It doesn’t seem that there has been any problem here with this issue. As such why bring in a “ban” on a potential problem. It doesn’t even exist yet
If any discussion, it should be of the nature that the Buddha recommended abstaining from intoxicants. If a drug is used to alter the mind, it is an intoxicant and has created a state of delusion or enchantment or psychosis.
Drugs are not useful or necessary in practicing the Buddha’s teachings. The Buddha taught that we have everything we need to reach awakening (Nibbana) and we should be our own refuge.
My 2 cents.
Well, you have DXM as your username.
I 100% agree. I don’t want to stop the disussion of drugs; I even encourage such talks when discussed in relation to their potential for harm. I even said this in my first post.
The same argument would apply to illegal substances. I still don’t see the significance of the legal/illegal distinction here.
Clearly the fifth precept only argues against alcoholic drinks which cause heedlessness and by extension would cover any drugs which cause heedlessness. Of course not all legal or illegal drugs cause heedlessness like alcohol since there are many types of substances which fall under the broad label “drug” with many different effects. Caffeine and l theanine from tea for example have widely been used by Buddhists as a meditation aid.
The reason this topic comes up so much in Buddhist forums is precisely because the Buddha left much unsaid. He never said anything about soma for example (possibly psychoactive) or even Marijuana (arguably causes heedlessness and loss of mindfulness).
So yes this topic should definitely be discussed openly, because it is such a hot topic and this forum should not shy away from bringing the EBTs perspectives on important topics.
I think if society deems something dangerous, then we should consult the ‘wise’ and act in an intelligent manner. Lawyering-up and hiding behind wording forgetting the meaning will get you the drugs but not the nibbana. This confusion and lack of mindfulness won’t even get your shopping done, much less enlightenment.
Ah, yes. I agree.
I think discussions on drugs shouldn’t be completely prohibited. However, to make it possible for them to be openly discussed, whether legal or illegal, and therefore also in a positive way, is doubtful. It would result in topics like:
“How many cups of coffee should you drink to have the best meditation experiences?”
“I started consuming [drug] to improve my meditation, and it really helps.”
“Psychedelics are beneficial to reduce anxiety, scientists say.”
Wouldn’t this be awkward (and contradictory to basic Buddhist teachings and practices) to have similar threads on SuttaCentral?
I’ve had prior experiences with unrestricted openness to this topic and similar ones, and it usually results in endless debate, wrong speech and a slow deterioration of the general vibe of the forum/platform.
Anyway, I think that while discussions of drugs should be allowed, like most sensitive topics, there should be at least some restrictions.
That’s all I have to say on the subject.
Just my 2 cents, I understand the 5th precept as being against all intoxicants-- both drugs and alcohol. I see much harm in posts promoting use of intoxicants, but much value in threads helping people quit using them.
That said, I don’t know that the moderators here are asking our opinion on what to do with these kinds of threads so I am not sure this very discussion is worthwhile unless they are interested in hearing.
Except “intoxicants” is so broad that it usually means anything we don’t like.
It’s common for some Theravada monks to smoke in Theravada countries. It’s definitely not good, but is it breaking the precept? Should they be expelled for it?
In the West, a new attitude towards the use of psychedelics is beginning to change the psychological profession’s opinion on these substances. One can easily see a time when they would be used as part of treatment. Even now, many take part in traditional Shamanic rituals in which these substances are used in a ritual context.
Should Buddhists who participate in this be seen as breaking the precept? These are important questions and I think relevant questions.
Buddhists in the modern age will be facing these questions more and more, and a rigid and irrational response which just labels all these things as intoxicants won’t be acceptable to most.
At least it isn’t to me.
I would regard breaking legal laws of wherever I am, and regardless of differences in personal opinions about use or misuse of any substances to rather be a question about wholesome or unwholesome acts - it does not comply with total practice in my opinion, or will create unnecessary doubt.
