Nightmares

Nightmares

Postby Nighthawk » Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:14 am

I've noticed In the past few years I've been reciting the Nembutsu before going to bed, I experience a lot of nightmares and even sometimes wake up in sweat. The times I don't recite it before going to bed, 90% of the time my dreams are usually ok. Does this happen with anyone else too?
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Re: Nightmares

Postby plwk » Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:28 am

Maybe it's something u ate or drank before u slept.
Some days ago, after bedtime supper, I woke up the next day shaken from a dream of me getting married, what a nightmare :rolleye:
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Re: Nightmares

Postby futerko » Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:53 am

In dream yoga practice, one part intentionally works with nightmares in order to overcome fears, destroy our self image, and transform even frightening karmic traces into our path. It might be useful to just accept these and see them for what they are.

I used to have some terrifying visions in my dreams, then as I worked with them the same dreams became more like entertaining horror movies.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Nightmares

Postby Nighthawk » Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:40 am

plwk wrote:Maybe it's something u ate or drank before u slept.
Some days ago, after bedtime supper, I woke up the next day shaken from a dream of me getting married, what a nightmare :rolleye:

It's got nothing to do with what I eat or drink before reciting and going to sleep. I can have a healthy vegetarian meal, say the nembutsu and still experience the nightmares.
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Re: Nightmares

Postby Nighthawk » Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:42 am

futerko wrote:In dream yoga practice, one part intentionally works with nightmares in order to overcome fears, destroy our self image, and transform even frightening karmic traces into our path. It might be useful to just accept these and see them for what they are.

I used to have some terrifying visions in my dreams, then as I worked with them the same dreams became more like entertaining horror movies.

I guess a possible reason can be evil karma coming to fruition faster with the nembutsu. I really don't know.
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Re: Nightmares

Postby futerko » Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:02 am

Nighthawk wrote:
futerko wrote:In dream yoga practice, one part intentionally works with nightmares in order to overcome fears, destroy our self image, and transform even frightening karmic traces into our path. It might be useful to just accept these and see them for what they are.

I used to have some terrifying visions in my dreams, then as I worked with them the same dreams became more like entertaining horror movies.

I guess a possible reason can be evil karma coming to fruition faster with the nembutsu. I really don't know.
I would personally avoid labelling it as "evil". In some ways the state of sleep has been compared to the state after death, so it can be unnerving. Regardless of our karma, and whatever arises in that state as either peaceful or wrathful, we can at least work with our responses, so by simply seeing it as the play of our own mind is an effective way of lessening the impact - avoiding creating even more karma by mistaking it as somehow "real".
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Nightmares

Postby Son of Buddha » Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:00 pm

Nighthawk wrote:I've noticed In the past few years I've been reciting the Nembutsu before going to bed, I experience a lot of nightmares and even sometimes wake up in sweat. The times I don't recite it before going to bed, 90% of the time my dreams are usually ok. Does this happen with anyone else too?


Do you chant the Nembutsu during the nightmare?
Or do you not have any concious control in your dream state.
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Re: Nightmares

Postby MattyNottwo » Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:52 pm

I think the nembutsu could be clearing out all the garbage. I read an article recently that said Buddhism is "not for happiness." It said something like, if all your garbage isn't coming out, then it will never be removed and transformed. Just my opinion anyway. I was so happy when I started practicing and then recently it was like every neurotic thing from my life I could imagine was coming up, and I felt I was doing something wrong because so many spiritual people are so "happy go lucky." But, I think it is too easy that way. Anyway, I could be wrong.
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Re: Nightmares

Postby kirtu » Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:04 pm

I hesitate to post because I don't come from an East Asian Pure Land tradition. However I used to have nightmares. During one of them a Buddha appeared to me in the nightmare and told me to chant. I did and the nightmare immediately stopped. Thereafter when a nightmare occurred I was able to chant at least a little. The nightmares all stopped. To put this in context, I've had both Dharma dreams and nightmares since I was a boy. Now I've been nightmare free for quite a while.

What I was told to chant was a purification mantra (this when I was a Zen student but with some Vajrayana teaching). So chanting nembutsu should clear it out. Or if you also have a repentance practice (if you are Chinese Pure Land person).

The other poster saying that it might be caused by nembutsu is also possible. You are getting purified and this is causing some changes that could be an indication of spiritual progress. See the story of Virupa in the Sakya tradition for an example of this if interested (of course in his case he was on the verge of attaining Arya Bodhisattvahood). Ask your priest/monk/nun if this might be possible in your tradition.

