Psychedelics

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Re: Psychedelics

Postby Vasana » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:12 pm

Gregkavarnos, I respect your concerns and opinions and will once again admit i am new to much of this, yet familar to parts too.

In the near future, after much much more studying, practice and experience, i can imagine myself writing down as coherently as possible the connections i feel exist between shamanism, astral projection, the internal and external samsaric realms and how Buddhist perspectives may be of value in these outlets.

I do not claim to be an authority on any of these subjects but i have noticed areas where they each overlap, and thus it's in my interest to explore these areas and formulate a syncretic approach that satisfies the questions i have, whilst providing the proper framework of doing any action with compassion in mind. Again, long way off, but i know i'm on the way.

I wrote an introduction to myself and how i arrived here in the introductions forum if you're interested.

I realize Chod may not specifically mention shamanism and astral projection, but is in my opinion that these 3 perspectives with corresponding techniques all possess striking similarities and for me personally, form the immediate steps of enquiry in front of me. I am open to the possibility that new paths will emerge from this.

Apologies if i sound to stubborn or rigid in my approach, but i'm following the path i desire the most,(how fitting :P ) even if it's unconventional and too syncretic to be accepted as one or the other.

Enjoy the rest of your day :)
Last edited by Vasana on Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:13 pm

It's your karma dude, so you are going to live out the consequences. Good luck on your path!
"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 Vasana » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:14 pm

For sure. Likewise :smile:
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby Wayfarer » Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:40 pm

smjc wrote:Psychologists are famous for flipping out when they take psychedelics, Leary, Alpert, etc.


Beg your pardon, but Richard Alpert, a.k.a. Ram Dass, went on to become very much a respected elder in American 'integral spirituality' if you can call it that. Whilst I agree that Timothy Leary was a rascal, albeit with occasional brilliance, Alpert has been an inspiritational teacher and writer for millions.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby Vidyaraja » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:36 am

gregkavarnos wrote:Look, if I eat a fistful of jalapeno peppers I am sure that it will cause me to have an experience of altered (or alternative) awareness. Does that mean I should consider chilli peppers sentient, sacred and special? One can also induce hallucinations through hyperventilation, does that mean hyperventilation is sacred? Let's get real here for a second and stop kidding ourselves.


Have you ever done any psychedelics? By the sound of what you are saying, I'd guess not. If you saw the link I posted previously in the thread, psilocybin mushrooms can potentially produce mystical experiences descriptively identical to those that have occurred spontaneously throughout history. This means that at least some of these substances have the potential to induce a sacred experience and plenty of people have been changed positively by them. This isn't mere hallucination or seeing pretty colors. While the shamans of the worlds may not be Buddhists, to say that their ingestion of various substances, such as the mushrooms mentioned, Ayahuasca, psychoactive cacti, and or even cannabis (such as among the sadhus) was entirely without meaning or efficacy is a shortsighted IMO. I think a big part of the problem is the typical crowd associated with psychedelics--various hippies and New Age types--aren't positive representations of users of these substances, especially historically, and that can lead to a dismissal by association.

That said, I'd personally maintain my previous position that these substances aren't a replacement for true spiritual or yogic practice and can never lead to liberation, but if they have the potential to fundamentally change the world view of someone who would otherwise be stuck in the mire of materialism and motivate them to pursue a spiritual path, then they certainly posses some value.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby M.G. » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:53 am

Vidyaraja wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:Look, if I eat a fistful of jalapeno peppers I am sure that it will cause me to have an experience of altered (or alternative) awareness. Does that mean I should consider chilli peppers sentient, sacred and special? One can also induce hallucinations through hyperventilation, does that mean hyperventilation is sacred? Let's get real here for a second and stop kidding ourselves.


Have you ever done any psychedelics? By the sound of what you are saying, I'd guess not. If you saw the link I posted previously in the thread, psilocybin mushrooms can potentially produce mystical experiences descriptively identical to those that have occurred spontaneously throughout history. This means that at least some of these substances have the potential to induce a sacred experience and plenty of people have been changed positively by them. This isn't mere hallucination or seeing pretty colors. While the shamans of the worlds may not be Buddhists, to say that their ingestion of various substances, such as the mushrooms mentioned, Ayahuasca, psychoactive cacti, and or even cannabis (such as among the sadhus) was entirely without meaning or efficacy is a shortsighted IMO. I think a big part of the problem is the typical crowd associated with psychedelics--various hippies and New Age types--aren't positive representations of users of these substances, especially historically, and that can lead to a dismissal by association.

That said, I'd personally maintain my previous position that these substances aren't a replacement for true spiritual or yogic practice and can never lead to liberation, but if they have the potential to fundamentally change the world view of someone who would otherwise be stuck in the mire of materialism and motivate them to pursue a spiritual path, then they certainly posses some value.


