Myōe – Dream of being devoured by Wolves
Type of Spiritual Experience
Myōe was only about eleven or twelve, when, with both his parents dead, was sent to a monastery. He was deeply influenced by the teaching there, but like most children took it literally. Rebirth is a most unpleasant experience, but he had presumably been shown the pictures and assumed that the pictures were literally what had to happen. In the Biography, he said that he went to a graveyard to be 'eaten by wolves'.
Deep into the night many dogs came and I could hear them chewing on the corpses nearby. They sniffed and stared but left witout eating me and I was stricken by bottomless horror. I relaised that no matter how much one sought to abandon oneself, one could not die if the necessary karmic circumstances were lacking. I then dropped the idea.
There are many initiates, who being placed in similar situations have been so consumed with fear that it has the necessary effect and they have their spiritual experience - although sometimes it is not rebirth it is visions and hallucinations of a quite terrible nature [see Tibetan Buddhism entry for some examples].
But in 1188, when Myoe was 15, he had a dream, and it appears he got his wish.
A description of the experience
The Dream of being Devoured by Wolves
Two wolves came by my side and I senses they were going to devour me. I thought 'this is what I want, I will offer myself to them'.
I beckoned to them to eat me, whereupon they did.
It was nearly unbearable, but I endured thinking that this was meant to be. When they finished eating, however, I was still alive.
This was inconceivable and I awoke soaked with sweat.