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Pratyekabuddhas, enlightenment and entheogens

JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matterNetherlands Veteran
edited December 2023 in Diet & Habits

One of the Dutch Buddhist forums I frequent has recently had a number of new members added, from another forum which was known as a “truth discovery forum”. These truth-discoverers have varying backgrounds, and one of them claims to have had an enlightenment experience from smoking the venom of the Sonoran desert toad. He had been a spiritual seeker for thirty years.

He described the experience like this…

It might happen to you...

Dropping an atomic bomb (God's molecule / 5-Me0-DMT) into my brain...

Kaboom, a Nagasaki and Hiroshima scene... the terror of death, crying like a werewolf while being dragged along and destroyed in scorching whirlwinds, but to no avail... nothing was left… 'I' was destroyed... both the searcher and the search completely wiped away.

Silence... An empty plain… surrealistic... absolutely nothing of my beliefs was still standing. Dazzling light... the observer became the universe (and partly because of this the mystical experience is often described as experiencing your own death).

This happened to him in 2019 and since then in certain circles he has been calling himself enlightened. He laughs a great deal and is a jolly kind of fellow. He still takes psychedelic substances two or three times a year.

So it strikes me that there is this tradition in Buddhism for pratyeka buddhas, who have reached enlightenment on their own, without the guidance of an awakened one. Could it be that people who have this kind of experience are on that path? Of course a lot is dependent on how you integrate this kind of experience, what it means for your mind and body. A real enlightened master has undergone an evolution which has changed mind and body, having an experience of this type is temporary.

It seems to me that strongly held beliefs, of what is true in this world, are a barrier to most types of enlightenment. There is a stanza in the Tao Te Ching which goes, “The man of knowledge gains something new every day, the Man of Tao lets something go every day.”



  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited December 2023

    I’m not in the camp of psychedelic drugs give way to enlightenment. Yeah, they give trippy, un realistic experiences…but that’s a form of escapism. Yes, I’ve heard the argument of “well, escaping IS the way of realizing “…. I don’t trust people that mix drugs with any kind of spirituality. The real hard shit of letting go is dealing with what comes your way, everyday….the struggle with the mundane or the struggle of the struggle…..not running from it. Creating psychosis is not fluffy and soft. And the effects on the body are not as romantic as these people make it sound

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited December 2023

    Entheogens? I had to look that one up.

    One of the cautions that a teacher of my tradition might bring up to a student undergoing a powerful transformative experience is to be careful not to squander it.
    This is partly because of how common it can be to have unresolved aspects of our ego lay possessive claims over such experiences.
    This is especially true when such experiences have arisen from means that were exterior to our efforts. While such experiences can undoubtedly be the most powerful that an individual has yet to realize, our remaining unaddressed attachments can quickly reduce it to a treasured memory more akin to being a still photograph of suffering's cessation than being a living or a continuing manifestation of it.

    Here, meeting the transformative as an acquisition, rather than a renunciation, results in a student not only being unable to digest the full potential of its offerings but additionally compounds the very delusions needed to be transcended before one is ever able to progress beyond such an experience again.

    One of the best values of a good spiritual practice is just learning how to get yourself out of its way.

  • I have heard of a frog turning into a prince when kissed by a princess, but not a person becoming enlighten from smoking a toad's venom...

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Thanks @how … your insights invariably seem to point out the middle path 🙏

    And while I agree @vastmind that letting go is an essential part of the path, I’m not so sure that psychedelics can’t be a valuable addition.

    The key I think is integrating them into a spiritual life, such that the experiences are treated with respect and not consigned just to memory.

  • ScottPenScottPen Maryland Veteran

    FWIW: in a controlled, therapeutic environment, psilocybin often breaks down one's ego and points them towards non-duality.

  • As some of us may realise, we follow all the lores, laws and side roads of dharma. Imagine if we gave up the need to verify and decided to find the Truth of our own barking? What might happen? :heartbreak:

    • We die (no cheering from the reincarnated faction if you please)
    • Our mind, body and emotions (just to start off) change dramatically
    • Our sense of wholistic integration becomes a seeker

    In other words, our experience is a drug and we are a meditation and contemplation on the Unreal Reality ... o:)

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    What I find absurd is to find out how much the governments war on drugs is not in the advantage of the people. In the USA enforcement resources are spent something like 50% on marihuana, 30% on heroin, 15% on cocaine and the remaining 5% on other drugs. It’s ridiculous because marihuana is relatively safe and harmless, while something like Fentanyl causes many deaths and is not even prohibited because it has medical uses.

  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited December 2023

    It’s been the advantage to some people….bec it was another way to clean up the ‘race’ problem. Watch “13th” on Netflix.To the same point…legalizing weed here has monetarily benefited only one group of people. The others are still locked up over stuff that’s legal now.

  • Have not heard of this before. May be legal for some and worth investigation. Not my cup of tea.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    At the moment there is this thing about “designer drugs”, substances which are very slightly different from the usual. Like 1cP-LSD, which is like LSD but has an extra carbon atom and which when taken is transformed by the liver into regular LSD. They are currently legal in many places and might be worth a look if you are interested.

    It’s ironic that some nations are now trying to ban designer drugs, while other places are liberalising and making things like psilocybin and marihuana legal. To me, the whole effort to make substances illegal has done much more harm than good, I’m all for legalisation. Even though I may not take any myself, it may do others good.

    I was talking to a Belgian friend about microdosing, which is the practice of taking very small amounts of mushrooms or 1cP-LSD, approximately one hundredth of an active dose, in order to boost creativity or non-linear thinking, and he found it was very good for his meditation.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited December 2023

    A surprising number of seniors at a snooker club I manage admit to micro-dosing regularly, and it appears that they have all come to doing so independently of their fellow players. This came to light when I witnessed a conversation about micro dosing between two players eventually get joined by a host of other members who started exchanging their own current self medicating experiences.

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