Kenneth R. Lingam, DVM, Arhat: Mastering the Core Teachings of Pharmacological Meditation

masteringAre you familiar with the state of nirodha-samapati, or saññā-vedayita-nirodha? An exalted stage of contemplation that is even beyond the truly awesome mindfuck that’s called ”neither-perception-nor-non-perception”. When you get there, everything is said to be like totally wiped out. There is really nothing whatsoever going on inside your skull. Totally blank, zero activity.

In other words, nirodha-samapati is as close to actual death as you can possibly get in this lifetime. The great meditation masters tell us this is really, really awesome. They say that a state of nirodha-samapati can last for several days, during which the meditator is lika a super-spiritualized vegetable.

But the really cool thing with nirodha, is that when the yogi comes out of it, she or he is super-enlightened. And after this point there is really nothing much left to do for the arhat than to die and enter Nirvana or, in our time and age, open a Skype account and start an online enlightenment service.

Understandably,  nirodha has been sort of like the Holy Grail for hardcore meditators and Buddhist geeks for centuries. Thousands and thousands of people have spent millions of hours on their cushions trying to attain this noble stage, but very, very few actually make it there. Despite proof that accomplished meditators actually can get close to a state of more or less permanent brain death, there are also some scholarly types arguing that there is no such thing as nirodha-samapati at all. Generally speaking, the spiritual jury has been out on this issue for a very long time.

Until now.

In Januari 2003, in a state of exhaustion and suffering from a bad case of Dark Night of the Soul, veterinarian and long-time yogi Kenneth F Lingam mistakenly ingested 500 mg Dihydroetorphine® while attempting to sedate a rabid elephant at the San Diego Zoo. The effects were truly remarkable, and have been describes as a fourth turning of the Dharma wheel.

Within less than 30 seconds, Lingam entered a state of profound nirodha-samapati that would last for eight  years, a feat never recorded in the canonical or modern literature. When he regained something simliar to normal, waking consciousness, Lingam knew, with the absolute certainty and lack of doubt that comes with arhatship, that he had reached full Enlightenment. Motivated by his strong bodhicitta, he immediately set out to reform the Theravada school and teach others this new and revolutionary approach to meditation and upward spiritual mobility.

Following this pharmacological path, uniquely suited for contemporary yogis, there is certainly no need to learn about all the arcane states and stages outlined in traditional Dharma books. Meditating with  Dihydroetorphine®, there are really only two mindstates: Your normal, waking state and the complete blankness of annihilation encountered (or non-encountered) in nirodha. As an extra bonus, the yogi will later wake up to the glorious non-state of Buddhahood.

In 2011 Lingam arranged a  retreat at Burning Man, which attracted 200 psychonauts (out of which 150 or so are expected to be confirmed as fully awakened within the next few years). Showing a remarkable missionary as well as entrepeneurial spirit, Kenneth soon went on to launch the popular Lingam’s Underground Dharma website and forum, where he has prepared thousands of aspiring arhants for entering the way for the past couple of years.

Hailed by many as the ”fourth turning of the wheel”, this revolutionary approach to contemplation has aroused some controversy within Buddhist circles, and some authorities consider it outright heretic. An older generation of Buddhist teachers argue  that using a powerful sedative to reach nirodha is not only ridiculous, but also potentially dangerous. Only time-tested psychoactive drugs, like LSD, should be used for such purposes, they claim.

Even so, Kenneth Lingam insists that nirodha-samapati is an attainable goal for anyone following the detailed instructions found in his new book, Mastering the Core Teachings of Pharmacological Meditation. An Unusually Hardcore Book on Chemically Enhanced Contemplation.

In this groundbreaking work of remarkable clarity and directness, Lingam sets out to disabuse the aspiring yogi of fanciful notions of the spiritual life, and shows how one can use meditation simply to get to nirodha as soon as possible, without wallowing in tedious self-examination. Most importantly, he presents detailed instructions for how to get hold of high-quality  Dihydroetorphine®, as well as providing sound, down-to-earth advice on how to choose an appropriate insurance plan and find a “meditator-friendly” hospital.

