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OfflineAbeZard
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Registered: 07/20/01
Posts: 164
Loc: Charleston, SC
Last seen: 16 years, 8 days
enlightenment or imagination?
    #366640 - 08/04/01 11:29 AM (16 years, 3 months ago)

I am just interested in gathering some perspectives here.

As some have written, do halucinogenic drugs simply amplify one's expectations of enlightenment? If so, it is not true enlightenment, but simply a mind-projection of what enlightenment would be like, similar to "after death" experiences which reflect the religious beliefs of those experiencing them.

On the other hand, can a psychedelic experience provide a path to enlightenment by giving "glimpses" of what the other side is like, motivating the user to seek the same level of consiousness without the drug?

Or, is it a matter of the "chemistry of higher consciousness" wherein the drugs align the chemical structure of the brain with that of an enlightened state, thereby opening the cells of physiology to the wind of spirit?

Abe

Abe Zaardvark
From historic coastal town in Southeast


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Abe Zaardvark
From historic coastal town in Southeast


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OfflineAbeZard
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Registered: 07/20/01
Posts: 164
Loc: Charleston, SC
Last seen: 16 years, 8 days
Re: enlightenment or imagination? [Re: AbeZard]
    #366641 - 08/04/01 11:30 AM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Maybe it was a freudian error, but when I typed "spank your wife" . .oops, I mean when I typed "cells" I mean "sails".
Abe

Abe Zaardvark
From historic coastal town in Southeast


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Abe Zaardvark
From historic coastal town in Southeast


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InvisibleIn(di)go
People of the sun.
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Posts: 8,157
Loc: Cologne, Germany
Re: enlightenment or imagination? [Re: AbeZard]
    #366804 - 08/04/01 07:32 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

i think all of them apply... it only depends on the point of view of the one who is experiencing it...

In(di)go

"I Am That I Am"


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OfflineAbeZard
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Registered: 07/20/01
Posts: 164
Loc: Charleston, SC
Last seen: 16 years, 8 days
Re: enlightenment or imagination? [Re: In(di)go]
    #366820 - 08/04/01 07:54 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

I don't know that the "point of view" philosophy applies here, as I am differentiating between imagined and real enlightenment.
For example, it may be my point of view that I had a satori experience on lsd, but in reality I only thought that I did because the acid amplified and projected the thoughts about what enlightenment would be like . . . wherein, true enlightenment is a state beyond thought.
I just recently finished reading an article titled "lsd- a false shortcut to samadhi" that postulates such a point.
So, my question remains.

Abe Zaardvark
From historic coastal town in Southeast


--------------------
Abe Zaardvark
From historic coastal town in Southeast


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Offlinegnrm23
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Re: enlightenment or imagination? [Re: AbeZard]
    #366878 - 08/04/01 10:04 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

tricycle buddhist magazine had an issue devoted to this question a few years ago
www.tricycle.com
(& alan watts, aldous huxley, albert hofmann, sam lewis, rram dass, richard gelpke, sidney cohen, gary snyder, and many, many others have pondered this point as well...
go re-examine the ten ox-herding pictures for some clues...
before, after... chopping wood, carrying water...
namaste...



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old enough to know better
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OfflineNowhereMan
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Registered: 10/06/99
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Re: enlightenment or imagination? [Re: AbeZard]
    #366888 - 08/04/01 10:20 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

I would have to say all of these perspectives gather the truth behind the matter. Definitely, a trip is a spiritual experience. And of course, this experience is allowed because of the drugs that were placed into the body. That's why we take them. A trip, though, is not enlightenment. Perhaps if you were to continuously administer the drugs to your body, you could achieve a permanent state of awareness, but I think I'd much rather try to get there on my own. It seems to me that a trip is just a part of the grander journey that we all have to go through. One step closer to enlightenment, if you make it anyway. I suppose if you just take the drugs recreationally, they aren't really a step in the right direction, but even then, one may learn from these mistakes in order to shape themselves. One book that I started to read a while ago, called "Zen and the Brain" deals with these matters. I put it down as it was very deep and requires a lot of dedication, which I wasn't willing to put into it at the time. I have been told by a friend that it is very good, though, and will recommend it to anyone who has the desire to learn about the physiology of enlightenment. "One of these days" I will have to put the drugs down and continue on the Path. I am quite sure that God put them on the world only to, as Abe puts it, give us a "glimpse" of the Way, to stimulate our desire to lose all desires.



