Pharmacological Aids to Enlightenment

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation
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ancientbuddhism
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Re: Pharmacological Aids to Enlightenment

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:33 pm

There is a wide range of Nootropic ("smart drugs" including those mentioned in the OP) with specific cognitive affects. Some of these ‘drugs’ (some are simple herbal supplements and amino acids) have little or no toxicity or side effects. And in many places of the world where there is reasonable access to medications, these can be obtained without prescription from a clinician.

Caffeine was mentioned earlier and dismissed as an absurd comparison, but it actually does fit in the schedule of Nootorpic medicine as a cognitive enhancer, which is kind of obvious for our purposes considering that on uposatha all-nighters we are offered copious amounts of tea and coffee.
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

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Re: Pharmacological Aids to Enlightenment

Postby Hanzze » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:36 pm

However, do you think that it aids to Enlightenment?
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Re: Pharmacological Aids to Enlightenment

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:56 pm

Hanzze wrote:However, do you think that it aids to Enlightenment?


They enhance cognition, what one fills their time with within that enhanced state may affect their aims.

Like Ben, I also am ambivalent about their use. In the past I would use balm to stave off drowsiness during meditation, only later to find that when the practice matures, energy naturally arises, even when physically tired. Did the balm help, for the moment perhaps, but nothing like right-exertion, right-mindfulness and right-concentration.
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

A Handful of Leaves

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Re: Pharmacological Aids to Enlightenment

Postby Caraka » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:59 pm

If such a drug existed, I think it's not a violation of the 5th precept, since the full phrase includes "which lead to carelessness".


If such a drug existed is idle speculations.

The fifth precept is for me a translation trying to make the Buddhas teaching about moral and ethic understandable in English. What if it really meant 'smacking your feet off the fundament that your virtue is buildt upon' ?

Anything that can lead one onto unwholesome thoughts or actions is not good, I hope all can agree about that. So for me the question is not what Pharmacological Aids might lead to, or not. It is all about what can lead me onto more wholesome thoughts and actions. Alcohol? Drugs? Pharmacological Aids? I don't think so.

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Re: Pharmacological Aids to Enlightenment

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:08 pm

Caraka wrote:
If such a drug existed, I think it's not a violation of the 5th precept, since the full phrase includes "which lead to carelessness".


If such a drug existed is idle speculations.

The fifth precept is for me a translation trying to make the Buddhas teaching about moral and ethic understandable in English. What if it really meant 'smacking your feet off the fundament that your virtue is buildt upon' ?

Anything that can lead one onto unwholesome thoughts or actions is not good, I hope all can agree about that. So for me the question is not what Pharmacological Aids might lead to, or not. It is all about what can lead me onto more wholesome thoughts and actions. Alcohol? Drugs? Pharmacological Aids? I don't think so.


Except for some of the amphetamines listed as Nootropics (and even these can conceivably be used without risk of ‘heedlessness’), I don’t see how any of these fail the caution of sīla.
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

A Handful of Leaves

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Re: Pharmacological Aids to Enlightenment

Postby Hanzze » Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:20 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:
Hanzze wrote:However, do you think that it aids to Enlightenment?


They enhance cognition, what one fills their time with within that enhanced state may affect their aims.

Like Ben, I also am ambivalent about their use. In the past I would use balm to stave off drowsiness during meditation, only later to find that when the practice matures, energy naturally arises, even when physically tired. Did the balm help, for the moment perhaps, but nothing like right-exertion, right-mindfulness and right-concentration.

Do you have an idea of wether it would maybe have been faster (if something is reached already, which might be maybe the main objective base of argumentation) if that would not have been? To put it into an extreme, would Angulimara have attained the goals if not have killed so many? I guess to use such things as argumentation is a little risky even it brought somebody where he is, where he is.

We have done many things, and we might have always the change to try it maybe a little harder and even better. The path is still well pointed out. Sometimes it is time for wisdom, sometimes for faith.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Re: Pharmacological Aids to Enlightenment

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:43 pm

Hanzze wrote:
ancientbuddhism wrote:
Hanzze wrote:However, do you think that it aids to Enlightenment?


They enhance cognition, what one fills their time with within that enhanced state may affect their aims.

Like Ben, I also am ambivalent about their use. In the past I would use balm to stave off drowsiness during meditation, only later to find that when the practice matures, energy naturally arises, even when physically tired. Did the balm help, for the moment perhaps, but nothing like right-exertion, right-mindfulness and right-concentration.

Do you have an idea of wether it would maybe have been faster (if something is reached already, which might be maybe the main objective base of argumentation) if that would not have been? To put it into an extreme, would Angulimara have attained the goals if not have killed so many? I guess to use such things as argumentation is a little risky even it brought somebody where he is, where he is.

We have done many things, and we might have always the change to try it maybe a little harder and even better. The path is still well pointed out. Sometimes it is time for wisdom, sometimes for faith.


Clever analogy; Would Angulimāla have met the Buddha if he wasn’t what he was? - May have to ask Schrödinger’s cat that one.

But if we are discussing whether it is ‘faster’ or even helpful to use a crutch such as these for practice, I would say no.

An amusing story I heard at WPN was of a monk who had difficulty with drowsiness during meditation, so he took to sitting at the edge of a bluff, only to lean backwards when he drifted off instead of forward. Amazing though it is that his consciousness was aware of extremes despite the drowsiness, he was still left with the same puzzle for establishing energy through the fatigue in his practice.
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

A Handful of Leaves

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Re: Pharmacological Aids to Enlightenment

Postby Alex123 » Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:43 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:If such a drug existed, I think it's not a violation of the 5th precept, since the full phrase includes "which lead to carelessness".


