Nilasarasvati wrote:I wasn't really wondering about dream yoga, night practices, lucid dreaming and all that---I actually have no curiosity about such advanced and complex practices.
Just wondering about spontaneous events and signs that pop up in one's dreams and what other teachers think of that.
For example, my Lama mentioned he had a nightmare with a ghost; he blurted his mantra and the apparition went away. He said those sorts of experiences could help have faith in the triple jewel and a sense of conviction that the practice was mixing with one's mind.
That's not necessarily dream yoga correct?
Ah ha! That is a very good question...
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That "Dzogchen" part of where you placed your question maybe kind of important for answering the question. For example, does one rest in one's real nature during the night, that is important to many a Dzogchen practitioner.
I'm not one to say if a Vajrayana Lama's dreams are his karmic vision or if it is his dream of clarity, only the Lama knows for himself such an answer to the question, that is of course also our respect of a Lama's "dimension" and we all have our "dimension", in other words, how we are, I don't know how your Lama is, but it seems he is explaining his clarity in the dream, so I coudn't say anything about it, but I can guess a little. So firstly we "pay respect" to what a Lama is saying about his dream, although his dream could be from what is called his "karmic vision" (this includes what we refer to as high Lamas dreams too) they can have that kind of dream, where the dream maybe from some kind of scare in the past and then you have a dream in the present that is inspired by some small or large fear, although what you said does not sound too much like that.
When a Dzogchen Lama who practices dream yoga, such as Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche who has given an example of his dream of "clarity" or his "dream of "karmic vision", which he really actually has given many times during teachings, and lets you know which it is by sharing with you that teaching about his dream, then you would usually know what he is pointing to concerning how you can apply that teaching to your own dreams, especially when he is teaching within the basic context of the entire dream.
I think maybe what your Lama was referring to is "more practice during the daytime" which could actually apply to what happens during the night, the bardos, they're all bardos anyway. So generally it is "example wisdom" what your teacher said imho and it involves yidam practice.
I suppose thats what I'd be looking at, the example, but usually there is a context of some kind, how the teacher is meaning to convey something about practice to us, in other words there is the teaching within the context of the dream itself. Dzogchen masters tend to point us to whether we are "present" when we fall asleep, or loose this "presence", also if our dream is from this clarity of being present while asleep and not loosing clarity, or whether we are having our "karmic vision" and loosing clarity, so generally we are aware..."am I present?" and that does not only mean "aware" it means you do not loose presence of your nature.
I do have this idea about what your teacher said, if a practitioner does not have this practice of the night, either through the Vajrayana Guru in whichever school they are in, or perhaps whether this is from a Dzogchen master such as Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, then if they don't have the night practice, the vast majority of dreams will be from a practitioners own personal "karmic vision", with some exceptions, I think, also there won't be any "control" in the dream, for example, your Lama showed control, he recites the mantra of his yidam and put the teachings he received into action, so maybe he's saying he did that and that is an example of not loosing the yidam practice, even in the "bardo" of the dream, so we as practitioners can do that in a dream also is what I think he is saying, then this shows that that mantra is a part of us, it can't be "lost" anywhere and we can do that practice of the mantra on this deeper level, when we are asleep, of course this also points to even more practice during the daytime so we can integrate our yidam practice if that is what we are doing and what we are practicing with our teacher, then we go deeper while we are awake, integrate, and we never "loose" that.
Some teachers stress yidam in waking & in dream, & some others stress keeping presence & actually turning into a yidam is kind of secondary....
You got me talking a bit....by the way, dream yoga is not all that complicated.