Nibbana under the effect of ayahuasca

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Nibbana under the effect of ayahuasca

Post by Coëmgenu »

Well, it strikes me that you're still in the stages where you are bedazzled by the brilliance of the psychedelic experiences and are ascribing "transcendental" and/or pseudo-sacred (or some other term) significance to the effects of the drug on your bodymind. I am familiar with this. Once I experienced Lake Ontario as a colossal and ancient sentient being, "intuiting" its thoughts with my own mind. I was scolded by a tree that same night, a tree which seemed identically animated by a psychic presence that only I could fathom. I do not believe in the reality of such perceptions. They are "hallucinations:" sometimes sensory (like "seeing things"), sometimes cognitive (like "thinking you've received a transmission from the Beyond"). I don't believe that I had authentic psychic powers that night, despite feeling at the time like I did (all the while knowing that I didn't!). If you find the experiences you have with psychedelics are in some way significant, that they are deep, world-transcending, awakening, nibbānic, whatever words you would use, there's really nothing I can tell you that would convince you otherwise. As I said, one of the tricky things with psychedelics is that they impair your cognitive function. So, while on them and under their spell, they seem like they're doing a lot that they simply aren't.

I don't think there is a huge difference between a low dose of mushrooms and a large amount of cannabis sativa, having done both. Certainly LSD and DMT get you much higher than normal weed. At the end of the day, it's still "getting high," no matter what spiritual significance we might attribute to what we experience while high.
Not the one and not another,
unending and impermanent --
of the many Buddhas' transformative teachings,
this is that sweet nectar's taste.

For if a Buddha is not born in the world,
or if the Buddhadharma is completely extinct,
all of the wisdom of the Pratyekabuddhas
would separately arise (from it).

(MMK XVIII.11-12 Madhyamakaśāstra T 1564.23c16)
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SDC
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Re: Nibbana under the effect of ayahuasca

Post by SDC »

Cause_and_Effect wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 11:58 pm The four establishments of mindfulness do not have to be in contradiction to use of psychedelics.
The purpose is to do them together.
If psychedelics act as an enhancer then it is like giving yourself access to a more powerful microscope or telescope.
I think that microdosing (where there are no overt effects just an enhancement of awareness) alongside meditation may be another option for some to gain a breakthrough.

There have also been many obvious benefits for some people who were never spiritual before and even came to Buddhism after tripping by having the insight into past lives and rebirth, existance of devas and psychic abilities etc. So it's clear it has benefits for some which would have been unlikely to come about otherwise even as just an initial doorway.
But the experience is rooted in an alteration at the six sense base, i.e., it is perceptual. So, if there is no previously established prompt to discern the basis of that perception, there is no space for knowledge. Even if the experience with psychedelics were to induce that possibility, the mind has to be brought together on the basis of well-established virtue for that knowledge to apply. That takes time - day in and day out purifying the behavior and build the aggregate of virtue. Without that, the experience is nothing but a brief moment that you return to and feast on until it dries up and provides no further relief, i.e. the peace was conditional. And that is dangerous. It it a peace that induces placidity and contentment. It is a peace that gives you cause not to remain with that sense of urgency.

I won’t disagree that those experiences prompt bigger questions and the need for higher meanings. They certainly did for me. But that only brings you to the starting point of the really hard work. The establishment of virtue, guarding the senses, restraining the senses, mindfulness, etc., those things take time. Certain intense experience can give you very good reasons to put in that time, but they cannot do the work for you. That is the ultimate misunderstanding when it comes to psychedelic experiences - that somehow the work got done for you. No way. It clears away the things that would inhibit taking the next step. It neutralizes the things that would prevent you from starting the work. So in that sense it can help you progress, but at best it gives you a good starting point. So it can bring complacency to an end, but it doesn’t affect the roots of suffering. There is only one way to do that and it must be done manually. There is no bypassing the work.
“By breaking the root of unknowing, it smashes the mechanism of deeds, and drops the thunderbolt of knowledge on the taking up of consciousnesses.” Thag 6.8
Cause_and_Effect
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Re: Nibbana under the effect of ayahuasca

