Psychedelics

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

Re: Psychedelics

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Aug 19, 2013 6:12 am

invisiblediamond wrote:There are plant teachers. There are tantric authorities for this, i.e., Vajrapani's glands falling to earth and becoming medicinal plants. You need someone with the "transmission" to use them, like anything else. Of course, that will be difficult. The plants choose representatives and reveal the methods for healing and growth. So that just taking them without understanding more than that will not get you a desired result; it will get you an undesired one though. The plant teachers don't want to deal directly with you, unless you have that connection to undergo their trainings, which can take years of dedication. So yes, there are buddhist shaman, that is, shaman (spiritual healers using plants not just instructions) who have realization in the view of emptiness. If you are serious about exploring this area, my advice is to pick one plant and stick with it for a long time until you learn all of its secrets. And don't get started unless you have experience with direct introduction in dzogchen. The philosophically oriented sarma systems can't deal with this because of their philosophy that embraces Hinayana saintliness. Don't add or change plants until you have completely mastered one. You can't follow two orders at once.
And your teacher taught you this technique, right? Or is it something you picked up from a book (which book?) or a website somewhere?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby Kim O'Hara » Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:42 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
invisiblediamond wrote:There are plant teachers. There are tantric authorities for this, i.e., Vajrapani's glands falling to earth and becoming medicinal plants. You need someone with the "transmission" to use them, like anything else. Of course, that will be difficult. The plants choose representatives and reveal the methods for healing and growth. So that just taking them without understanding more than that will not get you a desired result; it will get you an undesired one though. The plant teachers don't want to deal directly with you, unless you have that connection to undergo their trainings, which can take years of dedication. So yes, there are buddhist shaman, that is, shaman (spiritual healers using plants not just instructions) who have realization in the view of emptiness. If you are serious about exploring this area, my advice is to pick one plant and stick with it for a long time until you learn all of its secrets. And don't get started unless you have experience with direct introduction in dzogchen. The philosophically oriented sarma systems can't deal with this because of their philosophy that embraces Hinayana saintliness. Don't add or change plants until you have completely mastered one. You can't follow two orders at once.
And your teacher taught you this technique, right? Or is it something you picked up from a book (which book?) or a website somewhere?

I think it's Carlos Castaneda with a dash of Buddhist sauce - which might sound unkind or cynical, but I can't believe that anything could be so close to the "teachings of Don Juan" without having been borrowed from them.

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Re: Psychedelics

Postby invisiblediamond » Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:33 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
invisiblediamond wrote:There are plant teachers. There are tantric authorities for this, i.e., Vajrapani's glands falling to earth and becoming medicinal plants. You need someone with the "transmission" to use them, like anything else. Of course, that will be difficult. The plants choose representatives and reveal the methods for healing and growth. So that just taking them without understanding more than that will not get you a desired result; it will get you an undesired one though. The plant teachers don't want to deal directly with you, unless you have that connection to undergo their trainings, which can take years of dedication. So yes, there are buddhist shaman, that is, shaman (spiritual healers using plants not just instructions) who have realization in the view of emptiness. If you are serious about exploring this area, my advice is to pick one plant and stick with it for a long time until you learn all of its secrets. And don't get started unless you have experience with direct introduction in dzogchen. The philosophically oriented sarma systems can't deal with this because of their philosophy that embraces Hinayana saintliness. Don't add or change plants until you have completely mastered one. You can't follow two orders at once.
And your teacher taught you this technique, right? Or is it something you picked up from a book (which book?) or a website somewhere?


Boy, you just have it all figured out, don't you? The plant is the teacher. There are Buddhist shaman in Nepal and Bhutan. There are texts that talk about Buddha nirmanakaya manifesting as plants or even bridges. Where do you get teachings from? From nirmanakayas. Duh.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:43 pm

invisiblediamond wrote:Boy, you just have it all figured out, don't you? The plant is the teacher.
No I don't have it figured out, that is why I am asking questions. I understood "the plant is the teacher" bit (now what happens if your teacher is monkshood, that's another story). I asked where you got the teaching, (about "the plant being the teacher") from. From your teacher? From a book? From a website?
There are texts that talk about Buddha nirmanakaya manifesting as plants or even bridges.
And the names of the texts are...???
Where do you get teachings from? From nirmanakayas. Duh.
Not necessarily. One can receive teachings directly from Sambhogakaya and Dharmakaya manifestations, but that's a whole different story.

So where did you learn "the plant is the teacher" teaching? Who was the Nirmanakaya that gave you that teaching?

I think my question is clear now?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby smcj » Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:16 pm

Boy, you just have it all figured out, don't you? The plant is the teacher. There are Buddhist shaman in Nepal and Bhutan. There are texts that talk about Buddha nirmanakaya manifesting as plants or even bridges. Where do you get teachings from? From nirmanakayas. Duh.

