Buddha Mlac 2, Hedy Klineman, 1995. Courtesy Hedy Klineman & Bridgewater/Lustberg Gallery.
Buddha Mlac 2, Hedy Klineman, 1995. Courtesy Hedy Klineman & Bridgewater/Lustberg Gallery.

Psychedelic use is on the rise again, yet there are unanswered questions from the periods of heavy use in the sixties and seventies. The conversation wasn’t even possible in the political climate of the eighties, and now, in the nineties, we hope to do some truth-telling. Buddhism and psychedelics share a concern with the same problem: finding that which frees the mind. While psychedelics lurk in the personal histories of many (perhaps most) first-generation Buddhist teachers in Europe and America, today we find many teachers advising against pursuing a path they once traveled. Few Buddhists make the claim that psychedelic use is a path itself; some maintain that it is a gateway, and others feel strongly that Buddhism and psychedelics don’t mix at all.

This special issue explores psychedelics, particularly those derived from plants, and asks if they are a help or hindrance to the Buddhist path of liberation. Should young people with an interest in Buddhism explore psychedelics? Should veteran practitioners revisit them? Whatever one’s inclination may be, it is indisputable that psychedelic use is an issue for many contemporary Buddhists, as well as those interested in the dharma.

– Allan Hunt Badiner

Domains of Consciousness: An Interview with Jack Kornfield

Liberty and LSD by John Perry Barlow

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