Does any EBT give a reference to psychedelic Psychedelic drug - Wikipedia directly or from Ayurveda has few monks were trained in Ayurveda in ancient time.
From the description and read so far it’s quoted “ Whereas stimulants cause energized feelings and opioids produce a relaxed euphoric state, the psychedelic experience is often compared to non-ordinary forms of consciousness such as trance, meditation, yoga, religious ecstasy, dreamingand even near-death experiences.”. All of which are also experienced while meditation which changes the course of life and karma of anyone taking it making them more loving and kind to others and removing any addiction / ailments
The Netflix episode of “the mind explained” on psychedelic mentions assume your mind like skating rink, with habituated tendencies you have made deep grooves in ice and now regardless you want to take a different path, fall into grove and keep going that way. Psychedelic is like huge machine which resurfaces entire rink do you are now free to chose a path to take, many people have their medical conditions and deep rooted addictions removed using this
EBT has no reference to the use of psychedelics to my knowledge. If there are any examples, it should be in vinaya.
However, there are number of papers suggesting that psychedelics (mind-manifesting) promote selfawareness, awareness of polarity, etc. Read Ref2
Note: use google scholar search for more
In the legendary biographies of some Buddhist adepts from the 2nd- and 9th-centuries there are some clues which can be interpreted to reveal that the adepts were consuming psychedelic Amanita muscaria , ‘fly agaric’, mushrooms to achieve enlightenment, says Hajicek-Dobberstein. Ref
In my opinion, this is a misconception that achieving enlightenment consuming drugs.
A study carried out by Alonso, J. F. et al suggest that psychedelics induce a temporary disruption of neural hierarchies by reducing top-down control and increasing bottom-up information transfer in the human brain. Read
Alcohol and other drugs that interfere with neurological and chemical signaling pathways of the body alter signals and creat false signals. These mechanisms slows down the signaling resulting slower responses to the surroundings from the body. Therefore, these drugs could be catogorized as majja (narcotics/drugs) which causes remissness/carelessness (pamāda).
The experiences achieved using psychedelics cannot be considered the same with experiences in meditation.
For an example, relaxed euphoric state (pīti pāmojja) can be recognized as nirāmisa sukha where, euphoric state created by psychedelics is not.
It is not so simple.
After some time psychedelic experience isn’t “automatic”, you can actually connect meditation and psychedelic experience, and you can experience niramisa sukha while being in a psychedelic experience.
On the other hand, when one is foolish one can get really crazy from psychedelics and end up in psychiatric ward, I know such people personally.
Psychedelics can give you this experience of niramisa sukha “automatically”, but it is hugely kammic based and will depend on uncountable number of factors.
As to subject of enlightenment and psychedelics, I think the main issue lies in two things:
different definitions and standards of enlightenment
different psychedelic experiences.
Psychedelics can lead to a lot of states that poeple consider as “enlightenment”, which isn’t really theravadin vision of enlightenment.
But they clearly can lead someone this way too. Especially when used in conjunction with Buddha teachings. It can lead to absolutely anything, so this is included aswell. It all depends on the rest of the mind. As the name says, psyche + delos = seeing the mind. It is amplification of getting into the realm of the mind. So it all depends on the mind of the user, not on the substance.
And btw. amanita muscaria isn’t standard psychedelic according to most sources. Most standard actual psychedelics are: psylocybin, LSD, mescaline and DMT (most powerful). They and amanita muscaria are clearly different types of substances. It doesn’t mean that amanita wasn’t also used by shamanic cultures to attain peculiar and spiritual states of mind.
Truth is you can meditate in many states of mind. Your regular state of mind also changes, and meditation brings you back to niramisa sukha, whenever you started angry, sad or joyful. Same, you can start while being high on psylocybin, and still lead experience towards niramisa sukha if your wisdom and courage and general mind-skills are enough.
I know people who can even drink Ayahuasca (most powerful psychedelic in the world), submit to the experience and do regular work, like shamans do for example. I also know people who can take regular does of LSD, go to work, and no one will even notice. Because some people have such a deep connection to psychedelics that it becomes completely natural and non problematic. It doesn’t debilitate you like alcohol if your mind is pure. It debilitates those whose minds are impure. It is not that such usage is good (I think it is not good), but it just shows there are absolutely no rules regarding this subject, because it is as complicated as the mind itself, which is the most complicated thing in the universe, as we buddhists are very well aware.
