Dhamma and addiction

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Dhamma and addiction

Postby Samsara » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:48 pm

Hello people,


This is my first post, im looking forward to expanding my knowledge about Theravada here :)


I have read in a few places that Buddhism sees addiction as immoral, I can see how buying cocaine is immoral because of the awful deal the farmers get....
but I smoke weed everyday, how am i being immoral? :shrug:

Thanks,

Samsara
"Nothing is more important than guarding the mind. Let us constantly keep watch over it, curbing it with mindfulness and vigilance."-Dalai Lama

Please feel free to correct my grammar!
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Re: Dhamma and addiction

Postby meindzai » Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:29 pm

Well, it may not be "immoral" in the sense that you are thinking. Buddhism is a means towards liberation. We practice morality towards that end - not to avoid some sort of divine punishment.

Buddhist morality is called "Sila." It can mean ethics, virtue, morality, precepts, and can even be translated as "habit." It is skillful behavior (good habits) that lead us away from craving/thirst/attachment and towards liberation. One part of the eightfold path is right action, which calls for 5 precepts:

1. I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.
2. I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.
3. I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.
4. I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.
5. I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.

The last of these is not a moral precept in the sense that it is necessarily wrong doing - but it can and does lead to carelessness, which might involve breaking one of the other precepts. It also will make it impossible to practice Right Mindfulness, and I certainly don't see a stoned person ever attaining any state of Right Concentration. I could keep going on this theme!

Another interpretation is that it's not so much about rigid morality but actions that take us away from clarity. I know some that take the 5th precept even further and refrain from anything that can muddle or rattle the mind including certain types of "intoxicating" media, television, etc.. I think of the 5th as having a mind that can think clearly.

-M
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Re: Dhamma and addiction

Postby Sobeh » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:01 pm

It is against the precept against the consumption of sloth-inducing substances, as such substances make the Path even more difficult to follow than it is while sober. In this sense the better word is not immoral, but unwholesome. The act is unwholesome because of its effects on your ability to practice.

It isn't immoral the way that "God's Law" is immoral, which is to say the unwholesomeness is not according to any divine fiat but rather is a matter of cause and effect. My view is that it is a Moral Particularism, rather than Moral Generalism or Moral Absolutism.
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Re: Dhamma and addiction

Postby Samsara » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:07 pm

Oh ok, that makes much more sense. I can totally understand stoned people not being able to be mindful! I certainly cant past 7pm when i have a spliff.

Does anyone know if Dhamma addresses what to do if you are addicted to something? (other than just stopping obviously) God i hate addiction.
"Nothing is more important than guarding the mind. Let us constantly keep watch over it, curbing it with mindfulness and vigilance."-Dalai Lama

Please feel free to correct my grammar!
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Re: Dhamma and addiction

Postby meindzai » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:30 pm

It's a beast isn't it? I know there's some information out there on Buddhism and addiction, not so much from the Suttas but from modern writers. Funnily enough when I did a search it came back to a previous Dhamma Wheel thread: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=1150&start=20

I struggled with an addiction to sleeping pills for years. At first I took them to sleep and later just because I enjoyed them, sometimes in mega-doses along with alchohol. I probably should be dead. Anyway, during this time I did lots of meditation, sometimes while sober, sometimes not, and I put the other aspects of the practice into use as much as possible. I really dug in to find out what the root causes were for me taking the stuff and kind of dig them out. The suffering as a result of my behavior became more and more apparent through my practice, and I just got completely disgusted with myself. One night, several years ago, on a new years eve I did several hours of meditation, then did a "formal" precepts ceremony (by myself) in front of an altar, and swore off the stuff I was doing. I had a few nights where I didn't sleep so well because I was used to being chemically dependent for sleep, but I persisted and it was totally worth it.

-M
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Re: Dhamma and addiction

Postby cooran » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:14 pm

Hello Samsara, all,

Addiction is a form of Tanha (Craving), which is the root of all suffering. It is Tanha in all its forms which is the cause of suffering.

