Author Topic: LSD as a Gateway Drug to Buddhism  (Read 13753 times)

WisdomBeing

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LSD as a Gateway Drug to Buddhism
« on: November 28, 2012, 08:40:26 AM »
This is an interesting take on the effect of psychedelic drug use on spirituality. Sounds very Chogyam Trungpa to me! I don't know anything about zen buddhists or monks and did not even know that psychedelic drugs was involved in their order - if the report below is true which i am skeptical about. As far as I know, drugs of any sort is frowned upon in Buddhism, like alcohol and even smoking (cigarettes!). Has anyone heard about this?

Rick Strassman: LSD as a Gateway Drug to Buddhism: My Experience of finding the Dharma


http://dhamamitra.org/2012/11/15/rick-strassman-lsd-as-a-gateway-drug-to-buddhism-my-experience-of-finding-the-dharma/

http://www.youtube.com/embed/f31ky-g_D2o

This is very much my own Experience:
Psychedelics researcher Rick Strassman discusses LSD as a gateway drug to all sorts of dastardly behaviour, like…Buddhism and the search for enlightenment.

One of the things that got me interested in doing research with these psychedelics is because of how much overlap or similarity seem to exist between the stories that you hear from experienced meditators within the Eastern meditative traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism, and those reports that you hear from people who take these psychedelic drugs. And it always seemed to me there must be some sort of way of combining the two fields, that perhaps you can maybe be inspired to become a Buddhist or a Hindu through the psychedelic experience. And there are a handful of papers that have described that, that quite a few people got their start as Buddhists or Hindus from a big LSD flash.

I went to a Zen temple in my early 20s, and, ever the scientist, every chance I got to speak to a monk one on one, I asked every one of them if they had tripped on psychedelics and how important their trips were in their decision to become a monk. And I’d say 99% of these junior monks in their 20s all got their start on LSD.

Kate Walker - a wannabe wisdom Being

Ensapa

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Re: LSD as a Gateway Drug to Buddhism
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2012, 02:06:03 PM »
I dont think anyone can get any religious experience from drugs. Drugs may be able to give fake sensations of bliss by altering the chemical compounds in the brain, but it is not permanent and it is nothing more than sensations created by certain chemicals hitting the brain which in turn influences the mind. Meditation isnt getting high, it is about getting to the bottom of things with your mind and how it works and then facing your own problems but in a graduated matter, then training your mind to work in a more systematic and focused way. I dont think drugs offer that.

jessicajameson

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Re: LSD as a Gateway Drug to Buddhism
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2012, 05:01:04 PM »
What an odd topic, Wisdom Being haha! If those people became ordain or were introduced to Buddhism because of drugs - awesome! lol Who are we to decide what ways are better to become ordained lol. Let them trip away on LSD prior to being ordained, and get the real drug-free trip when they are meditating monks!

Last week, I heard that one of my Vietnamese friend's friend had desired to become a monk for the longest time. He did, and entered a Vietnamese monastery ordained and determined to learn the Dharma. After a few months, he became to notice that the other monks were drinking, eating meat and taking drugs. He didn't understand, felt demotivated and disrobed.

I'd rather be the former LSD taker who's now a practicing monk, than the one who looked pure from the beginning but ended up disrobed!

Ensapa

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Re: LSD as a Gateway Drug to Buddhism
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2012, 05:27:39 PM »
I believe that one of the vows one must take as a Buddhist is the vow of not ingesting intoxicants, and in this case, intoxicants means drugs as they intoxicate the mind and makes it blur, instead of making it sharp, so it is for sure that drugs and Buddhism do not mix. However, the hippies of the 60s do take drugs and see them as a gateway to spiritual bliss and many of them went to nepal or india to search for a holy teacher of sorts, so the association with drugs and meditation came from there.

Just because popular culture associated it, dosent make it real or positive.

Dorje Pakmo

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Re: LSD as a Gateway Drug to Buddhism
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2012, 07:39:45 PM »
Quote
One of the things that got me interested in doing research with these psychedelics is because of how much overlap or similarity seem to exist between the stories that you hear from experienced meditators within the Eastern meditative traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism, and those reports that you hear from people who take these psychedelic drugs. And it always seemed to me there must be some sort of way of combining the two fields, that perhaps you can maybe be inspired to become a Buddhist or a Hindu through the psychedelic experience. And there are a handful of papers that have described that, that quite a few people got their start as Buddhists or Hindus from a big LSD flash.

