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The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 2 Oct 2008

3.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (2 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141189630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141189635
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Timothy Leary was one of the most famous countercultural icons of the 1960s. Labelled as the 'Most Dangerous Man in America', Leary had many run-ins with the law and served several prison sentences. He dies in 1996; the following year seven grams of his ashes were launched into space aboard a Pegasus rocket.

Ralph Metzner is a professor of psychology at the California Institute for Integral Studies and president of the Green earth Foundation.

RICHARD ALPERT is a former professor who conducted controversial LSD experiments with Leary at Harvard. He is considered one of the most important spiritual teachers of the 20th century.


Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As an attempt to put the negative review in perspective, I thought I'd give my view of this book. This book isn't speculative, it's not entertainment, it's nothing but a manual to allow a person to assist themselves or be assisted by another while undergoing massive neurological change - not just through the use of chemicals, but also through meditative experience, yoga, or even death. It's also a dry read.

So, like the Haynes manual for an '85 Dodge Diplomat, this book will be of little use to someone not working with the thing being discussed. It's good for what it is, but isn't perfect. But don't buy the manual if you don't want to look under the hood.
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This book is a heavy read if you have no experience of the subject, if you have it certainly will open your mind and explain lots of things, fantastic.
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The awakened one, you see, is not a sleeper, like you and me, he's not a teacher; let alone a preacher; neither a prophet nor looking to profit. He isn't a snake, or an obvious fake; he is awake!

One day, Timothy Leary, realised through judicious use of the Brama O Mamma Matrix, that in every human being there slumber faculties in which he or she can attain the higher yoga awareness; the realisation that God resides not in the clouds; but behind your eyelids. This sounded good to Tim and, dare I say it, it should sound good to you too! Why, didn't you know that the God behind your eyelids makes you yourself God almighty? Yes, you! And, all you need to do is to switch those faculties on, and off you go!

Erwin Schrodinger, the father of quantum physics, believed, no, he knew this; and this is why he would finish his lectures by declaring to the local Church congregation, "Hence I am God Almighty", and he ended up winning the Nobel prize (though not for thinking that he was God, I am happy to say). We cannot all be Professor Schrödinger, that is, we cannot all remember who we are. So rather than being a fast track to enlightenment, the Brahma O Mamma Matrix is really a fast track to remembrance; which is the same thing!

What is it that needs remembering? How about the fact that this life you are living now is not merely an isolated piece of the universe, but in a certain sense your awareness is the whole of the ocean of the universe poured into your tiny little skull! It is only that, the way an ant can never know the forest but only the leaf, this whole cannot be surveyed in a single glance that you believe yourself to be an isolated blip on the canvas.
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IMHO Leary is given too much kudos by the psychedelia community. It is after all, in the largest part, due to him that Psychedelics are illegal and Psychedelic research outlawed for roughly 40 years (thank you Dr. Rick Strassman for resolving that issue). Fancy trying to convince an entire generation to 'drop-out' while using a substance that makes you massively vulnerable to suggestion. No government or society for that matter could sit around and allow that to happen. I digress.

This book forms an interesting concept but that is all. At the time of reading this is had extensive experience with LSD, Psilocybe semilanceata and one experience with Psilocybe cubensis. The experiences described herein only very tenuously match my experiences. In face the only part I fully recognised was the part where he spoke about sexual arousal. It is indeed recognisable that for a short period you can expect to feel this way. Other than that I found the book to be too prescriptive. It makes claims that you do feel this and do experience that which I found to be false. Also I found that my subsequent psychedelic experiences were hampered by what I read. I found myself searching for an experience that matched the book and I am convinced it damaged the quality of the experience. It took some time for me to forget the contents of the book and be able to relax enough to allow future psychedelic experiences to unfold naturally.

I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone wanting to understand the psychedelic experience if they have never tried it first hand. I would also warn those that are experienced that it might impact the quality of future experiences for a while; for reasons outlined above.
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It was worth a read, and Leary was a cool guy who knew how to enjoy himself. He was most certainly a capitalist of the moment, to put it mildly, that's for sure. I can say, to summaries the whole book, if you're going to trip or take an entheogen, just relax and go with the flow, never let your ego run away with the show. Taking any mind-altering substance, if you do decide to go down this path, it's always best to take great care and do some research before-hand. I wish I had read this book as a youngster, for obvious reasons.
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Timothy Leary was a hobo-professor with zero power and money. Learn from this book that spiritual healing isn't handled by ordering just stuff x from Germany and killing it in a chamber in the USA. Not worth reading. Saying "Welcome to the new world!" after someone ingested what Ralph Metzner is advertising in this book is as good of a thing to do as to read the guide in the end of the book.
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