Should practitioners stop using drugs?

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Should practitioners stop using drugs?

Postby CrawfordHollow » Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:48 pm

Hi all, a question in another thread got me thinking about this subject. In my past I had a bad drug addiction which nearly killed me. I've posted a little about this before. Obviously not everyone who uses drugs becomes a junkie and overdoses- my experience represents one extreme on the spectrum of drug users. Is it then acceptable to be a recreational drug user of any kind while practicing Buddhism? For me this was not possilble. My spiritual path had no room for drugs of any kind, including alcohol. The Dharma is not a Twelve Step Program, but for me it definately saved my life. I would be curious to hear other people's perspective regarding this. Is it univerally wrong for Buddhists to use drugs, or is it up to the practitioner to decide what is best for them in given situation? I am somewhat new here to DW, so if this is a topic that has already been discussed to death you can kindly tell me to shut up. Thanks guys, I am interested to hear your responses.

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Re: Should practitioners stop using drugs?

Postby oushi » Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:53 pm

I think most people here are reasonable, and discussion pure of political correctness is possible. A lot harm has been done throughout last few decades from missuses of drugs, mostly because those are illegal. No researches, no experience, no guides available. The function of shaman almost disappeared, and money appeared on the scene. Big money. From my experience I can say, that drugs are forces beyond human intellect. Common Marijuana unleashes a potential and creativity high above normal. It is easy and funny to use, but if treated improperly, can do a lot of harm. I used it only for contemplative purposes, and from my experience, I know it is not a small thing. I do not treat it as a simple chemical substance, because if analysed closely, it appears as a being. Not a primitive one, but incredibly "wise". My wisdom and intelligence, when compered, looks childish. And when you deal with such a force, you do not treat is as a toy, or laughing gas, because it's like stepping on a lions tail. So, be cautious when you enter this lair.
My opinion is that those substances should be treated with respect, without blindly promoting, or condemning them.
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Re: Should practitioners stop using drugs?

Postby CrawfordHollow » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:21 pm

Could you please elaborate how marijuana can be used to enchance one's "potential and creativity" on the Buddhist path. I was asking about drug use specifically from the point of view of practitioners.
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Re: Should practitioners stop using drugs?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:32 pm

IMHO YMMV.

It's like the path of transformation - it's all rocket fuel. And that comes from someone who developed real addiction problems. Therefore:

Be very, very, very careful. "It's just weed" - pfhah. :toilet:

Be very, very, very kind to yourself and other people.

Remember always - it has nothing whatsoever to do with coming up - it's how you come down.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8fCXNTCWig

Most of the peeps I knew who did it were just chillenz getting their rocks off - including me.

It can be used for other purposes. Those other purposes can go very, very, very deep too. It's just - nobody does use it that way, do they?

It's against the precept for a reason.
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Re: Should practitioners stop using drugs?

Postby CrawfordHollow » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:48 am

Whats YMMV?

I am not so sure that you can bring intoxicants onto the path of Dharma, when the heart of the Buddhist teaching is about accepting things as they are without grasping at them. It seems if you are deliberately altering your state of consiousness with an outside substance then you are creating more grasping and dualism. In Tantra you manifest the buddha nature that is inherntly present within oneself through means of inner transformation of your karmic vision. Can drugs introduce you to your buddha nature? In Dzogchen practice you settle into the view of your Natural State and let everything be self-liberated into that. You let things be as they are, so how could you possibly practice this while intoxicating yourself with chemicals?

The view that drugs such as marijuana and entheogens have "wisdom" might be useful in shamanism, but not in Buddhism. Drugs, regardless of what they are, create experiences. These experiences are temporary, contrived, and something that is grasped at. If there is no grasping at these experiences then why would we go to the trouble to create them in the first place?

So I ask again, how can marijuana be used to enhance one's "potential and creativity" on the Buddhist path?
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Re: Should practitioners stop using drugs?

Postby Yudron » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:04 am

In the vajrayana, smoking and recreational drugs (opiates are actually addressed in at least one Vajrayana text) are traditionally believed to harm one's channels and circulating energy (tsa and lung), making it harder to practice. This is a practical, rather than a moralistic, concern. So, there is no harsh judgement against pot smokers, etc....

