ZAZEN ON DRUGS: Brad's Post

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39474

    ZAZEN ON DRUGS: Brad's Post

    Hi,

    I think Bro. Brad Warner has a pretty dandy post on Zazen and psychedelic drugs over at his blog today ...

    During the discussion, one of the supporters of drug abuse as a way to gain spiritual insight started in with the time worn cliché that drugs are like taking a helicopter to the top of a mountain rather than climbing it. You get the same breathtaking view as someone who has climbed the mountain. But you get there much quicker and more easily. “You can’t deny it’s exactly the same view,” one guy said. But, in fact, I would unequivocally deny that it’s the same view. It’s not. Not at all.

    Metaphors always fall apart if you press them too much. But I like this one because it shows exactly what the problem is when you start saying drugs will do for you the same thing as meditation but faster and without all the muss and fuss.

    Let’s say you met a veteran mountaineer with over a quarter century of climbing experience, a person who has written books on mountain climbing and routinely personally instructs others in the art of climbing. And let’s imagine what would happen if you tried to convince this guy that people who take helicopters to the tops of mountains get everything that mountain climbers get and get it a whole lot easier.

    The mountain climber would certainly tell you that the breathtaking view a guy who takes a helicopter to the top of a mountain gets is not in any way, shape or form the same view that a person who climbs the mountain herself gets.

    To the mountain climber, the guy in the helicopter is just a hyperactive thrill seeker who wants nothing more than to experience a pretty view without putting any effort into it. The helicopter guy thinks the goal of mountain climbing is to be on top of the mountain and that climbing is an inefficient way to accomplish this goal. He just doesn’t get it. At all.

    The helicopter guy misses out on the amazing sights there are to see on the way up. He doesn’t know the thrill of mastering the mountain through his own efforts. He doesn’t know the hardships and dangers involved in making the climb. And he’ll never know the awesome wonder of descending the mountain back into familiar territory. All he’s done is given some money to a person who owns a helicopter. He probably couldn’t even find the mountain himself, let alone make it to the top. When there are no helicopters around, the poor guy is helplessly grounded.

    If the helicopter guy claims that he has reached the same place as the mountain climber, the mountain climber knows in ways the helicopter guy can’t even fathom that the helicopter guy is a fool.
    http://hardcorezen.blogspot.com/2011/07 ... drugs.html

    ... although beware of the comments section. I think ya have to be on 'shrooms or something to figure out parts of that! 8)

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Seiryu
    Member
    • Sep 2010
    • 620

    #2
    Re: ZAZEN ON DRUGS: Brad's Post

    Thanks for sharing. I think Brad hits it nicely.


    Gassho

    Seiryu
    Humbly,
    清竜 Seiryu

    Comment

    • Jundo
      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
      • Apr 2006
      • 39474

      #3
      Re: ZAZEN ON DRUGS: Brad's Post

      Originally posted by Seiryu
      Thanks for sharing. I think Brad hits it nicely.


      Gassho

      Seiryu
      Not bong hits though. 8)
      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

      Comment

      • Myozan Kodo
        Friend of Treeleaf
        • May 2010
        • 1901

        #4
        Re: ZAZEN ON DRUGS: Brad's Post

        Afghan? Moroccan? Dude, what is Brad on? I want some of that ... :shock:

        Comment

        • Myoku
          Member
          • Jul 2010
          • 1487

          #5
          Re: ZAZEN ON DRUGS: Brad's Post

          Thanks Jundo,
          i not regularly read Brad's blog, and this one is definitely worth sharing,
          its good he picked this one up,
          _()_
          Peter

          Comment

          • Rev R
            Member
            • Jul 2007
            • 457

            #6
            Re: ZAZEN ON DRUGS: Brad's Post

            If it wasn't for experiences during and immediately after an LSD trip in '96, I may not be here today. That was the moment I decided to take this Zen thing more seriously. It seems to me that it was more a case of simply being in the right place at the right time rather than any benefit of the drug use. That morning always lurks in the back of my mind.

            I can see where Brad is coming from and think he's spot on. There is much to be said for actually climbing the mountain.

            Comment

            • Hoyu
              Member
              • Nov 2010
              • 2020

              #7
              Re: ZAZEN ON DRUGS: Brad's Post

              Originally posted by Jundo
              Originally posted by Seiryu
              Thanks for sharing. I think Brad hits it nicely.


              Gassho

              Seiryu
              Not bong hits though. 8)
              :lol:

              Personally I think that when one takes drugs to get enlightenment all they receive is just another illusion to perpetuate their delusion.

