There Is No Truth, Only Dreaming

Is all that we see or seem

But a dream within a dream?

~Edgar Allan Poe

freedom illusion

This universe of phenomena is a grain of sand on an infinite beach, and this beach is but a grain of sand in the totality of manifestation, which is itself of the same nature as last night’s dream. In this 3-D realm of apparent phenomena in which we find ourselves, there is nothing but delusion, which itself is utterly empty of any inherent self-nature. In other words, nothing is what it seems. Nothing has any independent existence. Regardless of how solid any particular phenomena may appear, the appearance itself is deceiving, since it is actually compounded from other dream-like phenomena, which are themselves compounds, and so on ad infinitum.

Nor can we ever “see the bigger picture” while we are fitted into the human body-mind-organism, because the bigger picture is bigger than anything the human eye can perceive or intellect grasp. All efforts undertaken by seekers to have it be otherwise are ultimately exercises in futility. No matter how heroic, glamorous, or brilliant our dream characters may appear, and no matter how seemingly earnest in their pursuit of truth and certainty, they all vanish upon awakening, along with their dreamy attainments.

Dream Characters

Moreover, as one sage noted, it cannot be proven that, having removed delusion, there is no longer delusion. The poet Ghalib expressed a profound insight in that regard when he wrote: “All that can be seen is nothing but a dream; and even when we think ourselves awake, we have only wakened in a dream.” Because delusion is pure by nature, it is self-illuminating. Because that is so, all manifest and unmanifest phenomena — even the most subtle sense of beingness itself — are essentially props in the dreamy projection of mind called self and world. Because that is so, phenomena appearing in various ways simply represent the synchronous opera and engaging delight of That which is dreaming all of this, and of which we ourselves in our various costumes are innocent dream projections.

Because that is so, we can give up the struggle to figure it all out with the limited human intellect, and relax into the natural happiness of not knowing, without worry or regret, or any anxiety to name and confirm it. We can forgive the dream, and in fact, that is the key to its eventual undoing, because as long as we are holding on to any passion about it — pro or con — we are still trapped by it. However, when even That, the universal witness, is recognized as inherently empty, we are left with nothing to name or claim, and so are set loose into the vastness of what we are — unspeakable, unknowable.


In that regard, Sri Nisargadatta made a potent observation:

“Both sleep and waking are misnomers. We are only dreaming. We dream that we are awake, we dream that we are asleep. The three states are only varieties of the dream state. Treating everything as a dream liberates. As long as you give reality to dreams, you are their slave. By imagining that you were born as so-and-so, you become a slave to the so-and-so. The essence of slavery is to imagine yourself to be a process, to have past and future, to have history. In fact, we have no history, we are not a process, we do not develop, nor decay; see all as a dream and stay out of it.”

Indeed, this entire psycho-physical realm itself is nothing but a virtual reality — a non-binding, transient, and dependently arising modification of consciousness. Why not make the most of it by inspecting it to the point of recognition, recognition that the entire dream (including our dream persona) is nothing but a momentary creation, a holographic projection of mind? Indeed, its very impermanence is proof of its unreality.

As the Buddha himself proclaimed (in “The Supreme Jewel Mound”): “My form appeared like a dream to sentient beings who are like a dream. I taught them dreamlike teaching to attain dreamlike enlightenment.” The Zen patriarch Dogen echoed that sentiment when he noted that the truth of the Buddha’s and ancestors’ realization consists invariably of what a dream makes within a dream.”

Just as the causes and results of a dream appear individually, under the power of complete imputation, determined by one’s particular angle of vision, filters, memory associations, preferences, and so forth, the individual appearances of phenomena are like flowers planted in the air, consisting of nothing enduring or substantial. Still, what a captivating fragrance! In fact, so alluring is the aroma of the dream creations that we are led around by the nose from flower to flower, entranced by the sensations arising in the body-mind, and perpetually craving for more.

Dreamscape II Mavain

Only when the spell of enchantment with the possibilities of experience has worn off do we become available to the morning sun, shining through the curtains and rousing us from the dream. As long as we are identified with the character in the dream, the one we currently believe ourselves to be, we cannot awaken. However, when that intoxication dissipates to some extent, we might be moved to investigate the nature of our own appearance, suspecting that things aren’t really what they seem. This inquiry can in turn start a chain reaction, letting in even more light.