In simple terms; you got stoned and then tried to validate it as something more than "just being stoned" by dressing it up in Dharma clothes--right?
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:46 pm

smcj wrote:
Boy, you just have it all figured out, don't you? The plant is the teacher. There are Buddhist shaman in Nepal and Bhutan. There are texts that talk about Buddha nirmanakaya manifesting as plants or even bridges. Where do you get teachings from? From nirmanakayas. Duh.

In simple terms; you got stoned and then tried to validate it as something more than "just being stoned" by dressing it up in Dharma clothes--right?


:rolling:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby jeeprs » Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:04 am

Psychedelics are subversive in that they represent a threat to the consensus view of what constitutes normality. Sure there are also dangers associated with them, as well as moral hazards such as the obvious trap of drug dependency, but I think at least some of the hostilty is based on their subversiveness.

Incidentally there is a great social history around called 'Storming Heaven' by Jay Stephens. I lent my copy ages ago and never got it back, but it's a good read if you can get your hands on it.

It might also be worth noting in passing that the chemist who discovered LSD, Albert Hoffman, died at age 106.

Hofmann, interviewed shortly before his hundredth birthday, called LSD "medicine for the soul" and was frustrated by the worldwide prohibition of it. "It was used very successfully for ten years in psychoanalysis," he said, adding that the drug was misused by the Counterculture of the 1960s, and then criticized unfairly by the political establishment of the day. He conceded that it could be dangerous if misused.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby M.G. » Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:24 am

I have to say that this idea that psychedelics impart spiritual wisdom seems overplayed to me. I have an atheist friend who smoked DMT (the most powerful psychedelic on the planet) and described the experience as "a bunch of beings who don't really exist telling me a bunch of stuff I already know."

Psychedelics can be exciting in fun or not-so-fun ways, and might Inspire creativity or facilitate contact with wordly spirits (although even then, one would have a tough time differentiating drugged delusion from non-mundane perception), but I see no evidence that they impart real wisdom, cut through karmic obscurations, or make users less neurotic.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby smcj » Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:10 am

The Manson Family (of the Tate/LaBianca murders) used to take psychedelics. It didn't have a particularly spiritual influence on the. In fact Charlie used it to help manipulate them.
Psychedelics are subversive in that they represent a threat to the consensus view of what constitutes normality. Sure there are also dangers associated with them, as well as moral hazards such as the obvious trap of drug dependency, but I think at least some of the hostilty is based on their subversiveness.

Incidentally there is a great social history around called 'Storming Heaven' by Jay Stephens. I lent my copy ages ago and never got it back, but it's a good read if you can get your hands on it.

It might also be worth noting in passing that the chemist who discovered LSD, Albert Hoffman, died at age 106.


Besides my own experiences, I've read both of Hoffman's books (the first was good, but the second had nothing of interest except in the intro), Doors of Perception, Acid Dreams (the first half about what the authors got from the C.I.A. through the F.O.I.A. was good), and still have the Psychedelic Encyclopedis on my bookshelf. I also have had private conversations with lamas that have tried L.S.D. I am as knowledgeable about the subject as I care to be, and the experience is no threat to my worldview--at all.

And I still say that children can read this and the thread should be locked.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby Vidyaraja » Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:15 am

I personally think that psychedelics (or at least psilocybin mushrooms which I did a few times in my teenage years, I can't speak for any others) have the potential to "open the doors of perception" as it were, induce a mystical experience, and/or show different modes of perception to those who are only used to normal day to day perception, and thereby may be a useful tool toward putting someone on the spiritual path or making them more serious about the spiritual path. John Hopkins did a study that seems to agree:

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/press_re ... 11_06.html

I also think for such positive or transformative experiences to occur there must be fertile ground, i.e. the user has some potential for such insight to occur. Whether that potential is the result of previous karma, genetics, or some inherent spiritual fertility is unknown to me. However it is obvious that many people take these psychedelics and acquire no deep meaningful insight from them but continue as they were before.

I don't think psychedelics can ever make anyone enlightened or assist in the process of spiritual growth to a great degree, hence the repeated use or attachment to them won't lead someone toward liberation but could do just the opposite. Also for those with underlying mental illness there is a risk of psychedelics "awakening" them.

In short, there is a potential for certain psychedelics to induce a potent, transformative experience in certain individuals that could become a catalyst for pursuing an actual spiritual path, but they can never become "enlightenment pills." I also think the sort of pseudo-spiritual New Age Terrance McKenna-esque psychedelics crowd who associate with Eastern traditions are one of the many groups of people who give Eastern traditions a bad name.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby yegyal » Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:22 am

M.G. wrote:...but I see no evidence that they impart real wisdom, cut through karmic obscurations, or make users less neurotic.


