Telling someone that LSD is an intoxicant is probably not the correct approach, because anyone who has done LSD proper (i.e right set and setting, right respect and expectation) knows that it is quite the opposite. The reason I gave up psychedelic drugs after using them for years was that I began to realize that the experience simply was not sustainable. On the trip you feel as if you've understood everything, you've realized your faults and overcome them, and you have arrived at peace, etc. However after the trip wears off you go right back to your old habits. This should be a clear enough indication that you in fact did not understand everything, and certainly did no attain Nibbana, though you deluded yourself into believing you had (I have certainly done this before). Thus the real risk of psychedelics is delusion, not intoxication. One is not that likely to do immoral things unless they are predisposed, rather more they are likely to gain some false sense of attainment. As Ajahn Jayasaro once aptly quoted, "If drugs expand the mind, than an ignorant mind will get expanded ignorance." There is also a great degree of pleasure-seeking involved with its ingestion as well as craving when one is off the Entheogen. It is by no means the type of craving that is typically associated with drugs, i.e that of opium, however it is there and though it may be subtle it is still quite powerful. For example, when I mediate now I have the bad habit of hoping to achieve some kind of psychedelic state. Often I will also reminisce about my trips and long for that experience again, simply because it was so seemingly profound.
I cannot say that psychedelics are bad, the experience they impart is very much beyond my understanding so I am not in a position to judge them. They also gave me a first-hand glimpse of anatta, long before I had read the Buddha's teachings, and this helped me appreciate the teachings even more when I found them. Ultimately though the greatest result I found from psychedelics was finding the Dhamma, and after that I had no more need for them. The Noble Eightfold Path is a far greater vehicle. I have met many people who continue to use psychedelics as their means of reaching enlightenment and they all seem to become more and more confused. The thing about psychedelics is that they only lead to more questions, where as the Dhamma leads to the cessation of questions. Psychonauts are always speculating, always revising their theories of everything, and I was no different. However, the Dhamma only present answers, not more questions, and if you follow it for awhile you will lose this need to question everything, because the answers have been given to you and they are more than satisfactory--now it is just a matter of living by them so that you can see them for yourself.
The rabbit hole is infinite...I have tripped perhaps ~40 times on all sorts of psychedelics, the most notable being DMT. After the first few times I really gained no deeper understanding...you come to the same conclusion each time and then you forget it when it wears off. The experience is essentially a striping down of dualities, self/other, subject/object, life/death, etc, the peak realization being that there is no self and that everything is the same (in regards to the domain of namarupa). It is a breaking down of concepts. You realize this (if you've taken enough), think you've solved it all, and then hours later you're back to where you began, selfish as ever. After awhile the pattern becomes quite familiar and you realize you're getting nowhere. Studying and living by the Dhamma even for a few months taught me so much more than all those trips combined, and this is in no way an exaggeration. The thing about psychedelics is that its just perception unfiltered, there's no guiding teacher to point out what you should focus on and what you should not and thus you waste a lot of time in self-indulgent loops. The Dhamma is concise, refined, exact and the to the point. The first chapter of the Majjhima Nikaya says in a few pages what it took me years to realize from LSD. I suppose one has to understand these sort of things for themselves though. I too started a psychedelics thread here and was quite defensive of them, but eventually after trying again a few times it became unmistakably clear that they were in all ways inferior to the Dhamma, and ultimately a distraction.
One thing I often tell people who ask me about this is that the beauty of Sila is far greater than anything you will experience through drugs. The psychedelic state is like a lighting bolt, a flash of light, it comes and it goes and afterwards everything seems quite dull in comparison. Sila is gradual, it slowly ripens but as it does everything becomes progressively more and more beautiful. Psychedelics can at best offer a glimpse of selflessness, however Sila is the practice of living by it, and it is in this way that it truly develops and remains. One quickly understands the pleasing themselves is limited and futile, and that loving all beings is the only way to truly be happy. Giving and expecting nothing in return, helping others even at the expense of yourself, sympathetic joy, loving kindness, these things offer a real means of escaping the self, one which is far greater than any psychedelic experience. Use that money you would have spent on acid and give it to someone who doesn't even have food to eat, and live by your precepts confidently rather than dwelling in their gray areas.
May you be happy.
Last edited by Moth
on Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.