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Tibetan Buddhist dream yoga and the limits of Western Psychology.


Lucid dream, lucid dreamless sleep, and lucid death practices are an inherent part of advanced Tibetan Buddhist meditation. These practices are also relevant to ordinary people because they serve as pointers to aspects of everyday experience that are troubling but unrecognized in the usual non-lucid frame of mind. Using a Vajrayana approach in which the development of the mind of the practitioner is said to mirror the historical developmental of Buddhism, I show: a) How lucid dreaming can ground and make personal some of the basic teachings of early Buddhism and of its later Mahayana forms b) How the yogic perspective in Vajrayana, in which the body is seen as a pattern of energy, is connected to lucidity in sleep and dreams and to experience of the clear light primordial nature, and c) How the stages of sleep and dream are seen to parallel the stages of death and are thus used in dying. Observable phenomena, such as the death samadhi of Tibetan lamas, offer support for the reality of such practices. The final part of the chapter discusses the ways Tibetan Buddhist dream, dreamless sleep, and death practices challenge basic assumptions in Western psychology and neuroscience.

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