Secret Drugs of Buddhism

Psychedelic Sacraments and the Origins of the Vajrayãna

Second Edition
Forthcoming Fall 2019

6 x 9 inches, 400 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.

Author Bio

Michael Crowley was born Feb. 26th, 1948 in Cardiff, Wales. He began studying Buddhism with a Tibetan lama in 1966, becoming an upasaka of the Kagyud lineage in 1970. In order to augment his Buddhist studies, he 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 Times, Time and Mind: The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness, and Culture, Psychedelic American, and Psychedelic Press UK. In January 2016, Mike receved the R. Gordon Wasson Award for outstanding contributions to the field of entheobotany. He currently serves on the advisory board of The Psychedelic Sangha, a group of psychedelically-inclined Buddhists, based in New York and he teaches at the Dharma Collective in San Francisco.

Forthcoming October 2019

Pre-orders begin Spring 2019

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