Personally I have no doubt about the negative aspects on my own ability to be mindful when taking just one little sip of alcohol - it doesn’t mean I become heedless by such a minor amount, but the mind becomes closed off for that which sees, and leaves me stuck with my dumber mind - and since I discovered the eightfold path quite late in this life, im sick and tired of my dumber self, no need to spend time with that character any more
its just not worth braking the nice but vulnerable tread of constant awareness, for so little fun
Be sober and bright!
The precepts which I take chant every day are translated (at Abhayagiri too) as “I undertake the precept to refrain from consuming intoxicating drink and drugs which lead to carelessness”. That’s informs my understanding about the precept. That means alcohol and drugs which cause intoxication.
There are innumerable places in the canon which the Buddha specifically encourages practitioners to hold the precepts and encourage others to keep them, and also discourage others from breaking them. As someone who holds the 5 precepts and sometimes 8 (trying for 8 full time currently), I view it as my responsibility to discourage anyone from using drugs when the subject comes up or I am asked my opinion.
I do not find it the least bit compelling to say that because aspects of modern culture outside of Buddhism (shamanic rituals/modern psychology/new age) have an interest in psychedelics and drugs that Buddhists need to change how we approach basic morality. The dhamma is fine the way it is and has no need to change its morality because the modern world doesn’t view its values as “acceptable”.
This forum is about dhamma at least as I understand it-- there are many places online to discuss drugs, shamnistic practices, psychology, etc. but very few dhamma talk places…
This is part of the point I was trying to make. Legal and illegal are not constants.
I agree that Dhamma can and should be applied to all aspects of living in the current age.
This includes applying Dhamma when discussing the idea that some topics should be banned.
As with so many things in the Suttas, when interpreting things in real life examples, a whole range of things need to be considered. This compound-topic is so complex that it requires a great deal of ‘un-packing’ to be able to handle it with wisdom. Far too great for this type of discussion.
Eg I’d suggest that as a first step it is split in 2 categories
- dhamma as it pertains to banning discussion and,
2 Intoxicating substances and their use (legal or illegal).
I’d say the dhamma position on intoxicating substances is pretty clear - ie that the Buddha advised against them
But the first one, I would be interested to know what the Buddha said about censorship.
I just found this topic which partly answers some of the concerns questions on the topic of banning topics about illegal drug use.
I’d still like to know what the Suttas say about restriction of debate and questions, on censorship and issues related to banning content. I’ll try to set up a new topic and a link to it
Learning the system
here it is
A key phrase of that concern is “wrongly associate” – thus wrongly infer, wrongly come to a conclusion that. With enough imagination any dharma can be said to “open space for people to wrongly associate” the EBTs with approval for some act or belief.
I would caution any group of principled persons about adopting similar reasoning. One can imagine or that some other person(s), through a chain of specious “reasoning” (a wrong association), might come to a wrong, so-called “conclusion”.
There may be a collective judgement about the appropriate level of danger/concern from wrong associations in the number of times the responding comments refer to it.
This is begging the question.
You’re assuming that the fifth precept covers all possible substances called “drugs” by modern culture. You’re assuming all these substances are “intoxicating” (a term which you haven’t even defined or tied to any classical pali term - I take it you mean associated with pamada, but that need not include every substance called “drug”).
The question is really which drugs directly cause pamada?
That’s definitely not an easy or simple question to answer, its quite a complicated phenomenological and psychological question actually.
I agree alcohol does and so does marijuana. The former because the Buddha directly said this, and the latter because its pretty clear from modern psychological studies that marijuana affects memory.
But as far as other substances goes (like certain popular shamanic “medicines”), you are reaching and making claims without evidence.
I met a few 20-something “shamans” at house parties in university. They have a pretty open-concept notion of what a ritual is sometimes!
Fake teachers are a problem in every tradition no? I’ve heard quite a few stories of fake monks asking for money in New York.
There are no shamanic influences in EBT that I know of.