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Thread: Confused a little

  1. #1
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    Confused a little

    The teaching states one should stay away for intoxications that cloud the mind (or words to that affect exuse me as I'm new). So I assume this means no alcohol, cigarettes, drugs etc.

    Now what about coffee and tea? They have caffeine in them!
    What about cigars as you do not inhale a cigar?

    I assume pain killers and medicines are acceptable however.

    As I understand medical folk say red wine is actually good for you not in vast quantities but a glass a night for example. Also one glass of wine would not necessarily cloud your mind (make you tipsy or drunk).

    I also read on the internet that some lay Buddhists drink to be sociable. So are these guidlines about moderateion or complete no no

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    Forums Member fletcher's Avatar
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    I would suggest the middle way is appropriate.

    Gassho

    Gary

  3. #3
    If one follows all 5 lay precepts - which can be taken in a small ceremony at a centre, temple or monastery with a monk or a lama etc - then one avoids alcohol as well as recreational drugs. It doesn't include caffeine or medication from a doctor.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/d...pancasila.html

    If lay Buddhists drink alcohol/ smoke/take drugs either to be 'sociable' or when alone, then they have chosen not to follow the precept about intoxicants.

    However, one doesn't actually need to get high in some way in order to have a pleasant evening with other people !

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    Forums Member auriga's Avatar
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    For me this question is truly resolved by looking at the precepts, as Aloka-D stated. I don't see a lot of wiggle room there about what the precepts state. Intoxicants should be avoided if we want to live by the precepts, and I don't see much evidence that living outside the precepts is fruitful activity.

    But I think it is important to consider that precepts need to be internalized to make any sense. I am not convinced it makes sense to tell anyone they "can't" drink or smoke if they want to follow Buddhism. Things take time, and often people come to realizations through their mistakes and no other way. What I have noticed is that the further along I go in Buddhism, the less and less I have any interest in these things. For me personally I wouldn't say "never" but because I meditate regularly and see the benefits in every area of my life, I have also learned to identify how even relatively small amounts of intoxicants cloud the consciousness and make it harder for me to meditate. I don't feel like I'm giving something up. I feel like I'm gaining something.

    When I was trying to explain what it is like at times during "peak experiences" and absorption, a friend said, well why not just get high? It's the same thing. Well, no, it is not the same thing. One might ask the difference between climbing a mountain trail and the sense of exhilaration by getting to the top on one's own effort, or taking a helicopter up there just for the view. But then I realized drugs were like taking a helicopter to a mountain that doesn't even exist. So it's the difference between going to the top of a mountain or not even being able, in some cases, to find where the mountain is, much less get to the top.

    This has been a difficult realization for me, and I don't think I could have gotten there without direct experience with intoxicants. It has also been hard because in a lot of ways I've sort of "gone ahead" while friends and family members who don't see things the same way are still using intoxicants. I don't want to be around that, not because I am tempted anymore, but because it just makes me sad. I see people deceiving themselves and harming themselves and it troubles me enough that I don't want to be around it.

    There is truly something to be said for being totally clear of mind and the sense joy one can experience without any dependency upon any substance. Just feeling good, really good, just the way we are. Health is one aspect, but even perfect health eventually fails. I guess it is more about looking for real happiness or looking for ways to "escape" the realities of life which include moments of trouble, feeling like something is lacking, or just plan suffering. So if you want to get beyond suffering, drugs and alcohol don't do that. In fact, in many cases, they just add to suffering in ways we don't immediately see in the moments of clouded consciousness.

    For what it is worth, I have had experiences in meditation that are beyond anything I experienced with drugs in terms of euphoria but also in terms of deep, clear realizations. Enlightened moments don't come in pill form, bottles, or anything you can smoke. They come from experiencing reality in its naked, unaltered consciousness. By the way those moments are not the goal of my practice, they just occured spontaneously along the way as kind of a little gift to myself.

    I also think laughter, joking around, seeing how funny life is and can be, these are all fruitful approaches to life. We don't need intoxicants to experience this.

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    Forums Member JadeRabbit's Avatar
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    @auriga -

    In reply to the OP, I think you have to find your own way with these things through your own experience. There's no right or wrong. If you haven't taken precepts then you can do whatever you want, can't you?....

    But look at the consequences of those actions. Those people getting high or drunk at parties, are they really having a good time? or are they covering over and masking the reality of their own life?

    I feel Buddhism definitely goes against the grain in this regard. In my view, taking the precepts makes you a stronger person. Stronger in the fact that you're able to see things as they really are.

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    My personal view on this subject is that all is holy and all is God.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Disciple20 View Post
    My personal view on this subject is that all is holy and all is God.
    Hi Disciple20 - are you a Buddhist practitioner ?

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    At the same time one should not abuse certain drugs or alcohal as we know. Just being smart with this idea of not abusing these things is I believe somthing we must follow.

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    Hi Aloka-D! Yes I am a Buddhist practicioner. I have been on the path for some years. I love Buddhism greatly, in particular the teachings of India and Tibet. I am glad to be a part of this sacred forum.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Disciple20 View Post
    Hi Aloka-D! Yes I am a Buddhist practicioner. I have been on the path for some years. I love Buddhism greatly, in particular the teachings of India and Tibet. I am glad to be a part of this sacred forum.
    Oh lovely, thanks, I wasn't very sure !

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