Psychedelics

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Re: Psychedelics

Postby oushi » Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:33 pm

I thought that some may be interested in watching this lecture:
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby padma norbu » Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:40 pm

The more Vasana talks about it, the less useful it strikes me. The benefits described are apparently few (since I've only seen a couple things listed) and it sounds very much like a dependency has arisen on it (since I don't require plant substances in my practices). It reminds me very much of the 6 years or so I spent using psychedelics (peyote, mushrooms, microdots, LSD). On peyote and mushrooms, in particular, I had what appeared to be interactions with otherworldly beings and it seemed quite important at the time, but I can say very definitively all these years later that there was no benefit in any of it, save for perhaps the slow push toward discovering dzogchen, which apparently might have happened anyway regardless, due to a previous connection. Yes, I can say with absolute certainty that I recall nothing of the importance or meaning of these beings except what they looked like and the feeling of being awestruck that an apparently magickal [sic] creature was right there before my eyes communicating with me. On 6 hits of double-dipped white blotter acid, I saw beings, too, but they were much more alien in appearance and often robotic. Very machine elfy, in fact. Some looked like insects and some looked like greys.
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby padma norbu » Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:45 pm

oushi wrote:I thought that some may be interested in watching this lecture:

Hmm, I skipped right to 27 minutes in where he says the thangka tradition has it's origins in shamanic culture and psychoactive substance usage, which, if true, is very interesting. Don't want to talk about my experiences too much because I think that is frowned upon, but I have had more realistic interactions with otherwordly beings sober using kabballistic pathworking techniques and buddhist meditation than I ever did with the "easy" method of psychedelic usage (easy in quotes since it's definitely NOT easier and is definitely way less consistent). It is far more surprising and mindblowing to see a being interacting with you in a sober state than in an hallucinogenic state. You analyze it afterwards and wonder how it is possible far more than you do when you are on psychedelics. You think, "I definitely know that I was not playing the part of that other being..." and it begins to remind you of dreams, how other beings in YOUR dreams act with wills of their own, but if it is YOUR dream, then aren't you somehow behind it all, acting all the parts? It is much more interesting way of looking at reality than with a psychedelic sheen that simply explains it as "opening a doorway to other dimensions" (whatever that means).
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby Malcolm » Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:54 pm

padma norbu wrote:Hmm, I skipped right to 27 minutes in where he says the thangka tradition has it's origins in shamanic culture and psychoactive substance usage, which, if true, is very interesting.


It's is total nonsense, of course. The orgins of thangkha art are well understood and documented, being a form of canonical painting formalized over more than a millennia.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby oushi » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:12 pm

padma norbu wrote:On peyote and mushrooms, in particular, I had what appeared to be interactions with otherworldly beings and it seemed quite important at the time, but I can say very definitively all these years later that there was no benefit in any of it

Interesting. I never experienced anything that would look, or feel like an otherworldly being and I know there are many reports of such experience. What shroom did to me was, as I call it, move to a higher state of consciousness. Intellect was able to comprehend very subtle and very hard to conceive normally phenomena. Emotional problems were solved immediately when they entered consciousness. Upon solving then, a great tranquility and clarity arise. Any new ideas that arise during such a session were applicable in the moment of arising, as an antidote to some disturbing emotions. It is hard to call such an experience as futile. I have also used psychedelics to crack hard to comprehend teachings, and the capacity for understanding was doubled or even tripled. It allowed me to go to the root of a target experience and release all the tension attached to it.
Now, this is my personal experience, and I have never saw anyone else get such results. I think it all depends on you intentions and attitude, dosage, setting, karma etc.. I saw people get terrified with the experience caused by seemingly harmless dosages of very "calm" substance like THC. I think that a psychedelic can temporarily remove a tensions preventing karma to be released. Now, it all depends on what was accumulated, and how the owner responds.

