Lucid Dreams in Tibetan Buddhism

  • George Gillespie


Lucid dreaming is discussed in centuries-old Tibetan Buddhist texts. A simple definition that comes out of our present scientific studies is that lucid dreaming is “awareness of dreaming while in the dream state” (Gackenbach, 1980, p. 253). Traditional Tibetan religion and modern psychology are very diverse contexts for discussions of lucid dreaming. To show that the Tibetans are discussing the same subject that our contemporary dream researchers describe, I quote (in translation) a sample statement from a Tibetan text.


Breathing Exercise Yogic Practice Dream State Dream Experience Yogic Posture 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Chang, G. C. C. (Ed.). (1963). Teachings of Tibetan yoga. Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press.Google Scholar
  2. Evans-Wentz, W. Y. (Ed.). (1958). Tibetan yoga and secret doctrines. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Gackenbach, J. (1980). Lucid dreaming project. The A. R. E. Journal, 15 (6), 253–265.Google Scholar
  4. Gillespie, G. (1983). Dreamer’s progress: A record of experiments made while dreaming. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  5. Gillespie, G. (1986). Ordinary dreams, lucid dreams and mystical experience. Lucidity Letter, 5(1), 27–31.Google Scholar
  6. Green, C. (1968). Lucid dreams. Oxford: Institute of Psychophysical Research.Google Scholar
  7. Guenther, H. V. (1963). The life and teaching of Ndropa. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Guenther, H. V. (Ed. and trans.). (1976). Kindly bent to ease us: Part 3. Wonderment. Emeryville, CA: Dharma.Google Scholar
  9. Heruka, T. N. (1982). The life of Marpa the Translator (Translated by Nâlandâ Translation Committee). Boulder: Prajna Press.Google Scholar
  10. Musès, C. A. (Ed.). (1961). Esoteric teachings of the Tibetan tantra. York Beach, MA: Samuel Weiser.Google Scholar
  11. Shastri, D. (Ed.). (1984). Guhyasamâja Tantra or Tathâgataguhyaka. Varanasi: Bauddha Bharati.Google Scholar
  12. Sparrow,G. S. (1976). Lucid dreaming: Dawning of the clear light. Virginia Beach, VA: A. R. E. Press.Google Scholar
  13. Tucci, G. (1935). A propos the legend of Nâropâ. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, pp. 677–688.Google Scholar
  14. Tucci, G. (1980). The religions of Tibet (G. Samuel, Trans.). Bombay: Allied.Google Scholar
  15. Wayman, A. (1977). Yoga of the Guhyasamajatantra: The arcane lore of forty verses. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • George Gillespie
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Oriental StudiesUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations