Daoism and Cct

Religious Beliefs

Are dreams and visions significant in Daoism or CCT?

An ability to interpret the dreams of ordinary people has long been part of the ritual menu of Chinese religious specialists, beginning with the shamans of old. In ancient times, specialists called zhan ren interpreted dreams using divination and astrology as their tools. Powerful and famous people, too, report having revelatory dreams that move them toward a new course of action. Dream accounts therefore frequently function as an instrument of divine or spiritual legitimation. There is often a very fine line between dream and vision, except that one can experience a vision while awake. Religiously important visions or dreams frequently feature major deities, such as Lao Zi or the Jade Emperor, who deliver instructions or revelations to the dreamer or visionary. In addition, visualization techniques figure prominently in the meditative practice of some Daoist schools. The Shang Qing school, for example, recommends that the meditator focus imaginatively on his or her indwelling deities, a technique similar to that used by several Tibetan Buddhist schools. By conjuring up intricate detail as described in the school’s sacred texts, the meditator makes the presence of the god real and can thus unite with the divine presence.


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