Entheogens and Buddhism

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby silentone » Wed Feb 01, 2012 10:59 pm

I think you hit the nail on the head. The key is really having a relationship with your health care providers. The united states has a weird insurance and drug industry which distorts the patient doctor relationship. Its too easy just to throw tranquilizers at a problem quickly and get reimbursed by the patients provider.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby hanzze_ » Mon Jun 04, 2012 4:08 am

It's a fundamental question: "Do I like to follow the teachings of the Buddha or should I try to find a way around it."

Actually the advices of the Buddha are very simple and don't have any gap, the only gaps are just in one's own self honesty (in regard of intentions)

So when you forget about the resolve of renunciation remember freedom form enmity, if you fail to remember freedom form enmity, remember harmlessness, if you fail to remember harmlessness too, it's good to go back to right view. If you do not find any anchor, remember right effort:

"One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort...

"One tries to abandon wrong resolve & to enter into right resolve: This is one's right effort...

"One tries to abandon wrong speech & to enter into right speech: This is one's right effort...

"One tries to abandon wrong action & to enter into right action: This is one's right effort...

"One tries to abandon wrong livelihood & to enter into right livelihood: This is one's right effort."

— MN 117


There are no but's and if's in the precepts. Appamada is the guide and power veto upon the assembling of governing thoughts. If you kill your guide at the beginning of the track, where would you find your self? Would you be fit for such an anarchy?
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:16 pm

hanzze_ wrote:It's a fundamental question: "Do I like to follow the teachings of the Buddha or should I try to find a way around it."

This is an important point. You should never ask "Can I technically do this and still be following the Buddha's teachings?" It's like seeing a sign that says "Don't feed the bears" and asking, "Can I give them this or that without technically feeding them?" It's not as though you have some kind of personal duty to follow the sign; you just know that it's probably good advice.

The Buddha's path is put down to help you. You can do whatever you want. Just remember that the Buddha was probably a lot more on top of things than you are. I'd trust him.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby bdmntn » Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:44 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:The Buddha's path is put down to help you. You can do whatever you want. Just remember that the Buddha was probably a lot more on top of things than you are. I'd trust him.


agreed. "If you cling to it, if you fondle it, if you treasure it, if you are attached to it," says the Buddha, "then you do not understand that the teaching is similar to a raft, which is for crossing over, and not for getting hold of". lsd, 'entheogens' and psychoactives like tea or incense or even music have helped to make a raft that has crossed many over to the dharma, both in the modern west and throughout the historic spread of the dharma. their continual use recreationally is a related subject, but not the only takeaway from the topic of entheogens and buddhisms.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby Lampang » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:50 am

It's a fundamental question: "Do I like to follow the teachings of the Buddha or should I try to find a way around it."


Is that the right question to ask? I would have thought one followed the Buddha's teaching for instrumental reasons - you follow them because you think they will take you to somewhere you want or ought to go, not because there is some inherent good in following them for their own sake. If it were possible to arrive at that end point by other means, would that be wrong? It doesn't seem immediately obvious to me that it is. That said, as someone with a fairly broad experience of drug abuse, including hallucinogens, though much less experience of Buddhism, I don't think the end points are actually anywhere near each other so it's a bit of a redundant question. Related to this, I also think it's a bit odd to rely on textual sources to quite such a degree. I don't want to upset anyone but is it really sensible uncritically to use Iron Age opinion, refracted through subsequent cultural prejudices, as a guide to the benefits - or otherwise - of 21st century pharmacology?
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby bdmntn » Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:52 am

Lampang wrote:
It's a fundamental question: "Do I like to follow the teachings of the Buddha or should I try to find a way around it."


Is that the right question to ask? I would have thought one followed the Buddha's teaching for instrumental reasons - you follow them because you think they will take you to somewhere you want or ought to go, not because there is some inherent good in following them for their own sake. If it were possible to arrive at that end point by other means, would that be wrong? It doesn't seem immediately obvious to me that it is. That said, as someone with a fairly broad experience of drug abuse, including hallucinogens, though much less experience of Buddhism, I don't think the end points are actually anywhere near each other so it's a bit of a redundant question. Related to this, I also think it's a bit odd to rely on textual sources to quite such a degree. I don't want to upset anyone but is it really sensible uncritically to use Iron Age opinion, refracted through subsequent cultural prejudices, as a guide to the benefits - or otherwise - of 21st century pharmacology?


