Do Arahants Dream?

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    • #14404
      Johnny_Lim
      Participant

      Hi everyone,

      I often wonder, do arahants dream since their minds are always mindful and bright. A normal person likes to daydream and daydreaming itself is proliferation of the mind. Dreaming is similar to mental proliferation. A fully enlightened being does not have mental proliferation. Does it mean he can never dream in his sleep?

    • #14405
      y not
      Participant

      Hi Johnny-Lim:

      …and I wonder whether you got this idea by yourself!!

      It had never occured to me until I read about it in a book by
      a ‘modern master’…who says that ‘on Enlightenment all dreams stop’
      And by dreaming is meant both dreaming at night during sleep and
      dreaming in the waking state, fantasizing etc.

      y not

      • #14406
        Johnny_Lim
        Participant

        Hi y not,

        I listened to some desana from a bhante. He often mentions that the arahants don’t really sleep and that they are mindful 24/7. They just recharge themselves in jhanas. This idea of arahants not being able to dream has been a suspicion at the back of my mind when I understand more about the Dhamma. I merely speculate it and never give it much thought until I listened to another desana from the same bhante. It is in this desana that he mentioned the arahants do not dream.

    • #14407
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Johnny said: “do arahants dream since their minds are always mindful and bright..:

      I have no idea whether Arahants dream or not. And it does not matter much anyway. When dreaming, one never generates javana citta (i.e., conscious thinking is not involved). In Abhidhamma language, those citta vithi involved are parittarammana and atiparittarammana citta vithi which do not have javana citta.

      – So, dreaming is a “passive state”: one just experiences what is shown in the dream. For example, in bad dream one may see an animal chasing to kill oneself, but one is even unable to run or try to hide.

      – However, as one’s gets purified, one will stop seeing such “bad dreams”. That I know by experience. However, whether all dreams stop for an Arahant, I don’t know.

      Y not said: “..dreaming in the waking state, fantasizing..”

      Fantasizing is not dreaming. This is VERY important to understand. One must stop fantasizing as soon as one becomes aware of it; that is part of Satipatthana.

      – When one fantasizes one is consciously thinking about a previous sensual experience or an anticipated future sensual experience. These are part of vaci sankhara that lead to “bad vinnana“, i.e., they are done with javana citta: “Correct Meaning of Vacī Sankhāra“.

    • #14409
      Johnny_Lim
      Participant

      Hi Lal,

      Since we have no control over our actions in our dreams, there is no kamma done, right?

    • #14410
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Yes, Johnny. That is correct.

      Punnabhisankhara (morally good deeds yielding good vipaka) or apunnabhisankhara (morally bad deeds yielding bad vipaka) are done only with javana citta.

    • #14419
      y not
      Participant

      Hello Lal:

      …”One must stop fantasizing as soon as one becomes aware of it; that is part of Satipatthana”

      I have been working on this for years. I should have said:
      ‘And by dreaming HE meant both dreaming at night during sleep and
      dreaming in the waking state, fantasizing etc.’ , the point he wanted to get across being that on Enlightenment illusion stops in both states. I can say nothing about this ,in either case. Only, it is clear that we can address only those thought activities done consciously, as you point out.

      Thank you

      y not

    • #14424
      Lal
      Keymaster

      @y not: Yes. I knew that you probably had the idea. But I just want to make sure important points like this are not to be missed. My comments are always intended to be general (for all reading these comments).

    • #15337
      Anonymous

      So happy to have stumbled upon this older topic! I’ve labored to make dreams stop, such as altering my diet, sleep, reading Dhamma till late, etc.

      Lal said: “However, as one’s gets purified, one will stop seeing such “bad dreams””. Do you think this is a way to judge where one is on the Path?

      For instance, I haven’t had a “bad” dream since last September. Shortly thereafter, I started reading puredhamma.net. Thank you Lal, what a difference Dhamma makes!

      Although, I still have dreams that are mostly relationship type, but no homes, cars, or vacations/beautiful places or the like. This means I still have asavas for a relationship, right? And therefore, have not seen the bad consequences of a relationship even though I haven’t engaged in a relationship in a long time. On top of that I have no enduring interest in anyone I meet…they all have asavas/gati I have no interest in. Is it possible a kamma beeja is just waiting to surface and cannot be avoided? I’ve read here in some posts, that some “kamma beeja can’t be avoided”. Is this a stumbling block for women? And why monastic life seems so positive…under the right conditions.