              Gassho,
              John
              Ho (Dharma)
              Yu (Hot Water)

              Comment

              • Myoku
                Member
                • Jul 2010
                • 1487

                #8
                Re: ZAZEN ON DRUGS: Brad's Post

                ...or as Dogen says "Those who have great realization of delusion are buddhas; those who are greatly deluded about realization are sentient beings". If practice is enlightment, if climbing the mountain is the thing, either up or coming down, how could drugs be of any help there.
                _()_
                Peter

                Comment

                • Dokan
                  Friend of Treeleaf
                  • Dec 2010
                  • 1222

                  #9
                  Re: ZAZEN ON DRUGS: Brad's Post

                  Thank you for sharing Jundo. A thought went through my mind while I read this and I was having a hard time hashing it out (pun intended). So I decided to put it in the form of a metaphor. :twisted:

                  Let's say you meet a CFO of a multi-national corporation with a fascination for mountains and breathtaking vistas via helicopters. He has written books on business processes and routinely instructs other top level executives on the art of management, all the while using analogies and stories from his helio-mountain experiences. And let's imagine what would happen if you tried to convince this guy that people who climb mountains to get to the top, while more difficult, have a much more valid experience than those who take helicopters.

                  The CFO would certainly tell you that the breathtaking view a guy who climbs to the top of the mountain gets is not in any way, shape or form the same view that a person who helicopters to the top of the mountain herself gets.

                  To the CFO, the mountain climber is just a dedicated thrill seeker who has the time, energy and patience to experience a pretty view while putting a great deal of effort into it. The mountain climber thinks that the experience and effort put forth in climbing the mountain make the goal much more valuable.

                  They both get it.

                  Of course I in no way support clouding the mind with drugs to reach 'the top of the mountain'. I just felt that it's a slippery slope (pun intended) when we invalidate the experiences and practices of others based upon our own (possibly deluded) understandings.

                  Gassho,

                  Shawn
                  We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
                  ~Anaïs Nin

                  Comment

                  • Geika
                    Treeleaf Unsui
                    • Jan 2010
                    • 4980

                    #10
                    Re: ZAZEN ON DRUGS: Brad's Post

                    From what I've heard from the people I know who do psychedelic (and some hard) drugs regularly, and in the brief times I have partaken myself-- there was never this expectation that there would be some kind of sped up process of spirituality, nor was that the intent. Any insights gained were simply noticed. Some wonderful things really did stick with me-- but these things were simply confirmed by meditation. So meditation is really the simplest road.

                    Originally posted by JRBrisson
                    Personally I think that when one takes drugs to get enlightenment all they receive is just another illusion to perpetuate their delusion.
                    I don't know anyone who has ever said anything along the lines of doing drugs for the sake of gaining "enlightenment." They just do drugs to do drugs-- and for most now, it's a habit. So I always wonder why people always bring it up as an argument against drugs, because to drug users it's kind of like, yeah, duh, I know it's not really enlightening or spiritual, and I don't really care-- I just like to get high.

                    Anyway, from what I hear these days, raves are the ultimate spiritual experience. :roll: Although of course this comes with many drugs...

                    But everyone has the right, in my opinion, to choose their road and for me to keep my opinions to myself when I am "in their house", so to speak.

                    Originally posted by Rev R
                    If it wasn't for experiences during and immediately after an LSD trip in '96, I may not be here today. That was the moment I decided to take this Zen thing more seriously. It seems to me that it was more a case of simply being in the right place at the right time rather than any benefit of the drug use. That morning always lurks in the back of my mind.
                    One thing I learned was the importance and fun of great, shaking, practically painful laughter! :lol: To be honest, being on LSD made me realize, though I was having the time of my life, that I don't need LSD to feel that happy. I have been that happy before in my life without drugs, and I could recognize that. It could very plainly feel how my ego really got in the way of me having a good time, a LOT of the time. So all it did was remove that veil a little bit between my compassion and my insecurities and anger. I usually do not socialize well in party situations, but here we were, some of us strangers but instantly and without judgement becoming best friends and trusting each other.

                    Shrooms was pretty much horrible, but when I was coming down, I really felt a great joy at just being alive, and I felt so grateful to be here and moving and breathing-- the feeling I had then is most like what some of my best meditations feel like now. I got this sense that life was so wonderful in even this simplest ways, like breathing and having hands and touching things, and that it was sad how little this is noticed with all of our distraction. After going through a five hour hell of a bad trip, it kind of felt like being allowed to live again after feeling like I was going to die.
                    求道芸化 Kyūdō Geika
                    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

                    Comment

                    • Saijun
                      Member
                      • Jul 2010
                      • 667

                      #11
                      Re: ZAZEN ON DRUGS: Brad's Post

                      Originally posted by Amelia
                      I don't know anyone who has ever said anything along the lines of doing drugs for the sake of gaining "enlightenment." They just do drugs to do drugs-- and for most now, it's a habit. So I always wonder why people always bring it up as an argument against drugs, because to drug users it's kind of like, yeah, duh, I know it's not really enlightening or spiritual, and I don't really care-- I just like to get high.
                      Hello Amelia,

                      Because of books like this.

                      This is the "most helpful favorable review" on Amazon:
                      Originally posted by Author Brian Wallace (Mind Transmission, Inc.)
                      a beautifully designed and arranged collection of articles that expose the intelligent and creative uses of psychoactive chemicals.

                      While the "spiritual purists" may balk at the contention that chemicals seriously open up levels of consciousness and awareness, one comes away with deeper appreciation of various traditional methods of enlightenment (with and without chemicals).

