Setting Out on the Great Way - Essays on Early Mahāyāna Buddhism - Paul Harrison

Setting Out on the Great Way - Essays on Early Mahāyāna Buddhism - Paul Harrison

Altered States and the Origins of the Mahāyāna

Setting Out on the Great Way - Essays on Early Mahāyāna Buddhism - Paul Harrison

Douglas Osto [+-]
Massey University
Douglas Osto is a Senior Lecturer in the Asian Studies and Philosophy programmes at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand. He is the author of Altered States: Buddhism and Psychedelic Spirituality in America (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016) and Power, Wealth and Women in Indian Mahāyāna Buddhism: The Gaṇḍavyuha-sūtra (London: Routledge, 2008).

Description

This chapter argues that literary accounts of visions in some Mahāyāna sources (often referred to as samādhis) possess characteristics that are strikingly similar to reports of actually visionary experiences that individuals have undergone while their psychologies and physiologies were profoundly altered in some way. Moreover, some of the methods used to induce actual visions also parallel methods recommended or described in some Mahāyāna sūtras. These parallels are strong enough to suggest that visionary altered states of consciousness formed an experiential basis for the emergence of new Mahāyāna sūtras, which contributed to the imaginative restructuring of Buddhist cosmology found within Indian Mahāyāna Buddhism.

Notify A Colleague

Citation

Osto, Douglas. Altered States and the Origins of the Mahāyāna. Setting Out on the Great Way - Essays on Early Mahāyāna Buddhism. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 177-205 Jun 2018. ISBN 9781781798539. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=34259. Date accessed: 14 Aug 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.34259. Jun 2018

Dublin Core Metadata