Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
Zen, Drugs and Mysticism.
Zaehner, R. C. (1972).
New York: Pantheon.
Description: First American
edition, 223 pages.
Contents: Foreword, 7
Note: Originally published
Mysticism and Makebelieve. This book is an expansion of a
series of three talks delivered on BBC3 and subsequently
printed in The Listener on 5, 12 and 19 November 1970 under
the title of ` Theology, Drugs and
Excerpt(s): This lively
and learned critique of contemporary mysticism contrasts the consciousness-expanding
claims of drug enthusiasts and assorted occultists with the spiritual
discipline and principles of real mystical experience. ... He
finds little significant religious value in contemporary `solutions'
ranging from Monod's position that science
is the only true knowledge, to Zen, LSD, Krishna consciousness,
and Pope John's call for love in the world. (jacket)
From what we have said in the last chapter it would
seem clear why the Christian establishment should disapprove of
the use of psychedelic drugs. First there is an instinctive religious
reaction that it is sacrilegious to suppose that the use of drugs
can produce the same transports as have been recorded in the history
of Christian mysticism. This reaction is instinctive, not rational.
Secondly, in circles traditionally opposed to mysticism even in
its Christian form, the habitual identification by the users of
psychedelic drugs of their `peak' experience with the experiences
recorded in Hindu and Buddhist literature in which `God' appears
not as a person but as an eternal and unconditioned state of being-what
Dr Leary calls the `timeless energy process
around you'-must appear doubly suspicious; for the implication
is that the personal God they claim to experience in faith does
not really exist because many Hindus and most Buddhists do not
experience him in this way at all but claim to experience him,
or rather `it', immediately in the innermost core of their being.
The instinctive Christian reaction to this is one of panic, for
when their `blind' faith-the usual gibe levelled at them not only
by the psychedelic extremists but also by neo-Zen Buddhists and
neo-Vedantins-is contrasted with the certainty the latter feel
about the absolute reality of the unity of the universe in an
eternal Now and an omnipresent Here, they may well feel that `seeing
through a glass darkly' as they do and not `face to face', they
may have to reconsider the very foundations of their faith. And
this was precisely the predicament of Jung's
father, a pious and conventional Protestant pastor, who had the
misfortune to have a son who from his earliest boyhood had direct
experiences of God and what he called `God's world' that were
quite beyond his comprehension. Finally, of course, he did lose
his faith, became subject to intensely depressive
moods, and died a soured and embittered man. (Chapter 4, LSD and
Zen, pages 112-113)
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This compilation by Thomas B. Roberts & Paula Jo Hruby, © 1995-2003 CSP