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The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
Answer
9/22/09 9:24 PM
Hey everyone, Adam here. I was wondering if anyone has read Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche's The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep, or better yet, actually done the practices. Or, if anyone knows somebody who has done the practices it talks about. Or, if someone has found out about the practices of clear light/sleep yoga from another source, and found the source useful, and would like to recommend it. Learning to maintain consciousness during sleep, and to meditate in dreams, seems like a great way to supercharge meditation practice. Since it looks like I may not be able to do a retreat for a long long time, I'll take all the help I can get.

More specifically, I was wondering about the practicality and effectiveness of the exercises discussed in the book. If it's the kind of thing that takes years to develop, or that has no guarantee of promoting any insight for a long time, then I'll just stick with regular vipassana for now. I don't even have the motivation to go to the gym to have muscles in three months, and if it weren't for the fact that I can see vibrations in insight meditation now, I probably wouldn't do that either! If on the other hand I can expect some significant developments in sleep/dream yogas within a few months, then it would be much more realistic to expect them to actually be done.

RE: The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
Answer
9/23/09 12:38 AM as a reply to J Adam G.
very long page about yoga nidra: http://www.swamij.com/yoga-nidra.htm

There's also free 61 points mp3 on that site: relevant method.

RE: The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
Answer
9/23/09 6:25 AM as a reply to J Adam G.
Hi, J Adam G,

I read the book a few years ago when my practice was in three characteristics and I wasn't even aware of it. In fact I wasn't really aware of anything come to think of it. I loved the book, and practiced a lot of the meditation techniques in it. If you're having trouble going to the gym then perhaps this may be a bit of stretch for your tired muscles. You have to actually wake yourself using an alarm one to three times a night, note your dreams, try to keep consciousness as you fall back to sleep, etc. My most interesting experience was having a lucid dream, knowing I was dreaming, waking myself up and seeing the dream still play out on the wall in front of me. It was a great cartoon!!! I got exhausted after a while. It's hard to do dream yoga while working and raising a family. I have read elsewhere that such powers or capacities are easier to develop or may develop spontaneously in the higher stages of enlightenment. Hope this helps, and good luck with your 'dream gym.'
Paul

RE: The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
Answer
9/23/09 12:04 PM as a reply to Paul Hurley.
Uh oh. I'm a college student with a sleep disorder. Waking up to alarms in the middle of the night is the last thing I need to do! That would be a death blow to grades, social life, and immune system.

It seems pretty rare for it to be so clear-cut, whether or not a particular practice would be good for someone. In this case, it looks pretty simple. If this requires lots of waking up in the middle of the night, angering the Circadian Rhythm Gods who already hate me, then I think dream and sleep yoga are out for now. I'll stick with regular vipassana in that case. Thank you for the quick reply!

RE: The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
Answer
9/23/09 10:09 PM as a reply to J Adam G.
That book is actually my current bathroom reader, and am about half-way through it and really enjoying it. Wangyal is a hardcore teacher who is also very down to earth. He slips effortlessly from very mundane to very profound topics with great ease. I haven't tried the techniques yet, but lucid dreams and dream practice have always fascinated me, and was how I got into all this stuff in the first place.

RE: The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
Answer
9/23/09 10:25 PM as a reply to J Adam G.
Totally agree with you! Great book! Though I found the visualization exercises a bit difficult for me. But you can see where developing greater concentration using visualizations would be extremely helpful in the dream state. This is slightly off topic but another source of information that I thought I might pass along is: http://www.youtube.com/user/LucidDreamTricks I have to thank C4chaos for the link. I actually purchased the program and I am looking to attend to the "program" soon. I have had a few lucid dreams and they are totally worth working on! Good luck becoming lucid in your dream life as well as waking. emoticon

RE: The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
Answer
4/23/10 9:12 PM as a reply to Mike Ryan Redmer.
I've read Tenzin Wangyal's book and also attended several weekend workshops he has given on Tibetan dream yoga. Most of my practical knowledge of lucid dreams has come from Stephen LaBerge, who's written several very good books on the subject and gives workshops on his techniques - I've used his Nova Dreamer, which flashes a red light when you are in REM sleep to help you become aware that you're dreaming, and also gotten a lot of information from people who have very frequent lucid dreams, who have spoken and given workshops at the International Association for the Study of Dreams. In spite of a lot of effort devoted to this study, my results have been rather limited, and I haven't managed to accomplish as much as I've wanted to. I find that the very recognition that I have become conscious in a dream tends to wake me up unless I am quite careful. The quality of consciousness is very clear, compared to ordinary dreams, and the whole surrounding scene tends to become rather numinous. I am continually amazed by the fact that, although I know quite clearly that this is only a dream, a product of my mind, it does not vanish when I recognize that - it has some sense of solidity, even though I may find that walls are made of some kind of styrofoam-like material, or that I can walk through them, or fly, etc.