Nembutsu is of course wonderful. Coming from a Hawaiian-American-Japanese background religiously (having lived in Hawaii), when I was a fledgling Zen student I would chant nembutsu often. It is great purification although not held like that in the Japanese Pure Land traditions.

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Re: Nightmares

Postby Nosta » Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:58 pm

On "Buddhism of Wisdow and Faith", you can see this regarding dreams:
Those with heavy karma, lacking merit and virtue, will usually see evil realms when they begin Buddha Recitation. In time, these evil omens will disappear and gradually be replaced with auspicious omens.

Check the complete text here:
http://www.ymba.org/BWF/bwf73.htm#internal

Thats a great free ebook about Pure Land. Notice that the link I gave is not the first page of the ebook.
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Re: Nightmares

Postby Nighthawk » Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:04 am

Son of Buddha wrote:
Nighthawk wrote:I've noticed In the past few years I've been reciting the Nembutsu before going to bed, I experience a lot of nightmares and even sometimes wake up in sweat. The times I don't recite it before going to bed, 90% of the time my dreams are usually ok. Does this happen with anyone else too?


Do you chant the Nembutsu during the nightmare?
Or do you not have any concious control in your dream state.

I can't control it all unless I'm experiencing sleep paralysis.
Last edited by Nighthawk on Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nightmares

Postby Nighthawk » Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:05 am

futerko wrote:
Nighthawk wrote:
futerko wrote:In dream yoga practice, one part intentionally works with nightmares in order to overcome fears, destroy our self image, and transform even frightening karmic traces into our path. It might be useful to just accept these and see them for what they are.

I used to have some terrifying visions in my dreams, then as I worked with them the same dreams became more like entertaining horror movies.

I guess a possible reason can be evil karma coming to fruition faster with the nembutsu. I really don't know.
I would personally avoid labelling it as "evil". In some ways the state of sleep has been compared to the state after death, so it can be unnerving. Regardless of our karma, and whatever arises in that state as either peaceful or wrathful, we can at least work with our responses, so by simply seeing it as the play of our own mind is an effective way of lessening the impact - avoiding creating even more karma by mistaking it as somehow "real".

Thanks for this advice.
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Re: Nightmares

Postby Nighthawk » Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:07 am

MattyNottwo wrote:I think the nembutsu could be clearing out all the garbage. I read an article recently that said Buddhism is "not for happiness." It said something like, if all your garbage isn't coming out, then it will never be removed and transformed. Just my opinion anyway. I was so happy when I started practicing and then recently it was like every neurotic thing from my life I could imagine was coming up, and I felt I was doing something wrong because so many spiritual people are so "happy go lucky." But, I think it is too easy that way. Anyway, I could be wrong.

I was told the same thing by a spiritual companion. Judging from my past, I'm not surprised I have a lot of garbage inside me.
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Re: Nightmares

Postby Nighthawk » Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:12 am

kirtu wrote:I hesitate to post because I don't come from an East Asian Pure Land tradition. However I used to have nightmares. During one of them a Buddha appeared to me in the nightmare and told me to chant. I did and the nightmare immediately stopped. Thereafter when a nightmare occurred I was able to chant at least a little. The nightmares all stopped. To put this in context, I've had both Dharma dreams and nightmares since I was a boy. Now I've been nightmare free for quite a while.

What I was told to chant was a purification mantra (this when I was a Zen student but with some Vajrayana teaching). So chanting nembutsu should clear it out. Or if you also have a repentance practice (if you are Chinese Pure Land person).

The other poster saying that it might be caused by nembutsu is also possible. You are getting purified and this is causing some changes that could be an indication of spiritual progress. See the story of Virupa in the Sakya tradition for an example of this if interested (of course in his case he was on the verge of attaining Arya Bodhisattvahood). Ask your priest/monk/nun if this might be possible in your tradition.

Nembutsu is of course wonderful. Coming from a Hawaiian-American-Japanese background religiously (having lived in Hawaii), when I was a fledgling Zen student I would chant nembutsu often. It is great purification although not held like that in the Japanese Pure Land traditions.