I went to a Zen temple in my early 20s, and, ever the scientist, every chance I got to speak to a monk one on one, I asked every one of them if they had tripped on psychedelics and how important their trips were in their decision to become a monk. And I’d say 99% of these junior monks in their 20s all got their start on LSD.

While on a LSD trip one may seem to have achieved a state of "higher conciousness", and may even have an experience only a high level or experienced meditator could achieve. But this, I personally think it is because they have forcefully opened up their channel with the use of drugs. But how long can one depend on the drugs before it messes up with the body? That is the difference between a LSD trip and a real meditator who practised diligently and meditated for a long time to achieve a higher level of the mind.

The use of drugs can be dangerous as it opens up one's channel. But the channel opened up due to the use of drugs and not years of meditation and experience. A person who has been meditating knows how to control his/her wind and had proper guidance to do so, but those that opened up their channel due to drugs do not have that kind of guidance and control, hence instead of a good experience and achieving realizations and results, all the wrong things may just come through the channel and cause very awful result instead. Such as causing one to be crazy.

So it will be wise for one to stay drug free.
DORJE PAKMO

sonamdhargey

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Re: LSD as a Gateway Drug to Buddhism
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2012, 09:32:16 AM »
I would think that the drug may help with altering the state of mind or a catalyst to higher state of consciousness. Depending on drugs like LSD to achieve the state of mind is temporary and will be damaging in the long term. The drugs may cause the our channels to open without proper control and may invite unwanted being to enter the channels. It is known that LSD are dangerous and can cause severe problems like sudden flashbacks, schizophrenia and severe depression when taken long term.

Benny

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Re: LSD as a Gateway Drug to Buddhism
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2012, 05:36:38 PM »
I totally agree with Ensapa's quote : "I believe that one of the vows one must take as a Buddhist is the vow of not ingesting intoxicants, and in this case, intoxicants means drugs as they intoxicate the mind and makes it blur, instead of making it sharp, so it is for sure that drugs and Buddhism do not mix. However, the hippies of the 60s do take drugs and see them as a gateway to spiritual bliss and many of them went to nepal or india to search for a holy teacher of sorts, so the association with drugs and meditation came from there.
Just because popular culture associated it, dosent make it real or positive."

Buddhism and drugs just don't mix , one of the main precepts or vows in taking refuge is to abstain from intoxicating the mind . Of course there would be scores of people who would love to believe that and wants to validate their addiction as a means to be more spiritual, which is a whole bunch of nonsense. Drugs that alters the mind's chemistry is proven through years of scientific research to be damaging to the brain and overall health of the person. Which religion preaches one to take drugs that damages ones well being? None.

dondrup

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Re: LSD as a Gateway Drug to Buddhism
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2012, 07:43:53 PM »
Buddhism does not advocate taking of drugs at all.  In fact one of its vows or precepts is to refrain from taking intoxicants.  LSD drug clearly fits the description of an intoxicant.  Taking drugs can only bring harm not good to the consumer.  It could be a mere coincidence that these junior monks got their start on LSD and subsequently turned over a new leaf and become ordained.  Chances are these monks had experienced many problems associated with taking the LSD drugs that prompted them to become ordained eventually.  It is not LSD drug that inspired them but their sufferings that pushes them to become ordained. 

Aurore

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Re: LSD as a Gateway Drug to Buddhism
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2012, 01:42:31 PM »
Funny about this post reminds me of someone I knew who took LSD and is truly convinced he spoke to GOD. There is a similar pattern here.

LSD is not considered a highly addictive drug because it does not produce the cravings associated with physical addiction but rather psychological. Usually people use LSD to trip out and experience hallucination. Not every drug makes you hallucinate. So during the state of hallucination, anything can come into a person's mind. They can see things which isn't really there but it's so real they can believe it. I believe it can definitely open up one's mind and break perceptions. In fact, I've heard this many times before, however, none i know took the Buddhist path. hehe.

For addictive drugs like meth, I believe by hitting rock bottom drugs, people can turn into spirituality if they have some imprints and the imprints opens up. Irregardless, any drug should not be used even if it can lead one to Buddhism.

