Entheogens and Buddhism

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby nobody12345 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:48 am

Drugs don't help.
No matter what they do, in the end, they distract you from the real task that is to see the things as they really are.
We don't practice to get high.
We practice to see the things as they really are.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby bdmntn » Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:06 am

i've been thinking deeply on this subject. one day i'll post citations and charts, i guess.

We practice to see the things as they really are.


and you started practicing from the day you were born? and you never did anything, good or bad, before you began practicing?
and others who haven't, or perhaps have other karmic misfortunes, forget them?

no one here has really engaged with the topic at hand, which is the existence of this forum topic on the internet and the effect the words written here have on other people - again, most likely people who have never even glanced at a buddhism wikipedia page.

in the suttas, isn't the audience of the buddha profoundly important? isn't what he taught at least as important as the rules he laid down for some people to follow?

did the buddha lay out bold proclamations and absolute truths without any distinction or nuance for audience or effect.

the internet is not a drug, but certainly causes heedlessness - the deaths of millions in the congo to extract resources out, the deaths of the workers who make the product and are driven to suicide, the deaths of those who breathe the burning ewaste looking for the valuable metals.

and on computers that cause suffering, some practitioners favor rules over compassion.

what's even a drug? car exhaust?

the forum owners have thought it wise for some reason to separate schools. and of course, this forum topic is not about drugs but about practice.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby bdmntn » Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:58 pm

mods: is this against the rules because it is a meta-analysis of the effects of this thread on others? or can this be just awareness of the nature of how these internet threads work, and therefore valid discussion of the topic? there's a long wind-up here, but the point is specifically relevant to this thread - the wind-up is necessary to try to accurately portray my thoughts on the matter, since they have not been received.

introduction and notes

what do we do when we write texts as ‘buddhists’ that are broadcast over the internet to a wide variety of people?

which is more important?

1. the methods taught by the buddha.
2. compassion, non-attachment, and freedom from ‘dissatisfaction’ or suffering
3. both equally.

a common mahayanist statement is that each person has a different level - karmic, intellectual, etc - and therefore, each person needs their own medicine. forcing medicine upon a person without knowing what ills that person is bad medicine.

i’ve been thinking very hard about this issue of rules, the presentation of buddhist ideals through the internet, and forbidden categorizations of ‘essence of somethings’, like drugs.

i’ve also reread one book, several sutras, commentaries and exegisis, and of course some of the original scripture while reflecting heavily on this thread.

imho, this forum thread, available to any internet user as the second search result for ‘entheogens and buddhism’, showcases a real divide within ‘buddhism’, with an overlaying of problems arising from ‘westernization’.

to help myself think this out further, i’ve come up with a rough, speculative and officially non-authoratitive mapping of sectarian tendencies within ‘buddhism’.

the goal is to break down the false divide between mahayanna and theravada, place the sectarian divides in the correct sorteriological rather than metaphysical or canonical context, and to emphasize the lay rather than the elite forms of buddhism which of course make up only a smal percentage of practicing buddhists.

i’ll be placing the word ‘buddhist’ in quotations to note it’s conceptual origins as a interdependent, social construction. this is simply because i was chastized for using the word ‘buddhism’ on this forum. of course all words and concepts in all time and place originate from interdependence and social construction, but i won’t be air-quoting every single word.

if you would like to know the sources of the information, i’ll be happy to provide citations. they are omitted due to time constraints and concerns for brevity.

NOTE: please open this image in another browser window, the whole thing is not showing here.

Image

Why did the schools emerge?


all ‘buddhist’ sects read and maintain the original teachings of the buddha.

‘buddhist’ sects did not divide because of theoretcal, metaphysical differences - that is a western scholarly mistake based on the western academic separation of ‘religion’ and ‘philosophy’. ‘metaphysical’ differences are in fact differences over meditation practice.

