Friday, August 28, 2009


Con el paso del tiempo, que duda cabe, nos vamos deteriorando,
unos mas, otros menos (segun el nivel de narcisismo que tengamos). La segunda ley de la termodinamica, la entropia, ya lo dice muy claro: "la entropia siempre se incrementa" Al respecto, yo, desde que tengo uso y desuso de razon, siempre me he rebelado, no se por que, porque es inutil, pero siempre el deterioro me ha molestado, y, ademas, siempre me gusta protestar ante 'causas perdidas', que es lo que hace el insurrecto metafisico. Los demas siempre me han dicho que 'no me lo tome personalmente', pero yo no lo puedo remediar: yo en la vida todo me lo tomo con esta clase de susceptibilidad personal...lo se, se que es absurdo, pero, como digo, no lo puedo remediar. Ver como nos vamos deteriorando, pudriendo, es algo que, lo siento, pero no lo puedo soportar. Es mas, realmente, no se por que ocurre asi y no de otra manera; no lo se. Ya se que contra el orden natural es una tonteria el no estar de acuerdo, el cabrearse, el sublevarse, pero yo creo que el codigo genetico ha podido encontrar una respuesta mas estetica que esta. Tal vez en otros universos nuestras leyes de la termodinamica no funcionen y todo sea inimaginablemente distinto, diferente. Yo creo que todo puede ser de otra forma, si, de otra forma, y esta es la diferencia basica que tengo con todos los demas: que ellos aceptan sin rechistar las Leyes de la Naturaleza en esta Tierra, pero yo no. Y cuanto mas me deterioro con el paso del tiempo mas me alzo contra ello. Quiero que en la lapida de mi tumba inscriban la siguiente frase:
"No estoy de acuerdo con la muerte:
me he deteriorado y he fallecido
contra mi propia voluntad.
Y aqui lo hago constar. Me sublevo
como Espartaco, pero en mi caso
contra el Orden Natural".
A ver si alguien al leerlo abre su conciencia de una vez a esta realidad: que rebelarse en la vida contra lo que nunca se lograra es tambien un paso gigantescamente revolucionario en la metafisica del ser racional.


que me limpien tus manos,
tus hierbas,
tu tierra,
tus campos;
limpiame lo que manchamos,
purifica lo que ensuciamos,
porque tus dedos,
nunca fueron contaminados


Buddhism and Psychedelics



Mystical experiences are usually conceived of as coinciding with altered states of consciousness. As a result, a consideration of mystical states should begin with a discussion of consciousness itself. Yet the nature of consciousness is one of the most fundamental and difficult of all philosophical questions.

The answers to this question have ranged across an enormous spectrum throughout cultures and eras. At one extreme, they include the idea that consciousness is a mere by-product of matter; this is the philosophy of materialism. At the other extreme is the idea that consciousness is the fundamental substrate of reality; this is the philosophy of absolute idealism as proposed, for example, by Yogachara Buddhism.

(Como puede ser posible cuando la existencia antecede a la esencia, es decir, cuando primero se vive y despues de piensa? --La vida hace a la conciencia -como dice Marx-, no al contrario--; entonces esto ultimo es una consecuencia de lo primero y no al reves como propone el budismo; lo que este propone es que "dios" --la conciencia crea al mundo y no el mundo a "dios"; absurdo--)

For Nietzsche, consciousness was a suffering-producing disease of life, while for the Vedanfic religion of India, it is being and bliss. Small wonder, then, that two contemporary researchers, Douglas R. Hofstadter and Daniel Dennett, claim "So far there is no good theory of consciousness. There is not even agreement about what a theory of consciousness would be like. Some have gone so far as to deny that there is any real thing for the term 'consciousness' to name" (Hofstadter and Dennett, 1982).

Yet whatever consciousness is, the desire to alter it is clearly common and widespread. In a cross-cultural survey, anthropologist Erika Bourguignon found that 90 percent of the several hundred societies she surveyed possessed institutionalized means to alter states of consciousness.

