Astral Projection in Buddhist Teachings:
What was taught about Astral Projection in Buddha’s time?
“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion” ~Rumi
The ability to leave your physical body and travel outside of it has been taught, and discussed for thousands of years. Astral projection as it is commonly called has been known by different names throughout the ages in the secret teachings of enlightened masters.
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The Buddhist teachings have described many occurrences of a Buddhist practitioner during meditation being able to project their consciousness outside of their physical body, and into a subtle body. This phenomena has also been experienced in the West by esoteric practitioners and called Astral Projection.
One of the ancient texts of Buddhist teachings describes Astral Projection as follows…
“When their mind has become immersed in samādhi like this, they wield the many kinds of psychic power: multiplying themselves and becoming one again; going unimpeded through a wall, a rampart, or a mountain as if through space; diving in and out of the earth as if it were water; walking on water as if it were earth; flying cross-legged through the sky like a bird; touching and stroking with the hand the sun and moon, so mighty and powerful; controlling the body as far as the Brahmā realm.”
Source – The Fruits of the Asectic Life – Bhikkhu Sujato
This treatise can only describe an Out Of Body Experience.
Multiplying themselves refers to the seven subtle bodies that exist beyond the physical body and projecting outside of our physical body with our awareness into one of our subtle bodies and returning to physical reality, creating a singularity between them again.
Going unimpeded through solid objects and flying cross-legged through the sky like a bird refers to etheric projection. Incidentally, it is not necessary to be sitting Buddha style to fly across the sky, it can be done in the prone position also.
Stroking the sun, and the moon with our hand wasn’t common practice thousands of years ago in our physical bodies. Projecting our consciousness outside of our bodies was then and still is now the only way to accomplish this task.
“When waxing stronger, thy Soul glides forth from her secure retreat: and breaking loose from the protecting shrine, extends her silver thread and rushes onward: when beholding her image on the waves of Space she whispers, "This is I," - declare, O Disciple, that thy soul is caught in the webs of delusion.” ~H.P. Blavatsky
What is Astral Projection?
Astral projection is the willful separation of our astral body from our physical body. More precisely, it is the transfer of our consciousness from our physical body to our Astral Body. Astral Projection is most often a misnomer used to describe traveling outside of our physical body and interacting with physical reality at a slightly higher vibratory frequency.
The first subtle body beyond the physical body is the Etheric Body, and the etheric plane is the first environment we will find ourselves in when we project our consciousness outside of our physical body.
There are seven subtle bodies beyond our physical body that make up our complete being, they are…
If we are these beings of light that continue to exist after death of the physical body, then it stands to reason we can leave our physical body anytime we choose.
Everything is composed of energy, the physical plane vibrates at a certain frequency, the etheric plane vibrates at a frequency, and the astral plane vibrates at a different frequency.
Leaving your physical body is as simple as increasing the vibratory frequency of your consciousness to match that of the frequency of the plane you want to travel in.
For the neophytes, Astral Projection is the only word to describe an Out of Body Experiences they know. For those of you who are more enlightened, and more knowledgeable about the various subtle bodies, please forgive our declaration of Astral Projection to describe Etheric Projection experiences.
“When waxing stronger, thy Soul glides forth from her secure retreat: and breaking loose from the protecting shrine, extends her silver thread and rushes onward: when beholding her image on the waves of Space she whispers, "This is I," - declare, O Disciple, that thy soul is caught in the webs of delusion.” ~H.P. BlavatskyAstral Projection is also known as Soul Travel, Out Of Body Experiences, and also referred to as Eckankar.
How do I Astral Project?
There are numerous methods to induce an astral projection experience. Not every technique works well for everyone.
The technique that I use most often involves entering into a higher vibrational state. The vibrational state necessary for Astral Projection is similar to the one you will enter when you are in the hypnagogic state.
The hypnagogic state is the one you will enter just before falling asleep. It is marked by dreamlike visions, flashes of light, or seeing checker board patterns.
You will also feel the sensation of falling, or spinning as you pass through the hypnagogic state, and into the dream state.
I start by relaxing my body and focusing my attention on my breathing. Focusing on my breathing allows me to release any other thoughts that may distract me from having an out-of-body experience.
After several minutes of focused breathing, I begin to imagine my body vibrating.
I start with my toes and slowly bring that tingly sensation up my legs, into my torso, and finally out of the top of my head.