I’m not here to advocate for psychedelics, but I don’t want for spread of misinformation about something so sacred. Psychedelics for true shamanic cultures are like satipatthana or metta for buddhists. It is sacred and very importaint and very misunderstood.
The fact that it is not buddhist, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have spiritual potential and cannot be connected into hybrids as other things existing in the world.
As to pali canon, as I’ve already stated in another topic, it is peculiar that Buddha never gave a statement about them. And I believe it is no coincidence, I think he neither wanted to advocate them nor condemn them, because it is so powerful that advocating it could be dangerous and change buddhism entirely, while I believe condemning it would be against dhamma, since there is nothing inherently wrong about them, just like there is nothing inherently wrong in a kitchen knife. It is the usage which can go wrong, which are covered in rest of the teachings.
I believe also that the fact that Buddha didn’t advocate them means that the path can be fulfilled without support of psychoactive plants at all and it is the path he recommended most.
Btw. modern science about psychedelics is like science about meditation. There are scienctific studies that says “breath meditation leads to reduction of stress”. Oh, thats so deep.
It is the same with psychedelic studies, they touch only the shallow sufrace of the surface of the surface.
I wouldn’t rely on them. I also wouldn’t rely even of few own psychedelic experiences. It takes life dedication and be in that culture to truly understand them. Or if not life dedication, it require to take such a huge dose that very few people have courage to do. A true psychedelic journey starts with such a trip, that there is “never coming back”. In order to truly understand psychedelics you must fully commit to them, just like to truly understand buddhism, you have to truly commit to it. It is same with meditation, mundane path end and Noble Path starts when you’re fully commited to the point of no-return.
So as long as we’re not doing that, I think the Socrates “I know that I don’t know” is most appropriate when regarding this subject.
You can check this topic, I’ve written a lot more about the subject:
I’ve also provided links.
If there is one book about the subject which can shed light on this topic, it is “LSD Psychotherapy” of Stanislav Grof.
There are also a few other topics about the issue on the forum, so you can use the search.
As to the OP, I don’t know if it is the best forum to have such a discussion From my experience buddhist circles aren’t very friendly towards spirituality based on supportive psychoactive plants. Also buddhists by nature preffer a path without entheogens, so it is clear that they have no idea about what psychedelics truly are.
If you are really interested in the subject, you have to get knowledge about buddhism by practicing with buddhists. And get knowledge about psychedelics by practicing and asking stuff to psychedelic shamans. Then only you can yourself connect these two things.
Don’t expect buddhists to understand psychedelics, and don’t expect shamans/psychedelic poeple to truly understand buddhism, and such questions in such circles usually leads to misinformation, because of course these cultures doesn’t know each other perfectly.
Somewhere in the future I want to write a comprehensive book subject of this connection (of buddhist practice and psychedelic practice), because it is very very complicated, and I haven’t yet found a book that gets it right. It is because there are very few people that understand both on enough level, if any, and none of them wrote any publication about it. They usually just teach in very small circles, hidden in obscurity, keeping low profile for many reasons.
PS: Amatabhani, please don’t take my messege personally I’ve just quoted to start an answer which is in general related to information that is going on “everywhere”
My opinion might be a misconception for someone who believes in psychedelics.
When you say nirāmisa sukha: happiness in giving up sensual pleasures, giving up hate, and giving up ignorance (by learning Dhamma), and that is called spiritual pleasure (nirāmisasukha).
What is spiritual pleasure? It’s when a mendicant, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters and remains in the first absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of seclusion, while placing the mind and keeping it connected. As the placing of the mind and keeping it connected are stilled, they enter and remain in the second absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of immersion, with internal clarity and confidence, and unified mind, without placing the mind and keeping it connected. And with the fading away of rapture, they enter and remain in the third absorption, where they meditate with equanimity, mindful and aware, personally experiencing the bliss of which the noble ones declare, ‘Equanimous and mindful, one meditates in bliss.’ This is called spiritual pleasure. Nirāmisa Sutta SN 36.31
Literally, jhānas cannot be achieved using some kind of chemical influence. To achieve a jhāna, one should first develop satta bojjhaṅgās. when he complete bojjhaṅga levels he eventually develop first jhāna. Logically, if the process can be achieved simply using a chemical or a food, why would buddha teach us a difficult path.