You are absolutely right. The key point in the precept is "...which lead to carelessness" .

As I understand it, the fault with drugs are the side effects that they bring and if they promote breaking of other precepts (ex: if one gets drunk one can do very bad things).

If coffee helps one to study Abhidhamma more, or to meditate with more alertness - then what is so sinful in that?
In that way they can indirectly speed up progress.

Hanzze wrote:However, do you think that it aids to Enlightenment?


It can if it helps one to study Abhidhamma and meditate more.
"dust to dust...."

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Re: Pharmacological Aids to Enlightenment

Postby DAWN » Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:59 pm

We must develop that is unconditioned
All that have condition, must be rejected
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english

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Re: Pharmacological Aids to Enlightenment

Postby daverupa » Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:35 pm

DAWN wrote:We must develop that is unconditioned
All that have condition, must be rejected


The eightfold path is conditioned, so that's not quite right.

Caffeine, cannabis, cocaine, chocolate... it's interesting to see the unspoken assumption remain unspoken, to wit "this substance will make the Dhamma easier, because as-is it's not easy enough..."

I'm much more interested in getting an arahant under an fMRI...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Pharmacological Aids to Enlightenment

Postby Alex123 » Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:59 pm

DAWN wrote:We must develop that is unconditioned
All that have condition, must be rejected



Eating food is conditioned and something that one has to do for life. Do we need to reject eating and starve to death?
"dust to dust...."

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Re: Pharmacological Aids to Enlightenment

Postby Sam Vara » Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:08 pm

daverupa wrote:
DAWN wrote:We must develop that is unconditioned
All that have condition, must be rejected


The eightfold path is conditioned, so that's not quite right.

Caffeine, cannabis, cocaine, chocolate... it's interesting to see the unspoken assumption remain unspoken, to wit "this substance will make the Dhamma easier, because as-is it's not easy enough..."

I'm much more interested in getting an arahant under an fMRI...


That's why we ought to be reticent about attainments. The arahants who declare on here: they don't stay around long, do they? I reckon they get tracked down by men in black, and there is a desert laboratory somewhere that is full of them...

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Re: Pharmacological Aids to Enlightenment

Postby Hanzze » Sat Sep 08, 2012 3:20 am

daverupa wrote:
DAWN wrote:We must develop that is unconditioned
All that have condition, must be rejected


The eightfold path is conditioned, so that's not quite right.

Caffeine, cannabis, cocaine, chocolate... it's interesting to see the unspoken assumption remain unspoken, to wit "this substance will make the Dhamma easier, because as-is it's not easy enough..."

I'm much more interested in getting an arahant under an fMRI...

I would not take it that verbally, but at least the statement is not wrong. We use the contitioned skillfull to get free from it. One step after the other, but the direction is clear. And regarding the food, if there is no more food, what would burn. So one keeps the flamme burning, that it might not run away and burns again on another place, till no more food is left.
No need to put additional oil into it, in fear that there would not every nutrition be burned. Just mindful collecting all to the center, mindful, that there is no more nutrition left.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Re: Pharmacological Aids to Enlightenment

Postby daverupa » Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:29 am

Well yes, the raft needs to be discarded. But it also needs to be built, and used. I wager we agree.

:heart:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Pharmacological Aids to Enlightenment

Postby Hanzze » Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:35 am

If one used the plants to make such a raft rather to capture them which what ever mouth, yes. Eaten there will be no raft but of cause more time to think about to make maybe a different or better raft.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Re: Pharmacological Aids to Enlightenment

Postby Ben » Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:56 pm

daverupa wrote:I'm much more interested in getting an arahant under an fMRI...


That is an interesting proposition, Dave. However, in my experience, there seems to be an inverse relationship between real spiritual progress and talking about it.
As for the use of substances like tea and coffee - in my experience you don't want to go into an intensive retreat dependent on them. I have found that with the increase in wakefulness comes an increase in mental agitation which doesn't aid one's development of samadhi.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Pharmacological Aids to Enlightenment

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:39 am

I vote against using drugs as an aid to samadhi or sati. I believe that the arguments I have seen in their favour present strawman arguements or are at least very naive. Any attempt to strive towards abandoning craving by trying to control the physical world, or the mental world through physical means (i.e. looking 'out there' to change the disposition of what is 'in here') I believe is doomed to failure.

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Re: Pharmacological Aids to Enlightenment

Postby Ben » Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:05 am

Mawkish1983 wrote:I vote against using drugs as an aid to samadhi or sati. I believe that the arguments I have seen in their favour present strawman arguements or are at least very naive. Any attempt to strive towards abandoning craving by trying to control the physical world, or the mental world through physical means (i.e. looking 'out there' to change the disposition of what is 'in here') I believe is doomed to failure.


:goodpost:
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com

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Re: Pharmacological Aids to Enlightenment

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:37 am

DAWN wrote:We must develop that is unconditioned
All that have condition, must be rejected
Wrong.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Pharmacological Aids to Enlightenment

Postby DAWN » Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:57 am

tiltbillings wrote:
DAWN wrote:We must develop that is unconditioned
All that have condition, must be rejected
Wrong.


All that have condition is impermanent, is illusion, all that is impermanent is dukkha, right practice cant bring the dukkha, right practice brings descovering of Unconditioned, Unestablished, Uncreated.
We must find the peace without help of drugs. If we find peace in drugs, we cant find peace in Dhamma.
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english


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