(Es una manera subrepticia de aceptar que con nuestra coniencia 'natural no alcanzaemos lo que queremos alcanzar)

She concluded that "this represents a striking finding and suggests that we are, indeed, dealing with a matter of major importance, not merely a list of anthropological esoterica" (Bourguignon, 1973). Moreover, she found that in traditional societies, these altered states were viewed as sacred, almost without exception. In his book The Natural Mind, Andrew Weil, a leading researcher on psychoactive substances, concluded that "the desire to alter consciousness periodically is an innate normal drive analogous to hunger or sexual desire" (Weil, 1972).

If this is so, it raises the obvious question of the nature of an "optimal" state of consciousness. This is the question I would like to discuss here, along with a related issue of whether psychedelics can ever induce these optimal states.

Rick Fields

....Now, in the new century, we may be seeing a generation who have steeped themselves in practice become inspired to take another, more mature—and more penetrating—look at psychedelics.

During the soporific fifties, access to both psychedelics and Buddhism was limited to a small but influential elite. A British psychiatrist working in Canada, Dr. Humphry Osmond, enlisted Aldous Huxley as a subject for his experiments with mescaline in Los Angeles one afternoon in the middle of May 1953.

Huxley was well prepared. He and his fellow expatriate, the writer Gerald Heard, had studied Vedanta and practiced disciplined meditation for some years, and Huxley had ransacked the world's mystical writings for his anthology The Perennial Philosophy.

Sitting in his garden with Dr. Osmond, he experienced the grace and transfiguration he had read about. Remembering a koan from one of D.T. Suzuki's essays, "What is the Dharma-Body of the Buddha?" he found the answer: "The hedge at the bottom of the garden." What had previously seemed "only a vaguely pregnant piece of nonsense" was now as clear as day. "Of course, the Dharma-Body of the Buddha was the hedge at the bottom of the garden," he reported in The Doors of Perception. "

At the same time, and no less obviously, it was these flowers, it was anything that I—or rather the blessed not-I, released for a moment from my throttling embrace—cared to look at."

Of course Huxley still had his famous wits about him. "I am not so foolish as to equate what happens under the influence of mescaline . . . with the realization of the end and ultimate purpose of human life: Enlightenment," he reassured his reader. "All I am suggesting is that the mescaline experience is what Catholic theologians call 'a gratuitous grace,' not necessary to salvation but potentially helpful and to be accepted thankfully, if made available."

When Maria, Huxley's wife of more than thirty years, lay dying of cancer, he read to her the reminders from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, reducing them to their simplest form and repeating them close to her ear: "Let go, let go. Go forward into the light. Let yourself be carried into the light." He continued after she had stopped breathing, "tears streaming down his face, with his quiet voice not breaking," his son Matthew remembered.

("Ir hacia la luz" al morir; no parece absudo. Vamos hacia la "luz"; hacia que luz?; hacia la luz de las sombras y las descomposicion de cuerpo y mente? A veces caemos en la trampa e las palabras...hasta en la hora de la mierte)

A few years earlier, in July 1953, the ex-banker ethnomycologist Gordon Wasson and his wife, Valentina, had reached the Mazatec village of Huautla de Jimenez, where they discovered the magic psilocybin mushrooms (teonanacatl, the "flesh of the gods") and managed to take part in an all-night velada. Wasson's evenhanded and respectful article on his adventures was published by Life in 195 7. The article was read by a Berkeley psychologist, Frank Barron, who had tried some of the mushrooms, and passed on his enthusiasm to another academic psychologist and old friend, Timothy Leary. Before taking up his new job at Harvard's Center for the Study of Personality, Leary spent the summer in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Naturally, he tried the mushrooms. "The journey lasted a little over four hours," he wrote. "Like almost everyone who had the veil drawn, I came back a changed man" (Leary, f 983).

Leary was now more interested in transcendence then personality assessment. As head of the Harvard Psychedelic Drug Research Project, he ran a session for MIT professor Huston Smith, who made the experience available as a laboratory experiment for his seminars in mysticism. Next, in a now-famous double-blind experiment performed in 1962 on Good Friday in a chapel of the Boston University Cathedral, divinity students were given either psilocybin or a placebo. To no one's surprise, only those who had taken the psychedelic sacrament reported what appeared to be bona fide mystical experiences.