Moreover, I think that trivializing those experiences, and presenting them as something wrong is very harmful to the young ones. An I will tell you why. If a parent presents a negative and exaggerated attitude towards all psychedelics, claiming that nothing positive can come out of them, and that they are just materialized evil, it sets a specific relationship with its children. Now, when a young one is presented to a very blissful experience caused by a psychedelic, which improves his self-esteem, he feels betrayed. Trust is lost, and relationship between child and its parent is severed. Consequences are terrible. It is enough to ask a question. Since psychedelics are almost inevitable in present times, would you like your child to get stoned in home, under you eye, or god knows where, with god knows who, taking god knows what?
Honesty, only honesty can help here.

padma norbu wrote:and it begins to remind you of dreams, how other beings in YOUR dreams act with wills of their own, but if it is YOUR dream, then aren't you somehow behind it all, acting all the parts? It is much more interesting way of looking at reality than with a psychedelic sheen that simply explains it as "opening a doorway to other dimensions" (whatever that means).

Yes, this is how I would explain it. By playing with dosage (starting from very small), one can see that the ration inner chatter and understanding changes. The substance that makes up understanding becomes more vivid and active, and the chatter, which is nothing but echo of the understanding, follows. If there is no fluid transformation, because the dosage is big enough, it may look like another being talking to you. I think it is worth mentioning that the subjects presented in this state are very interesting and intriguing. "He" doesn't talk crap. Because "he" speak not with words, but with understanding, there is no doubt, and it may be interpreted by many as words of God. Another interesting aspect of it, is that understanding comes first, and then we can try to figure out what it was about, grasping after it with concepts. We have understanding, but we don't know conceptually what was understood, so it's appears that it didn't come from us, but rather from an alien being.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby smcj » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:51 pm

I said earlier that the people I have seen benefit the most were the people that have taken it the least. I'd like to expand on that now.

Usually people that have benefitted have been adults, mid 20s to mid 40s. They have already established their professional, social, interpersonal, private and intimate skills. Generally then they find themselves in some sort of rut. The experience is like having someone throw a glass of cold water in your face; it shocks you and wakes you up. The person "sees" how they have been living their life and decides to make the change. The benefit comes once they come down, and then they initiate that change, whether it be leaving a bad relationship, changing jobs, getting sober, or whatever. They don't need to do it more than a couple of times to effect this. As one psychedelic luminary (I forget which) was quoted earlier in this thread, "When you get the message hang up the phone."

But in modern drug society psychedelics are just part of the mix of a lot of other, really bad drugs. Plus when introduced early, in the teenage years, the expanded awareness thrust upon one can leave the life projects of learning academic, social, interpersonal & intimate skills more complicated than are necessary. So it can, and often does, derail or delay a young person's development. That is why I said that, since children can see this thread that is should be locked. I know on other buddhist forums that middle-school children were registered users. You can't tell that by their posts when they are bright and precocious.

I also had a friend that would take large dosages of LSD daily. When you do that you develop a tolerance. It got to the point where he would need an inhuman amount just to get out of bed in the morning. Then he'd go to work as a carpenter and use power tools to build your deck. Mostly he worked for rich pot-growing hippies because they would allow him to do so. His life ended in an apparent suicide after decades of descent. He ended up homeless, penniless, alienated from friends and family, with drug related health problems and the DEA looking for him. Not exactly having benefitted from the experiences.

So unlike really bad drugs like speed, coke, crack, heroin and the like that only have negative effects, it is possible for there to be some benefit with psychedelics. But that benefit comes early on, and anything beyond that starts the slow inevitable decline. The pithy, "Once you get the message, hang up the phone" admonition is probably the best psychedelic advice I've ever heard. And then there is the problem, that the greater society seems to have passed through in the late '70s-early '80s, to switching to other drugs. The psychedelic experience is too intense for most people. So they looked for a simpler high. Some idiotic scientist said that coke wasn't addicting at that time, which ushered in the disaster of cocaine insanity. People used to coping with psychedelics took and said, "I'm used to being really high. This is kid's stuff." They thought they could use it with impunity and not get burned. Wrong.

What culture is, is common group understanding of how to deal with the problems of life. The introduction of psychedelics into the society was unprecedented 50 years ago. Nobody knew how to deal with it. It was completely outside of any cultural mechanism to deal with it. Everybody was the test subject of their own experiment. But decades later we should have learned a few things, but no. The experience is so intense and deep that we are like lemmings. Newbies don't listen to old timers. "You don't get it, I'm doing it in a xyz way that is different and meaningful." That idea was credible when we were all new at it, but it is simply the refusal to listen to experience, and therefore the lack of a cultural understanding of what causes problems and suffering.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby oushi » Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:06 pm

You summed it up quite well. It is obvious that more awareness on the subject is needed. There are problems out there, covered by PC attitude.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby smcj » Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:18 pm

There is another thread I've been participating in. There is a passage from Tsongkhapa that is being discussed:
Appearances are infallible dependent arings:
Emptiness is free of assertions.
A long as these two understandings are seen as separate,
One has not yet realised the intent of the Buddha.