When our attention eventually shifts from the objects in the dream to the Dreamer itself, a breakthrough in consciousness is possible, and our eyes begin to open. What then do we see? For one thing, we see that our belief in the enduring substantiality of the one who would awaken is the very delusion that has precluded any real awakening all along.

Nevertheless, and even though every moment of our lives is really a miraculous gift, ego mind by nature tries to cling to what it interprets as “good”, based on memory associations, and avoid what it is conditioned to regard as “bad”. However, all such preferences are just provisional thought forms. Recognizing that, we can let go of those thoughts, once we realize that none of these conditional interpretations on perception and experience affect our real being.

Whether we believe that there is an objective truth, or that truth is only subjective, doesn’t matter. Whether we believe there is a God, or some final Nirvana, or reincarnation — none of that really matters here and now. Right now, those are just more thoughts. Birth, death, and everything that transpires in between are just thoughts. Can we grasp or hold on to any of it? That is one reason for the comparison to dreams.

However, instead of wringing our hands and fretting about all of that, we have the innate freedom to let go of it all and just relax into the spacious feeling and pure awareness of simple being-ness. This is the great gift which we have been given, the awareness of this naked present moment. Why add stress and doubt to this innocence? That is just ego mind doing its thing, superimposing its willfulness in efforts to confirm its existence. It has been playing the same hand all along, and we keep falling for it, believing that it amounts to the totality of who and what we are.

Certainly, ego has a place, in that it keeps us from walking out into the middle of traffic, but we need not imagine it represents who we really are. That is simply a case of mistaken identity. When we begin to awaken to who and what we truly are, we realize down to our very cells the great sufficiency of being– that we are OK forever, and that there is not the slightest thing that can actually harm us. In that light, we discover that these bodies are like ingenious space suits we have donned to explore the physical dimension, but what we really are and always have been is nothing less than immortal Spirit.

Fear is just a down-loaded program in which we tend to invest far too much attention. We can see it as just an “app”, and refuse to let it monopolize our life. Our life is far too precious to waste dwelling on any arbitrary neural-electrical brain impulses. Everything truly is OK, and someday we will each realize that and allow it in.

At that moment, some might laugh, and some might cry, but all would likely agree with Rumi (in Moses and the Shepherd): “When you eventually see through the veils to how things really are, you will keep saying again and again, “This is certainly not like we thought it was!”


“From moment to moment you are renewing the dream. Once you have seen that you are dreaming, you shall wake up. But you do not see, because you want the dream to continue. A day will come when you will long for the ending of the dream, with all your heart and mind, and be willing to pay any price; the price will be dispassion, the loss of interest in the dream itself.”

~Sri Nisargadatta

See also:

About Bob OHearn

My name is Bob O'Hearn, and I live with my Beloved Mate, Mazie, in the foothills of the Northern California Sierra Nevada Mountains. I have a number of blog sites you may enjoy: Photo Gallery: Essays on the Conscious Process: Compiled Poetry and Prosetry: Verses and ramblings on life as it is: Verses and Variations on the Investigation of Mind Nature: Verses on the Play of Consciousness: Poetic Fiction, Fable, Fantabulation: Poems of the Mountain Hermit: Love Poems from The Book of Yes: Autobiographical Fragments, Memories, Stories, and Tall Tales: Ancient and modern spiritual texts, creatively refreshed: Writings from selected Western Mystics, Classic and Modern: Wisdom of a Spirit Guide: Thank You!
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47 Responses to There Is No Truth, Only Dreaming

  1. marcel says:

    How intimate, that Sri Niz one (see as a dream and stay out of it) hangs in the center of the living room (the masks and wood which I cant find on your gallery atm) Whenever I was caught up by minds narrative and the personality-syndrome, all I had to do was walk to it and all the imaginary scenery would dissolve for a while, it became kind of a shrine throughout the years. Visitors often walk up to it captivated by the masks and then stare at the words for a minute or two, no one ever said a word, when leaving on my front door they meet the Bankei/hershey’s one (the girl and instead of holding unto things in your mind, go and sing/floating world) and the Ramana one about going back to the dream to wake up the dream characters hangs above my bed 😀

  2. marcel says:

    Thanks I went through the whole word/stories section twice but to no avail,
    seems a proper direction is the key afterall 😀

  3. That pest again says:

    Thank you Bob.


