Entheogens and Buddhism

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
1q2aw3
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Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby 1q2aw3 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:36 pm

I am by no means propagating usage of psychedelics etc etc.

For those who know how does it work. How do you think taking entheogens affects karma? Would you as followers of Buddhism would be for or against the usage of them?

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Cittasanto
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:40 pm

fifth precept against taking intoxicants, that lead to carelessness!

so no it wouldn't conform to Buddhist practice.
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He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
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1q2aw3
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby 1q2aw3 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:49 pm

But you are aware of course that certain psychedelics lead to thousand times heightened carefulness, rather than carelessness.

LSD is like an instant enlightenment for a couple of hours, so it does not classify under this. Sorry.

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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby chownah » Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:13 pm

Would you as followers of Buddhism would be for or against the usage of them?

I don't care one way or the other if people use any kind of drug....it is entirely up to them. There are risks with taking almost every drug. I think it would be foolish to think that taking LSD (for example since you mention it) is risk free....I'm glad that you are by no means propagating usage of psychedelics etc etc.......so I guess you are going to present some balanced posting here and not just talk about the possible benefits of taking them and try to minimize the risks.....
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Last edited by chownah on Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:26 pm

1q2aw3 wrote:But you are aware of course that certain psychedelics lead to thousand times heightened carefulness, rather than carelessness.

LSD is like an instant enlightenment for a couple of hours, so it does not classify under this. Sorry.


yes it does, it distorts perceptions and is not a natural state i.e. it is from an external stimulus which alters the mind.
sorry but the rule is clear enough, LSD does actually lead to lack of restraint which is by definition in the precept context carelessness.

if people want to do it, it is up to them, but it is not a Buddhist practice, i.e. the Buddha would not advocate it.
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He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby Lazy_eye » Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:30 pm

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"]
Last edited by Lazy_eye on Sat Jan 28, 2012 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:49 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:LSD isn't an intoxicant, so I don't see that it really falls within the scope of the fifth precept.

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.


Surā-meraya-majja-pamādaṭṭhānā veramaṇī sikkhā-padaṃ samādiyāmi.
I take upon myself the precept for abstaining from
Recreational intoxicants that lead to carelessness.

pamāda - negligence; indolence; remissness; carelessness.
the rule is about substances which lead to heedlessness, so are intoxicants, as it is a substance which alters the mind (you don't see things in a clear way as when you are not on the substance).
it mentions alcohol as that is how the origin rule in the vinaya came about, but it would also include any substance which would lead to a mind-state not within the bounds of a sober person.
but simple application of the great standard... and you have anything which alters the mind not only alcohol, which is not for a medicinal purpose included.
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He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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Alexei
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby Alexei » Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:12 pm

There is a funny theory that Dhamma Wheel (probably pre-buddhist symbol) originally represented the cap of mushroom.

Some dhammacakka images look really like the whole of it.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/95/Khao_Khlang_Nai-004.jpg/320px-Khao_Khlang_Nai-004.jpg

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kirk5a
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby kirk5a » Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:57 pm

1q2aw3 wrote:But you are aware of course that certain psychedelics lead to thousand times heightened carefulness, rather than carelessness.

LSD is like an instant enlightenment for a couple of hours, so it does not classify under this. Sorry.

It certainly is not, it's like instant insanity for a few hours. Of course it leads to carelessness, one is out of one's mind and is capable of doing all sorts of damaging things. I've never done it, but I have read many first hand experience reports. For every one who claims something "enlightening" there's a dozen tales of madness. You can go here, for example, and read "How I Went Bat f*** Crazy for Three Months"
I know exactly what's going to happen, and I start running faster than any human has ever run before, since Jake's wiry, fast, and already halfway there. I get in front of him at exactly the moment he jumps up with a whoop and kicks the car door, which would have broken half the bones in this grandmother's body had I been a tenth of a second slower and not already had a grip on the door. I push Jake back and apologize profusely, and, for some reason I will never understand, the younger woman smiles at me as if it's okay. This may have been because Jake was back in sobbing mode, and stumbling away. I assume she assumed we were drunk. I'm not sure how that makes it okay, but since this situation was entirely my fault, I was taking what I could get.
Here's Jake:
And this is, beyond any other, the reason I will never do acid again. I also have absolutely no recollection of this whatsoever.


http://www.erowid.org/experiences/exp.cgi?New&S1=2
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby Lazy_eye » Sat Jan 28, 2012 3:25 pm

Cittasanto wrote:
Surā-meraya-majja-pamādaṭṭhānā veramaṇī sikkhā-padaṃ samādiyāmi.
I take upon myself the precept for abstaining from
Recreational intoxicants that lead to carelessness.

pamāda - negligence; indolence; remissness; carelessness.
the rule is about substances which lead to heedlessness, so are intoxicants, as it is a substance which alters the mind (you don't see things in a clear way as when you are not on the substance).
it mentions alcohol as that is how the origin rule in the vinaya came about, but it would also include any substance which would lead to a mind-state not within the bounds of a sober person.
but simple application of the great standard... and you have anything which alters the mind not only alcohol, which is not for a medicinal purpose included.


