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 and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • Oranje

    You know, I follow some of the southern school of Buddhism as a guiding philosophy, but that’s because I find the metaphor comforting and a good way for me to organize my mind. My mind needs organizing. Shit (literally) like this just makes me cringe and explains why I struggle to define myself as a Buddhist. A practitioner, but not a believer. I suppose all religion gets into its own irrationality just by definition.

    • Rev. Achron Timeless

      I guess you could call yourself a “philosophical buddhist”? Best I can come up with that would draw the line quickly in just a few words.

    • C Peterson

      Many religions (Buddhism more than most) offer some solid, basic philosophy on how to live a good, happy life. That’s a pretty fundamental goal for most humans, and has raised basic questions for thousands of years. But that’s not good enough, apparently. Instead, you have generation after generation of crazy or power hungry priests and practitioners, who just keeping inventing more dogma, piled higher and deeper. That’s why religion is such a joke.

      • GubbaBumpkin

        Many religions (Buddhism more than most) offer some solid, basic philosophy on how to live a good, happy life…

        Christianity fails miserably on that account. Christianity is all about setting yourself up for the afterlife, not being happy in your real life.

        • C Peterson

          Yes, but even in the case of Christianity, most of the dogma around getting set up for the afterlife was added long after anything was written in the Bible.

          Take just the words attributed to Jesus in the Bible, and you could make Christianity into just about anything.

    • Monika Jankun-Kelly

      I’ve heard the term Secular Buddhist, and read a book titled Buddhism Without Beliefs, so take comfort knowing there’s some folks who won’t be utterly confused by how you define yourself. ;)

  • flyb

    Holy shit! ?

  • Art_Vandelay

    Yes, Dalai Lama…keep telling us how Buddhism falls perfectly in line with science.

  • C Peterson

    This provides another (graphic!) example of the way that religion evolves (although it disturbs me slightly to use the word “evolve” in this context). There’s nothing in what these nutjobs are doing that comes from the ideas of the Buddha, any more than you can find most Christian dogma in the ideas attributed to Jesus.

    Mostly, the basic ideas of any religion are quite simple, and then crazy followers just start piling on the dogmatic shit (literally, in this case). Eventually, all the insane dogma creates a great crust over whatever original meaning was there.

    • JET

      This is why Mormonism is so interesting. Its history is so well-documented (the actual history, not the white-washed history the church spouts) that you can see how even the most ridiculous ideas can be fed to gullible followers. People can be convinced to swallow both literal and virtual shit.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    The Holy Bible has a recipe for poop bread:

    “And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight. And the LORD said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them.” (Ezekiel 4:12-13)

    • C Peterson

      Just be careful where you get the poop, because God doesn’t want to see that shit, and he most especially doesn’t want to step in it while he’s stalking you at night!

      “You shall have a place outside the camp, and you shall go out to it. And you shall have a trowel with your tools, and when you sit down outside, you shall dig a hole with it and turn back and cover up your excrement. Because the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and to give up your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy, so that he may not see anything indecent among you and turn away from you.”

      (Deuteronomy 23:12-14)

      • Monika Jankun-Kelly

        So advice about bathroom practices and hygiene not just in the Koran then? Wonder how many other holy texts have such instructions? And why do people need divine orders to keep clean???

  • Tainda

    “dingleberry pills” made me snort laugh lol

    I call my best friend Dingleberry haha We were bored one day and decided to give ourselves gross nicknames and they just stuck…get it, stuck?

    Ok, I’m going back to work :P I needed that laugh after the other comment section pissed me off so badly :)

  • Baby_Raptor

    Religion: Not good for your appetite.

  • Matthew316

    He can walk though walls? Can he also make goats faint and clouds burst? If so he must be a Jedi and must be stopped.

  • Tom

    Forget the turd pills – consuming brain matter from one’s own species? What could possibly go wrong? Can you say “prions,” boys and girls?

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    For once transubstantiation is an improvement.

  • eric

    Before laughing at the religious nuts, look up Kopi Luwak. There’s evidently a pretty big and profitable secular, western, mainstream market for poop-related coffees.

    • brianmacker

      I tried it as a gag with some friends. My tastes are not refined enough to distinguish it from other coffees. Same goes for all my friends who tried it. Either that or it in fact tastes no different.

  • Caias Ward

    I follow Buddhist philosophy without the hokum…

    And that is stupid as anything.

  • Matt D

    Hey, it’s an example of religious alchemy, turning crap into gold. I’d call that a miracle you know, if it was one.

  • the moother

    If anyone has not heard of my own divine revelation™ as to why buddhism (hinduism and jainism included) are immoral it’s this:

    They are all concerned with death and rebirth and the ultimate goal of freeing themselves from that cycle and reaching nirvana of sorts. This is profoundly disgusting because it involves a “we’re not worthy” approach (kinda like the original sin crap) and that this precious life we have here on earth is something to be disliked and fought against.

    It’s the same as all religions… waste your time on this planet supplicating yourself to an unseen and unprovable thing in the sky..

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Funny how you never hear Joe Klein warning people to not eat poop pills.

    • brianmacker

      Poop pills might actually be useful if taken as a suppository and as a live culture. I doubt that is what they are doing because it mentioned “consumed”. Also a coated pill that could allow spores/bacteria to survive stomach acids might work orally. Look up ‘fecal transplant’ for modern version of this as treatment for C. difficile infection.

  • Robster

    Apart from eating excrement, there’s little difference between this strange practise and eating the dead jew at church on Sunday. At least the cracker’s not made of poo so that’s better I suppose. But canibalising one’s imaginary friend, that’s really strange.

  • Mairianna

    Wow. If we got the Hindus and the Buddhists together, they could cover the floor of their house in cowpoop AND eat it, too! Although, I think the Hindus have a ritual involving drinking cowpoop…or is it urine???? Nom nom!

  • pagansister

    OK, that’s freakin’ disgusting! I have respect for the beliefs of others (not that I always agree with them) but WHY would any one eat poop! ?