Oblique Devotion:

Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics

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. amazon.com