The monastery falls down
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Alexandra David-Neel – With Mystics and Magicians in Tibet
…. suddenly, the monastery buildings were shaken and cracked. The neighbouring mountains pitched and tossed in confusion, their summits tumbled on each other, while new ones arose. The sun crossed the sky like a thunderbolt and fell on the earth, another sun sprang out, piercing the heavens, and the rhythm of the phantasmagoria went on with increasing speed till
Karma discerned nothing but a kind of furious torrent whose foaming waves were made of all beings and things of the world.
Visions of this kind are not very rare among Tibetan mystics. They must not be mistaken for dreams. The visionary is not asleep. Often, in spite of his imaginary peregrinations, the sensations he experiences and the scenery he perceives, he remains quite clearly conscious of his actual surroundings and of his own personality.
Often, also, when going into a trance where they are liable to be interrupted, they quite consciously hope that none come by, or speak to them and trouble them in any other manner. Though they may be themselves incapable of speaking or moving, they hear and understand what is going on around them; but they do not feel connected with any material objects, all their interest being absorbed in the events and sensations of the trance.
If that state of trance is abruptly broken by any exterior agent, or if he who experiences it has to break it himself by a strong effort, the shock that ensues is peculiarly painful and leaves a prolonged feeling of discomfort.
It is to avoid these unpleasant effects and the consequences which they may have on the general health of those who suffer them, that rules have been devised for coming out of a period of ecstatic meditation, or even of ordinary meditation, if it has lasted for any length of time.
As an instance, one is advised to turn the head slowly from one side to another, to massage the forehead and the crown of the head, to stretch the arms while clasping the hands behind the back and bending the body backward. There are numbers of similar exercises, and each one may choose whichever suits him best.
The followers of the Zen sect in Japan, who meditate together in a common hall, appoint a kind of superintendent who is skilled in detecting when a monk is overcome by fatigue. He refreshes the fainting and revives their energy by striking them on one shoulder with a heavy stick. Those who have experienced it agree that the ensuing sensation is a most pleasant relaxation of the nerves.