Buddhism and Psychedelics

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Nori » Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:42 pm

Hi Moth,

I, like you, was eventually brought to Buddhism as a result of realizations experienced during the consumption of entheogens (like mushrooms, LSD, Mescaline).

While many who have not had these experiences believe they can be delusional, *it is quite the contrary*, it can really brings you down to reality in a really hard way. It makes you really realize how much of a delusion we can live in, which are created by mental views/disposition.

It is a funny thing however. I cannot say, it does this or that, since it really depends on the individual who takes it. The effects are really not that straightforward and very complex. Again, the effect depends on the individuals disposition, and I think those prone can have a 'misleading' or 'delusional' experience. However, part of the effect can possibly include seeing things on a level more real than the common state.

I notice, however, that in my later experiences years ago, there was less effect, maybe due to realizations becoming part of my experience.

I often wonder whether I would be the same person (or have the same sort of understanding/disposition) without having had those experiences, and whether I am really better off.

One thing certain, is that I sought the same understanding (wisdom, truth, or whatever you want to call it) before I ever had these experiences, and observe that I was seeking these answers from the start.

---

I think much of this sort of understanding/views and practice (of Buddhism) stems from the ancient Indus Valley civilizations where you can find the oldest reliefs of people in yogic meditation poses, and where also, the 'Swastika', the symbol associated with Buddhism and Jainism originated. I speculate, that from this culture also came the Vedas. Some researchers believe very strongly, that this culture was involved in regularly consuming a drink called 'Soma' which consisted, partly, of the Amanita Muscaria mushroom. Whatever the concoction was, it was regularly partaken of during their 'ceremonies', and was a religious sacrament (just as Peyote is for the Indians of the Americas, Marijuana is for the Saddhus (hindu ascetics) and as mushrooms, ayahuasca, and various other forms of entheogens are for many shamanic cultures around the world.) So without any question: Gotama the Buddha grew up in this culture and learned the Vedas. I think it is not a 'far cry' to imagine that the Buddha may have also partaken in these rituals, or have been introduced to entheogens.

During my tour of India of the sacred Buddhist sites, I visited some of the museums that were adjacent to it. In them are contained some of the oldest Buddhist statues. I was astounded to see that in many of the statues, the Buddha was standing under what appeared to be a giant mushroom. Not one, but several statues. I examined the shape - it was clearly a mushroom. I think the common understanding is that it is an umbrella to protect him from the sun.

----

In regards to your question. I think your heart will tell you what is right and what is wrong. If things are done with bad intentions, they can have ill results. As the Buddha has said himself: how do you determine whether a certain occupation/practice is good or bad? If it leads to unskillful qualities it is bad. If it leads to skillful qualities it is good.

- N
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Supr3m3 » Sun Sep 29, 2013 10:40 am

Found this thread on google and after reading it felt Bumping it up.

It seems to happen very often when this topic is brought up that opinions are strictly divided to two categories. People seem to forget the middle way teaching of Buddha.. As his states in the sutras, samadhi is not Enlightenment. Enlightenment is realization of one's true nature. However, Buddha adviced his disciplines to live in the nature and remain in meditative absorption for insights and wisdom. The mind is infinite and with right methods mind is a precious tool for helping others to understand their true nature. This is where I think psychedelics and cannabis have their value, if used for right purposes. These substances are ultimately projection of the mind in matter and experience. Like this state of mind which we call life is altered state of the pure awareness, so are the altered states of mind like sleep, deep meditative states and states achieved through using of psychedelics. Siddhis can be used both as manipulative tools and helping tools. Same goes for anything we have access to. It is not really about whether one should or should not enter altered state of mind, but how the insights and understanding should be used.

Many people who have taken just one single dose of mushrooms, ayahuasca, dmt or ibigaine have changed their way of life from negative to more positive. It might have been the kick start for them to really start thinking about life and the actions and the causes they have on themselves and others. In buddhist practice I do not see the value of psychedelics because one who has control of the mind, can "access" higher states and beyond without any substances. But in the perspective of non-buddhists especially those who have no regret, are violent, are abusive, have negative mind patterns and are stubborn to face their negative affects on themselves and others, psychedelics can have tremendous positive impact for change for the better. It will not show the truth but it will make the questioning their negative behaviors.

The devastating state the Earth is currently is not caused by those who understands the nature of the mind and their true nature, but by those who are ignorant and are still trapped in the samsara and self-delusion. Psychedelic use with a guide and right set and setting can open people eyes. The guide or shaman has a very important role for guiding the mind and explaining the experiences.

I understand that many buddhists say that psychedelics will add more confusion to already bewildered mind, but sometimes some diseases need strong medicines. To help a rapist or child-molestator to understand the suffering they cause, psychedelics like ibogaine may be a option to make them go through the same experience as they have caused others to go through. It will not teach they the truth but it will certainly affect their negative behavior for the better. Psychedelics ought to be regarded as very potential medicines and tools for those with addictions and obsessions for these defilements require instant and profound impacts to the mind. May be this way the hardened hearts would soften that much that they were willing to listen to the teachings of an enlightened being.

In order to help those who are in the darkest places, other actions than loving-kindness and compassion are needed First, to get their attention. If one is not ready to sacrifice one body for the benefit of evil spirits, then perhaps we could try to show the image of themselves for example by giving them ibogaine. Like Manjushri became more frightful than Yama and had Yama to surrender for him, so can it be done for the most stubborn and violent ones too.

Not saying that any if this should be included in buddhist practices. Just wanted to light up some beneficial opportunities psychedelics have. For me buddhism is about investigation and cultivating discriminating awareness. It is not a religion that ought to be followed blindly. Buddha never searched for followers. He wanted people to examine the teachings if there is truth in them. The truth can only be pointed out but ultimately one needs to experience "it" in order to understand it fully. Psychedelics are not the answer for truth, but can introduce profound insights of our behavior and about the possibilities of the mind if used with experienced guide with good intentions, in a very short period of time.
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Aloka » Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:46 pm

Supr3m3 wrote:in the perspective of non-buddhists especially those who have no regret, are violent, are abusive, have negative mind patterns and are stubborn to face their negative affects on themselves and others, psychedelics can have tremendous positive impact for change for the better. It will not show the truth but it will make the questioning their negative behaviors


Really ? When I was younger I knew of a non-Buddhist with a history of abusive behaviour who was a heavy cannabis and other "recreational" drugs user (which included psychedelics) who murdered a friend of his so violently that his brain was splattered around the walls of the room. At the trial he apparently had no regrets.

Psychedelics ought to be regarded as very potential medicines and tools for those with addictions and obsessions for these defilements require instant and profound impacts to the mind.


Nonsense. Where do you get these ideas from ? When I was a student I knew several people who ended up with serious mental health problems as a direct result of taking psychedelic drugs.

Like Manjushri ...


Manjushri is a Mahayana deity. This is a Theravada website.

Not saying that any if this should be included in buddhist practices. Just wanted to light up some beneficial opportunities psychedelics have


Why do you want to revive a topic from 3 years ago in your first post here when it is against the Buddhist precepts to take psychedelics and they are illegal in many countries ?

Are you a teenager, if you don't mind me asking ?


.
Last edited by Aloka on Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:01 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby SDC » Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:47 pm

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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby PsychedelicSunSet » Sun Sep 29, 2013 4:51 pm

"LSD is a gateway drug to Buddhism."

I recently took up the 5 precepts, and as someone who has eaten far to many hallucinogens and eaten their fair share of substances in general, the fifth precept has been an interesting one. I think not doing drugs has been much more conducive to my practice than doing them. Hallucinogens are why I ended up at Buddhism, but I don't think they're intertwined nor do I think they're a useful aid/tool to/for the practice.




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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby dagon » Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:45 pm

A lot of people find their way to Buddhism through suffering, don't we have enough suffering without the damage that intoxicants do. Buddha has taught us how to purify the mind. Intoxicants are well DUR - toxic. They work by toxic effects on the brain. In my view the question if psychedelics are useful to the practice is - how do i say this nicely - a nobrainer.

