Bear Dharma?

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Posted by Samye ( on August 14, 2000 at 16:09:15:


I know that this will sound like a very odd topic of discussion but I am wanting to get some input on a dream I had recently.

For the most part I study the in the Gelugpa school, recently however, I have been reading and talking with people about Dzogchen practices (and reading a book by Namkhai Norbu) and Nyigma teachings. I try not to be sectarian and I enjoy looking at a variety of views in BuddhaDharma!

Anyway, recently after taking up the study of Dzogchen I had a dream. I dreamt that I had made a pilgrimage to India,Nepal and Tibet with my bofriend. However, I told him that it was time for me to go off on my own and find a teacher that could direct me in the path of Dzogchen. I set off with a backpack alone and began to travel to different temples in the area.

After some time I arrived at a temple complex that was of traditional Tibetan design, painted white with a simple red trim on the outside. I went into the complex and began to look for people to speak with. On my way in I say both monks and nuns walking around, which I thought was odd because men and women are usualy kept seperate. One even came to me and something "Oh, we are so glad you made it back!" Of course I was "uh ok, where is the teacher"lol. But the overall feeling of the temple was that it was bare and desloate, as though the monks and nuns were sometime of memory, no longer present there today.

Anyway this is where it gets kind of odd. I made my way into a shrine room and saw a "person" sitting on the floor reading from Tibetan books. The "person" had a heavy maroon robe draped over the back so i could not see their face until I got closer.

When I bowed to the teacher and sat down I noticed something very odd-the teacher was a BEAR. It was a medium size brown bear. I saw this and was taken aback, as anyone would be.

However the bear/teacher was sitting up straight and reading from the the dharma texts. It then spoke to me in Tibetan and I understood him. There was no one else in the room at the time and the bear began to give a talk over the texts he was reading. He spoke just like a human and even laughed like one as well. His teachings were over VERY profound and delicate Dzogchen texts. With his guidence I undestood their complex nature and meaning.

The one thing that sticks out in my head about this teacher/bear is that on both his paws and the soles of his feet, were dyed bright red. Not unlike the images of the Buddha with his hand and feet dyed in Henna as seen in Tibetan art.

I sat there listening to this bear teach me dharma for a while and when he was done, (in my dream) I had profound relizations and great understanding of the dharma even tho the teacher was a bear and he wasn't even speaking my language. We both stood and he walked me to the main door to see me out, after blessing me with a kata. Everything about him (or her but it was more male presence than female) was normal and human, he was open, intelligent, and compassionate but a bear.

I left the temple with a feeling of "What was that all about?"! But I wasn't afraid or angry, I was dumbfounded by what just occured. Thats where my dream ended.

I know that my dream sounds really crazy, most likely too much TV! But it was so lasting, it made me think about what a teacher really is, and what my expectations were for one.

If there is any meaning to this dream (like the BEAR for starters!) please do let me know, as I am totaly lost on what it means.

With Metta,

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