Our current economic crisis might actually be a good chance for learning about excess.

So said the Dalai Lama to a packed Thunderdome at the University of California, Santa Barbara.   His Holiness held two lectures, both sold out. Of the crowd he drew, the Santa Barbara Independent reports:

At a casual glance, it was clear that the event was attracting Santa Barbara’s intelligentsia (Paul Orfaela, Nobel laureates, etc.) and religious leaders (Buddhist professor Alan Wallace, Chumash healer Adelina Alva Padilla, etc.) as well as the wealthy faces (too numerous to name) and top-of-the-line celebrities (Cher, in blue headband and leather outfit, and Goldie Hawn, who showed up late around 11 a.m.). And, of course, there were the multitudes of saffron-robed Buddhist monks seated at the front of the arena, snagging the best seats, all the better to see their Lama with.

One of the questions that came from the rapt audience was “whether the Dalai Lama approved of the use of LSD and other psychedelics to achieve enlightenment.”  His answer?

Though he admitted that he had never experienced the drugs, he did say that he’s heard they create more illusions. And in a world filled with illusions, he explained, why would you take drugs that only give more? He continued that serious practice does not involve external remedies, only the internal work. 

Back in 1996, we ran a special section, Buddhism & Psychedelics, which elicited plenty of opinions from a number of dharma teachers. As for me, I think what the DL says makes most sense.

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