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#290246 - 10/02/06 11:11 PM Dreams
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
Could anyone explain how Eastern philosophies (take your pick: Zen, Buddhism, Daoism, et al) either interpret and/or contemplate the experience of dream state?

I think a comparitive study would make an interesting thread. I can't remember ever reading about dream states other than from western perspective and interpretation.


#290247 - 10/03/06 07:18 AM Re: Dreams [Re: Ed_Morris]
harlan Offline
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Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
Ah...then you missed the posts in this section...or you're just leading me on.

I'll wait for someone either educated on the subject, or steeped in an 'Eastern view' contributes...since my understanding is rather esoteric.

#290248 - 10/03/06 08:53 AM Re: Dreams [Re: harlan]
Ed_Morris Offline
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Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
yes, I read the 'dreaming of kata' thread and it led me to this sincere (not leading) question.

your esoteric opinion is fine. In particular, I was interested in hearing the Zen take on dream state. Does an enlightened person dream any differently? sounds like a dumb question, but what I mean is - if everyone regardless of enlightenment are suceptable to dreams which could contradict their waking does it get explained/processed?

consider an enlightened Zen preist dreaming of himself indulging in gluttony and barbarism. In the west, they might say they are repressed thoughts, or symbolic of an internal struggle of sorts. What would the preist make of it when he wakes?

#290249 - 10/03/06 10:31 AM Re: Dreams [Re: Ed_Morris]
harlan Offline
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Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
(Let me preface my response by apologizing in advance for rambling.)

My understanding is that the Western view can go from the Freudian 'royal road' it is 'just' another state of consciousness haphazardly induced by neuro/chemical/biological structures. I haven't read anything actually written by Jung, but everything I've read in Western literature that references his theories seem to bridge the Western/Eastern paradigms.

My esoteric view is consciousness is a continuum...and dreams only one aspect. Different aspects of awareness, of thinking, of experiencing and even different 'levels' to dreaming. Westerners are interested in something called 'lucid' states....but I personally think that people striving for these states are 'missing the point'. Just like siddhis in normal meditation, it is easy to get distracted in dream states.

Personally, I've found it useful to adapt the following understanding of various dream states: samsaric (your normal dreaming), dreams of clarity (when you become 'aware' in your dream state...and these vary from mild to life altering dreams), and natural light.

Being wholistic beings, I believe in the mind/body doing good things and having good thoughts and having a spiritual practice will naturally move one from one level of dreaming to another. I think we all have dreams of clarity at various points in our lives. Like swimming in the great pool of the subconscious...usually one is just free-floating during sleep. At times, the dream with attain a 'quality'...clarity. You 'know' it is important. You may even be aware that you are dreaming. Some of these can be life-altering. Dreams of 'natural light' I will skip describing for now, but the quality of awareness is what I think is key for a spiritual aspirant.

Dreaming, like 'being awake', is understood differently depending on context and culture. My understanding, one that makes sense to my western mind, is that dreaming is part of a continuum of consciousness. If we are interested in examining perception, reality, exploring consciousness in all it's aspects...then examination of the dreaming state is part of that exploration.

(This is my understanding...feel free to ignore it.)

Most dreams are a mix of the days events, and the symbols/events stored in our memory. It is as if the subconcious is 'playing' by taking normally disparate events and juxtaposing in order to create new insights. Buddhists label these types of dreams as part of 'samsara'. The same 'samsara'/ignorance that we exist in while 'awake' in the normal sense.

Then, there are dreams of 'clarity'. These are the ones that stand out. The 'special' ones. Again, they are on a continuum. Some lesser...dreams of seeing one's self die, meeting others or traveling places. Some Dreams of clarity become more clear, take on attributes as one evolves.

Dreams have significance in every culture, but I think that 'interpretation' is best left to the individual. That being said, cross-culturally, certain dreams, seem to occur that have significance as 'signposts' in one's personal development. Dreams of death are significant in every culture as a representation of change in the individual.

I recommend the following titles on dreaming, and understanding of certain states of consciousness:

Mind of Clear Light, by the Dalai Lama
The Crystal and the Way of Light, by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu
Dzogchen: Heart Essence of the Great Perfection, Dalai Lama
Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light, C.H. Norbu again
Meditation, Transformation and Dream Yoga, by Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche
Sleeping, Dreaming and Dying, Dalai lama
Luminous Emptiness, by Francesca Fremantle
Tibetian Yogas of Dream and Sleep, by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
Wild Awakening, by Dzogchen Ponlop
The Words of My Perfect Teacher, by Patrul Rinpoche
Dangerous Friend, by Rigdzin Dorje

Other threads:

Dogen on 'Eastern' view?

#290250 - 10/03/06 12:17 PM Re: Dreams [Re: harlan]
stormbringer Offline

Registered: 04/04/06
Posts: 277
Loc: Florida
Freud made kids afraid of white rabbits by shocking them every time they tried to touch one. That's a completely other topic altogether and part of why I don't care much for psychology. The dream stuff is a bit different though. I personally hold they are retrospective, introspective, perspective and other -ive I can't think of now. If I'm not mistaken, the Greeks used them as future predictors. Now, the west uses them as a more introspective look at life. I have a feeling that eastern though would follow the introspective approach also. I personally have an appeal to the introspective because of the subconcious mind. I've found that with myself I have one of two types of dreams. Either something completely weird and entertaining, or one about something that happened at work, in my life, and soforth.

Edited by stormbringer (10/03/06 12:25 PM)
Brown Belt. Should have my Black by Summer 2008. Jhoon Rhee system

#290251 - 10/03/06 03:11 PM Re: Dreams [Re: stormbringer]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
SB: uummm...thanks?

harlan: thanks, I'll check it out.

#290252 - 10/03/06 03:37 PM Re: Dreams [Re: Ed_Morris]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
To lighten it up a bit: anyone ever read the 'Chronicles of Majipoor' series by Robert Silverberg? Intriqueing series with a unique twist on dreams.

#290253 - 10/03/06 03:54 PM Re: Dreams [Re: Ed_Morris]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
Interesting point. Without getting bogged down on 'what is enlightenment' and 'who is enlightened'...the Buddhists that I talk to who are involved in Dream Yoga say...'yes'.

There is a state of 'calm abiding in natural light'.


Does an enlightened person dream any differently?

#290254 - 10/06/06 08:55 AM Re: Dreams [Re: harlan]
ButterflyPalm Offline

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 2637
Loc: Malaysia
Just finished reading 'The words of my perfect teacher'

To think that he wrote that huge masterpiece sitting in a cave is beyond belief.

Dreams have been talked about for millenia and some people have actually been beheaded for misinterpretting them.

My dreams have always been situationally opposite of my waking state. A case of living another life in my dreams?
I'll rather be happy than right, anytime.

#290255 - 10/06/06 09:17 AM Re: Dreams [Re: ButterflyPalm]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA

It makes me happy to know that there is another here who appreciates this book.

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