Question About Astral Projection

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Yamazaki, modified 4 Years ago.

Question About Astral Projection

Posts: 65 Join Date: 2/7/17 Recent Posts
Before I got more serious about Buddhism, I used to follow several astral projection gurus on youtube who would speak in depth about their experiences traveling in the "astral realm". I have no experience with astral projection myself, but many of these people have very convincing stories about times when they were able to learn things they otherwise shouldn't have been able to know while outside their body, seeming to confirm that these experiences are not merely dream-like hallucinations.

All of the “astral projectors” I have seen tell very similar stories about the nature of life on earth, that they supposedly learned through exploring the astral realms. They say that we are “spiritual beings having a human experience”, and that we all chose to get reincarnated as humans in order to have this experience. They all seem pretty convinced that humans have an eternal “soul”, and even say they that meet deceased people they once knew in the astral realms.

Most of this seems to contradict a Buddhist understanding of reality. If any of you have any experience with this, I am very curious to hear an awakened person’s view on the astral projection experience. There is no self, but what exactly leaves the body, if anything? How much of those astral projection guru’s experiences are hallucination, how much are “real” and accurately interpreted, and how much are “real” but misinterpreted?
neko, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Question About Astral Projection

Posts: 756 Join Date: 11/26/14 Recent Posts
Superstition.
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Adrian, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Question About Astral Projection

Posts: 12 Join Date: 11/23/16 Recent Posts
Hey Yamazaki,
I can recommend you Culadasa's recent BATGAP interview ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnlYW_4FMqs   , starting at around minute 50, maybe a bit later) where he spends a large portion of time talking about things like reincarnation, past-life experiences, out of body experiences, etc.
( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnlYW_4FMqs   , starting around the 50 minute mark I think.)

I found his perspective to be very interesting!
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Yamazaki, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Question About Astral Projection

Posts: 65 Join Date: 2/7/17 Recent Posts
Actually it was precisely that interview with Culadasa that led me to ask this question in the first place. Both practitioners such as Culadasa as well as astral projectors have apparently arrived at their conclusions through experience, which is why the discrepancy peaked my interest
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Question About Astral Projection

Posts: 3183 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
I first traveled out of body at about 14-15 years old, around the time of my A&P event then, and have done it a reasonable number of times since. I last traveled out of body on my last retreat in February during a sit: briefly found myself sitting in the waves in about 3 feet of water at the beach, lasted a few seconds, then snapped rapidly back into my body: good times. I also did it on my retreat in 2015 in Scotland: briefly found myself sitting in the wood stove that we used to heat our meditation room, like I was part of the wood stove, and the fire was burning just in front of my stomach, and I seemed to be a part of the wood stove, then snapped back, again, lasting just a few seconds. I have had more sustained travels, some lasting minutes. Some involve more control than others. Some have been pretty ordinary, just floating up out of my body and through a wall. Others have been very bizarre, such as one in which I became rainbow light beams streaming out across sun-dappled clouds. I have traveled out into space, to various geographic locations, to very weird dark spaces inhabited by strange alien-like creatues, and many other odd experiences. Few of these left me with any sense that I learned anything specifically useful or significant, but many were quite entertaining and fun to ponder anyway.

Astral travel isn't called that in the Buddhist texts, but when they talk about traveling to other realms, flying, stroking the sun and moon so mighty, traveling through the ground or walking on water, that is what they are talking about.

There is relative language and there is ultimate language. One who has traveled will find likely something compelling about the notion that we are some spirit body that most of the time inhabits a human body but doesn't have to, as that is exactly what the experience feels like. To extrapolate that to a perfect ontology, meaning a definitive description of reality in some perfectly true sense, is not necessarily accurate, nor can it easily be disproven either.

As to "no-self", all phenomena, regardless of what they are, are too transient, too causal, and too interconnected to constitute a self, but that doesn't prevent the system from creating all sorts of fascinating experiences, all of which are empty yet still function. That includes our ordinary bodily experience of our lives and everything else. It is interesting you didn't ask: "I really seem to be this body, but how does that fit with no-self?" The sense that we are our body can be just as compelling an experience as traveling, yet just as empty and in the exact same way.
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Yamazaki, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Question About Astral Projection

Posts: 65 Join Date: 2/7/17 Recent Posts
Thank you for the reply! That really answers what I was wondering. I know that I should be out practicing to confirm these things for myself, but my curiosity got the best of me this time. Back to practice!

Thinking back to the depth of explanation and confidence that the astral projection gurus talk with, this sounds like a case where people’s dogma and belief systems influence and color their interpretations of supramundane experiences. I have been trying to be careful about avoiding this in my own practice, as many teachers talk about their own “experience backed dogma” with great confidence despite dogma varying from tradition to tradition
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Ward Law, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Question About Astral Projection

Posts: 123 Join Date: 9/7/15 Recent Posts
Check out the Monroe Institute: https://www.monroeinstitute.org/
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Question About Astral Projection

Posts: 3183 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Alan Guiden's Traveling: An Accidental Expert's Guide to How to Leave your Body, is also highly recommended, and just happens to be published by my publisher, Aeon Books. 

http://www.aeonbooks.co.uk/Author.asp?AID=15898

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