If life is so pure, if existence is so pure, why is conflict of existence so rampant? It seems rather absurd, like a piece of fruit that looks so appealing and has the sweetest and greatest taste, is nothing but poisonous.
But I am a bit baffled by the end of what you wrote. I guess my understanding is, it is not 'existence' that is pure - this is something I have come to realise in the years subsequently. Existence is what we are entangled in.
But there is another stage appropriately called Clear Light.
And I realised then you couldn't stay in this state artificially. You always would come down and back into the normal mundane existence.
But I still believe the entheogen experience is real. And maybe that is the reason for the stigma attached to them. It is normality protecting itself. They really did make me realise that the reality of many lives is basically habit and convention. Conventional existence really does have shallow roots, and I think there is a deep realisation of that which we are not allowed to acknowledge. A lot of what goes on in the world is built on that denial.
So I guess when it comes to 'sacred intoxicants', and subject to the above caveats, I have to vote 'Aye'.
At this point I was completely taken by the realisation that everything in life was holy, life itself was holy, there was nothing lacking, nothing to be gained, nothing the matter anywhere. This manifested as being spellbound by nature - saplings, moss-covered boulders and the like (doesn't sound much when you write it....) Particular objects would seem to be extremely beautiful - for the first time, I really saw how beautiful nature was, it was like an artwork, very much like what Huxley wrote in Doors of Perception. It was also realisation of what a uniquely amazing thing it is to be a human. In fact it was a taste of self-realisation, of that I have no doubt.
some people need that instant gratification and a little money upfront before they are willing to put any into the game
That is what I meant. Existence is beautiful and appealing like the pleasant appearance of a fruit. It becomes very easy to get entagled and attached to existence. But all the while this existence is what causes all our problems, all our suffering, all our ignorance and that is why I say the fruit is poison. It has the potential to be sweet and fulfilling and quench all hunger but it ultimately ends in suffering.
But surely this is the point of the First Noble Truth: existence is dukkha, suffering. But the second shows that the cause of suffering is clinging, the third, that by ceasing from clinging, suffering can cease, and the fourth, the way to the cessation of suffering. So it is not existence that is the cause of suffering, it is craving.
It is easy to say that, but it may not be so simple. I mean, one is rarely in a position to verify it. The term translated as 'craving' signifies something deeper than just hanging out for something. And the Buddha's teaching in many places is that he teaches only the cause of suffering, and the ending of suffering - from experience I am able to attest that there is truth in it.
Salima - if you "did it without drugs" and have never tried the drugs at least for comparison, how can you determine that they are the same? I have 'gone a lot further' on drugs than sober, but every step I take sober is markedly different from the corresponding intoxicated stumble. It's difficult to explain, and mental stability only approaches the truth of the matter.
This notion seems especially strange because you say the differences between intoxicated transcendence and sober experience have to do with how one "gets there". The intoxicated person gets there through ingesting a drug - the sober person gets there through dedicated and rigorous practice.
Despite these criticisms, I am very happy for your explanation of the "troublehouse" - the accuracy of which tempers my initial inclination to voice my initial two questions with a great vehemence. Seriously - I have seen it among drug users personally and this same condition may very well apply to many noted artists. And then I think of those Western mystics and pseudo-mystics who experienced early illumination as a painful process....
But despite this new found optimism, I am immediately worried again..."some people need that instant gratification and a little money upfront before they are willing to put any into the game" - the second and by far longest quote of your post thus far. What's worse is that you are right - people are so distracted today that they would rather spend time watching... eh, whatever it is that people watch on television... they'd rather fritter away than attempt something at least possibly productive. And so I worry that the drugs help facilitate this sad culture of seeking.
Thanks again for the deeply personal and resonant post. It is, in my book, an instant forum classic.
Dukkha does not simply mean 'suffering', but includes things like dissatisfaction, impermanence, etc. It also includes things like happiness, joy.
The Buddha said, "Whatever is impermanent is dukkha"
Quite true. But he also taught that there is an ending to dukkha. We are discussing why life or existence seems like a poisoned fruit, I am suggesting that the Buddhist understanding is because of clinging.
Beautiful verse, Salima :bigsmile:
We are discussing why life or existence seems like a poisoned fruit, I am suggesting that the Buddhist understanding is because of clinging.
... my two cents.
I'm not sure that chemically induced brain malfunctions ought to be called spiritual or religious. At least not as I understand the two - I've always been at a loss to understand how the two relate; so I've been reading along on the sidelines here.
The only connection I think I can see is that sensation of awe, emotional swell or mental frenzy which might be interpreted so. I am, admittedly, not experienced in this area.