agreed with almost everything, but i do think some 'reinterpretation' or westernization of buddhism does certainly bastardize its character. the 'fundamental question' really needs to be addressed with another argument based around the concepts of skillful means and compassion.

say for instance, some half-educated 16 year old who smokes pot occasionally (http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Latest-News-Wires/2010/1214/US-teens-smoke-more-marijuana-than-tobacco-says-new-survey csmonitor says that more teens smoke marijuana than cigarettes) and just dropped acid a week ago and is therefore feeling a common aftereffect of lsd and other drugs - (in other cultures: psilocybins by some native americans, amanitas by some siberians, peyote as used by some native americans, etc) roughly 'spiritualization' - sees the word entheogen and the word buddhism at two separate times, and for some reason associates the two of them. this could be from marijuana or lsd variations whose name simply contains a reference to the buddha (of which there are many).

i don't think it's naive to know that the association of the word 'buddha' and entheogens is pervasive. so anyways, imagine this kid is one day bored, maybe not high, and decides to google 'entheogens and buddhism' in a google search query. this forum topic page is the second result in that google query. kids these days dont really know how to read (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/22/top-reading_n_1373680.html Huffington Post says that average high school teen in america reads at a fifth-grade level), and so he skims along to see simple, direct, absolute, absolutes - the gist : buddhism and drugs do not mix. probably this dissuades this kid immediately, probably doesn't stay on the site for more than 5 seconds. i'd be interested if the moderators internet web stats (if they use google analytics, etc for this forum) would reveal the query 'entheogens and buddhism' led to the forum.maybe he forgets about buddhism, doesn't really feel spiritual after the lsd aftereffects wear off, and doesn't care about those two random connections of words one more time. maybe this kid dies in a car crash a couple weeks later ( http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/638802.html bloomberg businessweek says car crashes are the leading cause of death of american teens 16,000 a year, more than 4 times 'september 911' casualties count every year).

anyways, so i don't think anyone thinks this kid will be an arhat. i certainly don't - a teenager smoking marijuana commonly and dropping acid must be the result of some deep spiritual void, but it could also be peer pressure or just trying to feel good - but however it is, recreational drug use is bad and so we agreed he couldn't become a saint, someone more like smart researching dudes such as ourselves. he wasn't worth the compassion of talking about how a 'spiritual feeling' relates to buddhism, simply because he had no one to talk to about it. the 'open' internet forums were in fact closed by having some simple, authoritarian language on this page - rather than inviting users of the google machine who could literally be any audience, we reject because buddha said recreational drug use is bad

it's bad because the buddha said. buddha also told two hindus how to find spiritual unity. buddha also used relevant languages when speaking with ascetics or fire-worshippers. buddha also taught non-attachment, and was even against attachment to the practices and teachings and words of 'buddhism'.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby Ben » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:26 am

Greetings,

I am trying to untangle what you are getting at with the above post, so forgive me if I concentrate on just a couple of comments...

buddha said recreational drug use is bad

Not to my knowledge. The fifth precept, like all precepts are 'training rules'. They are taken up voluntarily and one takes them up and keeps them to the best of their ability when they have the understanding that they support the practice. The vast majority of practitioners have broken various precepts at the beginning of the path, but over time have come to their own realization that they are better off by keeping the precepts. Value statements such as this or that "is bad" have little support in the Nikayas.

it's bad because the buddha said.

There is no place for blind belief on this path.


buddha also told two hindus how to find spiritual unity. buddha also used relevant languages when speaking with ascetics or fire-worshippers. buddha also taught non-attachment, and was even against attachment to the practices and teachings and words of 'buddhism'.

Hinduism didn't exist at the time of the Buddha. If it is the Tevijja Sutta you are referring to, they were Brahmin scholar/students. May I suggest you read Richard Gombrich's "How Buddhism Began: the conditioned genesis of the early teachings" with regards to a compelling explanation of this sutta.
The skillful means of the Buddha isn't very well understood. Some people like to cite 'skillful means' when engaging in this or that unwholesome activity. You are right that the Buddha emphasised the perils of attachment, but that was attachment to sensory objects. The Buddha did talk about non-attachment to the teachings. He referred to the teachings as a 'raft' that one puts down when one crosses samsara and becomes liberated. He never suggested that we should abandon our practice or the teachings before we become arahants.
At the time of the Buddha, there was no word for "Buddhism".
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby danieLion » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:26 am

If you take acid to get intoxicated, you're not following the first precept.

What if you take it to have a spiritual experience?

