Carolyn Brown



Heavens and Hells in Dreams

Robert Hegel



Imperial Dreams

Rudolf Wagner




Michel Strickmann



Dream Interpretation

Roberto Ong



Asian Dreams

Floyd Galler



Lu Xun

Carolyn Brown


Capp. 0-1.


0. (pagination lacking) Carolyn Brown : "Introduction".

allegations claimed by "David Foulkes, in his ... A Grammar of Dreams (Basic Books, 1978, pp. 31-32)"

"1) Dreams are thought pictures; their "language" is a visual, perceptual one.

{None of this is any more true of the dreaming-world than it is of the waking-world; and, as such, can only suggest that the dreaming-world is another world similar to, and/or parallel with, the waking-world.}

2) Dreams are "ego-alien"; that is, they seem to happen to us rather than being recognized as something we ourselves do.

{Actually, dreams tend to be filled with activities successfully instigated by the dreamer; in contrast to the waking-world, wherein the subject is a nearly helpless victim of social circumstances (such as being impoverished, being miserable, being degraded by the rich, being forced to work for a pittance to further enrich the rich, etc. etc.).}

3) Dreams are hallucinatory; ... this gives rise to the notion that the dreamer can leave his body during sleep.

{What is actually hallucinatory is the waking-world (with its hallucinations of being able to achieve happiness while actually undergoing being severely exploited by the rich).} {The dreams wherein one "can leave his body are "out-of-body" experiences (astral projections), factually achieved by adepts.}

4) Dreams are dramatized; they have plots, characters, and settings, and beginnings, middles, and ends. ...

{Waking-life is much more characteristic of this than is dreaming life.}

5) Dreams portray moral standards different from those that control, at least overtly, waking behavior; ... the dreamer yields to temptations or commits severely antisocial acts.

{The waking-world is the one wherein the subject is likely to yield to temptations (the temptation to submit abjectly to mendacious politicians, exploitive employers, etc.); the waking-world is likewise the one wherein the subject is more likely to commit severely antisocial acts (such as a soldier’s obeying orders from an officer to rob and murder innocent civilians). In dreaming-life, a decent idealist is motivated to exemplify higher and more perfect moral standards than would be possible or necessary in waking-life.}

6) "The associative processes ... seem more fluid than those of wakefulness"; ... elements normally left unrelated by the waking mind are linked.

{Leaving things unrelated is characteristic of an amorphous life lacking in logical connexivity. To correlate the praevailing elements of life (such as the existence of capitalist exploitation, capitalist militarism, capitalist mendacity, capitalist treachery, etc.) can inspire one’s life with a cohaesive purposivity.}

Freudian so-called "data"

"And in Freudian terms, the sexual data so prominent in Western reports is noticeably lacking."

{Such alleged "sexual data" are actually non-existent, such "terms" being a fictive hypothesis conjectured by Freud quite lacking in factual basis. The Freudian-style "Western reports" are not actually reports of fact, but are wild conjectures without substantive basis.}

Chinese non-violence versus European violence

"Taiwan dream data" : "The dreams rarely mentioned fighting – of course, all reports ... were (I think) subjected to strong censorship."

{European Christians are the most pugnacious, violent scoundrels known in the world. Chinese (and likewise Hindus etc.) are, in contrast (and Jews and Zoroastrians even more so), much more peaceable and well-behaved. Christians are famous for their hypocritical censorship.}

trees in dreams

"In Freud’s symbology ..., a tree is a phallic symbol.

{This is a typical Freudian absurdity. Women’s bodies are as much tree-shaped as are men’s bodies. Names of tree-species are all grammatically feminine in Greek (although masculine in Latin).}

From Jung’s perspective, it evokes fructifying powers ... .

{It may evoke this (fruits being botanically the wombs of plants); or simply be (in a dream) a sort of vegetative spirit/deity.}

... a Chinese ... employing the same symbol ... dreamed about a tree piercing the sky."

{In typical Siberian and Amerindian shamanic dream-experience, the dreamer may reach (and penetrate) the sky by climbing a tree.}


1. (pp. 1-10) Robert E. Hegel : "Heavens and Hells in Chinese Fictional Dreams".

p. 2 Tan Xian-zu

"Tang Xianzu ... (1550-1616)" : "In his real dreams Tang visited distant places and saw famous sites he would later view in person."

