This post was submitted to reddit and I thought it might be interesting to re-post it here. I will now copy and paste the body of text the original poster submitted:

"It seems like so many people who use psychedelics are drawn to the Eastern way of thought. I could probably count on one hand the amount of people in the world who took LSD and became a supporter of Hobbes' argument for the sovereign or any other western way of thought (save, perhaps, existentialism). Conversely, almost any forum for psychedelic drug users will have lots of discussions of meditation, buddhism, taoism, and so forth, especially when discussing how the drugs have changed the individual using them.

What is it about psychedelics and eastern thought that causes this? Why is this correlation exist?"

re: http://www.reddit.com/r/Buddhism/comments/2aqzgw/why_do_users_of_psychedelic_drugs_tend_to/

So why is this?

  • 2
    Is there any data (other than a reddit post) that the assumptions implied by your question are even true? There are (at least) two assumptions: first, that the users of such drugs tend to gravitate to any particular set of philosophies; second, that the extent to which they do, the philosophies tend to be Buddhist/Eastern. Sounds like the kind of thing very vulnerable to reporting bias.
    – tkp
    Commented Jul 15, 2014 at 23:05
  • There is data. I'm sure that if you do some research into psychedelic pop-culture you will find references to buddhism all over. The fact that they gravitate toward philosophy is pretty clear to me. Look up guys like Alan Watts, Terrence McKenna, Graham Hancock, and Joe Rogan (I'm sure there are more people out there). Or just take a look at the sites this people frequent on the internet.
    – DLV
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 1:35
  • 1
    Hi David. While this is an interesting question, it may not be a good fit for Buddhism SE which is geared toward questions which have an answer. Discussion, speculation, and opinions don't work well in this format. (If there are specific scientific studies that can be sited; than I stand corrected.)
    – Robin111
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 9:44
  • It's your question. If you want to ensure a reader doesn't suspect non sequiturs, I think you're the one who needs to produce the research and data. I don't deny that there exist some people who used such drugs and who connected with Buddhism in some way. The fact that Tim Leary wrote a book influenced by the so-called "Tibetan Book of the Dead" is a datum. But there would have to be a lot more than that to make your question robust. You could of course fix it by adding the word "some" before "users", and maybe referencing Leary's "The Psychedelic Experience" in your question.
    – tkp
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 13:13
  • @David While I think this is an interesting discussion question, as it is written it isn't a great fit for a SE, where questions have answers. If you can narrow it down through edits it can be easily reopened.
    – Hrafn
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 14:15

2 Answers 2


Also, interestingly, in Ram Dass's book, "Be Here Now!", which I just recently read (though it came out in the late 70's, I think), prior to visiting India, and finding his guru, Neem Karoli Baba, he and Timothy Leary did a LOT of LSD, and drugs. His personal finding was that the drugs were awesome in giving him a different view of mind, etc., but he always had to "come down". He turned to Hinduism, (and Buddhism, often) for a way to never have to "come down". The rest is history, so to speak. Just my 2 cents. Take care.


Good question. From what I've read, I've heard many people say their ego had dissolved when taking psychedelics and found a great peace in this. This probably causes them to re-evaluate the nature of their existence and be open to Buddhism as it's a major part of the Buddhist teaching.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .