Hello, and thank you for this great opportunity.
My name is John Paul Gamiere, and I am an aspiring
Anthropologist. My main intrests lie in Ethnobotany,
Shamanism, Ethnomusicology, and Altered States of
Consciousness. My question to you concerns the use of
hallucinogenic drugs by Shamans. After researching shamanic
journeys, I have found many similarities to the experience one
has in deep zen meditation. The main experiences both venues
seem to share are a deep sense of awareness of a spiritual
existance, and a reinforcement that the physical world is not
a "true" reality. Do you believe that these assumptions are
valid? And if so, do you believe that using hallucinogens is a
valid path to spiritual enlightenment? It seems that other cultures
have achieved a detachment from the physical with hallucinogens.
Such cultures are the various groups of South American indians,
Native Americans of the Southwest, and Siberian and African
cultures. Even though all these cultures are radically different,
they all seem to share-- along with zen -- a similar vision of our
spiritual nature.

Answer from Master Kosen

What people who don't practice zazen don't understand,
it's that it cannot be compared to anything, for the simple reason
that zazen contains everything and cannot then be described as
a special condition. It is at the centre of all phenomena, for its form
itself and for its immobility. It is then neither hallucinogenic nor
non-hallucinogenic. If you took a drug, as powerful as it can be,
and that you find the energy to take the posture and by doing it
to abandon body and mind, the effects of this drug are automatically
overwhelmed and you go back automatically to the original condition
of the buddhas. There will be left of the drug only its chemical effects,
and the reactions it provokes on your conciousness will disappear after
a while. If hallucinogenic drugs open the conciousness to the relativity
of what we believe to be reality, and can this way open to us an important
though dangerous door, they cannot lead us to the spring of all things if
we don't have the experience of zazen. There is no other way to discover
this essential consciousness than to take with one's body the posture
of the buddhas.

* Retour: Kosen online

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