Entheogens and Buddhism

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Alexei
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Post by Alexei » Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:08 pm

perkele wrote: If psychiatrists can use them in a beneficial way, power to them. However, I am extremely skeptical (to psychiatry in general).
Psychotherapists, not psychiatrists, great difference.

E.g. short report about using psychotherapy with drugs for helping ordinary people. Substances can 'enhance rapport and empathetic capacities, lower ego defensiveness, and facilitate accessibility of unconscious material' and it requires professional care, but now in most cases it's impossible due to prejudices and 'clear position'.

perkele
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Post by perkele » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:08 pm

Alexei wrote:
perkele wrote: If psychiatrists can use them in a beneficial way, power to them. However, I am extremely skeptical (to psychiatry in general).
Psychotherapists, not psychiatrists, great difference.
I thought psychiatrists are the ones who are authorized to prescribe the heavy medicine, and so they would have to be involved here. Am I wrong?

E.g. short report about using psychotherapy with drugs for helping ordinary people. Substances can 'enhance rapport and empathetic capacities, lower ego defensiveness, and facilitate accessibility of unconscious material' and it requires professional care, but now in most cases it's impossible due to prejudices and 'clear position'.
Okay. Much of this sounds interesting.
I said earlier:
If psychiatrists can use them in a beneficial way, power to them. However, I am extremely skeptical (to psychiatry in general). I think this is quite dangerous in various ways.
I think such drug sessions under careful observation and guidance are probably much less "dangerous" than the casual prescription of standard drugs.
The "danger" I see comes when things become a standardized and careless procedure, quite the same as with individual drug use, I guess.
Anyway, I'd better not judge the work of those people too much, as I really don't know much about it (and hope to avoid it also in the future).


The "trip to Nibbana", however, is a different thing altogether. Don't know much about that too, however. So I'll better shut up.
Anyway, I'll refer back to Moth's post once more here (this one:http://www.dhammawheel.com/posting.php? ... 5#pr170644), because I think it points so well into the right direction.
And with that I'll disappear from this thread.
:toilet:

silentone
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Post by silentone » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:17 am

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012 ... epression/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

See... I think this might be ill advised and going a bit too far... but its just my opinion. Ketamine always scared me. I'm not really sure how that would help.

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mikenz66
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:22 am

perkele wrote:
Alexei wrote: Psychotherapists, not psychiatrists, great difference.
I thought psychiatrists are the ones who are authorized to prescribe the heavy medicine, and so they would have to be involved here. Am I wrong?
It's possible there is a difference in terminology between countries (For example some countries have "physical therapists" whereas we have "physiotherapists"). As I understand it, in my country it is psychiatrists who can prescribe drugs, but I may well be out of date...

:anjali:
Mike

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Ben
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Post by Ben » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:50 am

Hi Mike
mikenz66 wrote:
perkele wrote:
Alexei wrote: Psychotherapists, not psychiatrists, great difference.
I thought psychiatrists are the ones who are authorized to prescribe the heavy medicine, and so they would have to be involved here. Am I wrong?
It's possible there is a difference in terminology between countries (For example some countries have "physical therapists" whereas we have "physiotherapists"). As I understand it, in my country it is psychiatrists who can prescribe drugs, but I may well be out of date...

:anjali:
Mike
In Australia (and I think also in NZ), general practitioners (MDs) can prescribe anti-depressant medication but medication for a more serious condition such as psychosis, manic depression and schizophrenia - I think that requires psychiatric evaluation and treatment. My wife is a psychotherapist/psychologist and she cannot prescribe medications.
kind regards,

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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mikenz66
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:56 am

Thanks Ben,

My point was that it may be that in some countries "psychotherapist" means someone who can prescribe drugs and in some countries it may mean something else. The medical professions tend to have their own very localized systems...

:anjali:
Mike

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Ben
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Post by Ben » Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:00 am

Hi Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:Thanks Ben,

My point was that it may be that in some countries "psychotherapist" means someone who can prescribe drugs and in some countries it may mean something else. The medical professions tend to have their own very localized systems...

:anjali:
Mike
Yes, that is my impression as well.
Some years ago I was encouraging a friend of mine in eastern europe to seek some treatment for an acute episode of, what looked like to me, depression. That person was initially prescribed medication from a psychotherapist/psychologist in that country.
kind regards,

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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Alexei
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Post by Alexei » Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:30 am

Psychotherapists can work together with psychiatrist (in case of author of the report I posted) or sometimes they have medical education themselves.

My point is that drug-potentiated psychotherapy could improve lives of many people, not just mentally ill.

silentone
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Post by silentone » Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:35 pm

Unfortunately psychotherapy and psychiatry are heavily embedded in the pharmaceutical industry and this makes me suspect to many of the treatments they offer. My personal experiences with psychiatric medications is that many were not helpful to me. There is a certain tendency when using any drug either in a supervised or unsupervised setting to increase the dosages and attribute any change in mood/outlook to the drug. Its the sort of pattern that seems to reinforce itself over time. It is apparent that some people need help... but there is no short cut for mindfulness when using drugs or medications. My own therapists and psychiatrists led me into a quagmire with the over prescription of certain meds. When the first one don't work... they put you on another, that one doesn't work... the process repeats itself over again, and soon they bring in combinations of the same ones you tried, and they try essentially every permutation they can imagine. Soon the side effects become so extreme that they begin prescribing new medications, with entirely different side effects, just to blot out the mess they're making with the first two. Sadly I feel this prescription culture is fed by drug companies. Meta studies have shown that many of these drugs are little better than placebo... maybe slightly useful, but not enough to justify the levels of use they sometimes are prescribed at. I have also seen studies that in under developed countries many mental disorders are transient... there seems to be evidence that some of these drugs actually make mental disorders permanent. I think that in many cases the drug companies have probably suppressed studies they have funded showing perhaps less than stellar results and its often easier in psychology to attribute the positive change a therapist sees in a patient if they are expecting to attribute it to a drug. In other words, they expect the drug to work and so they read any improvement as an indication of the drugs efficacy. Naturally this is all quite profitable. Is it helpful? Sometimes.
"I think such drug sessions under careful observation and guidance are probably much less "dangerous" than the casual prescription of standard drugs.
The "danger" I see comes when things become a standardized and careless procedure, quite the same as with individual drug use, I guess."
++Perkele ... i would agree with this... all individuals involved must be mindful... even more so when a patient is vulnerable.