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InvisibleIshmael
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RE: enlightenment or sock puppets [Re: AbeZard]
    #368203 - 08/07/01 04:00 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Zen philosophy is very pragmatic about issues related to this one . Zen masters utilize a whole arsenal of 'tricks' to induce a momentary lapse of ego domination within the mind: logic problems, koans and even the mythical physical assault with a cane. Zen is like Guerilla-warfare, while Tibetan Buddhism is more like Continental Style. In both cases the battle field is the mind. Always, the battlefield is the mind.

Enlightenment is the realization of the absolute nature of the mind. Many pathways lead to the battle field. Buddhism, Monastic Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Animism, Shamanism...all labels for what is essentially the same thing. Religious experience. But the question isn't really the validity of any of these processes of thought or inquiry into the nature OF Mind, rather, the question seems to be 'Are drugs _as_ viable a method to attain enlightenment as any religion?' The question is tricky and dangerous because it is fairly self-serving. It too easily ends up being a justification for drug use, and probably too often drug abuse. But the answer as I see it seems to need more qualification.

Religions, like drugs, are pathways TO the battlefield of the mind. They don't, and this is vitally important, they do not guarantee VICTORY during the struggle that inevitably ensues. Once on the battlefield, the fight is yours alone. It is just you - ego and reality - coiling about one another like poetry. Religions arm one with weapons and skills which aid in the battle (but are also cumbersome to carry down the initial path) like faith, trust, righteousness, purity, mantras, hymns, and meditation techniques. Drugs do none of this - in ingesting a drug to not only loose much presence of mind, but you do not spontaneously become equipped with a quasi-religious arsenal. All you have is what's in your mind. All drugs do is drop you off naked into the thick of the battle and leave you to wade through all those mental skirmishes - fear, uncertainty, trauma, bliss, ignorance. s

Coming back to the original question: 'Are drugs, if utilized correctly, _as_ viable a method to attain enlightenment as any religion?'. Drugs aren't a method for attaining enlightenment unless you're already wholly set upon that goal in the first place. Drugs are more often just an ego amplifier (in terms a net results, an effect which is completely OPPOSITE to enlightenment), especially to the neophyte spiritualist with no training, skills or faith. The neophyte will be unprepared for the tenacity, resilience, and deft cleverness of the Ego. In that sense, Drugs won't induce a unilateral state of enlightenment into Joe-Blow off the street any more than visiting a church or monastery would (In fact the drugs would probably have less spiritual significance - it would just be a constant 'wow-man' experience). The best either would do for Joe would be to introduce him to the internal mental periphery of spirituality. In the middle of a trip, as in the middle of any spiritual experience, it become intention and WILL that allow one to allow the absolute nature of mind to unfold. Most importantly, a trained monk has PREPARED for the experience through constant probing and exploration of it from a safe distance (the aforementioned weapons and skills for the battle) and within a safe setting conducive towards the stated goal: enlightenment.

Religions, like drugs, are pathways TO the battlefield of the mind. They don't ensure that one will find the true nature of mind. Religions differ from drugs alone in that drugs have no capacity to instill dedication towards the goal OF enlightenment (The monastic environment ensures that the monk in training encounters constant reinforcement and limited distraction, thusly allowing for full constant focus on the goal). The neophyte spiritualist will often fall into any number of pitfalls which will lead to loss of dedication - lack of success, lack of quantifiable results, lack of will. But if you give a neophyte spiritualist drugs, you increase the number of pitfalls that could stand as impediments. The most common, at least in my experience, is that of 'Spiritual Addiction' to the drugs in question. Without any of the skills of the trained monk, the only way the neophyte feels he/she can 'reenter' that realm of enhanced spirituality is THROUGH the drug. He/she become dependent upon the drug to continue his/her divine journey rather than depending upon him or herself.

'Are drugs, if utilized correctly, _as_ viable a method to attain enlightenment as any religion?' Anything can be utilized to achieve enlightenment - paper, bananas, sock puppets. What it comes down to, and this is the essence of spirituality, is that what matters is your dedication towards your truth, your strength of will, and your ability for constant awareness. Are drugs a 'better' method of achieving enlightenment than a sock puppet drawing bananas on paper? I guess that is up to you to decide really. But I will venture to say that the sock puppet has FAR less of a propensity for pushing one into the depths of delusion and self destruction than drugs. At least as long as the sock puppet refrains from speaking in Swedish.