I wonder if the sense of clarity upon "awakening" in a dream is in any way analogous to what a similar "awakening" in so-called real life would be. I have yet to find out.

RE: The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
Answer
4/24/10 10:36 AM as a reply to J Adam G.
I read it a while ago, and found it very interesting, but I had a lot of questions about the techniques involved that I had no way of getting answers to.

For example, as I recall, there was a long discussion of what I would now call a kasina practice centered around visualizing the Tibetan letter A as a foundation. I would love to know, but have no way of finding out (other than perhaps empirical experiments that could consume many years) whether using the "A" as a kasina was really necessary for some reason (which would put it in the realm of magic for me) or whether cultivating concentration/jhana states in some other fashion would do the trick.

Also, there was a lot of waking oneself up every few hours that I decided to shelve for a decade or two until I didn't have work and family responsibilities.

RE: The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
Answer
4/25/10 7:04 AM as a reply to Judy Tart.
Still working on his book, still enjoying it.

As to the clarity of awakening and how it relates to dreams, I have noticed that as my practice has progressed the awareness in dreams has become noticeably like the awareness when awake, and have noticed the transition from being awake in the ordinary sense to dreams and back to being awake has become much more fluid and sometimes it all seems exactly the same, just with different rules for how the dream and awake worlds work.

I have also noticed my dreams becoming more complex, story-like, coherent and relevant to what seems to be going on, with their connections to ordinary waking life events being much more straightforward and their archetypal and thematic aspects being much more straightforward and less obscure or hard to interpret.

My thought this early morning when, after a long night shift, sleep and dreams sounds mighty nice...

RE: The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
Answer
4/25/10 10:28 AM as a reply to Judy Tart.
Judy Tart:
I've read Tenzin Wangyal's book and also attended several weekend workshops he has given on Tibetan dream yoga. Most of my practical knowledge of lucid dreams has come from Stephen LaBerge, who's written several very good books on the subject and gives workshops on his techniques - I've used his Nova Dreamer, which flashes a red light when you are in REM sleep to help you become aware that you're dreaming, and also gotten a lot of information from people who have very frequent lucid dreams, who have spoken and given workshops at the International Association for the Study of Dreams. In spite of a lot of effort devoted to this study, my results have been rather limited, and I haven't managed to accomplish as much as I've wanted to. I find that the very recognition that I have become conscious in a dream tends to wake me up unless I am quite careful. The quality of consciousness is very clear, compared to ordinary dreams, and the whole surrounding scene tends to become rather numinous. I am continually amazed by the fact that, although I know quite clearly that this is only a dream, a product of my mind, it does not vanish when I recognize that - it has some sense of solidity, even though I may find that walls are made of some kind of styrofoam-like material, or that I can walk through them, or fly, etc.

I wonder if the sense of clarity upon "awakening" in a dream is in any way analogous to what a similar "awakening" in so-called real life would be. I have yet to find out.


The few times I've tried to induce lucid dreaming, it did not work, but I wasn't very persistent. However when I was doing fairly intense meditation practice (Tibetan lineage preliminaries) I found that the more I practiced, the more likely I was to have lucid dreams even without trying. Becoming lucid usually didn't wake me - though it came close at times. As you say, the dream world would not vanish, but it was more brilliant and transparent - luminous and with a great sense of significance. Then I would usually drift back into non-lucid dreaming.

I came to the conclusion after awhile that awakening must be very much like this - that, at least in the early stages, nothing vanishes - just becomes less compelling in its mundane aspect and at the same time, more brilliant and meaningful - or at least something is meaningful.

