Isis Unveiled: Science (p.599-601) wrote:"The people of Pashai," says Marco Polo, the daring traveller of the thirteenth century, "are great adepts in sorceries and the diabolic arts." And his learned editor adds: "This Pashai, or Udyana, was the native country of Padma Sambhava, one of the chief apostles of lamaism, i.e., of Thibetan Buddhism, and a great master of enchantments. The doctrines of Sakya, as they prevailed in Udyana in old times, were probably strongly tinged with Sivaitic magic, and the Thibetans still regard the locality as the classic ground of sorcery and witchcraft."
The "old times" are just like the "modern times"; nothing is changed as to magical practices except that they have become still more esoteric and arcane, and that the caution of the adepts increases in proportion to the traveller's curiosity. Hiouen-Thsang says of the inhabitants: "The men . . . are fond of study, but pursue it with no ardor. The science of magical formulae has become a regular professional business with them." We will not contradict the venerable Chinese pilgrim on this point, and are willing to admit that in the seventh century some people made "a professional business" of magic; so, also, do some people now, but certainly not the true adepts. It is not Hiouen-Thsang, the pious, courageous man, who risked his life a hundred times to have the bliss of perceiving Buddha's shadow in the cave of Peshawer, who would have accused the holy lamas and monkish thaumaturgists of "making a professional business" of showing it to travellers. The injunction of Gautama, contained in his answer to King Prasenagit, his protector, who called on him to perform miracles, must have been ever present to the mind of Hiouen-Thsang. "Great king," said Gautama, "I do not teach the law to my pupils, telling them 'go, ye saints, and before the eyes of the Brahmans and householders perform, by means of your supernatural powers, miracles greater than any man can perform.' I tell them, when I teach them the law, 'Live, ye saints, hiding your good works, and showing your sins.' "
Struck with the accounts of magical exhibitions witnessed and recorded by travellers of every age who had visited Tartary and Thibet, Colonel Yule comes to the conclusion that the natives must have had "at their command the whole encyclopaedia of modern 'Spiritualists.' Duhalde mentions among their sorceries the art of producing by their invocations the figures of Laotsen and their divinities in the air, and of making a pencil write answers to questions without anybody touching it."
The former invocations pertain to religious mysteries of their sanctuaries; if done otherwise, or for the sake of gain, they are considered sorcery, necromancy, and strictly forbidden. The latter art, that of making a pencil write without contact, was known and practiced in China and other countries centuries before the Christian era. It is the A B C of magic in those countries.
When Hiouen-Thsang desired to adore the shadow of Buddha, it was not to "professional magicians" that he resorted, but to the power of his own soul-invocation; the power of prayer, faith, and contemplation. All was dark and dreary near the cavern in which the miracle was alleged to take place sometimes. Hiouen-Thsang entered and began his devotions. He made 100 salutations, but neither saw nor heard anything. Then, thinking himself too sinful, he cried bitterly, and despaired. But as he was going to give up all hope, he perceived on the eastern wall a feeble light, but it disappeared. He renewed his prayers, full of hope this time, and again he saw the light, which flashed and disappeared again. After this he made a solemn vow: he would not leave the cave till he had the rapture to see at last the shadow of the "Venerable of the Age." He had to wait longer after this, for only after 200 prayers was the dark cave suddenly "bathed in light, and the shadow of Buddha, of a brilliant white color, rose majestically on the wall, as when the clouds suddenly open, and, all at once, display the marvellous image of the 'Mountain of Light.' A dazzling splendor lighted up the features of the divine countenance. Hiouen-Thsang was lost in contemplation and wonder, and would not turn his eyes away from the sublime and incomparable object." Hiouen-Thsang adds in his own diary, See-yu-kee, that it is only when man prays with sincere faith, and if he has received from above a hidden impression, that he sees the shadow clearly, but he cannot enjoy the sight for any length of time.