And: if intoxication is a side effect of your medicine, are you then heedless incidentally or by association?

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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby perkele » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:52 am

danieLion wrote:If you take acid to get intoxicated, you're not following the first precept.

What if you take it to have a spiritual experience?

Then one takes acid to get intoxicated with a "spiritual experience". Did the Buddha search for "spiritual experiences" and vain apologies to go on with any kind of madness or did he search for the truth and the end of madness?
And: if intoxication is a side effect of your medicine, are you then heedless incidentally or by association?

I don't understand that question. But it doesn't sound interesting.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby danieLion » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:07 am

perkele wrote:
danieLion wrote:If you take acid to get intoxicated, you're not following the first precept.

What if you take it to have a spiritual experience?

Then one takes acid to get intoxicated with a "spiritual experience".


So, you're claiming that heedlessness is a necessary effect of taking LSD; that if you take acid then you can't help being heedless, that it's completely out of your control?

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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby danieLion » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:10 am

perkele wrote:
danieLion wrote:And: if intoxication is a side effect of your medicine, are you then heedless incidentally or by association?

I don't understand that question. But it doesn't sound interesting.


You take pain killers after getting your wisdom teeth pulled. You get a buzz. Are you then heedless?

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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby perkele » Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:05 am

danieLion wrote:
perkele wrote:
danieLion wrote:If you take acid to get intoxicated, you're not following the first precept.

What if you take it to have a spiritual experience?

Then one takes acid to get intoxicated with a "spiritual experience".


So, you're claiming that heedlessness is a necessary effect of taking LSD; that if you take acid then you can't help being heedless, that it's completely out of your control?

I don't say that. You can be very heedful doing all kinds of stuff, good or bad or neither. The question is what you are looking for and if it is of any genuine value. It is also very important to know what to be heedful of. You can go chasing rabbits very heedfully in some way, but you can get lost, because you were not heedful of where you were coming from.
danieLion wrote:You take pain killers after getting your wisdom teeth pulled. You get a buzz. Are you then heedless?

Heedless of what?
Those who are ashamed of what they should be ashamed of, and are not ashamed of what they should not be ashamed of -- upholding true views, they do not go to states of woe.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby Mr Man » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:05 am

"Drugs can bring about meaningful experiences, but the one who takes a drug has not made causes for such effects. He has just temporarily altered nature, like injecting a monkey with hormones that send him shooting up a tree to pick coconuts. Such experiences may be true but not good or good but not true, whereas Dharma is always both good and true."

Taken from: http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books2/Ajahn ... t_Pool.htm

Searched the above down on the web. I had remembered something like "The experience is real but it has been stolen".
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby bdmntn » Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:12 pm

most of these comments seem beside the point.

i think the problem is that almost all of the respondents here are trying to categorize and abstract out an essence of an idea instead of confronting some bits of reality i am trying to focus on.

my own point is this page is the second result on google search results for the phrase 'buddhism and entheogens'. i am a korean seon buddhist living in america. i click on this link. i see someone proclaiming a dogmatic rule for all of buddhism (if you are a follower of buddha, etc). i know that i am a follower of buddha, within a different tradition, and find it odd that someone is claiming all these rules of buddha without even mentioning any intent behind the rules and in a spirit that breaks with other buddhist traditions of mindfulness, compassion, dialogue etc.

perhaps others, totally ignorant of the bulk of buddhas teaching, also found this site, and as current drug users who find their desires and life being filled by drugs rather than dharma, will chose what they know in the first 5 seconds without finding a hook that will engage them because of a focus on authoritarian language rather than intent.

this forum does not exist in an isolated, abstract community of fellow-travelers on an island, but on the internet where it can be seen by people coming from many many backgrounds. how does it help those people to engage in rule-reciting rather than the intention behind those rules? perhaps some people, perhaps young, who visit this site are drug users and want to remain drug users, but are also interested in buddhism. it is more important to recite rules about how drug use is bad, then to get them more interested in the dharma than in drugs?

of course drug use won't be helpful for people once they've taken refuge, of course buddhism is a western concept, of course there was no such thing as hinduism, of course there are multiple interpretations of the suttas, of course of course of course skillful means can be employed to negative ends, but of course so can rules. is that impossible or ludicrous to accept?
Last edited by bdmntn on Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:21 pm

bdmntn wrote:this forum does not exist in an isolated, abstract community of fellow-travelers on an island, but on the internet where it can be seen by people coming from many many backgrounds. how does it help those people to engage in rule-reciting rather than the intention behind those rules? perhaps some people, perhaps young, who visit this site are drug users and want to remain drug users, but are also interested in buddhism. it is more important to recite rules about how drug use is bad, then to get them more interested in the dharma than in drugs?