"In ... "Dream Adventure Stories in Europe and T>ang China," [TAMKANG REVIEW 4:2 (Oct 1973), 101-19] David Knechtges draws parallels between tales Tang Xianzu used as source materials and 14th-century stories that first appeared in Spain and later spread elsewhere in Europe."

p. 9, n. 5 astral-body’s travel during sleep

"Earlier playwrights of the Yuan period had the minds of sleeping maidens leave their bodies and assume physical form to join their absent lovers".

pp. 3-4, 9-10 ghost of the dead as guest in host’s dream

p. 3

"The sixteenth story in Fenth Menglong’s famous collection Gujin xiaoshuo (Stories Old and New) of around 1620 ..., "Fan Juqing jishu shengsi jiao" ("Fan Juqing’s eternal Friendship"), appeared in numerous versions from its origins in the Han period to its Japanese retelling by Ueda Akinari in the 18th century. ... In it ... it is late in the evening of the appointed day that the guest arrives. He is a ghost, the guest explains; he had been detained ... .

p. 4

Thus he killed himself in order to arrive on time. His tale told, the host seems to awaken, as if from a dream, and the guest disappears."


"Earlier versions" : "Each states that the living friend falls asleep and that the dear friend. motivated by his strong attachment, appears in the living one’s dream to bid him farewell."

p. 9, n. 6

"a translation appears in John L. Bishop, The Colloquial Short Story in China (Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, 1965), pp. 88-97. ... Earlier versions appeared in Hou Hanshu 111, transl. in Bishop, pp. 98-99; Shoushen ji, transl. Yang Hsien-yi and Gladys Yang, The Man Who Sold a Ghost

p. 10, n. 6

(Peking : Foreign Languages Press, 1958), pp. 26-27 ... . The Japanese version by Ueda Akinari (1734-1809) is found in his Ugetsu monogatari (Tales of Rain and the Moon)."

pp. 4, 10 dreams of a visit to the abode for souls of the dead

p. 4

A 17th-century novel "takes Li Shimin, the Tang emperor Taizong, to Hades, There ... he has to justify his actions and bribe infernal officials before his spirit can be released to rejoin his comatose body. He had "entered a trance" (ruding), the text says."

{In shamanic dreaming, visits to the abode for souls of the dead is a usual practice; there, often (especially in Siberia) the god ruling the dead must be bribed or promised a ritual offering or otherwise cajoled in order to secure the release from imprisonment in the netherworld of the health of a medical patient.}

p. 10, n. 9

"Li Shimin’s ordeal is in Sui Tang yanyi (Shanghai : Gudian wenxue, 1956), chap. 68. Earlier versions of this last dream adventure appear in the 16th-century novel Xiyou ji (Journey to the West) and can be traced to an early 8th-century collection of anecdoles. For a survey, see R. E. Hegel, "Sui T>ang yen-i : The Sources and Narrative Techniques of a Traditional Chinese Novel" (unpublished dissertation, Columbia University, 1973), pp. 71-76."

pp. 4-5, 10 dreams in the Story of the Stone {"stone which the builders rejected"}

p. 4

"In the 18th-century masterpiece Honglou meng (commonly known as Dream of the Red Chamber but now famous in the West under its alternate title, Shitou ji, Story of the Stone) ..., the youthful protagonist Baoyu falls asleep in the boudoir of a female relative by marriage. ... the girl herself is carrying on ... an affair with her father-in-law. Baoyu feels transported to another realm, where a divine maiden tries to show him the future through

p. 5

song, verse, and paintings that hint at the fates of his female relatives and friends. ... Finally, the maiden sends the lad off into a private room to enjoy the fruits of love with a young woman who resembles both of Baoyu’s favorite girl cousins. After their dalliance, demons and wild animals surround and menace him. He awakens in terror, having experienced, he discovers, his first involuntary ejaculation, or "wet dream." [p. 10, n. 10 : "See Honglou meng, chap. 5."]


