Buddhism and Psychedelics

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Moth » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:39 pm

In your opinion, is moderate use of mind-altering plants such as Ayahuasca and Psilocybin Mushrooms a violation of the fifth precept and more importantly a detriment to Buddhist practice? I myself find occasional use beneficial if approached properly, however I can understand how such heightened states of consciousness can lead to attachment and confusion. If taken not for the actual state of intoxication but rather for the understanding it brings to normal life, I feel these tools can be quite beneficial. Further, were it not for such experiences I feel I would never have ended up a Buddhist, though like all vessels, I know these things must eventually be discarded. I'm interested to hear what you folks think.
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:49 pm

Ah, the 60's.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Reductor » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:12 pm

Moth wrote:... though like all vessels, I know these things must eventually be discarded. I'm interested to hear what you folks think.


I would say now is the time for discarding, Moth. Don't alter your the chemical balance of your brain willynilly. Bad mojo.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Kenshou » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:27 pm

Do they help you to understand the impermanence and unreliability of all phenomena, and to end clinging and aversion? I kinda doubt it. More likely to take you down some colorful and appealing but useless sideroads I think, and that's just more samsara. Real insight needs to be found in reality as it is, not when viewed through psilocybin-tinted goggles.
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby SDC » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:30 pm

Moth wrote:In your opinion, is moderate use of mind-altering plants such as Ayahuasca and Psilocybin Mushrooms a violation of the fifth precept and more importantly a detriment to Buddhist practice?


In my humble opinion, yes. The aim of the practice is to awaken to reality. The last thing we need is a substance that not only distorts reality for a given period of time, but also may fool us into believing that we've had certain experiences that may not have been so. I feel we must be sharp without the aid of anything, except the knowledge and skill of the Buddha's teachings. That way we know that we are facing experience with all of our strengths and weaknesses...as we are. With that knowledge there can be no fooling ourselves.

Moth wrote:Further, were it not for such experiences I feel I would never have ended up a Buddhist...


For a long time I believed this about myself. Now I'm not sure, but I will/can never rule it out.

I look back on the times I used mushrooms and various other substances and I smile. It was a lot of fun. But I see no use for it any longer.

Be safe.
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Goedert » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:34 pm

Moth wrote:In your opinion, is moderate use of mind-altering plants such as Ayahuasca and Psilocybin Mushrooms a violation of the fifth precept and more importantly a detriment to Buddhist practice? I myself find occasional use beneficial if approached properly, however I can understand how such heightened states of consciousness can lead to attachment and confusion. If taken not for the actual state of intoxication but rather for the understanding it brings to normal life, I feel these tools can be quite beneficial. Further, were it not for such experiences I feel I would never have ended up a Buddhist, though like all vessels, I know these things must eventually be discarded. I'm interested to hear what you folks think.


Yes, they break up the fifth precet.

There Buddha teached us how to get in blissfull states, it is called samadhi.

There is a natural blissfull state that can be achieved trough samadhi at any time. It is better then any sex, any drug, any mundane pleasure that exist. The only supirior is the beggining of sammasamadhi.
:namaste:
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby acinteyyo » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:11 am

Moth wrote:... however I can understand how such heightened states of consciousness can lead to attachment and confusion...

Hi Moth,

those aren't "heightened" states of consciousness at all. It's delusion, ignorance because of a lack of mindfulness, due to the consumption of intoxicants, which leads to carelessness.

One should try to keep the precept, to refrain from taking intoxicants.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:26 am

SDC wrote:
I look back on the times I used mushrooms and various other substances and I smile. It was a lot of fun. But I see no use for it any longer.
.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby OcTavO » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:15 am

I think it's pretty unequivocal what the Buddha had to say about mind altering substances...

Suramerayamajja pamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Kenshou » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:31 am

Well, I could be wrong but I think the original precept deals only with alcohol, and so a stubborn person could use that as an excuse to do other drugs and not be technically wrong, though you don't need to tell me that in order to act with the intended spirit of the precept we should abstain from all mind-altering drugs in general.
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Moth » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:23 am

Kenshou wrote:Do they help you to understand the impermanence and unreliability of all phenomena, and to end clinging and aversion? I kinda doubt it. More likely to take you down some colorful and appealing but useless sideroads I think, and that's just more samsara. Real insight needs to be found in reality as it is, not when viewed through psilocybin-tinted goggles.


It has often been the case that they take me down, as you say, colorful but useless side roads, more so when I first began using them. However now it just shows me my ego, shows me my habits, my patterns, and allows me to overcome them through this recognition. The experience itself is transient, all sensual pleasure is useless, the only benefit is the necessary surrender. The last time I used mushrooms I went to this park alone, sat, and meditated. It was not at all pleasant but I just kept sitting there, regardless of the sensations, remaining detached yet mindful. The enjoyable aspect was coming down, coming back to reality, and being able to apply this new understanding I had of myself.

This is just more Samsara, but isn't everything?. Ultimately though, I agree that real insight does need to be found in reality, without external aid. Psychedelics are most certainly an attachment that I should let go of.