    And may I enquire as to the role of our dreams, hopes, aspirations in this life with what you have presented above?

    Whatever is the truth, even if just dreaming, what about our lives? The choices we make, the fears we face, the decisions we choose to embrace and most importantly, the attention and energy we choose to devote.

    If it is all a dream, as it very well can be, what of our lives in these dreams?

    Is it not something worth devoting to with absolute love, clarity, joy and compassion – if one could muster such a thing of course.

    Thank you for your attention and thoughts. I am very interested to hear your perspectives as always.


    • Bob OHearn says:

      Hi TPA,

      These are good questions, which I have addressed in several previous posts, including this one:
      The salient point is that, even though this life is ultimately an illusion, we live “as if” it were real, in order to experience the possibilities available in the human incarnational circumstance, and thereby increase our self-awareness, and that of our soul group. I used the analogy of playing a virtual reality video game, in which we temporarily identify with the “avatar” in order to increase our skills, and also just to enjoy the experience of something so different from our actual nature as immortal spiritual beings.
      Through the benefit of the amnesia that accompanies human embodiment, we are free to manifest anything our imaginations can conceive, go anywhere and do anything, without the pre-knowledge that it is not real. It is that gift of amnesia which allows us the freedom to learn, to grow, and to rediscover our original nature again and again.
      That’s also one of the main reasons we (as extensions of Source) choose to share in the human life, because we can believe in the illusion (dream) that we are separate from Source. At first, that may seem counter-intuitive, but if we are able to gain some insight into the actual mechanics of Love, we might come to appreciate such an illusion, because it makes the illusion of reunion all the more blissful.
      Meher Baba gave a good summary here:
      “God is Love. And Love must love. And to love there must be a Beloved. But since God is Existence infinite and eternal there is no one for Him to love but Himself. And in order to love Himself He must imagine Himself as the Beloved whom He as the Lover imagines He loves.
      Beloved and Lover implies separation. And separation creates longing; and longing causes search. And the wider and the more intense the search the greater the separation and the more terrible the longing.
      When longing is most intense separation is complete, and the purpose of separation, which was that Love might experience itself as Lover and Beloved, is fulfilled; and union follows. And when union is attained, the lover knows that he himself was all along the Beloved whom he loved and desired union with; and that all the impossible situations that he overcame were obstacles which he himself had placed in the path to himself.
      To attain union is so impossibly difficult because it is impossible to become what you already are! Union is nothing other than knowledge of oneself as the Only One.”


  4. That pest again says:

    Beautiful. Thank you for taking the time 🙂

    And the Meher Baba quote – spot on. I wonder why it is that some people might know of such things, and others never do.

    It is an interesting one, for me at least, but the unknown is perhaps truly infinite…

    Anyway thanks for the lovely banter.

    Have a good day!


    • Bob OHearn says:

      ” I wonder why it is that some people might know of such things, and others never do.”

      In order to fuse with the denser human host, we have to slow our vibration down considerably, and when we do, many of our natural abilities are temporarily suppressed (such as being able to access Universal Knowledge, not to mention the memory of who and what we really are). In this way, we are free to enjoy the unknown that the gift of being human implies.


      • That Pest Again says:

        Hmm..interesting, are you saying that we have a choice over this?

        I remember a time when I consciously yelled (in my own mind) I was tired of all the insights that would come toward me every morning, any time I walked on the street alone, in quiet places.

        Since then, they have indeed stopped – which I now regret 🙂 but I had trouble understanding how all the insights helped in my ordinary life. What would I do with all these insights, and who would believe such a thing anyway?! I had fumed..

        Um..but also your response – it does not explain why some people have some spiritual ‘understanding’ (I do not mean the theoretical ones that are laced over our internet forums) – but people who seem to have real, genuine insight – not to mention presence. I have been fortunate to have met many (i.e. a handful) of such people and to encounter them brought a different dimension to my ordinary humanly world.


        In gratitude for this talk.

      • Bob OHearn says:

        Hi Again, TPA!

        Just keep in mind that not everyone is on the same level in terms of their soul evolution — there are relative degrees of maturity, leading up to genuine awakening. Consequently, the degree of awareness a human exhibits depends upon how awake the soul inside is to its true nature, as well as the type of training the human has received.

