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 badit'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'.