May you be happy, may you be at peace, may you be free from suffering,
-Moth
Last edited by Moth on Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:22 am

Nothing exists outside Samsara, even Nibbana.
:shrug:
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby PeterB » Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:07 am

Moth wrote:In your opinion, is moderate use of mind-altering plants such as Ayahuasca and Psilocybin Mushrooms a violation of the fifth precept and more importantly a detriment to Buddhist practice? I myself find occasional use beneficial if approached properly, however I can understand how such heightened states of consciousness can lead to attachment and confusion. If taken not for the actual state of intoxication but rather for the understanding it brings to normal life, I feel these tools can be quite beneficial. Further, were it not for such experiences I feel I would never have ended up a Buddhist, though like all vessels, I know these things must eventually be discarded. I'm interested to hear what you folks think.

Yes. And more importantly...yes.
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Tex » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:32 pm

Moth wrote:In your opinion, is moderate use of mind-altering plants such as Ayahuasca and Psilocybin Mushrooms a violation of the fifth precept


Yes.

Moth wrote:and more importantly a detriment to Buddhist practice?


Without question.

Moth wrote:I myself find occasional use beneficial if approached properly, however I can understand how such heightened states of consciousness can lead to attachment and confusion.


They're not heightened states of conscious, they're altered states of consciousness. You might perceive them as higher than normal consciousness at the time because, well, you're high. If you use those substances again, try writing down all of those deep thoughts, really ramble on for a few pages, then read them a few days later when you're sober. I think you'll find a few pages of complete gibberish.

The practice taught by the Buddha involves examining the regular old everyday mind. I don't see how chemically altering the state of mind can help with that.
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Moth » Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:37 pm

Tex wrote:The practice taught by the Buddha involves examining the regular old everyday mind.


True.
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby altar » Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:30 pm

Moth I'm sorry most of the posts on here are rather dismissive.
These drugs can be rather radically mind changing at least for a temporary period. And it's not a simple high but actual perception changes I believe. I even had a call to buddhism on one experience on mushrooms. It also (can) teach people to love and that the ego is a fragmentary thing. It can even show you about the body.
I don't agree with anyone (who might state it) however that they are a part of the path. I think they are not a part of the path and are to be discarded and blotted out and smudgened... abolished eradicated anhilated etc. etc. etc.
I think you should just stop doing them and move on without especially condemning them as ignorant until you see the idiocy yourself (I'm still working on it myself).
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Annapurna » Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:43 pm

Moth wrote:Further, were it not for such experiences I feel I would never have ended up a Buddhist, though like all vessels, I know these things must eventually be discarded. I'm interested to hear what you folks think.


All the substance abusers I know are not Buddhists, and I, the only one who didn't use any, is. (Only tried a bit)
Also, many of them get mental health problems...

Feeling substances in my mind makes me feel terrible. Like fog. Like a labyrinth...trapped.

I like clarity.

As Tex said, write down your thoughts and read them a few days later--- :shock: that was very enlightening.
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby bodom » Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:24 pm

Buddhism, the 12 Steps, & the 12 Traditions
http://www.liberationpark.org/events/12step.htm

Buddhist Recovery Network
http://www.buddhistrecovery.org/inaugur ... tikaro.htm

12 steps for buddhists
http://steps.admire6.tail.philipsproduc ... buddhists/

One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps
http://www.amazon.com/One-Breath-Time-B ... 1579549055

12 Steps on Buddha's Path: Bill, Buddha, and We
http://www.amazon.com/12-Steps-Buddhas- ... pd_sim_b_2

The 12-Step Buddhist: Enhance Recovery from Any Addiction
http://www.amazon.com/12-Step-Buddhist- ... pd_sim_b_1

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Viscid » Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:37 pm

Tex wrote:They're not heightened states of conscious, they're altered states of consciousness. You might perceive them as higher than normal consciousness at the time because, well, you're high. If you use those substances again, try writing down all of those deep thoughts, really ramble on for a few pages, then read them a few days later when you're sober. I think you'll find a few pages of complete gibberish.


Though this is generally true, there have been instances in which I've used substances and found both novel solutions to programming problems and rather interesting ideas for future applications. They alter your perceptions in such a way that you can look at a problem at a different perspective than that of a sober mind.

A 'heightened' state of consciousness IS an 'altered' state of consciousness by definition. Sleep is an 'altered' state of consciousness, so are deep states of meditation. Labelling some states as 'higher' and others as not is arbitrary.

The practice taught by the Buddha involves examining the regular old everyday mind. I don't see how chemically altering the state of mind can help with that.


Observing phenomena in one state of mind, and comparing the observation of the same phenomena in another state of mind leads to some insight about the nature of that phenomena. When observing the dramatic perceptive changes induced with substances such as LSD or Psilocybin, including changes in the very way we see ourselves, it can lead to some rather stunning insights into how the mind behaves.

These substances should not be carelessly abused, but you cannot simply dismiss their value.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby bodom » Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:48 pm

Does anyone have a link to that one sutta where the Buddha discourses on the benefits of Psychedelics to the attainment of Nibbana? Im having trouble trying to find it. :tongue:

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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