Yes, Lord Buddha did actually performed over 3,500 miracles. Buddhists make no fuss or bother about their own psychic powers. For miracle working is not a criterion of one’s spirituality, nor is it a pre-requisite to the attainment of Nibbana. Indeed, the disciples of the Buddha could pass at will through a wall or fence or hill as if through air, pass in and out of the solid earth, walk on water or glide through the air. They could prolong life in the body. They could conjure up a double of themselves and make it endure. They were also able to take a form of a boy, a snake, and whatever they wish to do. Lord Buddha greatest miracle was performed at Kapilavatthu.
Here, seeing that his proud kinsmen and father (King Suddhodana) did not intend to make obeisance to Him, He rose in the air and performed the Miracle of the Pairs (called Yamaka Patihariya), or the Twin Miracle. Lord Buddha rose in the air, flames of fire issuing from the bowel. Then came fire from his right side and water from his left side through 22 variations. He then created a jewelled promenade in the sky and walked along it producing the illusion that He was standing, or sitting, or lying down. Finally, his father bowed down to the Lord after witnessing the Miracle performed.
This is the example of why Lord Buddha refused his disciples to performed magic.
Venerable Pindola Bharadvaja is one of the Buddha’s sixteen disciples named in The Amitabha Sutra. Under the Buddha’s auspices he attained the holy fruit of Arahant. Once when in a jubilant mood, he said to the faithful:
“Do you think flying in the sky is magical?
I will show you some spectacular acts.
He then jumped up into the sky, FLEW all around and performed many miraculous acts. The faithful were all impressed and praised him without ceasing. The Buddha was very displeased upon learning of this incident. He asked the Venerable to come forth and admonished him, “My teaching uses morality to change others and compassion to save living beings. It does not use magic to impress and confuse people. You have misused magic today. As punishment you will stay in this world to work for more merits and to repent for this misbehavior.”
Despite being an Arahant, Venerable Bharadvaja misused his power. As the result, he did not in his lifetime enter Nirvana . The power of magic cannot increase our virtue or eradicate defilements. Therefore, careless use will only build more obstacles to emancipation. It is obvious that magic is not the solution for cycles of rebirth (Enlightenment). Only practicing virtue is the sure and steady approach toward the Buddha Path.