Buddhism and smoking, what's your thoughts?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 21207
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Is tobacco a drug

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:52 am

BlackBird wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
BlackBird wrote:The nature of your rhetoric isn't going to make smokers feel good, put it that way.
But rehashing a century old argument won't convince them to quit either.


It is hardly "a century old argument."


Again, you're quite correct. It's been going on for several centuries.


There is that; however, I am referring to the modern 1960’s onwards issue health research. Before that, in the West, tobacco was an accepted given. “Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.”

BB wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And there is no reason smokers should feel good about smoking; it is destructive to them and to those around them.


It's hardly destructive to those around them.


Of course there is second hand smoke, itself a serious problem, but the pain of watching a loved one die from a tobacco related illness, or a loved one struggling to breathe because his or her lung are turned to garbage by the tar and other crap in cigarettes, is destructive.

Nor does the smoker, increasingly relegated to smoking in private


Which is where it should be. And far away from children.

I would be more inclined to think the negative cost of smoking is by in large, one's own health, in which case I return to my statement - Why go around making smokers feel bad about it?


Which is a very narrow, very limited, one-eyed point of view. One’s own health goes to hell because of one’s addiction to smoking, it has no effect on one’s loved ones? Smokers aren’t evil. Tobacco executives are, for knowing the dangers of cigarettes, for making cigarettes more addictive and for keeping that all secret until finally outed by one of their own. Smokers, who most often start very young, have made poor, immature choices, often suckered by the tobacco suits into thinking smoking is something special, something that will make one feel special.

What is there to feel good about smoking? Your bad breath, that you are turning your lungs into garbage, likely shortening your life span, the money waste on buying cigarettes, that you stink like an ashtray after smoking a cigarette? All of the for a nicotine buzz and feeling cool because you have a fag hanging out you mouth?

Finally, let me ask you this Tilt, how does the way you have written your words in this thread, stack up against the Buddha's criteria for right speech?


I have no problem with what I have written. As a health care giver, I have seen repeatedly the aftermath of smoking and the pain on the faces and in the voices of the families involved. There is no defense for smoking.
.


++++++++++++++++
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

There is freedom from birth, freedom from becoming, freedom from making, freedom from conditioning. If there were not this freedom from birth, freedom from becoming, freedom from making, freedom from conditioning, then escape from that which is birth, becoming, making, conditioning, would not be known here. -- Ud 80

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam
Damned if I know.

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 21207
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Is tobacco a drug

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:09 am

And I would also add I have seen the pain and unbelievable regret on the faces and in the voices of the smoking victims. There is no defense for smoking.
.


++++++++++++++++
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

There is freedom from birth, freedom from becoming, freedom from making, freedom from conditioning. If there were not this freedom from birth, freedom from becoming, freedom from making, freedom from conditioning, then escape from that which is birth, becoming, making, conditioning, would not be known here. -- Ud 80

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam
Damned if I know.

User avatar
BlackBird
Posts: 1872
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Is tobacco a drug

Postby BlackBird » Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:30 am

Conceded, on all points.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 21207
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Is tobacco a drug

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:43 am

BlackBird wrote:Conceded, on all points.


Thank you. Consession is, however, not necessary.
.


++++++++++++++++
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

There is freedom from birth, freedom from becoming, freedom from making, freedom from conditioning. If there were not this freedom from birth, freedom from becoming, freedom from making, freedom from conditioning, then escape from that which is birth, becoming, making, conditioning, would not be known here. -- Ud 80

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam
Damned if I know.

User avatar
Ngawang Drolma.
Posts: 805
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:38 pm

Re: Is tobacco a drug

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:32 pm

Sorry, I haven't read through this whole thread but I'm popping in with my two cents.
Cigarettes send a small surge of endorphins to the brain. That's part of why smokers love it. Especially depressed smokers.

So in my book, it's a drug. A drug that I'm horribly addicted to.

:anjali:

User avatar
Annapurna
Posts: 2639
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:04 pm
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Is tobacco a drug

Postby Annapurna » Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:05 pm

Oh, dear! :(

If you like, send a PM and I tell you how I stopped.

I was most horribly addicted too.

One night, I woke up and thought:

3 am?...smoke one.
:jumping:

Lit a cigarette in bed and smoked it.

Because I'd fallen asleep before doing that, I held my arm up high into the air, and was so content with my cleverness, that I was sound asleep shortly after. :lol:

The cigarette fell.

Onto me.

Into my décolleté :shock:

I woke up from the pain, jumped up, hit my head on the wall, had the burning cigarette falling down further within my nightgown, was shaking my nightgown like crazy, because that damn thing was HOT!

I am not inventing this, but from my night gown....it fell into the small gap between the 2 beds, and I could see it glow and burn the carpet ...

I aimed well, and spit on it....out....


:rofl:

That was just one of the incidents that made me wish to stop...