Please note that, Buddha said:
Ekāyano ayaṃ, bhikkhave, maggo sattānaṃ visuddhiyā, sokaparidevānaṃ samatikkamāya dukkhadomanassānaṃ atthaṅgamāya ñāyassa adhigamāya nibbānassa sacchikiriyāya, yadidaṃ cattāro satipaṭṭhānā.
Mendicants, the four kinds of mindfulness meditation are the path to convergence. They are in order to purify sentient beings, to get past sorrow and crying, to make an end of pain and sadness, to end the cycle of suffering, and to realize extinguishment DN 22
Yes, I am talking about teravadin vision, which is backed by EBTs.
From the commentary of experiences described on using psychedelics, I can see the people experience states mentioned in Jhanas, even the formless states with emptiness and single consciousness using which they develop love and compassion. Though I believe these are temporary states and what Buddha was looking for was complete eradication from suffering which this doesn’t bring in.
While drugs, liquor, smoke etc dulls the mind and sensory responses, LSD seems to trigger the mind, similar to Jhanas, to attain new heights which if guided properly per noble eight fold path may fast track nibbana.
It is really not that simple. I’m not sure if jhana can be achieved while being on a psychedelic, but it could be possible, but quite scary to check. It really takes a lot of skill to connect these things together.
But thing is you can do literally anything while under psychedelic after long time of usage. It is not like you’re always going on “automatic” mode to have some experience, but with proper conditions, you can do whatever you want like in sober state of mind. Then only whatever you experience is amplified.
But really very few people develop such control over mind to be able to do whatever they want on psychedelics, and they usually become either shamans or very commited buddhist meditators and drop psychedelics for purity of the path (like I did). Most poeple must submit to whatever comes or there will be problems (which are teachings aswell usually).
It is not like psychedelic experience must be “sensual”. It can be purely “mind-made” just like meditation. It can be anything, just like anything can be a sober cultivated mind.
I think Buddha didn’t advocate them because they are dangerous. And for Dhamma to be timeless, it is better to keep to pure path, less risky, less incidents etc. for the good of all Dhamma.
But it deosn’t mean there cannot be few individuals who connect them with some degree of success, and that they are not all crazy fools And truth is, a lot of people got into Buddhism through psychedelics. Even Ajahn Sucitto did and he wrote article about it:
It is a good article
Mendicants, the four kinds of mindfulness meditation are the path to convergence. They are in order to purify sentient beings, to get past sorrow and crying, to make an end of pain and sadness, to end the cycle of suffering, and to realize extinguishment DN 22
Exactly the same argument here. You can follow these instuctions while on psychedelic. It will change the experience, but the principles will be the same. Because dhamma is universal and it aplies to both regular and psychedelic state of mind. But as I write this, I personally also preffer to keep my practice pure and sober, even thou I don’t condemn psychedelics.
What complicates this situation a lot is that most poeople doesn’t have mind power to be able to control psychedelic experience. Most people have to submit and go on autopilot, but it is usually a good thing.
Almost every psychedelic crisis starts when:
A person have no mind power to control the experience (which requires mind so powerful like getting into jhanas sober with no problem, and huge panna (wisdom) developed).
A person don’t want to submit to experience and tries to block it.
It creates a huge problem of disintegration of the mind. I think this is the biggest danger of psychedelics.
But there is way our of it:
Either gain enough mind power to go back to control (very hard and very long process full of suffering and learning)
Take again and submit to experience. (works best with good guide)
Grof actually encouraged his patients to go with second option and everything was fine.
He conducted 5000 scientifically documented sessions with LSD with his patients, and didn’t had a single patient that was damaged psychologically, only healing occured.
Problem is with unsupervised use. Thing is Grof was greatest professional of psychedelics in western culture, so I highly recommend his books to understand subject without diving into it for oneself.
With unsupervised use, when someone took “too much”, don’t want to submit, starts blocking the experience out of fear, suffering etc… bad stuff happen. I’m sorry for them. But there is always a chance to integrate in the future.