Time published a favorable report, with reassuring quotes from Professor Walter Clark of Andover-Smith and other leading theologians. "We expected that every priest, minister, rabbi, theologian, philosopher, scholar, and just plain God-seeking man, woman, and child in the country would follow up the implications of the study," wrote Leary. Instead, "a tide of disapproval greeted the good news." What followed was much worse. As use spread and the less expensive and much more powerful LSD became the drug of choice, all heaven and hell broke loose. Huxley, while guest lecturing at MIT in the sixties, advised discretion, keeping the drugs inside a small, charmed circle—a kind of aristocratic mystery school. Leary put forth a plan for training and certifying guides. But it was all too much, too fast, and too late. A generation gap had been blown open. The old were appalled, the young enthralled
Leary and Alpert left Harvard in 1963.

Now they were but one wave, albeit a very visible and noisy one, in a counterculture transformation that was sweeping across America and about to crest in San Francisco. The center of activity was of course the Haight-Ashbury district, which was just a short stroll from a Soto Zen mission, Sokoji, and its American offshoot the San Francisco Zen Center. But the spiritual atmosphere was more than Zen—it was eclectic, visionary, polytheistic, ecstatic, and defiantly devotional. The newspaper of the new vision, the San Francisco Oracle, exploded in a vast rainbow that encompassed everything in one great Whitmanesque blaze of light and camaraderie. North American Indians, Shiva, Kali, Buddha, tarot, astrology, Saint Francis, Zen, and tantra all combined to sell fifty thousand copies on streets that were suddenly teeming with people.

When the Oracle printed the Heart Sutra, it presented a double spread of the Zen Center version complete with Chinese characters, but also with a naked goddess, drawn in the best Avalon ballroom psychedelic. While the Beats had dressed in existential black and blue, this new generation wore plumage—beads and feathers worthy of the most flaming tropical birds. If the previous generation had been gloomy atheists attracted to Zen by iconoclastic directives—If "you meet the Buddha, kill him!"—these new kids were, as Gary Snyder told Dom Aelred Graham in a 1967 interview in Kyoto, "unabashedly religious. They love to talk about God or Christ or Vishnu or Shiva."

Snyder himself had gotten a firsthand look at the counterculture when he returned from Japan for a short visit in 1966. He was just in time for the first Be-in at Golden Gate Park, where he was joined by a number of friends from the early Beat days. Allen Ginsberg was there, as were Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Michael McClure. Kerouac was conspicuous by his brooding absence. He wanted nothing to do with it all. (When Leary had offered him LSD back in Ginsberg's apartment in New York he had objected: "Walking on water wasn't built in a day") These new hippies horrified him. When a bunch of kids showed up at his mother's house in Northampton, Long Island, with jackets that said "Dharma Bums" across the back, he slammed the door in their faces.

But now, at the Be-in, with the sun shining through a deep blue sky and thousands of people at ease in all their finery on the meadow, Snyder read his poems and Ginsberg chanted the Heart Sutra to clear the meadows of lurking demons.

Also present on the stage that afternoon were Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert, the two ex-Harvard psychology professors, who in three short years had become prophetic psychedelic pied pipers. Whatever else LSD became in time, at that moment it was the messenger that led a fair number of people into the dazzling land of their own. mind. What had begun, as the private discovery of a few intellectuals and experimenters had spread in a flash, and for a split second of history it was as if everyone's veil had been rent and all the archetypes of the unconscious now sprang forth.

There were those who claimed that psychedelics had changed the rules of the game, and that the mystic visions once enjoyed only by saints could now be had by anyone. In any case, it was obvious to the university researchers at Harvard, who had searched the scientific literature in vain, that the scriptures of Buddhism (and Hinduism) contained descriptions that matched what they had seen and felt. So Timothy Leary recast the verses of theTaoTe Ching in a book called Psychedelic Prayers, and in 1962 Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner, and Richard Alpert adapted the Bardo Thodol, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, retranslated from Evans-Wentz's "Anglo-Buddhist to American Psychedelic" in The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Because the book was apparently meant to acquaint a dying person with the liberation of the Clear Light of Reality and then guide him or her through the peaceful and wrathful deities of the bardo it was fairly easy to recast it as a guide in which physical death was reconfigured as the death of the ego during a psychedelic trip.

The Psychedelic Experience, published in 1964, went through sixteen editions and was translated into seven languages.

