Sunday, September 18, 2016

Dream an upgrade for your flight to Paradise

In a lighter moment in an otherwise very sober guide to the bardos of life, death and after, Dzogchen Ponlop suggests that through the right practices, we can earn an upgrade on our ride to the afterlife. He writes in Mind beyond Death that “the way we make any journey depends on the type of ticket we have…We may even have collected mileage points. We may be eligible for an upgrade to first class." He allows that advanced dreamers may have earned sky priority, and direct access to the "pure lands", including the realm created by the buddha Amitabha. If you have traveled this way before, and your heart wants to go there again, you may be able to project your consciousness there at the moment of death by "pure realm phowa." Another reason to deepen the practice of dreaming. Here's the key passage:
“Pure realm phowa is connected to the practice of dream yoga. It involves directly transferring out consciousness at the time of death to one of the Buddha realms, such as the pure land of Amitabha or Akshobya, or to any of the sacred realms of the dakas, dakinis or bodhisattvas. "The capacity to effect such a transference is developed through training in dream yoga. In that practice, not only do we learn to recognize the dream state, but also we develop the skill to transform our dream appearances. When we have developed that degree of control over our minds, then we can travel in our dreams to any Buddha field we wish. "According to these teachings, if we can exercise that kind of power in our dreams, then we will be able to exercise the same power in this bardo [the Bardo of Dying]. We can use our understanding and experience of dream yoga to spontaneously transport ourselves to any sacred realm with which we have a heart connection. For example, you do not have to be a realized being in order to take birth in Amitabha’s pure land. Ordinary beings with a strong aspiration and good accumulation of merit can also take birth there. If we can achieve such a positive situation then we will have the optimum conditions to continue our spiritual training. Our practice will be supported by the blessings of buddhas and boidhisattvas."
A few notes: 1. Phowa (literally "transference" or "ejection") is the art of projection of consciousness from the body to another state at the moment of death. Dzogchen Ponlop offers a brief introduction to five modalities, including deity phowa in which the practitioner seeks to merge with a yidam or god-form. 2. "Pure lands" or "buddha-fields"  (Sanskrit buddhaketra) are especially important in East Asian Mahayana Buddhism. When we study the accounts of how such realms are created through the will, merit and imagination of superior beings, we may have an Eastern model for reality creation in the imaginal realm. 3. In our Active Dreaming approach, we do not use the symbols, postures, mantras or guru devotion of dream yoga as practiced in Tibetan Buddhist lineages and others, though we respect these. However, Active Dreaming, like dream yoga is a discipline that requires practice, practice, practice. Like yoga, Active Dreaming is a science of consciousness. It trains you to raise your awareness, play witness to yourself, go beyond consensual hallucinations, and enter the limitless field of nonlocal mind. It will certainly earn you frequent flyer miles, and maybe even premier status for the Big journey. Art: The famous Thaima Mandala, woven in Japan in the 8th century, showing the "pure land" of Amitabha, who appears as a giant figure at the center, projecting new features of this realm through the remarkable light emanation above his head.


Patricia said...

Hello Robert,
I came back to read this again. I'm doing this story medicine with my Mom. We are designing a tag for her to wear for her bold final step from her physical body. I took it from a memory story she tells periodically of traveling for the first time by herself. She went on a ski trip on a train in Norawy. Her Norweign friends got together and wrote who she was, where she was from and where she was going in the language of this country. I suppose it wasn't needed because most Norweigns knew English. But it makes my Mom smile when she tells the story, like it has become her badge of courage. I am wondering do you feel that we can offer loved ones "frequent flyer miles" through the work of dream transference and helping cultivate the imaginal mind with that loved one. At first I saw my Mom's shift into a younger emotional self as a deficient. But now I believe it is a blessing. She is like a sponge to the imaginal mind.

Robert Moss said...

Yes, absolutely. We can transfer a vision - including a road map to the next life - to someone in need of this, and can practice the beautiful story medicine you are doing with your Mom. Learning to midwife death for others is a central part of my new online training for The Shift Network. You may want to consider joining us. You'll find the full course description here: