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mahāprātihārya (P. mahāpāṭihāriya; T. cho 'phrul chen po ཆོ་འཕྲུལ་ཆེན་པོ་; C. shenbianxiang 神變相) it translated as "great miracle." This is one of the two most famous miracles performed by the Buddha, along with the "paired miracle" (yamakaprātihārya).[1]

There are multiple accounts of these miracles in traditional sources, in both canonical sources and commentaries. Both miracles are understood to have taken place in the city of Sravasti, and are sometimes referred to as the Sravasti miracles.[1]

When performing the mahāprātihārya, the Buddha displayed multiple emanations of himself. John Strong presents an account from the Sanskrit tradition:

Sitting on a huge lotus blossom brought to him by two naga kings, the Buddha creates above, in front of, and behind him other lotus thrones on which sit replicas of the Buddha. In this way, he multiplies his own body and does not stop until he has filled the whole sky with buddhas, up to the heavens. Some are seated, some standing, some walking, some lying down, and they exhort the crowd with these words:
“Start now! Leave home! Apply yourselves to the Buddha’s Teaching! Overthrow the army of Death the way an elephant smashes a reed hut! For whoever goes forth intent on the Doctrine and Discipline will put an end to suffering and abandon this cycle of rebirth.”[2]

The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism states:

In the mahāprātihārya, the Buddha creates duplicates of himself, his dopplegängers then appearing in various terrestrial and heavenly abodes. In one instance, the Buddha produces a doppelgänger that remains on earth while he then goes to the Tuṣita heaven to preach the dharma to his mother Māyā. In another instance, the Buddha creates several duplicates of himself so that everyone present in his audience can interact with him privately.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Buswell & Lopez 2014, s.v. mahāprātihārya.
  2. Strong 2009, Chapter 6, section "The Great Miracle at Sravasti".


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