I am curious as to the role of meditation in various religions, and was hoping that some of you might tell me Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!. Let me start with Buddhism. I have always found Buddhism an interesting concept but I admittedly know very little about it. As it stands in my head at the moment I understand that the gist of it is to attain higher states of awareness and enlightenment through meditation, and that various ethical considerations are part of this, etc, but if so why is it called a religion? Are supernatural forces purported to exist? I don't think I have come across such in my readings... Oh wait ok I just found this on the wikipedia page for Buddhist meditation: "...The accounts of meditative states in the Buddhist texts are in some regards free of dogma, so much so that the Buddhist scheme has been adopted by Western psychologists attempting to describe the phenomenon of meditation in general. However, it is exceedingly common to encounter the Buddha describing meditative states involving the attainment of such magical powers (P. iddhi) as the ability to multiply one's body into many and into one again, appear and vanish at will, pass through solid objects as if space, rise and sink in the ground as if in water, walking on water as if land, fly through the skies, touching anything at any distance (even the moon or sun), and travel to other worlds (like the world of Brahma) with or without the body, among other things, and for this reason the whole of the Buddhist tradition may not be adaptable to a secular context." So ok there are some supernatural things flying around in there. But are they supposed to be things occurring in this reality? I have been having lucid dreams for the last 6 months or so and that has given me some insight into the crazy stuff that can go on inside ones brain, so I can perfectly believe that one could develop waking lucid dreams or something similar to the degree that the separation of these things from waking reality might become blurred. Anyway say I don't really care about any of the Buddhist doctrine (actually some of it sounds nice, I wouldn't mind being free of the ten fetters for example) but am very interested in altered states of conciousness, do you think it would be a good idea to try and learn something about these meditation techniques and practices from Buddhists? If so which schools are most concerned with these aspects of the religion? I read something about some Tibetan Buddhists practicing some kind of dream yoga, which since I have a little experience with lucid dreams sounds interesting. Or are there more modern secular ways of exploring these things? I expect that the answer is not really, since they are very poorly studied. Also, do other religions have similar practices? I know some kinds of prayer may have some meditational aspects but I'm not sure the goal is the same, i.e. the exploration of ones own mind. Anyway thoughts, advice?