Wikipedia defines this as,

An out-of-body experience (OBE or sometimes OOBE) is an experience that typically involves a sensation of floating outside one's body and, in some cases, perceiving one's physical body from a place outside one's body.

There are numerous studies on people having this type of experience, and I remember Ven. Yuttadhammo once said he also experienced this when he was young.

I think interpretations like astral body projection do not quite adhere with Buddhism.
Are there possible explanations on this from the Buddhist perspective with regards to Five Aggregates?

3 Answers 3


Why it does not adhere to Buddhism? It does! In all the cases of astral body projection, they were able to see things. What is seeing? Seeing is the union of the light, the eye and the eye consciousness. They had thoughts about what they were seeing and they were aware of what they were seeing. In other words Rupa, Vedana, Sanna, Sankhara, Vinnana. Which means both Nama and Rupa were present. Astral projection does not mean that the mind wanders out without a body. There is a subtle body that goes with the mind. One can't have sensations, if there are no sense doors. Nama cannot be without Rupa except in Arupa realms. That's why beings in the Arupa realms can't see, hear, taste, smell, feel anything.

  • I agree that consciousness (Vijñāna) is wandering here. But wasn't aware that a subtle body is also involved.
    – dmsp
    Sep 29, 2014 at 17:51
  • 1
    Nama cannot be without Rupa except in Arupa realms. Sep 29, 2014 at 18:22

You should view this more in terms of psychic abilities (Abhijñā) and Jhana. Though astral projrction is not explicitly referenced as a ability. There are instances where you can have multiple copies of your self in different places.

What you can achieve through Jhana is unthinkable. Also our minds will be going to Jhana like state in near death or sometimes during other experiences, which bring out certain abilities.


"I think interpretations like astral body projection do not quite adhere with Buddhism."

OBE, at least as documented by Dr. Waldo Vieira, is aligned with suttas describing contact with devas and super normal abilities (in particular, visits to celestial realms, etc). In other words, communication through long distances, contact with celestial beings (through the will of the human, not of the deva), etc may be explained in terms of astral projection.

But in this case, it's a grey area explained by pseudo-science (*), which doesn't look very good :)

(*) The greatest pseudo-science though: the time dr. Vieira didn't spend trying to come up with scientific experiments to gather evidence was the time he spent documenting every little detail of the astral experiences.

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