        “For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”


  5. Thai Village says:

    Thank you for such an interesting post

  6. That Pest Again says:

    Thank you sweetly, Bob O.



    • Bob OHearn says:

      “A beginner should think ‘though indeed all phenomena are free from names, relatively, all phenomena appear like dreams and illusions’, constantly training their minds in the example of illusion.”
      ~Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen


  7. z ... says:


    Thank you for reading !

    “A day will come when you will long for the ending of the dream, with all your heart and mind, and be willing to pay any price; the price will be dispassion, the loss of interest in the dream itself.”

    ~Sri Nisargadatta

    Hmmm….the price will be dispassion…OMG…
    not quite sure if I will manage that, haha !


  8. Joe Haase says:

    Free and Easy: A Spontaneous Vajra Song

    ~ By Venerable Lama Gendun Rinpoche ~

    Happiness can not be found through great effort and willpower, but is already present, in open relaxation and letting go.

    Don’t strain yourself, there is nothing to do or undo. Whatever momentarily arises in the body-mind has no real importance at all, has little reality whatsoever.

    Why identify with, and become attached to it, passing judgment upon it and ourselves?

    Far better to simply let the entire game happen on its own, springing up and falling back like waves, without changing or manipulating anything and notice how everything vanishes and reappears, magically, again and again, time without end.

    Only our searching for happiness prevents us from seeing it. It’s like a vivid rainbow which you pursue without ever catching, or a dog chasing its own tail.

    Although peace and happiness do not exist as an actual thing or place, it is always available and accompanies you every instant.

    Don’t believe in the reality of good and bad experiences; they are like today’s ephemeral weather, like rainbows in the sky.

    Wanting to grasp the ungraspable, you exhaust yourself in vain. As soon as you open and relax this tight fist of grasping, infinite space is there – open, inviting and comfortable.
    Make use of this spaciousness, this freedom and natural ease.

    Don’t search any further looking for the great awakened elephant, who is already resting quietly at home in front of your own hearth.

    Nothing to do or undo, nothing to force, nothing to want, and nothing missing –

    Emaho! Marvelous!
    Everything happens by itself.

  9. Bob OHearn says:

    “If a hundred people sleep and dream, each of them will experience a different world in his dream. Everyone’s dream might be said to be true, but it would be meaningless to ascertain that only one person’s dream was the true world and all others were fallacies. There is truth for each perceiver according to the karmic patterns conditioning his perceptions.”

    ~Kalu Rinpoche

  10. Bob OHearn says:

    “This worldly life is an extended dream
    in which people are babbling their way
    through Illusion.”

    ~ Sri Siddharameshwar Maharaj

  11. Bob OHearn says:

    “At no time throughout the beginningless succession of lifetimes has there ever been an actual birth. There has only been the appearance of birth. There has never been actual death, only the transformation of appearances like the shift from the dream state to the waking state . . . throughout the beginningless succession of lifetimes there has never been any actual experience of transition or going from one state to another, or any actual experience of being located in some other place. This is analogous to the images in a dream.”

    ~ Longchenpa

  12. Bob OHearn says:

    “Within the vastness of spontaneous self-knowing, let be freely, uncontrived and free of fabrication. Whatever thoughts arise, be sure to recognize your nature so that they all dissolve as the play of dharmata. Even though you practice in such a way that there is not even as much as a hair tip of a concrete reference point to cultivate by meditating, do not stray into ordinary deluded diffusion, even for a single moment. Instead, make sure that every aspect of your daily activities is embraced by an undistracted presence of mind. Whatever occurs and whatever you experience, strengthen your conviction that they are all insubstantial and magical illusions, so that you can experience this in the bardo as well.”

    ~Mirror to Reflect the Most Essential:
    The Final Instruction on the Ultimate Meaning
    By Longchen Rabjam

  13. Bob OHearn says:

    “In a dream there’s nothing substantial but there is the mere appearance of something substantial. Thus, its true nature transcends both existence and nonexistence. Its true nature is not something we can describe with these kinds of terms, because it is beyond any type of thing we might be able to think up about it. And so, just like a flower that appears in a dream, all phenomena that appear, wherever they appear, are the same. They all appear in terms of being a mere appearance. There is nothing substantial to them, and their true nature transcends both existence and nonexistence and any other idea. All phenomena that appear to us in this life are exactly the same.”

