Buddhism and Psychedelics

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:53 pm

Viscid wrote:
Tex wrote:

These substances should not be carelessly abused, but you cannot simply dismiss their value.


odd that you talk about labeling things as arbitrary, then just arbitrarily say these things have value. the use of psychedelic substances is as old as civilization itself, in India they used mushrooms, pot and soma, these things would have been well known to a yogi, the Buddha started out as just a yogi. why then didn't he mention them?

I'm no prude, these things were a few times a week indulgence for me when i was younger, and even after finding Buddhism i revisited them to just make sure i hadn't missed something or had just used them wrong. they don't lead into insights.

all conditioned things are not-self, impermanent and dukkha, the state of mind you "achieve" by using a substance is a conditioned state, a fabricated state. thus it is not-self, impermanent and dukkha, thus not a path to liberation. so what would be the point , in a dhammic sense, in fabricating another mind-state that is just dukkha?

if you want to do these things, by all means that's your choice, but if you're really honest with yourself you can see its just more saṅkhāra, no different from the state of mind you could create through alchohol, or day dreaming or whatever.

handa'dāni bhikkhave āmantayāmi vo, vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā ti.
'Disciples, this I declare to you: All conditioned things are subject to disintegration - strive on untiringly for your liberation.' (Mahāparinibbāna Sutta)
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 Viscid » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:29 am

I'd also like to point out this video of the Venerable Rahula of the Bhavana Society both describing his LSD experience and directly comparing that experience to what he experiences during meditation.



He says [@ 4:50] "... I learned that you can reach these kinds of states of consciousness through meditation."

Surely, if deep states of meditation and some aspects of the psychedelic experience are comparable, then LSD could be of use in easily inducing these states not achievable without considerable meditative practice.

That is, if the Ven. Rahula is not either lying, misguided or delusional.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby bodom » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:46 am

I have listened to many talks from Venerable Rahula on meditation practice and have read his book The Way to Peace and Happiness. Never once does he recommend using LSD and does not do so in the video either. He talks of tripping on acid to the point of almost drowning in the ocean and almost jumping off a balcony ledge, neither of which is very conducive to meditation practice. There is no endorsement for LSD use here.

: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 » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:58 am

bodom wrote:I have listened to many talks from Venerable Rahula on meditation practice and have read his book The Way to Peace and Happiness. Never once does he recommend using LSD and does not do so in the video either. He talks of tripping on acid to the point of almost drowning in the ocean and almost jumping off a balcony ledge, neither of which is very conducive to meditation practice. There is no endorsement for LSD use here.

:anjali:


Right, but someone who isn't a monk would probably use this substance, experience a state where some aspects are similar to a deep meditation, have a qualitative change in philosophy after using the substance inspired by this state and look for a system of beliefs which compliment that philosophy. It could be of use bringing people to the dhamma.

Just as tiltbillings said:
tiltbillings wrote:Ah, the 60's.


Any use for monks? Not so much. One of the most convenient things about meditating instead of using drugs is that when you get up from a meditation session, the walls don't breathe.
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Moth » Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:25 am

[I have come the realization that everyone was right, that Buddhism and Psychedelics are incompatible. Psychedelics are external, impermanent, and illegal]
Last edited by Moth on Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Reductor » Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:50 am

Moth wrote:*Edit* Many are mentioning LSD in this discussion. I would like to clarify that what I am referring to in my original post is naturally occurring plant etheogens used by various cultures (Peyote, Ayahuasca, Psilocybin, etc). In my experience, LSD can lead to very deluded thinking, and can be easily misused.


You know who comes to mind when I read this thread? Dukkhanirodha. Unfortunately he doesn't seem to be around that much as of late, but he mentioned on more than one occasion of consuming a natural plant, which proceeded to addle his brain. He now meditates very long hours in a bid to counter the damage it has done to his psyche.

So, laying aside the moral factor or the use in gaining insight, consider the health ramifications.
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 Viscid » Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:59 am

Moth wrote:*Edit* Many are mentioning LSD in this discussion. I would like to clarify that what I am referring to in my original post is naturally occurring plant etheogens used by various cultures (Peyote, Ayahuasca, Psilocybin, etc). In my experience, LSD can lead to very deluded thinking, and can be easily misused.


Well Psilocybin can lead to the same deluded thinking and misuse as LSD. The experience of being on Mushrooms is very similar to LSD-- you can't say one is better than the other just because one came from a plant and one was manufactured.