      This one is hard to turn off. I’ve had plenty of bad relationships, so it should be easy, but it’s not. Are there more posts, suttas or somewhere I can read more about asubhanussati? I’ve read “Anussati and Anupassanā – Being Mindful and Removing Defilements” several times.

      With metta,
      Donna

    • #15339
      Lal
      Keymaster

      @inflib (Donna): Yes. While we cannot do kamma in dreams, dreams can indicate one’s progress on the Path in a crude way.

      Normally, one who making progress on the Path will be seeing less and less of frightening or scary dreams.

      Other than that, it is probably not a good idea to use the types of dreams one sees to make an analysis of one’s progress.

      Inflib said: “Although, I still have dreams that are mostly relationship type, but no homes, cars, or vacations/beautiful places or the like. This means I still have asavas for a relationship, right? “

      Putting dreams aside, one could have relationships without asavas (lobha, dosa, moha). For example, relationship between a parent and a child are based on long-term relationships through previous births. A parent raising a child is paying back old debt, and when the child grows up the child may start paying back debt.
      – The same thing can be said for friends, and even married couples. Long after the sexual relationship ends due to old age, many couples remain devoted each other.

      Even when one attains magga phala, such feelings may remain. One’s actions may not involve anything other than fulfilling one’s responsibilities.
      – From the Tipitaka there is a story about Gatikara, who was an Anagami. He stayed a lay person rather than becoming a bhikkhu, because he wanted to take care of his old parents.

      • #15340
        Anonymous

        Thank you Lal!

    • #15341
      y not
      Participant

      Lal:

      “… one could have relationships without asavas (lobha, dosa, moha)” and,

      “…Gatikara, who was an Anagami. He stayed a lay person rather than becoming a bhikkhu, because he wanted to take care of his old parents.”

      I therefore take it that genuine concern for another does not constitute an aksuala, but there is still miccha ditthi (?), for Lal says in the post ‘…if you were to die tomorrow’: ‘.. one gets rid of all wrong views only at Arahanthood’. In that post I asked some question connected to the first quote above, and Lal replied that ANY kind of attachment is miccha ditthi.

      I admit I am confused about this. In the case of Gatikata, would it be that he renounced Arahanthood ( where all attachment ceases) for the sake of caring for his parents, perhaps even into future lives? The question, at the very base of it, is: How can attachment when it is through genuine and unselfish love for some one be of any negative or hindering effect to the giver IN ANY WAY whatsoever? ( I use no Pali words in the question to make sure that there is no misunderstanding through my inadequate command of distinguishing between Pali terms)

      ….the first quote above seems to answer this conclusively but reading through other posts, it does not. It could be a very subtle kind of lobha(unknown to oneself) because one derives pleasure caring for his parents (in the case 0f gatikara) or loving genuinely in other cases.

      Thank you,

      y not

      • #15343
        Johnny_Lim
        Participant

        Hi y not,

        You mentioned: ‘How can attachment when it is through genuine and unselfish love for some one be of any negative or hindering effect to the giver IN ANY WAY whatsoever?’

        We feel that the noblest thing to do is to ‘sacrifice’ ourselves to benefit others. By so doing, it translates to loving someone unconditionally. But this action is just a reflection of our inner desire. If I am not wrong, the Buddha did say the person we love most cannot be anyone else other than we ourselves. The risks are too high to remain in sansara. We should not for the sake of anyone, defer our spiritual practice in this life. Otherwise, there is no difference from the Mahayanists.

        • #15346
          Embodied
          Spectator

          @Johnny_Lim : “If I am not wrong, the Buddha did say the person we love most cannot be anyone else other than we ourselves.”

          If to love others (as in the situation that y not described) implies attachment,clinging, then why would such condition alter when one loves oneself ?

          • #15349
            Johnny_Lim
            Participant

            Embodied,

            Loving others or oneself in a worldly sense is done so out of ignorance. I come to realise to cultivate the path, one must be ‘selfish’ as what common-folks perceive it to be. Didn’t Siddhartha Gotama forsake his family, his wife and new born Rahula to seek the deathless path? It seems very selfish on the surface. But didn’t Siddhartha Gotama return to his family as a Buddha to preach Dhamma and facilitate them to become enlightened? Which kind of love is more noble? The answer is clear.

            When one is fully enlightened, that is the greatest compassion to all sentient beings. Why? Because there is one less trouble-maker in this world. Before one is enlightened, if we are good, our loved ones will be so attached to us, afraid of losing us. If we are really bad, then we really cause problems to our loved ones. In both ways, the end result is always suffering.

            • #15351
              Anonymous

              Thank you Johnny!

