By Guest Author Chad Foreman, The Way of Meditation
Post-meditation is an important time for a meditator. A powerful method for keeping meditative composure throughout the day is to be mindful that everything experienced is dreamlike and illusory.
Masters of illusion are meditators who can move through the world while staying detached and still keeping their compassion for all the dream-like characters that they meet.
To dwell in the Unborn was Zen Master Bankei’s advice for avoiding straying into the illusory nature of the world, remaining in that which does not arise, as a personal experience of naturalness and ease. ‘Nothing else needs to be practiced’, he would say. ‘No need to follow the dream, simply remain in the unborn.’
A master of illusion is a meditator who can dream lucidly during waking hours; continuing on in normal everyday life but with a distinct impression of events being ephemeral and all happening within the confines of their own consciousness. This enables practitioners to navigate the world while absorbed in the natural presence of ‘unborn’ awareness, discovered initially in meditation, whilst simultaneously experiencing the ebb and flow of constantly changing experiences.
When a meditator gets drawn into the seemingly real dramas of life, the impression of a dream-like existence fades into the background and the predominant experience becomes confused and incomplete.
We get drawn into a changing dream in some way to find fulfillment and security, forgetting it is not substantial, we pursue dream goals. This is a losing battle of getting drawn into dream dimensions of confusion and suffering.
Within Buddhist cosmology there are six main ‘dream dimensions’ people get drawn into, due to forgetting their pure nature of being and thinking things are real and separate.
Briefly, the six realms of distraction that move people off the indestructible throne of being and into ‘samsara’ are:
- desiring pleasures
- egoic pride
- getting angry
- being jealous
- being confused
- being addicted.
All these realms have a slightly different feel and type of suffering but they all arise from mistaking things to be real and substantial and therefore can all be avoided by remembering ‘this is just a dream.’
To be committed to seeing life as a dream is to see all things equally. Everything that happens is equally a dream event, nothing is more or less important than anything else, and this allows a sense of equanimity to be present and makes it easy to relax into a natural state of being.
So why can’t we go around killing each other if it’s just a dream? The practice of viewing life in a dream-like way undermines our usual selfishness and egoic pursuits within the dream that usually lead to violent acts. In other words, viewing life in a dream-like way helps to be easy-going and relaxed. This is more than just relaxation, though. If letting go is complete the very ground of being is touched and activated.
Letting go from controlling the dream and surrendering to being brings with it an immense relief and a flood of qualities.
No longer distracted by fear or desire for the dream, the natural qualities of pure being can shine through un-obscured. The awakened qualities are loving, playful and blissful.
Being a master of illusion is detaching from believing in the dream and connecting with the pure energy of awareness. Then the spiritual dance becomes an ongoing infusion of these truths of being into an ever changing dream life. A lucid dream of love, play and freedom.
Chad has studied the profound teachings of Tibetan Buddhism with a revered and experienced Tibetan Lama, Khen Rinpoche Geshe Tashi Tsering. He lived in a secluded retreat hut at Chenrezig Buddhist Institute for five years learning intimately the wisdom and secret practices of the Buddhadharma.