Does smoking violate fifth precept?

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Does smoking violate fifth precept?

Postby SarathW » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:07 pm

Does smoking violate fifth precept?
Are monk allowed to smoke. Please refer attached article.

http://www.fsnewsletter.amaravati.org/html/38/38.htm

Is it possible a person who attain Sotapanna will smoke?
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Re: Does smoking violate fifth precept?

Postby gendun » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:16 pm

I know nothing of Sotapannas but smoking is clearly a breach of common sense.
Whether it is a breach of precepts is moot.
My understanding of the Theravada view of the fifth precept is that it concernes that which causes heedlessness...Does smoking tobacco do that ?
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Re: Does smoking violate fifth precept?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:46 pm

SarathW wrote:Does smoking violate fifth precept?
Are monk allowed to smoke. Please refer attached article.

http://www.fsnewsletter.amaravati.org/html/38/38.htm

Is it possible a person who attain Sotapanna will smoke?

Smoking does not breach the precept, but different cultures have different expectations.
In Thailand it is not unusual to see monks smoke yet in Sri Lanka it is (as I understand it).

Smoking does not cause heedlessness so is not classed in the precept.
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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: Does smoking violate fifth precept?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:48 pm

gendun wrote:Whether it is a breach of precepts is moot.

not if you are keeping the precepts and are a smoker.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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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: Does smoking violate fifth precept?

Postby gendun » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:15 pm

Cittasanto wrote:
gendun wrote:Whether it is a breach of precepts is moot.

not if you are keeping the precepts and are a smoker.

I am sorry I dont understand your reply..I thought in your previous reply you said that in your view it was not a breach of precepts..
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Re: Does smoking violate fifth precept?

Postby Jerrod Lopes » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:20 pm

I can't see how it violates the fifth precept, but it does violate the first precept.
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Re: Does smoking violate fifth precept?

Postby gendun » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:22 pm

Really ? is that a widespread Theravadin view ?
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Re: Does smoking violate fifth precept?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:27 pm

gendun wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
gendun wrote:Whether it is a breach of precepts is moot.

not if you are keeping the precepts and are a smoker.

I am sorry I dont understand your reply..I thought in your previous reply you said that in your view it was not a breach of precepts..

My previous reply was dealing with the OP, that reply was a response to what you said. It is not moot on a practical level when it comes to practising the precepts.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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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: Does smoking violate fifth precept?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:28 pm

Jerrod Lopes wrote:I can't see how it violates the fifth precept, but it does violate the first precept.

and how does it violate either?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
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: Does smoking violate fifth precept?

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:42 pm

It doesn't violate the fifth precept since it does not cause heedlessness, but as mentioned above it does violate common sense. There is no health reason (that I know of) for smoking tobacco. It is not nourishment, i.e., food, so there is no common sense reason to smoke at all and I imagine the main motivation is attachment to the sense pleasure or to the tobacco (not for me or other non-smokers, but attachment for the smokers). Thus, I don't think an anagami or arahant could smoke or want to smoke, but anything lower than an anagami could possibly still be a smoker.
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Re: Does smoking violate fifth precept?

Postby Mr Man » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:26 pm

I wouldn't judge Ajahn Chah on the fact that he smoked (see link in OP) but as a continuation this excerpt from an interview with Luang Por Jun may be of interest:

"Ajahn Chah heard a desana given by Ajahn Pannananda that discouraged smoking. He said if one couldn't let go of a tiny defilement like smoking, how could one be liberated from the big ones? Ajahn Chah contemplated this, and decided to forbid smoking on these grounds, as well as because few other Ajahns in the district smoked. He thought the resources of the laity could be put to better use. It wasn't easy for the local villagers to get cigarettes. In those days, factory-produced cigarettes weren't available and we only had the local hand-made roll-ups. Some of the monks and novices would directly ask the laity for cigarettes without a being asked if they needed anything, and this went against the bhikkhu Vinaya. He could see problems and difficulties arising because of this". http://www.fsnewsletter.amaravati.org/html/19/jun2.htm
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Re: Does smoking violate fifth precept?

Postby Jerrod Lopes » Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:51 pm

Cittasanto wrote:
Jerrod Lopes wrote:I can't see how it violates the fifth precept, but it does violate the first precept.

and how does it violate either?


