Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics” as Want to Read:
Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  226 ratings  ·  21 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published April 1st 2002 by Chronicle Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Zig Zag Zen, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Zig Zag Zen

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  226 ratings  ·  21 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics
David
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
The book Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics is a compilation of articles and interviews written and conducted by several respected people in both the Buddhist and psychedelic communities. The pieces explore the crossovers between Buddhism and psychedelics and offer an honest perspective about whether psychedelic substances have a place in a sincere Buddhist practice, and vice-versa.

Following a foreword written by Stephen Batchelor, a preface written by religious studies scholar Huston Smith,
...more
Kathleen
Sep 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Many of the leading American Buddhists became seekers of enlightenment, through meditation practice, as a result of taking hallucinogens in the psychedelic heyday of the 1960s. These essays explore the link between etheogens and awakening. I found the essays fascinating and varied, presenting both the advantages and dangers of this path into perception as it relates to spirituality and truth. Quite a few of my favorite Buddhist writers used psychedelics along the way. For example, having ...more
Malcolm
Jan 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Boomers, seekers,
Can psychedelic drugs, or entheogens as they are referred to nowadays, play an important role in spiritual awareness or are they merely a ticket to unsustainable peak experiences. These are the questions addressed in this wonderful coffee table book.

Many writers in this collection of essays are children of the 60’s who have moved on to Buddhist and other meditative practices. Some now eschew medicinal roads to Satori, while others view them as important components of awakening that opened
...more
Nick Mather
There is no denying that the spread of Buddhism in the US is largely due to use of psychedelics in the 60s and 70s. Many of these psychonauts turned to Asian traditions, especially Buddhism, in order to better understand the manifestation of mind they experienced via psychedelic substances. This book examines that history, along with discussions of how Buddhists view psychedelics - only American Buddhists seem to think it is ok. The book is a collection of articles and interviews with people ...more
Fedor
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great and up to date collection of essays that really highlights the connection between both subjects. It certainly doesn't propagate drug (ab)use, but centers more around the historical and cultural background of how psychedelics - mostly LSD and peyote during the counterculture of the sixties, and later ayahuasca - fueled a renewed interest in Asian religion/philosophy (Japanese Zen, Tibetan Buddism), a revaluation of local shamanism, as it provided a vessel for 'visionary' art works (Alex ...more
Theo V
Ehh. This made me dislike buddhism even more than I already do. Contained within are excerpts of leaders within the psychedelic and zen communities, almost all of which have a moderately poor understanding of objective freedom. A frequent theme of the righteously interjected optimal "goals" that they mention for one's spiritual path is a sort of mystical oneness ego death; satori.

The whole thing reminded me of the type of people that "The Book of The Subgenius" calls 'enlightenment junkies'.
...more
Lauren
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
The range of opinion and experience in this collection of essays, interviews and art gave me a lot to think about. My own experiences prejudiced me in the direction of positivity when it comes to the particular combination of psychedelics and Buddhism, but I have to admit to not having enough experience in either. Not enough to solidify my opinion one way or another. So it was very instructive to hear from such a wide array of luminaries and adepts. It took me a long while to read this book only ...more
Bahaar
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book. A great read for anyone who’s interested in buddhism or psychedelics. The essays chosen are amazingly eloquent and well-read. As someone who sometimes has ADHD-related problems with reading non-fiction, I can safely say this book never put me off or bored me into starting another book.
Psychedelics were always interesting to me but prior to reading this book I was only mildly interested in Buddhism because of my mom, but this book put me into an entirely new headspace. I’m about to
...more
Brendan
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book. I was honestly expecting a perspective much more skewed to the pro-psychedelic side of things; the reality is quite the opposite--it often felt to me that much more material arguing caution and even abstinence was present here. With all perspectives covered, however, this is a fantastic collection of essays examining the intersection of Buddhism and psychedelic use and culture from a wide variety of angles. The supplemental artwork presented is top notch and extremely well ...more
Sara Gray
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! This collection of updated essays from a 1995 issue of Tricycle was filled with fabulous art and words from many Buddhist and psychedelic luminaries. While it falls heavily on the "psychedelics can be good for practice" side, many of the essays posit the opposite opinion in ways that are thoughtful and reasoned instead of just reactionary. It was just the fire I needed to spark up my passion for buddha/dharma/sangha again. A resource for sure.
Capó-Hernandez Family
East meets West

