Tibetan deep sleep (not dream!) meditation

Hello everybody! Today I went for my very first retreat (one day). The Tibetan monk had a talk on meditation during slow deep sleep and meditation during dreaming. Dreaming meditation is something I can understand, since during dreaming we have consciousness. But during slow dreamless sleep consciousness is absent. So apparently it is possible to learn to preserve some aspect of it even during slow sleep. Perhaps anybody could point out a guide for such meditation?
Thank you!!


Look into the “Yoga of Clear Light”, and Yoga Nidra as a possibly related practice.

Though I must say, in the Tibetan traditions these practices require a guru and initiation. And although in most cases I think the claim that the practices are dangerous without such are kind of dubious, in these cases I do think the practices are kind of dangerous without guidance. For instance, to practice dream yoga one has to specifically not get a good night’s sleep as that is a dreamless one!

Anyway, I’ve practiced the mainstream kind of yoga nidra you’ll find in Modern Postural Yoga studios and I think that’s a pretty harmless method of deepening samatha (it’s a lot easier to let go of the body when you don’t have to support it with the musculature).

1 Like

Sorry, I don’t have a guide for you. But I just wanted to say that I don’t think that consciousness is absent during any point of sleep otherwise it wouldn’t be possible to be woken from our slumber by a loud sound or being shaken etc.

1 Like

Why not? Nobody has denied reflexes yet. It is like withdrawing hand while teying to touch something hot.

Thank for for the suggestion! I will try to find some more info

Was this for me? If so, I guess it depends on what you mean by ‘consciousness’ in this context. Maybe MN148 may help you to understand what I was suggesting and why I was suggesting it?

Consciousness isn’t absent in so-called “dreamless sleeps”, what is absent is your normal processes of “remember this for later”.

Oh sorry, I just pressed the “reply” button and it didn’t add your name there. Yes, now I understand what you mean, I was referring to the term “consciousness” in its modern “medical” aspect. In terms of Pali Cannon it is always there, you are right.

That is all very interesting. Because apparently it is possible to learn how to “remember” that state and to concentrate on a certain thought. Perhaps it is like falling a sleep having pain somewhere in your body, when those vague images you see through the course of the night are somehow related to the pain you experience.

I have trouble finding this in MN148. Could you please quote the passage that says that consciousness (I guess you mean the mind-consciousness, not the five-physical-senses-consciounesses) always exist.


I tried removing defilements while dreaming once, and it seemed to be effective. Often I find that dreams are given rise to by underlying defilements, and it is possible to tap into the defilement and use a technique from MN20 Vitakkasantana sutta to remove it- I just used the first ‘knocking out’ method. I was of course only half asleep, which was enough for me to start dreaming, and half awake- enough for me to use a simple method with defilements.

with metta


Thank you for the post. Also, I found a book by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche on sleep and dream meditations, so will read it.

1 Like

I had come to this conclusion after reading the passage ‘The six classes of consciousness should be known…’ As I understand it, consciousness arises when there are any of the 5 senses, or intellect and ideas present. So apparently while we are alive and not in a vegetative state of being, some sort of consciousness should be there. Again, I personally think that the term “consciousness” in Pali Canon means something a bit different from what it means in modern science. Perhaps I am wrong.