...another was...taking a shower, and thinking the doorbell rang...

I turned off the water, and held my breath to listen if it rings indeed....nothing....

:?:

Back into the water, same sensation again....

It took me a while to figure out that my windpipe made this weird sound

:lol:



:hello:
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

User avatar
Pannapetar
Posts: 327
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:05 am
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Contact:

Re: Is tobacco a drug

Postby Pannapetar » Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:40 am

Tobacco is definitely a drug and nicotine is definitely an intoxicant. I can say this from my own (unpleasant) experience as well as from a scientific point of view. Nicotine is a highly toxic and addictive stimulant. There should be little confusion around this question.

in·tox·i·cate (n-tks-kt)
v. in·tox·i·cat·ed, in·tox·i·cat·ing, in·tox·i·cates
v.tr.
1. To stupefy or excite by the action of a chemical substance such as alcohol.
2. To stimulate or excite: "a man whom life intoxicates, who has no need of wine" (Anaïs Nin).
3. To poison.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/intoxicate


Thus smoking is definitely incompatible with the 5th precept. The reason why cigarettes are treated differently from alcohol in most sanghas has to do with conventions and traditions, rather than with objective criteria.

Cheers, Thomas

User avatar
Macavity
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:36 am
Location: Thailand

Re: Is tobacco a drug

Postby Macavity » Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:00 am

Pannapetar wrote:Tobacco is definitely a drug and nicotine is definitely an intoxicant. I can say this from my own (unpleasant) experience as well as from a scientific point of view. Nicotine is a highly toxic and addictive stimulant. There should be little confusion around this question.

in·tox·i·cate (n-tks-kt)
v. in·tox·i·cat·ed, in·tox·i·cat·ing, in·tox·i·cates
v.tr.
1. To stupefy or excite by the action of a chemical substance such as alcohol.
2. To stimulate or excite: "a man whom life intoxicates, who has no need of wine" (Anaïs Nin).
3. To poison.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/intoxicate


Thus smoking is definitely incompatible with the 5th precept. The reason why cigarettes are treated differently from alcohol in most sanghas has to do with conventions and traditions, rather than with objective criteria.



I don't agree. I used to smoke two packs a day and the cigarettes neither stupefied me nor excited me. So that's your first two definitions out. All that the cigarettes did was to provide temporary relief from the misery of craving a cigarette but not having one.

As for the third definition, it's true that nicotine poisons you, but the the fifth precept isn't about intoxication in this sense. And so although smoking is undesirable, I'd say it's no more against the fifth precept than, say, indulging an addiction to cholesterol-rich cream cakes.

User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
Posts: 17090
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: War.loun.dig.er.ler
Contact:

Re: Is tobacco a drug

Postby Ben » Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:10 am

I'd have to agree with Macavity. Nicotine doesn't have the same consciousness altering properties as alcohol, emphetamines, cannabis, heroin, cocaine etc.
Nicotine is definitely a very toxic poison, as per the extract from the PIM substance datasheet in one of my earlier posts, but being a poison doesn't necessarily mean that it intoxicates.
Kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

User avatar
Pannapetar
Posts: 327
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:05 am
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Contact:

Re: Is tobacco a drug

Postby Pannapetar » Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:29 pm

Macavity wrote:I used to smoke two packs a day and the cigarettes neither stupefied me nor excited me.


The fact that -as a heavy smoker- one is desensitized to the stimulating effect of nicotine does not mean that there is no effect. Nicotine is a stimulant. A stimulant excites. Therefore, nicotine is one type of intoxicant, though its psychoactive effect is relatively mild. I am afraid this is a scientific fact and therefore it's not really open to discussion. At best you could argue that "mild stimulants" should not be included in the precept. But then we are arguing semantics. Clearly, the more pernicious property of nicotine is its addictiveness, and it does cause "heedlessness" as beautifully evidenced in previous posts of this thread.

Macavity wrote:As for the third definition, it's true that nicotine poisons you, but the the fifth precept isn't about intoxication in this sense.


That maybe your interpretation. I interpret the fifth precept in the sense of in-toxicants in the literal sense, where it means poison. One should abstain from poisoning the body and the mind, especially with substances that are detrimental to samadhi. A formulation in this spirit was given by Thich Nhat Hanh in what he calls the Five Mindfulness Trainings. This represents in my view the most complete understanding of the spirit of the precepts.

Cheers, Thomas

User avatar
Jechbi
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am
Contact:

Re: Is tobacco a drug

Postby Jechbi » Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:38 pm

Pannapetar wrote:I interpret the fifth precept in the sense of in-toxicants in the literal sense, where it means poison.

Well there goes my 32-ounce Coca Cola. And my coffee. And my tea, I guess, cuz it has a little bit of caffeine. And my orange juice if it happens to ferment somewhat and contain a trace of alcohol. And my butter. And my donuts.

