Newest Medicine Buddha Thangka

Medicine Thangka of Medicine Buddha


RobE said...

I enjoy this image (Medicine Buddha Thangka) very much. I have been working on awakening the Medicine Buddha qualities within me (along with Nembutsu and Shambhala practice) over the last two years while creating art works and completing a master of fine arts degree. I am curious as to the use of amanita muscaria mushroom in the image and practice. I understand that this mushroom has been used by shamans of various cultures to induce a heightened state of consciousness, but how sustainable is this state?

Timothy Leary and his contemporaries suggest using psychedelics as a means of connecting with our higher selves. Alex Grey also mentions using substances to aid him in developing some of his art. Just curious about the use in your work, and in Buddhist practice in general.

Anonymous said...

RobE - As to heightened states of consciousness induced by medicine plants, it seems in our current culture / social environment that such states are often more debilitory (esp. if extended for long periods of time), unlike the social fabric of the Huchoil Indians or of various Amazon cultures where a ritualized environment exists to encompass and heighten the positive, healing & visionary effects of the medicine practices. An environment in which the community respects and understands the various "reactions" (trances, vocalizations and other externalizations) induced by such medicines.

That said, from personal experience, I have a hard time connecting deep meditative reality with medicine reality. These are two different, but perhaps complimentary, modes of consciousness and physiology. Trying to maintain a meditative state while partaking of plant medicines is difficult, if not impossible. My bardo practices are obviously not advanced enough to make that work during for very long... the physiological impacts of the medicine win out every time.

That said, I find the induced visioning of the medicine plants useful and important as a means to "clear out" mental cobwebs and to help re-prime inner visionary circuits (think eidetic phosphenes) for meditation visualization and journey work.

From n historical perspective, I have read that early Tibetan Buddhist practitioners inherited much of the indigenous medicine practices of Bon. But of course, with the spread and formalization of lineage hierarchies, the use of said plant materials was overtly diminished or deprecated. However, there are still possible signs of use in tantric divinatory rites, for example.

-mg- said...

I particularly enjoy Terence McKenna's take on the importance of Plant Medicines and how their "speaking" to our ancestors helped the emergence of human consciousness and spirituality.

For a nice (and extensive) collection of his talks, go to Lorenzo's Psychedelic Salon podcast (available on iTunes) or see the link in this blog's right sidebar under Other Sites of Interest.