Zig Zag Zen:
Buddhism and Psychedelics
Edited by Allan Hunt Badiner
Chronicle Books: San Francisco, 2002
238 pp.; $24.95 (cloth)

Zig Zag Zen concerns the influence of psychedelics on Buddhism, but the issue it ultimately raises is a deeper one: How important is the experience of awakening to spiritual practice?

There are those, of course, who would deny that drug-induced experiences are legitimately spiritual at all. Zen practitioner and psychology professor Ray Jordan, for instance, states that in his experience, “Even the deepest and most powerful realizations associated with LSD were weak compared to the reality and clarity of sesshin events.”

David Chadwick reports otherwise.

About his experience with LSD, he writes, “I died, it seemed, as completely as one can die and found myself at one with all that is, beyond space and time, birth and death, bathed in love—it was always changing—and then the dualism even of this oneness gave way, and my mind opened to the experience of the clear light, of which, later, I could really say nothing but that the experience seemed to be the crowning glory of all that is and isn’t.”

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