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  • 1. Lama Surya Das tibetan dream yoga Study Guide
  • 2. Sounds True, Inc., Boulder, CO 80306 TABLE OF CONTENTS © 2000 Lama Surya Das All rights reserved. No part of this booklet may be used or reproduced WHAT IS A DREAM? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 in any manner without written permission from the author and publisher. Published 1999 How Dreams Can Help Us. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Printed in the United States of America AWAKENING WITHIN THE DREAM . . . . . . . 4 Lama Surya Das. Tibetan Dream Yoga: A Complete System for Becoming TIBETAN DREAM YOGA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Conscious in Your Dreams The Six Yogas of Tibet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 ISBN 1-56455-743-X The Spiritual Benefits of Tibetan Dream Yoga . . . 9 Also by Lama Surya Das: Sleeping and Dreaming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Books Awakening the Buddha Within:Eight Steps to Enlightenment. New York: The Practices of Tibetan Dream Yoga . . . . . . . . . 12 Broadway Books, 1997. Awakening to the Sacred: Building a Spiritual Life from Scratch. New THE LIFELONG PRACTICE OF York: Broadway Books, 1999. TIBETAN DREAM YOGA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 With Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche. Natural Great Perfection: Vajra Songs and Dzogchen Teachings. Ithaca, New York: Snow Lion Publications, 1995. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 The Snow Lion’s Turquoise Mane: 155 Wisdom Tales from Tibet. SanFrancisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992. ABOUT THE AUTHOR . . . . . . . . . . . back cover Sounds True Audio and Video Tapes Natural Meditation. Video, 2000. Natural Perfection. Audio, 1999. Tibetan Energy Yoga. Video, 1999. For more information on Lama Surya Das’ teaching schedule, contact: Dzogchen Foundation PO Box 400734 Cambridge, MA 02140 Phone (617) 628-1702 www.dzogchen.org www.surya.org For a free catalog of audios, videos, and music, please contact: Sounds True, PO Box 8010, Boulder, CO 80306-8010. Phone (800) 333-9185 www.soundstrue.com
  • 3. WHAT IS A DREAM? “Tibetan Buddhism considers sleep to be a form of nourishment, like food, that restores and refreshes the body. Another type of nourishment is samadhi, or meditative concentration. If one becomes advanced enough in the practice of meditative concentration, then this itself sustains or nourishes the body.” — His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama Dreams are a significant part of our life. They are as real and unreal as life itself. Dreams are extremely personal – and transpersonal, too. Our dreams are a reflection of ourselves: in dreams, no matter how many characters appear, we meet ourselves. Dreams are mirrors to our soul. They can help us to better understand ourselves, our world, and the nature of reality. Dreams introduce us to other dimensions of experience. Here, time and space are much more
  • 4. TIBETAN DREAM YOGA TIBETAN DREAM YOGA liquid and plastic; they can be shaped and reshaped of the entire Byzantine Empire. I, myself, have received almost at will. Dreams hint of other worlds, other messages, teachings, and blessings through my dreams lives. They are a glimpse of our afterlife. from the spiritual masters I have known and loved in this lifetime. Everyone dreams, although not all dreams are remembered equally. Fifty-six percent of Americans Some contemporary psychologists consider lucid have had a lucid dream – that is, a dream in which dreaming a valuable practice for personal growth. one is aware that one is dreaming. Twenty-one percent This model is, however, different from Tibetan say they have a lucid dream once a month or more. dream yoga. The spiritual practice goes deeper, Meditators report vividly clear, self-aware dreams helping us work with the great passages of life and weekly and even more often. death. Tibetan dream yoga teaches us how to navigate the groundlessness of moment-to-moment How Dreams Can Help Us existence, which typically makes no intellectual Great healers have long recognized the power of sense. It is at this level that we cut through the dreams to inform and support us. Hippocrates said, illusory nature of mind and truly experience our “Dreams are one of the most important ways to marvelous human existence. diagnose a patient’s illness.” Sigmund Freud’s Cultivating our innate ability to wake up within turn-of-the-century work, The Interpretation of the dream can: Dreams, marked the beginning of the era of modern psychology • Increase clarity and lucidity, both waking and “Dreams are the and psychoanalysis. sleeping royal road to the • Help us realize the transparent, dream-like Certain dreams can convey nature of experience subconscious. valuable information to the Dreams are dreamer. A week before the event, • Free the mind the guardian Abraham Lincoln dreamed that • Release energy blockages and accumulated he would be assassinated. The tension and stress of sleep.” emperor Constantine dreamed of • Loosen habits and make us more open, attuned, — Sigmund Freud radiant Greek letters spelling the and flexible name of Christ and was converted, • Unleash and mobilize creativity leading to the dramatic conversion 2 3
