There was a substrand of query in Secular Buddhism on Sugato’s blog so I sent this reply.
Here is a few links to DMT but I wondered if it has anything to do with secular buddhism? Is altered states with drugs a method it proposes? or was it a pattern or a part of their lifestyle?
It is highly dubious that this would be useful to Buddhists at all; and might only interest those who do spend the time learning with a guru or as a part of their traditions’ practice and need to visualize devas and buddhas for their practice-not meaning that they want to pursue it but rather the chemical studies indicate that this is a physical effected type of perception so that means they might be inducing the same state after some time and affecting their body chemistry; the altered states in this way require no guru, no skills, and no need to be a Buddhist it is just a drug that is smoked, injected, and eaten. Within 45 secs this one goes right to the brain…shocking isn’t it?
I do not approve of this type of artificial means to altered states and it is not a part of Buddhist practices, growing up in the 60s I saw my fair share of adults and teens (not my parents who were ok with their buds on the weekends) tripping and their minds were then and are even now when their clean long after as they age, addicted. Their habits, their life focus is spent trying to fight that memory and experience of addiction. It’s hard for them and their families.
I’ve seen adults coming in loaded by that I mean high and/or drunk to join a service in a temple, join meditation classes having heard to their talk and expressed anticipation for the expected ‘trip’ (hey some don’t hide that fact and tell anyone or in one case one pulled out his loaded med box and grabbed handfuls in glee, giggling…his family was called and they put him in the hospital again…he was an adult).
DMT a slew of studies happened on this drug that is now a schedule 1 class drug in the USA. Derived from a plant in South America, there have been studies done on near death experiences and drug induced altered states. See this wiki article for along chemical analysis and pharmacology and the latter half has the information about the research efforts and the various studies of it.
A review in the American Journal of Psychiatry:
DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor’s Revolutionary Research Into the Biology
of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences
By Rick Strassman, M.D. Rochester, Vt., Park Street Press, 2001, 358 pp.,