Regarding Cubibobi (Lang)’s questions, I need to repeat what I wrote earlier, maybe a bit differently.
Our dreams are “made up” by the mind. It is possibly due to a dhammā or a past event.
Thus, the question: “1) Images and sounds in dreams are not rupā, so they must be dhammā, correct?”
– Yes. Images and sounds in dreams are not rupā, in the sense of “physical objects or actual sounds.”
– A dream is based on a past event(s) that registered strongly in the mind. The mind “re-lives” or “makes up” scenarios based on those experiences/impressions.
Next question: “And they arise due to kamma vipakā? Some dreams are pleasant while others are truly nightmares.
– That is possible. But my impression is that it depends mostly on the “state of mind.” A mind that has been agitated during the daytime, is more likely to “generate dreams,” especially nightmares.
Question: “2) Many dreams are filled with actions. For a nightmare, I may be fighting against attackers or running away from vicious animals, etc. For a pleasant dream, I may be enjoying some sensual pleasure.”
– That is true. The mind is making up a scenario.
– If one tends to have sexual fantasies, one is likely to see similar dreams.
Question: “In either case, I have no control of the course of the dream. In the dream, I may wish for the chase to stop or the pleasure to continue but have no control over anything.”
– That is true. We have helpless to “take any action” in a dream. If a dog is chasing, one may not even be able to “run.” Even a “pleasant dream”, we just experience it. It just happens.
– In dreams, we experience “parittarammana citta vithi.” There are no javana citta. That is why we just experience them, and cannot generate any javana citta.
Once a bhikkhu saw a dream where he had sex with a woman. He confessed it to the Buddha. He thought he had to give up the robes since sexual intercourse is prohibited for a bhikkhu.
– But the Buddha said dreams are not meaningful, and that he had done nothing wrong. The bhikkhu did not do that on volition. There were no javana citta generated on his own will.
– I believe that logic also holds in the courts. If one does something while “sleepwalking” one is not responsible for such actions. Of course, one has to prove the “sleepwalking” part.