"You've poisoned me!"
- Zen Master's reaction to a voluntarily administered dosage of LSD.

Ish




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InvisibleKid
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Re: enlightenment or imagination? [Re: AbeZard]
    #368405 - 08/07/01 11:40 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

I think people wrap their ideas of spirituality around their drug use.

What's more spiritual about drug use, a potentially dangerous activity, than sober forms of spirituality?



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OfflineAbeZard
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Registered: 07/20/01
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Loc: Charleston, SC
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Re: enlightenment or imagination? [Re: Kid]
    #368619 - 08/08/01 09:51 AM (16 years, 3 months ago)

I don't think the point is about "drug use" being more or less spiritual than other activities . . . .or, for that matter, more or less dangerous than any number of othre activities we do on a daily basis. Driving, for instance.
You can certainly grow spiritually without drugs. The question is, are psychedelic drugs useful for getting to a higher level.
That said, I do think that what you said is true for some people. But, not everyone.
"Father, may I smoke while praying?" "Permission denied."
"Father, may I pray while smoking?" "Permission granted."

Abe Zaardvark
From historic coastal town in Southeast


--------------------
Abe Zaardvark
From historic coastal town in Southeast


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InvisibleIshmael
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Re: enlightenment or imagination? [Re: AbeZard]
    #368974 - 08/08/01 09:04 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)


Certainly drugs can get you to a HIGHer level (than normal day-to-day functioning) but it is the same level that can be gotten to (functionally) without them through the practice of certain exercises (yoga, prayer, meditation, running, fasting, sleeping..ect ect). So if your question was to simply make a comparison between those disciplines and the undisciplined activity of drugs, than yes the two experiences are similar if not concurrent (Pre-neoprohibition researchers like Leary and Huxley made a case that there was no definable difference between the classical definition of The Religious Experience and the state induced by drugs - specfically mushrooms). The only problem (and the aformention Leary is a good example of this) is that drugs have drawbacks and side-effects that you do not normally associate with the religious experiences of Monks, Priests, Nuns and Laypeople. Specifically, the propensity of over-use (abuse) of drugs to cause one's ego not to break down into Enlightenement (as non-drug induced religious experience seem to do), but rather, to cause the ego to reform in a manner which is easily definable as a delusional-pychotic state. In this context, merely asking the question "Are drugs a good way to get to a higher state" is almost immoral, for the simple answer is 'yes'. But in answering ONLY yes, you do not consider the other ramifications I've entailed - which I view as a MAJOR draw-back. I think this stands repeating because it is as important as my opinion on the answer.

Drugs _can_ place one into an altered state of consciousness. That much is not in dispute. And in this state it IS possible to achieve spiritual goals such as trancendance of the ego or realization of the ground state of being. But more often (because of the mind-set of the inidividual), drugs merely induce states of mindless euphoria or, at larger doses, hellish & chaotic 'Karmic' visions. In addition, at continued dosages, it is possible for one to open perminant channels within their mind to these states and initiates a delusional breakdown. Is that going to happen to everyone? No, certainly not. Has it happened before? Yes. What seems to be the difference between those that merely utilize drugs for spiritual goals and those that abuse them as mere intoxicants is a measure of self-control and a propensity towards moderation. In using drugs with spiritual intentions, do you innoculate yourself from possible addiction and mental collapse? No, unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case. Again, like any activity, excess will breed disaster.

Now, to be clear, Shamans and other more civilized breeds of spiritualists (Primitive Priests like Zorastrians and Druids come to mind immediately) utilize drugs to the effect that you're asking about. They utilize it to commune with God, Wakantanka, The Great Father, The Earth Mother/Goddess (ect ect). But again, they do so with one important ally, the temperance of faith. Faith and its bylaws usually preclude excessive behavior in its deciples by surrounding the actual imbibing of the pychedelic materials with ritual. But even this does not protect against abuse and mental collapse. Many tribes consider their shamans to be either true madmen, or something between madmen and ghosts. But then shamans don't consider themselves this way. My favorite quote is: "When the Spirit calls you to this path, you either answer her and trust, or you go mad."

I hope this was a bit more helpful than my previous post.

Ish




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