Buddhism and Psychedelics. [Review of the Book Zig Zag, Zen, by A. Badiner]

Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics (hereafter abbreviated as ZZZ ) is an attractive book, coffee table in design though not in size. The cover shows what at first appears to be a seated Buddha but is actually Padmasambhava from a 1992 painting by Gana Lama (73). Swirling colors radiate from the nose and the solar plexus, giving a psychedelic effect. Within are reproductions of attractive works by established modernists such as Odilon Redon and Mark Rothko, as well as recent ones by an emerging Buddhist avant garde represented by Mariko Mori, Alex Grey (who is co-editor) and the virtuoso Robert Beer. Lest we still fail to appreciate that this is a work of advanced consciousness, the typography indulges in such computer age quirks as upside-down headings. ZZZ ’s publisher, Chronicle Books, specializes in lavish illustrated volumes, often on Asian subjects. Lest anyone be offended by the conspicuous consumption implied by the books lavish production, its editor, Allan Hunt Badiner, begins by assuring the trees used to produce the book that they are “wholeheartedly thanked, honored, and appreciated.”

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