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Clairaudience or the Divine Ear

(Dibba-sota) and meditation induced tinnitus

May 9, 2004

By the contemplative recluse monk Sotapanna Jhanananda (Jeffrey S, Brooks)

(copyright 2005 all rights reserved)

What the Buddha called "Dibba-sota" (Pali) is generally translated as "Divine ear" which is clairaudience. Clairaudience is primarily a hypersensitivity of the brain lobes that are related to hearing.  This hypersensitivity can give someone uncanny hearing ability, it can also produce meditation induced tinnitus, as well as meditation induced vertigo.

If you have tinnitus or vertigo it is wise to see a doctor or an audiologist just to make sure the problem is not organic, however I do not believe doctors and audiologists are qualified to comment on meditation induced tinnitus and vertigo. 

The key in knowing whether an individual's tinnitus is meditation induced is first and foremost to ask the person whether they have a contemplative practice.  If not, then the tinnitus is most probably not a charismatic manifestation.  Occasionally however there are individuals who manifest "spontaneous" charisms who have charismatic tinnitus, and other manifestations, without having been engaged in a contemplative practice. Spontaneous occurrences of charisms are, however, unusual.

If the individual does have a meditation practice, then one should ask if the individual sustained a head injury or severe head cold prior to the emergence of the tinnitus.  If there is a head injury or sickness effecting the hearing or sinuses, then this is most likely the cause.

Finally if there is not a medical explanation for the tinnitus and the individual has a meditation practice, then the key deciding factor would be to ask the individual, "Does the tinnitus occur on one side only?"  If the tinnitus is omnidirectional, which means it seems to come from everywhere or from the center of the head, then the individual probably has meditation induced tinnitus.

At this point, we do not call it tinnitus, but the charismatic manifestation of clairaudience, or the "Divine Ear" (Dibba-sota) in Buddhism, and we say this individual is blessed and do continue your practice with diligence.  And, do not resist the manifestation, nor should you endeavor to objectify it.

In the case of a "spontaneous" charismatic, then these people are a special case.  Again if the sound originates from everywhere or no where then it might be charismatic.  Another way of telling whether an individual is a "spontaneous" charismatic is to find out if they have any of the other charisms, such as lucid dreaming, OOBs, etc.  There is another way to tell if an individual is a "spontaneous" charismatic, introduce them to meditation.  If the symptoms become pronounced from the practice of meditation, and if other charisms, such as charismatic vertigo, emerge then again we can suggest with reasonable assurance that the individual is a "spontaneous" charismatic.

Charismatic vertigo often accompanies meditation induced tinnitus and goes by the name euphoria.  So, anyone with these manifestations is blessed, and they should just keep practicing meditation and to arrange their life so that they are fully committed to their spiritual journey. Because, as the charisms emerge and become more profound, that individual's life will be transformed into a truly blessed one, as long as they do not resist the transformation.  But, this transformation is likely to render that individual incapable of providing a subsistence for themselves.

Lohicca Sutta DN 2.83, n.130

(Clairaudience) Divine ear, Dibba-sota (Pali) 

"With his mind thus concentrated, purified, & bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, he directs & inclines it to the divine ear-element. He hears -- by means of the divine ear-element, purified & surpassing the human -- both kinds of sounds: divine & human, whether near or far. Just as if a man traveling along a highway were to hear the sounds of kettledrums, small drums, conchs, cymbals, & tom-toms. He would know, 'That is the sound of kettledrums, that is the sound of small drums, that is the sound of conchs, that is the sound of cymbals, and that is the sound of tom-toms.' In the same way -- with his mind thus concentrated, purified, & bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability -- the monk directs & inclines it to the divine ear-element. He hears -- by means of the divine ear-element, purified & surpassing the human -- both kinds of sounds: divine & human, whether near or far. When a disciple of a teacher attains this sort of grand distinction, Lohicca, that is a teacher not worthy of criticism in the world, and if anyone were to criticize this sort of teacher, the criticism would be false, unfactual, unrighteous, & blameworthy.


May you become enlightened in this very lifetime,

Sotapanna Jhanananda (Jeffrey S. Brooks):

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