                      This work effectively counteracts the anti-drug propaganda that has shamefully denigrated certainly respectable uses of treasured substances.

                      Zig Zag Zen does the universe proud.
                      I've not read the book, and as such have no opinion on it. But this sort of thing is, I think, what John is speaking about.

                      Metta and Gassho,

                      Saijun
                      To give up yourself without regret is the greatest charity. --RBB

                      Comment

                      • Dosho
                        Member
                        • Jun 2008
                        • 5784

                        #12
                        Re: ZAZEN ON DRUGS: Brad's Post

                        Hi Jundo,

                        Thanks for sharing Brad's post.

                        He most definitely has some very wonderful insights like this one, but my feeling about Brad is that he is a person who wants to be right and revels in the praise others heap on him for these type of posts.

                        And Brad's "Right Speech" skills could use some work since they often undercut his arguments. Here is the Facebook status update he posted immediately following his encounter with the "Helicopter Metaphor" fellow (please pardon the expletive) mentioned in his blog:

                        "Drug users annoy the fuck out of me. Losers." - July 7, 2011 at 12:12am EST

                        Gassho,
                        Dosho

                        Comment

                        • Rev R
                          Member
                          • Jul 2007
                          • 457

                          #13
                          Re: ZAZEN ON DRUGS: Brad's Post

                          Originally posted by Amelia
                          One thing I learned was the importance and fun of great, shaking, practically painful laughter! :lol: To be honest, being on LSD made me realize, though I was having the time of my life, that I don't need LSD to feel that happy. I have been that happy before in my life without drugs, and I could recognize that. It could very plainly feel how my ego really got in the way of me having a good time, a LOT of the time. So all it did was remove that veil a little bit between my compassion and my insecurities and anger. I usually do not socialize well in party situations, but here we were, some of us strangers but instantly and without judgement becoming best friends and trusting each other.

                          Shrooms was pretty much horrible, but when I was coming down, I really felt a great joy at just being alive, and I felt so grateful to be here and moving and breathing-- the feeling I had then is most like what some of my best meditations feel like now. I got this sense that life was so wonderful in even this simplest ways, like breathing and having hands and touching things, and that it was sad how little this is noticed with all of our distraction. After going through a five hour hell of a bad trip, it kind of felt like being allowed to live again after feeling like I was going to die.
                          Hey Amelia,
                          In my case it was the psychedelic spirituality/ neo-shamanism deal rather than recreational use. It was an unusual framework to operate in- but it seemed to work at the time. I operated under the idea that the drug or the trip didn't cause or create enlightenment- it merely forced one to look at the world differently and presented an opportunity to gather personal power. It's like telling someone else's story.

                          The dreaded bad trip. Talk about sitting in an uncomfortable place. It is for this reason that would not recommend the use of psychedelics as an aid to spiritual practice to anyone. Bad trips and drunken binges (not always my own) have put me in some scary spots.

                          I hope you had someone with you during your mushroom experience, but at least you came out with a very valuable lesson.

                          Comment

                          • Hoyu
                            Member
                            • Nov 2010
                            • 2020

                            #14
                            Re: ZAZEN ON DRUGS: Brad's Post

                            Amelia wrote:
                            I don't know anyone who has ever said anything along the lines of doing drugs for the sake of gaining "enlightenment." They just do drugs to do drugs-- and for most now, it's a habit. So I always wonder why people always bring it up as an argument against drugs, because to drug users it's kind of like, yeah, duh, I know it's not really enlightening or spiritual, and I don't really care-- I just like to get high.
                            Hi Amelia,
                            But this is exactly the thing which Brad was talking about in his article!
                            recently got into a fairly ridiculous debate on Facebook with some people who think that psychedelic drugs can get you to the same place as meditation
                            Hence the whole mountain analogy in the first place.

                            Perhaps you haven't had friends say they take drugs for enlightenment or any of the other benefits of meditation but that dosnt mean plenty people who do drugs don't think or say such things! Keep in mind that you are not someone who teaches spirituality. If you were, I'm sure you would hear this argument a lot from people. Brad even confirms it by saying in his article how often he hears people say such things.

                            And don't forget that LSD was the choice of cults who would use it in spiritual contexts. Charles Manson was said to get everyone tripping out on it while he would reenact the crucifixion of Christ. Why did he choose to do this? Because it works! People are susceptible to confusing the effects of drugs with true spirituality.

                            Drugs=delusion and if you do them and think they don't, consider why. I'll give you a hint.... It's in the equation :wink:

                            Gassho,
                            John
                            Ho (Dharma)
                            Yu (Hot Water)

                            Comment

                            • Dosho
                              Member
                              • Jun 2008
                              • 5784

                              #15
                              Re: ZAZEN ON DRUGS: Brad's Post

                              Originally posted by JRBrisson
                              Drugs=delusion and if you do them and think they don't, consider why. I'll give you a hint.... It's in the equation :wink:
                              John,

                              I agree and know the type of drugs to which you are referring, but I would just qualify that statement with "unprescribed".

                              Gassho,
                              Dosho

                              Comment

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