A few people emailed me today, asking me to explain what I wrote last night about discovering a teaching hidden under my pillow, and prompting me to share a few notes about the incident. My theory is that my sleepy mind was processing memories and feelings about a book I recently read, "A Step Away From Paradise" by Thomas K. Shor that tells the story of an extraordinary Tibetan lama and terton named Tulshuk Lingpa. Being a terton means he had the ability to discover ancient texts or terma - teachings that are sometimes hidden in the Tibetian landscape on small scrolls and other times hidden in the terton's mind. These teachings are supposed to be revealed to the world only at the time when it is important for them to be heard.
I identified right away with Tulshuk Lingpa and felt jealous of his supernatural ability, wishing I could be magic and find terma like he did. I live in New York. Did I have to be located in Tibet? How important was geography? I had one hope. Since terma can be found in the mind, I could discover one there and become part of the transmission lineage.
I went to bed on April 6th and at once found myself in the hyper-real state of a lucid dream. I knew my body was in a bed yet I seemed to be standing in an arid and rocky place. To my right I felt a strong presence and in front of me rose a large rounded boulder that I seemed to be able to look into as if I had x-ray vision. The rock's interior texture seemed granular and uniform until I noticed a darker shape. I moved forward without hesitation and confidently pushed my fist inside the boulder. My hand moved forward, the dark shape jumping to my knuckles, attaching to my hand like a magnet, and staying there as I took my hand out. I was pretty psyched about having done that and so was the presence on my right but then it indicated I should put the object back, communicating that I had proven myself but this object wasn't mine and someone else would remove it later. With only good feelings I reinserted my hand in the boulder and the shape jumped back to where it had been. As I removed my hand I saw a letter-like symbol written on the shape - a symbol that reminded me a little bit of the signature of the Renaissance artist Albrehct Durer.
Even though I couldn't possess the object, I was able to remember the strange symbol. Quietly holding the symbol in my mind these words immediately formed, "A lie can not be scratched." and then "the truth is fragile". I woke up and typed the words into my phone, noticing the time, 3:23 am.
Looking back I accept that this was all a dream, a self-aggrandizing fantasy, fueled by my subconscious egoistic desire to be special and powerful - and influenced by the book about Tulshuk Lingpa, but really, I can't help continuing to ask, from amongst all possible teachings, why was this the message my subconscious mind invented?