Did the Buddha dream?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Did the Buddha dream?

Postby Dhammakid » Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:34 am

I was listening to a talk on modern Gnosticism and the instructor was speaking about the nature of being awake and enlightened. He mentioned that since the Buddha was spiritually awake, his mind never slept, even when his body did. He claimed this allowed the Buddha to "astral travel," visit other planes of existence, and interact with beings, among other things.

What do you all think of this? Does the Ariyan mind dream (in the sense that it is temporarily separate from reality), or is it ever-mindful and awake even when the body is asleep, enabling it to disconnect from the body and experience freedom from time and space?

Anjali,
Dhammakid
User avatar
Dhammakid
 
Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 7:09 am
Location: Georgia, USA

Re: Did the Buddha dream?

Postby plwk » Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:39 am

Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

Anguttara-Nikaya: Ekanipata: Ekadhammapali: Pañhamavagga
VSM VMM WBB TBHT WTBT My Page
plwk
 
Posts: 1137
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2010 5:14 am

Re: Did the Buddha dream?

Postby Ben » Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:53 am

Thanks plwk

It would have been nice if Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera included some references in his article.
I think the compilers of the Abhidhamma would argue that a Buddha does not dream. Unfortunately I don't have the time to look up CMA at the moment.
Hopefully later.

As for claims of "instead of dreaming, astral travel", sounds a bit like creative hagiography of the New Age variety. Though, I am happy to be proven wrong if there is evidence in the Pali Canon or commentarial literature that supports the idea.
kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16046
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Did the Buddha dream?

Postby bodom » Thu Apr 22, 2010 5:35 am

For what its worth, Ajahn Chah had stated in a talk that he no longer had dreams. Cant remember which talk off the top of my head. It might be online somewhere or in Food for the Heart, not sure, but its definitely there.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
User avatar
bodom
 
Posts: 4600
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Did the Buddha dream?

Postby cooran » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:36 am

Hello all,

As a Bodhisatta, he had dreams ... but I don't think he did so once enlightened.

Supina Sutta
"When the Tathagata — worthy & rightly self-awakened — was still just an unawakened bodhisatta, five great dreams appeared to him. Which five?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#dreams5

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7483
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Did the Buddha dream?

Postby cooran » Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:44 am

A little more:

[DILEMMA THE SEVENTY-FIFTH. DREAMS.]
33. 'Venerable Nâgasena, men and women in this world see dreams pleasant and evil, things they have seen before and things they have not, things they have done before and things they have not, [298] dreams peaceful and terrible, dreams of matters near to them and distant from them, full of many shapes and innumerable colours. What is this that men call a dream, and who is it who dreams it?'
'It is a suggestion 1, O king, coming across the path of the mind which is what is called a dream. And there are six kinds of people who see dreams--the man who is of a windy humour 2, or of a bilious one, or of a phlegmatic one, the man who dreams dreams by the influence of a god, the man who does so by the influence of his own habits, and the man who does so in the way of prognostication 3. And p. 158
of these, O king, only the last kind of dreams is true; all the rest are false.'
http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/sbe36/sbe3606.htm

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7483
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Did the Buddha dream?

Postby Ben » Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:01 am

Thanks Chris!
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16046
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Did the Buddha dream?

Postby Freawaru » Thu Apr 22, 2010 2:21 pm

Hi Dhammakid,

Dhammakid wrote:I was listening to a talk on modern Gnosticism and the instructor was speaking about the nature of being awake and enlightened. He mentioned that since the Buddha was spiritually awake, his mind never slept, even when his body did. He claimed this allowed the Buddha to "astral travel," visit other planes of existence, and interact with beings, among other things.


Well, Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu identifies that what is called "astral projection" today as "mind-made realms" or "form and formless realms". http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I tend to agree with him in this. Makes sense. The Astral realms are quite different from dream although we enter them naturally during sleep, too. The jhanas (both form and formless ones) are Astral, was the Buddha still in jhana? The deva are of the form and formless realms so, yes, the Buddha did astral travel, IMO.

What do you all think of this? Does the Ariyan mind dream (in the sense that it is temporarily separate from reality), or is it ever-mindful and awake even when the body is asleep, enabling it to disconnect from the body and experience freedom from time and space?

Anjali,
Dhammakid


It depends on what you mean by Aryan mind. The mind of a person with an Aryan mind separates into two kinds, one lucid and the other not:

His consciousness changes & is unstable, but his consciousness doesn't — because of the change & instability of consciousness — alter in accordance with the change in consciousness.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Two kinds of consciousness, one is (like form, feeling and so on) changing and not stable, but the other one is not altering in accordance with the first kind of consciousness (and form, feeling, ...).