From reading posts on DW, one could easily say the same thing about Buddhism. In fact, I'm not sure what such evidence would look like or how you could possibly see it. Though I don't think belittling others is a sign of anything good.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby M.G. » Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:27 am

yegyal wrote:
M.G. wrote:...but I see no evidence that they impart real wisdom, cut through karmic obscurations, or make users less neurotic.


From reading posts on DW, one could easily say the same thing about Buddhism. In fact, I'm not sure what such evidence would look like or how you could possibly see it. Though I don't think belittling others is a sign of anything good.


Was my statement on psychedelics belittling? It was an observation regarding the effects of a particular group of chemicals, not a slight against anyone in particular. I wouldn't dispute lots of people who use psychedelics might be excellent human beings.

Whatever one might or might not conclude from reading posts on DW, I would certainly say many non-Buddhists I've spoken with have been impressed by the clarity and peace of mind they've observed in diligent Buddhist meditators. I think its understood that most assessments of spiritual development are largely anecdotal.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby smcj » Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:35 am

From reading posts on DW, one could easily say the same thing about Buddhism. In fact, I'm not sure what such evidence would look like or how you could possibly see it. Though I don't think belittling others is a sign of anything good.

Being a Buddhist is like having a gym membership; it is an opportunity to apply yourself to get a result. If you don't work at it, you go nowhere. There are a lot more gym memberships sold than there are fit people, and there are a lot more Buddhists than there are spiritually evolved people. Any expectation to the contrary is misplaced.

But to my knowledge nobody has been able to take a psychedelic and have it precipitate enlightenment--and literally millions of people have tried it!
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby yegyal » Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:58 am

I don't think anybody here is arguing that psychedelics will make you enlightened. But if you were to do a poll with Western Buddhists and ask them if such substances were an important stepping stone on their way to becoming Buddhists, you might be surprised at how many people answer yes. That's not to say that taking something will turn into a Buddhist. Quite the contrary, actually. I think the fact that people that do these things often turn to the Dharma is proof that they are limited in their ability to be of last benefit. On the other hand, I would hardly deny that for a small minority some of these substance can be extremely useful. For example, I doubt anybody here would argue with a heroine addict cured of their debilitating physical addiction though ibogaine treatment, that there can be no benefits from psychadelics.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby smcj » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:02 am

The psychedelic revolution has already happened. The late '60s-early '70s were heavily psychedelicized. (I'll wager few people that were at Woodstock made it through the weekend without tripping.) Did it make anybody enlightened? No! What then did it accomplish?

Because the experience breaks down all preconceptions about what constitutes "real", it played into the naiveté of the American zeitgeist and spawned the New Age movement. When people were high they were grossed out by the food they ate, so the health food industry was born. Getting high in urban setting was yucky, so they went into the woods and the environmental movement was born. Since fundamental reality was challenged, social norms were rejected. Rejecting some of those norms, like racism, was good. But others weren't. (Sometimes rules have a purpose in that the consequences to an act can be painful.) Among those rules that were valid were against the use of street drugs. People left the psychedelic era because it was too intense and overwhelming. So int he late '70s-'80s they moved on to cocaine, which some stupid scientist said wasn't addicting. The horror of the widespread use of crack, speed, bath salts, PCP, and the like all started with psychedelics breaking down the "Doors of Acceptance" in the society. And those drugs are truly horrible.

And yes, people became interested in eastern religions. Many of them were motivated by the desire to validate their stoned experiences as have "spiritual" value. Some wanted to be stoned like that all the time without using drugs, etc. To this very day the psychedelic premise of our approach to Dharma is both a blessing and a curse. Without it there would be probably very little interest in Dharma outside academic settings. But can be an obstacle as well.

Sorry for the :soapbox: , but the Learys and McKennas of the world don't really have anything to contribute. The Dharma really does.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:11 am

It seems like someone needing to ask this question has good reason to search their own motivations for asking the question in the first place..whatever the result of the inquiry ends up being. In the long run, this is (I think) probably more important to our practice than having a definitive answer on rightness or wrongness of psychedelics.

My own point of view is that if someone is interested in Buddhism (I assume the OP is coming from this place), there are hundreds of things far more pressing to worry about than this, seriously. So personally if this question was occupying my mind, I would focus on that above getting an actual answer for the question.

