Robert Joshin Althouse
Director, Zen Center of Hawaii
I dreamed that Gyaltrul Rinpoche was on a wharf in San Francisco dancing, laughing, and throwing fish up in the air.
San Francisco, California
I was in a large shrine room with the Dalai Lama. I was sitting in a low chair facing him and was feeling a great joy. He then began to test me by manifesting illusions out of space and sending them in my direction. First a donkey came floating through the air; I laughed joyfully and poof! it disappeared. He sent many objects floating through the air towards me, and each time the joy would come up inside me I would laugh, and poof! it was gone. Finally a turbaned man with a scowling face holding a curved knife came floating towards me. I contracted in fear. I knew he wasn’t real, but I couldn’t dissolve him. At the final moment this illusion had compassion for my fear. The knife turned into a bottle labeled MEDICINE, which he gave to me.
Abbott, Hartford Street Zen Cente
San Francisco, California
I was talking intensely with Chogyam Trungpa. He told me, “Your true temple is in the high country, in Nepal,” in a particular valley. I don’t remember where it was, exactly, but someday I just might go there.
Point Reyes, California
I’m at a party; before the other guests arrive I am talking to my teacher [Yvonne Rand]. I’m struck by how interested she is in me, asking probing questions. There’s an intense connection. Then she got up and cleaned out my fireplace. This is an interesting metaphor: making your hearth clean for new fuel. Shortly after that I became a Tibetan Buddhist.
Howard Lee Kilby
Retired from U.S. Postal Service
Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
I was alone on a boat, it was night, and I began to dance. The boat began to circle in the water. It moved. There were three African-American women on the pier watching me. My dancing was free of myself. It was coming out of Africa.
Suddenly it was as if I were at a great height above the earth and there was Robert Aitken looking as he did when I first met him. He was smiling. His presence was vast and intimate. And looking at the expanse of space I felt wonderfully free. Aitken Roshi was smiling. And I said, “So this is it, Bob.” He smiled warmly in reply.
I was visiting Deh Chun (Ta-Tsung) in his house in Monteagle. We drank hot green tea out of jelly jars, and he looked quite warm in his quilted cotton coat. He said that I should tend to a pot on the stove, something he was cooking, and he left the room. I kept stirring the pot until Deh Chun came back into the room. He was wearing golden robes. He was no longer thin and frail, but vigorous and commanding, like a great general. Again he said to me: “Keep stirring the pot!” I felt a tremendous sense of awe and well-being. I knew that the old man had shown himself to me for the first time.
When I looked up again from the pot, he was back in his normal clothes, looking old as he had before. He just smiled at me with his toothless smile and said, “Let’s eat!”
Health/Fitness Consultant with radio show
I had been sitting at Berkeley Zendo for six months when I went to the memorial service for Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. The night before I had a dream in which he said, “You will make this trip and you will never leave,” and then he laughed. As it turned out I stayed at Tassajara for three years.
Chung Ok Lee
Minister of the Manhattan Won Buddhist Center
New York, New York
I had a dream on December 22, 1976, when I was a schoolteacher living in a small village in Korea. In my dream, I was walking on a very narrow natural path. From my path, I could see a big highway, but my path was small and crooked. I saw one Buddhist teacher with his disciple on the big wide road walking toward me, and they came to meet me on the small natural path. This teacher came to me to show me the greater path. At that time I didn’t know who he was.
On December 24 I went to the Won Buddhist headquarters monastery, where I saw a picture of the teacher from the dream. The people there guided me to the residence, So-tae-san, the grand master of Won Buddhism, and when I saw him I realized he was the teacher from the dream. Also like the dream, he showed me that I was on a small path and he showed me a much greater, more powerful path. I recognized that that path was Buddhism.
Shortly after Maezumi Roshi died, I dreamed that I was talking to him, whining, complaining, apologizing for being such a lame Zen student. He said, half fiercely, half affectionately: “Hosho! There’s nothing wrong with your practice. Only problem, you worry too much!”
Alice H. Erickson
Administrative Director, Minnesota Zen Meditation Center
A few weeks after Katagiri Roshi died in March of 1990 he appeared in my dream. He was standing on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean and waved to me as I drove by on the road below. A couple of years ago I told Natalie Goldberg about this dream and, quite astonished, she told me a very similar dream about Roshi waving good-bye to her from a hilltop.
Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.