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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Mindsw33per » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:32 am

Good morning,

I just registered because I found this nice thread while I was looking for some answers.

An aspect no one mentioned is the identical structure of our transmitter in the brain (serotonin) and the mentioned psychedelics (that fact for itself rises some questions).
Image
Yes, they are called "drugs" but I think if the buddha had the possibilities of our time, he would dive deeper. The Dalai Lama is a fan of quantum mechanics. Why not looking into the mind with the help of these substances? And please don`t insist on the "path of the buddha"- budhism seems to me like an open thinking not packed with dogma.
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Ben » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:39 am

Perhaps you should delve a little ore into Buddhism before your drugs of choice sweeps your mind away.
Be sure that all sorts of intoxicants and hallucinogens were available at the time of the Buddha.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby kmath » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:46 am

Mindsw33per wrote: The Dalai Lama is a fan of quantum mechanics. Why not looking into the mind with the help of these substances? And please don`t insist on the "path of the buddha"- budhism seems to me like an open thinking not packed with dogma.


The Dalai Lama is a fan of quantum mechanics, therefore Buddhists should try LSD? I'm not seeing the connection.

I used to think like you Midsweeper, but that was before I knew what the Buddha actually taught. There's really no place for substances in Buddhism -- plain and simple.
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Mindsw33per » Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:43 am

kmath wrote: The Dalai Lama is a fan of quantum mechanics, therefore Buddhists should try LSD? I'm not seeing the connection.
Before the strange existence of the atoms (=quantum mechanics) was discovered everybody thought it would consist of a core with some flying electrons around it.
After the quantum-theories (heisenberg etc...) it`s so weird no one could understand a real atom.
Meditation could be the same thing. It is a nice state of mind but maybe there are other methods of working with the mind, too.

Budhism isn`t full of dogma so it can "work" together with science. The Dalai Lama seems to understand that.
I`m just looking for a way to "explore" the mind. The "silence" isn`t just silence... otherwise this "reality" would not exist.

Budhism seem to be masters of the "mind". Combine that with science and maybe mind-altering "things" and let`s see what could be found.
Stanislaf Grof is/was one of the researchers who did a deep dive into the mind of the people. And there seems to be more...of something...

And yes, I think these special mushrooms existed at the same time buddha existed. LSD "existed", too (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claviceps_purpurea) but maybe it wasn`t the mushroom of choice for such things at that time.
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Ben » Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:43 am

Mindsw33per wrote:Budhism seem to be masters of the "mind".


And there is a good reason for that - abstainance from substances that cloud the mind.

And yes, I think these special mushrooms existed at the same time buddha existed. LSD "existed", too (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claviceps_purpurea) but maybe it wasn`t the mushroom of choice for such things at that time.


With respect, I think a little more research would not go astray.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby m0rl0ck » Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:24 pm

Mindsw33per wrote:budhism seems to me like an open thinking not packed with dogma.


Well you are in the right place to be disabused of that notion. :D

Buddhism is a philosophy and practice with a specific goal in mind. Making it up as you go along is not buddhism, its just narcissism and ego flattery.
I have a couple of decades of meditation experience and in the years before that took easily over a hundred lsd trips. LSD is about as useful in accomplishing the aims of buddhism as the smell of freshly baked bread is in filling your stomach.
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Viscid » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:08 pm

I've been reading Tenzin Palmo's Reflections on a Mountain Lake and came across a good passage on psychedelic drug use and Buddhist practice:

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo wrote:Last night, we were discussing the effect that psychedelic drugs had in introducing people to the Buddhist path, especially in the 1960s and 1970s. Of course, the drug culture did open up people's minds to the fact that there is another reality. But as has also been pointed out, the problem with people who have had too much to do with psychedelics drugs is that they become conditioned to look for exciting experiences. Something always has to be happening. It's another kind of hedonistic attachment. It's considered a spiritual outlook by some people, but it's not really spiritual at all. If something exciting doesn't happen after a few days of sitting in zazen, these people are likely to give it all up as a waste of time.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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