This paper explores integrating Tibetan Buddhist contemplative tradition with psychedelic-assisted therapy (PAT), highlighting the absence of contemplative traditions in current psychedelic therapy discourse. By comparing phenomenological similarities between Tibetan Buddhist meditation and psychedelic experiences, the paper suggests that incorporating the Tibetan framework of view, meditation, and action may enhance the efficacy of PAT.
“Whether occasioned through careful, consistent meditative practice or through quicker means like the ritual ingestion of psilocybin or ayahuasca, global contemplative practices have established effective systems of implementing, directing, and integrating the very kinds of non-ordinary experiences central to psychedelic use. However, contemplative traditions are largely absent from the present discourse on psychedelic therapy. This paper addresses this gap and offers a novel analysis of psychedelic-assisted therapy through the lens of the Tibetan Buddhist contemplative tradition. It first establishes a baseline for comparing the non-ordinary experience occasioned by Tibetan Buddhist meditation and the psychedelic experience by referencing the phenomenological literature of both. It then articulates the Tibetan contemplative framework of view, meditation, action (Tib. lta sgom spyod gsum) as the way Tibetan Buddhism directs its non-ordinary meditative experience towards its desired ends and suggests how this framework may be applied to psychedelic-assisted therapy. Finally, this paper uses this Tibetan Buddhist lens of analysis to compare and assess two protocols for psychedelic-assisted therapy and to make recommendations for future clinical protocols. Given the phenomenological similarity of Tibetan Buddhist meditative experience and the psychedelic experience, this article suggests that a more intensive preparatory session where maladaptive conceptual narratives are worked through and beneficial ones are introduced, repeated dosing sessions, and a more directed psychedelic experience may increase the efficacy of psychedelic-assisted therapy. It thus argues that the insights of the Tibetan framework of view, meditation, action can improve future protocols and allow for psychedelic-assisted therapy to be of even greater benefit.”
Author: Colin H. Simonds