I, for example, am taking prescribed narcotics for pain today, but my lama would recommend it based on practical considerations--the benefits outweigh the risk.
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Re: Should practitioners stop using drugs?

Postby Matt J » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:08 am

The fifth training precept is to avoid the use of intoxicants. In addition, as most drugs are illegal, I would think that a mindful cultivator would respect these types of laws. In addition, involving oneself in the drug trade directly supports wrong livelihood.
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If only there is no picking or choosing
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Re: Should practitioners stop using drugs?

Postby CrawfordHollow » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:48 am

I agree with both of you, as meditators it would be best to avoid drugs for more practical reasons than ethical. An earlier poster noted that they used marijuana for contemplation, I don't know if they meant this from a Dharmic standpoint or not. I was trying to get to the bottom of this idea that marijuana could somehow be benefitial to one's meditation. The whole idea that drugs contain wisdom I think is absurd. I realize that they are somewhat of a tool, so the harm lies in how they are used and not within the tool itself. But like, guns, I think drugs are a tool that we could be without.

I do agree that more bad than good has come from the fact that drugs are illegal. Especially in the US, the War on Drugs has practically put away a whole generation of poor urban youth. The black population has been hit especially hard, and jailtime has proven time and again to not be a viable solution. Thanks for the replies. I wish you well with your situation Yudron. May you be pain free and healthy! I hope you don't need to take too many pain meds, I was addicted to those things for years. Of course, I wasn't exactly following doctors orders, but either way they are incredibly addictive.

Was opium a problem for Tibetans? I know that the Chinese were all about it and I am not sure if it was regulated in Tibet. How about hash and cannabis?

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Re: Should practitioners stop using drugs?

Postby Matt J » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:54 am

Part of this, I believe, comes from people like William James and Aldous Huxley who, unable to have a spiritual experience, turned to drugs to manufacture them. Part of it, in the West, probably stems from the idea in the 1960's that drugs could "open the mind" to new experiences. But if I look closely at this, I see a thirst for fresh experiences, a craving for novelty. Sadly, giving into this craving again and again only makes it stronger.

Buddhist practice, as I have learned on my own and from my teachers, requires clarity. As one requires a clean lens to see, only a clear, sober mind can properly investigate the world and gain insight. Drugs and alcohol, in my experience, agitate and cloud the mind.


CrawfordHollow wrote: I was trying to get to the bottom of this idea that marijuana could somehow be benefitial to one's meditation. The whole idea that drugs contain wisdom I think is absurd. I realize that they are somewhat of a tool, so the harm lies in how they are used and not within the tool itself. But like, guns, I think drugs are a tool that we could be without.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
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Re: Should practitioners stop using drugs?

Postby dharmagoat » Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:12 am

Matt J wrote:Buddhist practice, as I have learned on my own and from my teachers, requires clarity. As one requires a clean lens to see, only a clear, sober mind can properly investigate the world and gain insight. Drugs and alcohol, in my experience, agitate and cloud the mind.

This is my experience too. Also, they destabilise when we seek to stabilise.
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Re: Should practitioners stop using drugs?

Postby oushi » Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:55 am

CrawfordHollow wrote:I am not so sure that you can bring intoxicants onto the path of Dharma, when the heart of the Buddhist teaching is about accepting things as they are without grasping at them.

I don't know what you mean by Dharma path. If you want to achieve realization from using Marijuana, then it may be not possible. If Buddhist teaching is about accepting things, why do you reject them?
CrawfordHollow wrote:It seems if you are deliberately altering your state of consiousness with an outside substance then you are creating more grasping and dualism

I think it's the opposite, as it's quite easy to achieve unity. What drugs did you used?
CrawfordHollow wrote:In Dzogchen practice you settle into the view of your Natural State and let everything be self-liberated into that. You let things be as they are, so how could you possibly practice this while intoxicating yourself with chemicals?