Should we encourage them to behave in ways that do not lead to joy, peace, and freedom from suffering in order to draw them in?
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby bdmntn » Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:38 pm

Should we encourage them to behave in ways that do not lead to joy, peace, and freedom from suffering in order to draw them in?


there's no middle way between shutting down conversation with rule recitation and encouraging them to do drugs?

my own opinion is that the rule recitation is only being said because of a lack of awareness of the possibilities of others coming from a huge variation of backgrounds being able to see this, rather than with the intent of shutting down conversations btw.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby suttametta » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:08 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?


I have a lot of experience with psychedelics. I'm also 35+ years dharma study with masters from Theravada and Vajrayana, and I have an ancient family lineage in Hindu yoga. I have a lot of experience in all things mind.

Psychedelics are like most tools, you use them what you need. But you need to be aware of the consequences. I took psychedelics at a time when I was absolutely at wits end trying to understand the path and I was hoping for a vision thing. It happened so that I had a direction b/c I had a vision of my future teacher, but it had icky effects that lingered. If you are not careful, those icky side notes can cause you to go after more chemical and material remedies and this is where you can end up accumulating negative karma. Also if you take psychedelics without a basic understanding of the illusory quality of visions, then your visions can screw you up and make you act really weird in front of friends and family. That might be okay if you were like me and had been dealt a major setback in life and all my loved ones understood I was going through trauma.

What psychedelics will not do is give you any useful experience in terms of the path itself. They are kind of a one time boost. If you are going to do it, do ayahuasca or salvia, the stuff that packs a major punch and you will definitely get a spiritual insight, but you won't want to do it again. Then you can put that aside and follow a safe path.

Any, I repeat, ANY drugs, pot, alcohol etc., will obscure your mind and it will be impossible to recognize the path. Once you have seen it, then a little beer now and then and so on will not be a big problem. But you need to get stable first. I hope this helps. I speak this from the bottom of my heart.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby bdmntn » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:20 pm

suttametta wrote: Any, I repeat, ANY drugs, pot, alcohol etc., will obscure your mind and it will be impossible to recognize the path.


agreed. that's why we shouldn't close conversation to people who are living with obscured minds.

drug use is real, it actually happens.

debating about whether this is good or bad is besides the point. (i tend to think entheogens, not alcohol, can be a good way of stripping away one's preconceptions and 'environment', but you can disagree or have no experience with them - that's fine and understandable, but besides the point. )

drug use is real because people feel they have a need for it. we should cast dispersions and rules on them without getting to know them? i disagree with this dogmatism.

my answer to the op follows:

the dharma is the best drug, the most beautiful lsd, the most psychedelic marijuana. some might find temporary happiness with regular drugs, but their effects wear off. the dharma is the drug that never stops.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:44 pm

bdmntn wrote:there's no middle way between shutting down conversation with rule recitation and encouraging them to do drugs?

my own opinion is that the rule recitation is only being said because of a lack of awareness of the possibilities of others coming from a huge variation of backgrounds being able to see this, rather than with the intent of shutting down conversations btw.

I hope we haven't come off that way at all. To most of us, it's simply an open-and-shut case here. It'd be similar (in essence, not in degree) if someone came and said, "I want to be a Buddhist but I'm dating a 16 year old." Obviously it happens and we don't want to shut any inquiry out; it's just hard to have any approach besides "probably not a good idea, bud."

If I ever came off as overly dogmatic or critical it was not my intent. I hope I did not.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Postby suttametta » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:26 pm

bdmntn wrote:the dharma is the best drug, the most beautiful lsd, the most psychedelic marijuana. some might find temporary happiness with regular drugs, but their effects wear off. the dharma is the drug that never stops.


I recognize the intent behind the statement is to allure the user into a better path, but it is a bit misleading. Dharma is a very stable mind. The happiness that comes from merit, clarity and stability is not in any way like any drug. The drug analogy would have worked for me before stream-entry, but now that I know better I wouldn't use this analogy anymore. Drugs are like fog, and stormy skies. Dharma is like the clear blue sky. Drugs are like a blustering wind. Dharma is like a still spring morning. Drugs are exhausting. Dharma is never worn out. But I agree with you that dharma is a great replacement for drugs. It fills that hole in your chest left behind by drug use.
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