Most people abuse these substances. They say "Wooo I want a psychedelic ride!" or maybe an escape and they trip out. When they're tripping, they think lots of neat, crazy, deluded or inspired things with a tremendous amount of conviction. When they're done, there is no one to tell them what thoughts and beliefs are valid or invalid. They have to make this decision for themselves, which I assume would more often than not lead them to believe the wrong view.
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Moth » Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:02 am

Viscid wrote:Well Psilocybin can lead to the same deluded thinking and misuse as LSD. The experience of being on Mushrooms is very similar to LSD-- you can't say one is better than the other just because one came from a plant and one was manufactured.

Most people abuse these substances. They say "Wooo I want a psychedelic ride!" or maybe an escape and they trip out. When they're tripping, they think lots of neat, crazy, deluded or inspired things with a tremendous amount of conviction. When they're done, there is no one to tell them what thoughts and beliefs are valid or invalid. They have to make this decision for themselves, which I assume would more often than not lead them to believe the wrong view.


True.
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Annapurna » Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:05 am

Viscid wrote:
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.


Sorry, Viscid, not trying to be obnoxious, but I do dismiss their value, because they are crutches, and everything that can be attained using those can also be obtained by a clear mind as well, if it learns independant work, -which is a fundamental requirement for enlightenment.

It has learned how to get there without substances, and can do it again anytime.
A substance user needs the substance. So he is not free and independant.

He is like a thief who steals the keys to a sanctuary, but, as if by magic, the keys will vanish after a while, and he will find himself outside of it again.

A trained mind can access it by will, through practice.

Many geniuses or artists have brooded over insights and found no solution, but woke up at night, either having dreamt it, or simply suddenly "knowing".

Why would I need a substance for things that will come naturally, if only you wait for the right time? Why be impatient? Will an apple ripen in 3 days or will it take a whole summer full of sunlight, warmth, storm, rain, hail and so forth and make it what it is?

One summer of many?

How many summers did the Buddha search for insights?

Did he use substances?
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby EricJ » Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:01 pm

Regardless of whether or not certain meditative sensations can be replicated with psychedelic substances, here is the point: we don't meditate to feel these sensations or have visions. We meditate to gain liberation, and this includes detaching ourselves from the experiences of meditation. Creating experiences which are artificially similar to meditative sensations does not mean that such practices are skillful and lead to progression along the path. The sensations that arise in the course of meditation are the result of concentration and the refining of the mind. Psychedelic substances give rise to temporary, compounded feelings, not as a result of training in concentration, but through an artificial altering of brain chemistry. These experiences cease and can only be replicated through continued consumption of psychedelics; and, unlike training in samatha meditation, consumption of psychedelics has no Dhammic benefits in our daily lives. Samatha, unlike psychedelics, replaces sensual desire with mindfulness, concentration and renunciation, on and off the cushion. Consumption of psychedelics leaves one with craving for more psychedelic experiences, because hallucinations and feelings of joy and spaciness are fun.

I have taken a psychedelic called LSA before. I thought I would never feel dissatisfied again. I was wrong.
I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.- Gandhi

With persistence aroused for the highest goal's attainment, with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action, firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Not neglecting seclusion, absorption, constantly living the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, comprehending the danger in states of becoming, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Anicca » Thu Jul 22, 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?
Yes and yes.

Uppers, downers and booze were never a temptation in the good ol' daze - the psychedelics were in another category.

Remember what the dormouse said - feed your head...

Personally, they really seemed to instill a great need for personal inner change. It seemed they showed that the "mundane, material" style of living was a dead end - that moral, ethical and virtuous values were worth more than fame and gold and - that more drugs were not the correct way to make the change! They did their bit to encourage change, but it takes a "straight" mind to make those changes real and permanent. They did not show the "whole" path - but they were a start.

Others used the same drugs and became neo-nazis and alchoholics. Kamma?

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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Laurens » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:02 pm

I don't think its encouraged in Buddhism. But don't let that stop you, you need to think for yourself...

Just because its not encouraged doesn't mean that's a strict doctrine that you have to follow. Carry on taking psychedelics and practising Buddhism, find out for yourself how useful or otherwise they are. Don't stop just cause someone else told you to, if they help you then they help you. Simple as.
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Moth » Sat Jul 24, 2010 3:01 am

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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby octathlon » Sat Jul 24, 2010 3:15 am

Moth wrote:
Laurens wrote:I don't think its encouraged in Buddhism. But don't let that stop you, you need to think for yourself...