Yesterday I was reading in a Tibetan text that said that when you reach the higher levels of enlightenment, awareness waking and dreaming is almost the same. Once in a discussion of what dreams are, one of my fellow students asked our teacher what his dreams were like. He said being awake was like being in one room, and dreaming, being in the next room - then he added, "But for me there's no wall."

I experienced the 'no-wall' situation once in a very different way. I was staying at home, but in a building separate from the main house. It was mid-winter, very cold, and there was a storm with high winds. The wind was blowing down the chimney and resulted in fumes accumulating. The next time the furnace tried to fire itself up, there was a big explosion. I was sound asleep at the time, but woke instantly - I was completely aware of hearing the explosion - even though it had happened when I was asleep. But then I was wide awake with a sense of complete continuity back into my previous sleeping state and the experience of hearing the explosion. No wall, as it were. I knew exactly what the explosion was and what I needed to do about it.

When I had time to think about it later, I was really baffled by the experience. It was very clear - that the sound had occurred when I was asleep, and then I was awake, with no transition whatsoever. My conclusion now is that the majority of our 'experience' is constructed - and a lot of our energy goes into maintaining the whole edifice of ordinary 'consciousness' - but it is just constructs and not reality. There are many ways to de-construct this edifice - physical and mental stress are quite effective, and in fact, this is also what meditation does, hopefully in a somewhat more controlled way.

Susan

RE: The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
Answer
4/25/10 3:57 PM as a reply to Susan Law.
Ill have to check that book out. As a child I had regular lucid dreams and it amazed me, but as I got older I lost interest in it and so found that it happened less regular (looking back i was an odd kid, getting books from the library at 10 about dreams etc!). Now it probably occurs by itself a few times a year, but id be interested in trying to develop the skill again.

I have found that Ive started dreaming about meditating, although I only recall getting into half lotus and thinking about meditation, but thats all.

Probably once a week my dreams continue in my bedroom if i wake up in the night, which used to disturb me, but ive learnt to just sit and observe now, although my girlfriend thinks im a bit mad!

Would be interesting to see if i could induce a lucid dream tonight...ill let you know if i do.

sweet dreams!

RE: The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
Answer
5/20/10 1:29 PM as a reply to Jaime Arnold.
I read this book a month before I read MTCTOTB: Unusually Hardcore Dharma Book. Ingram's book was a reccomendation by a co-worker who recognized my desire for a bare bones no fluff instruction manual for meditation and told me it might be a good match for me, which i agree it was.
My family has always been habitual dream remeberers after waking up. Over the years i have had many lucid dreams; however after coming across this book i have wanted to make a stronger effort at using my dreams as a tool for meditation practice.

I have managed to have two lucid dreams in the past 6 motnhs that i can remember. One being in a pennsylvanian omish type landscape next to a church with a steeple. In the dream once becoming lucid i jumped to the top of the steeple to see how "strong" my brian is at creating a detailed reality. It was perfect, actually in some ways more vivid then waking reality.

I had a second dream as well where i became lucid and then attempted to meditate, at which point i woke up in my dream and became un-lucid.

I am hoping to do pratice both waking meditation as well as dream meditation and I would prefer to take out as many unecessary steps as possible. Ie. the ritualistc practices that dont lead to direct results. I am hoping some of you have been practicing through the books methods and may have some insight on what worked most effectivly and what i can avoid. Or know of a forum for the subject that is "hardcore" on the subject. I am really loooking to find some otheres that are equally serious in the topic, but tend to avoid the rituals in the practice. Any suggestions?

RE: The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
Answer
5/20/10 3:47 PM as a reply to Ryan M Cornelius.
If you're asking about methods to induce lucid dreaming, rather than what to do once you've achieved lucid dreaming, check out the work of Stephen LaBerge. For instance

http://www.amazon.com/Exploring-World-Dreaming-Stephen-Laberge/dp/034537410X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274388320&sr=8-1

see also his website

http://www.lucidity.com/

RE: The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
Answer
6/8/10 9:11 AM as a reply to Brian ..
I would also recommend the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) - website link: http://www.asdreams.org/idx_psiberdreaming.htm -

For several years they have had a "psiberdreaming" conference on-line, and several of the presenters are very experienced lucid dreamers - it's a good chance to be able to ask questions, learn techniques, and exchange experiences with people who are really knowledgeable in this area.