A lot of animists probably would say that chilli peppers are sentient, possessed of spirit, and have unique spiritual properties. And while I've never heard of a cult of chilli, there are plenty of people who go to chilli eating contests and have all kinds of euphoric experiences. Good for them! But that shows that just because plants can produce a variety of experiences people find meaningful, or that certain groups may genuinely consider them sentient, doesn't mean that their use by humans is necessarily a net good.

I don't think anyone is going to dispute that psychedelics can induce mystical experiences. (Although I've already mentioned that an intense psychedelic trip actually made one of my friends less spiritual because it confirmed his atheistic bias that mysticism is neurochemical delusion.) I think people will dispute whether their consumption - especially in the long-term - is healthy, how often they impart real wisdom as opposed to random deluded distortions no more meaningful than the typical karmic dream, and whether their use promotes the ends of yogic training. You've acknowledged that drugs aren't a replacement for yogic practice, but I'm not convinced their short-term use isn't as likely to lead to negative or neutral consequences as positive ones.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby yegyal » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:50 am

Everytime I've seen this topic come up it always turns into a bunch of regulars piling on some poor kid that's just trying to say that they've learned something from their psychedelic experiences. Why is that? Do you think if you guys went onto a forum for psychadelics and started talking about Dharma practice people would come out swinging in the same way?
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby M.G. » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:06 am

yegyal wrote:Everytime I've seen this topic come up it always turns into a bunch of regulars piling on some poor kid that's just trying to say that they've learned something from their psychedelic experiences. Why is that? Do you think if you guys went onto a forum for psychadelics and started talking about Dharma practice people would come out swinging in the same way?



Disagreement isn't piling on. I'm all for debate, as long as it doesn't turn into ad hominem attacks.

Also, drug use raises enough legitimate health concerns that it would be dishonest for many of us not to mention them in the context of any discussion regarding their merits.

If I went on a psychedelics site and said something like "zazen gives a much more intense trip than psilocybin", I'd expect robust disagreement.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby yegyal » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:33 am

I wasn't specifically refering to you M.G., but if you did say that, people would be correct to disagree with you. However, there are others that can't seem to take other people's word for it that these things were meaningful to them, and leave it at that. It's not like Buddhism is going to be harmed by trippers that dabble in Buddhism or Buddhists that dabble in pyschedelics. So, I don't really understand why some people take such offense to this. Especially when they've been there, done that, and are now happily practicing dharma.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:25 am

I fully believe people have real, meaningful experiences on psychedelics...i'm just not sure that many people are qualified to sort of ontologically vet their own experiences on psychedelics..just personal experiences speaking but there ya go.

What is the correct way to act with questions/threads like this, if it's wrong to question the motivations behind wanting Dharma practice and drug use to be compatible? I mean.. people are asking the questions and getting pretty much the opinions you'd expect, is there some middle ground that hasn't been discussed, or is it just that it gets old seeing the same patterns on every thread?
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby M.G. » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:10 am

@Yegyal - I goofed when I thought you were referring to me. I shouldn't speak for anyone else, but I'd guess the health concerns are what might make some comments on this topic seem harsh.

I'd agree with Johnny Dangerous that this conversation may be getting repetitive.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby Roland » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:53 am

"Seek truth in meditation, not moldy books. Look in the sky to find the moon, not in the pond."
- Persian proverb
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby Lhug-Pa » Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:07 am

Malcolm wrote:
tomamundsen wrote:
Malcolm wrote:According to Garab Dorje, the purpose of using hallucinogens is to the see that the mind is malleable, not a fixed or permanent substance. So, in fact hallucinogens do have a use in Dharma, albeit an extremely limited and narrow one.

Any idea which text this comes from? What hallucinogens would they have been using in Oddiyana? Datura?


It is in the VIma Nyinthig, and yes, the plant mentioned is datura. Also Datura was used in India for Mahakala initiations.


Just stumbled upon another older post of yours Malcolm that elaborates on this more, and thought it would be good to post here:


Malcolm wrote:In general there is no use of hallucinogens in Varjayāna. Even in the case of certain exceptions, these usages are no longer current i.e. they are not part of the living tradition. Where they were used, hallucinogens served only to demonstrate that the mind was not a fixed substance.

People who have used hallucinogens can understand their experiences with this in this respect. Garab Dorje clearly states in one commentary that hallucinogens merely generate worldly visions. So from a Vajrayāna perspective, hallucinogens do not have much, if any, spiritual value.

That being said, this is not to deny the value of the spritual traditions of Huichol Indians, or Ayahuasca shamans who commune with plant spirits, etc.