As an ex-tripster, my personal reaction to this is that it is reminiscent of my old psychedelic experiences, where both subject and object were seen as fluid and without stability (metaphorically and sometimes literally). "Dependent arising" to me means paradox, or vicious circles. There are plenty of them in the psychedelic experience.

Whether that is accurate or not to what Tsongkhapa was actually trying to say will be difficult for me to clarify in this life. It just shows how influential the experience can be--even decades later!
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby jeeprs » Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:06 pm

smjc wrote:As one psychedelic luminary (I forget which) was quoted earlier in this thread, "When you get the message hang up the phone."


Alan Watts.

Incidentally I agree with what you said in that post by and large.
He that knows it, knows it not.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby Roland » Sun Aug 25, 2013 6:33 pm

Psychedelics helped me to view my life and mental circumstances objectively, temporarily free of the confusions and overwhelming fear I had at the time. I could then see solutions to certain problems that I would not have seen in a sober state. Over time, I feel like they really dissolved, broke down, peeled back or attenuated a lot of faulty conditioning I had that caused me great mental suffering. I had some deep insight that I would normally not have obtained about my past and the causes of why I was in the horrendous condition I was in (insofar as this current life is concerned), the understanding of which I feel was important as a basis to "find a way out". I was never a fan of so-called "recreational use", or just taking them to get high with a bunch of people. It was always to go deep, to learn something, not to be used as a form of escapism or to have fun per se. I would usually go in with a question or at least have questions while in the experience. Sometimes I would learn something, sometimes not.

Later, I realized that they were good "as a reset", to show me that I'm getting caught up in a lot of bullshit, attaching to some ideas causing me to maybe worry about something trivial, and I realized on a experiential (as opposed to just knowing this intellectually) level that these are all just mental concepts as they dissolve into colors and lights etc along with the body, physical phenomena etc...

What people call hallucinations are perhaps not so important in the context of the psychedelic experience other then interesting phenomena. I speculate on what any of it means and what it means when I, as I perceived it, popped into another dimension for a while and was interacting with beings (in my case, just other humans) where I was transferred to a park and could feel wind on my face, smell the grass, hear children laughing, etc and if there is any meaning at all to it. But the ideas, dissolution, dissolving, I think, in my extremely limited knowledge and experience, seems useful to see, as others have put it, the malleability or changeability of the mind.

I had already started investigating Buddhism far before any of the above, but I was extremely skeptical. I feel like the psychedelic journeys helped to break apart that overly skeptical mindset allowing me to open my mind, leading me to fully immerse myself in the Dharma, finding meditation. When I started meditating, extremely quickly the remainder of the extreme fear I had been conditioned to since a very young age along with the confusion (and I'm not saying I'm not confused, just that it was at a very, very high level back then) almost completely vanished. So where psychedelics started to break apart these things, meditation quickly almost complete dissolved them. It is like the ocean on the edge of a beach. Psychedelics were like the initial shallow part of the beach with a gradual decline until getting to meditation, that sudden drop off in the ocean.

84,000 doors to the dharma?

When Ram Dass asked Neem Karoli Baba about psychedelics after having given him 900 mcgs which had no effect (as someone mentioned previously), Neem Karoli Baba said "its a good introduction to the state but not to rely on it" (paraphrasing).

Also, I mentioned in another thread that I don't have the sources but will search for them, a neuroscientist compared two studies, one on the effects of psilocybin on the brain, and another on the effects of meditation on the brain. The conclusion was that both had the same attenuation effect on the areas of the brain "associated with a sense of self" but psilocybin was "like a sledgehammer". So this is perhaps one explanation as to why many who start out with psychedelics are drawn towards meditation and Buddhism.

