Song of the Debate Between Wake and Dream
Earlier in 2018, our beloved teacher Yingrik Drupba Rinpoche had given teachings on Song of the Debate Between Wake and Dream by Ju Mipham Rinpoche. This work is about a debate between two imaginary figures—Wake, representing one’s waking experience, and Dream, representing the dream experience. Despite the fact that the language is easy to understand, it has very profound meanings. The debate actually shakes one’s fundamental attachments and establishes the core view of Buddhism, namely emptiness, or the illusory nature of all phenomena.
This English translation of the text is recently completed by Gankyil Organization. May all realize the dream-like nature of all phenomenon and go beyond all sufferings!
Full PDF version with foreword and footnotes
The Song of the Debate Between Wake and Dream
Om Swasti (may all be auspicious),
Homage to the sublime Manjushri.
After sincere prostration, I say the following.
The wonderful experience in the dream last night I had,
The daytime phenomenon I now encounter,
Those two initially arise in a similar way,
Those two eventually disappear in a similar way.
Dream holds that what appears in the dream is real,
Wake thinks that what appears when one is awake is real.
Now Wake and Dream debate on who is real.
Wake, while solidifying his appearances, says:
“Dream, your appearance is a deceptive illusion.”
Dream, being fickle and chaotic, refutes:
“not only I am illusory, you are also deceptive!”
“I, Wake, am not deceptive. There is clear proof of that:
things clearly appear so I am real.”
Dream, being honest, replies to Wake:
“The same is true for Dream, so your statement is not definitive!”
[Wake:] “Today, you disappeared, so it is definitive.”
[Dream:] “Tomorrow, you will also disappear, so it is not definitive!”
[Wake:] “I experience directly (through my senses), so it is definitive.”
[Dream:] “I also experience things directly, so it is not!”
[Wake:] “My day experience is stable and lasts long, so it is definitive.”
[Dream:] “There are both long-lasting as well as fleeting phenomena in both Wake and Dream!”
[Wake:] “In a dream, one can go through a mountain in no time.
I will admit that you are real if one can do this when one is awake.”
[Dream:] “If now there are proper conditions, one also achieves that,
Without conditions, there is no way to do that even in a dream!”
[Wake:] “It does appear without conditions in a dream.”
[Dream:] “Then, why it is not constantly like this?!”
[Wake:] “You dream about dead relatives with deep affection,
and you could also have kids or nephews you never had in reality.
I, Wake, do not have such things.”
[Dream:] “If the appearance (of relatives and so on) could not establish their existence,
Why you think your kids and and other relatives exist when you are awake?”
[Wake:] “(In a dream) the deceased may come back to life.
The non-existent may appear to exist.
They existed in you Dream, but have now disappeared.”
[Dream:] “Things that have passed on in your eyes are seen by me,
Phenomena non-existent for you appear for me,
Our positions are fundamentally equal!”
[Wake:] “Though one may enjoy heavenly cuisine in the dream
that cannot dispel the hunger and thirst after waking up.”
[Dream:] “One may have a peaceful nap in a magnificent palace.
That cannot protect you against rain in the dream!”
[Wake:] “You only arise from delusion and have no real significance.”
[Dream:] “The feelings of hunger and so on in the waking state are also illusory!”
[Wake:] “When waking up, one realizes that the dream is unreal.
In a dream, how can you know the unreality of the waking experience?”
[Dream:] “The dream experience exposes the unreality of the waking experience.
How could the waking experience disprove the existence of dream experience?”
At that time, Wisdom, the Chief Justice,
sends Miraculous Wisdom, the Judge,
To tell the two debating parties:
“if you keep arguing like this,
there could be infinite words, but the evidence is already enough.
Let me adjudicate for you two.
“Both of you are real, but at the same time also unreal.
When not examined, both are real at their own positions.
“When examined, every change of phenomenon leads to a revelation.
Actually (the two are) equal without differences.
“Although both of you are unreal,
Dream admits his delusion, hence he has the quality of being honest.
“Wake, you are delusional but refuse to admit it.
Being so stubborn, and not giving up the wrong idea, you should be punished.
“Dream, though being dull and delusive, at least has integrity.
Wake, though being astute and skillful, is actually more ignorant.
“The stableness and unstableness are conditioned upon habituation.
The two (dream and waking experience) are same in terms of effects.
“Now, Wake. You should follow after Dream.
The view and action should be unified for both of you.”
After saying so, (the Judge) ties up Wake with the rope of mindfulness,
and hands the rope to Dream, not allowing Wake to leave.
“You two should not argue but live in harmony,
Otherwise, you will become the demon bringing sufferings to the billion-fold (entire) universe.
“If in harmony, you would be the guide of the world of three times (past, present and future).
Understanding that, both of you will have benefits.”
From here on, Wake and Dream know that they are not different.
And they treat phenomena from both sides equally.
At that moment, the debate ends between the two.
Then, the perceptions of the two minds are unified into one.
Combining the words of same and different,
Wake and Dream sing an improvised song together:
[Wake & Dream:] “‘We are different and different’, people would say.
We are actually same and same. They are wrong.
“The significance of same and same,
is mentioned by few, and understood by fewer.
“Understand that the waking perception is equality,
and the dreaming perception is the same. It is not deceptive.
“This meaning is extremely important, but those who are ignorant think
that Wake and Dream (are different and) appear alternately.
“Now, the teaching from the King of Magical Illusion
is not just plain words. We carefully look into its meanings.
“In the blissful play of touching each other,
we taste the sweetness without eating.
“We enjoy the intoxicating dance without drinking,
we watch the mirage-like drama without rehearsing.
“O. This is the supreme teaching, surpassed by nothing.
Dear friends, please remember this in your heart.”
Then, the two unite into one,
and the one dissolves into space.
Then, Miraculous Wisdom the Judge
presents this result to Wisdom the King.
The King is delighted and smiles:
“Your mediation is in such a good manner.
“From here on, up till to the end of space,
you may soar freely like a Garuda bird with wings widely open.
“The sovereignty of the Kingdom of Fearless Emptiness,
I now bestow on you. Please kindly protect it!
“In this garden of emptiness,
wind blows, and pure honey falls.
“Eat it, eat it, as you go.
O. This will never be exhausted!
“There, the barren woman’s daughter, virtuous and beautiful,
being pleasant and satisfactory, joyfully plays.
“This never-aging youthful consort is bestowed on you,
in union with you. Enjoy the miraculous bliss.
“With the bliss of touching her,
all the ease and pleasure in this three worlds,
“are like vomit compared to nectar.
The craving towards those (mundane happiness) now should be loosened!
“As such, if you say this and act according to it,
you will be in union with Wisdom the King.”
The above-mentioned metaphorical words are of experiential nature,
are easy to understand when carefully examined, otherwise obscure,
are of significant meaning if carefully pondered, otherwise they are insignificant,
and are written at the place of great bliss by the one named “Dhih”!
Authored by The Omniscient Ju Mipham Rinpoche 全知麦彭仁波切 造
Chinese translation by Yeshe Phuntsok 益西彭措法师 中译
English translation by Forest Rui Jiang 姜锐 英译