Unethical behavior in dreams

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Arupajhana7
Posts: 42
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:31 pm

Unethical behavior in dreams

Post by Arupajhana7 » Tue Nov 20, 2018 8:20 am

Hello,

I am wondering if unethical and harmful behavior I have engaged in during dreams will have similar karmic imprints to doing it in waking life at some point.

any info around this would be helpful.

Thank you.

Bristollad
Posts: 450
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2015 11:39 am

Re: Unethical behavior in dreams

Post by Bristollad » Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:24 am

Having seen the observed object of a dream,
A fool will generate attachment even when awake.
Likewise, there is still an effect from an action
Even though it lacks inherent existence and has ceased. [6.40]

Chandrakirti

Having seen an observed object, a beautiful woman, in a dream, then, even
upon awakening, that is, when awake, foolish beings observe that she has
now ceased and is non-existent, but still generate strong longing for her.

Tsongkhapa's commentary

A man observes a beautiful woman in a dream; even though by the time he awakes he observes that she has ceased and is non-existent, he can still generate a strong longing for her. Although the dream has ceased, it still produces an effect, which is the generation of attachment in his mind.
FPMT Study Guide

So yes, dreams can have an effect. However, in Entrance to the Middle Way, Chandrakirti also says that on the 2nd ground, a bodhisattva perfects ethical discipline and doesn't transgress it even in dreams - i.e. having dreams that may include unethical behaviour is going to be us for a while. How we regard and react to those dreams - whether we identify with them, dwell on them or let them go changes the karmic impact, similar to the way an angry thought has less impact if we remember its transitory illusory nature and don't identify with it (or act under its influence).

Miroku
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Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:18 am

Re: Unethical behavior in dreams

Post by Miroku » Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:13 pm

Ofc there is some imprint. If it bothers you try generating bodhicitta and taking refuge before falling asleep. Good motivation can change the behaviour in dreams and also protects from nightmares.
A boat delivers you to the other riverbank.
A needle stitches up your clothes.
A horse takes you where you want to go.
Bodhicitta will bring you to Buddhahood.

~ Khunu Lama Rinpoche

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ratna
Posts: 323
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 2:32 pm

Re: Unethical behavior in dreams

Post by ratna » Tue Nov 20, 2018 3:11 pm

Arupajhana7 wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 8:20 am
Hello,

I am wondering if unethical and harmful behavior I have engaged in during dreams will have similar karmic imprints to doing it in waking life at some point.

any info around this would be helpful.

Thank you.
This question was addressed in the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā:
Buddha wrote:Śāriputra : If someone in his dreams does a deed, wholesome or unwholesome, will that be added on to the heap or collection of his karma?
Subhūti : In so far as the Lord has taught that ultimately all dharmas are like a dream, in so far [i.e. from the standpoint of ultimate reality]
that deed will not be added to his heap or collection of karma. But on the other hand [from the standpoint of empirical reality], that deed will be
added to the heap and collection of his karma if, after the man has woken up, he thinks the dream over, and consciously forms the notion that he
wants to kill someone. How does he do that? During his dream he may have taken life, and after he has woken up, he thinks it over like this: "it
is good that he was killed! It is right that he was killed! It was just that he was killed! It was I who killed him." Such thoughts are equivalent to the
conscious notion that he wants to kill someone.
(Conze's translation)

Yellow_13
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2018 5:10 pm

Re: Unethical behavior in dreams

Post by Yellow_13 » Sun Nov 25, 2018 11:35 am

And what about less radical unethical behavior? Of course, killing or raping someone in a dream is terrible, especially if you don't regret it later on, but what happens if, for example, you made someone sad or insulted someone in your dream?

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