comparing types of drugs....

My own experience is that natural is usually better, but not fool proof.

An example.

Many people take sleeping pills like valium and xanax to fall asleep. They are highly addictive and cause all sorts of changes in your brain, but thats fine because the drug companies make billions off this practice. People say, well "whats the alternative" ...
I recently discovered that Maypops (passiflora incarnata or passionflower fruit) were commonly used for this purpose (sleep, anxiety, epilepsy) and were actually listed in the The National Formulary from 1916-1936. They are non addictive, non habit forming, improve the quality of sleep and can actually be used to help people coming off of valium addiction. How interesting that they aren't used anymore.

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Alexei
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Post by Alexei » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:48 am

As far as I know there is widespread (legal) misuse of psychoactive drugs in some counties, e.g. United States. I think it's really harmful.

I meant quite different thing, kind of substances that don't eliminate manifestations or 'heal' by themselves, on the contrary 'facilitate accessibility of unconscious material' by producing symbolic images, memory recalls, regressions and transference which can be more easily accepted and worked through in the atmosphere of a therapeutic relationship. Relationship between patient and therapist is a key factor and healer, drug is not.

silentone
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Post by silentone » Wed Feb 01, 2012 10:59 pm

I think you hit the nail on the head. The key is really having a relationship with your health care providers. The united states has a weird insurance and drug industry which distorts the patient doctor relationship. Its too easy just to throw tranquilizers at a problem quickly and get reimbursed by the patients provider.

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hanzze_
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Post by hanzze_ » Mon Jun 04, 2012 4:08 am

It's a fundamental question: "Do I like to follow the teachings of the Buddha or should I try to find a way around it."

Actually the advices of the Buddha are very simple and don't have any gap, the only gaps are just in one's own self honesty (in regard of intentions)

So when you forget about the resolve of renunciation remember freedom form enmity, if you fail to remember freedom form enmity, remember harmlessness, if you fail to remember harmlessness too, it's good to go back to right view. If you do not find any anchor, remember right effort:
"One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort...

"One tries to abandon wrong resolve & to enter into right resolve: This is one's right effort...

"One tries to abandon wrong speech & to enter into right speech: This is one's right effort...

"One tries to abandon wrong action & to enter into right action: This is one's right effort...

"One tries to abandon wrong livelihood & to enter into right livelihood: This is one's right effort."

— MN 117
There are no but's and if's in the precepts. Appamada is the guide and power veto upon the assembling of governing thoughts. If you kill your guide at the beginning of the track, where would you find your self? Would you be fit for such an anarchy?

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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Post by LonesomeYogurt » Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:16 pm

hanzze_ wrote:It's a fundamental question: "Do I like to follow the teachings of the Buddha or should I try to find a way around it."
This is an important point. You should never ask "Can I technically do this and still be following the Buddha's teachings?" It's like seeing a sign that says "Don't feed the bears" and asking, "Can I give them this or that without technically feeding them?" It's not as though you have some kind of personal duty to follow the sign; you just know that it's probably good advice.

The Buddha's path is put down to help you. You can do whatever you want. Just remember that the Buddha was probably a lot more on top of things than you are. I'd trust him.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

bdmntn
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Post by bdmntn » Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:44 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote: The Buddha's path is put down to help you. You can do whatever you want. Just remember that the Buddha was probably a lot more on top of things than you are. I'd trust him.
agreed. "If you cling to it, if you fondle it, if you treasure it, if you are attached to it," says the Buddha, "then you do not understand that the teaching is similar to a raft, which is for crossing over, and not for getting hold of". lsd, 'entheogens' and psychoactives like tea or incense or even music have helped to make a raft that has crossed many over to the dharma, both in the modern west and throughout the historic spread of the dharma. their continual use recreationally is a related subject, but not the only takeaway from the topic of entheogens and buddhisms.

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Lampang
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Re: Entheogens and Buddhism

Post by Lampang » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:50 am

It's a fundamental question: "Do I like to follow the teachings of the Buddha or should I try to find a way around it."
Is that the right question to ask? I would have thought one followed the Buddha's teaching for instrumental reasons - you follow them because you think they will take you to somewhere you want or ought to go, not because there is some inherent good in following them for their own sake. If it were possible to arrive at that end point by other means, would that be wrong? It doesn't seem immediately obvious to me that it is. That said, as someone with a fairly broad experience of drug abuse, including hallucinogens, though much less experience of Buddhism, I don't think the end points are actually anywhere near each other so it's a bit of a redundant question. Related to this, I also think it's a bit odd to rely on textual sources to quite such a degree. I don't want to upset anyone but is it really sensible uncritically to use Iron Age opinion, refracted through subsequent cultural prejudices, as a guide to the benefits - or otherwise - of 21st century pharmacology?

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