In the same way as you do it when not intoxicated. Those are not contradicting each other. Letting things be, whatever it is.
CrawfordHollow wrote:So I ask again, how can marijuana be used to enhance one's "potential and creativity" on the Buddhist path?

I don't want to promote those methods, but they can. Mentioned in the previous topic, Shinzen Young, was in deep marijuana addiction when he "entered the stream", and I'm quite sure this helped. How? First of all, it moves the pillar of ego, which normally is unmovable, and invisible. Secondly, it works as deformed mirror, with enlarging center. When you start to study your ego mind with it, there will be no place to hide. Exploring the labyrinths of the mind is easy, and you go to places you had no idea existed. And the last part, it is sometimes beyond control, so you let go of this deluded activity of controlling. When combined (which is not easy), it opens potentiality, creativity, chakras, energy channels easily. I had a back pain, and doctors said: "You have to leave with it". So I asked the "herb". One fast answer, to make quite unusual changes in the way I seat in a car, and the pain was gone. I healed myself many times, as it directly shows the problems with energy flow. I also helped others with their pain (through advices not the herb).
The use I'm talking about is different then normal. I prepared for 11 years to enter this realm, and still, I made many mistakes. I wont say anything about reading sacred texts when under the influence of THC, because it is enough of praise.
It can take you to "heaven" of absolute joy, or to hell. Purify, or destroy, but I know no better way of dissolving accumulated karma. Take it or leave it, but don't come with stories of low intelligence people that by treating etheogens like hookers, got greatly punished.
Last edited by oushi on Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should practitioners stop using drugs?

Postby Tiger » Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:00 am

Anything that attacks your central nervous system or mind is not an advisable to be consumed by any human being.

How are drunkards viewed in your country/culture? Now consider that drugs are far more potent than alcohol, far more addictive, and do far more damage to the mental health. Will they be respected at all? Keep this in mind before consuming any drug.

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Re: Should practitioners stop using drugs?

Postby oushi » Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:05 am

Tiger wrote:Anything that attacks your central nervous system or mind is not an advisable to be consumed by any human being.

Don't drink tea, coffee, coca cola... and I'm not really taking advises from people that heard that someone, some time ago, did something. Before you start dissuade, read more then newspapers.
How are drunkards viewed in your country/culture?

Still, the use of alcohol is not forbidden. Drunkards are just a part of society of alcohol drinkers, why would I follow their example? It's like saying, don't use fire! Look how pyromaniacs are viewed in your country.
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Re: Should practitioners stop using drugs?

Postby tomamundsen » Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:09 am

Tiger wrote: Now consider that drugs are far more potent than alcohol, far more addictive, and do far more damage to the mental health.

Alcohol is a drug. Alcohol is more addictive and destructive than many other recreational drugs.
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Re: Should practitioners stop using drugs?

Postby catmoon » Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:36 am

I don't know what you mean by Dharma path. If you want to achieve realization from using Marijuana, then it may be not possible. If Buddhist teaching is about accepting things, why do you reject them?


That's a mighty big "if". If Buddhism is simply about accepting things then every renunciate is off the path for starters.
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Re: Should practitioners stop using drugs?

Postby Dave The Seeker » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:13 pm

I don't think that using any drug or alcohol is a benefit to anyone, Buddhist or not.
These substances cloud the mind and hinder/sicken the body.
I'm not at all against the use of perscription drugs if used as they are meant.
Being a recovering alcoholic and drug abuser, I know that these things cause incredible delusion in ones mind and most times cause as much if not more harm to others as ones self.
I was addicted to substances for decades, and when I finally decided I'd had enough it was finding Buddhism that helped me stay on the track of not using. And I'm greatfull for that and the other things in my life that have become much better.
As to meditating, I believe that anything other than a clear mind won't really be effective in the calming of the mind.

But that's just my opinion and experience.

PS: YMMV=your millage may very
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Re: Should practitioners stop using drugs?

Postby oushi » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:23 pm

catmoon wrote:
I don't know what you mean by Dharma path. If you want to achieve realization from using Marijuana, then it may be not possible. If Buddhist teaching is about accepting things, why do you reject them?


That's a mighty big "if". If Buddhism is simply about accepting things then every renunciate is off the path for starters.