Dreams appear frequently in this novel as a means of communication between the spirit realm and the mundane level of existence; in each case the real {mortal} characters must be dreaming before spirits can visit them or before they can journey to another realm. ...


Honglou meng presents a pair of characters who seem to function on more than one level of reality. {Or rather, the doings of that pair of characters are intended to exemplify the fact that what may be misunderstood as distinct levels of reality are in fact functioning as a single unity of the totality of reality.} These are the Buddhist monk and Taoist priest who, at their introduction in chapter 1, discuss the fate of the divine stone that is Baoyu’s alter ego. There they exist on a spiritual plane, then later as figures in another character’s dream. Thereafter they appear in the novel’s mundane realm at moments of crisis to clarify the stone’s spiritual essence. While other characters languish in self-delusion, anxiety, and desire, this pair laughs madly ..., ... hurrying to remove themselves from the real {material, waking} world as quickly as possible. ... they carry the characteristic of dreaming reality : They appear without warning and seem to disappear at will; their actions seem incongruous to all around them; they seem to have magical powers. No one has physical contact with them; they may even be immaterial. Moreover, in the spiritual realm, as inhabitants of dreams, they are imposing in appearance. In waking reality {materiality, not "reality"} they are misshapen and unkempt : one is lame, the other scabby-faced.


Do these characters convey the novelist’s sense of how images from waking life become distorted by the dreaming mind?

{Nay : rather, these characters (deities) exemplify the sense of how images from the divine dreaming-world become distorted by the waking-world mortal-mind.}


The glorious figures of the celestial realm seem glossy caricatures of sordid mundane life in Honglou meng."

{Nay : rather, the sordid figures of the mundane realm seem degraded caricatures of the glorious life in the caelestial realm in Hon-lou Men.}

p. 10, n. 10

"The work is masterfully translated by David Hawkes and John Minford as The Story of the Stone; see Vol. I, The Golden Days (New York : Penguin Books, 1973), pp. 125-49. Andrew Plaks places its fourteen dreams in the context of the work’s allegorical structure in his Archetype and Allegory in Dream of the Red Chamber (Princeton : Princeton University Press, 1976)."

pp. 5-6 the function of dreaming in the Tower of Myriad Mirrors

p. 5

"the protagonist of the novel Xiyou bu (1641, translated as The Tower of Myriad Mirrors) is the supernatural Monkey King from the better-known 16th-century novel Xiyou ji or Journey to the West. ...

p. 6

In the older novel, Monkey has great magical powers : he can change size and shape, leap great distances, fly up to Heaven to confront the gods, and conjure bits of his body hair into duplicates of his entire form. ... But in the sequel Xiyou bu, Monkey at last meets his match in a Mackerel Spirit (Qing yu jing) ... . At the beginning of the later novel, the Mackerel Spirit induces a trance in Monkey without his knowing. Thus the dreaming Monkey grows more and more frustrated as he journeys into unknown lands and from the past to the future, forced to assume various identities but always unable to function in the usual way.


The magical powers from his fictional waking "reality" are no longer his to control

{This is similar to the Markionite understanding of the Gospel : when Iesous underwent the kenosis, he no longer was under control of magical powers which could protect him from being crucified.}


When in his dream he finally finds his companions again, they too have changed; they have given up the religious quest and have returned to secular life. The whole world is awry for Monkey ... . He joins the armies of a King Little Moon ... before finally ... a Buddha ... explains that these frightening experiences were all dream visions conjured by the Mackerel Spirit. [p. 10, n. 12 : "See ... my The Novel in Seventeenth-Century China (New York : Columbia University Press, 1981), pp. 148-64."]


And of course, the Buddha observes, the Mackerel Spirit is merely a function of the Monkey’s own mind".

{According to (at least) Vajra-yana theology, the buddha-s are manifestations of one’s own mind; whereas spirits (such as the Mackerel Spirit) are not. Thus, the Buddha’s assertion about the Mackerel Spirit is erroneous, praesumably because the Buddha is subject to the errors inhaerent in the human’s (or Monkey’s) own unenlightened mortal mind.}


Carolyn T. Brown (editrix) : Psycho-Sinology : the Universe of Dreams in Chinese Culture. Asia Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. University Pr of America, Lanham (MD), 1988.