‘buddhist’ sects are not divided over the inclusion of ‘secondary’ texts in the canon. the abhidharmas and commentaries in the abhidharmic tradition and the sutras and commentaries in the mahayana tradition were all written well after parinirvana (death of the buddha), even if both traditions maintain that these texts were in fact spoken by the buddha.

‘buddhist’ sects divided over issues of practice.

The chart

the chart is organized along these lines. the rows are aligned along ‘meta-praxis’, or prescriptions for incorporation the word of the buddha into practice. the columns are aligned along actual practice.

‘underneath’ this chart would be a map of dots, eacho representing the literature of various monks and scholars, which would roughly correspond to this format. another layer of this chart would be monastic rules as they relate to the each tradition (all mahayana schools vinaya are based on early schools, as are theravada), or a map of mythologies relating to each practice (whether jatakas or mahayanist)

another interesting feature is that most sectarian division occurs within a small part of the buddhist praxis - an area concerning mostly monks, scholars and others in the elite literary realm.

the divisions in practice and meta-practice are of course, doxology, and therefore biased, speculative, and ultimately false - as all categorizations are. here, i based the conventional categorizations on three particular texts that explore sectarian divisions. if anyone would like more information, i’d be happy to provide it.

Meta-praxis

the practices are defined by the rows of meta-praxis.

the first meta-praxis is agnostism - this is a meta-praxis that has no opinion. these could be disciples of the buddha focused on the four noble truths, pratyekabuddhas focused on interdepedenct origination, or something else.

the second meta-praxis is abhidharmic - each sect in this abhidharmic sphere believes that their abhidharma is the absolute correct guide to mediation. the abhidharmic traditions relies solely on their own schools absolutely correct abhidharma - higher teaching.

the third meta-praxis is upayyic - sects derived in this meta-praxis hold that there is no one correct teaching, but many. often times, sects derived in this meta-praxis become so attached to their own practices that they become abhidharmic. i’m thinking primarily of yogacara before shantaraksita and chan before the 6th patriarch. the practices derived from the upayyic meta-praxis are usualyl based on the six paramitas.

ritual and recitiation in the uppayic sphere differ from other rituals and recitation, which might simply be to generate good karma, protect the state, or something else. the uppayic notion that there is no way, just the Way (the single taste), allows for methods besides meditation to acheive enlightenment.

for the vajrayana, this means ‘results-based’ practice - their method is the result itself.

for the pureland sect, this means faith in the ‘without-self’, faith in the wisdom and compassion of the buddha.

of course, does this mean that the theravada tradition is solely abhidharmic and meditation-based? of course not. many rituals and recitations exist for the lay people of this tradition and of course, conduct and reflection is also common to all buddhist sects.

Mahayanist perspective

the split, originating between the Sthvirvada and Mahasamgika and continued by abhidharmic and mahayanist traditions, is explained here in various quotations from a western writer (for a western audience, but rejecting previous western approaches) :

“The problem for the early Mahayanists is that if Buddhism is restricted to a set path then it fails to take into account the various types of illness and suffering of sentient beings, which in turn hinders compassionate activity.

The Four Noble Truths are supposed to be medicinal "rafts" that help specific sentient beings overcome their attachments, but if one becomes attached to the practices of nonattachment then one has missed the entire point of Buddhism.

Nagarjuna's complaint with the Abhidharma traditions should be seen in a similar light. Like Lin-chi's "thief," Nagarjuna is trying to "steal" something from the Abhidharma philosophers. In their desire for liberation they have become attached to the teachings and have therefore missed the most significant teaching in Buddhism: nonattachment.

On the other hand, what dis­turbs Hui-neng is that Shen-hsiu seems to focus exclusively on how to attain enlightenment rather than enlightenment itself. and therefore reduces all of Bucidhism to a fixed methodology.

The seated "mind-polishing" medita­ tion of Shen-shiu is no less essential than Hui-neng's "sud­den" approach, just as Nagarjuna's "emptiness" is no "truer" than the Abhidharma philosophy of svabhava. The problem is in thinking that only one of these practices will lead to lib­ eration.

