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Lions Roar : July 2008
75 SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2008 to Muhammad Ali dancing in his undershorts at the Hous- ton Induction Center after committing a felony by refusing to be conscripted into the army. Unfortunately, however, crazy wisdom in the West is al- most always devoid of a spiritual dimension. What influences or happenings in your life first prompted you to have a spiritual attitude? When I left home at age seventeen, I quit attending church because church had been providing me with nothing beyond an anesthetic numbing of the backside and the brain. By my mid-twenties, I’d completely rejected my Southern Baptist faith on the grounds that it was a bastion of fascist-tinged hypocrisy, based on misinterpretation of Levantine myth and watered-down compromises of the teachings of Jesus. Around that time, I began peeking into Asian systems of liberation, but it wasn’t until my early thirties that I was literally propelled into the spiritual zone by the oceanic blast of psychedelic drugs. Traditionalists won’t like hearing this, but the fact is, tens of thousands of Westerners became receptive to and enamored of Buddhist and Hindu teachings as a direct result of LSD. Over time you have changed your mind about whether or not Americans can thoroughly and successfully adopt Asian phi- losophies such as Buddhism or Taoism. What is your opinion now? There are numerous paths to enlightenment. In Asia, the paths have been worn smooth by millions of experienced feet. The Western seeker, while he or she may have ready access to guides, maps, and road signs imported from Asia, must nevertheless stumble along overgrown, unfamiliar trails pitted with potholes and patrolled by our indigenous cultural wolves. JULY 72-77.indd 75 JULY 72-77.indd 75 4/25/08 11:44:01 AM 4/25/08 11:44:01 AM