July 15, 2011

Buddha Buzz: Hardcore Drugs, Violence, and the Battle for the Buddhas

The Kalachakra initiation isn’t the only shortcut to enlightenment. There’s always psychedelics. On his blog “Hardcore Zen,” Brad Warner revived the discussion around drugs and spirituality. His post “The Psychedelic Experience” last Saturday (perhaps surprisingly) finished with, “You will always and forever be wrong if you try to equate true spirituality with frying your brain on chemicals (even if they grow inside cacti and fungi).” Among the outbreak of comments between the hardcore meditators and the hardcore druggies was this response by the writer of the blog C4Chaos, who asked Warner to consider a more “nuanced and scientifically informed view, which honors your position on drugs (e.g. it being dangerous) and its potential to transform consciousness.” (Those interested in this viewpoint should check out Sam Harris’ article “Drugs and the Meaning of Life.”) Following the slew of comments on his first drug-themed blog post, Warner and C4Chaos then got into what Warner described as "a fairly ridiculous debate on Facebook" in his follow-up post, "Mountain of Drugs."

In a more painfully real sphere of life, elsewhere in the Internet world, Bhante Sujato (on his aptly named “Sujato’s Blog”), has written a very powerful post about the Nepalese nun who was not only gang-raped but is now being expelled from her nunnery. He writes, “Rape is no surprise. It is, shamefully, a part of human life everywhere. The incidence of violent crimes against women is horrific, no matter where or when you live. But there are things that can be done about it, starting with identifying that the rapist is the criminal, and he should be punished, not the victim. It is a long road, and there is no simple solution. As people committed to Buddhism as a spiritual path, we need to recognize the close links between the status of women in the Sangha and the wider picture of violence to women.” 



On “Dhamma Musings,” monk Shravasti Dhammika tells us some more grim Buddhist news: “The Battle For the Buddhas” in Afghanistan. Archaeologists, originally given three years to relocate artifacts from four Buddhist shrines and temples around Mes Aynak, the Copper Mountain, are now racing against a tight one-year deadline in order for the Chinese to dynamite the site and build “the biggest open-cast copper mine in the world outside Africa.”

Keep an eye out for "Buddha Buzz" every Friday. Better news next time, I promise.

Image 1: "psychedelic boom" by burning max on Flickr
Image 2: Afghan archaeologist Abdul Qadir Temory stands at Mes Aynak near an ancient reliquary. The area was the site of a Buddhist monastery settlement in eastern Afghanistan more than 1,400 years ago. The ruins will be demolished once copper mining begins. (Alex Rodriguez,
Los Angeles Times)

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Will.Rowe's picture

While all drugs are not alike, the fact is that most are still an escape from reality, especially LSD and mescaline. They do not connect you to reality; they divorce you from it. The idea that something is missing in us and we need to find it is the beginning to wisdom. The fact that we need intoxicants to do it is the opposite direction, I believe.

We have enough delusions already to overcome, so why add halucinations also? Our mind is powerful enough once it connects with the insight contained within us as the Dharma has illustrated. We do not need drugs to find spirituality. We need to overcome drugs in order to find spirituality.

Good article.

buddhabrats's picture

This statement is clearly uninformed by personal experience or positive personal experience as my san pedro consumption radically adds to and embellishes my visionary space which allows me to go deeper into reforming the nature of my mind and hence remove me even further from suffering. Padmasambava tested Yeshe Tsogyal with a range of medicinal substances to see if she could hold her clarity while in altered states. For me mescaline in particular is an amazing dharmic aid as it allows me to visually ride the whirlwind of madness and pluck the wish fulfilling gems from the pits of hell. Although I do think that drugs are not for everyone when used within a dharmic framework they can radically accelerate ones path towards liberation. What i discovered about the nature of my mind on crystal meth was worth tens of years of meditation. For more information on this check out my website www.buddhbrats.com, and particularly the three free chapters of my book on the site.

All this said and done, I am dzogchen practitioner and so come from the view that it is all perfect anyway and that the non dual nature of the mind renounces NOTHING

Regards adamas.

adamas@buddhabrats.com

NellaLou's picture

Bhante Sujato is a man and the head of Santi Forest Monastery in Australia. He works with Ajahn Brahm and participated in and supported the bhikkuni ordination that shook up the Theravadin establishment in Thailand. Here's the link for the monastery http://santifm.org/santi/about/

Sam Mowe's picture

My mistake, NellaLou. Thanks for pointing it out. The text has been corrected.