Today there are many “false shamans” that are simply not competent enough to guide such experiences, and they do it for big money. Sometimes effects aren’t really good. Sad situation.
But it teaches us to respect cultures that are best in certain things. Just like it takes great wisdom and dedication of centuries to create great meditation teachers, it takes great wisdom and decication of centuries of shamanism to create great psychedelic guides.
This is very similar in buddhism and shamanism, that “mainstream” likes to take only the surface and then the effects are not as should be.
Of course psychedelics are much more dangerous than meditation, so the subject gets more “hot” and problematic.
This is exactly the case with psychedelics.
I know it might sound magical, but actually psychedelics are not materialistic also.
Thing is even biologically, psychedelics don’t work like other drugs.
For example MDMA, also called “Ecstasy” is a drug that works like that: as long as you have it in blood, the effect is going on. When substance fades, you’re worn out and the effect is gone, you are on “Downfall”. It is exactly the same with alcohol, and every other drug in the world, ASIDE from psychedelics.
What is interesting about psychedelics, there is research that shows that LSD is gone from the organism after 1 hour. But the experience last around 12-20 hours.
So it could mean that the psychedelics only “starts” the process that is actually natural.
I have a lot of experience with these stuff and I can say that psychedelics and deeper meditation states have similar “substance”, which is of course realm of the mind. What is interesting, differnt drugs completely don’t have that feel, they are just materialistic, bodily pleasure.
Thing is, when bigger dose of psychedelic kicks in, the regular understanding of the world completely fades, it is totally anicca.
You’re in the realm of mind, nothing materialistic there.
It is normal that people after deep psychedelic and meditative experineces say farewell to materialistic vision of the world.
There is even theory, that deep meditation also produces psychedelic in the brain, which is just neural correlate of mind-process. I don’t know if I agree with it, but it is interesting.
Truth is, every state of mind have its neural correlate, which is not the mind-state itself.
It is described in the book “DMT: The Spirit Molecule” by Rick Strassman. There are a lot of studies that tries to either confirm or falsificate this theory, but it is very hard, because the substance we’re talking about is very chemically unstable. DMT lifetime as a molecule is less than 5 minutes, so there was never time to do autopsy of the brain after death of a person to check it.
Studies on rats thou show it could be actually the case, that when we die, DMT is produced in the brain and it makes transition to the realm of the mind. It is all in this book of Strassman and some research that were inspired by this book. Nothing is fully confirmed or denied by science yet.
As I’ve said, this subject is only touched on the surface by science.
The greatest scientific research on psychedelics is described in “LSD psychotherapy” of Slanislav Grof, and “DMT: Spirit Molecule” by Rick Strassman.
I also recommend reading “LSD: My Problem Child” by Albert Hofmann (a chemic who synthesised LSD), to understand how this was all developing culturally and historically from the perspective of a regular scientist, who wasn’t into mysticism at all before his accidental discovery.
Bhang (active ingredient THC) and Soma (ingredients disputed) are drinks which existed in the Buddha’s time and seem to have had similar properties to psychedelics today.
That the Buddha is mostly silent about these and does not promote them is a good indication that he did not see the taking of mind altering substances which were seen as being spiritually powerful as an important part of the path.
I suspect this is because these substances are unpredictable and their effects are impermanent. So, while I would not totally deny that they have been useful for some people at some point in their noble search, I do not think they are something which Buddhists should rely on or make a regular part of their spiritual life.
For the record, I have done psylocibin mushrooms, LSD and Ayahuasca various times. Some of these events have provided interesting experiences, but I do not think that taking them on a regular basis will do much more for my spiritual practice.
That’s good to know, In old times, I had seen Bhang being used actively at many places during holi festival in India, didn’t realize it’s similar contents to LSD, now Wondering how similar it is, as I had seen people under influence tend to do the last activity they did repeatedly before getting high and are in a different world happy and blissed out can’t remember anything after the effect is over and effect can last multiple days, it seems nothing more then intoxication, compared to The controlled studies of LSD which show evidences of people recovering from their ailments and addictions when properly directed.
I have similar thoughts on this. But I find it nice that he didn’t openly condemn them either. Considering how careful Buddha was about what he was saying, I’m sure his careful omitting the subject wasn’t a coincidence.
