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Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad? - Dhamma Wheel

Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Jenna
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Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Postby Jenna » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:11 pm

Hi, I'm new to the forum, and have come looking for your ideas and feelings on something which I've struggled with for years now.

I am 23, and have suffered the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder from the age of 8 onwards. I only gained a proper diagnosis early this year, and the drugs they've prescribed have helped enormously with no notable side effects.

When I was about 16 years old, a year after leaving school, going through all sorts of hallucinations and the likes. There were weeks when I lost all self awareness - when I could perhaps not even be classed as sentient. Everything I knew broke down inside, and I rebuilt myself. While trying to understand myself so I might get better, I spent years introspecting, meditating, and questioning. I didn't know it at the time, but I was certainly meditating, and by the age of 19, many of the conclusions I'd come to aligned very closely with buddhism. It was around then that I came to know what buddhism is about, and surprised, I realised, I already seemed to have many of the same ideas.

About one year onwards, I made my first real friend. He introduced me to many more, and soon I had something I'd dreamed of for so long — A social life. After a while I came to see some of my friends using drugs. Relaxed people with sensible ideas - not the braindead stoners I'd typically associated with drug users - but something better, and more reflective. People I admired and enjoyed the company of were occasional users of LSD. Early this year, after much research, I decided it would be safe for me to try it, and was curious of it's effects.

It was truly an incredible experience. Having been through hallucinations before, I wasn't phased much by that aspect. It somehow cleansed me of all the busy thoughts and built up ideas I struggle against when meditating. I could sit and see clearly the incredible details and astounding wonderment of a tree, or just quietly enjoy the wind without distraction. It became so clear what was important to me, and what things I was routinely and thoughtlessly doing which were bringing me unhappiness. That relaxed sense stayed with me for many weeks after, effectively ridding me of anxieties built up over years.

Sadly, some of those anxieties eventually returned. Old habits were not totally broken, but six months on, I still felt so improved by the experience that I decided the next time I encountered a safe place with good friends, I'd try it again and see if it could bring further long term relief of modern stresses and harmful thought patterns.

That time came two weeks ago, and I'm still feeling good. I'm relaxed, and comfortable with myself. I'm less preoccupied with things which bring me no joy, allowing a calm focus on the things really important to me in life.

And yet, I still wonder - what are the downsides? Some very smart people with very similar ideas to me have been of the opinion that taking drugs is a bad idea for thousands of years, at minimum! So what's to it? If taking a safe drug in careful moderation brings about peace and speeds up the journey toward emotional well being, what could be the downside?

I look forward to your thoughts and ideas. :smile:

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daverupa
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Postby daverupa » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:22 pm


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Jenna
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Postby Jenna » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:25 pm


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acinteyyo
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Postby acinteyyo » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:54 pm

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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daverupa
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Postby daverupa » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:07 pm


dhammamachi
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Postby dhammamachi » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:15 pm

I agree with acinteyyo. Even though drugs (medicinal or recreative) may cause a change of mind that you experience as an improvement, the effects are only temporal.

As a matter of fact, you can consider them to cause you pain and not improvement. You will crave for its effects (improvement of state of mind); you may think that your happiness depends on them. You may swap one collection of bad habits for another. The only thing that changes is your valorization of the bad habits.

Many people arrive at the Path because of drug use. However, to walk on the Path, drugs should be avoided. You want permanent happiness (I assume :) ) and not a temporal state that you experience as happiness but that will cause you pain in the longer run.

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Alexei
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Postby Alexei » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:57 pm

Hi Jenna!

Thanks for sharing.

Did LSD influence your behaviour and way of life?

Could you describe anxieties you are talking about? Are they connected to Bipolar Disorder?

Upasaka
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Postby Upasaka » Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:10 pm

The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice.