I would like to add here for all—since acid/LSD has been brought up again since my previous post here—that I wouldn't trust LSD for a second, because it is an artificial chemical. Really I don't trust any artificial-chemical drug manufactured by big pharma, and also LSD was used by the government in mind-control experiments, etc.

Now one might object saying something like: "Well you just quoted Garab Dorje as saying that hallucinogens in general merely generate worldly visions, so what would the difference be between LSD and Ayahuasca?"

And my reply would be—as I'd already written earlier in this thread—that at least all plants have a life that is lacking in artificial-chemicals like acid/LSD, which is why you would never see any authentic Shaman recommending anything other than organic plants and such.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:18 am

yegyal wrote:Everytime I've seen this topic come up it always turns into a bunch of regulars piling on some poor kid that's just trying to say that they've learned something from their psychedelic experiences. Why is that?
Because, according to Buddhism, mystical experiences (drug induced or not) can easily become objects of attachment, and thus lead to more spiritual problems instead of solutions. That's why. So, quite clearly, deliberately inducing "mystical" experiences for the sake of the experiences, is a trap. If you don't believe me then read the quote by Gendun Rinpoche on the previous page. Anyway, the point is that, drug induced or not, experiences are merely a product of deluded mind and, strangely enough, Buddhists don't hold deluded mind in high regard. So it's not that strange that Buddhists would be "opposed" to something which causes more delusion.
Do you think if you guys went onto a forum for psychadelics and started talking about Dharma practice people would come out swinging in the same way?
Why would I go to a forum about psychedelics and start talking about Dharma? If the OP wants affirmations, then a forum for psychedelics is where they should go. If they want to know how a bunch of Buddhists assess the situation, then they should come to a Buddhist forum.
"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 wisdom » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:12 am

Another problem is that people are mostly unable to ground their psychedelic experiences into their reality and life, integrating them into normal waking consciousness. They just go back to the drugs again and again seeking these experiences.

I've done psychedelics more than once (to say the least) in my youth. Its not worth it, its a waste of your time.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:22 am

Vidyaraja wrote:Have you ever done any psychedelics? By the sound of what you are saying, I'd guess not.
See this.
"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 Vasana » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:27 am

Interesting how everyone has such definitive and absolute answers to something they might have only had a very finite set of experiences to base judgements on. Of course that applies to me too.

If the intention behind psychedelic use is to overcome self delusion, attachment to self and experience non-dual states and a taste of ego- dissolution ( which are actually fairly common attributes of higher dosages of psylicobon and especially ayauascha) i don't see the problem. Of course a large majority of psychedleic users are just travelling to these states for the aesthetics, it's just too assumptious to assume there can be no merit from these activitieses.

It's one thing to shun psychedelics, but another thing all together to Shun the shamans, curraenderos ,vegalistas who use these plants among many others to provide an important role within their communities as healers, medicine men and women and the general wise application of what they know.

To the shaman, passing through the bardos usually reserved for the afterlife is a common thing. To assume that the usage of psychotropic plants to achieve this is then a negative thing 'Full-Stop' is to miss part of the bigger picture.

If we are to agree we are in Samsara, then i still put it across that certain psychedelics when used with shamanic intent, can induce the ability to traverse the various realms to either appease situations that span the human ,animal,plant and bardo realms and physicality it's self.

If there is psychedelic use with no attachment to psychedelics, rather respect or view that they can be nutritional to dharma practice it's self then there's no problem.

Psychedelics are not a short-cut per-se, but they can drastically speed up fruition of enquiry and yes, realization of dharma too. To say that this is 100% not the case and that they are a hindrance to the path 100% of the time is a big presumption.
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:29 am

Vasana wrote:To the shaman, passing through the bardos usually reserved for the afterlife is a common thing.
Aloha amigo!
"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 Vasana » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:31 am

Aloha!
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Re: Psychedelics

Postby oushi » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:51 am

Psychedelics impair functioning of different part of the brain. Since many things we cling to are constructs, this may lead to smaller of bigger insights. Things we were attached to can crumble, things we were not aware of, may appear. Psylocybin for example, impairs the functioning of cingulate cortex which is responsible for bringing all experiences together. As a consequence, it can lead to dissolution of self. If this experiences is well setup, it can bring great insight for studying the concept of Anatta.
Psychedelics are not an answer, or solution. They only give a different perspective on phenomena. Different look which is often distorted. Shamans are not just people that are constantly stoned on drugs. There is much more to it, and Himalayan shamans are good example here.
Like Alan Watts said "when you get the message, hand up the phone". If people would use drugs is such a way, we wouldn't have this discussion today. There would be definitely more knowledge about those substances including dosage, setting, psychical predispositions etc. Use of psychedelics is similar to the use of nuclear power. It can bring great benefit, or great destruction. Advising someone to construct a nuclear power plant in his garage ain't a good idea.
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