It depends on how the precept is translated. There are those that translate as to abstain from killing a living being, and there are those that translate to abstain from harming any living being. I go by the latter as it makes a lot more sense to me regarding the aim of the precepts on the whole and the practice in general as well. If one abstains from harming living beings for purposes of practice, then doing something which is known to cause harm to living beings is a violation of that precept.
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Re: Does smoking violate fifth precept?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:48 pm

Jerrod Lopes wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
Jerrod Lopes wrote:I can't see how it violates the fifth precept, but it does violate the first precept.

and how does it violate either?


It depends on how the precept is translated. There are those that translate as to abstain from killing a living being, and there are those that translate to abstain from harming any living being. I go by the latter as it makes a lot more sense to me regarding the aim of the precepts on the whole and the practice in general as well. If one abstains from harming living beings for purposes of practice, then doing something which is known to cause harm to living beings is a violation of that precept.

But monks are allowed to harm living beings in specific circumstances; for example, kicking an assailant away to survive an attempted murder. Would that mean that some Vinaya laws allow for the breaking of the first precept?

I agree that we should all abstain from harming living beings whenever possible, but I think that translating the first precept as complete abstention from all possible harming leads to a lot of logical inconsistencies within the texts.

My two cents.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Does smoking violate fifth precept?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:54 pm

Jerrod Lopes wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
Jerrod Lopes wrote:I can't see how it violates the fifth precept, but it does violate the first precept.

and how does it violate either?


It depends on how the precept is translated. There are those that translate as to abstain from killing a living being, and there are those that translate to abstain from harming any living being. I go by the latter as it makes a lot more sense to me regarding the aim of the precepts on the whole and the practice in general as well. If one abstains from harming living beings for purposes of practice, then doing something which is known to cause harm to living beings is a violation of that precept.

Unfortunately that is an interpretive rendering not a literal translation of panatipata. the interpretive rendering relies on descriptions of the precepts in their eight precept form to come to this rendering as, I understand it, and although these two groups of precepts have the same worded precepts in them they can be taken as this precept is on about killing and gross forms of ill will, it os only later in the 10 wholesome actions that other forms of harm are included in abyāpannacitta "Mind subdued by benevolence".

Pāṇa - life; breath; a living being.
Atipātā - slayer; destroyer.

but :focus:

I have heard a number of stories about Ajahn Chah smoking. One actually continues the story that is within the article and I think is in the Biography?
When he quit, he wasn't actually addicted as he barely smoked, and as a result the villagers gradually stopped giving cigarets. this was no problem for Ajahn, but the other monks had some difficulties when their supply dried up.

When Ajahn Chah "quit" he didn't actually smoke because of addiction. it was so the other monks could have a supply. Ajahn Chah actually quit years before when he was still in the jungle wandering about (I think this is somewhere near his bleeding from his rectum account??). Although he is known to of had a fag on occasion after.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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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: Does smoking violate fifth precept?

Postby Jerrod Lopes » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:14 am

Honestly my eyes glaze over when Pali is used. I don't bother with it. Sorry. I'm sure the post had some good merit though. :)

I think it's silly to practice but think abstention from harming is not something not to strive for. It's as easy as you choose to make it. Somewhere the Buddha mentioned not harming a creature any smaller than the size of a flea. If it's too difficult or bothersome to do, then ignore that precept and keep the ones you can. Just be prepared to accept in kamma that results ( OK so I use some Pali words, but very few as I don't live in ancient India/Nepal and my native tongues aren't real compatible with that type of language). Surely not harming microorganisms is impossible. Not killing bacteria that harm us is impossible. The body does it automatically. The key is intent as it is with all kamma and thus, the precepts that prevent some of the worst kamma from being committed.

All of that notwithstanding, smoking still doesn't violate the 5th Precept as it is not an intoxicant that leads to heedlessness.

PS I'm not sure what Ajahn Chah himself smoking has to do with it. Perhaps he didn't know that it wasn't good for his health regardless of how often he did it. Is this to say that if Ajahn Chah did it then it's OK? I guess that follows logic if you're a follower of his. Of course cigarettes in different parts of the world vary in the degrees of toxins they may contain, but smoke is smoke. It's not good for the respiratory tract whether you're a revered monk or a schmuck from Nowheresville and it harms living creatures that normally aspirate.
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Re: Does smoking violate fifth precept?

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:11 am

All you have done here is start with a theory and twist things to fit it. Start at point 'A' and work from there, instead of point 'G' then having to guess things that are easily answered based on what is there from point 'A'. Baseless personal opinions are not proof and do not show anything.

If you read the OP you would understand the relevance of Ajahn Chah in this thread and that I was not responding directly to you there; Rather, moving back to topic.


