Recreational Use of Cannabis

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Recreational Use of Cannabis

Postby Tom » Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:22 am

Is the recreational use of cannabis unwholesome kamma?
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Re: Recreational Use of Cannabis

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sat Sep 28, 2013 7:02 am

Yes. The use of intoxicants lead to psychiatric problems either in this life or the next. To me it was in this one. You want to get "high"? Practice metta intensively.
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Re: Recreational Use of Cannabis

Postby cooran » Sat Sep 28, 2013 7:13 am

Hello ccharles,

There are a few previous threads, this one may assist:

viewtopic.php?f=42&t=13559#p201638

With metta,
Chris
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Re: Recreational Use of Cannabis

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Sep 28, 2013 7:39 am

A Talk on Intoxicants and Gambling
“Monks, drinking intoxicants, if done frequently or habitually, leads to rebirth in hell, rebirth as an animal or as a hungry ghost. At the very least, the result of this evil deed when born as a human being is that one becomes a mad person.”¹

The same applies to other substances that cause intoxication like Cannabis, Heroine, Amphetamines, etc.

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Re: Recreational Use of Cannabis

Postby beeblebrox » Sat Sep 28, 2013 2:41 pm

Hi all,

Interestingly, Thich Nhat Hanh also includes certain types of food (i.e., junk food), movies, books, news (tabloids, gossip, etc.) to the "intoxicants" for the 5th precept (or 5th mindfulness training as it's called in his community).

I think the rationale was based on the four nutriments as described by the Buddha... so these are basically intoxicants in the edible food, sense-impression, volitional, and consciousness categories.

It seems like a very liberal interpretation compared to just alcohol and drugs, but I think there's still some insight to it. (I haven't really studied it in depth, though, to see how it would hold up under the Theravadin analysis.)

I think it's really a practice for mindful consumption... as in consuming only things that is beneficial to one's practice.

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Re: Recreational Use of Cannabis

Postby dude_different » Tue Oct 01, 2013 5:20 pm

I'm not sure a scientist would agree with the claim that Cannabis is an "intoxicant". Especially considering the fact that Cannabis heals on a cellular level; infact it uses the cells own mechanisms to repair cells. I can't find the relevant PubMed article now but i have read the research report.

If you look at the word "toxic" and Cannabis in the same sentence im sure youd be hard-pressed to link them. Especially when it has been tested and found less toxic than water... That is, if you devour 20 kilos of cannabis(as if anyone did this) youd survive fine. Whereas if you drank 20 litres of water youd probably die.

There is a small chance of psychological problems that can come from any psychedelic. But id wager to say that the people that have tried them are on a whole alot healthier than the people who hasnt... However, temperance in all things....
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Re: Recreational Use of Cannabis

Postby daverupa » Tue Oct 01, 2013 5:28 pm

dude_different wrote:I'm not sure a scientist would agree with the claim that Cannabis is an "intoxicant".


A scientist won't necessarily use the word the way it's used in the preceptual guidelines, so it's apples and oranges.

The Dhamma calls for certain behaviors in order to generate certain results, and psychoactive substances which alter perception, mood, and cognition are wild cards that simply add variable complexity to what is already the delicate and difficult task of training citta.

I can see that it has beneficial medical effects and a very tame side-effect profile; bodily health, however, is a very transitory thing, and focusing so much on the body may not be useful. As for mental health, cannabis again is indicated in some treatment plans, but mental development can occur without it, and Buddhist mental development is assisted by its lack.

It's also a sensual pleasure, which is a death knell for thinking it's harmless according to the Dhamma.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Recreational Use of Cannabis

Postby dude_different » Tue Oct 01, 2013 5:34 pm

Maybe. However iv'e found that Cannabis use has aided, rather than impaired my journey in Buddhism... To each his own. However, to me it seems cannabis aides the mind not hamper it... Then again, everyone gets different effects from cannabis. Your mileage may vary.
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Re: Recreational Use of Cannabis

Postby daverupa » Tue Oct 01, 2013 5:52 pm

dude_different wrote:iv'e found that Cannabis use has aided, rather than impaired my journey in Buddhism


So you've tried the Dhamma, but it was easier/better with cannabis alongside? I'd like to hear this story.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Recreational Use of Cannabis

Postby dude_different » Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:02 pm

No. Cannabis is not needed... Although the reason i and many other psychonauts *like* psychedelics are because they offer another perspective. If you've never tried any of this stuff or think it's the devils work you will never understand. Anyway, not to come off as rude but let me reiterate: drugs are not needed but they certainly have not been an impediment on my path... If i drank however, now that would be another story. There are many stories of people tripping on LSD and converting to buddhism afterwards for example. Drugs allow us to enter into another dimension easily, usually temporary, but not always. Many buddhists have experimented with psychedelics. I don't understand this aversion to it. It's like having an aversion to reading a book or traveling to a different country in my mind.
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Re: Recreational Use of Cannabis

Postby daverupa » Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:18 pm

dude_different wrote:I don't understand this aversion to it. It's like having an aversion to reading a book or traveling to a different country in my mind.