  • 5. TIBETAN DREAM YOGA TIBETAN DREAM YOGA • Bring repressions and denials into consciousness Spiritual life is about awakening from the dream of • Clarify and dispel confusion unreality. The word buddha itself is from the word bodhi, “awakeful.” Buddhist wisdom and practice help • Solve problems us to awaken to who and what we truly are, and to • Reveal the process of death and rebirth recognize the difference between the real and the • Heal and relax us unreal in our daily life. All of our spiritual practices are designed to awaken us from the daydream of illusion • Expose fantasies and confusion, where we are like sleepwalkers, • Unlock aspirations and potentials semiconsciously muddling our way through life. • Facilitate direct encounters with our Self-knowledge through spiritual awakening helps shadow nature us become masters of circumstances and conditions, • Provide spiritual blessings, visions, rather than victims. This is why the Armenian and guidance spiritual master Georgy Gurdjieff said: “Contemporary • Help open our innate psychic capacities man is born asleep, lives asleep, and dies asleep. And • Remove hindrances and obstacles what knowledge could a sleeping man have? If you think about it and at the same time remember that • Help prepare (rehearse) us for death and sleep is the chief feature of our being, you will soon the afterlife understand that if man wishes to obtain knowledge, he should first AWAKENING WITHIN of all think about how to awaken THE DREAM himself, that is about how to “All that we see change his being.” is but a dream The seminal Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu within a dreamed he was a butterfly. Upon awakening, he South American shamans call this awakening from the dream.” wondered whether he was a man who had dreamed he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was a man. dream of life “shapeshifting”: — Edgar Allen Poe Chuang Tzu’s musings underscore a fundamental entering into a spiritual journey truth: life is like a dream. with the explicit purpose of 4 5
  • 6. TIBETAN DREAM YOGA TIBETAN DREAM YOGA transformation. Shapeshifting and other forms of practice of dream yoga and lucid dreaming, teaches conscious dreamwork can, through regular practice, that we can learn five spiritually significant wisdom help us experience other realms of existence, visit our lessons through assiduously practicing this path dear departed, and achieve spiritual mastery. of awakening: Australian aborigines say we all live in the • Dreams can be altered through will and attention dreamtime: we are like dream characters, living out • Dreams are unstable, impermanent, and unreal our lives beyond the illusion of being born and – much like fantasies, magical illusions, dying. Tibetan masters call this dreamtime the mirages, and hallucinations bardo, or intermediate stage. Bardos exist between • Daily perceptions in the everyday waking state the ending of one state and the beginning of are also unreal another, such as birth and death – or death and rebirth. Dreaming, too, is a bardo, marking the • All life is here today and gone tomorrow, like a dream; there is nothing to hold on to seemingly unstructured zone between waking and sleeping. • Conscious dreamwork can lead us to the realization of wholeness, perfect balance, “Dreams are and unity a reservoir of TIBETAN DREAM YOGA For centuries, Tibetan masters have taught their knowledge and students how to use dreamtime and dreamspace to experience, yet Tibetan Buddhism is unique further spiritual progress by increasing awareness they are often among Buddhist schools in during the dream state. Tibetan Dream Yoga brings overlooked as teaching us how to awaken you these same techniques for realizing the five a vehicle for within the dream and how to wisdom lessons and reaping the benefits of practice spiritually while sleeping. awakening within the dream. exploring This is the essence of Tibetan reality.” dream yoga, and the focus of all The Six Yogas of Tibet — Tarthang Tulku the practices associated with it. Tibetan dream yoga is one of the renowned Six yoga practice The Yoga of the Dream State, Yogas of Tibet, an ancient Buddhist teaching that an ancient Tibetan manual on the originates with the enlightened yogic adepts (siddhas) of ancient India. These yogas (or practices), utilized for 6 7
  • 7. TIBETAN DREAM YOGA TIBETAN DREAM YOGA a millennium by all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism, and healing, and the development of psychic powers help us to utilize the body/mind/spirit as a vehicle for and healing abilities can arise naturally from the awakening and enlightenment – by day, by night, and continuous practice of dream yoga and the related yogas in the afterlife (bardo). (especially clear light, inner heat, and illusory body). The Six Yogas are: The Spiritual Benefits of Tibetan Dream Yoga • Inner heat (mystic incandescence) yoga His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama has this to • Illusory body yoga say about awakening our dream body and using it • Dream yoga for spiritual progress and development: “There is said to be a relationship between dreaming, on the one • Clear light yoga hand, and the gross and subtle levels of the body on • Bardo yoga the other. But it is also said that there is a ‘special • Conscious transformation yoga dream state.’ In that state, the ‘special dream body’ is The Six Yogas tradition was first brought to Tibet created from the mind and from vital energy (prana) thirteen hundred years ago by the Indian tantric within the body. This special dream body is able to master Padmasambhava, founder of the Ancient dissociate entirely form the gross physical body and School (Nyingmapa) of Tibetan Buddhism. travel elsewhere.” Padmasambhava himself received the teachings he One way of developing this codified as The Yoga of the Dream State from a special dream body is first of all “Dreams are real mysterious yogi named Lawapa. In ensuing centuries, to recognize a dream as a dream as Buddhism grew and flourished in Tibet, Marpa the when it occurs. Then you find as long as they Translator and other Tibetan sages made the grueling that the dream is malleable, and last. Can we say journey on foot to India to study from yogic masters, you make efforts to gain control more of life?” then brought the teaching back with them. over it. Gradually you become very skilled in this, increasing — Henry Havelock Ellis Through practicing the Six Yogas, we come to realize the infinite emptiness/openness, ungraspability, your ability to control the and luminosity that is the true nature of reality. contents of the dream so that Dream interpretation, the use of dreams for predictions it accords to your own desires. Eventually it is possible to 8 9
  • 8. TIBETAN DREAM YOGA TIBETAN DREAM YOGA dissociate your dream body from your gross physical • Deeper sleep – vital functions slow down, and we body. In contrast, in the normal dream state, dream- are more likely to sleep through disturbances ing occurs within the body. But as a result of specific • Deep sleep – muscles are totally relaxed, and it training, the dream body can go elsewhere. This first would be difficult to wake us up (we only spend technique is accomplished entirely by the power of about fifteen percent of our sleeping hours at desire or aspiration. this stage) There is another technique that arrives at the same It takes about an hour to cycle through all four end by means of prana yoga. These are meditative stages; then we go back in reverse order to stage 1. practices that utilize the subtle, vital energies in the Before beginning the cycle again, however, we body. For these techniques it is also necessary to experience rapid eye movements (REM) under our recognize the sleep state as it occurs. (See Additional closed lids. Research shows that this is when we Resources, page 22: Sleeping, Dreaming and Dying: dream. We spend twenty to twenty-five percent of An Exploration of Consciousness with the Dalai Lama, our sleep time in this state. by Francisco Varela.) In order to practice dream yoga, we must introduce awareness during the periods of REM Sleeping and Dreaming sleep (which last from a few minutes to half an “Let sleep itself According to sleep researchers, hour). If we can identify that stage while asleep – be an exercise in we typically experience four perhaps with the help of an assistant or a dream-light stages of sleep. device – we can further incubate, develop, and piety, for such enhance the awareness practice of becoming as our life and • Hypnagogic sleep – the state of drowsiness we experience conscious and lucid within the dream state. conduct have as we begin falling asleep Dreaming been so also of • Ordinary sleep – here, Tibetan dream yoga texts teach us that, in general, necessity will be we enter a true sleeping there are three types of dreams: our dreams. ” state, but can still be easily awakened • Ordinary, karmic dreams, arising mostly from — Saint Basil the day’s activities, and from previous life activities, thoughts, experiences, and contacts 10 11
  • 9. TIBETAN DREAM YOGA TIBETAN DREAM YOGA • “Clear light” dreams: spiritual visions, blessings, easily be misused to perpetuate the problems we and energy openings experience in our waking lives. For example, one • Lucid dreams, which are characterized by might direct one’s dream toward a gratifying awareness that one is dreaming encounter or a vengeful fantasy. You will find that the techniques on Tibetan Dream Yoga somehow Under these three broad divisions, dreams can be don’t work as well when used for such purposes. divided into a further six categories: Tibetan dream yoga practice comprises three parts: • Dreams of events that occurred while we were still awake • Daytime practice, designed to help us recognize the dreamlike nature of all existence and • Dreams about other people, alive or dead thereby prepare us to experience our dreams as • Forgotten elements emerging from vividly as we do our waking activities the subconscious • Morning wake-up practices • Archetypal content, evocative symbols, and so on that help us recall our • Extrasensory perceptions, prognosticatory dreams, and confirm our determination to recall “In approaching dreams, and omens more of them illusory phenomena, • Radiant, luminous, spiritual dreams • Nighttime practice, one practices Recurrent dreams, nightmares, dreams of death, which prepares the ground illusory practice and other kinds of commonly reported dreams all fall within the first four dream categories. In the for lucid dreaming and in an illusory way spiritual experiences while to attain the interests of developing deeper awareness of your we sleep dreams, you may find it helpful to identify the illusory state category that applies whenever you recall a Daytime Practice of illusory particular dream. enlightenment.” During the day, practice these four points: The Practices of Tibetan Dream Yoga — Khyungpo Naljyor • Contemplating the body It is important to create a spiritual context for the as illusory and unreal practice of Tibetan dream yoga. Lucid dreaming can 12 13