Just sort of a disclaimer from my view for those maybe reading this and who are not experienced: Of course, they aren't for everyone. They can and will be dangerous to some people. I personally do not think it is good to use them often, more then once every couple months at the most or 6 months or a year. Integrating the experience is important and can be difficult. Like anything else, they can be used as a form of escapism and be abused. I have met one schizophrenic who talked about taking a lot of LSD and shrooms, starting when he was 12 and ended up schizophrenic. But he also said he was "already messed up" prior to starting psychedelics. Do not take these things lightly. I never recommend that anyone take them. There are far too many risks involved. I actually don't really feel comfortable posting this because it almost seems like an encouragement. This is just me sharing how I stumbled through my circumstances and ended up where I am now for informational purposes. If anyone reading this has not used them and is considering I would say not to due to the fact that some bad experiences on them have been so absolutely terrifying that some would not be able to handle it and I think those experiences can be very traumatic.

I don't attach to the experiences because I think that is detrimental. If anything, they have allowed me to detach from a lot of ideas and concepts. I have for sure derived great benefits including some I have not gone into detail about. For me, it was a doorway into the Dharma but I am convinced that they are not to be relied upon as the path to liberation.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby smcj » Sun Aug 25, 2013 6:53 pm

At this point it might be interesting to conduct a poll about the usefulness of psychedelics in terms of personal growth and/or Dharma practice. Anyone know how to do that? I suggest plenty of options for answers.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby oushi » Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:01 pm

If anyone reading this has not used them and is considering

I would say that those who don't read and don't consider, are at risk. ;)
But he also said he was "already messed up" prior to starting psychedelics.

Maybe it's not strictly related to the topic, but I thought it is worth sharing. Last year scientists discovered that the chromosome responsible for schizophrenia is the same one which is responsible for sleep timing. Sleep time is "hardcoded" and it doesn't change even if we apply a new sleep schedule for a long period of time. It was documented that schizophrenics sleep time is moved. They go to sleep late, and sleep until the midday. Because it is the same chromosome, it works in the opposite direction also. By regularly going to bed late at night people are playing with schizophrenia.
Psychedelics were broadly used in the 50's, and in psychiatric environment their appearance was like a splitting an atom for physicians. A new door were opened, and then rapidly closed. I am far from suggesting an LSD treatment to a schizophrenic, but also I cannot tell anyone whether he should take something, or should't. I simply cannot predict the outcomes.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby Roland » Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:08 pm

oushi wrote:
If anyone reading this has not used them and is considering

I would say that those who don't read and don't consider, are at risk. ;)


I'm with you on this, but I would feel awful if someone read what I wrote, tried something and then had an adverse reaction.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby smcj » Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:09 am

On peyote and mushrooms, in particular, I had what appeared to be interactions with otherworldly beings and it seemed quite important at the time, but I can say very definitively all these years later that there was no benefit in any of it

These days, when I want to interact with an alien creature that lives in a completely different world than I do, I just call up an intelligent member of the opposite sex.
:jawdrop:
But, when I was younger, I believe I did get at least some benefit from it.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby oushi » Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:39 am

Today I saw a news about incoming changed in the US justice department regarding marijuana. After the moves of Uruguay it is the second major positive change we see. If marijuana will be legalized, and it looks like it is just a matter of time now, it will become the major spiritual force on Earth. Because it makes a difference, by allowing user to experience profound states, the religion that will make use of it first, will profit most.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby M.G. » Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:17 pm

oushi wrote:Today I saw a news about incoming changed in the US justice department regarding marijuana. After the moves of Uruguay it is the second major positive change we see. If marijuana will be legalized, and it looks like it is just a matter of time now, it will become the major spiritual force on Earth. Because it makes a difference, by allowing user to experience profound states, the religion that will make use of it first, will profit most.


So the future belongs to the Rastafarians? :smile:

Somewhat more seriously, do you really believe legalized marijuana would be the most important spiritual force on the planet? In my experience, atheists, materialists, club-hoppers, and the chronically apathetic are as likely to smoke ganja as "spiritual", or yogically minded types.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby oushi » Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:55 pm

M.G. wrote:So the future belongs to the Rastafarians, eh?

Not really, because they are carrying the mark of wrongdoing. They are using it when it is illegal. Very politically incorrect. ;)
Somewhat more seriously, do you really believe legalized marijuana would be the most important spiritual force on the planet? In my experience, atheists, materialists, club-hoppers, and the chronically apathetic are just as likely to smoke as New Agey, "spiritual", or yogically minded types.

