Q&A

Mindfulness Of Bodhisattva In A Nightmare

Question: I had a strange nightmare last night. I was in a dark and remote place, when ‘something’ tried to come out of my body. I was very afraid and started to chant Dizang Pusa’s name. (Homage to/ Refuge in Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva: Namo Dizangwang Pusa) It worked, as the ‘thing’ came out, with a very angry face, that I could see clearly. I thought Dizang Pusa would talk to me, but he did not. When I woke up today, I felt good, light and full of energy. What does this mean?

Answer:
The dream might have natural or supernatural origin. It could be natural if that expelled represents some negative qualities (defilements) you had in your mind – such as guilt, or anger itself (as the ‘thing’ looked angry). It can be supernatural if it represented possession by an evil spirit (in the dream) who is a karmic creditor (Yuanqin Zaizhu). Either way, the expelling was good, even if it is just a dream.

If you are unsure if the ‘being’ is real or imaginary, it is best to do more good to create merits for dedication to him or her for a good rebirth. The easiest way is to practise more Buddha/Bodhisattva mindfulness, which protects yourself too. What could be better done directly in the dream was to continue sincere reciting, to encourage the ‘being’ to be likewise mindful, until he or she becomes serene and leaves, hopefully for Amituofo’s Pure Land.

This should be done out of compassion and not fear. Mindfulness of Dizang Pusa leads to Pure Land too, if the right faith and aspiration is there, as guided by Dizang Pusa. It would be more direct by being mindful of Amituofo, but it times of emergency, it is natural to be mindful of the Buddha/ Bodhisattva one is more familiar with. What matters most then, is to have single-minded, wholehearted mindfulness of that Buddha or Bodhisattva.

The dream was also a good opportunity to ‘test’ your faith in practising mindfulness of Buddha/Bodhisattva. Whether the situation was made up by your mind or not is secondary. You probably felt well when you awoke as there was genuine relief and faith generated, that benefits your waking life. The Buddha/ Bodhisattva you are mindful of need not talk to you if there is nothing to be said then, but the incident should inspire and remind you that you can always connect in times of need.

Here are two articles related to your experience:

How to Handle Ghostly Experiences
http://purelanders.com/2011/12/15/how-to-handle-ghostly-disturbances/
How to Protect Yourself in Nightmares / Mindfulness of Amituofo in a Nightmare
http://purelanders.com/2011/12/15/how-to-protect-yourself-in-nightmares-mindfulness/

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Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!