Then I feel the tingly sensation of energy continually flowing through me by entering my feet and exiting through the top of my head. This works best if my head is facing north.
With energy constantly flowing through me, I start imagining myself rocking back and forth until I roll right out of my physical body.
After I roll out of my body, I stand next to it and look down upon it to verify to myself that I am outside of my physical body. When we venture into the Etheric Plane and explore the room, our bodies are in we will look upon our physical bodies with curious wonder.
When you find yourself having your first out-of-body experience, try obeying the laws of physical reality in the beginning to avoid shocking your mental state and sending your awareness back into your physical body.
Walk around the room just as you would if you were in your physical body, then when you are ready, walk through the door, or a wall.
Successfully moving through a solid object will show you with more certainty that you are having an out-of-body experience.
The next step will be to fly, a much more efficient way of traveling. Once you get over the fear, and abnormality of flying you will do it with every out-of-body experience. Paying a visit to a family member who lives a great distance from you is just a thought, and short flight away.
Is Astral Projection Dangerous?
There are schools of esoteric wisdom that teach us we leave our bodies every night as we sleep. Many teachers of esoteric wisdom tell us the jerking or falling sensation we feel as we are drifting off to sleep is caused by our consciousness leaving our physical body in the case of jerking, and returning to our physical bodies in the case of falling.
If projecting outside of our bodies is a natural occurrence that happens without our knowledge, or memory, it cannot be dangerous, or harmful to us.
When choosing to project out of your body especially in the early stages it is normal to be concerned about being stuck outside of your body, but this is not something to concern yourself with. You can return to your physical body anytime you choose simply by thinking about returning to it.
Another concern, the byproduct of watching many horror movies is that when you leave your body, something else will enter into it. This is not a concern either. If you are worried about your body being “possessed”, imagine a white light surrounding your physical body before projecting outside of it.
I have never had a problem with returning to my body, nor has there ever been anyone / anything occupying my physical body while I was gone.
In Buddha’s time when a practitioner of Buddhism was on the verge of death and wanted to transfer his conscious into a Buddha-Field of their choice, they could do so through a sacred meditation practice known as Phowa. It is the transfer of consciousness at the time of death. It is different from Astral Projection that is only a temporary adventure out of the body. When performing Phowa the exit from the physical body is permanent, and irreversible according to Amritayana Buddhism.
Are Lucid Dreams the Same as Astral Projection?
No Lucid dreams, and Astral Projection are as different as boats and airplanes.
Lucid dreams take place when you are fast asleep in R.E.M. sleep. Lucid dreams happen when you are asleep and dreaming, realize you are dreaming during the dream and take conscious control of the dream. Astral Projection happens while you are still awake, and consciously willing yourself to have an out-of-body experience.
Lucid Dreams happen in your imagination.
Astral Projection is leaving the confines of your physical body and traveling outside of it in reality.
They are completely different.
Are you ready to experience your own Out Of Body Experiences?
Learning to let go of the Five Hindrances will help you to achieve an Astral Projection experience. The Five Hindrances are…
There is a Suttra in Buddhist teachings known as the Kevatta Suttra, it gets its name from a property owner named Kevatta, who invites the Buddha to display psychic powers to prove his spiritual superiority.
The Buddha responds by expressing his belief that supernatural powers are not a valid measure of spiritual development.
Kevatta said to Lord Buddha, “It would be good if the Blessed One were to direct a monk to display a miracle of psychic power from his superior human state so that all would to an even greater extent have faith in the Blessed One."
Buddha replied, "Kevatta, I don't teach the monks in this way: 'Come, monks, display a miracle of psychic power to the lay people clad in white.'"
After three times of requesting Lord Buddha acknowledge such things are possible Buddha repied, "Kevatta, there are these three miracles that I have declared, having directly known and realized them for myself. Which three? The miracle of psychic power, the miracle of telepathy, and the miracle of instruction.”
Visit Dhamma Talks to learn more about The Kavatta Sutta .
It is clear that Buddha did not want to discuss Out of Body Travel with lay people, much less teach it, but Lord Buddha acknowledged what has been translated as Psychic Powers, and commonly known in the West as Astral Projection exist.
When you are ready to have your own out of boy experience commonly call Astral Projection, you can feel safe in knowing they have practiced it for many thousands of years, even during the time of Buddha.
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