One of the manuscript's most interested readers was Aldous Huxley, who called Leary from Los Angeles, where Huxley was dying of cancer. When Leary flew out to see him, Huxley asked him to guide him through the bar-dos. Leary suggested that it would be better if Huxley's second wife, Laura, guided the sessions. "No, I don't want to put any more emotional pressure on her," Huxley replied. "I plan to die during that trip, after all." In the end, Laura did give him the sacrament (LSD) and read him the instructions from the Tibetan Book of the Dead. And so, in I 963, Aldous Huxley passed peacefully into the Clear Light of Reality.

It was impossible for any roshi to ignore the question of LSD and its relationship to Buddhism. KounYamada Roshi, Yatsutani Roshi's chief disciple in Japan, was said to have tried it only to report, "This isn't form is the same as emptiness; this is emptiness is the same as form." If Suzuki Roshi said (as Gary Snyder told Dom Aelred Graham) that "people who have started to come to the zendo from LSD experiences have shown an ability to get into good zazen very rapidly," he also said in New York (as Harold Talbott, Graham's secretary, told Snyder) "that the LSD experience was entirely distinct from Zen." In any case, it seemed that in practice, Suzuki Roshi mostly ignored it. When Mary Farkas of the First Zen Institute asked him what he thought of the "Zen-drug tie-up we kept hearing so much of," she gathered from his reply "that students who had been on drugs gradually gave them up and that highly structured and supervised activities left little opportunity and lessened inclination."

Others in the Zen world were equally concerned. In Japan, D.T. Suzuki wrote an essay as part of a symposium on "Buddhism and Drugs" for The Eastern Buddhist, in which he warned that the popularity of LSD "has reached a point where university professors organize groups of mystical drug takers with the intention of forming an intentional society of those who seek 'internal freedom.' . . . All this sounds dreamy indeed," he wrote, "yet they are so serious in their intention, that Zen people cannot simply ignore their movements."

If Dr. Suzuki sounded the alarm, the Americans were more moderate in their reactions. Ray Jordan, a former student of Nyogen Senzaki's and then an assistant professor of psychology, had written in Psychologic that "LSD might be a useful aid both to the realization of prajrm [wisdom], and to the development of meditational practice," but a sesshin with Yasutani-roshi had since convinced him that he had been mistaken. The sesshin had "included a moment which the roshi identified as kensho," and Jordan was now able to testify that "even the deepest and most powerful realizations associated with LSD were weak and dim compared to the reality and clarity of sesshin events."

Jordan admitted that "in a small number of cases psychedelic experiences may have revealed to persons the everyday pre-sentness of the Pure Buddha Land [but] from that point on the psychedelics are of no value whatsoever in so far as the Way is concerned. Without relying on anything one must walk step by step, moment by moment in the daily reality of the Pure Land."

Alan Watts was more sympathetic. He pointed out, to begin with, that everyone must speak for himself since so much depended on the "mental state of the person taking the chemical and circumstances under which the experiment is conducted." In Watts's case, these had been benign, and LSD had

Philip Novak

3. We Have Drunk Soma and Become Immortal
All one hundred and fourteen hymns of the ninth book of the Rig-Veda are addressed to Soma, the god who inhabits a mysterious psychotropic beverage, said in the Vedas to be the food of the gods. Soma probably ranks behind only Indra and Agni in Vedic popularity.

Of the sweet food I have partaken wisely, That stirs the good thoughts, best banisher of trouble, On which to feast, all gods as well as mortals, Naming the sweet food "honey," come together. . . .
We have drunk Soma, have become immortal, Gone to the light have we, the gods discovered. What can hostility do against us? What, O Immortal, mortal man's fell purpose?

Joy to our heart be thou, when drunk, O Indu, Like father to a son, most kind, O Soma; Thoughtful like friend to friend, O thou of wide fame, Prolong our years that we may live, O Soma.

These glorious freedom-giving drops by me imbibed Have knit my joints together as straps a chariot; From broken legs may Soma drops protect me, May they from every illness keep me far removed... .
Be gracious unto us for good, King Soma;
We are thy devotees; of that be certain.
When might and wrath display themselves, O Indu,
Do not abandon us, as wished by foemen.
Protector of our body art thou, Soma,
In every limb hast settled man-beholding:
If we infringe thine ordinances be gracious
As our good friend, O god, for higher welfare.. . .

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