Calling All American Buddhists: Help a Scholar with His Study of Buddhism and Psychedelics by Filling Out a Short Survey!

Via Reverend Danny Fisher
on Jul 29, 2010
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This from H-Buddhism (The Buddhist Scholars Information Network):

Dear List Members:

I am writing to inform you of a research project I am conducting on American Buddhism and to offer an invitation to any American citizen or permanent resident with an interest or involvement in Buddhism to take part in an online survey.

In recent decades some attention has been given to a connection between the contemporary practice of Buddhism and the use of psychedelic substances. In a survey conducted in 1996 by the popular Buddhist magazine, Tricycle, 89% of the 1454 respondents indicated that they were engaged in Buddhist practice and 83% admitted they had taken psychedelics. 40% claimed that their interest in Buddhism was sparked by psychedelics and 24% said they were currently taking psychedelics.

In a more recent monograph (J. W. Coleman, The New Buddhism, Oxford UP, 2002: 201), 62% of Western Buddhists surveyed confessed that they had used psychedelics (this number was 80% among practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism). These numbers are significantly higher than the 8% among the general public who admit to psychedelic use according to U.S. government surveys (Coleman 2002).

From the 1996 issue of Tricycle and a more recent collection of essays published in the book Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics (2002), it is clear that there exists a subculture of American Buddhists that continue to use psychoactive substances possibly for religious reasons.

Following up on these studies, this project is an investigation into the current attitudes toward psychoactive substances among American Buddhists. Through anonymous questionnaires and confidential interviews, this project aims to better understand American Buddhist attitudes toward the use of psychoactive substances, the possible religious implications (positive or negative) of these substances, and the relationship of these substances to individuals’ self-understanding as Buddhists.

To fill out the survey questionnaire, go to:

To find out more information about the project, go to:

Thank you,

D. Osto


Dr Douglas Osto
Religious Studies and Philosophy Programmes
School of History, Philosophy and Classics
Massey University
Private Bag 11 222
Palmerston North
New Zealand
[email protected]


About Reverend Danny Fisher

Rev. Danny Fisher, M.Div., D.B.S. (Cand.), is a professor and Coordinator of the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program at University of the West in Rosemead, CA. He was ordained as a lay Buddhist minister by the Buddhist Sangha Council of Southern California in 2008. In addition, he is certified as a mindfulness meditation instructor by Naropa University in association with Shambhala International. A member of the National Association of College and University Chaplains, he serves on the advisory council for the Upaya Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program. In addition to his work for elephant journal, he is a blogger for Shambhala Sun. He has also written for Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Religion Dispatches, The Journal of Buddhist Ethics, The Journal of Religion & Film, Eastern Horizon, New York Spirit, Alternet's Wiretap Magazine, and other publications. His award-winning website is


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