Jerrod Lopes wrote:Honestly my eyes glaze over when Pali is used. I don't bother with it. Sorry. I'm sure the post had some good merit though. :)

I think it's silly to practice but think abstention from harming is not something not to strive for. It's as easy as you choose to make it. Somewhere the Buddha mentioned not harming a creature any smaller than the size of a flea. If it's too difficult or bothersome to do, then ignore that precept and keep the ones you can. Just be prepared to accept in kamma that results ( OK so I use some Pali words, but very few as I don't live in ancient India/Nepal and my native tongues aren't real compatible with that type of language). Surely not harming microorganisms is impossible. Not killing bacteria that harm us is impossible. The body does it automatically. The key is intent as it is with all kamma and thus, the precepts that prevent some of the worst kamma from being committed.

All of that notwithstanding, smoking still doesn't violate the 5th Precept as it is not an intoxicant that leads to heedlessness.

PS I'm not sure what Ajahn Chah himself smoking has to do with it. Perhaps he didn't know that it wasn't good for his health regardless of how often he did it. Is this to say that if Ajahn Chah did it then it's OK? I guess that follows logic if you're a follower of his. Of course cigarettes in different parts of the world vary in the degrees of toxins they may contain, but smoke is smoke. It's not good for the respiratory tract whether you're a revered monk or a schmuck from Nowheresville and it harms living creatures that normally aspirate.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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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: Does smoking violate fifth precept?

Postby Jerrod Lopes » Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:33 pm

Cittasanto wrote:All you have done here is start with a theory and twist things to fit it. Start at point 'A' and work from there, instead of point 'G' then having to guess things that are easily answered based on what is there from point 'A'. Baseless personal opinions are not proof and do not show anything.


What are you talking about, in plain terms? What theory? What twisting? What baseless personal opinions? It is obvious that smoking does not violate the 5th Precept. What else are you talking about?
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Re: Does smoking violate fifth precept?

Postby SarathW » Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:10 am

Hi all, thanks all for your replies:
There is a reason why I asked this question. I have written an article titled “Happiness without a reason” This article is proof read by a monk. He made a comment on the following paragraph to say that I should find better example.
-----
Whether a person is a Buddhist or non-Buddhist, a man or a woman, lay person or a clergyman, s/he will benefit from the fruits (Pala) of this knowledge by entering the Stream Winner path (Maga). Consider this example. There are two smokers. First, one is a heavy smoker, but he believes that smoking is bad and finds a way to quit his bad habit and with confidence he begins to work on that path but still keeps on smoking. He also believes that he himself has to work towards quitting smoking, rather than quitting by some divine intervention. The second smoker does not believe that smoking is bad and does not even bother to find a way to quit smoking. Only the first smoker will have some hope that he will quit smoking and lead a healthy life. In the same way, the Stream Winner is a person like the first smoker who has realized the ills of attachment and anger and develops the wisdom to know that there is a way to be free from the ills of life and attain Nirvana.
---
Is above statement correct and appropriate?
Your opinion is appreciated.
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Re: Does smoking violate fifth precept?

Postby manas » Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:42 am

Jerrod Lopes wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
Jerrod Lopes wrote:I can't see how it violates the fifth precept, but it does violate the first precept.

and how does it violate either?


It depends on how the precept is translated. There are those that translate as to abstain from killing a living being, and there are those that translate to abstain from harming any living being. I go by the latter as it makes a lot more sense to me regarding the aim of the precepts on the whole and the practice in general as well. If one abstains from harming living beings for purposes of practice, then doing something which is known to cause harm to living beings is a violation of that precept.


Hi Jerrod,

how far would you want to take this? Coffee is bad for your liver and kidneys. Too much sugar in high doses, over years and years, could harm your pancreas. Should we abstain from caffeine and sugar on the grounds that, one day, they *might* lead to either gallstones, kidney stones, or diabetes, and *possibly* to an early demise? Like tobacco, chocolate bars and coffee are not essential for survival...so we had better give them up too then, or we risk violating the first precept...?

:anjali:
Primum non nocere: "first, do no harm."
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Re: Does smoking violate fifth precept?

Postby Jerrod Lopes » Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:46 am

I like your paragraph. Having been a heavy smoker for 22 years, I can relate. I think it's a fair analogy as well. The only thing I see a need to change would the be the second to last word. Instead of "attain" I would suggest "realize" :quote: Nice writing though. Be well.
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