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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

My Past Lives as a Tibetan Monk.

I was a bit skeptical about past lives until I had this very, vivid dream--which also party triggered my investigation and interest in Buddhism. I found myself dressed in some kind of colorful, flowing robe. The colors being a purplish maroon and the other was a yellowish golden color. The robe seemed to be an eggplant color with the golden yellow as trim. I had no clue at that point in my life that those are the colors of Tibetan Buddhist monks; in fact I didn’t know much of anything about Buddhism in general!!

A man dressed in similar robes accompanied me but his robes were bluer with the golden yellow trim. He was my guide as we walked up this slope of a massive mountaintop. I could tell that we were very high up because the vegetation was mostly tundra with a few scraggly trees. The sky was a breathtaking shade of crystal blue with only a hint of wispy clouds. A slight breeze was playfully tossing the fabric of my billowy robes about. I felt so at peace with my guide and in my surroundings. I can’t remember his face but I had a deep feeling of connection with him. He felt like a long lost friend whom I had known for ages.

As we rounded the summit of this great peak I saw a large Buddha-like statue with a crisp, clear stream of water gushing out of the statue’s mouth. My guide told me to drink the water, so I cupped my hands and drank. And as I swallowed this cool, clean mountain water I realized that I was very thirsty and I remember it was so refreshing and delicious.

Thus, I drank more and more of this elixir. As I drank my guide informed me that the water I was drinking was no ordinary water. He said, “It is special water. Water that will bring you vitality and long-life” and with that he gave me a warm smile. Then, as I gazed transfixed into his peaceful face I was transported out of the dream with a blink just like someone changed the channel on the t.v.

As it turns out my research shows that blue and yellow are the two colors in the Karmapa Dream Flag. “The 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, well known for his visions and prophesies, designed this flag from a vision that came to him in a dream. He called it “Namkhyen Gyaldar (Victorious Flag of Buddha’s Wisdom).” He proclaimed, “Wherever this banner is flown the Dharma will flourish.”[i]

According to that same webpage cited above, the inner meaning of this flag is that the blue represents vision and spiritual insight, which is exactly what my dream was for me. In addition, the yellow represents our experiences in the everyday world and certainly my everyday experiences were weighing heavily upon me when I had this dream. So I see this dream as a wake up call that the spiritual insight of the dream represented by Buddhism would be the path that would help me find peace and reduce my great suffering (I was struggling greatly at the time in my life on what to do. I was lost in a nihilist fog at the time of this dream).

It seems that the Karmapa’s Dream Flag took the form of my guides robe colors and the pure, clean water was to quench my thirst for peace and stability through the Dharma. I personally feel that the dream overall it was a reminder of a past life that I must have lived as a novice Tibetan Buddhist monk.

I've had a second, as vivid dream about what I see as a past life in Tibet. I was on a journey all alone in a mountainous land. I was again wearing maroon robes and was on some quest of sorts to find a hermit monk off in the foothills near a grand, blue, wind-swept lake. Well, imagine my surprise and shock when I watched the movie Kundun and saw the exact same lake from my dream in the movie!! It was Lhamo I' Latso or the "Oracle Lake. It is a sacred (considered the most sacred actually), famous lake known for visions and thus no surprise I guess why I experienced that past memory in a dream.

I had the dream about the lake before I had seen the movie. I think these dreams are partly why I was initially attracted to Tibetan Buddhism when I began studying the Dharma in this life.

It is because of these two dreams, the reality of the life cycle of the four seasons and the physics law that nothing every disappears but simply changes form. For example, sunlight lives on in the form of electricity transformed through solar panels. It lives on in trees, which are later used to create paper to make books. Thus the sun lives on in trees, paper, books, ink, and on and on.


[i] Harderwijk, Rudy. “Tibetan Buddhist Symbols.” A View on Buddhism. Ed. Rudy Harderwijk. 10

October 2006. 8 July 2008. http://buddhism.kalachakranet.org/symbols_tibet_buddhism.htm#

~Peace to all beings~

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14 comments:

Dhamma81 said...

James-

All in all a very cool story. Perhaps it really is a quick glimpse of a past life and an answer to why you are practicing Buddhism in this one.

For me it's not so much a dream but this vivid idea I have that coming to Buddhism was like coming home for me. That and the whole Cambodia thing, the Khmer Rouge and the atrocities there. Somehow that touches me in a way that other world affairs haven't so I wonder if maybe I was killed in the Khmer Rouge era or something. This is just a speculation and all but I have this intuition that maybe there is a grain of truth to it, and I am a Theravada Buddhist and have a strong affinity for pagan ideas from my youth. I hear that Cambodian Theravada has a lot of animism mixed in with it so maybe it's not a stretch. At any rate be well now.

Twisted Branch said...

The thirst of your dream represents your craving. And the magic elixir of long life represents your desire for permanence.

Debra-Dawn said...

I believe that I knew very young that I had been a buddhist in a past life...

When my friends in elementary school would tell me that i had to believe in jesus to get into heaven... i always disagreed...

and i still do...

:)

I recently watched Religulous and am curious on your thoughts on the movie....

They call him James Ure said...

Dhamma81:

I wouldn't doubt your connection with Cambodia. I also have similar connections with not just Tibet and China but with Africa as well. I have very vivid visions of lives in Africa in the pre-colonial period.

