Buddhism and psychedelic experimentation share a common concern: the liberation of the mind. Zig Zag Zen launches the first serious inquiry into the moral, ethical, doctrinal, and transcendental considerations created by the intersection of Buddhism and psychedelics. With a foreword by renowned Buddhist scholar Stephen Batchelor and a preface by historian of religion Huston Smith, along with numerous essays and interviews, Zig Zag Zen is a provocative and thoughtful exploration of altered states of consciousness and the potential for transformation. Accompanying each essay is a work of visionary art selected by artist Alex Grey, such as a vividly graphic work by Robert Venosa, a contemporary thangka painting by Robert Beer, and an exercise in emptiness in the form of an enso by a 17th-century Zen abbot. Packed with enlightening entries and art that lie outside the scope of mainstream anthologies, Zig Zag Zen offers eye-opening insights into alternate methods of inner exploration.
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The use of psychedelic drugs is that dark little secret behind the popular origins of Eastern spirituality in America, but if they really open the mind in the same ways meditative experiences do, why shouldn't they be legitimated and brought out into the open? In Allan Hunt Badiner and Alex Grey's Zig Zag Zen authors, artists, priests, and scientists are brought together to discuss this question. Opinions fall on all sides. Ram Dass, for instance, discusses the benefits as well as the limitations. Rick Strassman outlines his work in the first federally funded psychedelic study in two-and-a-half decades. Rick Fields sets the historical scene. China Galland offers a wrenching personal experience. Robert Jesse introduces the varieties of entheogens, drugs that engender mystical states. Lama Surya Das tells of his early drug years. And a roundtable discussion with Ram Dass, Robert Aitken, Richard Baker, and Joan Halifax caps it all.
Interspersed throughout are stunning full-page, full-color images of spiritual art by the likes of Robert Beer, Bernard Maisner, and, of course, Alex Gray. A fascinating look at a complex topic, Zig Zag Zen is worth appreciating and pondering. --Brian BruyaAbout the Author:
Huston Smith is an internationally recognized philosopher of religion, whose book The World s Religions has been a classic for nearly 50 years. He is also the author of the recent book Cleansing the Doors of Perception .
Stephen Batchelor is a an acclaimed Buddhist scholar and teacher, and the author of numerous books, including Buddhism without Beliefs and Alone with Others .
Allan Hunt Badiner is a student of Buddhism and a contributing editor at Tricycle: The Buddhist Review . He lives in Big Sur, California.
Alex Grey s paintings have been exhibited throughout the world and are collected in the book Sacred Mirrors: The Visionary Art of Alex Grey .
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