Just because its not encouraged doesn't mean that's a strict doctrine that you have to follow. Carry on taking psychedelics and practising Buddhism, find out for yourself how useful or otherwise they are. Don't stop just cause someone else told you to, if they help you then they help you. Simple as.


Thank you. I find this advice to be very wise.

Yay, you finally got the answer you were waiting for, congrats! :D
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Laurens » Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:55 pm

Moth wrote:
Laurens wrote:I don't think its encouraged in Buddhism. But don't let that stop you, you need to think for yourself...

Just because its not encouraged doesn't mean that's a strict doctrine that you have to follow. Carry on taking psychedelics and practising Buddhism, find out for yourself how useful or otherwise they are. Don't stop just cause someone else told you to, if they help you then they help you. Simple as.


Thank you. I find this advice to be very wise.


I should put a disclaimer that I am no longer practising Buddhism. I wasn't specifically condoning psychedelics either, I think you should be very careful if you wish to use them. And I am confident that eventually the meditation and the use of psychedelics will probably strike a discord with one another.

I would urge you to arrive at that yourself though, that's all. Giving up psychedelics because someone else says you should probably isn't the best way of doing things. If you do it that way you will just be burying the desire to take psychedelics rather than genuinely giving up attachment to them, so the desire will probably keep cropping up over and over again.

A similar thing happened to me with marijuana, I stopped because of the 5th precept. But that wasn't a good enough reason to break my old patterns, so they would just emerge time and time again. It has to be a decision arrived at through insight, not through burying old patterns and attachments.

Laurens
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby bodom » Sun Jul 25, 2010 10:02 pm

Laurens wrote: I would urge you to arrive at that yourself though, that's all. Giving up psychedelics because someone else says you should probably isn't the best way of doing things.


There is a saying. "The smart man learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others".

LSD, shrooms, ecstacy, peyote, etc. etc. Been there done them all and more. They never got me anywhere. Especially in meditation. The only place they ever got me was in trouble. They won't get you anywhere but in trouble either Moth. Be a wise man and learn from my mistake. Its not worth it.

: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 Laurens » Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:33 pm

I agree that the testimony of others is useful in learning, I guess it all depends how much you feel the need to take psychedelics. And perhaps rather than looking at the supposed spiritual benefits of the drugs, look at the counter arguments also, what do people say about the risks etc.

I stand by my point that it should be your own decision though, it should be arrived at when you no longer feel the desire to take them, cause if you suppress it, the chances are it will cause issues.
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby bodom » Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:25 am

Laurens wrote:I stand by my point that it should be your own decision though, it should be arrived at when you no longer feel the desire to take them, cause if you suppress it, the chances are it will cause issues.


I wholeheartedly agree with you. Lots of alcoholics and addicts when first trying to get sober will do it to save their marriage, job, kids,personal relationships etc. anything other than for themselves. It doesn't work. Its only when they get sober for themselves that it will work and they will stay sober.

: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 EricJ » Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:57 am

Let's keep in mind that his question was specifically related the the use of psychedelics in relation to the Buddhist path. If this is the question we are asking ourselves, the answer is clear. The Buddha taught us a path of renunciation, of putting aside conditioned experiences. The basic renunciations which Buddhists strive to undertake are contained within the five precepts. Drug use profoundly strengthens the defilements of greed and delusion, more so than many of the things we encounter in our lives.

That said, the path is holistic. It takes a lot of effort and time to relinquish drugs for Buddhism. I know this from personal experience. I spent years reading about and wanting to convert to Buddhism, because I wasn't able to give up cannabis. Whenever I did give up drugs, it was due to a random surge of desire to practice Dhamma. However, I never deluded myself in to thinking that Dhamma practice and drug use are compatible in any way at all, or that the effects of psychedelics are somehow comparable to the effects of meditation.

Regards,
Eric
I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.- Gandhi

With persistence aroused for the highest goal's attainment, with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action, firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Not neglecting seclusion, absorption, constantly living the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, comprehending the danger in states of becoming, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
- Snp. 1.3
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Re: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Postby Moth » Fri Jul 30, 2010 7:54 am

Having done both cannabis and mushrooms today, with mindful intent, I realized that there was little to gain for either. Both had the undercurrent of unsatisfactoriness, suffering, impermanence, etc. Neither lead to any deeper wisdom other than an appreciation for sobriety and the sober state. Both lead me to a sudden and intense awareness of the suffering within all things, yet little awareness of the way to its cessation. This is perhaps a reflection of my own understanding of Dharma, or lack there of.
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