I'm reading a Wikipedia article on Vajrayana Buddhism and it says: "In Tantric Buddhism, which originated in the Tibeto-Himalayan region, cannabis serves as an important part of a traditional ritual..."

It cites a journal that I don't have access to, so I can't look too much deeper into the source.

What's the historical background of this claim? Are there serious documents or Buddhist texts showing the use of cannabis or other drugs?


3 Answers 3


Many cults may call themselves "Buddhist" but no genuine school of Buddhism can engage in drug use.

The Dalai Lama said. "These kinds of substances are generally considered poison, very bad".



There's a copy of the referenced article here: The Religious and Medicinal Uses of Cannabis in China, India and Tibet by MIA TOUW.

The relevant quote from the article (which was copied into Wikipedia) is,

In Tantric Buddhism, which flowered in the TibetoHimalayan region, cannabis is an important part of the meditative ritual which may or may not include sexual intercourse. It is taken to facilitate the meditation and heighten awareness of all aspects of the ceremony. The large dose, taken orally, is timed so as to ensure increasingly heightened awareness from the beginning of the ritual onwards, with the greatest "high"-delayed when taken orally by about an hour and a half- coinciding with the climax of the ceremony (Bharati 1965). Secular use, both medicinal and recreational, is equally widespread but, as Sharma (1977b) notes, cannabis is taken for granted in the Himalayas and therefore is not much discussed.

The "Bharati 1965" reference is

Bharati, A. 1965. The Tantric Tradition. London: Rider & Co.

There's a Wikipedia article about the author of that reference -- Agehananda Bharati.

The book is available for bout $20 from Amazon -- The Tantric Tradition Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1970


In fact, Vajrayāna Buddhism is well known as an alchemy path(rasayāna). Therefore, various tantric buddhist texts like Ćakrasamvaratantra, Vajramahabhāiravatantra, Mahākālatantra or Tārātantra explain the use of entheogens like Cannabis indica(sana/vijaya) and/or Datura metel(dhattura). Although, all these practices with the 'intoxication of the enemy'(amitra) are particullary transmitted for those that practice the 'inner mantra path'(Guhyamantrayāna), and logically guided by a qualified Guru.

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