Post by Cause_and_Effect »

Coëmgenu wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 4:36 pm If you find the experiences you have with psychedelics are in some way significant, that they are deep, world-transcending, awakening, nibbānic, whatever words you would use, there's really nothing I can tell you that would convince you otherwise. As I said, one of the tricky things with psychedelics is that they impair your cognitive function. So, while on them and under their spell, they seem like they're doing a lot that they simply aren't.

I don't think there is a huge difference between a low dose of mushrooms and a large amount of cannabis sativa, having done both. Certainly LSD and DMT get you much higher than normal weed. At the end of the day, it's still "getting high," no matter what spiritual significance we might attribute to what we experience while high.
They don't impair cognitive function especially if used well, there is some research on enhancement of function.
The fact you equate psychedelics with 'getting high' on weed tells me more about the context you used it in- recreationally.
Honestly what I'm getting is that you used alot of cannabis, LSD, shrooms, DMT and likely other drugs in a recreational setting at uni and then found some direction in life and let go of these things so are distancing yourself from the experiences and their use at that time. That's fine but that's your experience.
The same criticisms you give can and are given by some people to meditation experiences - 'whatever sense of insight and profundity you have are just imaginary'.
How are you so sure that the perceptions you had on psychedelics were in fact not real but hidden from ordinary vision?
The Pali Canon ascribes strange visions the Buddha had - seeing a piece of sentient meat flying through the air screaming while being pecked by birds for example.

Your claim - that a class of drugs exist that for some reason mimic deep insight and spiritual experience and incredible visions would be even more strange than if they were triggering the real things.

That is why a better framework is required which I have mentioned. But this debate is not new, it has gone on for decades.
The dhamma framework I fit it into doesn't change - it's not about having a peak experience with psychedelics but about ridding the mind of defilements. This is where I differ both with recreational or artistic use as you have described, and with those who mistake it as a spiritual shortcut. It can aid the long work of meditation that is still required.
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Nibbana under the effect of ayahuasca

Post by Coëmgenu »

I'm equating it, ayahuasca, with "getting high," not "getting high on weed." You seem a bit defensive concerning this.

My opinion is that if you think that psychedelic drugs improve your cognitive function, that is delusional. Those studies that claim that LSD, DMT, etc., "improve" the mind are flawed. Sometimes they help with depression, but they don't increase or improve cognitive function while you are under their influence. Many think that they are funnier on alcohol. Many think that they are deeper on weed. Many attribute spiritual significance to psychedelic experiences. You aren't the first and won't be the last
Cause_and_Effect wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 6:05 pmHow are you so sure that the perceptions you had on psychedelics were in fact not real but hidden from ordinary vision?
I don't think that Lake Ontario is an ancient god or that trees have discursive human thought that I can psychically intuit because it is not repeatable, neither using drugs nor not using drugs. Sometimes you do the same amount of the substance and the effect isn't the same. I've never psychically heard the trees think since. An authentic attainment, an authentic knowledge, would be confirmable while sober too. In short, it's possible that I had an authentic veridical experience of reality that night, but it's unestablishable because you have to be altered on drugs to experience the world like that.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Thu Jan 13, 2022 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Not the one and not another,
unending and impermanent --
of the many Buddhas' transformative teachings,
this is that sweet nectar's taste.

For if a Buddha is not born in the world,
or if the Buddhadharma is completely extinct,
all of the wisdom of the Pratyekabuddhas
would separately arise (from it).