    ~Khenpo Tsultrim Rinpoche

  14. Bob OHearn says:

    “In the dreamy world,
    Dreaming, we talk about dreams.
    Thus we seldom know
    Which is, and is not, dreaming.
    Let us, then, dream as we must.”

    ~ Ryokan

  15. Bob OHearn says:

    “We think that this life is real and that our dreams are unreal. In fact, this life is like a dream as well. If we do not belief in the reality of the dream we will be liberated. Therefore, no matter what arises, good or bad appearances, do not grasp them as real. Even this life is just like the dream of a long night. The body will die but the mind transcends birth and death. In order to tame the mind we must practice ‘Calm Abiding’ and ‘Special Insight’, free from any clinging to good experiences or aversion against bad appearances. All these are just thoughts in the mind but for as long as we fixate to these thoughts our minds will be fettered. Attachment and aversion obscure the mind. Therefore we must practice in order to become free of grasping to these thoughts.”

    ~ Garchen Rinpoche

  16. Bob OHearn says:

    “No meditator and no meditated,
    No paths and levels traveled and no signs,
    And no fruition bodies and no wisdoms,
    And therefore there is no nirvana there,
    Just designations using names and statements.”


  17. Bob OHearn says:

    Laotse Tzu:

    The appearance of countless actions are performed in a dream, upon awaking it is seen/known that nothing intrinsically happened. Just so it is in the waking state that the ‘appearance’ of countless actions are performed, the realization there is no center or entity and therefore no cause for any of it. Essentially, Wu Wei means doing ‘appears’ to happen without any doing(doer)…the Tao remains eternally empty and at rest.

  18. Aditya says:

    @bob .. Sometimes i feel very alone contemplating these ideas thinking no one is out there who will understand what i see clearly .. But then i come across gems like you .. Its good to know someone else is out there who too is bewildered by the perplexity of whatever this is i found myself least interested to tag it with anything.
    Anyways i dont have much to say for only silence can convey what i feel inside .. I am really tired of this dream .. cant find the commitment to end this life .. it all goes just like that .. real question is do we have a choice when we all know free will too is illusion.. 🙂

    • Bob OHearn says:

      Greetings, Aditya!

      Sometimes we may feel intimidated by life’s challenges, but that can also turn around, and we find that we are actually grateful for the tests presented to us, because they assist us in discovering who we really are (and aren’t).

      In terms of choice, you might find this essay useful:


      • Aditya says:

        Bob thanks a lot for taking out time and replying .. “Find out to whom free will or destiny matters” .. exactly .. the source right now is unknown ..
        Only if i may not seem to be stepping in your comfort zone.. i would really like to connect with you through other mediums as well .. Facebook, skype .. anything will do.. 🙂
        Would love to be in touch.

      • Bob OHearn says:

        I have a Facebook account, Aditya, where I also post writings, registered as Bob O’Hearn. Due to time constraints and life-level responsibilities, I do not ordinarily partake in extended on-line conversations or messaging at this point. Just fyi.


  19. Bob OHearn says:

    “This is what the dharma practitioner needs to understand — that the whole of samsara, or nirvana, is as essenceless or untrue as that film. Until we see this, it will be very difficult for dharma to sink into our minds. We will always be carried away, seduced by the glory and beauty of this world, by all the apparent success and failure. However, once we see, even just for a second, that these appearances are not real, we will gain a certain confidence. This doesn’t mean that we have to rush off to Nepal or India and become a monk or nun. We can still keep our jobs, wear a suit and tie and go with our briefcase to the office every day. We can still fall in love, offer our loved one flowers, exchange rings. But somewhere inside there is something telling us that all this is essenceless.”

    Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche

  20. Bob OHearn says:

    “Life is just like a big dream: this is the essence of the teachings of the Buddha. If you know everything is unreal, why do you give it so much importance?”

    ~Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

  21. Bob OHearn says:

    “All is a dream. When there is true awakening, all the sense of ‘being’ disappears, even the sense that you are the Self also disappears.”

