July 15, 2011
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)