It's like asking if your girlfriend is better when you're using psychedelics..the answer might be yes, but if she is, that says something about your own views and karma that's worth examining, possibly something that will get you more than endless debates on the merits of drugs in Buddhist practice.
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is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby M.G. » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:14 am

yegyal wrote:I don't think anybody here is arguing that psychedelics will make you enlightened. But if you were to do a poll with Western Buddhists and ask them if such substances were an important stepping stone on their way to becoming Buddhists, you might be surprised at how many people answer yes. That's not to say that taking something will turn into a Buddhist. Quite the contrary, actually. I think the fact that people that do these things often turn to the Dharma is proof that they are limited in their ability to be of last benefit. On the other hand, I would hardly deny that for a small minority some of these substance can be extremely useful. For example, I doubt anybody here would argue with a heroine addict cured of their debilitating physical addiction though ibogaine treatment, that there can be no benefits from psychadelics.


I'll agree that if ibogaine legitimately helps people overcome addiction that would be a positive. I've already said that psychedelics can have some benefits, just as I presume you'd agree they can at least sometimes be detrimental. In my own observation, lots of times psychedelics use isn't really positive or negative, its just one more entertainment modality for the young and bored.

I do think the Terrence McKennas of the world, though amusingly buffoonish in their way, perform a disservice by conflating drugs with the fruit of yogic practice.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:22 am

M.G. wrote:I do think the Terrence McKennas of the world, though amusingly buffoonish in their way, perform a disservice by conflating drugs with the fruit of yogic practice.
Now that is probably one of the most intelligent things I have read so far in this thread! Well said!
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby flavio81 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:58 pm

smcj wrote:The psychedelic revolution has already happened. The late '60s-early '70s were heavily psychedelicized. (I'll wager few people that were at Woodstock made it through the weekend without tripping.) Did it make anybody enlightened? No! What then did it accomplish?

Because the experience breaks down all preconceptions about what constitutes "real", it played into the naiveté of the American zeitgeist and spawned the New Age movement. When people were high they were grossed out by the food they ate, so the health food industry was born. Getting high in urban setting was yucky, so they went into the woods and the environmental movement was born. Since fundamental reality was challenged, social norms were rejected. Rejecting some of those norms, like racism, was good. But others weren't. (Sometimes rules have a purpose in that the consequences to an act can be painful.) Among those rules that were valid were against the use of street drugs. People left the psychedelic era because it was too intense and overwhelming. So int he late '70s-'80s they moved on to cocaine, which some stupid scientist said wasn't addicting. The horror of the widespread use of crack, speed, bath salts, PCP, and the like all started with psychedelics breaking down the "Doors of Acceptance" in the society. And those drugs are truly horrible.

And yes, people became interested in eastern religions. Many of them were motivated by the desire to validate their stoned experiences as have "spiritual" value. Some wanted to be stoned like that all the time without using drugs, etc. To this very day the psychedelic premise of our approach to Dharma is both a blessing and a curse. Without it there would be probably very little interest in Dharma outside academic settings. But can be an obstacle as well.


Good post. :twothumbsup: Although you're not considering the "vietnam" factor, which has a lot to do IMHO.

On the other hand i don't agree with you in that this thread should be locked because "children might be reading". Children need to be informed, kids who read this forum already have the capacity and motivation to inform themselves, and this thread -with good posts such as yours above- will be of great benefit to them.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby Vasana » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:57 pm

"Psychedelics are to psychology what the telescope is to astronomy"

In some cases and conditions ^

As with all things, the intention behind the action is key. Taking psychedelics with bodichitta in mind would be fine.

Curious to see the opinions on Ayawaska here?

To your average person, it's just another psychedelic, but those who advocate it will often emphasize that the Ayawaska vine it's self is a Sentient being, which also provides the capability to perceive other sentient beings who are co-existing in other states parallel to our physical world but existing beyond the normal sense perceptions.

A sentient being capable of communicating directly and indirectly and able to manifest visually, usually for the benefit of healing and self and sometimes no-self realization.

I hope and expect to see in the very near future a lot more correlation between Amazonian Shamanism and the insights of Buddhism. Of course, boundless compassion and emptiness is the highest realization to arrive at, but i think along the way, building a better "Map" of the non physical realms and planes that coexist with our own, yet fall outside of the metaphorical or internal samsaric states and restraints will be of great benefit.

***Edit. Sad to see that the Ayahuasca and budhism thread was locked. For those that happen to stumble upon this thread again, hopefully we can get a useful and mindful diaologue on the move again. I do not believe shamanism and Buddhism to be conflictive topics with correct understanding of both and i propose that certain psychedelics including ayawaska can actually provide the biological and psycho-spirtual framework to allow one's conciousness to become detached from one's body and navigate between the Bardos ,realms and planes and retrieve information & Terma for various reasons, encounter external sentience and even directly experience concepts like interdependence and emptiness etc (That being said, there are always risks and potential for further obscurarions and clinging with what one experiences, especially without the relevant preparation)


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