(MMK XVIII.11-12 Madhyamakaśāstra T 1564.23c16)
Cause_and_Effect
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Re: Nibbana under the effect of ayahuasca

Post by Cause_and_Effect »

The effects of LSD and certain other psychedelics in enhancing psychotherapy are not in dispute any longer.
Set and setting is everything.
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Nibbana under the effect of ayahuasca

Post by Coëmgenu »

They've been known to help with some people experiencing longterm depression, certainly. So has MDMA and weed. Methamphetamine has been known to help some with severe ADD.
Not the one and not another,
unending and impermanent --
of the many Buddhas' transformative teachings,
this is that sweet nectar's taste.

For if a Buddha is not born in the world,
or if the Buddhadharma is completely extinct,
all of the wisdom of the Pratyekabuddhas
would separately arise (from it).

(MMK XVIII.11-12 Madhyamakaśāstra T 1564.23c16)
dharmacorps
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Re: Nibbana under the effect of ayahuasca

Post by dharmacorps »

Cause_and_Effect wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 6:21 pm The effects of LSD and certain other psychedelics in enhancing psychotherapy are not in dispute any longer.
Set and setting is everything.
They're not? Can you inform us about the end of the dispute?
Cause_and_Effect
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Re: Nibbana under the effect of ayahuasca

Post by Cause_and_Effect »

dharmacorps wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 10:21 pm
Cause_and_Effect wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 6:21 pm The effects of LSD and certain other psychedelics in enhancing psychotherapy are not in dispute any longer.
Set and setting is everything.
They're not? Can you inform us about the end of the dispute?
Dispute ended during the career of this man and the indisputable therapeutic benefit if used correctly from hundreds of patients



There have been more recent attempts at systematic measures and research etc (to the extent you can do that with psychological treatments) also showing positive effects.
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Dhammanando
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Re: Nibbana under the effect of ayahuasca

Post by Dhammanando »

Coëmgenu wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 4:36 pm As I said, one of the tricky things with psychedelics is that they impair your cognitive function. So, while on them and under their spell, they seem like they're doing a lot that they simply aren't.
:thumbsup:

Hans Eysenck on William James's experiments with mescaline:
Experimenting with various methods of influencing consciousness, this famous philosopher several times dreamed during these states that the secret of life had been imparted to him, only to find that upon waking he had forgotten it again. He resolved to write it down immediately, and succeeded in doing so. When he woke up he hurriedly picked up the sheet of paper, and found that the secret of life, as written down by him, amounted to this :

Higamus, Hogamus,
Woman is monogamous;
Hogamus, Higamus,
Man is polygamous.

(The Uses and Abuses of Psychology, p. 192)

https://archive.org/details/usesabuseso ... 2/mode/2up
Rūpehi bhikkhave arūpā santatarā.
Arūpehi nirodho santataro ti.


“Bhikkhus, the formless is more peaceful than the form realms.
Cessation is more peaceful than the formless realms.”
(Santatarasutta, Iti 73)
Cause_and_Effect
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Re: Nibbana under the effect of ayahuasca

Post by Cause_and_Effect »

Dhammanando wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 2:09 am
~
With due respect venerable, I don't think those are the types of experience that lead to some people having a sense of the profound worth of these substances on the path.
The ability of certain substances to grant access to these states of mind is a mystery granted though, given that it would seem to bypass the usual methodology of suppressing the hindrances, unless it effects some other means to achieve a supernormal state.

Experiences such as this would of that nature:


"After body and psyche are broken down and blasted out in all directions, there is only emptiness. This is the clear light of the unformed, the un-become. There is in fact no experience here that the psyche can preserve in memory. This state coincides with the death of the ego and a discontinuity of recorded experience....

The first flash of experience is a recognition of falling out of this emptiness. Only after slipping out of the void can any conscious recognition occur. As the clear light slipped away, I recognized it as sheer perfection. It is identified as divine bliss; a state completely devoid of imperfections, impermanence, or dissatisfaction of any kind. It lacks any hint of duality or ego and has a distinct impersonal quality....