              This point of Gotama Buddha leaving his family has been bothering me a lot…and you’ve resolved it for me.

              Sincerely grateful,
              Donna

              • #15352
                Johnny_Lim
                Participant

                Don’t mention it, Donna. Glad to be of some help.

            • #15354
              Embodied
              Spectator

              @Johnny_Lim,

              “Loving others or oneself in a worldly sense is done so out of ignorance. I come to realise to cultivate the path, one must be ‘selfish’ as what common-folks perceive it to be…ETC”

              That’s exactly what i wanted to mean yet now i’ll downrightly suppress “if” from my question and also the question mark, to say: to love oneself (be it to definitely get out of samsara or other) may be (it depends) the same kind of attachment/ clinging than one loves others – even if with a genuine, pure love etc.
              To me it’s not about love for oneself, it’s about to feel a transcendental drive for Truth – for a Truth above worldly (paraphrasing you) things.
              A little aside: when Siddhartha the Gotama leaves his family etc there is one mundane (seeing that there are other deeper factors to consider too) contingence that is going to play a crucial role on the hows and whys of his quest , that is, the extremely brutal contrast between his luxurious lifestyle within the enclosure of his domains and what he found outside of it.

              Just my opinion, no worries.

    • #15342
      Embodied
      Spectator

      Hi

      I started notice it some years ago: the more sati one imprints on one’s daily life, the less one dreams or the dreams are upekha pervaded. There’s a co-relation.

    • #15344
      Lal
      Keymaster

      y not said: “I admit I am confused about this. In the case of Gatikata, would it be that he renounced Arahanthood ( where all attachment ceases) for the sake of caring for his parents, perhaps even into future lives? The question, at the very base of it, is: How can attachment when it is through genuine and unselfish love for some one be of any negative or hindering effect to the giver IN ANY WAY whatsoever?”

      This is a good question. There are two aspects to this issue and I am glad that you brought it up.

      1. On one hand, the need to “pay back previous debts” may come to the forefront of some people’s mind when this situation arises.
      2. On the other hand, there are others, who don’t feel strongly that way (because most of their debts to the other person(s) in question have been paid off (even though those other people may still face a rough time if left alone by themselves.

      In the above, I gave the example of Gatikara for the first.

      There is another sutta relevant to the second case, which describes a situation where a husband leaves the family and becomes a bhikkhu. One day the wife comes to see him with the baby and blames him for leaving the child to herself and set the child by him and pretends to leave. She goes away from his sight and starts watching him to see whether he will take the child. The bhikkhu is unmoved, and she finally comes and takes the child away.
      – So, in this case, the bhikkhu had totally removed any attachment to the family.

      It is VERY IMPORTANT to realize that both thoughts process in the above two cases are AUTOMATIC, based on the gati of Gatikara and the bhikkhu. It is not that Gatikara forcefully made himself committed to his parents. Also, it is not that the bhikkhu took “hard line approach” and refused to go back to lay life to take care of the family.

      The problem is that it is very hard for us to judge these situations from the outside. Human mind is very complex, and it is almost impossible for others to see what is going on in the mind of any given person.

      It is interesting to note that Buddha praised the bhikkhu for the way he handled the situation. Of course a Buddha can read anyone’s mind and he knew that the bhikkhu COULD NOT go back and STAY a householder even if he tried to do that by force. His mindset had changed permanently. He had given up all attachments, and to his mind, there was no difference between his family and any other. Anyone who is not at or close to Arahanthood cannot even imagine that.

    • #15345
      Embodied
      Spectator

      @y not : “How can attachment when it is through genuine and unselfish love for some one be of any negative or hindering effect to the giver IN ANY WAY whatsoever?”

      Because an attachment even if one like you’re describing triggers kamma thus binding you to existence ?

    • #15350
      y not
      Participant

      Thank you Lal,

      A long way to go. Will do my best to better my lot and others’
      along the way (in the Ariya sense). I have made this my resolve.

      Ever so grateful,

      y not

    • #15353
      Lal
      Keymaster

      In case someone missed the reply from Johnny today to the following question, please see his response above:

      “How can attachment when it is through genuine and unselfish love for some one be of any negative or hindering effect to the giver IN ANY WAY whatsoever?”

    • #15355
      y not
      Participant

      Johnny:

      Perfect answer. And Lal goes on to ‘beef it up’ on his part.

      The perfect answer is always from the highest standpoint; only, it is clear I have not reached there yet. I knew it must be so, but why SHOULD it be so ,not otherwise? And to THAT I expect no answer.

      Metta to all,

      y not

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