Awake or lost in sleep

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

Awake or lost in sleep

Postby zenman » Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:27 pm

I'd appreciate hearing your understanding on the matter of being awake and aware versus becoming unaware and lost in sleep. I know there are several books on the topic available and I've read a couple of them. A few questions:

Does sleeping ever become unnecessary? Does the purpose of sleeping ever disappear? I suppose that if one stays awake for a long time, the body gets heated up and because of this one requires sleep. Do you know of anyone (a master or a teacher) who doesn't need sleep?

Thanks
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Re: Awake or lost in sleep

Postby KonchokZoepa » Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:43 pm

i think there are some accomplished yogi's who can replace sleep with going to a very deep meditative state and get the deep sleep rest in no time. and even though i know a friend who is capable of this he doesn't think its that healthy and he likes to sleep and rest in unconsciousness.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Awake or lost in sleep

Postby zenman » Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:18 pm

I've heard about adepts getting their sleep shortened or completely replaced by deep meditation but I've never actually found such person! I'd like to. One acquaintant of mine who is a teacher in chan buddhist tradition comes closest. He said he sat all nighters for 1-1½ year in his training days but then returned to 6 hours of sleep. There is another Zen-teacher I know who says he never looses awareness state, not even in sleep, not even for a moment but he didn't convince me as he doesn't appear advanced.

To me its mind boggling that anyone serious about liberation would willingly go to unconscious rest night after night. It is a fact that we need to have our rest (and it's good that it can be enjoyed!) if our state hasn't ripened but still I've never found in-depth explanations and commentaries about emptiness meditation during sleep. There is a page here and there but nothing comprehensive. Does anyone know if such a document exists? Has any teacher or master ever explained this stuff in detail? How many practitioners have ever achieved such a state? 1? 2? More?

In my experience falling asleep has 5 steps. These steps lead to deep sleep without dreams or images which is sometimes called causal body. That is where the roots of karma is stored. To be able to remain aware of this field of experience in sitting, I'd say can be reasonably easily attained but in supine position it is a great challenge. Stream entry is piece of cake compared to this one. Perhaps such persons do exist somewhere but I've become quite amazed that there is so little info about this. You know, it doesn't make sense that there are roshis, rinpoches, swamis and whatever everywhere on this globe but no one has covered this issue. Are they liberated only during day time? :thinking:
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Re: Awake or lost in sleep

Postby dimeo » Thu Nov 28, 2013 4:12 am

zenman wrote:I'd appreciate hearing your understanding on the matter of being awake and aware versus becoming unaware and lost in sleep.


You might want to look more into Tibetan Dream Yoga, which I think teaches practices regarding lucid dreaming.

And although it's not really your question, this other aspect seems slightly related:

It seems there are many teachings about mindfulness that suggest becoming more aware of the sleeping & dreaming states. It's about understanding the difference between true awareness and mindfulness vs being asleep in waking life. And it seems often comparisons are made to dreams when lessons are taught about understanding inherent emptiness (shunyata).
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Re: Awake or lost in sleep

Postby zenman » Thu Nov 28, 2013 6:57 am

I've read ChNNR's and Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoches books. Others? More indepth?

How about in other Buddhist schools? Has any other than Tibetan teachers talked about this?
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Re: Awake or lost in sleep

Postby Minjeay » Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:20 am

Hi zenman,

sorry, I'm not at that state myself. As far as I understand it, this is more or less one of the physical aspects/results of meditation, and will happen just after your bodys energy system develops sufficiently. So first your body will be completely healthy, on a further stage you won't need to eat any more, and yet further (but each of these steps might take years of correct(!) practice) you won't need to sleep any more.
I know about some Chinese practicioners who have techniques which allow them not to eat, sometimes not even breath, but concerning sleep I don't know whether they do it or not. Personally I'm not so much interested in these aspects.

When it's about drowsiness in meditation, or a general overview what you should do in meditation and what you should avoid, what might be good signs and what might indicate problems, I'd reccommend to you William (Bill) Bodris materials. For starting maybe "Easy meditation lessons" or "The little book of meditation" (both available on amazon). In the first one he answers some questions concerning problems with drowsiness, I think, and in general he is quite clear about several topics in a way I never experienced this from Tibetan teachers.

Good luck and all the best,
Minjeay
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Re: Awake or lost in sleep

Postby zenman » Thu Nov 28, 2013 12:21 pm

Hello Minjeay

You are talking about this from a perspective of siddhis/skills/powers. I neither have interest in them. I know of people who have decided to stop eating and drinking and have become light-eaters but to me this is side-stuff, of no great importance. To me people who are known to be light eaters don't strike as extraordinarily wise in contrast to to spiritual teachers and masters.

Perhaps I should clarify my point. The question isn't actually whether to sleep or not but if ones unconscious area in the body requires unaware sleep or not. Here an important point of it becoming naturally comes into the picture in contrast to pushing hard/making great effort, even ascetic, to attain this. When I was a kid I used to try to sit all nighters but all I got was a headache and became spacey. I remember some monks in the monastery where I lived at being a great part of their waking hours spaced out. I am not so sure if that is a constructiove way to go about it... I spoke about this at one time with a friend who has long practice background. His opinion was that this shouldn't be tried too hard before the attainment of no-self.

Will Bodhi, I'll check. Thanks.
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Re: Awake or lost in sleep

Postby hop.pala » Thu Nov 28, 2013 5:21 pm

zenman wrote:I'd appreciate hearing your understanding on the matter of being awake and aware versus becoming unaware and lost in sleep. I know there are several books on the topic available and I've read a couple of them. A few questions:

Does sleeping ever become unnecessary? Does the purpose of sleeping ever disappear? I suppose that if one stays awake for a long time, the body gets heated up and because of this one requires sleep. Do you know of anyone (a master or a teacher) who doesn't need sleep?

Thanks

Y some people doesn't need sleep.
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Re: Awake or lost in sleep

Postby zenman » Thu Nov 28, 2013 6:11 pm

hop.pala wrote:Y some people doesn't need sleep.


At all? Could you be a bit more specific. Who?
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Re: Awake or lost in sleep

Postby zenman » Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:37 am

Minjeay wrote: William (Bill) Bodris materials.



Nowadays stuff like "buddhism, hinduism, taoism, chistianity, islam, shintoism and all paths point towards the same truth" gives me serious allergies. I wasn't impressed but thanks anyway. :)
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Re: Awake or lost in sleep

Postby TaTa » Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:02 pm

zenman wrote:
Minjeay wrote: William (Bill) Bodris materials.



Nowadays stuff like "buddhism, hinduism, taoism, chistianity, islam, shintoism and all paths point towards the same truth" gives me serious allergies. I wasn't impressed but thanks anyway. :)


Actually padmasanvabhava said something similar. Though probably not in the same depth
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