In Buddhism, one of his notions is that reality is not as we know it –solid, fixed and stable– is one illusion. No distinction is made in this: both the vigil and dreams are unrealistic, they are interdependent mental fabrications. To bring to mind the lucidity to be aware that “This is a dream“, Buddhists practice different meditations and self-observation exercises. We will try here to provide a little context, outline the simple part –and no less powerful– exercise and understand the philosophy that sustains this notion, which is essential so that we can get to the realization of a waking consciousness, which is the essence of the State of Buddhahood: buddhi means just Awakening, a lucid and awake consciousness. Finally, we will consider that this exercise goes beyond a practice to have lucid dreams, even though you may have that benefit as an added effect, training makes a same continuum of wakefulness and sleep, a single State of free addictions awareness, fixings and perceptual duality. An essential step for the great task to the mind as space: luminous emptiness that realizes itself.
The metaphor of ordinary existence as a dream appears in countless sutras and commentaries in various schools of Buddhism. One of the most famous takes place in the Diamond Sutra:
You must see this world as a passenger, like a star in the morning, a bubble in a stream, a Flash of lightning or a cloud of the summer, a blinking Flash, a spectrum and a dream.
This series of images found in mahayana Buddhism come to us through the great Tibetan master Lonchenpa as eight similes which illustrate different philosophical principles of unreality. Longchenpa tells us that the world looks like a reflection in a mirror, the Moon in the water, to an echo, to a rainbow, to a dream, a city of gandharvas, a spectrum and an optical illusion created by a magician. In one of its seven precious treasures, It is said:
Happiness or suffering of nirvana or samsara are like dreams or nightmares. From the moment of its appearance, its nature is free processing. From this free nature of development, the causality of the emergence and cessation are like a dream, as maia, as an optical illusion, a city of gandharvas, an echo, a reflection, without any reality.
Is this notion of unreality and insubstantiality of the world that Buddhists practice different techniques to establish their perception what they call “the correct perspective“, which in this case consists of view that the world is unreal, by impermanent and interdependent.
One of the exercises is in the Buddhist monasteries: the neophyte has to live every moment of your life living it fully. You must think: “It is now noon, I am now going through the courtyard, now I find the upper“, and at the same time should think that noon, the courtyard and the superior are unrealistic, they are as unreal as he and his thoughts.
To be able to bring us closer to eradicating suffering we must get to understand that the world is an appearance, a dream, life is a dream. But that must feel it deeply, achieve this through meditation exercises.
The translation of one of the preliminary texts for the practice of the great perfection of Longchenpa (which Keith Dowman translates as Maha Yoga), It is said:
The outside world, its mountains and valleys, towns and villages and living beings, compounds of Earth, water, air, fire and space, all forms, sounds, smells, flavors and sensations, the five sensory objects and the inner world of the mind-body and its sensory awareness, the entire experience, they should be taken care incessantly like a dream.
Longchenpa says that this awareness of the dream that is the reality has the benefits that “the intellect is relaxing and grasping ceases immediately –the objective aspect is refuted, and the subject is removed“, After a time so that when the mind is approaching situations “as if it were a dream“, Unable to secure something substantial to which adhere, then is “it plunges in an all-pervading as the sky space… devoid of all compulsive mental activity, It emerges as a spontaneous and simple empty quality“. This brings us to a pristine non-dual awareness, What is known as rigpa. The mind becomes the space in all its vastness and emptiness, the only constant and real foundation. This realization, tells us Longchenpa, has numerous other benefits, like those that can occur in a lucid dream: to discover that we are dreaming we can immediately travel to paradise in the mind –to all of the pure land– and exercising all kinds of supernatural powers and “reach the jnana, the samadhi and a multitude of dakinis” and, However, the Supreme benefit is the release of the inherent illusion of reified existence.
