Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Jenna
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Post by Jenna » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:13 am

m0rl0ck wrote:OK, heres the downside, some people never come back.
I have personally known people who flipped out and never came back. Im a veteran of probably a hundred acid trips or more, roughly twice a week for a year or more in my days of heaviest use, so i am an informed source.

You are in no position to be messing around with your brain chemistry.

That calm peacful comfortable wtih yourself feeling could just as easily be the beginning of a manic phase, take your meds, be honest with your doctors.
I have made myself quite aware of these risks, but sometimes in life we need to take a chance in order to advance. If we did never do things which had a large chance of self improvement, and a small chance of causing trouble, I can hardly imagine many of us would survive for too long - I certainly wouldn't have. You say you took acid roughly twice a week for quite a long time? I can hardly imagine how much strain that would put on a person. I'm curious why you did it? I know some people who took similarly frequent doses for a similar time period, and.. they don't seem to have benefitted from it. They seem too preoccupied being upset at how supposedly absurd everything is to have more meaningful ideas.

So far as being in no position to be messing with my brain chemistry - I feel the opposite is true! I have experience dealing with true insanity, and my life is weighed down by issues I've not been able to get past with purely cognitive means. Meditation works for a lot of people, and has helped me a lot, as has talking therapies and the likes, but sometimes when dealing with problems born of chemistry, helpful solutions can come in the form of chemistry also. I don't want to give up. I don't want to live a life of unnecessary suffering. The benefits are worth the chance of failure - drugs are no different to anything else in that regard.

As for the beginning of a manic phase, do you have any experience with bipolar mania? It's quite different for me, and not something I would in any way describe as 'calm' - taking LSD has nearly nothing in common with a manic experience, and the crash afterwards is completely minor in comparison and doesn't resemble melancholic depression. I do take my medicine, and my doctors know that I've made use of LSD to help deal with anxieties and other problems, and they have been supportive and not discouraged me in the slightest. I have seen several doctors - many well respected, and some famous for their revolutionary research in to Bipolar and regular unipolar depression. Universally, no doctor I've seen has objected to my use of LSD, and many have remarked on it's safety when used in moderation and with caution.

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ground
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Post by ground » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:42 am

Everybody knows the disadvantages of drugs so there is no need to mention these. It is like smoking causing cancer does not hold people back from smoking and it does not make sense to repeat over and over again that smoking causes cancer when smokers already know but still keep smoking.

Is seems as if you already have made up your mind and you have started this thread to probe whether your belief can stand the view of others.
Sometimes there is free will and sometimes there is not. When we decide for something we ourself may have the impression that it is a decision based on free will.
To watch and observe with clear unobstructed awareness whether what we are inclined to think and what we are inclined to do is actually based on free will or not is something some prefer to indulging in the effects of alleged free decisions which are actually habitual urges and impulses.

Kind regards

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Jenna
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Post by Jenna » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:36 am

TMingyur wrote:Is seems as if you already have made up your mind and you have started this thread to probe whether your belief can stand the view of others.
Sometimes there is free will and sometimes there is not. When we decide for something we ourself may have the impression that it is a decision based on free will.
To watch and observe with clear unobstructed awareness whether what we are inclined to think and what we are inclined to do is actually based on free will or not is something some prefer to indulging in the effects of alleged free decisions which are actually habitual urges and impulses.

Kind regards
I have made up my mind in a sense, but I am here to question myself as much as to question each of you. Sometimes I take opposing stances to challenge and to tease out people's views. I am not as sure about drugs as I have sometimes implied in these posts, I think. Of the things I've learnt about buddhism, many teachings come with stories and kōans which help guide to a perspective where an idea makes clear sense. Rarely, does anyone seem to talk about drugs however. Often it seems to be broad statements as if it is inherently true and clear that they are bad or harmful, but I don't find it all that clear. I see balance and nuance. It's clear to me that for some people, some drugs are helpful, and should be taken. The opposite is also clear. It is the middle, where things get a bit less clear, that I am interested in gaining a better understanding. I do believe no real insight or enlightenment can come from the use of drugs, but like all things which change the mind in to a different state or perspective, I've come to feel that it maybe a useful tool in enabling a reflective and questioning person to gain insights. Unnecessary? Perhaps. But is is bad or less preferable than alternatives? I'm not so sure. My use of drugs so far has mostly been a 'last resort' type of thing, but they have worked well, so now I am curious.

