Cover image for Dreaming in the Lotus : Buddhist dream narrative, imagery & practice
Dreaming in the Lotus : Buddhist dream narrative, imagery & practice
Young, Serinity.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Wisdom Publications, [1999]

Physical Description:
xxii, 296 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
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BF1078 .Y68 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Dreams play a powerful role in the sacred biographies of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism: they foretell the births of religious figures, describe their accomplishments, and reveal esoteric teachings.

In this fascinating study of the Buddhist dream experience, Dr. Serinity Young explores the complex functions of dreams in the sacred biographies of the Buddha and other central Buddhist figures, and reveals the ever-changing nature of dreams in Buddhist thought and practice.

Young presents a fascinating, culturally varied picture of the Buddhist dream experience and its revelations about Buddhist ideas of consciousness, cognition, and salvation. Using biographies of the Buddha and other important Buddhist figures, Serinity Young explores the functions of dreams and maps their role at the intersection of biography, history, and religious belief.

Author Notes

Serinity Young is currently a professor at Southern Methodist University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This scholarly, yet highly readable and intelligent book examines the powerful role that dreams play in Buddhist culture and religion. Although Young (Southern Methodist Univ.) argues that there is no unified theory of dreams in Buddhism (as there is in psychoanalysis), she does a superb job of integrating the rich and multifaceted functions of dreams in the sacred biographies of the Buddha and other central Buddhist figures (notable is the important chapter "Gender in Indo-Tibetan Dreaming"). In general, there has been an abundance of material on men's dreams, but very little on women's dreams. The author argues "women are free to be powerful in men's imaginations and or psychic experiences but not in social reality." Filled with interesting insights, sound research, and beautiful images, this book is an important addition to Buddhist scholarship. There are detailed appendixes and a substantial bibliography (divided into primary and secondary sources). Recommended for upper-level undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty in psychology and religion. R. Kabatznick; CUNY Queens College

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. ix
Forewordp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Abbreviationsp. xxi
Introductionp. 1
Part 1 Indo-Tibetan Dreaming
1. Dreams, Religion, and Sacred Biographyp. 7
Dreams in World Religionsp. 7
Dreams in Buddhist Sacred Biographyp. 8
Elite versus Popular Views of Dreamingp. 15
The Psychoanalytic Study of Dreamsp. 18
2. Dreams in the Biographies of the Buddhap. 21
Queen Maya's Dreamp. 21
The Dreams of the Buddhap. 24
The Dreams of Othersp. 33
3. Early Buddhist Dream Theoryp. 43
Pali Textsp. 43
The Asokavadanap. 47
The Sardulakarnavadanap. 50
Buddhist Understandings of the Self and Consciousnessp. 51
4. Dreams in Indo-Tibetan Buddhismp. 55
Indigenous Practicesp. 56
Buddhist Influences in Tibetp. 59
Medical Textsp. 65
Part 2 Continuity of Dream Material
5. Conception Dreamsp. 75
6. Shared Dreamsp. 87
7. Dreams as Signs of Spiritual Accomplishmentp. 95
The Buddhap. 96
Milarepa and His Disciplesp. 97
The Ability to Interpret Dreamsp. 108
Part 3 Innovations in Dream Material
8. Dream Yogap. 117
Dreams and Religious Innovationp. 117
The Six Yogasp. 120
Practice in Tibetp. 125
9. Ritual Dreamingp. 129
Sought Dreamsp. 129
Rituals to Counteract Bad Dreamsp. 135
Dream Rituals from the Kangyur and Tangyurp. 137
10. Gender in Indo-Tibetan Dreamingp. 147
Women and Female Deities in Men's Dreamsp. 148
Women Dreamersp. 152
Dreams, Death, and Womenp. 160
Conclusionsp. 163
Appendix Lucid Dreamingp. 167
Notesp. 173
Texts and Translationsp. 245
Secondary Sourcesp. 253
Indexp. 279