Ensapa

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Re: LSD as a Gateway Drug to Buddhism
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2012, 10:16:10 AM »
Funny about this post reminds me of someone I knew who took LSD and is truly convinced he spoke to GOD. There is a similar pattern here.

LSD is not considered a highly addictive drug because it does not produce the cravings associated with physical addiction but rather psychological. Usually people use LSD to trip out and experience hallucination. Not every drug makes you hallucinate. So during the state of hallucination, anything can come into a person's mind. They can see things which isn't really there but it's so real they can believe it. I believe it can definitely open up one's mind and break perceptions. In fact, I've heard this many times before, however, none i know took the Buddhist path. hehe.

For addictive drugs like meth, I believe by hitting rock bottom drugs, people can turn into spirituality if they have some imprints and the imprints opens up. Irregardless, any drug should not be used even if it can lead one to Buddhism.

LSD is the one drug that does make you hallucinate because it messes up the chemicals in your brain, causing it to short circuit. As we all know, the brain and the mind is linked and if anything happens to the brain, it will affect what the mind can perceive. So if the brain is fried with chemicals, it will confuse the mind into thinking that it has a spiritual experience. There was another experiment, that if the frontal part of the brain was subjected to magnetic waves, the person affected will feel the presence of a person near him or her. The scientists ran some magnetic waves over a lady who was sleeping, and she woke up in fear, claiming that a man came up to her and embraced her even when there was no one. The mind can be tricked.

dsiluvu

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Re: LSD as a Gateway Drug to Buddhism
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2012, 07:04:14 AM »
This is an interesting read... Yes I suppose if through the accidental experimental use of hallucinogens suck as LSD brought someone to Dharma... and now that he/she is in Dharma have totally renounce and become a monk and nun... that kind of story is inspirational!

However we do need to be careful as to how we talk about such activity, not only is it illegal by law but we do not need our minds to trick us in thinking we could gain some form of realisation in Dharma through the use of drugs. Firstly it breaks our refuge vows in taking intoxicants and secondly not everyone would have the same kind of realisations or we could expect a positive result from the attempt. Hence i'd be careful. Some may use their addictions as an excuse to do more.

Also taking drugs, I've been inform by a Dharma teacher pushes open one's chakras, like a force... once these channels are open, it remains open unless someone knows how to close it back... it being open is a gateway for the "formless", inanimate/spirits to actually enter... hence this could cause a person to be posses or their winds may go off and they become koo koo. Now that is a risk we're taking if we're thinking about it.

Here is an interesting article I found while researching on this topic and what Buddhist authors and scholars say about all this psychedelic induced experience in Buddhism....

Quote


Robert Aitken, notable among Western Zen teachers for his emphasis on the ethical aspects of Buddhist practice, sees little place for drugs: I dont think drugs have particularly helped anybody arrive where they are. It’s just that by the cultural circumstances of the time, in the sixties and early seventies, it so happened that people came to Zen through their experience with drugs (217).

Many Westerners were first drawn to Zen, and Buddhism generally, through a misconception: that meditation would induce a state similar to a drug high. There seems to be a near-consensus now that this is not the case. However, we should not imagine that this was the first time Buddhism helped established itself in a new culture based on false premises -- though I am not suggesting that these distortions were a deliberate subterfuge. Among the Chinese, who made profound contributions to Buddhist art and philosophy, much of the interest of the general populace and even emperors was the expectation of magical powers conferred by meditation. Even with Huayen, which some modern scholars have considered the most profoundly philosophical school, the reputation of many of its masters rested upon their supposed magical attainments. Perhaps drugs are the successor to magic in promoting the Dharma. Both involve temporary release from ordinary reality. For better or worse, such are part of Buddhist history. To put the best light on them, they can be likened to the carts that are used by the enlightened father in the Lotus Sutra to entice his children from the burning house.

Along with abandoning of the misconception that Buddhist practice as akin to psychedelic drug experience, we seem to be leaving behind the anti-intellectualism of sixties Zen and returning to Buddhism’s textual roots. Aitkin tells us:

“All you have to do is pick up a good Buddhist text, and that’s reality. You don’t have to take drugs to wake up to it. Most people that come to me now are awakened by reading” (216).


