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Subject: Using LSD to Imprint the Tibetan-Buddhist Experience
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 21:12:06 +0800
From: Junarto M. Ifah

Dear Bro. Piya

I have attended one of your lectures (in Tai Pei Buddhist Centre). One week ago I noticed one article. The title is: "Using LSD to Imprint the Tibetan-Buddhist Experience" by Dr. Timothy Leary, PhD (A Guide to Successful psychedelic Experience). This article point out that it is possible to replicate meditation experience by using LSD. This article also point out that this experience may give benefit similar to the benefit obtained from Buddhist meditation. Eventhough I dare not to judge, I personally choose to stand on the traditional Buddhist teaching whether it is Theravada, Mahayana or Vajrayana, which give emphasis on effort from within.

However, my experience and knowledge is very shallow indeed. Would you mind to share your view on this matter?


In The Dharma,

Junarto (Sukha Virya).


The mind produces its own chemicals when we are happy or feeling good, so we do not need external chemicals (drugs). In 1960s, there was a movement that began in California, USA, to experiment with anything new or different from the establishment and Christianity (a reaction to the protracted oppressiveness of the Christian establishment).

The use of drugs (no matter how good) to induce meditation-like pleasures has its definite risks that outweigh its apparent benefits. Most of those people we hear experimenting with such drugs are specialists and professionals who know what they are doing. So, it is clear that this is not a general practice. It is very much like playing with radioactive material! You must know how to handle them.

Even if certain drugs can produce blissful mental states or suppress negative ones, it is certainly better to learn the natural skill of cultivating inner calmness through proper meditation practice. Drugs need to be taken each time for a desired state (not always guaranteed possible anyway) and there is the problem of tolerance and addiction over long usage.

However, in the case of meditation, it is a matter of building up a wholesome habit, a positive conditioning. It is like one is recharging oneself, and the energy stays, even grows as we become better in our meditation.

Moreover, meditation is not merely about blissful states. It is really a matter of mindfulness and clear comprehension. It is not just a matter of sitting: it is a matter of keeping awake and aware. As the Metta Sutta says, “Standing, moving, sitting, or lying down, one should be free from drowsiness….” (Sn 151). In other words, as long as one is awake, one should be mindful. Can taking drugs induce such a prolonged natural state?

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