You are looking for confirmation, or contradiction? :smile:
It is possible to accept renunciation isn't it? Who is this demon that can do such a tricks?!? How can he do that?
Seriously, how can you accept nonacceptance? And what happens when you accept everything in that way?
hint:Equanimity

Longchenpa wrote:When you enter this pure path,
Unsuitable things which otherwise would be eliminated-
Even the five passions and the five heinous crimes-
Are wonderfully the same.
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Re: Should practitioners stop using drugs?

Postby CrawfordHollow » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:22 pm

Thanks for the replies, guys. I don't know, I still think that drugs just give you a temporary experience. The experience may be profound, i've done all the entheogens out there including the big one DMT many times. LSD, mushrooms, mescalin... they may show you a glimse of something at first, but they can also suck the life out of you. I don't think you can rely on temporary experiences on the path, especially ones created by chemicals. Of course you could argue that meditation and practice is just another created temporary experiecnce. But it not only comes from within, practice has a way of stablizing itself over time, it gets stronger the more you do it. With drugs you become weaker the more you do them. I remember with LSD in particular in totally lost its luster after a while. I guess if you are really advanced in your practice you could use these things, but why would you need them at that point?

Thanks again for the responses. I will close this discussion with these two facts, no one has become enlightened through drug use, and DMT= Space Elves :smile:
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Re: Should practitioners stop using drugs?

Postby TaTa » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:47 pm

Hey im a newbie practitioner so take that in account while judging my opinion.

As ive stated in the other post ive come to the conclucion that i have to stop or drasticly reduce my marihuana consumption to improve my samadhi. Still take in account that i had use it every day, more than once a day for years, the case may be different if you use it in a non adictive way. As far as my meditations on weed its clear that its an obstacle for me, but when the obstacle is passed it gave me grate purification as in "disconfort + ecuanimity = purification "as shinzen young says. The other problem on weed is that when ive started to enter into a lasting samadhi (not to deep, just beggining stages i assume ) i found that smoking weed on the rest of the day it cuts off the countinuity of the residual effect of samatha meditation.

As far as entheogens ive tried lsd (or something similar, probably more related with anphetamins but similar effect, never took a drop of pure lsd since here in argentina is rare and they sell you anphetamines as if they where lsd) and Smoke a small dose of DMT.

Lsd gave me this incredible expirience in terms of how maleable "reality is" The sense of perception merging with emotions and things like synesthesia was quite impresive and probable had a lot to do with me beeing on the meditation path.
When i took dmt the dose was to small so i didnt trip my balls out. It was quite intreseting, it really increased my awareness and gave my a samadhi tipe expirience. Im courious to try this drug again now that i have some meditation skills.

I think that entheogens may be usefull. Its to bad that the shaman role has died. As someone said there is nothing wrong with prescription drugs, whell shamans did prescribe this kind of stuff. Netherthe less usefull doesnt mean that you have to do it in order to achive something o that it will bring realization and i do belive that is more dangerous if you are not a grounded person.

On the other hand its hard for me to state an opinion on marihuana since i have a heavy use and i cant make my opinion with perspective.

I have always wondered what would i highly realized monk say after a dmt/ayahuasca expirience

Greetings and sorry about my english
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Re: Should practitioners stop using drugs?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Wed Sep 05, 2012 3:42 pm

oushi wrote:If Buddhist teaching is about accepting things, why do you reject them?


Because things can be experienced on a scale of intensity the extremes of which are vastly far apart. There is a path for a reason and that is why the path of renunciation exists. My lam rim doesn't reject that path - it requires me to deeply understand it and have the deepest respect for it. Someone may be ready for some things but not others. I personally am not ready to rest in presence while having a fork stuck in my eye. I would rather do it in my nice living room. Others, however, may be ready to do just that, at that level of intensity.

I have a feeling, for example, that a practitioner who has hung out with a friend who drinks blood from the kapalas of their own victims, would not exactly be jumping up and down to introduce that friend to all the nice kiddies in the neighborhood.

Not, of course, that I would know anything about such terrible things.

:spy:
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