Secret Drugs of Buddhism: Psychedelic Sacraments and the Origins of the Vajrayana

Front Cover
Synergetic Press, 2019 - History - 340 pages
Secret Drugs of Buddhism is the first book to explore the historical evidence for the use of entheogenic plants within the Buddhist tradition. Drawing on scriptural sources, botany, pharmacology, and religious iconography, this book calls attention to the central role which psychedelics played in Indian religions. It traces their history from the mysterious soma potion, celebrated in the most ancient Hindu scriptures, to amrita, the sacramental drink of Vajrayana Buddhism. Although amrita used in modern Vajrayana ceremonies lacks any psychoactivity, there is copious evidence that the amrita used by the earliest Vajrayana practitioners was a potent entheogen. It is the nature of this psychedelic form of the sacrament which is the central topic of this book. In particular, Secret Drugs of Buddhism attempts to identify the specific ingredients employed in amrita's earliest formulations. To this end, the book presents evidence from many countries in which the Vajrayana movement flourished. These include Bhutan, Japan, Mongolia, and Tibet but special attention is given to India, the land of its origin.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Other editions - View all

About the author (2019)

Michael Crowley was born Feb. 26th, 1948 (100th anniversary of The Communist Manifesto) in Cardiff, Wales. He began studying Buddhism with a Tibetan lama in 1966, becoming an upasaka (ordained layman) of the Kagyud lineage on May 1st, 1970 and was ordained as a lama on January 1st, 1988. He has also received many teachings and empowerments from all four major Tibetan Buddhist lineages. In order to augment his Buddhist studies, Mike acquainted himself with Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Mandarin Chinese. Mike has lectured at the Museum of Asia and the Pacific, Warsaw, the Jagellonian University, Cracow, The California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work has been published in Fortean Studies, Time and Mind: The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness, and Culture, Psychedelic American, and Psychedelic Press UK. In January 2016, Mike received the R. Gordon Wasson Award for outstanding contributions to the field of entheobotany. He currently serves on the advisory board of The Psychedelic Sangha and teaches at the San Francisco Dharma Collective. He lives in Northern California.

Bibliographic information