It is easy to feel overawed, at first, by Lingam’s assurance and ease in the phenomenological description of eight years spent in a mindstate beyond neither-perception-nor-non-perception, but his great compassion and missionary, as well as entrepeneurial,  zeal illuminates every page of this remarkable book.

ingramBy combining the latest innovations with ancient methods, this is pragmatic enlightenment at its best!
Daniel M. Ingram, M.D, Buddhist Geek, Arhat.
Author of Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, An Unusually Hardcore Dharma Book



folkThis is a kind book, a wise and gracious invitation to the awakened heart. People are getting eviscerated here.
Kenneth Folk, Meditation teacher, interested in social justice, human rights, and understanding resource depletion.




Mastering the Core Teachings of Pharmacological Meditation. An Unusually Hardcore Book on Chemically Enhanced Contemplation
by Kenneth R. Lingam, M.D., Arhat
495 pages
Cloth. $59.95

Medical and legal disclaimer

All information published byThe International Tutteji Foundation and Integral Publishing on its website is for informational and educational purposes only. Readers are encouraged to confirm the information contained herein with other sources. Prospective arhats should review the information carefully with their professional health care provider. The information is indeed intended to replace contemplative advice offered by other spiritual teachers, but The International Tutteji Foundation, Integral Publishing, and the owners of this website will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary, or other damages arising from the use or misuse of any material or information published by them.

Update on “hardcore dharma” (and/or MDMA) as the opiate of the x-buddhist masses
If that catchy headline caught your attention, you probably want to take a look at this thread over at the Dharma Overground forum. Then please come back and start a discussion about the similarities between the currently fashionable, self-absorbed obsession with strange mindstates labeled “Buddhist geekery”, and plain dopehead narcissism.


22 thoughts on “Kenneth R. Lingam, DVM, Arhat: Mastering the Core Teachings of Pharmacological Meditation

  1. It’d be nice to be able to formulate a response to this, but I’m not clear on what your actual understanding of your critique is… I could respond to the over-the-top parts, but I don’t know what parts of your story you believe. Could you boil down your argument a bit for me? Or is that too x-buddhisty of me? 🙂

    And it’d be nice to know who I’m speaking with, though it might be asking too much for you to make yourself naked in public.

    -Vince Horn

  2. What I’m most interested in is the style of your argument, and the way that you’re thinking about this stuff. Do you consider it a polite thing to put the impetus on me to respond as I see fit? I see it as a kind of aggressive power move, where you’re trying to control the rules of the engagement.

    • I don’t understand why you think it’s impolite or an ”aggressive power move” to give you the freedom to respond anyway you like. Anyway, thanks for your random semi-thoughts. They’re interesting, and I hope they will provoke more responses than my own immediate thoughts below.

  3. w/r/t to your point about “dopehead narcissim” vs. “Buddhist geekery” I think this is a fine damn line, and we all know it. Who isn’t a dopehead narcissist sometimes… or a lot of the time… or for certain periods of time? But there’s a genuine passion, curiosity, and investigatory/deconstructive quality to geekery that I’ve found altogether fun and helpful.

    So, what’s wrong with exploring altered states? I think it becomes problematic is when we’re doing it at the expensive of knowing that there’s a world outside of my experience. I’ve found it’s sometimes possible to do both, but even that isn’t a static realization or a place to plant one’s flag of certitude. Things keep changing and so does our degree of “self” absorption–then there’s the question of how we understand what “self” is also, and how that also changes the nature of the self absorption. And then there are those phases or moments or whatever when chasing altered states is no longer interesting and/or fun (for various reasons) and the whole game collapses.

    There you have it, some semi-random thoughts. Any thoughts?

    • As you are the most visible ”Buddhist geek” out there, I find it really interesting that you admit it’s hard to distinguish the products you sell from dopehead narcissism. Should this be interpreted as a beginning insight into what’s wrong with this kind of geekiness, or are you merely cynical here, pushing the opiate of x-buddhism?

      Of course, having ”the whole game collapse” is the Holy Grail of x-buddhism, but does that really happen? And isn’t this promised collapse simply an excuse to indulge in self-absorbed mindfucks and online circlejerks? (Both offer short-time satisfaction, are highly addictive, and obviously possible to sell. And, as a coup de grâce, perfectly legal.)