As for smoking, that seems a bit of a straw man.

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ground
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Post by ground » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:49 am

Jenna wrote:I have made up my mind in a sense, but I am here to question myself as much as to question each of you. Sometimes I take opposing stances to challenge and to tease out people's views.
Well ... I don't take drugs because even though from my perspective taking drugs or not does not make a difference as to the basic truth of birth, aging, illness and death it makes a big difference for me. This is the only valid thing I can say based on my own experience.

Kind regards

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manas
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Post by manas » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:55 am

Sorry jenna, everyone, I'm not sure about the reply I made here, and due to my doubts, I got rid of it. I should probably leave advising others to those more experienced. I am feeling like I should say less than I do.

may you be well

metta
Last edited by manas on Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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Alexei
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Post by Alexei » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:34 am

Jenna, thanks for your reply, it's really nice to read a clear and detailed thoughts.

I wouldn't use black & white vision for this complex issue.
It's easy to accept any frightening things in oneself when one is tripping well. In contrast to bad experiences.
How I see it. Our defence mechanisms had being formed for a long time to protect us form a stress. Now we don't need them if we have different conditions, but often it's not really good to just destroy them. Drugs can do it, and in this way sometimes lead to psychotic attacks.
If you read Grof's LSD Psychotherapy you know how mental state may worsen after LSD session. Just want you to know.
Any drug is a simple molecule, it can't solve complex problems by itself.

You said that you had talking therapies, are they were long enough? They are highly effective with anxieties you described. Though take some time and money.

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zavk
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Post by zavk » Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:08 pm

Hi all

It's been a loooong time since I last posted. But I think it is apt that I post a response here. It's 3am where I am and I can't sleep, because I took some drugs (i.e. highly caffeinated energy drink) late in the day to help me finish some work. Without going into details, like many people at some stage of their lives (late teens to twenties) I had my fair share of experimentation with various substances. Some of the experiences were life changing--not so much in a continuous way, but they did prompt important shifts in the way I relate to myself and the world. But there were also problems that arose, though thankfully nothing major that would require serious medical intervention.

Anyway, this issue of drugs is a complex one. Given the many complex ideological, political, and economical contestations over drugs today--struggles of power that shape and influence the way we think about drugs, the way they are produced and circulated, etc.--it is difficult to take a clear cut stance on drugs, once and for all. An absolutist moralising, holier-than-thou 'Drugs are bad!' attitude is not helpful in the long, as they gloss over these wider processes which need serious attention, involving informed, open dialogue from all quarters. Against this background, those choosing to use drugs have to also consider their own personal 'set and setting'--and this bring with it a whole host of other considerations, like whether the individual is adequately informed about drugs and their effects, whether they have the capacity to honestly evaluate their circumstances, whether they have pre-existing health or emotional issues, etc.

In other words, the question of whether drugs use is helpful or not is CONTEXT-DEPENDENT. But to give a Dhamma response. Somewhere in the book, A Still Forest Pool, Ajahn Chah makes this measured and wise comment about drugs which neither condemns nor approves of it. He said something to the effect of: 'What you experience on drugs is sometimes good but not true, or is it true but not good. With the Dhamma, it is always good and always true.

The only thing I would add is: care for yourself.

All the best

:anjali: :smile: :group:
With metta,
zavk

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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Post by Buckwheat » Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:02 am

Pain and suffering are opportunities to learn. Taking drugs to feel good for a few months still sounds like indulgence in pleasure, even if it's more subtle than craving the immediate high. There's probably worse things in the world, but meditating, exercising, and walking with friends are much more effective and might last a whole lifetime instead of a couple months. It sounds like you are doing all these other things, so I would just say be patient and give it time so that you can have that peace and clarity in a drug free manner. It will come around sooner or later because it sounds like you're headed in the right direction.

