Strange Dream: Purifying the obstructions to being able to teach again

I had a very strange dream. I was supposed to teach a meditation class to a group of total beginners. I have not taught a class in a long time. Much happened before the class was to begin. At first, I was completely naked and had no clothes. I was in front of them for a while, but nobody seemed to mind. Eventually, I went to a bathroom to try find clothes, but couldn’t find anything that made sense, so I went back out naked. Then I thought that seems strange, so I went back to find some clothes and found something imperfect, but good enough.

Then, my mouth suddenly filled up with a bunch of gunk, like phlegm, but much thicker, and I couldn’t speak at all. It was so sticky, I couldn’t just spit it out because it was stuck in my mouth. So I went to a different bathroom and tried to pull it all out of my mouth, which was not easy, but eventually I managed to do so for most of it.

Then, I went into the room to begin the class. Everyone was very loud and mentally scattered. I tried to encourage everyone to calm down and eventually sit to do meditation. I then started guiding the meditation, and while I was talking saying things like “let go of your thoughts, etc.” in my mind I saw a demon who was circling around me. Eventually, he latched onto my neck and was trying to strangle me while I was trying to guide the meditation. I thought about how refuge was the only protection. I kept talking guiding the meditation encouraging everyone to let go. I then recalled emptiness, and explained that emptiness provided the best protection because it was impossible for negativity and delusions to latch on to nothing. The hold of the demon on my neck then broke and he started circulating in front of me again and I was mostly free from it.

I then ended the guided meditation and opened my eyes, and some people in the audience had been busy doing Christmas decorations. I then felt I needed to get to know the people around in the audience to know where they were coming from. Most were total beginners, they all seemed to enjoy the meditation.

Then I came to this one woman who had regular clothes on. She then said something about Je Tsongkhapa, which made no sense how she would know him. I then looked at her clothes under her arm, and saw that there were ordained robes underneath. I then asked her how she knew about Je Tsongkhapa, and she started mumbling as if her cover was blown, and then I woke up.

What does this dream mean? I haven’t taught in a long time, but eventually I need to start doing so again. I have a lot of negative karma obstructing my ability to do so – physically, represented by the episode with the clothes; verbally, represented by the episode with the phlegm; and mentally, represented by the episode with the demon. The solution is refuge in the three jewels and in particular realizing emptiness so that there is nothing there for the negativity to latch onto. Each solution to these three levels was imperfect, but good enough for me to continue, meaning for now I should accept good enough to be able to proceed. When teaching Dharma, it is important to know personally the people you are teaching and to accept them where they are at, as represented in the situation with their rowdiness and then doing Christmas decorations. But because people are hurting, they find the meditations meaningful, as represented by the positive reception despite people seeming to be distracted. Finally, we can be certain that some (or all) of the people will be emanations of Je Tsongkhapa in disguise, as represented by the woman who was an undercover emanation.

9 thoughts on “Strange Dream: Purifying the obstructions to being able to teach again

  1. I’ve been following you since you started blogging – enjoying,
    getting something out of it – but this one (sorry) is hilarious! (to me).
    It’s so great that your dream was so dharmic, I think you’re
    someone with so much to offer as a teacher; I am sure
    all obstacles will soon be purified.

  2. I rejoice that your subtle mind has the mindfulness to be thinking about Dharma while you are dreaming. I don’t know that mine has ever done that in all these years!!
    Thank you for sharing that dream. I would love to hear you teach in person. You bring great benefit with your blog and I appreciate your dedication to keeping it regular and inspiring.

  3. It’s so great that you could remember this dream in such detail, so that you could work out what each bit mean, and that you have such a well trained mind you could use your knowledge and experience of Dharma to help you with difficult situations in the dream. I used to dream a lot, and remember a fair bit of them, but not really now, except on Sunday mornings when I can wake up in my own time and gently.Only once did I have a dream with Geshe la in it, and it became lucid then. I was trying to meditate in the dream, and realising that it was a dream, I started swinging back and forth on an invisible swing to try to stay in the lucid state, with Geshe la watching me with that gentle smile on his face. I would love to have more like that!

  4. May 7th the day of this entry is my birthday and I find this entry amazing because YOU ARE ALREADY TEACHING all of us with every blog post, every FB posting. In fact i can say that YOU are my favorite daily teacher ! You are so honest and free of the “cult of personality” projections attached to teachers who are teaching in physical places. You are a disembodied voice in the ether! I send your voice to those in need and dharma friends send you to me. You are everywhere and nowhere!
    There are NO obstacles to you teaching because you are ALREADY teaching!
    You are my favorite non teaching teacher!
    Thank you !
    PS Often in the Temple my throat fills with something, i choke or once a fly even flew down my throat during the Liberation Prayer. It all felt “mara-ic”. Maric?
    Your dream made perfect sense to me.
    {I dreamed recently that i was at a big Festival with a newborn baby (im 69) . I couldn’t go into the meditation hall with the baby and had to wait outside alone . I was very distressed about this because Geshe-la was teaching! Afterwards hundreds of people poured out all asking if id heard the teaching. I said ” I could go because of the baby (which i think represented my work which keeps me from going to my Dharma center these as much as I would like to. ) Then all the people left and me and the baby were stading alone in a vast hallway when this young muscular 16 year old monk came towards us. the closer he got i realized it was Geshela as a 16 yr old smiling at us and I woke up! }

    • Thank you for your kind words. Love your dream! I think we need to make a distinction between on-line sharing of understandings and Dharma teachings. Geshe-la has gone to great lengths to create Dharma centers all over the world because we get much more from becoming part of a Dharma community (which is not always easy). He could just put the very top teachers on Facebook live and let people stream in from all over the world. But he doesn’t. Why? It’s worth considering the reasons and realize why in the long-run, his approach is best. On-line sharing is like Sangha friends chatting in a cafe after a teaching. While I was a teacher before, and I am sure at some point in the future I will be a teacher again, right now, I am just another practitioner struggling along like everyone else. Of course, that’s all a teacher is too, but you know what I mean! 😉

      • Kadampa Ryan, thanks for your reply. Yes! If i’ve learned anything it is that Geshe-la’s view is always the correct method for doing anything. I completely agree that we need physical Sangha and Resident teachers and it is so incredibly fortunate to live in a place with a center andf a sangha and a teacher.
        I just also really think of YOU as my teacher AND Dharma friend and love your current method of sharing with us all who are working and taking care of kids, etc. Its really really helpful and always perfect for the day!
        Thank you so much for the way you are a teacher right now and for the fortunate who will have you as a resident teacher in the future. xoxo

  5. Thanks! It’s just I’ve got to be careful on how my on-line activities are understood. When we first started doing blogs, email chat groups, facebook groups, etc., there was a big discussion and a lot of angst about these points. As long as our on-line activities are complements to teachings, then no problem; but when they become substitutes, it is a big problem. The conclusion of the discussions back then was on-line is a good platform for sharing, much like what we do at a cafe with our sangha friends; but we should not view it as a medium for teaching. Where it gets complicated is for those who do not have access to teachings, so the choice is on-line or nothing. Obviously on-line is better than nothing. Fortunately, also, there are correspondence programs. I know you understand, I’m just clarifying. 🙂

    • Im personally so very grateful for all of it. My resident teacher, all the traveling teachers and your incredibly insightful , inspiring, encouraging daily snippets of transmissions of Geshe-la’s perfect Wisdom! My Sangha friends and I are always asking ourselves- how did we get this fortunate in these degernerate times to have this kind Spiritual Guide holding our hands and riding around in our Hearts! Go Karma! THANK YOU!

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