In this sense, Nagarjuna, along with the Lotus Sutra, the Prajnaparamita, and Vimalakirtinirdesa, takes a strong philosophical stance: there are no fixed or absolute metapractical criteria in Buddhism, and the attempt to jus­ tify any single practice for all people under all circumstances not only contradicts Buddhist doctrine, but goes against the spirit of compassion that meditative praxis is trying to facili­ tate.

In this sense, Nagarjuna, along with the Lotus Sutra, the Prajnaparamita, and Vimalakirtinirdesa, takes a strong philosophical stance: there are no fixed or absolute metapractical criteria in Buddhism, and the attempt to jus­ tify any single practice for all people under all circumstances not only contradicts Buddhist doctrine, but goes against the spirit of compassion that meditative praxis is trying to facili­ tate. While thi:; may look like simply one more "view" among all the others, it is not a metapractical-or metaphysi­ cal-"view" that seeks to totalize Buddhist praxis under a single heading. In this respect, Nagarjuna has no "view.”


a common mahayanist statement is that each person has a different level - karmic, intellectual, etc - and therefore, each person needs their own medicine. forcing prescribed medicine upon a person without knowing what ills that person is bad medicine.

imho, this is exactly what is being done on this internet forum thread. discussions of rules should be kept to private messages or private boards. the buddhas teachings are not about rules.

Compassion an drug use?

Amida Buddha is invoked as "Other Power" {t'o-li} be­ cause Pure Land recognizes that not everyone is capable of relying on themselves for liberation. Amida is therefore de­scribed as a deity with an infinite abundance of compassion who extends his ray of light upon saints and sinners alike.

While such theological and devotional elements may sound completely non-Buddhist, especially if one thinks of "pure" Buddhism in terms of "non-self," "emptiness," and "one-pointed concentration" (samadhi), Pure Land thinkers see themselves fully within the basic teachings and practices of traditional Buddhist thought

According to Pure Land thinkers, the Dharma contains "other power" and "self power," and, depending on the spiri­ tual levels and karmic disposition of human beings, both teachings are effective. The problem is in thinking only one of these teachings is "true" Buddhism, or, like Shen-hsiu, that there is only one soteriological guide for everyone. This form of attachment denies liberation to all those "lower" be­ings and, more importantly, destroys the message of compas­sion that is central to all of the Buddha's teachings. Amida's compassion, on the other hand, extends to everyone.


can you imagine that? that the buddhas compassion extends to everyone? drug users, prostitutes, workers with no time or energy for study, people dying of illness, people living in times of war or in extreme poverty, people who grew up as orphans or were otherwise abandoned, people who have done terrible things and live with demons, people who can’t read, people who don’t have the internet.

can you imagine living in a time of war, where your village is constantly attacked and you can’t risk going to get food much less poring over scriptures, knowing you are going to die shortly. is there no compassion in saying the name of the amidabul buddha, thinking of enternal bliss, and not suffering because of the arising of mental objects such as the fear of death. buddha’s wisdom can not be found here? this is not buddhism and the hundreds of thousands of buddhists are not buddhists?

one must follow this rule because it is a rule and without the rule one doesn’t serve the buddha?

is having enough compassion for possible drug users so that you do not reject them without even seeing them what the buddha would teach?

shouldn't 'buddhists' be having more conversations like this, rather than separating the dhamma from the dharma?
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby manas » Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:57 am

bdmntn wrote:is having enough compassion for possible drug users so that you do not reject them without even seeing them what the buddha would teach?