A similar description of two kinds of mind within one person can be found here: http://what-buddha-said.net/drops/II/Bo ... eeling.htm

Contact with the senses (and mind is a sense just like eye) of an Aryan still provide information, even still the reaction pleasant, painful or neither pleasant nor painful to such a contact, but the resulting trinity of attraction, aversion and indifference is missing. Thus a person with an Aryan mind can dream (because mind is a sense) but not the part of his mind that we call Aryan.
Freawaru
 
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:26 pm

Re: Did the Buddha dream?

Postby PeterB » Thu Apr 22, 2010 3:08 pm

"The Buddha did astral travel imo " care to back that up from the Canon, Freawaru ? This is the modern Theravada forum.

The Zen Buddhist and Neuroscientist Susan Blackmore on the subject of astral travel and OOTBE's on which she conducted extiensive research;
"The idea of out of body experiences is based on a false notion of self and of inside and outside.
Not only is there no self to go anywhere, there is nowhere for it to go ".
PeterB
 
Posts: 3904
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: Did the Buddha dream?

Postby Freawaru » Thu Apr 22, 2010 6:32 pm

PeterB wrote:"The Buddha did astral travel imo " care to back that up from the Canon, Freawaru ?


No problem. How many suttas about deva and other lokas do you want me to quote? How many suttas on transformation and similar iddhis?

This is the modern Theravada forum.


Indeed. And I am quoting a modern Theravada teacher:

Of particular interest here is the Buddha's treatment of the three "acquisitions of a self." The first — the gross self — refers to the ordinary, everyday sense of identifying with one's body. The latter two — the mind-made acquisition and the formless acquisition — refer to the sense of self that can be developed in meditation. The mind-made acquisition can result from an experience of the mind-made body — the "astral body" — that constitutes one of the powers that can be developed through concentration practice.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


You can also read the Visuddhimagga regarding the iddhis.

The Zen Buddhist and Neuroscientist Susan Blackmore on the subject of astral travel and OOTBE's on which she conducted extiensive research;
"The idea of out of body experiences is based on a false notion of self and of inside and outside.
Not only is there no self to go anywhere, there is nowhere for it to go ".



But from the Theravada point of view there are astral acquisitions of self just as our normal perception of the body and the physical world. The other lokas, deva loka and so on are considered real. Not in the ultimate sense but places one can really go to and one can communicate with beings in them even while still in this human life - what do you propose this kind of stuff refers to if not the astral?

"What self do you posit, Potthapada?"

"I posit a gross self, possessed of form, made up of the four great existents [earth, water, fire, and wind], feeding on physical food."

"Then, Potthapada, your self would be gross, possessed of form, made up of the four great existents, feeding on physical food. That being the case, then for you perception would be one thing and self another. And it's through this line of reasoning that one can realize how perception will be one thing and self another: even as there remains this gross self — possessed of form, made up of the four great existents, and feeding on food — one perception arises for that person as another perception passes away. It's through this line of reasoning that one can realize how perception will be one thing and self another."

"Then, lord, I posit a mind-made self complete in all its parts, not inferior in its faculties."

"Then, Potthapada, your self would be mind-made, complete in all its parts, not inferior in its faculties. That being the case, then for you perception would be one thing and self another. And it's through this line of reasoning that one can realize how perception will be one thing and self another: even as there remains this mind-made self — complete in all its parts, not inferior in its faculties — one perception arises for that person as another perception passes away. It's through this line of reasoning that one can realize how perception will be one thing and self another."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


As you can see from the point of view of the Buddha there is no difference in regard to self or not considering the gross or the astral body. But I still think that he was physical while he taught the Dhamma so there is no reason to asume he wasn't able to go astral - especially considering the suttas appearing to people far away from his physical body (a typical astral ability).
Freawaru
 
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:26 pm

Re: Did the Buddha dream?

Postby PeterB » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:07 pm

Lets just say that I draw a different conclusion to yours on the matter of literally "travelling" to other lokas etc, and leave it there.
PeterB
 
Posts: 3904
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: Did the Buddha dream?

Postby Dhammakid » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:34 pm

Interesting discussion so far.

Was it just the Buddha's consciousness that visited and taught beings in various planes of existence other than the human realm? Or are we to take it that he was both physically and consciously there?

I'm thinking of a buddha's dream as a type of lucid dream - being fully conscious and interacting with the dream environment. But I guess that still makes them dreams and not reality. I'm also not sure what the difference is between lucid dreams and astral projection, unless the latter is a state by which a person can travel in real time and interact with real, live beings and then talk about it with those beings later once they "wake up" from it.