Actually, I do. Or rather I hope it will. Our civilization is on the verge of destruction, we really need a miracle, and marijuana has the capacity to perform one. Atheists, materialists, club-hoppers are non-factors here. There real players are Christians. Beside few sects like Quakers, Christian spirituality is a dead phrase. More then 2 bln people are following religion which is unable to give then what they are looking for. A transmission from raw devotion to actual experience of unity. You may believe me or not, but out of all themes I went through, passion of Christ has the greatest capacity for triggering a mystical experience on psychedelics. Buddhism, or Hinduism are pretty much exhausted by their efficient practices.

Religions in nowadays shape failed. Out of 300-500 mln Buddhists how many attained the fruit? There are 2 bln Christians waiting for salvation after death, while Christ himself said that the Kingdom of Heaven is here and now. A dead end.
Stupid Syria issue may trigger a conflict that will burn this place down. So, lets hope that changes are coming. Either a second coming of Buddha or Christ, or a simple plant that can change the way people look upon each other. Otherwise, it is hard to believe that people will, one day, suddenly awake from ignorance.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:26 pm

oushi wrote:If marijuana will be legalized, and it looks like it is just a matter of time now, it will become the major spiritual force on Earth.
You wish. You obviously never travelled to Amsterdam back in the "good ole days". It was nothing like a major spiritual centre.

They will legalise pot because they know exactly how profitable it is to tax it (and how unprofitable it is to combat it). It is merely a matter of them doing the figures and then making the decisions.

The vast majority of the people that I know that grew and smoked pot (and I knew a lot of them) just did it to get wasted. Nothing at all spiritual about the deal. Not in the slightest.
"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 M.G. » Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:40 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
oushi wrote:If marijuana will be legalized, and it looks like it is just a matter of time now, it will become the major spiritual force on Earth.
You wish. You obviously never travelled to Amsterdam back in the "good ole days". It was nothing like a major spiritual centre.

They will legalise pot because they know exactly how profitable it is to tax it (and how unprofitable it is to combat it). It is merely a matter of them doing the figures and then making the decisions.

The vast majority of the people that I know that grew and smoked pot (and I knew a lot of them) just did it to get wasted. Nothing at all spiritual about the deal. Not in the slightest.


:good:

Yeah, that pretty much sums up my personal experience with ganja. I'll acknowledge that cannabis use benefitted me in the sense that it made me realize how much repressed anger I was carrying around, but I never had any spiritual experiences with it. Mostly I was just getting wasted.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby oushi » Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:33 pm

You wish.

You need to raise your head, and look a little bit higher. Psychedelics are not one flavored. They diametrically change their effects depending on a dosage an setting. It is setting that is missing now. You need to direct it, and there are not many people getting stoned while reading a sacred texts, in a place that is ready to accept their intimacy. It is pretty much wild activity now. No culture and dignity following the consumption. Still, a bunch of childish people behaving like it's the first time they smoke a stolen cigarette. Probably one of the reason of such a behavior is society perceiving smoking as something childish, thus people don't even think about bringing it into a "noble" setting. People need to be guided, and there are not many guides out there. The last one that I knew died a decade ago.

I have an old friend that is a daily smoker of marijuana. Although he know how to use it to cleanse his being, he didn't realize how it can be used in a spiritual context. I've sent him a Gospel of Thomas to read while being stoned (because it is very condense, and doesn't need an introduction) and he was astonished on how the experience changed. There is a great field that even habitual smoker have no idea about. It requires a setting similar to that created for meditation. One does not go to meditate in a noisy nightclub, and that's what Amsterdam was.

Ofc, it is not all in one solution to all problem. But it makes a transition from nothing, to something, and then this something may be developed further. But until people see that this "something" really exists, can be experienced by them directly, they are unaware of it. And that would be... a huge majority. You may not benefit from it, as you are already on a good path, but there are billions who doesn't have a clue.

Yes, I wish that cannabis is legalized, and used in proper way, so it becomes major spiritual force, because humanity needs it.
We can wish for a new bodhisattva, prophet, or saint... but he will benefit humanity till the first bullet finds him. We know the story, it repeats itself over and over again since the old days.

So, Yes, I wish...
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