      • I don’t like to link to texts I haven’t read properly, but two articles just posted on other blogs seem relevant for this discussion:

        Tom Pepper reviews Mark Epstein’s The Trauma of Everyday Life here.
        Patrick on critical thinking as spiritual practice here.

  4. “As you are the most visible ‘Buddhist geek’ out there, I find it really interesting that you admit it’s hard to distinguish the products you sell from dopehead narcissism. Should this be interpreted as a beginning insight into what’s wrong with this kind of geekiness, or are you merely cynical here, pushing the opiate of x-buddhism?”

    I didn’t say it was hard to distinguish–it’s easy to distinguish dopehead narcissism when you can distinguish dopehead narcissism. The particular variety that we seem to be speaking about here–a kind of over-fascination w/ one’s personal experience–is something that appears to be a normal part of what goes on for many people. It’s not cynical to recognize it, unless you think it shouldn’t be there to begin with (which from my conversations w/ Glenn seem to be the general stance that this camp takes). As David Chapman pointed out to Glenn, over on SNB (and I’m paraphrasing): “People are how they are, not how we think they ought to be.” That’s my starting position with most people, geeks and otherwise, so far from being cynical I see it as acknowledging what’s happening and working from there. My methods for pointing it out are obviously different than yours, but from what I’ve gathered anyone who isn’t making a speculative non-buddhist, radical tool theory critique (or whatever) clearly is a cynical, opiate pushing snake oil salesman who is pushing collective delusion. 😉

    And yes, it is an insight into what’s wrong with a certain kind of geekiness–an ‘immature geekiness’, for lack of a better term. Then there’s mature geekiness, which isn’t so self-involved, but rather is curious, passionate, and creative. I meet mature, awesome people all the time. People that are grappling with their limitations, who have seen through all sorts of ridiculous and unhelpful binaries about “practice” and their reasons for doing it. So far from being cynical, I’m constantly surprised and impressed by people, the wisdom they’ve painstakingly unearthed, and the way that plays that out in their actual lives (not just in poo-throwing online debates). I’m sorry you don’t know these people, but from what I’ve seen they’re working and playing in most every field of human endeavor, they have a variety of philosophical and cultural dispositions, and they’re good to know, and even better to become.

    “Of course, having ‘the whole game collapse’ is the Holy Grail of x-buddhism, but does that really happen? And isn’t this promised collapse simply an excuse to indulge in self-absorbed mindfucks and online circlejerks? (Both offer short-time satisfaction, are highly addictive, and obviously possible to sell. And, as a coup de grâce, perfectly legal.)”

    I don’t know what you mean by the “whole gaming collapsing” here, but what I’m talking about is those moments of recognizing that the big problems I’m obsessing over (which are usually binary in nature) just stop making sense. I’ve seen this happen momentarily (for a particular problem) or in a more ongoing way. I’ve also observed (and felt) a period of disillusionment and re-orientation that occurs on the heals of these kind of binary problems collapsing. This is difficult and having other people to talk to, who have been through similar types of things, is super helpful. So does it happen… yes, all the time. Even online.

    I’m afraid I’ll have to bow out of the conversation at this point (I’ve got lots to do and little time left for this particular discussion). If Glenn or any of other SNBs would like to discuss similar topics in a more transparent, persona-less and real-time way, please hit me up privately. I think this is the 3rd time I’ve stepped into a text-based debate with you guys, and as of yet no one has taken me up on my offer to speak in a different setting. Personally, I’d love to see that change. 🙂

    Keep on jammin’,


    • Hi Vince,

      Of course people are who (or how) they are, and I agree that they (we) are often quite self-absorbed, and that this should be acknowledged. I would even suggest that meditation practice often seem to make this quite clear in case we weren’t aware of it before.

      But what happens after this ”insight”?

      What I’m questioning here is how effective these practices, purporting to make us less self-absorbed, really are. To my mind (and I was part of the x-buddhist scene for some 25 years), they seem to do the exact opposite: making people more fascinated by their own ”inner” life, more hypochondriacal, without realizing how their misery (and possible liberation) is related to the world around them. The particular kind of geekiness I made fun of in this blogpost is only one example.

