Listen to this talk:
Dream, Child, Healing (9 min.) MP3

Click here for more Dharma talks
"Dream, Child, Healing"
Transcript of a talk delivered by Br. ChiSing
Breath of Life (Interfaith Mindfulness Fellowship)
April 29, 2007 - Dallas, Texas

[…] That was one of the first songs I learned at the meditation retreat center, from the children. And I really appreciate that experience because it reminds me, over time, not to fall into the trap of taking all of this too, too seriously. But to remember that the practice is not only enlightenment but also being the child of the universe always: fresh and new. Always, born again and again in every moment.

So tonight I'd just like to just share a few short experiences of mine in my spiritual journey and practice of mindfulness. And maybe I'll start off with this story because it relates so well with this childlike quality of our practice.

I once had a dream where I was in Tibet. And at first I didn't know it was a dream. And I was looking at the Tibetan terrain, and then there was this beautiful terrain and this big palace (I suppose it was Potala, where the Dalai Lama used to reside) and so, I was going to ascend these steps. And at the side of these steps were these kind of lion-like, dragon-like, animal-like stone figures—except they were alive and moving. And I heard a little bit of a low growl: grrr.

So at that point I thought, "Maybe this is a dream," but I didn't think much of it, and I just walked up, and I got to the doorway—the entrance way&mdashand a monk opened the door. All of this smoke came out, like incense smoke. And I heard the sound of monks chanting: om mani padme hum, om mani padme hum, om mani padme hum. And so, it was a very sacred feeling, like, "Oh my goodness, what am I getting myself into? It's so sacred and holy…"

So the monk just gestured to me without saying words, and invited me in. So I walked in. And he showed me to this room, and there were lots of other people in the room, very silent, just waiting. And then, suddenly, a gong sounded three times. And a monk called out, "The Dalai Lama is now entering! Please pay your respects."

So everyone dropped to the floor, prostrating face downward. And one monk whispered to me, "Do not speak unless spoken to first, and do not raise your head to look until the Dalai Lama gives permission," or something like that.

So I was at this point where I was, like, "Wow, I'm about to see this very holy person, and maybe he's an incarnation of a Bodhisattva or Buddha, and maybe he has the powers to read minds and hearts, and gosh, I don't feel very prepared. What if I'm not worthy?"

I was kind of a little nervous in this dream. And so, I could hear footsteps coming in and someone getting up on a platform. I didn't dare to look up. I was really nervous. And as I was thinking about my own worthiness and, you know, maybe I hadn't practiced hard enough, and, you know, "What if there are too many flaws in me and I'm not really supposed to be here?"

And then, in all of that, suddenly I felt this hand touch me head. And this warm feeling of liquid light and love just poured through my whole being. And even though this was a dream I actually felt this in my being. And I heard a little giggle. So I just peeked and looked up. And there was the Dalai Lama as a five-year-old child, giggling am e, inviting me and saying, "Come, play with me."

And in that moment something broke inside of me. It was as if the divine said to me, "Come play with me." It was as if the universe, the Buddha nature said to me, "Come, play with me. We are all children in this wonderful, vast universe. Don't take things so seriously. Come, be the child that you are. The divine child that you."

And I just started to break down and cry and sob. Because everything—all this seriousness, and all this idealism and all of this unworthiness—I felt just melted away. And I just sobbed and sobbed and laughed. And I sobbed so hard in the dream I actually woke myself up because I was actually crying in real life.

And I will always remember that experience. Because it was a very powerful and real spiritual experience for me: a true Dharma lesson.

So even as we are practicing very diligently, in our practice, and we need to practice diligently for the sake of all beings (this is a very critical time in history), but at the same time let us also do it with a sense of ease: a sense of childlike wonder. Meditation is not doing our serious workout at the gym. It's relaxing into who we really are, in community with one another. Breathing, smiling, being. Communicating beyond words, and with words.

Throughout my time in Minneapolis—the time with the students, and the retreat, and then the Zen center, and then Sunday night also another group and Tuesday morning at the United Theological Seminary, and Thursday evening with the mindfulness evening for Christians, and the Saturday of mindfulness, and this morning the Earth Day celebration at the Mayflower Church—was a wonderful experience for me.

But I must say, the one that touched my heart the most and that was most powerful, and I don't know exactly why yet, was Thursday evening. There were about forty people that came for the evening of mindfulness, all of them Christians wanting to learn about mindfulness and meditation and how it relates to their faith. And everyone who was there really wanted to be there. Because the church that we were originally going to do this at, where they all are members of, some of the conservative members found out that someone with a Buddhist training was going to come speak at their church and they raised some threats about it. And so they had to cancel having that meeting there. And so they called another church to see if we could have it there.

So, all these members who were very sincere came; drove all the way from where they were originally going to go to this other church. So they're all there, they really wanted to be there. So you ask yourself, "Do I really want to be here? Does this have meaning for me? Is this important?"

Because if every single person that's present in a mindfulness context really wants to be there, something powerful can happen, very powerful. Anyway, it was such a lovely evening. I felt uplifted, I didn't feel drained at all; I felt so high by the end of the evening. Some people were in tears.

And this is the first time I've ever heard of this happening at any of my retreats and workshops, but three people—and maybe there were more than that—but three people came up to me that evening and the next day telling me that they'd experienced a physical healing during that evening. One person's asthma dissipated for the first time in months, that evening. Someone else' coughing that they'd been having just was gone for that whole evening of meditation. And a lady the next day told me that her psoriasis began disappearing, which was unheard of for her.

So there is a healing power to mindfulness. There is a miracle of mindfulness that we can touch and release, in community. Mind and body are one. So, healing the mind radiates out healing to the body. Taking care of the body supports the mind. Everything is interconnected in our practice.

Transcribed by Alessandra and Chelsea German

▲ Return to Top