    “When the mind is convinced that all objects are illusory, this is what is called ‘Sattvic Desirelessness.’ With pure ‘Sattvic Desirelessness,’ one feels like laughing at the idea of relinquishing anything. Where was there really ever any bondage to relinquish? You have tied yourself up with ropes that are non-existent. You may say that you have dropped the shackles, but you were only holding fast to that which was not even yours. What was ever yours? What have you dropped? If there was nothing ever to be dropped, then what is there to let go of?”

    ~Siddharameshwar Maharaj

  22. Bob OHearn says:

    In this sense we are all born into some sort of group dream; we are group dreaming. At the same time, there is also individual dreaming going on. Just because one persons’ dream ends doesn’t mean that other person’s dreams cease. Individual dreaming and group dreaming take place at the same time. Even if I wake up, the other guys are still dreaming…

    ~ Tsyoknyi Rinpoche, Fearless Simplicity

  23. “When our attention eventually shifts from the objects in the dream to the Dreamer itself, a breakthrough in consciousness is possible, and our eyes begin to open. What then do we see? For one thing, we see that our belief in the enduring substantiality of the one who would awaken is the very delusion that has precluded any real awakening all along.”

    No dream, only awakening!

    • Bob OHearn says:

      No beginning nor end to delusion, no beginning nor end to awakening. Someone once said: first you awaken in the midst of the dream, then you awaken from the dream itself. The way I interpret that is, first you realize that you are not the character you have presumed yourself to be. Rather, that character is a role you have been playing, like a “Method” actor. Still, the play goes on. Eventually, you realize the play itself is just a theatrical production, it has no substantial reality beyond what you have been superimposing on it.

      Of course, as long as that is a mere intellectual recognition, it still has power over you, even though you might imagine otherwise. However, if you really see how things are (which is so rare as to be statistically insignificant for those still embodied), then you realize that it is all empty of any inherent and enduring solidity, and so you are a jnani.

      That’s not the end however, because you are still making a distinction between the real and the unreal, and your heart has not broken open. When you realize the emptiness of both self and phenomena, and your heart breaks open because it is all so poignant, so impossibly beautiful, fragile, and devastating in its mysterious appearance and disappearance, then you also understand the purpose of this birth.

      It is good.


      • Joe Haase says:

        Leo Gura says that what we are is:
        “Emergent Phenomena”
        He says:
        There is no “free will” because there is no you, and we don’t have “choice”.
        I like that !
        But I also really like is what YOU have to say !

      • Bob OHearn says:

        Hi Joe!

        I am not familiar with Leo, but I have elaborated on the fate vs free will issue here:

        I will say that there are many philosophers out there who have staked out a conceptual position and claim we don’t have a choice, but once they cross over, are rather humorously surprised to learn that their previous position was clearly naive, and that there is much more to the matter than they had imagined. ;).


  24. Bob OHearn says:

    “As for [the simile] “‘like a dream,’ it is just as in a dream wherein there is nothing whatsoever which is real and yet we believe that there is something which is real. Upon awakening we realize that there was nothing at all and then, ironically, laugh at ourselves. So too it is with people. In the slumber of the fetters, although reality is nonexistent, still, they become attached. When they gain the Way they then become aware that there is nothing which is real and then laugh at themselves. It is because of this that it says “like a dream.”

    Then again, as for dreams, it is on account of the power of sleep that even though there are no dharmas, one nonetheless perceives them. People are just like this. It is on account of the power of the sleep of ignorance that, [in the midst of] all manner of [phenomena which] do not exist, we nonetheless perceive them to exist: the so-called “self”, “that which belongs to the self,” “manhood,” “womanhood,” and so forth.

    Moreover, just as in a dream, wherein although there is nothing to be joyful about and yet one is joyful, there is nothing to be hateful about and yet one is hateful, and there is nothing to be frightened about and yet one is frightened, so too it is with the beings who inhabit the three realms. On account of the slumber of ignorance, even though they ought not to be hateful, still they are hateful, even though they ought not to be joyful, still they are joyful, and even though they ought not to be frightened, still they are frightened.”

    ~ Nagarjuna

  25. Bob OHearn says:

    The world is perceived as an apparent objective reality when the mind is externalized, thereby forsaking its identity with the Self. When the world is thus perceived, the true nature of the Self is not revealed: conversely, when the Self is realized, the world ceases to appear as an objective reality.