      I should probably mention (again) that I have no connection with the SNB triumvirate (which seems to have dissolved). I’ve found much of their critique useful, but, as you can tell, my method (if you can call it that) tend to be more lulzy and less analytical. Still, I prefer to interact in a ”text-based” (or visual) way, and I’m also quite fond of my several personae. They tend to be much wittier than I am.

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by.

      • […] and as of yet no one [of the SNB triumvirate] has taken me up on my offer to speak in a different setting. Personally, I’d love to see that change.”

        And I can tell you why this is so. There is a lot of primary text on the SNB-site and a lot of secondary discussion about these texts and many many other topics. A few topics are central though: Decision, Ideology, the subject, what is meditation anyway, what is defining Buddhism in the West?… And there is – IMO – one central assumption: We are not aware (enough) about what make us think as we think!

        Now there is even a book out that we (Pepper, Wallis, Steingass) wrote: Cruel Theory | Sublime Practice. Everybody can familiarize with what Speculative Non-Buddhism is about. But: Neither you Vince, nor Kenneth for that, took it upon you to go into this material. At least I never saw anything in this regard. But still we are asked in such discussions to discuss “topics in a more transparent way”. It is there. Read!

        No doubt, discussions at SNB have been very ad hominem oftentimes. But if you are really interested in transparent discussion anyway then take your time, read the material, think about it, write an article somewhere, show us that you are really interested, put forward a list of related questions and ask for an interview for your podcast series.

  5. I’ve been mentioned so I’ll jump in. With one leg anyway. The other one has been reduced to traumatized rigidity by the experience of staring into my toast this morning and discovering an image of Bodhidharma glaring back at me . By the way Tom you might be interested in this . Creepier still.

    Hi Vincent, though you are gone in esoteric terms you are always and already present so I will address you directly:

    Although both our minds are naturally empty and although in absolute terms this makes no sense at all , my contention is that your mind is, at this time, more empty than normal. Let me try to elaborate.

    Although conceptually ‘more empty than normal’ is what philosophers are fond of calling an oxymoron and although in Middle way terms empty can have no qualities whatsoever, still, I cannot shake the intuition that at some level you suffer from a lack.

    We could call this a hole in your Darmic Armour through which (I know I’ve used this metaphor before but I figure that the few people who have read my post would stoop to reading here) the arrow of non-Buddhism has been able to find its mark. Why do I say this? Don’t know really …just a feminine intuition of mine (strange taking into account my hairy legs and that unused thing swinging…)

    Anyway I seem to intuit a compulsion on your part to niggle at the wound. My humble advise is to continue in the hope that you will thou rally infect it and develop a philosophical case of septicaemia necessitating the removal of the whole Darmic armor. Afterwards you will experience and a state of nakedness that at first seems strange but that will soon begin to feel like the relief of fresh air on your abused skin.

    Anyway, and sincerely, have a good day.

  6. Finally I heard one of Vincent Horn’s podcasts at buddhistgeeks.

    I was interested what Rushkoff has to say but I also wanted to know how Horn is conducting an interveiw.

    Rushkoff is interesting in some things he has to say. Especially when it comes to some kind of embryonic critique of capitalism. He is spot on when he tackles the fact that we function in patterns we are subject to but which we are not really controlling.

    The problem is Horn. If he plans his podcasts as some kind of nice small talk or talkshow right before one falls asleep, then, well, it’s ok. If he wants to do interview to really get something out of people than he is a failure.

    As one might already suspect from a non-buddhist point of view, Horn doesn’t want to go into the problematic stuff. Listen to the part of conversation beginning at about the 24th minute. Listen what Rushkoff has to say and how Hirn reacts. That’s telling.

    I am used to hear interviews of German journalists grilling German politicians early in the morning. That is, in 10 minutes you really get information. This format is 45 minutes and you get next to nothing.

    I guess it’s the podcast equivalent of DVD’s or CD’s x-buddhists use to get sprinkled with holy crap.

    But people like Rushkoff are interesting. I guess these are the people we should address more. Rushkoff is already a sceptic, he is at the brink. One step further and he is over the top in free fall. Get him the tool of decimation and he could really be up to something.

  7. Pingback: How to eXplode x-Buddhism; part 1 | The Non-Buddhist

  8. Pingback: Embrace, Deflect, Evade: An X-Buddhist Strategy Against Criticism « Speculative Non-Buddhism

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