This is not necessarily a book for everyone. I found it to be enlightening and answered a lot of my questions and validated a lot of my experiences. I can see many people that aren’t as open to the idea of these two concepts coming together having trouble getting through most of the book, however, do not judge the book by its cover. The last few chapters, I would say, are more “grounded” and brings you back to this plane of existence.
Noah Beckage
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
An inspiring, complex, and insightful collection of writing and artwork immersed in the convergence of Buddhism, psychedelia, shamanism, and the spirituality at large. Reading this book has been equally enjoyable, knowledgeable, and meditative.
Matthew
Jun 25, 2019 rated it liked it
It covers a lot of interesting ground, but the essays become quite redundant by the time you reach the end of the book.
Crescenzo
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A great collection of knowledge on this under explored, under prioritized topic. It truly helped me understand the place psychedelics have in my growth and understanding as a whatever i am. If you're interested in the topic it is definitely one of the best resources today.

One of my fav parts:

Robert Aitken Roshi: "I don't think drugs have particularly helped anybody arrive where they are...It was just a peculiarity that at the time LSD was discovered and made widespread."
To which Ram Das
...more
Grumpus McGrouchy
Mar 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Good idea, but (in my opinion) poorly executed.
Too much Buddhist doctrine, too little mention of the onerous psychedelic ego-death and how that experience 'turned people on' to the cultures and spirituality and religions of the East to begin with. Then again, I read this book 5 years ago so I may be totally misrepresenting it. Hah ha.
Cberkowitch
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Eye opening
Jonathan
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Excellent collection of essays regarding the use of chemicals as a tool in the search for theological answers.
William Brant
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
surprisingly balanced take on buddhism and psychedelics.
Paulegu
Jan 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
“But LSD is illegal because it endangers Control. Worse, it makes authority seem
funny. . . LSD is illegal primarily because it threatens the dominant <...> culture,
the culture of Control.”
Graham
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book thought provoking highly recommended.
Bläckätare
rated it it was amazing
Nov 25, 2015
Manna
rated it it was amazing
Jan 31, 2008
Jennifer
rated it really liked it
Jul 27, 2007
Rhiemst
rated it really liked it
Aug 21, 2019
Sam
rated it really liked it
Sep 10, 2012
Theo Rabke
rated it it was amazing
Jun 26, 2016
Galo Chan
rated it it was amazing
Jun 01, 2013
Denys Krupodorov
rated it it was amazing
Jan 27, 2019
Agathe Louatte
rated it it was amazing
Jun 18, 2018
Michael Rose
rated it really liked it
Jan 04, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Secret Life of Plants: A Fascinating Account of the Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Relations Between Plants and Man
  • The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are
  • Return to the Brain of Eden: Restoring the Connection between Neurochemistry and Consciousness
  • Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body
  • Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers
  • Existentialism is a Humanism
  • How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence
  • Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice
  • Tryptamine Palace: 5-MeO-DMT and the Sonoran Desert Toad
  • The Rise and Fall of Alexandria: Birthplace of the Modern Mind
  • Revolution
  • Decomposing the Shadow: Lessons from the Psilocybin Mushroom
  • Articulations. On the Utilisation and Meanings of Psychedelics
  • Life is So Good
  • The Magic Furnace: The Search for the Origins of Atoms
  • If We Have No Peace
  • The Other Side of Eden: Hunters, Farmers, and the Shaping of the World
  • More Than Allegory: On Religious Myth, Truth and Belief
See similar books…