  • 10. TIBETAN DREAM YOGA TIBETAN DREAM YOGA • Contemplating the mind and mental activities 2. Hold up a hand mirror behind your right or as similarly insubstantial left ear and look at its reflection in the larger • Regarding the world and all phenomena and mirror. Keep angling the hand mirror so as to experience as dreamlike, insubstantial, fragment and multiply your image as much as impermanent, and unreal possible. Let your mind fragment along with the image. • Recognizing the relativity and ungraspability of intangibles such as time, space, knowledge, 3. After a few minutes, angle the hand mirror and awareness back until you return to the original, single image in the mirror in front of you. Reminding ourselves of these four truths throughout our waking hours helps to The analogy of a mirror image is, like dreams, dissolve the barrier between the dream of life traditionally used to describe the insubstantial nature and the sleeping dream. As we become more of our everyday experience. The mirror practice helps adept at these practices, we begin to regard our bring that teaching to life. The fragmented image is nighttime dreams as continuations of our waking the kind we might see in a dream; yet we are seeing it dream – and we learn how to bring habitual while we’re fully awake – or are we? awareness to both. Allowing your mind to “fall apart” also helps ventilate the solidity we typically attribute to our Mirror Practice world, and especially to our “self.” “Do not sleep The following mirror like an animal. practice is an effective way of Partner Exercise Do the practice perceiving the dreamlike nature Here is a traditional dream yoga practice you that mixes sleep of “reality,” and especially of can do with a partner. This is an immensely useful “self.” From time to time technique, not only for challenging the distinction and reality.” during the day, take a few between sleeping dreams and the dream of being — Tibetan instruction minutes to do it. awake, but also for applying your training to for dream yoga 1. Stand in front of a mirror practical, everyday situations. practice and look into your own eyes. 1. Insult, blame, and criticize your partner. Your partner should listen to all of this as echoes; empty sounds. 14 15
  • 11. TIBETAN DREAM YOGA TIBETAN DREAM YOGA 2. Trade places. Now have your partner disparage • Entering into mindful reflection on the you, while you practice just hearing the sounds transition between the states of sleeping, and not taking the words to heart. dreaming, and waking reality – coming into 3. Try doing this same exercise using praise and the present moment, recording dreams flattery instead of blame. In either case, the Thus, you will enter the day recognizing that all listening partner should practice not reacting things are like a dream, illusion, fantasy, mirage, and in any way, recognizing what is being said as so forth. a dream. Nighttime Practice At first, you may find it difficult to maintain equanimity while you do this practice. Stay with it – After going to bed, practice these four points in order to you will find that doing so yields rich rewards over time. create the conditions for mindful, lucid dreaming. • Chant the following prayer three times to Wake-up Practice remind you of and strengthen your resolve to The moments immediately after waking are awaken within the dream, for the benefit of the the most fertile for recalling dreams. The following ultimate awakening of practices are designed to support and strengthen your all beings: “May I awaken recall. They will also facilitate a mindful transition within this dream and “There are some grasp the fact that I am between the sleeping and waking dream states. dreaming, so that all who are awake Upon waking in the morning, practice: dreamlike beings may even while • The lion’s outbreath – breathing out with the likewise awaken from asleep, and then sound “ah” the nightmare of illusory there are those suffering and confusion.” who, apparently • The lion-like posture for awakening and purifying – sitting up in bed with raised head • Lie on one side with your awake, are and gazing and emphasizing the exhalation, legs together and knees repeating the “ah” outbreath three times slightly bent. Let your bent deeply asleep.” • Raising the energy – standing up, reaching arm take the weight of your — Lalla the fingertips to the sky, and repeating the torso by resting your head lion’s outbreath on your open hand. This is 16 17