Tanha (Craving)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... tanha.html

The Second Noble Truth - The Noble Truth of the Origin of dukkha dukkha samudaya ariya sacca
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... index.html

with metta
Chris
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Re: Dhamma and addiction

Postby Ben » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:48 pm

Hi Samsara
Here is a list of resources you might find useful: http://www.vridhamma.org/Customsearchre ... ID%3A9#954
Keep in mind that mere intellectual understanding of the Dhamma is not enough. For it to be of any real benefit to you, you will need to engage with practice.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: Dhamma and addiction

Postby Nibbida » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:38 pm

Here's a video clip of Shinzen Young talking about how he broke a cannabis addiction after going to a Goenka-style vipassana retreat:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N7A5kAESTQ
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Re: Dhamma and addiction

Postby Wind » Fri Apr 09, 2010 2:16 am

The Buddha rarely describe addiction or attachments to sensual pleasures as immoral but just unskillful. Unskillful means it will lead to further dukkha (stress/suffering).
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Re: Dhamma and addiction

Postby Samsara » Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:56 am

Oh brilliant, cheers guys, I shall ponder.

The suffering as a result of my behavior became more and more apparent through my practice, and I just got completely disgusted with myself. One night, several years ago, on a new years eve I did several hours of meditation, then did a "formal" precepts ceremony (by myself) in front of an altar, and swore off the stuff I was doing. I had a few nights where I didn't sleep so well because I was used to being chemically dependent for sleep, but I persisted and it was totally worth it.


That is excellent. I feel as though i often have the disgust....but less of the following-through will power. Im really hoping with continued practise i shall find the cravings easier to deal with, with mindfulness. My problem is i don't catch it early enough and before i know it i don't care about giving up, i don't care about the long term suffering, its highly annoying.

A retreat sounds like the best way to do it!! Sitting in my tiny flat with a depressed boyfriend doesn't help (not that there is any excuses other than my unwillingness to bear the situation) Bet they are hundreds of pounds though :x
"Nothing is more important than guarding the mind. Let us constantly keep watch over it, curbing it with mindfulness and vigilance."-Dalai Lama

Please feel free to correct my grammar!
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Re: Dhamma and addiction

Postby Ben » Fri Apr 09, 2010 12:13 pm

Hi Samsara

If its any consolation - you're not Robinson Caruso, so to speak!
Plenty of our members here have had pasts that involved long-term use or addiction to various substances. And many of our members have had great success with freeing themselves from addiction as a result of their Dhamma practice.
metta

Ben
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global Relief
UNHCR Syria Emergency Relief AppealTyphoon Haiyan Relief AppealKiva: (person to person micro-finance)

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: Dhamma and addiction

Postby Modus.Ponens » Fri Apr 09, 2010 2:38 pm

Samsara wrote: Bet they are hundreds of pounds though :x


If you're refering to the price of the retreats, you are mistaken. The Goenka retreats are based on donation. When you do a Goenka retreat, yours is already paid by a previous meditator. And, if you feel you want to give a donation for a future person to have a retreat, then you give :smile:
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Dhamma and addiction

Postby meindzai » Fri Apr 09, 2010 3:03 pm

Samsara wrote:
That is excellent. I feel as though i often have the disgust....but less of the following-through will power. Im really hoping with continued practise i shall find the cravings easier to deal with, with mindfulness. My problem is i don't catch it early enough and before i know it i don't care about giving up, i don't care about the long term suffering, its highly annoying.

A retreat sounds like the best way to do it!! Sitting in my tiny flat with a depressed boyfriend doesn't help (not that there is any excuses other than my unwillingness to bear the situation) Bet they are hundreds of pounds though :x


[/quote]

As has been pointed out, that is not necessarily the case. So definately look into it. Just the change in environment alone will probably inspire you to look at life in a different way. Any change to just get yourself around healthier people. Take yoga classes or something. I know being around skinny bendy people tends to make me want to be healthier. :)

-M
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Re: Dhamma and addiction

Postby Samsara » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:50 pm

Ben wrote:Hi Samsara

If its any consolation - you're not Robinson Caruso, so to speak!
Plenty of our members here have had pasts that involved long-term use or addiction to various substances. And many of our members have had great success with freeing themselves from addiction as a result of their Dhamma practice.
metta

Ben



Thanks Ben, that actually helps alot!