Well, it isn't aversion so much as "meh". I've smoked quite a bit of weed, so while mileage varies I'm thoroughly unaware of any kind of high that doesn't negatively impact mindfulness (think of it this way: is it safe to drive while drunk? No, mindfulness is impaired. Is it safe to drive while stoned? No, for the same reason. Is it possible to meditate while drunk? Not well, if at all, no. ...you see where I'm going with this).

Sure, I can end up daydreaming while in a meditation posture, but that's not at all the same thing. Sure, I can relax and play with a wide-open mind, but when does being stoned start to look like the hindrance of sloth, or torpor (or, if anxiety arises, restlessness & worry)?

So it's really just a matter of what your goals are. If you begin to pursue Buddhist goals, cannabis will eventually be seen as an anchor, not a sail.

(And, since you are keen on health, I hope that if you continue to choose to engage in civil disobedience by smoking bud that you are about 25 years old or older - any younger and cannabis is going to screw with your myelin sheathing process which can have all manner of untoward developmental effects - heads up.)

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    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Recreational Use of Cannabis

Postby Modus.Ponens » Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:34 pm

dude_different wrote:No. Cannabis is not needed... Although the reason i and many other psychonauts *like* psychedelics are because they offer another perspective. If you've never tried any of this stuff or think it's the devils work you will never understand. Anyway, not to come off as rude but let me reiterate: drugs are not needed but they certainly have not been an impediment on my path... If i drank however, now that would be another story. There are many stories of people tripping on LSD and converting to buddhism afterwards for example. Drugs allow us to enter into another dimension easily, usually temporary, but not always. Many buddhists have experimented with psychedelics. I don't understand this aversion to it. It's like having an aversion to reading a book or traveling to a different country in my mind.


You know 3 things:

1- Meditation leads to nirvana.
2- Psychadelics/cannabis are not needed to get to nirvana.
3- Psychadelics and cannabis have a good deal of risk of inducing acute psychosis, something that not even meditation can handle.

So I ask you: why, if not because of attachment to these drugs, do you take them? It's so in-your-face that you can't see it! Atachment. That's all.

You can go round and around with this argument without seeing the obvious.
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Re: Recreational Use of Cannabis

Postby Viscid » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:20 pm

There is a certain hypocrisy with Buddhists who appeal to Jhana, an altered state of consciousness, as a means toward insight, but then dismiss any sort of mind-altering substances as void of value. All things in the world, if looked with enough objective scrutiny, offer the potential for insight.. the state of the mind when intoxicated included. The actual risk when using these drugs is that they require no sort of discipline to be developed, which a skillful meditation practice does-- so despite, potentially, having gaining genuine insight about the nature of consciousness or the world, your mind will remain its old suffering self.
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Re: Recreational Use of Cannabis

Postby Bodhisurfer » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:50 pm

drug taking has been around a long long time and many cultures/religions promote its use. In Buddhism we dont. Like many people I experimented with most kinds of drugs and alcohol -my experience was that while sometimes they can be a source of temporary 'fun' more often than not they lead to suffering.

The dhamma is a path and requires dedication and discipline to progress. I dont beleive intoxicants are conducive to either.
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Re: Recreational Use of Cannabis

Postby daverupa » Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:31 pm

Viscid wrote:All things in the world, if looked with enough objective scrutiny, offer the potential for insight.. the state of the mind when intoxicated included.


This might be an interesting thread: is yoniso manasikara possible while intoxicated? I think it's a simple answer, but it might be worth an exploration since this comes up fairly regularly.

Viscid wrote:having gaining genuine insight about the nature of consciousness or the world, your mind will remain its old suffering self.


This ignores conditionality altogether, doesn't it? "Remain its old", indeed...

:tongue:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Recreational Use of Cannabis

Postby Viscid » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:07 am

daverupa wrote:
Viscid wrote:All things in the world, if looked with enough objective scrutiny, offer the potential for insight.. the state of the mind when intoxicated included.
This might be an interesting thread: is yoniso manasikara possible while intoxicated? I think it's a simple answer, but it might be worth an exploration since this comes up fairly regularly.


Thrilled to investigate this.

First, what do we mean by 'intoxicated?' My original post was referring mainly to psychedelics, particularly LSD. Generally people who are tripping on LSD don't even refer to the experience as being one of 'intoxication,' but let's say it is. If so, then not all intoxicated states are equal. Some, as with alcohol, are extremely dulling and would likely hinder one's ability to wisely reflect, and others may interfere less with the conditions appropriate for yoniso manasikara.