If we take enlightenment by reading as a modern equivalent of enlightenment by hearing, Western Buddhism seems to be recovering the methods that have been central to the tradition since its beginnings.

One senses that the time when psychedelics might be justified as a useful first step in spiritual development is past. Not to be overlooked as a reason for this change is the very realistic fear of legal consequences, which is a separate issue from the possible spiritual benefits and biological hazards of psychotropic use. But this is surely not the only reason. Buddhism is now practically mainstream in the West and the possibility of spiritual experience, even enlightenment is widely assumed. The patronizing view of Sigmund Freud and others who dismissed religion as illusion, to be left behind as humanity matures, is no longer dominant. If psychedelics were needed in the sixties to demonstrate that spiritual states of mind actually exist, this is no longer the case.

More here http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma8/zigzag.html

RedLantern

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Re: LSD as a Gateway Drug to Buddhism
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2012, 09:02:02 AM »
Buddhist and addicts seem to share some similar perspectives of the world. They both tend to see the transient and fleeting nature of self and phenomena as being an experience central to their world view-a view almost utterly obscured to ordinary people.Both are also familiar with non identity or selflessness,an egoless state in which forms appear diaphanous and unreal,in which self dissolves into nothingness and in which the world is consumed by emptiness.These are profound similiarities.
The addicts view is also harmful to self and others,while a Buddhist Buddhist view is based upon respect and non-harming,love of everything,Though the addict -like a Buddhist -has apprehended the empty and dissolving nature of reality,they do not use that profound insight to construct an inner world of pure forms founded in love and compassion.
With deeper study of Buddhism,these relate to cause and effect,the nature of mind,desire and aversion and finally impermanence and emptiness.

DSFriend

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Re: LSD as a Gateway Drug to Buddhism
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2012, 09:34:15 AM »
I'm curious to know what percentage of the 99% junior monks whom Mr Strassman interviewed are foreigners. I find it very difficult to believe that these junior monks are tibetans, indians or eastern in general  who may have joined the monastery because of strong buddhist roots and culture instead of LCD trip.

Meditation in the west is very much associated to achieving calm abiding, peace and a method to cope with  stress in life...while the purpose of buddhism is actually for achieving enlightenment which in reality, to achieve enlightenment is a tough road and long journey.

Ensapa

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Re: LSD as a Gateway Drug to Buddhism
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2012, 12:44:27 PM »
I'm curious to know what percentage of the 99% junior monks whom Mr Strassman interviewed are foreigners. I find it very difficult to believe that these junior monks are tibetans, indians or eastern in general  who may have joined the monastery because of strong buddhist roots and culture instead of LCD trip.

Meditation in the west is very much associated to achieving calm abiding, peace and a method to cope with  stress in life...while the purpose of buddhism is actually for achieving enlightenment which in reality, to achieve enlightenment is a tough road and long journey.

Meditation is often misrepresented and misused in the western world as a relaxation tool when it is something that can unlock more potentials of the mind. So meditation is nothing more than a relaxation tool for the westerners. I'd say that the report is actually quite misleading and these days it is not uncommon for scholars who make mistakes in their reports or who have not done enough research about their subject. There isnt anything new about things like these happening around.

Aurore

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Re: LSD as a Gateway Drug to Buddhism
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2012, 04:24:11 PM »
Also taking drugs, I've been inform by a Dharma teacher pushes open one's chakras, like a force... once these channels are open, it remains open unless someone knows how to close it back... it being open is a gateway for the "formless", inanimate/spirits to actually enter... hence this could cause a person to be posses or their winds may go off and they become koo koo. Now that is a risk we're taking if we're thinking about it.

Thanks for the info. I've always wondered about this as there are people who went "off" made claims that they were not "off" from the drugs but from spirits possession and disturbance after taking drugs. Often people see this as an excuse which drug users use to cover the fact that drugs made them off. No one believes them. Most people will look at it from the medical/scientific point of view. Drug abuse do depletes certain chemicals such as dopamine in the brains and also affects the neurotransmitter which cause a person to go psycho.

Imagine some mental people are sent to psychiatric ward even though it was caused by spirits which are crazy makers and therefore unable to seek proper treatment or spiritual help.