Yes, you're probably right, My point, I guess, was that LSD and similar substances produce effects which are quite different from those triggered by alcohol, and the Buddha's definition of intoxicants seems clearly to refer to alcohol.

Certain meditative practices also lead to mind states that would not be conducive to, say, driving a car -- so the fact that something engenders an unusual mind state may not (in itself) necessarily mean that it's not beneficial.

LSD-engendered states may be more like intense concentration or absorption, as opposed to the sort of freewheeling recklessness unleashed by drink.

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Viscid
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby Viscid » Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:33 pm

LSD-engendered states may be more like intense concentration or absorption, as opposed to the sort of freewheeling recklessness unleashed by drink.


Sounds like someone did acid in his heyday. (high-five)

It's quite a different experience from alcohol-- it feels like 'cheating' your way into absorption. I highly doubt The Buddha would have encouraged his monks to trip balls.
Last edited by Viscid on Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby ancientbuddhism » Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:40 pm

If LSD is Nirvāṇa, was Dr. Timothy Leary really Maitreya Buddha?

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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby Moth » Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:01 pm

I have edited this, coming back to it many years later. Having given these things up and dedicated myself to precepts and meditation, I cannot recommend it enough. I have done many psychedelics and I can attest from personal experience that the bliss of Sila and Samadhi is far greater than anything I have experienced through drugs. We are blessed to have this human birth and opportunity to practice, we should not waste it. Live by your precepts confidently rather than dwelling in their gray areas.

May you be happy.
Last edited by Moth on Wed Oct 19, 2016 2:46 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:58 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:Yes, you're probably right, My point, I guess, was that LSD and similar substances produce effects which are quite different from those triggered by alcohol, and the Buddha's definition of intoxicants seems clearly to refer to alcohol.

Certain meditative practices also lead to mind states that would not be conducive to, say, driving a car -- so the fact that something engenders an unusual mind state may not (in itself) necessarily mean that it's not beneficial.

LSD-engendered states may be more like intense concentration or absorption, as opposed to the sort of freewheeling recklessness unleashed by drink.

the produced result is intoxication, which is a state of heedlessness, intoxication may differ between intoxicants but it is still intoxication.
and the big difference is that you are wilfully imbibing a substance which produces intoxication, and I think you would find the actual effect of a person in deep meditation and LSD are not going to be the same.

but here is a more thorough breakdown for you.
Surā-meraya-majja-pamādaṭṭhānā veramaṇī sikkhā-padaṃ samādiyāmi.
I take upon myself the precept for abstaining from recreational intoxicants that lead to carelessness.
Surāmeraya – rum & spirits.
Surā - intoxicating liquor.
meraya - fermented liquor.
Majja - an intoxicant.
Pamāda - negligence; indolence; remissness; carelessness.
ṭhānā - place; locality; condition; reason; office; cause;
certainly alcoholic substance is mentioned (Surāmeraya ), but as you can see it is not the only intoxicant covered (majja).
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He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby beeblebrox » Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:32 pm

Moth, your post is quite excellent. Thanks for sharing it. :anjali:

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Moth
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby Moth » Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:34 pm

edited.
Last edited by Moth on Wed Oct 19, 2016 2:36 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:00 pm

Moth wrote:
the produced result is intoxication, which is a state of heedlessness


Alcohol produces an effect that is obviously careless, carefree, uninhabited, etc. So does opium, so does datura, so does cocaine, etc. Psychedelics produce quite the opposite, you are ultra-aware. If you performed an immoral act whilst on psychedelics the realization of what you had done, and the effect it has had/is having on yourself and others would be exponentiation a hundred-fold. If you did the same thing on alcohol you could quite easily brush it off without a moment's remorse. You simply cannot lump these two things together under the same definition of producing "carelessness/heedlessness" because they are drastically different. That being said, I do not endorse psychedelics, my point is that you are dismissing them for the wrong reason and thus the OP is going to disregard this kind of advice as it contradicts his own experience.

So they don't bring about hallucinations i.e.visuals with open or closed eyes, or distorted perceptions, altered states of mind?
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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Moth
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby Moth » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:04 pm

edited.
Last edited by Moth on Wed Oct 19, 2016 2:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:59 pm

1q2aw3 wrote:I am by no means propagating usage of psychedelics etc etc.

For those who know how does it work. How do you think taking entheogens affects karma? Would you as followers of Buddhism would be for or against the usage of them?


The idea is to learn how your own mind works, and then to gain control of it, and teach it how to behave in accordance with The Noble Eight Fold Path, for the express purpose of ending our suffering.

What would be the point of doing anything to increase our suffering?

It should be intuitively obvious that is the wrong way to go. Some would say such actions are non-beneficial if not insane. :rolleye:
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A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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Cittasanto
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:03 pm

Moth wrote:
So they don't bring about hallucinations i.e.visuals with open or closed eyes, or distorted perceptions, altered states of mind?


This is hardly the point.

that is exactly the point in the context of as a follower of the Buddha.

an intoxicant intoxicated doesn't matter if it is to the left or to the right, it intoxicates.

and the Buddha says...
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill


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