I could see that the emptiness from which I had fallen was the fundamental state of perfection in the cosmos. All efforts to make one's own life as well as others' lives 'better,' culminate in this state. It is the attractor and the end of time, pulling the individual and the whole of life toward its perfection.

I felt that the purpose of experiencing life is to cultivate the qualities and skill necessary to find the clear light and to stay in it, without falling back into routine, ego-dominated reality. This applies to the individual, as well as the collective of all living beings. I saw that the cultivation of good mental qualities are essential to the process. Intelligence, concentration, and ultimately wisdom are all necessary to make and then maintain contact with the clear light. In addition, compassionate behavior or right action on the individual and the collective scale, is also essential to the attainment and preservation of divine bliss.

These realizations felt like sacred gifts bestowed upon me by the experience. In my routine ego personality, I consider myself to 'know' these things already. I attempt to study and understand the teachings of the Buddha and practice meditation, although the turbulence of life often distracts me from these efforts, and too often I find myself wrapped in the business of seeking out sense pleasures. Experiencing the falling from the clear light and re-learning the significance and purpose of spiritual endeavors like the cultivation of good mental qualities and the performing of right actions on some very deep and real level of my psyche are invaluable. This kind of intensely felt experience serves to keep me in touch with what is most important in life and what is the closest expression of my true unimpeded nature."


https://www.erowid.org/experiences/exp.php?ID=96614
Dan74
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Re: Nibbana under the effect of ayahuasca

Post by Dan74 »

The William James story is apocryphal, it seems.

https://quoteinvestigator.com/2012/03/28/hogamous/
_/|\_
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Sam Vara
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Re: Nibbana under the effect of ayahuasca

Post by Sam Vara »

Dan74 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:38 pm The William James story is apocryphal, it seems.

https://quoteinvestigator.com/2012/03/28/hogamous/
I think it contains a good deal of truth, though. Maybe stoners and pranksters get the joke, whereas the psychonauts and serious spiritual seekers need the punchline explaining to them.

I know I did! :embarassed:
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Nibbana under the effect of ayahuasca

Post by Ceisiwr »

I think if people really want to take drugs they will find any excuse to do so.
"For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an non-deceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an non-deceptive nature."

- Dhātuvibhaṅga sutta
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Re: Nibbana under the effect of ayahuasca

Post by Dhammanando »

Dan74 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:38 pm The William James story is apocryphal, it seems.

https://quoteinvestigator.com/2012/03/28/hogamous/
Ah, what a shame.
:cry:
Rūpehi bhikkhave arūpā santatarā.
Arūpehi nirodho santataro ti.


“Bhikkhus, the formless is more peaceful than the form realms.
Cessation is more peaceful than the formless realms.”
(Santatarasutta, Iti 73)
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Re: Nibbana under the effect of ayahuasca

Post by Bundokji »

I have never used psychedelics for meditative purposes, but as with everything else, they can be used skillfully or methodologically.

Medicine is called drug for a reason, that it alters states of consciousness. The moral dimension of using it has to do with purpose (medicinal or recreational) and net effect (net positive or net negative).

Another aspect has to do with the nature of grasping. The unconditioned that people seek symbolizes an underlying abundance that is contrasted with the scarcity of the conditioned. The unique or extraordinary experiences that can be induced through using substances manifest that underlying abundance, hence if used skillfully, they can increase faith. Also to use them skillfully would be to be aware of the ephemeral nature of those experiences due to its dependence on the substance.

Dismissing the efficacy of using drugs based on the impermanent nature of the produced experiences is not a strong argument in the sense that seeking permanence is integral to the nature of grasping. Instead, evaluating the effects on the overall well-being after the subsiding of the induced experiences seems to be a better measure of their efficacy. If the drug is being used to escape from the pains of ordinary experiences, then one is better without it. If it is being used to highlight the lack of ultimate nature in everyday experience, then it can help in lessening attachments.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
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