Awakening to the Dream 2
by Scott Bradley
by Scott Bradley
“Perhaps a great awakening would reveal all of this to be a vast dream. And yet, fools imagine they are already awake — how clearly and certainly they understand it all!... And when I say you’re dreaming, I’m dreaming too.” (Zhuangzi, Chap. 2; B. Ziporyn)
There is a very real sense in which we all seem to be dreaming — believing we are real and concrete and that we know what the world is all about. A transcendent spiritual awareness is thus called an ‘awakening’. We awaken to the ‘fact’ that we are dreaming. Zhuangzi reminds us, however, that we are still, nonetheless, dreaming. We have awakened to the dream, but to believe that we are therefore no longer dreaming is to fall back into unconscious dreaming. The point is to realize we are dreaming and then to find the happiest dream in which to wander.
This is not the majority opinion within the ‘awakening’ tradition, however. These teach an awakening out of the dream. The Truth is discovered, one dreams no more. What would Zhuangzi have to say to this? He might laugh and say, “My critique of your dream was an expression of my dream, so let’s just dream together!” This is Walking Two Roads — realizing that every point of view, including one’s own, is a dream, we allow each to follow her or his own dream.
Understandably, this may still be unacceptable to the Truth-knowers and -seekers, since it still contradicts their position that they have escaped or will escape the dream. For the dreamers, this really doesn’t matter, one’s chosen dream being as acceptable as another. So it seems we must agree to disagree and hope that the many Truths will allow us to peacefully dream our dreams.
You can check out Scott's writings on Zhuangzi here.