:shrug:
Dhammakid
User avatar
Dhammakid
 
Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 7:09 am
Location: Georgia, USA

Re: Did the Buddha dream?

Postby PeterB » Fri Apr 23, 2010 7:55 am

I suspect that the only way to really find out is to become a Buddha, Dhammakid.
PeterB
 
Posts: 3904
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: Did the Buddha dream?

Postby Dhammakid » Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:44 am

Peter: Haha, indeed, I'll get right on it :-p
User avatar
Dhammakid
 
Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 7:09 am
Location: Georgia, USA

Re: Did the Buddha dream?

Postby PeterB » Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:16 pm

:anjali:
PeterB
 
Posts: 3904
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: Did the Buddha dream?

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:35 pm

Dhammakid wrote:Was it just the Buddha's consciousness that visited and taught beings in various planes of existence other than the human realm? Or are we to take it that he was both physically and consciously there?

I think these kind of questions are inappropriate. See SN22.86 or SN44.2
"What do you think, Anuradha: Do you regard the Tathagata as being in form?... Elsewhere than form?... In feeling?... Elsewhere than feeling?... In perception?... Elsewhere than perception?... In fabrications?... Elsewhere than fabrications?... In consciousness?... Elsewhere than consciousness?"

"No, lord."

"What do you think: Do you regard the Tathagata as form-feeling-perception-fabrications-consciousness?"

"No, lord."

"Do you regard the Tathagata as that which is without form, without feeling, without perception, without fabrications, without consciousness?"

"No, lord."

"And so, Anuradha — when you can't pin down the Tathagata as a truth or reality even in the present life — is it proper for you to declare, 'Friends, the Tathagata — the supreme man, the superlative man, attainer of the superlative attainment — being described, is described otherwise than with these four positions: The Tathagata exists after death, does not exist after death, both does & does not exist after death, neither exists nor does not exist after death'?"
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
User avatar
acinteyyo
 
Posts: 998
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Neuburg/Donau, Germany

Re: Did the Buddha dream?

Postby Dhammakid » Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:58 pm

Venerable,
Thank you very much for that. It's greatly appreciated. I think this answers the question.

Anjali,
Dhammakid
User avatar
Dhammakid
 
Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 7:09 am
Location: Georgia, USA

Re: Did the Buddha dream?

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:50 pm

What is a dream? isn't it just the mind continually proliferating even when the body is asleep? A continuation of the crap that goes through the mind during the day.

I've noticed as a result of my meditation practice I tend to be aware during some periods of sleep, I don't think it's always sleeplessness as sleeplessness results in me being tired the rest of the day. I've heard teachers suggest similar things.

So I think it not unreasonable to assume that the Buddha may have been continually aware while his body was sleeping.

As for astral travel save that for the new agers.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1915
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Did the Buddha dream?

Postby acinteyyo » Sat Apr 24, 2010 8:14 am

Dhammakid wrote:Venerable,
Thank you very much for that. It's greatly appreciated. I think this answers the question.
Anjali,Dhammakid
If "Venerable" was meant to address me, then, to prevent a mistake, I'm just an upāsaka. ;)
best wishes, acinteyyo

edit: by the way I just came across this passage:
94. Answering Questions with Questions
Because I had been on familiar terms with Luang Pu
for a long time, when I would ask him a question he
would tend to answer by asking a question in return—his
way of getting me to think out the answer on my own.
For example, when I asked, “The minds of arahants
are clean and bright. Can they predict the next lottery
number accurately?”
He answered,“Would arahants be interested in knowing
stuff like that?”
When I asked,“Do arahants dream in their sleep like
ordinary people?”
He answered,“Aren’t dreams an affair of the aggregate
of fabrication?”

When I asked,“Have there ever been any run-of-themill
people still thick with defilements who have
nevertheless been able to teach other people to become
arahants?”
He answered,
“Haven’t there been a lot of doctors who, even though they
themselves are ill, have been able to cure other people of their
illnesses?”

from Gifts He Left Behind
Last edited by acinteyyo on Sun Apr 25, 2010 7:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
User avatar
acinteyyo
 
Posts: 998
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Neuburg/Donau, Germany

Re: Did the Buddha dream?

Postby Dhammakid » Sat Apr 24, 2010 10:58 pm

Ah, sorry about that. I guess there is such a thing as being too polite, haha.

Great quote from the (actual) venerable. I've never thought of dreams as mere fabrications, even though it's pretty obvious that is what they are.

Anjali,
Dhammakid
User avatar
Dhammakid
 
Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 7:09 am
Location: Georgia, USA

Next

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests