Buddhism and Marijuana

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Robert Gromble, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. Robert Gromble

    Robert Gromble New Member

    My dilemma: the fifth precept states to abstain from "drugs causing heedlessness". Now for people start to argue that marijuana isn't a drug, this isn't the point. The issue is the heedlessness part. I do find that marijuana can lead to a form of heedlessness, but usually silly things like polishing off a bag of fudge or washing the same dish 6 times.

    I'm feeling awfully conflicted here, and I would like to hear some opinions other than my own. Any questions or comments would be greatly appreciated.
  2. ITG

    ITG Ardent Dilettante

    If I were to be totally honest, I'd say marijuana is probably included in that. But I think we can cook up some rationalizations if you want.

    Technically, "heedlessness" (which I interpret to mean action without proper forethought) is only one of a variety of states that can possibly be achieved by marijuana. Many people find that it actually increases their concentration or creativity; in fact, there are some ADHD sufferers on this very site that use it instead of more mainstream medication because it does the job better than the other meds with far less side effects, typically using a sativa strain. So, I suppose you need to ask the question, does it decree that one should abstain from all drugs that could cause heedlessness, or only actually the state of heedlessness, and thus any drugs that inevitably lead to it? I'm no buddhism expert, so of course my interpretation won't be the best, but I would conclude the important part would be the heedless part, not the drug part. Eating too much turkey can make you sleepy because of the tryptophan, arguably a drug,, and heedless in its own way- is turkey forbidden (for all I know, it is for another reason)?

    I was always given to understand that in Buddhism, it was not the letter of the rules that was considered important, but their spirit and true meaning. But I would recommend you wait for Buzzby to come around and get some advice from someone who actually knows what the hell they're talking about, because, really, I just like to talk.
    2 people like this.
  3. Robert Gromble

    Robert Gromble New Member

    Thank you for your insight ITG, from what I understand this is correct. It is not to be taken in a dogmatic way (did I use that correctly?). I think I will continue to toke, but try to avoid a state of heedlessness, or not act upon my lack of heed (lol) if I do become intoxicated to that point. As long as I strive to practice right mindfulness, hopefully all will be good.
  4. Buzzby

    Buzzby Buddhist Curmudgeon

    As I see it, I'm far from perfect and have little hope of achieving enlightenment during this lifetime. My use of marijuana is much less of a problem than other things to which I'm clinging. I'm putting off giving up marijuana until a reincarnation better suited to it. In this lifetime, it seems to be doing me much more good than harm.
    8 people like this.
  5. Richi

    Richi CB1 receptor agonist

    Watch out you don't get caught up in semantics. ;)

    I've heard it interpreted many ways, be it heedlessness, mindfulness, or whatever. It is open to interpretation, so interpret it as you will, but catch yourself swaying one way or another!

    The precepts are as such, open to interpretation, because in the end they only show us a few goals that will help us along the way to enlightenment.

    "Don't mistake the pointed finger for the moon." I believe it was said by Master Yung-chia, but I don't know.
    2 people like this.
  6. dirtbomb

    dirtbomb Hippie

    I'm more prone to do the random acts of kindness thing when I'm stoned.
    Pot actually broadens my capacity for empathetic feelings.
    I'm a lot more "heedless" and prone to lapses in judgment or fits of pointless rage when "sober".
    Chalk it up to me not being much of a "people person". Not cruel or heartless, but I can't read other people's emotions very well. Marijuana is very helpful on that level. :)
  7. Bhikku

    Bhikku News Administrator

    Here are reasons I continue to smoke pot in relative moderation even though I'm a practicing Soto Zen Buddhist:

    - Pot makes me more empathic and conscious of the suffering of all sentient beings, rendering me more compassionate. I am more likely to do acts of random kindness while stoned, like place anonymous Christmas cards in people's mailboxes or stop to help a turtle out of the road.

    - Pot enhances my focus in meditation. It quiets my mind and allows me to sit comfortably in one position for much longer than my mind would tolerate sober.

    - Pot increases my consciousness of the present moment. It helps me to see the beauty in all things, even the most mundane and ordinary. I will stare for hours at the sight of a water fountain, struck with awe by the complexity of water. It makes boiling a kettle of green tea into a solemn, painstaking ritual. It forces me to slow down and pay attention, which is the root of Buddhism rendered to its essence.

    - Pot makes me laugh and think, because it reveals to me both startlingly profound revelations and abstract connections, but also has me rolling in the floor during the baby Jesus scene in Talladega Nights. You can never laugh or think too much, as far as I'm concerned, as long as excessive thought does not preclude positive action.

    For me, abstaining from anything - sex, drugs, etc... - is a form of extermism, which is not what Buddhism is all about. Buddhism is about acting responsibly and being constantly aware that your actions have irreparable consequences, good or bad.

    I was Buddhist before I ever smoked pot, and I honestly feel it would be a little silly to think that my enlightenment hinged on a bowl or two. Enlightenment is, frankly, larger than that, in my opinion.

    Also, the Eightfold Path, as I understand it, is more a set of general guidelines rather than hard and fast rules. One thing Buddhism has taught me is to never drink in dogma blindly. You have to search for the truth between the lines, as it applies to you.

