Sunday, 28 March 2010

Spiritual Experiences and Spiritual Realizations

In Buddhism, we distinguish between spiritual experiences and spiritual realizations. Spiritual experiences are usually more vivid and intense than realizations because they are generally accompanied by physiological and psychological changes. Realizations, on the other hand, may be felt, but the experience is less pronounced. Realization is about acquiring insight. Therefore, while realizations arise out of our spiritual experiences, they are not identical to them. Spiritual realizations are considered vastly more important because they cannot fluctuate.

The distinction between spiritual experiences and realizations is continually emphasized in Buddhist thought. If we avoid excessively fixating on our experiences, we will be under less stress in our practice. Without that stress, we will be better able to cope with whatever arises, the possibility of suffering from psychic disturbances will be greatly reduced, and we will notice a significant shift in the fundamental texture of our experience.

- Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche, “Letting Go of Spiritual Experience,” Tricycle, Fall 2004

Received as Daily Dharma from on the 22nd of November 2009


A very good distinction to bear in mind and help us stay grounded in practice and in daily life.

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