Is LSD A Gateway Drug To Buddhism?

Dr. Rick Strassman, a psychiatric researcher with a specialization in psychotropic drugs, on the “enlightenment experience” and hallucinogens as a pathway for Westerners into Buddhism and Hinduism:

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.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=773433966 Rus Archer

    yeah, but strassman isn’t a buddhist anymore
    his work with dmt got him ostracized

    • Kevin Leonard

      I’m pretty sure you don’t have to be part of an order to identify yourself as a Buddhist.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=773433966 Rus Archer

        he switched to biblical comparisons not too long ago
        and he said they still haven’t proven that your brain creates dmt
        whoops

        • Kevin Leonard

          Interesting. Do you have any pointers to where he is making biblical comparisons? Something tells me he has not converted to Christianity, at least not a biblical evangelical ;-) … I’d seriously like to know more. If you have links, please share.

          • reptar

            He’s been writing a book on psychedelics/biblical stuff for a long long time. Last i read on his site it was due last summer but it seems that its taking longer than expected.

          • Calypso_1

            The book is supposed to be out in 2013.
            Here is an article by Clifford Pickover that includes some conversation with Strassman on this topic.
            http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/pickover/pc/dmt.html

          • http://www.facebook.com/rthoneunomia.celine Threedinium

            Thanks for this and the link above you posted, especially this one. Some of the comments in response to the article exploded my brain several times.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=773433966 Rus Archer

            i can’t bother watching the whole thing right now but i think this may deal more with his current deal http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzPxFTAAbwo

        • Calypso_1

          DMT has been found in human samples. The problem has been that its metabolic pathway had not been discovered within the CNS.
          This has now been shown to exist though it has yet to be linked to local synthesis.
          http://www.neurophys.wisc.edu/~cozzi/Indolethylamine%20N-methyltransferase%20expression%20in%20primate%20nervous%20tissue.pdf

  • asshurtmacfags

    Haven’t watched the video yet, but psychedelics can definitely bring someone into a state of christ/buddhic/cosmic consciousnesses. The trick is extending that state of being into sober reality, a very hard thing to do. Hell, after many psychedelic experiences there is still quite a bit of hateful prick left within me. Everyday is an epic battle between the monkey who lives inside me and my desire to try and operate at a higher state of being. Unfortunately the overreactive chimp wins out more than I care to admit.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rthoneunomia.celine Threedinium

      I think the drug accelerates what would otherwise be a much slower process, which is what I’m guessing accounts for the phasing in and out situation that you mention. One is presented with a hyper exaggerated version of everything it could be all at once which relates fairly indirectly to how this conciousness is integrated into everyday living in sobriety. Straussman doesn’t really address why or how the LSD experience has such a high buddhist conversion rate but my theory is this. The buddhist texts I have read indicate that buddhism on the whole is a system of living that emphasises good health. During the trip, every point of suffering and pleasure is intensified to the point that the smallest kinks in our minds and bodies are brought to our attention to be worked through. The drawn out way of daily practice in meditation and mental discipline without drugs achieves this but in a much more meticulous and stable fashion, allowing time for all faculties to adjust accordingly.

      I’ve also read the theories of Dr Stan Grof on the subject of ‘spiritual emergence’ which seem to support this. He considers the new conciousness to be much more energy consumptive than the previous state of being, and failure to recognise this can lead to physical adjustment problems if the transition is too sudden.

      • Kevin Leonard

        I felt that ecstacy (MDMA) reveals more of the suffering/ pleasure principles. LSD was much more of a mental deconstruction for me. I was never aware of “suffering”. I would suggest that the “high Buddhist conversion rate” is because psychedelics readily reveal the illusory nature of the shared consensus reality. It is a profound thing to realize that everything you believe is real is simply nothing more than a mental construct. Eastern philosophies have written extensively on the subject, so trippers who have had relevatory experiences seek counsel from those that can shed light on their experience. There are probably more Buddhist conversions because Buddhism is more accessible than Vedanta. And nobody is reaching enlightenment in Sunday School.

        • http://www.facebook.com/rthoneunomia.celine Threedinium

          But what if the everything-is-an-illusion illusion is an illusion too?! D:

          • Kevin Leonard

            I asked a teacher once, “So what do you make of this whole “awakening” business?” He replied, “One day you may be looking at a tree and you come to the realization the branch of the tree has the same pattern as the whole tree. The you look at a twig on the branch and you realize it has the same pattern as the branch, and therefore, as the whole tree. Then you look at a leaf and you see the pattern on the veins is the same pattern as the twig, and the branch, and the whole tree. At some point you have to just stop and wonder how far this thing goes.”

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

            I’ve only experienced psilocybin trips so far. But the two dozen times or so I’ve gone to the other side thru shrooms, I’ve always woken up the next day feeling incredibly vulnerable–like I’ve been briefly exposed to something that I’ve been in preparation for my whole life. Many times I’ve sat quietly on couches while I’m tripping, remembering the things that people have said to me and finding such deep meaning to it all. It all seems to lead down a path of knowledge that I’m slowly unfolding for myself as I create the ever-changing present moment. Sometimes, when I’m ‘sober’, I can think myself back into the mentality of the trip–I can break down all around me into the fractal illusion that I know it is. I collapse the wave-function with my observation, therefore, I’m the only observer of reality. That mentality can be frighteningly lonely at times, but utterly empowering other times. It’s the difference between a solipsistic coma on the one hand and a puppet master on the other.

        • Kevin Leonard

          *revelatory

  • todd southern

    I think literacy is the the gateway to just about anything that strays from what is considered normal.

    • asshurtmacfags

      Literacy is a biggie, combine with interwebz for best result.

      • todd southern

        It certainly helps you find the weird, strange and bizarre

  • Yer Dad

    Heh, I like how he has a T. pachanoi in the background behind him.