Nice, salute to you brother! Ayahuasca is very strong psychedelic so you surely know what it is about. I feel the same at the moment that they are not to be relied on, but perhaps there are people for whom such a path is good.
But I wouldn’t consider my experiences “interesting” but rather “completely life changing, healing, illuminating, transforming” and I have eternal gratitude towards them. Still as Huston Smith wrote in “Opening the doors of perception” you gotta know when to hang off the phone.
So I suppose it varies from person to person. But clearly they are not to be abused in my opinion aswell.
If THC is main ingridient of Bhang then it is probably some very strong marihuana. Marihuana is considered a mild psychedelic, but it has debilitating properties that other psychedelics don’t have, especially memory impairment.
It all depends on so called “set & setting”. If these people are just getting high as they can get just to bliss out to the point of losing memory, they reap what they sew afterwards.
It is not really skillful use of a plant.
THC unlike stronger psychedelics can be very addictive, because it is much less challanging and less transforming, more hedonistic than true psychedelics.
Some amazonian shamans of Shipibo tribe I know of speak that THC (marihuana) is a “fake psychedelic” that is not revealing but obscuring in illusion. I don’t fully agree with that, but there is some truth to it for sure.
Yes, there are theories that Soma was psilocybin or DMT, and marihuana comes from India so there were abundance of it.
Thank you I don’t know who said it first, but it is very wise and beautifully said nontheless and I agree with that Psychedelic experience is well… the experience. It can be transforming in itself, but it is the process of integration what was seen (Which sometimes may take years or a lifetime) is what matters even more.
It is also what makes difference between “psychedelic junkie” and “psychedelic spirituality”. Psychedelic junkies just go for experiences and don’t integrate them, while psychedelic spirituality is more about using them as inspiration to later work on things in life.
PS: it is interesting that one of ancient Bhikkhunis name was Soma Does anyone know what Soma actually means? It is interesting, because names of Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis comes from things that are venerable.
Then Mara the Evil One, desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in the bhikkhuni Soma, desiring to make her fall away from concentration, approached her and addressed her in verse:
“That state so hard to achieve
Which is to be attained by the seers,
Can’t be attained by a woman
With her two-fingered wisdom.”
Then it occurred to the bhikkhuni Soma: “Now who is this that recited the verse—a human being or a nonhuman being?” Then it occurred to her: “This is Mara the Evil One, who has recited the verse desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in me, desiring to make me fall away from concentration.”
Then the bhikkhuni Soma, having understood, “This is Mara the Evil One,” replied to him in verses:
“What does womanhood matter at all
When the mind is concentrated well,
When knowledge flows on steadily
As one sees correctly into Dhamma.
“One to whom it might occur,
‘I’m a woman’ or ‘I’m a man’
Or ‘I’m anything at all’—
Is fit for Mara to address.”
Then Mara the Evil One, realizing, “The bhikkhuni Soma knows me,” sad and disappointed, disappeared right there.
PPS: In Ajahn Sujato translation, Bhikkhuni Somā has the Indian “ā” in name. The above translation was done by Bhikkhu Bodhi. Below Ajahn Sujato translation:
Then Māra the Wicked, thinking, “The nun Somā knows me!” miserable and sad, vanished right there.
I don’t know if it changes anything, because my pali language skill is quite low, but I suppose it makes a difference.
I think all mental objects are mind created and hallucinations even those experienced in jhana and they are most difficult to explain as perception falls short in explaining the experience experienced, for others which are under preview of perception others you yourself and others understand that well and therefore are not treated as hallucinations
Even alcohol is allowed when administered by a doctor for medicinal reasons, so I think that the Buddha would not condemn their use by medical professionals for dealing with different mental illnesses or trauma etc.
Jhanas cannot be taken as hallucinations. Jhānas belongs to sammāsamādhi.
Hallucination: the fact of seeming to see or hear somebody/something that is not really there, especially because of illness or drugs.
Of course psychedelic experiences can be “interpreted” as hallucinations afterwards, but during the experience there is usually a feeling that what happens is real, sometimes as “more real” than ordinary reality. But it is “real” only as the experience, and the sense of reality is just another experience itself.