To reiterate: patience and tolerance for both yourself and your situation. I struggle with it myself, and that's why we have compassion for each other. Understanding our situations as suffering, struggling human beings, patiently working toward the Buddha's ideals. Whatever your path, I wish you the best.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Skeptic
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Post by Skeptic » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:10 pm

Drugs are bad :tongue:

However, sometimes I smoke some pot with my friends and drink some beer with my friends, just because they do it every weekend. I don't need it at all, and smoking pot and drinking beer occasionally do me no harm. It's bad when it becomes your addiction and you can't stop doing it, otherwise if you do it rarely it can do no harm.

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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Post by Ben » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:16 pm

Skeptic wrote:smoking pot and drinking beer occasionally do me no harm.
How do you know?
These drugs are more harmful than you realize. Quite apart from the deliterious health effects, they will undermine any effort you make in living a virtuous life and developing concentration and wisdom which leads to liberation.
If you are serious about walking the Noble Eightfold Path I encourage you to live a life of total abstinance of intoxicants. And if you value your health then I recommend you do the same.
kind regards,

Ben
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Skeptic
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Post by Skeptic » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:30 pm

Ben wrote:If you are serious about walking the Noble Eightfold Path I encourage you to live a life of total abstinance of intoxicants. And if you value your health then I recommend you do the same.
I agree with You, but if You have raised in the kind of neighborhood much worst than American ghetto with all Your friends being at least mild drug addicts, then it's really difficult to cut all your relations with them, or totally being abstinent from drugs and alcohol while hanging out with them. It can can lead you only to isolation, which is even more harmful to your spiritual development.

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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Post by Ben » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:40 pm

I do understand where you are coming from, Skeptic.
And given your situation, isolation can be a tough call.
These sorts of decisions and dilemmas are things we have to work out for ourselves.
Wishing you the best,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:48 pm

Skeptic wrote:
Ben wrote:If you are serious about walking the Noble Eightfold Path I encourage you to live a life of total abstinance of intoxicants. And if you value your health then I recommend you do the same.
I agree with You, but if You have raised in the kind of neighborhood much worst than American ghetto with all Your friends being at least mild drug addicts, then it's really difficult to cut all your relations with them, or totally being abstinent from drugs and alcohol while hanging out with them. It can can lead you only to isolation, which is even more harmful to your spiritual development.
I feel your pain and was at a similar point in my life many years ago. I was fortunate to have chosen my well being at the risk of solitude over continuing to indulge in self-destructive behaviors. I, too, would urge you to abstain from these intoxicants even if that means finding new friends. No one said the path to liberation was a smooth one but if you're willing to put in the effort I'm sure you will experience good results. Whatever you decide I wish you the best! Metta. :heart:

KB
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Skeptic
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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Post by Skeptic » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:51 pm

Ben wrote:I do understand where you are coming from, Skeptic.
And given your situation, isolation can be a tough call.
These sorts of decisions and dilemmas are things we have to work out for ourselves.
Wishing you the best,

Ben
Thanks Ben,

Believe me, I have really tried to be totally abstinent from drugs and alcohol. In fact, unlike most of my friends I have the fortune to run away from city to the rural parts of country where I'm mostly abstinent from drugs and alcohol. But they come to visit me, and I have to go back in the city and trying to be abstinent among them it's really hard if not impossible. I'm aware it's harmful, but somehow drink or two with them seems better to me them spend my time all alone.

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Re: Drugs: A tool, useful for good and bad?

Post by Buckwheat » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:32 am

Just to pick at both sides of the debate over Skeptic's situation... First, isn't solitude considered an important thing to pursue? Fear of isolation is not an adequate excuse for indulgance. Also, one must recognize that even moderate indulgence does hinder spiritual progress and accept those consequences. On the other side, I don't think there is anything wrong with trying to do the best that you can with what you have, even if that means moderate indulgence.

When you do indulge, use these experiences to remain mindful and focus on the consequences. Are you getting heedless and say/do thing that cause suffering? Are you lazy in the following days? What other opportunities were missed? If these people can't be around you without getting a buzz, are they really your friends?

Avoid heedlessness, and recognize the consequences of actions. Then acknowledge that total abstinence has it's wonderful rewards so that someday you may have the strength and confidence to say no. I also deal with this. In my area, most of the people that don't drink beer are hardcore Christians... and half of them are hypocrites. :rolleye: :toast:
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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