Do Buddhism and psychedelics mix? This is a question we think about a lot in the West, and it’s important that we do. Consider: Many first-generation Buddhist teachers in the West experimented with psychedelics at some point in their lives.

In June, there will be a course at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco entitled “Buddhism and Psychedelics,” dedicated to exploring the relationship between drugs and the Buddhist practitioner.

CIIS professor and Tricycle contributor Allan Badiner introduces some of the ideas to be discussed in this course in his post “Drugs and Dharma in the 21st Century” on Reality Sandwich.

The enhanced capacity for extraordinary cognitive experience made possible by the use of plant psychedelics may be as basic a part of our humanness as is our spirituality or our sexuality. The question is how quickly we can develop into a mature community that is able to address these issues with openness and candor. In the past, awareness about the deepest “occult” or “hidden” parts of our spirit selves was considered the private preserve of shamans, priests, or spiritual masters who had earned their way to it. Religious experience was mediated by these authorized few, and this is a tradition still with us in the form, if not attitude, of many religions. The democratization of psychedelics, however, and of Buddhism to a similar extent, has been very much about the breakdown of this restricted access to the divine. In Buddhism, as in psychedelics, the individual takes responsibility for their relationship to the source of their being, and for access to the highest states of spirit mind.

Read the full article here.

See also: “The Roundtable: Help or Hindrance,” from our Fall 1996 Special Section on psychedelics. In this discussion Allan Badiner interviews Ram Dass, Joan Halifax, Robert Aitken, and Richard Baker.

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21046401@N08/

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