D'oh!
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

User avatar
Pannapetar
Posts: 327
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:05 am
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Contact:

Re: Is tobacco a drug

Postby Pannapetar » Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:05 pm

Jechbi wrote:Well there goes my 32-ounce Coca Cola. And my coffee. And my tea, I guess, cuz it has a little bit of caffeine. And my orange juice if it happens to ferment somewhat and contain a trace of alcohol. And my butter. And my donuts.


It ain't easy bein' a Buddhist! :tongue:

I guess the key is moderation. For example, I like to drink green tea. But tea is a stimulant and I can feel that is has an effect on my meditation practice, at least, if I drink more than three cups per day. So for now, I set myself a limit of three cups.

The important thing is: I don't find it meaningful to ban alcohol completely while at the same time okaying heavy smoking. This is in my view living by the letter of the precepts rather than by its spirit. The ancient adage "moderation in all things" (was it Aristotle?) seems much closer to the idea of the "middle way".

Cheers, Thomas

User avatar
Jechbi
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am
Contact:

Re: Is tobacco a drug

Postby Jechbi » Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:33 pm

Pannapetar wrote:I guess the key is moderation. ... The ancient adage "moderation in all things" (was it Aristotle?) seems much closer to the idea of the "middle way".

So a moderate amount of poison is ok then? Like maybe one smoke a week?
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

User avatar
Pannapetar
Posts: 327
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:05 am
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Contact:

Re: Is tobacco a drug

Postby Pannapetar » Fri Jul 31, 2009 1:34 am

Jechbi wrote:So a moderate amount of poison is ok then? Like maybe one smoke a week?


I suppose so. But have you ever seen anybody who smokes one cigarette per week?

Cheers, Thomas

sundara
Posts: 71
Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:55 pm

Re: Is tobacco a drug

Postby sundara » Thu Aug 06, 2009 6:57 pm

Tobacco is a drug, I feel nausiating if the monks don't include that in the 5th precept , that's a big fault on Buddhism's part if they don't include that. Nicotine is a powerful drug. One drop of nicotine can kill a horse. Nicotine stupifies and it's harmful to the body. And also it's causing the 2nd Noble truth to work and hence make the 1st Noble truth to function.

User avatar
BlackBird
Posts: 1872
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Is tobacco a drug

Postby BlackBird » Tue Aug 11, 2009 2:16 am

sundara wrote:Tobacco is a drug, I feel nausiating if the monks don't include that in the 5th precept , that's a big fault on Buddhism's part if they don't include that. Nicotine is a powerful drug.


I don't think it's fair to critisise the Sangha at large for the acts of some Monks.
So far the consensus tends to be that although Tobacco is a harmful poison, it does not violate the 5th precept because it does not unto itself, cause people to act in a unskillful way.

That's not to say it's accepted by the Sangha at large, in the branch monastery of the Ajahn Chah lineage that I stayed at, smoking wasn't really acceptable conduct. I think that many amongst the Western Sangha realise that smoking has the potential to cause criticism.

If you feel nausiated by the idea that some monks smoke, or allow others to smoke, then perhaps one might like to examine one's views, and see what is really causing the bad feelings. Suffering is not reliant upon an external source - It comes from within.

Be well my friend

:anjali:
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
Posts: 2448
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Five Years for Smoking!

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:18 pm

Bhutan monk faces jail for anti-smoking law violation

Never mind. He can do a bit more meditation than usual.
AIM WebsitePāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

User avatar
retrofuturist
Posts: 15729
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Five Years for Smoking!

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:49 pm

Greetings bhante,

It adds a new flavour to the term 'meditation cell'.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"When we transcend one level of truth, the new level becomes what is true for us. The previous one is now false. What one experiences may not be what is experienced by the world in general, but that may well be truer. (Ven. Nanananda)

“I hope, Anuruddha, that you are all living in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes.” (MN 31)

Never again...

User avatar
Aloka
Posts: 4432
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Five Years for Smoking!

Postby Aloka » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:53 pm

It doesn't say anything about breaking vows - are monks allowed to smoke/chew tobacco ? I thought tobacco was classed as an intoxicant.

User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
Posts: 2448
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: Five Years for Smoking!

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:43 pm

Aloka wrote:It doesn't say anything about breaking vows - are monks allowed to smoke/chew tobacco ? I thought tobacco was classed as an intoxicant.
It is not really clear from the Vinaya rules. What rule would it be violating? It could be classed as an intoxicant, I suppose, but that is dubious.

However, this case is different:
"We will charge him with smuggling of controlled material, which is a fourth degree felony," an official of the Bhutanese Narcotic Drug and Law Enforcement unit told the BBC.
Smuggling contraband is an offence of defeat for a bhikkhu. Depending on what exactly the bhikkhu did in this case, he may have fallen into an offence of defeat.
AIM WebsitePāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)


Return to “General Theravāda discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bundokji, Coyote, Dan74, nmz and 6 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine