How to pick groups


I hope this is the correct place to post this. Just have a question for those seeking out places of practice. Not entirely sure where to start, or even what questions to ask really…

In research you discover there are a lot of different types of Buddhism, (or maybe branches/schools are the right word?) some whos goals are appear to be on a different path than ours would be (the people of this community seeking an overall focus towards dream/nighttime practices and the cultivation of lucidity and such)
What are some names and specific schools of practice someone can look up to find a starting place?


@Hiimmj15, such a great question and one that I share as a novice to the different types. It would be interesting, if you are willing, to share what goals you have…?


Hi Allison, you’re a great facilitator of inquiry.

I feel my goals are unclear at the moment and that’s why it’s difficult to find the motivation. I think this is a really valuable question that I need to sit with.

Hi Hiimmj15, this is true. Buddhism is a living spirituality. As it spreads across different cultures from India, Tibet, China, Japan and even America, it takes many different forms. At the heart of each tradition is a general intention to cultivate lucidity, a sense of awareness and recognition, whether that be through daytime practices of meditation, as most schools teach, or at night, as we are learning here.

Buddhism is generally divided into three vehicles or paths. There is the Hinayana, which is more commonly referred to as Theravada. Although, Theravada is actually a particular school of Buddhism predominately found in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. The Hinayana generally relates to the path of individual liberation to attain nirvana. This includes the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, and works with practices of shamatha and vipassana, which is calm abiding and insight meditation.

In Mahayana Buddhism, you find the Bodhisattva ideal, which refers to anyone who has a made a vow to generate bodhicitta, awakened heart or enlightened mind, for the benefit of all sentient beings. The Mahayana path is therefore concerned with cultivating compassion, and also egolessness. This includes the Six Paramitas, and works with practices of Tonglen and the Four Immeasurables.

The Vajrayana is the path of tantra, which generally refers to taking all aspects of life as the path of liberation. This may include sleep and dreams, death and dying, sex, fear, and much more. The Vajrayana within Tibetan Buddhism begins with the preliminary practices, or ngondro, which one completes under the guidance of an authorised teacher. Following this are the generation stage and the completion stage of the inner yogas. This includes the practices of dream, sleep and bardo yoga.

Lastly, there are the formless practices of Dzogchen and Mahamudra. You also find similar approaches in the traditions of Zen Buddhism. These are direct paths that work with the clear seeing of primordial awareness, or the ground of all being.

As far as I’m aware the Vajrayana of Tibetan Buddhism is the only path within Buddhism that works with sleep and dreams. However, there are many other cultures and traditions across the world, such as the Dragon Gate school of Taoism, the Toltec tradition of Mexico, the Xhosa lineage of South Africa, and there are also many indigenous wisdom traditions that work with liminal worlds of the Dreaming or DreamTime.

Good luck finding a place to practice!


Ah yes, Allison I suppose that would help haha, sorry.
So…do you mean, my goals with lucid dreaming in general, or goals as to what I am looking for in a practice or school…?


@Hiimmj15, I’d be interested in the answer to both questions, regardless of which one @Allison intended…



Also, thank you AaronJolly for that info, that was quite helpful. I suppose the next step would be finding a teacher and community. To answer the question of Allison and ArthurG:
First Hello! Second, for lucid dreaming in general I’m gonna be honest - in my most lofty and probably long term aspiration is I want to use the dream practices to completely free myself and become the next level of a whatever it is a human can be. I feel as though conscious dreaming is a panacea for humanity and would go as far as to say it is the most important thing we could be doing with our lives. For myself, I believe it IS the most important thing.
On the less lofty side, the fufulliment of my desires (like making out with cute Aliens, transforming into a giant and destroying a town, making friends with dream characters, and figuring out way to express myself) is almost equally important. I want to know and speak with all the parts of my psyche and actually know them, and face the parts I’ve neglected.

As for a school/practice, I’m quite interested in in-person, serious, work that is not white-washed.
Id like to have a teacher/school particularly working with Vajrayana , from AaronJolly’s description.
(although Dzogchen and Mahamudra sounds like its along the right lines as well)
ideally if I could devote myself full time to it somehow, (as I feel like the 9-5 struggle is simply a way to keep us FROM focusing on our souls directive) that is what I’d like to do… unsure if that can happen right now though, I would settle for whatever I can.



Thank you for this super helpful and demystifying post on these traditions. It can seem overwhelming for sure, I am grateful that there are people here that bring in a wealth of knowledge to provide richness and diversity to this space!

I will start a new thread on goals, I’d love to hear more about your difficulty finding motivation, I think sharing goals and challenges is really important dialogue for us all… Would love your participation (and @Hiimmj15) in that separate thread.


@Hiimmj15 - Hello, hello! My original intent was for practicing Buddhism but dreaming goals also deeply apply. I find that many people who come into dreaming practice and really get into share this sensibility that dream is the “most important thing we could be doing with our lives” as you have noted. I couldn’t agree more. I like to say my ultimate ambition is to elevate humanity by bringing awareness to sleep and dream to greater numbers of people at scale. I’ve been thinking about this deeply.

And at the same time, I also focus on finding utter delight and joy in the dreams of play like you mentioned. For me, it’s always finding balance between The BIG stuff and the fun stuff.

On the Vajrayana path, are there places to start in your community? Books to read that you’ve considered? Starting can often be the hardest part, even setting yourself up with a reading list can get the momentum going…


Why not attend one of Andrew’s retreats? There’s an upcoming one in Sedona Arizona (late October) that will be an excellent inculcation to the practices and information that are so abundant on this website. I attended the one last year and it was a perfect entry into “nocturnal practices” for lucid dreaming and beyond.


Allison, it does not seem so, not within reasonable distance at least.
However I’m currently at a crossroads in life to where my descission could lead me to a community I am looking for, I just need to decide what to do.
Anyways, yes Barry I have, and am VERY interested but I have only seen the one at the Shambala center sometime around August. Could you point me in the direction of this one your mentioning (or others as well)?