Buddhists Take Pills Made of Poop (Different Religion, Same Old Crap)

A Buddhist retreat in the desert would seem like a place of peace, and ordained monk Michael Roach‘s commune in Arizona’s Apache Highlands was just that – if you discount the jealousy, the backbiting, the domestic abuse, and the knife attack.

Rolling Stone has a long piece on the peculiar goings-on in Roach’s mystical cult. Journalist Nina Burleigh was brave for writing it, as Roach is a man who, according to his followers,

…can walk through walls, see into the future and, some believe, cast powerful spells against those who cross him.

This may be the most entertaining paragraph in Burleigh’s article:

To underscore the importance of one’s teacher, Roach’s acolytes consumed dutsi, pills that supposedly contain bits of symbolic scatological material going back to Buddha (a secretive practice among Tibetan Buddhist initiates). “People worked for free in order to catapult their karma out of the prosaic shitter,” says Morris [a source]. “So you had a lot of people eating shit, literally and figuratively.”

If you’d like to make your own, start with a non-constipated cow. And for Shiva’s sake, don’t let the cow doo-doo hit the ground, ’cause that would make it impure.

This snippet is from The Handbook of Tibetan Buddhist Symbols:

The ‘three whites’ of milk, curds, and ghee, form three of the ‘five nectars’ obtained from the sacred cow, with the other two being urine and dung. For ritual purposes the cow’s urine and dung are collected in vessels before they touch the ground, and are then mixed with the three white substances in a bronze bowl.  This mixture is then boiled. When cool, the upper scum and lower sediment of this viscous liquid are discarded, leaving only the middle section, which is then spread and dried in the sun. The dried powder is then blended with saffron and made into small pills. In Tibet these pills are employed in ritual practices, together with consecrated medicinal pills, known as dutsi.

Grossed out? Not in the mood for dingleberry pills? Luckily for you, there are more savory alternatives, the website Sacred Journeys informs us.

In the tantric tradition there are many forms of consecrated medicines called dutsi which uses precious herbal and mineral substances in combination with mantras, incantations and prayers performed at specific times of year to give them full power. Often the master will put some his own hair or fingernails in with the mix so that the recipient can make a deeper karmic connection with him which is a form of guru yoga. Other ingredients that are very powerful include the hair of different masters and dakinis, brain matter from high yogis, Dharmakaya nectar from herukas, the robe of masters like Padmasambhava and different kinds of relics that all bestow healing and liberation.

Should you not have a cow handy, or a high yogi willing to donate his brain matter, you can get your dutsi fix via the web at Cosmic Goddess Empowerment. Sadly, these are vibrational offerings only — the store’s proprietress will send you “energy,” not pills.

While you’re there, check out the Benteng Segoro (“Fortress of the Sea,” only $80), which is the energy to

… protect your home from psychic and physical dangerous — from robbers, thieves, negative entities, etc. The magickal power builds up an invisible fortress. Sometimes intruders will hallucinate and see the sea all over the premises!

Whichever you get, rest assured that you’ll still be swallowing bullshit, and paying for the privilege.

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder of Moral Compass, a now dormant site that poked fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards. He joined Friendly Atheist in 2013.