This is a three-part seminar taught by professor Doc Kelley, meeting on Thursday evenings – 4/12, 4/19 & 4/26 at Berg'n Beer hall.
When Zig Zag Zen: Psychedelics and Buddhism came out in April 2001, the first Internet bubble had burst but the world had not yet fallen to pieces. The book included mind-bending artwork by artists like Alex Grey and essays by Buddhist luminaries such as Huston Smith, Jack Kornfield, Allan Badiner, Erik Davis, and John Perry Barlow and mined the tricky territory between Buddhism and psychedelics—which in America at least had long been at odds with one another.
Zig Zag Zen refuted the easy duality, that meditation was the good and true path and psychedelics a distraction. It opened up a conversation that had been simmering in the Buddhist community. Its able guides provided a vocabulary and a framework for talking about psychedelics and Buddhist practice, free of fear and judgment.
With meditation now a common boardroom practice and a full-blown psychedelic renaissance upon us, it’s time to revisit Zig Zag Zen.
Please join us for this four-part Think Olio seminar, where we will make a close reading of the essays contained in Zig Zag Zen (Synergetic Press).
We’ll discuss. We’ll meditate. And we’ll celebrate the anniversary of the publication of this seminal text with a panel discussion with ZZZ editor Allan Badiner, writer Carolyn Gregoire, and Tricycle moderator Julia Hirsch.
April 12 | Intersection
Many may denounce the coupling of Buddhism and psychedelics, but their intersection is an undeniable reality in the American Buddhist experience. In his preface to Zig Zag Zen, the religious scholar Huston Smith puts it this way, “. . . Entheogens [or psychedelics] have entered Buddhism to stay; there can be no turning back from the point that has been reached.”
In this class, we look at essays from Part One of Zig Zag Zen: “Intersection.” We consider the historical, cultural, and sociological elements that have led to the convergence of Buddhism and psychedelics in America. We probe the ideas of contributors such as Jack Kornfield, Peter Matthiessen, Rick Fields, Robert Jesse, and more.
April 19 | Compatibility?
Is there spiritual efficacy in the use of psychedelic substances? Can we find compatibility between Buddhism and psychedelics? Moving beyond the intersection, does integrating the two journeys have spiritual utility for the Buddhist practitioner?
In this class, we'll discuss Part Two: “Concrescence?” And dive into a close reading of essays by Dr. Rick Strassman, Erik Davis, Alex Grey, China Galland, and others.
April 26 | Lessons
What can we learn from the intersection of Buddhism and Psychedelics? How has this coupling benefited or hurt American Buddhist practitioners striving for enlightenment? What dangers or pitfalls might one face when mixing psychedelics with their religious or spiritual practice?
In our final class, we examine essays from Part Three: “Lessons.” We make a study of contributions by American Buddhists like John Perry Barlow, Lama Surya Das, Allan Badiner, and more.
A brilliant and brave investigation by Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, into the medical and scientific revolution taking place around psychedelic drugs–and the spellbinding story of his own life-changing psychedelic experiences.
Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.