Twisted Branch:

Yours is but one interpretation and angle. There can be many lessons learned and seen in this dream/vision.

I see the water as the Dharma as it was pouring from the Buddha statue. I see the thirst for that water (Dharma) as my thirst for Dharma in previous lives and this life.

It is no coincidence I believe that I was thirsting for answers in life at the time when I had that dream.

I see the magic elixir of long life to be symbolic of the Dharma being a refuge for long term happiness. And long-life representing here parinirvana, which is the everlasting.

Sure craving and permanence can be an interpretation to the dream and are things to be aware of. However, the dream was very peaceful, calm and not agitating or stressful at all. I didn't feel like I was longing for something permanent.

The monk was encouraging and wanted me to drink more of the elixir. So I don't see why a monk would encourage me to absorb more craving of permanence.

So I would imagine that if It represented craving and impermanence that it would have been an uncomfortable dream.

But you're right that reminding myself of craving and permanence is an important thing. They are two other lessons that can be gleaned from the dream.

Craving and the illusion of permanence are both things to constantly be aware of work toward letting go of. Thanks for adding that reminder.

Debra-Dawn:

Interesting. Yeah I think that if we can heighten our awareness that we can remember past lives. Why does that matter? Well it's not vital to ultimate liberation to remember past lives. However, if one can recall them it can be a great motivator and teacher.

groupofseven said...

yawn

They call him James Ure said...

Goupofseven:

Thank-you for that positive contribution and for insulting a very personal and meaningful experience I had. Do you take pleasure in that sort of thing?

Are you Buddhist? If so ask yourself if what you said is compassionate and in keeping with Right Speech? Would you "yawn" if this story was being told by a monk or even Buddha?

I'm not saying I'm either of those but I am a fellow sentient being who has feelings and you just walked all over them. Congratulations. You performed your insult of the day.

I hope you feel oh so happy and proud of yourself. It takes a lot of courage to sh*t on someone's life changing events. You must live a pretty dreary and dull life if you have to go around and trample of other peoples' fond and transformative memories (insert sarcasm).

Would you want people to react that way toward the meaningful events in your life? Or do you even HAVE meaningful events in your life? So instead of encouraging others and rejoicing in their happy and memorable moments you like to tear them down by basically saying you find them boring.

Well, let me just say that I'm not here to appease of please you. I'm putting myself out there and sharing my life, whereas you sit behind an anonymous name and go around insulting people. That must be a fun and rewarding life.

Let's hear about your life and see if you like someone saying "yawn" to things you find important or valuable in your life. Or do you even have those things? Maybe you live a shallow and empty life--to, which I say I feel sorry for you.

But now I've become bored with you and your immaturity. **yawn**

NellaLou said...

Hey James I enjoyed your post and your experiences and viewpoint are always interesting. I read your blog on a regular basis.

As for "yawn" if that is the most intelligent comment they can make it speaks volumes about ability to function in the world. It speaks to an exaggerated sense of entitlement (particularly entitlement to "entertainment") and arrogance. It has been my experience upon meeting such folks that they tend to have extremely low self esteem and act out in this passive-aggressive sort of way due to serious anger issues and possibly with some developmental delays especially regarding socialization. I've seen this user name before on other Buddhist blogs and its been a similar situation. With nothing useful to contribute they contribute drivel and convince themselves they are oh so wise or smart or something equally as immature. Don't sweat it at all. It's their issue not yours.

Dorje said...

Hello James.

I am tibetan buddhist myself and think your dreams are very auspicious. But there is something I have to say about your Kundun dream. The movie Kundun was shot in Morocco, so if you recognize a place of your dream in this movie, it will be a place in Morocco

They call him James Ure said...

Dorje:

Interesting about the lake in Morocco. It seems so similar to the one in the movie Kundun. Maybe I've seen both in previous lives.

They call him James Ure said...

I meant to say that it seems so similar to the real one in Tibet. I have often gazed at images of the real lake in Tibet and felt a deep connection.

Riverwolf, said...

Catching up on some older posts. Very interesting, these dreams you've had. More and more, I find myself believing in past lives. There isn't any way to scientifically prove it, but reincarnation helps makes sense of those dreams, serendipities and other subtle moments in life that otherwise don't make much sense--and yet bring us such richness. If you were a monk in a past life, it makes perfect sense that you would now continue your work by developing this blog here in the 21st century in the West. Just energy changing form.

They call him James Ure said...

Riverwolf:

Yeah past lives just make so much sense. I think the most vivid example is the cycle of the seasons. And as you said, in physics energy simply changes form.

Anonymous said...

Hay House India is organizing a retreat at The Palpung Sherabling Monastic Seat, near Dharamshala. It's called 'A First Course in Tibetan Buddhism and Meditation'. Check it out at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hay-House-India/358675224872?872

Traveler said...

I too have had Tibetan dreams and have also seen things while meditating. I kind of feel like my Tibetan life is my home, and all these other ones as sort of vacations. The other night I dreamed, although it seemed so real, a Tibetan Monk stood on my bed and spoke to me. I think that those of us that were there were so spiritually touched that these visions are really true. I think it's interesting but I was also born (this life) a few days after the Dalai Lama fled Tibet. A lot of monks were killed around that time. I've been a Buddhist in this life, and the 2 before. I hope I can keep that streak going.

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