    Just my two cents.
    12 people like this.
  8. ADIDAS

    ADIDAS Represent. KY

    Do Buddhist believe in Christmas?
  9. dirtbomb

    dirtbomb Hippie

    The spirit of giving, yes. The holiday in general, usually no.
    Charity and Tithing are paths to enlightenment. :)
  10. Richi

    Richi CB1 receptor agonist

    The holiday exists, so not believing in it would be ignorant.
    Do Buddhists celebrate Christmas? Perhaps. :rolleyes:
    2 people like this.
  11. Bhikku

    Bhikku News Administrator

    Just to clear things up, my entire family is Christian and I didn't convert until I was fifteen, so I have always grown up celebrating Christmas. I enjoy the concept of selflessness, generosity and kindness that go along with Christmas, so I still celebrate it even though I don't live with my family anymore.

    I don't like the consumerism involved in Christmas though.
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  12. ADIDAS

    ADIDAS Represent. KY

    Thanks, just curious since you seem pretty devout to your Buddhism...
  13. Rusty

    Rusty New Member

    That's a guideline man. Buddhism is not about doing whatever they say, it's about finding enlightenment. If YOU think that marijuana is hindering your progress, then stop. I went on this massive journey last year with this shaman and a spitual dude to find enlightenment, found it. I'm pretty sure they smoked a little weed =p!
  14. Silverbackman

    Silverbackman New Member

    I don't like labeling myself...so I wouldn't call myself a "buddhist" anymore than I would call myself a "atheist" or "scientist" (in the philosophical context). But I do apply what is called the buddhist method to life's issues, just as I apply the scientific method to life's issues. It's a great way to understand the world and lessen suffering of course. And I do definitely agree with the mindfulness tenant of buddhism. And I do think the 5 precepts have a lot of wisdom, and don't find much of any error with them. Including the 5th precept which says;

    Notice what comes after.....well the op already pointed it out.....intoxicants that lead to heedlessness, or careless, thoughtless, and unmindful action. IMHO I do not think this refers to cannabis for the simple reason that cannabis leads to mindfulness and more careful cautious action as opposed to intoxicants that lead to risk-taking careless behavior like alcohol. Thinking is speed up. As Bhikku pointed out it does increase awareness of the present moment and can help focus when meditating. In fact I find that pot as well as other psychedelics crank meditation up a notch. You are more aware of your senses and sensory perception is enhanced while more detail is noticed through time dilation effects, further pushing the mind to the here and now. You can basically consider it entheogenic meditation. ;)

    Of course this is just me. Perhaps it dulls the minds of some.....especially if they take more indica varieties than sativa varieties. But overall I would say the effects of cannabis enhances the overall mindfulness and direct experience of reality, which is essential for enlightenment.
  15. Backpacker420

    Backpacker420 New Member

    There are a couple variations of that quote, but the complete quote is "My teachings are like a finger pointing to the moon - do not mistake my finger for the moon."
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  16. Herbal Meditation

    Herbal Meditation New Member

    As with most substances, there is abuse, and there is use. I would suggest you take periods of abstaining, and periods of no more than irregular use, if you wish to discipline yourself. You must view it as a secular thing, not to be put in the set-apart category of Dharmic things. When you are in the mentality of practicing Dharma, stick with that, and go that entire day like that. And if it is a day of secular mentality, still remind yourself and keep the precepts in mind, and let them be expressed through your secular practices if possible.
  17. Richi

    Richi CB1 receptor agonist

    Go on..... :cool:
  18. nornerator

    nornerator New Member

    I've never been to any sort of "Buddhist" gathering, but I have read several books on Buddhism and meditate regularly (daily for 18 months, now just occasionally). I am no official on the subject but can certainly offer an interpretation.

    From what I've gathered, the Buddha was about exploring the mind. He wanted to understand its in's and out's by directing his focus inwards. By learning to sit beside his thoughts and become mindful of the fact that what you call "yourself" is not the being that is actually willing the thoughts into existence, the Buddha gained some deep insight on how the mind operates.

    The goal is to be mindfully present at all times. Not distracted by thoughts, alert, and in the present moment. To be perfectly aware and not having that awareness distorted in any way by thoughts

    The precepts are just guidelines, more like recommendations by Buddha, things that worked for him. So you can do whatever you like, this is your journey in life, cannabis will only get in the way if you let it. Enlightenment is not an "on" or "off" idea, it is a continuum of self exploration. This is a journey of enlightenment, not to enlightenment.
    4 people like this.
  19. Medicalifornication

    Medicalifornication New Member

    I feel the same way.
    When i smoke i feel very connected with nature, and feel a great love for the world around me. For me nothing compares to going outside with my amber bong and smoking and watching the sky and the forrest around me.

    Some times I feel its something I cling to, but as stated above i agree there are other things more problematic.
  20. cj117

    cj117 Surfer Monkey

    I feel it's important to take sabbaticals from time to time with cannabis, if you're using it in a philosophical manner, if only for this reason:

    The way we feel when high is "artificially" induced. If you RELY on cannabis to make you a good person, you're not using it correctly. It's more important that we learn from the way cannabis makes us feel about the world. It reveals certain truths to us, such as the way we should be all the time.

    We should be drawn into giving every single day of our lives, not just when we feel like it. For most of us, that's when we're high.
    It's important to be this way while sober, as well. We need to appreciate sobriety and apply the principles of life that are revealed to us when elevated.
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