Hi bdmntn,

what do you mean by 'reject' here? This is an Internet forum. All are welcome here, so long as they abide by the T.O.S. which are really easy to follow (be polite to others, no spamming or marketing of stuff etc). And what people do in the privacy of their own lives, is not our business to pry into. So I don't understand what you mean by 'rejecting' drug users. If you mean that maybe we should not tell them how things are, the truth about the harm drugs do to the mind - well I think that, deep down, most people already know that drugs aren't good for the development of the mind, and so telling them that is just doing one's duty, out of concern for their welfare, it's not a rejection of them.

kind regards,

manas :anjali:
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby nobody12345 » Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:10 pm

'Using drug doesn't help Dhamma practice' is not a moral judgement statement.
It is the statement of matter of practicality without value judgement.
I understand how difficult to give up drugs.
How do I know?
Because I was a heavy user at some point.
If drugs make one to enlighten, then I should have been an Arahant long time ago.
And the Woodstock concert should have generated thousands of Ariyas.
But it doesn't work that way.
The thing is, there is no substitute or shortcut for Dhamma practice.
One must actually do it all by himself/herself.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby bdmntn » Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:14 am

manas wrote:what do you mean by 'reject' here?


the first response to the original poster says clearly that if one does drugs, they cannot be called a buddhist. i think a dogmatic, rule-based response rejects compassion as given in forms like the pure land sect, which only require faith in the wisdom of the buddha. don't you think that a search query like entheogens and buddhism would turn up some buddha-novices looking for answers? instead of turning them away, why can't their be a discussion without preset medicine for everyone. some people might not be ready to quit drugs, and who knows when they will ... they shouldn't know and start to reflect on the word of the buddha?

imaginos wrote:If drugs make one to enlighten, then I should have been an Arahant long time ago.
And the Woodstock concert should have generated thousands of Ariyas.
But it doesn't work that way.
The thing is, there is no substitute or shortcut for Dhamma practice.
One must actually do it all by himself/herself.


i was never suggesting ever that drugs help enlightenment. my concern this entire time is that by having the first response to this forum topic stating quite clearly that no one can become a buddhist who does drugs, you turn away people who might not know anything about buddhism, but are at least interested in it through one vehicle. why so judgmental instead of compassion? don't you think other people should become buddhists also? do you think all of the people who should become buddhists should have never done drugs?
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:39 am

hi bdmtn,
bdmntn wrote:
manas wrote:what do you mean by 'reject' here?

the first response to the original poster says clearly that if one does drugs, they cannot be called a buddhist.

I think you are mis-reading the discussion. The question was:
1q2aw3 wrote:I How do you think taking entheogens affects karma? Would you as followers of Buddhism would be for or against the usage of them?

And the answer was:
Cittasanto wrote:no it wouldn't conform to Buddhist practice.


The answer would be similar if someone had asked if followers of Buddhism would be in favour of killing, stealing, lying, or adultery. That doesn't mean that those of us who try to follow the Buddha-Dhamma are perfect at avoiding all of those things...

Furthermore, the question was asked hypothetically, not in a way that suggested that the poster was asking for help. If the poster had said that she/he had a drug problem and needed help, then the response would have been somewhat different.

:anjali:
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby Ben » Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:47 am

Well said, Mike!
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby nobody12345 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:11 pm

bdmntn wrote: do you think all of the people who should become buddhists should have never done drugs?


I don't see anything wrong for a user become Buddhist and practice Dhamma.
If you read my answer, I stated that I used drug a lot as well.
The statement of 'drugs and Dhamma practice don't mix together' is like saying 'Nitrous oxide and fire don't mix together'.
Not exactly a moral judgement but a statement of practicality.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby tron010101 » Thu May 16, 2013 3:08 am

Hello, I have 3+ years experience as an Ayahuasca practitioner (Etheogen vine from the amazon jungle) and 4+ years training in Japanese Rinzai Zen.

You post a brave topic in this thread. I can only speak for the Ayahuasca experience and how it relates to your question.

To start off, If you want an HONEST AND COMPLETE ANSWER to your initial question on this post (which is quite brave i would say) , it must come from somebody who has been to both sides, the ethogenic and buddhist.

