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On various web pages relating to the Dhamma I have read the claim that arahants never dream. A few examples:

  • Buddhist scholar Lily de Silva writes:

We may also note the tradition maintaining that arahants never dream, maybe because they have attained such perfect mental health that there is no necessity to release tension through dreams.

  • The ven. Dhammananda Maha Thera writes:

Buddhas and Arahants never dream. The first three kinds of dream cannot occur in their minds, because their minds have been permanently 'stilled' and cannot be activated to dream. The last kind of dream cannot happen to them because they have eradicated all their craving energy completely, and there is no 'residual' energy of anxiety or unsatisfied desire to activate the mind to produce dreams.

  • And the Czech monk U Sarana writes:

At that time Mahasi Sayadaw told to U Pandita that to his (Mahasi Sayadaw's) surprise, Mahasi Sayadaw had a dream. It is impossible for an Arahant to have a dream - and thus Sayadaw U Pandita knew, that Mahasi Sayadaw was not an Arahant at the time when this was said.

Surprisingly, I have not been able to find any Suttas or other textual sources for the claim that arahants never dream. Do any of you guys know of such sources? Is it in the Suttas, the Abhidhamma, the commentaries, or in a later text such as the Visuddhimagga? Thanks in advance for your answers!

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    These views seems to imply that the dreams only have functions related to the releasing of tension and the unconscious expression of craving. But there are recent studies that suggest may have other functions as well, such as the consolidation of recently acquired memories, in order to "include" such information in the long-term memory. Kind regards! – Brian Díaz Flores Jul 5 at 19:26
  • Arahants have eliminated all Sankhara. So there is no need for accumulation of memory. – SarathW Jul 5 at 20:40
  • I posted the same question in DW but not much luck.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=22280&hilit= – SarathW Jul 5 at 20:50
  • @SarathW Hi! From my ignorance, I would argue that not all sankhara are uprooted, but only those conditioned by the craving, aversion and delusion. There's still mind and aggregates to be conditioned by other kammically pure intentions. Kind regards! – Brian Díaz Flores Jul 5 at 21:14
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Dreams are not mentioned a lot int he suttas. Perhaps you can search the vinaya instead of the suttas. THe best there is for the suttas is ''the lack of evil dreams'', from metta

"Monks, eleven advantages are to be expected from the release (deliverance) of heart by familiarizing oneself with thoughts of loving-kindness[1], by the cultivation of loving-kindness, by constantly increasing these thoughts, by regarding loving-kindness as a vehicle (of expression), and also as something to be treasured, by living in conformity with these thoughts, by putting these ideas into practice, and by establishing them. What are the eleven?

"He sleeps in comfort. He awakes in comfort He sees no evil dreams. http://obo.genaud.net/dhamma-vinaya/ati/an/11_elevens/an11.016.piya.ati.htm

there is the same thing with mindfulness http://obo.genaud.net/dhamma-vinaya/pts/an/05_fives/an05.210.hare.pts.htm

In the suttanipata, the buddha says dreams are worthless, contrary to what puthujjanas believe

Who has destroyed (belief) in omens, in luck, the occurrence of dreams and other signs such, who is rid of the bane of what is auspicious, such a one rightly would wander in the world.

https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/KN/StNp/StNp2_13.html

Whoso ’mong them strong efforts made resembling Brahma, best, he never did engage in sex not even in a dream. https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/KN/StNp/StNp2_7.html

One of my followers would not cast spells, Or interpret dreams, Nor would they practice astrology, Prognosticate animal sounds, https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/KN/StNp/StNp4_14.html

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There is a sutta somewhere in the AN, I don't remember if it takes place before or after the Buddha's awakening. The dream goes something like he's lying down, and there are white worms, they represent future disciples gathering around to learn from him. And other symbols of that nature.

In MN 23, the ant hill sutta, it doesn't say it's a dream, but it is exactly like the kind of dreams Buddhists often have.

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    "There is a sutta somewhere in the AN, I don't remember if it takes place before or after the Buddha's awakening. The dream goes something like he's lying down, and there are white worms, they represent future disciples gathering around to learn from him. And other symbols of that nature." That's AN 5.196, the Supina Sutta. The dreams take place before the Buddha's enlightenment. – gooiditnietweg Jul 6 at 13:08
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Householder, interested,

dreams, and how one takes on them, should be seen as experiences of actions, kamma. In this relation it is easier to trace their value.

That is right, as long heedful. Even if one reaches the area of perfection in virtue, the first section of the path, eager staying heedful with mindfulness arosen, such as dreams do no more appear.

One may simply put it into test by seriously practicing the path for a while and one will know it for oneself.

Even if practiced to the extend of unripe right view, say developed metta in a good manner, one will observe the fading away of dreams like they might have been before. Such as "really" bad dream do no more arise as soon one enters into the sphere of integrity.

Not that also an Arahat could dwell heedless (not reflecting inconstancy, dukkha,... permanently, not dwelling in Jhana, not engaging in discussing the Dhamma), what they are not encouraged to, and it may be that such may be confronted by dreams, yet not that much burdened or exited by it.

It might not be found directly in words in the Canaon, but for one who's mindfulness does not collapse any more, it's not possible to enter into a deluded state, not knowing what's real.

Surely the source, transferred by the elders, derives from the Commentaries.

The pali supin(a), dream, gives:

...so far. (Account reqired, if not for now, and given to do such for noble research, dedicated toward the gems, toward Liberation.)

(Note that this gift of Dhamma is not dedicated for trade, exchange, stacks or entertainment but as a means to make merits toward release from this wheel)

  • Upasaka @Bonn might be that generous to look after a share from the commentaries. – Samana Johann Jul 6 at 5:21
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    "Even if one reaches the area of perfection in virtue, the first section of the path, eager staying heedful with mindfulness arosen, such as dreams do no more appear." Does this refer to stream entry? – gooiditnietweg Jul 6 at 5:22
  • Yes, householder @gooiditnietweg? Does he like to ask something in this regard? Ohh, added: Yes. At the time of practicing. It might decay again with time, but evil dreams do no more appear, even heedless. – Samana Johann Jul 6 at 5:24
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    Do stream enterers never dream at all? BTW I mean dreaming in the literal sense, when you're asleep. – gooiditnietweg Jul 6 at 5:30
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    "At the time of enter" does this mean reaching the arahant state? – gooiditnietweg Jul 6 at 5:35
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They must be in the preset moment and live their lives totally. Osho gave a good answer on that question.

Source: https://youtu.be/h3_8wgDx9_4

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