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Namaste, Namo Buddhaya.

I'm here in my personal pursuit to understand death and soul from various perspectives. A few days back I was reading texts on life, death, and reincarnation and got to know that there exist some meditations that cause OBEs (Out-of-body Experiences), an important part of NDEs (Near-death Experiences).

Biologists and doctors while simulating NDEs in labs concluded that a very large portion of people recall OBE experiences. The official Wikipedia page on NDEs does mentions that:

A three-year longitudinal study has revealed that some Buddhist meditation practitioners are able to willfully induce near-death experiences at a pre-planned point in time. Unlike traditional NDEs, participants were consciously aware of experiencing the meditation-induced NDE and retained control over its content and duration.[58] The Dalai Lama has also asserted that experienced meditators can deliberately induce the NDE state during meditation, being able to recognize and sustain it.[59]

So there are certain medications that can induce OBEs (or roughly, NDEs) too. In the meantime to further research I found a few links on such meditations, one by a Hindu Guru Swami Sivananda:

During the course of practice, one day you will feel that you have separated yourself from the body. You will have immense joy mixed with fear, joy in the possession of a new, light, astral body, fear owing to the entry in a foreign, unknown plane. At the very outset, the new consciousness is very rudimentary in the new plane, just as in the case of a pup with newly opened eyes in the eighth or tenth day on the physical plane.

where he tells the experiences of OBEs.

Unfortunately, he doesn't elaborate on the details of the meditation. I assumed it was particularly meditation on a point between eyebrows and after a month of practice, I don't see any progress particularly here.

I just wish to know what form of meditation in Buddhism (apart from Yoga Nidra Tantra in Hinduism which is basically just hypnosis from sleep) causes OBEs? If my efforts are in the right place.

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  • I’m voting to close this question because this question does not appear to be about Buddhist philosophy, teaching, and practice, within the scope defined in the help center. Aug 31, 2023 at 20:28
  • May I know what is it that you are fascinated or curious about? Is it the nature of the soul?
    – Desmon
    Sep 1, 2023 at 3:33
  • @DhammaDhatu Apparently I'm asking for the idea about the particular meditation that Buddhists do for NDEs that has been quoted from Wikipedia in the above question. Sep 1, 2023 at 5:54
  • @DesmonicaSin I'm curious about the meditation technique that was used to simulate NDEs that I quoted in the question from Wikipedia. I'm afraid that totally seems Buddhist philosophy/meditation-centered question to me. Thank you. Sep 1, 2023 at 5:56
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    I don't think there is any Theravadin meditation technique that induced NDEs. In my opinion, the closest to understanding what NDEs using traditional Theravada meditation would be the jhanas. But the traditional objective for attaining the jhanas in Theravada is different from yours. Different objective, belief and mentality results in different experiences and interpretations just as two tourists can go to the same place and see, observe and experience very differently.
    – Desmon
    Sep 1, 2023 at 8:29

3 Answers 3

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Buddhism explains when the mind is free from conceiving self-view, there is no 'death'. This is the goal of Buddhism, namely, the 'Deathless' state. Therefore, there are no meditations in Buddhism to simulate Near-Death Experience because the meditations in Buddhism have the goal of directly experiencing the Deathless.

The greatest of all gains is health,

Nibbāna is the greatest bliss,

The eightfold path is the best of paths

For it leads safely to the Deathless.

MN 75

  1. Heedfulness is the path to the Deathless. Heedlessness is the path to death. The heedful die not. The heedless are as if dead already.

Dhammapada

Bhikkhu, ‘I am’ is a conceiving; ‘I am this’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall not be’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be possessed of form’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be formless’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be percipient’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be non-percipient’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be neither-percipient-nor-non-percipient’ is a conceiving. Conceiving is a disease, conceiving is a tumour, conceiving is a dart. By overcoming all conceivings, bhikkhu, one is called a sage at peace. And the sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die; he is not shaken and does not yearn. For there is nothing present in him by which he might be born. Not being born, how could he age? Not ageing, how could he die? Not dying, how could he be shaken? Not being shaken, why should he yearn?

MN 140

… “Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu develops right view … right concentration, which has as its final goal the removal of lust, the removal of hatred, the removal of delusion….” …

“Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu develops right view … right concentration, which has the Deathless as its ground, the Deathless as its destination, the Deathless as its final goal….”

… “Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu develops right view … right concentration, which slants, slopes, and inclines towards Nibbāna….”

