Am I right in not giving money to a gambler?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Stephen K
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Am I right in not giving money to a gambler?

Postby Stephen K » Fri May 04, 2012 3:54 pm

The Buddha extolled generosity. He said "When asked, give even if you only have a little." (Dhp.224).

My step-brother (well, not exactly, because my mother and his father are not married) is addicted to gambling (online poker). A few days ago he asked me for 20 euros. I gave him 5 because that was all I had. Later, my mother told me not to give him any money anymore because he used it only for playing poker. Today he asked me for 7 euros and I said "I don't give money."

I just want to make sure I am doing the right thing by not giving money to a gambler. I haven't heard of generosity being discouraged, but surely giving to a gambler doesn't yield much fruit.
With metta,
Upāsaka Sumana

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Re: Am I right in not giving money to a gambler?

Postby Buckwheat » Fri May 04, 2012 4:26 pm

Would you give an alcoholic a shot of whiskey?
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Re: Am I right in not giving money to a gambler?

Postby Alobha » Fri May 04, 2012 8:27 pm

Hi Stefan,

Great question!
A good guideline is to consider whether your action would lead to or encourage wholesome or unwholesome qualities for yourself and/or others.

1. Would giving money to your brother be for your benefit, would it be for his benefit, would it be for the benefit of both of you or would it be neither for your nor for his benefit?

2. Would giving money to your brother be unwholesome for you, would it be unwholesome for him, would it be unwholesome for both you and your brother or would it be unwholesome neither for him nor for you?

Apart from that: Do you know for sure that your brother spends the money you give him on gambling?

The Buddha extolled generosity. He said "When asked, give even if you only have a little." (Dhp.224).

From my point of view: Just like not everything that is offered is acceptable under certain circumstances, not everything that is asked for is acceptable to be given under certain circumstance. If a woman would ask a monk to give her a child, that would not be something a monk would give. If a monk is offered alcohol, that would not be acceptable either. The rules for laypeople (and this particular situation) may be less clear, but generosity is a matter of the persons and the present involved imho. Providing shelter, food, medicine or clothes is something different than providing a drug to someone who is addicted and suffering from this addiction.

I just want to make sure I am doing the right thing by not giving money to a gambler. I haven't heard of generosity being discouraged, but surely giving to a gambler doesn't yield much fruit.

Do you think that some people deserve generosity, while others don't? I assume the conflict is not whether your brother is worty of generosity, but how generosity towards him should be expressed.

If you want to take an active stance, you could of course offer him help to find a job for extra cash or help him with financial matters or offer him advice on the gambling problem (or any other social / emotional support).
From my point of view: Denying an unreasonable request does not necessarily mean to be not generous and greedy, but just that generosity is applied with wisdom. Mind that there's a difference in intention between rejecting an unreasonable offer and rejecting a person.

Best wishes,
Alobha

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Re: Am I right in not giving money to a gambler?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri May 04, 2012 9:00 pm

actually great post Alobha!
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: Am I right in not giving money to a gambler?

Postby Goofaholix » Fri May 04, 2012 9:06 pm

Absolutely!
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah

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Re: Am I right in not giving money to a gambler?

Postby Buddha » Sat May 05, 2012 11:02 am

You did the right thing,gambling is an bad habbit,and you should talk to him about this problem,and try to get it fix
Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without

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Re: Am I right in not giving money to a gambler?

Postby Ben » Sat May 05, 2012 11:38 am

Greetings Stefan,
In your situation I would not be giving money to someone with a gambling addiction.
kind regards,

Ben
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tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

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Stephen K
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Re: Am I right in not giving money to a gambler?

Postby Stephen K » Sat May 05, 2012 11:42 am

Thanks all!
With metta,
Upāsaka Sumana

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Re: Am I right in not giving money to a gambler?

Postby equilibrium » Sun May 06, 2012 12:28 pm

If the player is good, one can make money in poker, it is a skill game and not by chance or luck like those in casinos like roulette.
A gambler is one where he does not know the difference and is based on luck to win, one cannot win in the long term if based on luck.

A good player will only borrow money and will repay with interest, a bad player or gambler does not win and will not repay and usually comes back asking for more as he does not understand that he is a gambler and does not know how to win......they are usually doing it for the thrill.

It would appear your friend is a gambler.
You are correct in not providing further funds.

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Re: Am I right in not giving money to a gambler?

Postby Hanzze » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:09 am

Great that you had only 5 and gave them all. Not to speak how secure it is to have no money at all. No need for inhonesty, wrong judgements and the fear to be greedy at least. I guess as long as we gamble our self in some aspects its not easy to say "you are not worthy you are a gambler".
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_


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