Ive looked up Goenka retreats and couldn't find a website, just alot of stories of how awful it was....so i worry.
Im sure if i stay a few times at Cittaviveka a few times they will let me stay for a week or something. Its all on hold anyway to a certain extent because of my final exams and dissertation i have to hand in in less than a month *stress*
"Nothing is more important than guarding the mind. Let us constantly keep watch over it, curbing it with mindfulness and vigilance."-Dalai Lama

Please feel free to correct my grammar!
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Re: Dhamma and addiction

Postby amethystyoga » Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:23 pm

Hi: As a newcomer to Buddhism , I have limited insight and experience with how it may help with an addiction. I can see how improved self care,mindfulness and meditation may help. The only solution to my alcohol dependence almost six years ago was a 12 step program AA. I also found through the meetings of AA some people that practice buddhism who shared their experience, strength and hope on getting sober. I also recommend a book called 12 Steps on Buddha's Path. Addiction is a cunning, baffling and powerful disease. :anjali:
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Re: Dhamma and addiction

Postby adosa » Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:40 am

Samsara wrote:
Ive looked up Goenka retreats and couldn't find a website, just alot of stories of how awful it was....so i worry.
Im sure if i stay a few times at Cittaviveka a few times they will let me stay for a week or something. Its all on hold anyway to a certain extent because of my final exams and dissertation i have to hand in in less than a month *stress*



Here you go.


http://www.dhamma.org/

adosa :smile:
"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas" - Dhammapada 183
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Re: Dhamma and addiction

Postby Nibbida » Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:16 pm

G. Alan Marlatt is the developer of Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention, developed specifically for the treatment of addictions. He coined the term "urge surfing" (i.e. watching arising & passing) of the addictive cravings as they occur in the body. Marlatt is not just a clinician but a long-term meditator and has taken refuge in the Dharma. He's studied with Jack Kornfeld, Pema Chodron, and S.N. Goenka.

Here's an interview he did with Inquiring Mind:
http://www.inquiringmind.com/Articles/S ... eUrge.html


This is an abstract of his article "Buddhist philosophy and the treatment of addictive behavior" (Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, Vol 9(1), Win, 2002. pp. 44-49.):

"Provides an overview of how Buddhist philosophy can be applied in the treatment of individuals with substance abuse problems (alcohol, smoking, and illicit drug use) and other addictive behaviors (e.g., compulsive eating and gambling). First, the author describes the background of his own interest in meditation and Buddhist psychology, followed by a brief summary of his prior research on the effects of meditation on alcohol consumption in heavy drinkers. In the 2nd section, the author outlines some of the basic principles of Buddhist philosophy that provide a theoretical underpinning for defining addiction, how it develops, and how it can be alleviated. The 3rd and final section presents 4 principles within Buddhist psychology that have direct implications for the cognitive-behavioral treatment of addictive behavior: mindfulness meditation, the Middle Way philosophy, the Doctrine of Impermanence, and compassion and the Eightfold Noble Path. Clinical interventions and case examples are described for each of these 4 principles based on the author's research and clinical practice with clients seeking help for resolving addictive behavior problems."
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Re: Dhamma and addiction

Postby Samsara » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:27 pm

Oh thats great thank you!

A week until giving up day....pretty terrified!
"Nothing is more important than guarding the mind. Let us constantly keep watch over it, curbing it with mindfulness and vigilance."-Dalai Lama

Please feel free to correct my grammar!
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Re: Dhamma and addiction

Postby Dhammabodhi » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:04 pm

Much Metta to you, Samsara! May you alleviate your suffering through Dhamma and find great peace! :console:

This Dhamma is a way of fearlessness. So don't be afraid!! We, and more importantly, the sublime Dhamma, are with you! :group:

:anjali:
Dhammabodhi
-Samāhitam cittam yathābhutam pajānāti.

समाहितं चित्तं यथाभूतं पजानाती |

A concentrated mind sees things as they really are.

-Ujuko nāma so maggo, abhayā nāma sā disā.

उजुको नाम सो माग्गो, अभया नाम सा दिसा |

'Straight' is this path, fearlessness is its way.
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Re: Dhamma and addiction

Postby Samsara » Sat May 01, 2010 2:11 pm

Thanks people y'all rock.

I may come here in the next few weeks and rant and beg for logic :roll:
"Nothing is more important than guarding the mind. Let us constantly keep watch over it, curbing it with mindfulness and vigilance."-Dalai Lama

Please feel free to correct my grammar!
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