Individuals who have not taken etheogens will have no clue how to answer the first part of your question. Even worst, misrepresent, unjustly categorize and disrespect a well known medicine from the jungles that has been around for a very very very long time.

To start off......the experience is very violent, raw, honest and has taught that everything in this dualistic reality inheretly has two sides ....and the continous batteling between the two sides......which is actually everything you see.......cannot really be trusted. It will always stand between two opposites. Reality, events, place, and the people involved in it are all intertwined into one big web and nothing .....absolutely nothing happens by chance or is empty of life. In duality, everything stands on a paradox of two sides. This Reality is Duality, and Duality is Ignorance.

Interestingly enough....."Does entheogens affects karma?" Based on my experience with the brew.....

Karma exists.....only in your mind.....and as long as we remain and identify with all it (the ego) creates "in there"......it will continue to comeback at us like a dog chasing its tale. Ayahuasca, in a violent, extremely quick and direct way, aids in exposing the ego and its paradoxes and how it manipulates, tricks, schemes, hijacks, and seduces anyone at anytime.

To answer your questions:

1. Ethogens, if taken properly, will reveal to you very quickly what Karma really is......A Lie constructed out of own ignorance and put in motion......it can without question make you think twice how you have lived your life......that in itself can be a miracle for some people.......especially if the individual is a substance abuser or criminal minded person.

2. I DO NOT BELIEVE ETHEOGENS ARE FOR EVERYBODY. Take the long road home......sit on the zafu.

This video might help answer your question a little further and give you clarity on the subject matter.

The Intertwining of Buddhism & Ayahuasca
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu May 16, 2013 4:12 am

The real point that someone who has never done lsd or other psychedelics needs to take away from this thread and remember is this:
Some people never come back.
I knew someone like this. His trip never ended. This was back in the 70's. He ended up in a mental hospital taking regular shock treatments.
Others are negatively affected to some degree or other for the rest of their lives. Of course, these are a minority of users, but the question you want to ask yourself is: How lucky do you feel?
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby tron010101 » Thu May 16, 2013 5:01 am

People who abuse drugs, mix them, or wrecklessly consumes them are subjecting themselves to certain consequences. Recreational Drugs are off limits.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby binocular » Thu May 16, 2013 6:33 am

Lazy_eye wrote:LSD isn't an intoxicant [ed: as defined in the suttas], so I don't see that it really falls within the scope of the fifth precept. The language used to define the fifth precept clearly refers to alcoholic beverages.

I'd be a little cautious about calling it "instant enlightenment", though, as I doubt the experience is equivalent to the attainment of nibbana. It might be more like one of the jhana states.

In my opinion, it falls within the category of "things the Buddha didn't address". That doesn't in itself tell us whether it's beneficial or harmful. The Buddha didn't talk about cigarettes either, but they are still bad for your health.

[Edited to clarify definition of "intoxicant"]

My personal understandinig of the precept against intoxicants is that the desire behind consuming a substance or engaging in an activity is what really matters. I think it's possible to get high on plain lentil soup or watching Teletubbies - as long as there is enough desire to intoxicate oneself.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby binocular » Thu May 16, 2013 6:33 am

tron010101 wrote:People who abuse drugs, mix them, or wrecklessly consumes them are subjecting themselves to certain consequences. Recreational Drugs are off limits.

You seem to have an awful lot of faith in the people who make and who sell you the intoxicants.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby Sekha » Thu May 16, 2013 6:44 am

1q2aw3 wrote:How do you think taking entheogens affects karma? Would you as followers of Buddhism would be for or against the usage of them?

I have taken ayahuasca about a dozen times. My experience is that entheogens weaken the ability to develop sati and therefore samadhi. As a consequence, insight is also weakened. They strengthen the hindrance of restlessness and mess up with "psycho-energetic" patterns inside the body.

Anyone who understands properly the teaching of the Buddha and what the effects of entheogens on the human mind are would logically be strongly against their use.
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