Judy

RE: The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
Answer
6/11/10 3:37 PM as a reply to J Adam G.
I haven't read the book but I heard Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche talk about dream yoga on Buddhist Geeks:

Episode 82: Sleep as a Spiritual Journey
http://personallifemedia.com/podcasts/236-buddhist-geeks#ep82

There were also some other teachers talking about dream yoga at about the same time. The first step is to remember your dreams. Before you go to bed at night think about how you are going to remember your dreams. In the morning, do not move when you first wake up, but lay still and remember all you can about your dreams. Then record them in some way. I got a tape recorder that sits beside the bed so I can talk into it while I am still laying still, or if I wake up in the middle of the night.

I did this for a while. The dreams got very intense and I have temporarily stopped. I felt like I was getting into something extremely powerful and I wanted to slow down.

RE: The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
Answer
6/12/10 9:15 PM as a reply to J Adam G.
Hello! Could you please describe what is the point/purpose of this practice? I'm intrigued about the kind of work that is possible with dreams, but I'm somewhat confused emoticon

By the way, I think you can find the book in the almighty website: http://buddhisttorrents.blogspot.com/

Thanks!
Andy

RE: The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
Answer
6/13/10 9:22 PM as a reply to Andy Coke.
I can tell you what understanding I have of it, but it's limited. It's supposed to be a Vajrayana approach that comes from the idea that time in a human body is so extremely precious and limited that a bodhisattva-to-be should devote as much of that time as possible toward enlightenment. High levels of concentration and mindfulness, with lots of practice following the sleep and dream yoga instructions, allow a meditator to remain consciously aware during sleep, including dreams. Thus, that time can be used for meditation.

However, if I understand it correctly, it's definitely not standard vipassana practice that is occurring during sleep. Rather, it's a form of nondual practice.

RE: The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
Answer
9/6/10 3:28 AM as a reply to J Adam G.
Ok, I see. So it is not like you start doing vipassana while you are sleeping and get some work done, is it? That would be quite cool!

I guess we can just wake up 3 hourse earlier and meditate then emoticon

Sorry for the late repply J Adam!

Thanks,
Andy

RE: The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
Answer
9/13/10 4:21 PM as a reply to Andy Coke.
Heh, no, it's what Kenneth Folk would call either 2nd gear or 3rd gear.

But you can fall asleep while doing noting practice, or note-less vipassana, and you can begin noting as soon as you wake up in the morning. It's useful, but not the same thing.

RE: The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
Answer
11/16/10 6:07 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Still working on his book, still enjoying it.

As to the clarity of awakening and how it relates to dreams, I have noticed that as my practice has progressed the awareness in dreams has become noticeably like the awareness when awake, and have noticed the transition from being awake in the ordinary sense to dreams and back to being awake has become much more fluid and sometimes it all seems exactly the same, just with different rules for how the dream and awake worlds work.

I have also noticed my dreams becoming more complex, story-like, coherent and relevant to what seems to be going on, with their connections to ordinary waking life events being much more straightforward and their archetypal and thematic aspects being much more straightforward and less obscure or hard to interpret.

My thought this early morning when, after a long night shift, sleep and dreams sounds mighty nice...


I have also found these above observations to be very much on point in my own dreaming. The more consistent I am with my meditation practice, the more that mindfulness seems to carry over into dreaming. The waking state has a sort of noticeable dream quality to it, especially as I emphasize mindfulness throughout the day, with concentration. Likewise, in my dreaming not only am I frequently lucid, but the logical mind as well as the capacity for recalling details seems to be integrating into dreaming more fully.

I finished reading The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep several months ago, and I got pretty intensely into the non-dual, rigpa oriented style of meditation. In my pursuit of further understanding I've found that dzogchen and it's core / higher teachings really seems to resonate with me. Within a week or so of reading this book, I was able to dissolve into the clear light in one of my lucid dreams, and abide in the clear light / non-dual state until I woke.

I experimented with this successfully several times, and I think it's definitely a worthy practice. Although I still find myself doubting how deeply I comprehend certain aspects of the teachings, it's possible that dissolving and abiding in the clear light dream(s) has carried over in some way into my waking state that I find it difficult to place a finger on at the moment. I haven't yet attempted to apply the all-night-long awareness altho I notice it underlying all of sleep in a dull way. I just figured I'd add my experience here, even though this thread may not have been active for some time.