  • 12. TIBETAN DREAM YOGA TIBETAN DREAM YOGA the posture of the sleeping Buddha, as he has • Contemplate the archetypal, symbolic content been traditionally depicted at the moment of and meanings of your dreams passing into nirvana (death). • Reflect on the similarities and differences • Bringing your attention to your throat chakra, between night dreams, daydreams, fantasies, visualize your energy rising up out of your body. visions, ideas, projections, and so on Feel it rise up from your heart chakra with your • Wake yourself up during the night to reaffirm breath and pass into your “third eye” or brow your resolve to awaken within the dream and chakra: the point between your eyebrows. grasp the fact that you are dreaming Visualize it as a full, luminous moon behind your eyes. Go into the light. • Sit up in meditation posture while sleeping to maintain continuous awareness while inducing • Visualize the letter “A” (symbolizing infinite and incubating lucid dreaming space) on the surface of the moon. • Have a dream assistant at hand to guide you • Notice whatever images begin to appear on the while asleep, helping you learn to retain sphere of light behind your eyes. conscious presence during dreams Deepening Your Practice • Use the DreamLight developed by Dr. Stephen LaBerge to stimulate lucid dreaming during “You beings on To progress still further in REM sleep (see Additional Resources, page 21) Tibetan dream yoga, earth who are • Meditate alone in darkness to develop the inner • Pay careful attention to clarity of the Clear Light Mind – the mind deep in slumber your dreams unaffected by illusion … Stop sleeping! • Record your dreams in a Wake up! • During the day, maintain awareness that dream journal upon waking everything you experience is like a dream What are you each morning • Chant the dream yoga prayer by day and by waiting for?” • Recognize recurrent images, night to help reinforce your intention to themes, associations, — The Zohar awaken within the dream and patterns 18 19
  • 13. TIBETAN DREAM YOGA TIBETAN DREAM YOGA THE LIFELONG PRACTICE OF ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TIBETAN DREAM YOGA Ancient Tibetan Dream Yoga Like any spiritual practice, Tibetan dream yoga will Norbu, Namkhai Rinpoche. Dream Yoga and the reveal more substantial benefits the longer and more Practice of Natural Light. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion consistently you practice it. In the Buddhist tradition, Publications, 1992. however, discipline alone is not enough to bring your practice fully alive. Motivation – the reason Wangyal, Tendzin Rinpoche. The Tibetan Yogas of you practice in the first place – is considered as Dream and Sleep. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion crucial as technique and commitment. Publications, 1998. You will have noticed that the Tibetan dream yoga Contemporary Dream Resources chant includes an aspiration to help free all beings of their suffering. This intention lies at the root of all Dalai Lama, H.H. the. The World of Tibetan Buddhism: Buddhist practice. The underlying teaching is that all An Overview of Its Philosophy and Practice. Tr., ed., living beings are interconnected: none of us can be and annotated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa. Boston: completely free so long as any of us is still asleep. Wisdom Publications, 1995. As you practice Tibetan dream yoga, recognize that Jung, Carl G. Memories, Dreams, Reflections. New the suffering you seek to alleviate through spiritual York: Vintage Books, 1989. practice is, in fact, universal. Recognize, too, that the more awake you are, the more helpful you can be to LaBerge, Stephen. Lucid Dreaming. New York: those you care about – in fact, to Ballantine Books, 1986. everyone you come into contact To learn about the DreamLight developed by “A dream not with. Practice with the intention of Dr. LaBerge, visit the Lucidity Institute web site at http://www.lucidity.com/dreamlight.html. interpreted is working with your own individual like a letter part of the whole, in order to bring —, and Howard Rheingold. Exploring the World of all of human awareness to a new Lucid Dreaming. New York: Ballantine Books, not read.” level. In this way, you will derive 1990. — The Talmud the greatest possible benefits from your dream yoga practice. 20 21
  • 14. TIBETAN DREAM YOGA Mindell, Arnold. Working with the Dreaming Body. London: Arkana, 1972. Sogyal Rinpoche. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994. Surya Das, Lama. Awakening the Buddha Within: Eight Steps to Enlightenment. New York: Broadway Books, 1997. LAMA SURYA DAS Varela, Francisco, ed. Sleeping, Dreaming and Dying: … lived and studied with the great spiritual An Explanation of Consciousness with the Dalai masters of Asia for almost thirty years. He Lama. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1997. twice completed the traditional three-year Vajrayana meditation retreat in a Tibetan monastery in southern France. A leading spokesperson for the emerging Western Buddhism, he is a dzogchen lineage holder and the founder of the Dzogchen Foundation. A poet, translator, activist, and full-time spiritual teacher, Surya Das lectures and leads meditation retreats and workshops worldwide; brings Tibetan lamas to the West to teach; regularly organizes the annual, week-long Western Buddhist Teachers’ Conference with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India; and is active in interfaith dialogue. He is the author of The Snow Lion’s Turquoise Mane, Natural Great Perfection (with Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche), Awakening the Buddha Within, and Awakening to the Sacred. SOUNDS TRUE 22 PO BOX 8010 / BOULDER, CO / 80306-8010 AW00454