    ~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

  26. Fareed says:

    “A day will come when you will long for the ending of the dream, with all your heart and mind, and be willing to pay any price; the price will be dispassion, the loss of interest in the dream itself.”

    Does loss of interest in the dream result in the death of the person? A dispassionate life will be mechanical and the player will not be interested in doing anything further.

  27. Bob OHearn says:

    Always recognize the dreamlike qualities of life and reduce attachment and aversion. Practise good-heartedness towards all beings. Be loving and compassionate, no matter what others do to you. What they do will not matter so much when you see it as a dream. The trick is to have a positive intention during the dream. This is the essential point.

    ~ Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche

  28. Muchū Mondōshū says:

    “There is a popular practice, commonly found in Buddhist scriptures and Zen writings, that consists of looking upon all phenomena as if they were dreams or illusions. This practice is in the realm of method and is not an ultimate teaching. Contemplation of phenomena as dreamlike is an elementary expedient used to facilitate realization of the Middle Way transcending dualistic and extreme views.” — Musō Soseki (Musō Kokushi) [夢窓疎石], Muchū Mondōshū [夢中問答集], translated by Thomas Cleary as Dream Conversations on Buddhism and Zen, Shambhala Publications, 1994 [There is also a newer translation by Thomas Yūhō Kirchner, Dialogues in a Dream, Wisdom Publications, 2015]

  29. Bob OHearn says:


    Dream, Dream, Dream, Dreaming and more Dreams.

    Our habit of thinking extrovertedly, focusing only on external ob­jects, is what propels us day and night, life after life, and in the bardo state in between. We have this habit in the dream state as well: our body runs around and does things in our dreams, even though it is not a real body, but a body created out of habitual tendencies. In dreams, we experience loss and gain, enemies and friends, and all different types of pleasure, pain, and so forth. But at the moment we wake up, where are all these entities? They are gone without a trace, not to be found any place at all. The dream state is created by our own thoughts. Likewise, in the waking state, these same thoughts create this whole drama of life. In the bardo state there is no physical body, but due to habit we still believe that we have a physical body with the five senses. Of course there is no real body there; this physical body definitely doesn’t go through the bardo. Neither does it go to the hell realms, the buddha-realms, and so on. Our present body is just a temporary dwelling place, like a hotel.

    The person living in this hotel right now is the mind. It’s this person, rather than the body, who will experience all the different effects of various karmic actions. This body won’t feel a thing, because as soon as it dies it is gone—there is nothing there. But the mind continues in these patterns, and it will continue to experience. Still, all this experience is no more real than the dream you had last night. It is the dream-like thinking that goes on experiencing the hell realms, it is only more thinking. The bardo is also just more thinking. And when we eventu­ally enter into a new physical body at the end of the bardo, it is more thinking again, day after day, life after life.
    Unless we now bring an end to this thinking by dissolving it, samsara is not going to end by itself. It will go on and on indefinitely, as it has through beginningless lifetimes until now. All the while the essence of enlightenment, the fully awakened state, has been with us always; it has never been separate from us for even an instant. The moment you recognise your nature, you are face to face with the three kayas. These three kayas, intrinsic to our buddha nature, were never lost at any point whatsoever.

    The Buddha sees that all sentient beings are dreaming: they are dreaming the six realms, they are dreaming the four places of rebirth, they are dreaming all their joys and sorrows. When we are on the bodhisattva bhumis [stages], we are just about to wake up from the dream. Only the fully enlightened Buddha is totally awakened. Buddhas see that beings are ignorant. Sleep is only a subsidiary of ignorance; the real stupidity is not knowing our own awareness wisdom. Buddhist training is all about first recognizing this basic nature, then training in the strength of recognition, and finally attaining complete stability. That is the only way to awaken from this dream state.

  30. Bob OHearn says:

    “The entire world, crystal-clear everywhere, is a dream; and a dream is all grasses [things] clear and bright. To doubt the dream state is itself to dream; all perplexity is a dream as well. At this very moment, [all are] grasses of the “dream state,” grasses “in” [a dream], grasses“expounding” [a dream], and so on. Even as we study this, the very roots and stalks, leaves and branches, flowers and fruits, lights and hues [of our perception] are all a great dream. Never mistake this, however, for a dreamy state.”

    ~Dogen Zenji

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