SN 45.139

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thanks for a beautiful question. I can understand why it is disturbing some established buddhist.
After 2500 year human kind had found new terminologies and we struggle to find its root or pointer in tipitak. e.g subcobnscious/unconscious.

Near death is also also one such word. that we can not quote a sutta directly. hence people will try to oppose you. but thats not right approch.

with my limited knowledge let me try to attempt this.
6 Sense field and Panca upadan Khanda are discussed frequently in tipitak. and what I suggest is what we call Body is nothing but 6 sense field. and in meditation, probably after 4th Jhana. you feel similar experience or death. but actually it is nothing but pacification of 6 sense faculty. mainly the body consciousness is very important because that what we call body. and when it pacifies we feel Death.

There is no speciasl practice for doing this. However extensive practice of samatha will give you this experience. particularly tibetan and hinduism has more answer in this regard.

I had a series of long discussion with a buddhist who was vedantist earlier and had naturally gone thr OOB/NDE both. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTaop2T6VYw

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  • Just to point out, by the first jhana the five senses are no longer perceivable....not until the fourth jhana. In the fourth jhana, the mind sense still exists.
    – Desmon
    Sep 1, 2023 at 13:36
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I find this to be a puzzling question in a Buddhist forum. After struggling, I decided to try answering it to the best of my ability.

Most NDEs (be it involving OBEs or not) described by the media tends to be those with wonderful experiences but there are NDEs that are scary, horrible and frightening. Even in the same individual who had two NDEs years apart, the experiences could be vastly different. Therefore, it is quite certain that every NDE is unique and different people have different NDEs. This is the first puzzling aspect of the question.

The question asked for Buddhist meditation techniques to induce NDEs. Traditionally, jhanas do allow a person to experience meditative bliss where the five senses are no longer perceived. In a way, it is like NDEs as your physical seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching are gone. But it is a blissful and happy state of mind. However, there is no guarantee that a person will experience this joyful state of mind in the actual death experience because there is the element of karma. It will be misleading if a meditation teacher teaches the student that both experiences are similar. This is the second puzzling aspect of the question.

How we deconstruct our experiences affects the way we interpret it. If you read accounts of NDE, it is easy to interpret that something good or bad happened to the soul during NDEs. For Buddhists, we are supposed to train ourselves to understand seeing is merely the seen, hearing is merely the heard…..feeling is merely the felt, perceiving is merely the perceived and so on. The result is that we end up interpreting NDEs very differently.

The moment of death is an important event for Buddhists. All the meditating, practicing and following the Dharma culminate with the goal to understand the craving-to-be i.e. the desire for more experiencing (feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousness) as it unfolds during the dying process. As a Buddhist, I understand this craving-to-be as the permanent soul/Atman/self that non-Buddhists keep harping on. It is this that is with us as we wander through the cycle of death and rebirth and even as I am typing and you are reading. If we penetrate it at the point of dying, an opportunity opens up and we can put an end to it once and for all. But putting an end to the soul/Atman/self would seem ridiculous to a non-Buddhist especially when they are trying to understand it through the perspective of NDEs. This is the last part that I struggle with. With Metta.

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  • If it is impossible to know what is the experience of NDEs for a person, then how did the wiki article claims that the practitioners were able to induce NDEs? Sep 2, 2023 at 16:02
  • @AbhasKumarSinha What makes you think the actual death experience will be similar to that of induced NDEs? Can any meditation teacher that teaches you induced NDEs make this guarantee to you?
    – Desmon
    Sep 3, 2023 at 2:23
  • No. I don't claim that actual death experience would be similar to meditation induced NDEs. My question is how the wiki authors/Dalai Lama concluded the experience by meditators were NDEs? If it is so in their properties (which I see by comparison), I wished to know that particular meditation so that I can induce those NDE property in a controlled state. Sep 3, 2023 at 7:44
  • @AbhasKumarSinha I can only answer from my understandings. The similarities between NDEs and the experience of deep meditation is that your physical senses are no longer perceived. But that is as far as the similarities goes, everything else will likely be different. In meditation everything is under your control. However, both NDEs and accidental deaths are not planned, they happened suddenly.
    – Desmon
    Sep 3, 2023 at 9:36
  • @AbhasKumarSinha You have certain pre-conceived ideas about NDEs, do some research on the Internet, you can see for yourself the varieties and differences in NDEs. Lastly, no one can guarantee what you will experience in death or near death. Whether you agree or not to this point, may you be happy. With Metta.
    – Desmon
    Sep 3, 2023 at 9:36

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