Kirt

Thank you very much for sharing your experience. You are extremely lucky to have the Buddha appear in your dream. I have not experienced that once. Coming from a japanese pure land tradition myself, I never thought of the nembutsu as some sort of mantra for purification but it all makes sense now. Last night before reciting the nembutsu, I had a nightmare of a wolf attacking me but it ended with me shooting and killing it. If you don't mind sharing, what was the purification mantra you were taught?
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Re: Nightmares

Postby Nighthawk » Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:13 am

Nosta wrote:On "Buddhism of Wisdow and Faith", you can see this regarding dreams:
Those with heavy karma, lacking merit and virtue, will usually see evil realms when they begin Buddha Recitation. In time, these evil omens will disappear and gradually be replaced with auspicious omens.

Check the complete text here:
http://www.ymba.org/BWF/bwf73.htm#internal

Thats a great free ebook about Pure Land. Notice that the link I gave is not the first page of the ebook.

Thanks for sharing this, I'll take the time to read it.
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Re: Nightmares

Postby Son of Buddha » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:34 am

Nighthawk wrote:
Son of Buddha wrote:
Nighthawk wrote:I've noticed In the past few years I've been reciting the Nembutsu before going to bed, I experience a lot of nightmares and even sometimes wake up in sweat. The times I don't recite it before going to bed, 90% of the time my dreams are usually ok. Does this happen with anyone else too?


Do you chant the Nembutsu during the nightmare?
Or do you not have any concious control in your dream state.

I can't control it all unless I'm experiencing sleep paralysis.


I hate sleep paralysis,demon would always come and chain me to my bed,then sufficate me till I was about dead just so it could suck the fear out of me.

Sometimes I would "wake up" paralyised facing a tv,and I couldnt close my eyes or move and I would have to just sit and watch a guy take a power drill to anouther guys head while he was still alive......
Lucky for me It stopped happening when I turned 17.

Have you tried chanting Nembutsu during the daytime instead of before you go to bed?of do you get nightmares period when you chant Nembutsu?
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Re: Nightmares

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:39 am

I haven't had nightmares specifically..but I have had kind of waking nightmares during meditation.

Far as I can gather it can mean purification of some kind, I found it frightening at first but it gradually became controllable, and i'm glad I did as in retrospect as the things passed something felt lighter, like maybe I really have let go of some things. I know in some practices specifically dreams about oozing blood, pus, things of this nature are seen as negative karma being purified. I have no idea how to tell what's "good" or bad as far as this kind of thing goes.

I think there's real wisdom in not expecting it to be easy.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Nightmares

Postby Nighthawk » Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:12 am

Son of Buddha wrote:
I hate sleep paralysis,demon would always come and chain me to my bed,then sufficate me till I was about dead just so it could suck the fear out of me.

Sometimes I would "wake up" paralyised facing a tv,and I couldnt close my eyes or move and I would have to just sit and watch a guy take a power drill to anouther guys head while he was still alive......
Lucky for me It stopped happening when I turned 17.

Have you tried chanting Nembutsu during the daytime instead of before you go to bed?of do you get nightmares period when you chant Nembutsu?

I think I've never recited nembutsu in the daytime with the exception of a few times. It's not really a big deal though. If having nightmares means I'm progressing on the spiritual path then that's great. Keep bringing them on. :lol:
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Re: Nightmares

Postby Nighthawk » Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:16 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
I think there's real wisdom in not expecting it to be easy.

True. No path is easy, even the "easy" path of pure land.
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Re: Nightmares

Postby Nosta » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:50 pm

I really advise you to read the ebook from the link I gave on my last post, if nightmares, bad visions and bad signs are something regular on your practice.

You will understand that they are just the reflex of bad karma - probably from previous lives - and also that they are just samsaras. Ignore the bad omens that you may find on your practice. Focus on what you have to do: nembutsu. Sensations are just sensations, be it good or bad, and a vision wont be a threat.

But if the bad visions you have are not during your practice, but while dreaming, it seems that you need much more practice. Who knows, only within years your bad dreams may stop. There are many factors here: heavy/bad karma from previous lives will affect your dreams, but also your current personality, your brain structure itself, what you do during the day, what you eat before sleep, etc. Finding the solution is hard.

I have bad dreams many times too and since young I have lots of trouble sleeping. There are some things that may help. One of them is physical exercise. I dont have a lot of time to do it (as a teacher, I must prepare classes for the next day when at home (at evening/night) and be in the school during the day, so I dont have any time for exercises, but when I do it, I will feel a LOT better and sleep much more.

I am to much of a thinker guy in a "thinking" job (I mean, a lot of bureaucracy & lot of stress dealing with classes), so the exercise is very important to me. Try that, it may help you too.
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