~ The Psychedelic Experience ~
A manual based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead
By Timothy Leary, Ph.D., Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., & Richard Alpert, Ph.D.
The authors were engaged in a program of experiments with LSD and other psychedelic drugs at Harvard
University, until sensational national publicity, unfairly concentrating on student interest in the drugs, led to
the suspension of the experiments. Since then, the authors have continued their work without academic
This version of THE TIBETAN BOOK OF THE DEAD is dedicated, to
July 26, 1894 - November 22, 1963 with profound admiration and gratitude.
“If you started in the wrong way,” I said in answer to the investigator’s questions, “everything that
happened would be a proof of the conspiracy against you. It would all be self-validating. You couldn’t draw
a breath without knowing it was part of the plot.”
“So you think you know where madness lies?”
My answer was a convinced and heartfelt, “Yes.”
“And you couldn’t control it?”
“No I couldn’t control it. If one began with fear and hate as the major premise, one would have to go on the
“Would you be able,” my wife asked, “ to fix your attention on what The Tibetan Book of the Dead calls the
I was doubtful.
“Would it keep the evil away, if you could hold it? Or would you not be able to hold it?”
I considered the question for some time. “Perhaps,” I answered at last, “perhaps I could - but only if there
were somebody there to tell me about the Clear Light. One couldn’t do it by oneself. That’s the point, I
suppose, of the Tibetan ritual - somebody sitting there all the time and telling you what’s what.”
(DOORS OF PERCEPTION, 57-58)
A psychedelic experience is a journey to new realms of consciousness. The scope and content of the
experience is limitless, but its characteristic features are the transcendence of verbal concepts, of s