Dalai Lama’s “Force for Good” Program – Psychedelics, Mysticism, and Enlightenment
With Drs. Anthony P. Bossis, Anya Loizaga-Velder, and Prof. David Komodo Kittay
Dr. Bossis will discuss findings from FDA-approved psychedelic-generated mystical experience research including findings demonstrating a single psilocybin session helping persons with cancer or end-of-life distress cultivate meaning, enhance psycho-spiritual well-being, and foster a greater acceptance of the dying process. Implications for the study of meaning-making and spirituality will be addressed.
Dr. Loizaga-Velder, Director of Research and Psychotherapy at the Institute for Intercultural Medicine Nierika in Mexico, will discuss her work as a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist in investigating the therapeutic potential of psychedelics in both indigenous and modern mental health contexts for over twenty years.
Dr. Kittay will discuss mystical and meditative states attested to in Tibetan Buddhism and the effects of set and setting in religion and other contexts, and the roles of psychedelics in religion.
And the panel will discuss what this all means for us as individuals and as a world-wide community.
Anya Loizaga-Velder, Ph.D., is a German-Mexican clinical psychologist and psychotherapist who has been collaborating with indigenous healers and investigating the therapeutic potential of the ritual use of psychedelic plants for over 20 years. She earned a Ph.D. degree in Medical Psychology from Heidelberg University in Germany with a doctoral dissertation on the topic: “The therapeutic uses of ayahuasca in addiction treatment.” She is founding member and director of research and psychotherapy of the Nierika Institute for Intercultural Medicine, a Mexican NGO dedicated to the investigation and preservation of indigenous traditions with sacred plant medicines and therapeutic applications of these medicines in the treatment of mental health challenges. Anya also works as Associate Professor and Researcher in Health Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), where she currently collaborates towards implementing a controlled clinical trial for evaluating the therapeutic efficacy of ritual ayahuasca use for addition treatment and a controlled clinical trial for psilocybin assisted psychotherapy for treatment resistant depression.
Anthony P. Bossis, Ph.D. is a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine conducting FDA-approved psychedelic research investigating the effects of psilocybin, a naturally occurring compound found in specific species of mushrooms. Subjective features of a psilocybin-generated mystical experience include unity, sacredness, transcendence, and a greater connection to deeply felt positive emotions including that of love. Implications for the scientific study of psilocybin and mystical experience include the alleviation of end-of-life distress, enhanced psychological wellbeing, treatment of myriad mental health disorders and a deeper understanding for the study of meaning and spirituality. Dr. Bossis was director of palliative care research, co-principal investigator, and session guide on the 2016 clinical trial demonstrating a significant reduction in psychological distress from a single psilocybin session in persons with cancer and is study director on a clinical trial evaluating psilocybin-generated mystical experience upon religious leaders. Dr. Bossis is a training supervisor of psychotherapy at NYU-Bellevue Hospital Center and maintains a private psychotherapy practice in NYC.
Dr. David Komodo Kittay leads seminars in religion, technology, and law at Columbia University, and translates exoteric and esoteric Buddhist texts, particularly relating to the Guhyasamāja Tantra. He founded and teaches Philosophy at The Harlem Clemente Course for the Humanities at the Drew Hamilton Houses on 143rd St. He is a Tibet House Board member and President of the Tibetan Classics Translators Guild of New York, and has been a Buddhist practitioner for many years, even before he became a lawyer. His major in college was Russian, and he then went on to study classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and other related and unrelated languages before turning to Classical Tibetan and Sanskrit while getting his doctoral degree at Columbia. His latest, somewhat dangerous, obsession is with quantum mechanics and the science and philosophy of time and how they might explain Buddhist practice, but his faith is in hermeneutics and the next generation of humans.