Whether one can reflect wisely while intoxicated is also dependent on their intentions in becoming intoxicated in the first place-- if they became intoxicated for the purpose of escape, it's unlikely they're going to utilize the intoxicated state as an object of reflection. In Western culture drugs are generally used to escape mundanity, so it's unlikely an intoxicated Westerner will be applying yoniso manasikara. In cultures with an established shamanic tradition, I argue, where ingestion of 'intoxicating' substances is a serious, sacred act, I have absolute conviction that yoniso manasikara is present.

daverupa wrote:
Viscid wrote:having gaining genuine insight about the nature of consciousness or the world, your mind will remain its old suffering self.
This ignores conditionality altogether, doesn't it? "Remain its old", indeed... :tongue:


If someone on LSD had 'insight' into impermanence-- if they, in the middle of the trip, realized 'nothing lasts!' I would say that such a thing is a genuine insight, a Buddhist insight, one that could potentially lead to dispassion-- but it's unlikely to have a profound long-term impact on the individual.. they will sober up and gradually forget about that insight. Having an established Vipassana practice however, allows the meditator to habitually reinforce dispassion toward the world.
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Re: Recreational Use of Cannabis

Postby daverupa » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:56 am

Viscid wrote:where ingestion of 'intoxicating' substances is a serious, sacred act, I have absolute conviction that yoniso manasikara is present.


You are going to have to argue that the asavas dealt with in MN 2 via yoniso manasikara are capable of being as skillfully dealt with 'intoxicated' vs. sober. Any particular state via any particular substance(s) can be plugged in for 'intoxicated', and the question posed.

We probably agree that alcohol, for example, is going to obstruct efforts to tolerate ill-spoken words, say, or to develop analysis-of-factors. I am under the strong impression that cannabis also, to one degree or another, impacts these efforts in an obstructive way. A negative seems to be clearly in view, and I think we are able to define 'intoxicants' generally as all psychoactive compounds, noting differences of degree.

As for benefits,

If someone on LSD had 'insight' into impermanence-- if they, in the middle of the trip, realized 'nothing lasts!' I would say that such a thing is a genuine insight, a Buddhist insight, one that could potentially lead to dispassion-- but it's unlikely to have a profound long-term impact on the individual.. they will sober up and gradually forget about that insight. Having an established Vipassana practice however, allows the meditator to habitually reinforce dispassion toward the world.


So the drug insight (:interrobang:) likely has no lasting effect, only a dedicated practice does... where is the argument for recreational use alongside Dhamma practice?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Recreational Use of Cannabis

Postby Viscid » Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:13 am

daverupa wrote:where is the argument for recreational use alongside Dhamma practice?


I wasn't intending to argue for recreational use alongside Dhamma practice, only that it is possible to have insight about the mind or the world while intoxicated. Recreation isn't conductive to Dhamma practice no matter what the source.

daverupa wrote:You are going to have to argue that the asavas dealt with in MN 2 via yoniso manasikara are capable of being as skillfully dealt with 'intoxicated' vs. sober. Any particular state via any particular substance(s) can be plugged in for 'intoxicated', and the question posed.


It'd be a difficult thing to argue, but I don't think it's impossible to develop the skill to 'deal with' asavas while under the influence of a substance. We cannot say that any substance definitely prohibits the application of such skill.
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Re: Recreational Use of Cannabis

Postby daverupa » Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:50 am

Viscid wrote:
daverupa wrote:You are going to have to argue that the asavas dealt with in MN 2 via yoniso manasikara are capable of being as skillfully dealt with 'intoxicated' vs. sober. Any particular state via any particular substance(s) can be plugged in for 'intoxicated', and the question posed.


It'd be a difficult thing to argue, but I don't think it's impossible to develop the skill to 'deal with' asavas while under the influence of a substance. We cannot say that any substance definitely prohibits the application of such skill.


I think the presence of medically-applied psychoactive compounds can be dealt with and worked around, but I do not think that recreationally-applied psychoactive compounds are able to improve upon the sober state in terms of Dhamma practice.

---

EDIT: nested quote formatting
Last edited by daverupa on Thu Oct 03, 2013 1:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Recreational Use of Cannabis

Postby Viscid » Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:09 pm

daverupa wrote:I think the presence of medically-applied psychoactive compounds can be dealt with and worked around, but I do not think that recreationally-applied psychoactive compounds are able to improve upon the sober state in terms of Dhamma practice.


So we agree that the intent in taking these compounds determines whether their use is blameworthy. If one intends to use them for recreational purposes, then that person is blameworthy.. if the intent is to use them for strictly medical purposes, then they're not.

As for an improvement upon the sober state:
The only way we could justify that a substance was an improvement upon the sober state is by demonstrating that their effects (such as caffeine's ability to make one more attentive) are of benefit to practice. Marijuana, as far as I know, has no such beneficial effects. In fact, we can point to marijuana's induction of lethargy as being absolutely counter to the development of Buddhist practice. I don't think being periodically lethargic is, in itself, prohibitive to the possibility of gaining benefit from Buddhist practice (regular recreational marijuana users may still improve on their meditation and cultivation of virtue) but the recreational intent and lethargic effects of marijuana use is definitely an impedance to practice.

What I would ideally like to come up with is an alternative to the puritanical reaction one receives when discussing this sort of drug use within a religious context (I'm pretty sure having wine over dinner isn't going to cause one to be reborn in Hell.) Such an alternative response would come in the form "You should not take substance X because of effect Y which is of detriment to aspect Z in the pursuit of virtue or meditative skill."
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