- Ajahn Chah -

santa100
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Postby santa100 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:27 pm

Stay away from those external drugs. Use the ones that's naturally produced by the body. Try outdoor cardio exercises like jogging, biking, hiking, etc. and the body will produce lots of endorphin, which helps easeing physical pains and increase relaxation. This is the best natural drug that effectivly fight stress, depression, and all kind of chronic diseases. Combining exercises and meditation, you'll no longer need to resort to any other kind of drugs, which'll only do more harm than help to your body. Can't hurt to give it a try. Good luck..

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manas
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Postby manas » Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:01 pm

Hi jenna,

I have to rush off, and I would prefer to give your original post a bit of thought before answering it in more detail. Just wanted to add that I used to smoke weed, and I even used to meditate while stoned, sometimes. It certainly felt like I was getting insights into reality at the time, peace, calm etc. But two things about that. Firstly, the insights were not really that deep. They were kind of more like sentiment, a wave of inspiration that could very easily fade and disappear again, to be quickly replaced by an intense craving for sense pleasure (and that proved to me that the insight was shallow or even delusory - a trick of the mind). Secondly, I had a meditation on the breath once where the mind calmed quite a lot (this time, I was totally sober, I was off any drugs), and I recall when I arose from that sitting, I felt so blissed, as if i had just taken poppyseed tea if you know what I mean, except that I was totally lucid and clear. I could tell that the pleasure I was feeling was coming from my own body, it was my own endorphins or whatever. I can remember thinking, as the sweet tranquillity gently faded into a more ordinary state of calmness, "wow, I'll have more of that, please!" So, yes, meditation can definitely give us feelings of ease and happiness, and the great thing is that it has no harmful side effects, only good :smile: ones.
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:19 pm

To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:
My Practice Blog:

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:29 pm

He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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m0rl0ck
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Postby m0rl0ck » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:28 pm

OK, heres the downside, some people never come back.
I have personally known people who flipped out and never came back.

Im a veteran of probably a hundred acid trips or more, roughly twice a week for a year or more in my days of heaviest use, so i am an informed source.

Of course you can say that the people who flipped out and never came back probably had some pre-existing condition, but thats exactly the position you are in, isnt it?

You are in no position to be messing around with your brain chemistry.

Addendum: That calm peacful comfortable wtih yourself feeling could just as easily be the beginning of a manic phase, take your meds, be honest with your doctors.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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Aloka
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Postby Aloka » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:16 pm

Hi Jenna,

I took LSD a number of times when I was a student and was extremely lucky not to have any bad experiences. I certainly knew people who did have a bad time and I don't even want to say too much about what happened to some of them. Lets just say a couple of them ended up in psychiatric care.

If you are already taking medication for Bi-Polar disorder, you really shouldn't be messing around with other drugs.

Its not safe - please trust me on that.

with kind wishes,

Aloka

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Jenna
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Postby Jenna » Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:57 am


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Jenna
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Postby Jenna » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:13 am


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ground
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Postby ground » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:42 am

Everybody knows the disadvantages of drugs so there is no need to mention these. It is like smoking causing cancer does not hold people back from smoking and it does not make sense to repeat over and over again that smoking causes cancer when smokers already know but still keep smoking.

Is seems as if you already have made up your mind and you have started this thread to probe whether your belief can stand the view of others.
Sometimes there is free will and sometimes there is not. When we decide for something we ourself may have the impression that it is a decision based on free will.
To watch and observe with clear unobstructed awareness whether what we are inclined to think and what we are inclined to do is actually based on free will or not is something some prefer to indulging in the effects of alleged free decisions which are actually habitual urges and impulses.

Kind regards

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Jenna
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Postby Jenna » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:36 am


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ground
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Postby ground » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:49 am


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manas
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Postby manas » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:55 am

Sorry jenna, everyone, I'm not sure about the reply I made here, and due to my doubts, I got rid of it. I should probably leave advising others to those more experienced. I am feeling like I should say less than I do.

may you be well

metta
Last edited by manas on Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."


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