There is a joke going on in psychedelic circles:
Imagine that you’re dying, and you’re suddenly and alien with a bong of dmt in his hand and your friends are asking “How it was?”
It is pretty much the same with deep psychedelic experience. You never truly know what is real and what is not when you come back, but there comes the primacy of experience of the moment. Not the methaphysical status of the reality of the moment, but its practical and transformative/spiritual value. Psychedelics shatter metaphysical assumptions about reality. I think deep jhana does the same, it shows anicca of our ordinary perception of reality.
For me it resembles Buddha teachings: question everything, leave aside metaphysical questions, do what is good and practical in every moment, develop higher virtue, higher mind, higher wisdom, for good of yourself and others.
But it could be just my own take on it. I consider a possiblity that I was a buddhist in past life, thats why when psychedelics uncovered my unconscious material, I was presented with more or less buddhist approach to life and became buddhist.
From my observation of a lot of people that use psychedelics, psychedelic experiences share a lot of wisdom with buddhist one, the only main difference (and a huge one!) usually lies in approach to life. Psychedelics are generally more tantric, they show that “life is beautiful in its dualistic nature”, while buddhists consider dualistic nature of life as dukkha to be transcendended. And that is main reason I don’t trust psychedelics so much, but it doesn’t mean they are not conductive to growth for many.
I’m not sure if sammasamadhi states anything about metaphysical status of object. Both jhanas and psychedelic experiences are extraordinary states of mind, that I think have same methaphysical status: they’re anicca, anatta, and are part of the world connected to dukkha. And they both can be blissful, tranquil, beyond matter, luminous, immersive etc.
But of course psychedelic experience is much less stable if the mind is undeveloped. It also posses a lot of drewbacks that jhanas to not have, making them inferior to jhanas. But does it make them less real, I don’t know.
Btw. phenomenologicall sometimes they are similar. In psychedelic experiences you can also encounter nimittas that Ajahn Brahm describes, and you can also can get sucked up into immersion of prolonged state of bliss, that changes later your perception of “reality”.
So, hallucination or not, as long as this is conductive to growth and makes people better people and get into deeper practice, when people avoid the dangers and make good use of it, I think it is what matters.
Of course people who are on the buddhist path already don’t need psychedelics. But people who are very skeptical about spirituality, psychedelics can get them started. In our times of spiritual skepticism and growing reductionist materialism I think this is relevant, and even if buddhist path is purer, deeper and more safe, we should not condemn another path that can help people get out from greedy depressive materialism.
I think this is actually the best thinking about it. Shamans themselves calls psychedelics simply “medicines”. They are medicines to be taken to cure/teach the mind.
But of course there are different ways of perceiving “mental health”. In our modern psychology, we consider natural state of human/animal mind as optimal. For transpersonal psychologists and buddhists and shamans it is of course suboptimal, it is state of dukkha. Only realisation of deeper truth and experiencing freedom for example from greedy materialism can be started seen as optimal.
Thats why psychedelic medicines aimes are more optimal state of health than considered by most people around the world today. Of course what is “optimal” for buddhists is even more ambitious, because for buddhist “optimal state of health” is parinibbana Thats why Buddha was called “the greatest doctor” and I totally agree with that
I’ll also add one more importaint thing: some psychedelics experiences for many people are pure pointless delusive hallucinations. For others they are almost always conductive to growth. I think it depends totally on the mind of individual and his overall wisdom and knowledge and intelligence. I also think it is deeply related to kamma.
I want to emphasise that I consider buddhist path as deeper, more superior, and much more safe than psychedelic one. My take on psychedelics are very ambigous and careful and always dependable on situation. But I think this is generally very misunderstood and criticised subject that has extremist views: either extreme affirmation or extreme condemnation, and I want to state to neither is correct and to shed some light of actual truth and facts on it.
I would consider my stance (as I think is closest to the truth) as: careful affirmation as medicine for the mind, as imperfect and powerful and potentially dangerous tool that must be used with great caution and responsibility, which can be conductive to quick growth for many if used wisely and in conjunction with more deeper and more stable spiritual teachings and methods, while taking into consideration all contraindications of use for each individual.
My answers are far from perfect, but it is such complicated subject that it is hard to get everything right.