concealed in the soul which we inherited from Adam. No matter what religion, no matter how different the practices, methods, and procedures, there is a common principle behind these practices: they all try to overcome the outward flesh and freely release the soulish power from every kind of bondage. Some practices aim at destroying the obstructions of the body. Others try to combine the body and the soul. Still others train and strengthen the soul to overcome the body. Despite all of these differences, the principle is the same. If you do not know this, you will be deceived. I do not know how some know of the marvelous power that is dormant within the flesh, and I do not know how some discovered that this power was bound up in the flesh and that it will turn them into a so-called "super being" or "buddha" once it is released and its miraculous power is manifested. Perhaps they were told by the devil or the evil spirits. Although their theories are somewhat different, the principle behind their teachings is the same: to release the soulish power by some special means. They may not use the term "the soulish power," but the fact is there. For example, Taoists, Buddhists, and some Christian sects, such as the Charismatics and Christian Scientists (this one has branches in Shanghai and Tientsin), have special and supernatural power to perform seemingly miraculous things. Some claim that they can heal diseases, and some even predict the future.
For example, in Taoism there are cultivation techniques and breathing exercises. These are some of the simpler exercises. Then there is meditation. They all have one principle in common, to put the body in subjection to the soul for the purpose of releasing the power of the soul. This is why many miraculous things happen in Taoism. Many of these things are facts, and we cannot discredit them as mere superstition. Buddhism was originally atheistic and Sakyamuni was an atheist. This is the common conclusion of many Buddhist researchers and critics. Sakyamuni believed in reincarnation as well as a nirvana beyond reincarnation. He believed that when a man frees himself of everything, he will transcend over all to become a buddha. Today I am not teaching Buddhism. My purpose is to explain why there are many miraculous things in Buddhism and how these miraculous things come about. The Buddhists speak of escape from the world. Their monks abstain from marriage. They prohibit killing and the eating of meat. They meditate, and they practice asceticism. In the end, some even abstain from food altogether. Many senior monks can tell the past and predict the future. They perform many miracles through Buddhist practices. In moments of inspiration, they can predict the future. Behind all of these things is one principle. Buddhists try by every kind of abstinence and asceticism to break the biological and physical bondage, so that the soulish power may be released. Even the simplest kind of meditation is a way to break the bondage of the flesh and develop the power of the soul. Several friends of my father belonged to the Common Improvement Club. These people have rules of meditation, etc. They say that when they reach a certain level, they see a certain amount of light. The higher the level they achieve, the brighter the light they see. I believe all these are true reports. What they have experienced is the release from the bondage of the body and the acquisition of the power Adam had before the fall. This is not surprising at all.
The popular modern-day Church of Christ, Scientist, was founded by Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy. She denied the existence of sickness, pain, sin, and death (but she has already died), saying that man should not have any disease. If a man becomes sick, all he needs to do is say, "I am not sick," and he will not be sick. This means that if he believes that he is not sick, he will not be sick. The same is true with respect to sin. If a man believes that he has no sin, there is no sin. They believe that when a man trains his will, thought, and emotion to the point that he can deny the existence of these things and proclaim them as false and deceiving, he will indeed find that they do not exist. When they started to preach this, many people and many doctors were against it. They thought that if this were true, all of the doctors would be out of a job. When they investigated those who were supposedly healed in the Church of Christ, Scientist, they found that many were indeed healed. They could not overturn the facts, and more and more people believed and joined them. Even some famous scientists and doctors have believed. They have believers not only in England and the U.S., but also in China, where they have set up branch organizations. This should not be at all surprising because Adam did have great and immense power in his soul. As long as a man can release this soulish power from his flesh, he will experience these things.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 10: The Present Testimony (3), Chapter 9, by Watchman Nee)