Thinley Norbu Rinpoche, one of the most recent masters of the Nyingma Buddhist lineage, the oldest of Tibet and which is also part Longchenpa, says in his book Magic Dance: “phenomena are not real existence but appear all. See all occurrences as magic, and thus leave the attachment to the existence as real, then, It has the ability to bring about the release“. So the dream and the phenomena which is composed become pure wisdom, the delight of the free space, who knows the great spectacle of the existence without form any relationship objetificante; the hallucination of belief in their reality-free, Rainbow can be enjoyed for what it is. To establish this delicious mode of perception, in which anything crystallizes, nothing coagulates –the contemplative pure mode, It is extremely useful to repeat ourselves every day whenever we discover that we're hero with a situation, We identify ourselves with a concept or a phenomenon or that we simply believe in the irreversible solidity of things: “This is a dream“.
To understand why Buddhists believe that the world is like a dream, We must explore the notion of dependent arising or pratityasamutpada.
Padmasambhava (“the Lotus-born”), the great Patriarch of Tibetan Buddhism, He begins his instructions on the yoga of dreams: “It is thus: all phenomena are non-existent, but they seem to exist and they are established as several things“. With this not refers to the phenomena of dreams only, the phenomena of the vigil is also non-existent. Alan Wallace says about this in his text Dreaming Yourself Awake: Lucid Dreaming and Tibetan Dream Yoga for Insight and Transformation: “It is suggesting that our awake experience is as illusory and fantastic as our dreams. This is the perspective of voidness“. Which means that “the phenomena there are by their very nature, Neither subjective nor objective… There are interdependently“. In dreams this is very clear, a mountain, a person, an event that happens in the “oneiric drama” is clearly dependent on our imagination, of our memories, events that we live above. It has an interdependent existence, not an inherent existence. Everything that appears in the dream are formations of the mind; Buddhism tells us that everything that also appears in the vigil they are formations of mind and have an interdependent existence. And, in the same way that is useful to collect lucid during dreams to not suffer for the events that occur –Although these are esfumen when comes the dawn, some of which can lead us to the pure terror, It is equally necessary to obtain a State of clarity in the vigil that so does not suffer by the events occurring, which will also vanish one day.
It is important to mention that emptiness is not to be understood in terms of nihilistic, as an absolute absence of all existence, but as a “not finding something”. Since things are interdependent, If we trace the causes of each and see what depend on, We have to do an infinite regression and never find an independent essence. The Buddhists have made an epic search throughout the centuries to find the I and have not found it, just because all the candidates depend on one or the other and do not seem to have an inherent essence which is to shore up that I.
What or who is this I?? If you join to your body, Well, because that's the “body”, not the “I”. We usually think that we are more than just our body, so we can say that the “I” or is in the body or the “I” is superior to the body… But if the “I” is in the body, where in the body is that it is?? If you point to your chest and say “is in my heart” You can be sure that any heart surgeon has been a “I” There. If you say that your “I” is in your brain –the Center where it is assumed lies thinking and space centralized between your major organs– nor any neurosurgeon has seen the “I” There.
It is possible that you then support that this is a very simplistic reduction and that we exist as something more complex and sophisticated –some kind of pattern or collection of body parts and thoughts produced neuronalmente, memories and emotions. But to say that we have returned to the Buddhist idea of interdependence.
This can lead us to the conclusion that the self, or even more than being, is not in any part or that there is, necessarily, should be everywhere, should be no-local, It should be distributed equally without a Center and unaffected of all changes and events that occur. Is for this reason that some Buddhist currents, as the dzogchen, They speak of the base space phenomena as the mind and absolute reality, the unitary body of all phenomena, the dharmakaya, which is vacuidad-sabiduria Immaculate. And is that the space is the metaphor of the only constant, the only thing that remains, the seed or basis of all phenomena. As it says D. T. Suzuki: “Voidness, -likely to be mistaken for nothing, It is in fact the reservoir of infinite possibilities”. This vacuum is the ubiquitous source from which arise all phenomena as shooting stars, and to which all return. And is therefore that it is said that space is the essence of “vajra”, the only thing indestructible.