Dalai Lama Speaks About Dream Yoga And It’s Enchanting
Dalai Lama is here to explain why dream yoga is useful for our spiritual development
Spiritual life is all about reviving in the middle of an unrealistic dream. Tibetan Buddhism has always taught people to awaken within the dream and practice spirituality while lying on the bed with eyes closed. This is dream yoga in which dreams can be altered through your will and consciousness.
In this article Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader talks about the various factors necessary for a human to gain a blissful experience during sleep and the waking state.
This excerpt is taken from Sleeping, dreaming and dying: An exploration of consciousness with the Dalai Lama. Dalai Lama has this to say about awakening our dream body and using it for spiritual progress and development.
“In order to train in the path that would allow us to transform death, the intermediate state, and rebirth, we have to practice on three occasions: during the waking state, during the sleeping state, and during the death process. This entails integrating the self with spiritual training. Now we have three sets of three:
- Death, intermediate state, and rebirth
- Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Nirmanakaya
- Sleeping, dreaming, and waking
“To gain the proper experience during sleep and the waking state, I think it is crucial to become familiar, by means of imagination, with the eightfold process of dying, beginning with the waking conscious state and culminating in the clear light of death. This entails a dissolution process, a withdrawal.
Once you are experienced at visualizing this during daytime practice, then when you fall asleep an analogous eightfold process occurs naturally and quickly. That’s the best method for enabling you to recognize the dreamless sleep state as the dreamless sleep state. But without deeper meditative experience of this in the daytime, it’s very difficult to realize this dissolution as you fall asleep.
“In the Highest Yoga Tantra practice there are two stages for any sadhana or visualization practice: the stage of generation and the stage of completion. In the stage of generation, the more basic of these two, this whole eightfold process of dissolution is experienced only by the power of imagination; you just visualize it. But in the second stage of practice, the stage of completion, by means of prana yoga, including the vase meditation, you bring the vital energies into the central channel, and you actually bring about such a dissolution, not just with imagination, but in terms of reality. You bring about such a dissolution, and at a certain level of this practice the clear light will manifest.
“Different factors are involved in the ability to recognize the dream as dream. One is diet. Specifically, your diet should be compatible with your own metabolism. You should have a diet that helps to maintain balance among these various humors within the body. Moreover, if your sleep is too deep, your dreams will not be very clear. In order to bring about clearer dreams and lighter sleep, you should eat somewhat less. On the other hand, if your sleep is too light, this will also act as an obstacle for gaining success in this practice. In order to deepen your sleep, you should take heavier, oilier food.
The main purpose of dream yoga in the context of tantric practice is to first recognize the dream state as dream state. Then, in the next stage of the practice you focus your attention on the heart center of your dream body and try to withdraw the vital energy into that center.