With the fifth precept and the specific effect of the drug, it is somewhat ambiguous. The Pāḷi and the translation of the precept is:
Note that it is mentioned "causing heedlessness". Caffeine, especially at certain occasions, does quite the opposite.Surāmeraya majja pamādaṭṭhānā sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi
I undertake to observe the precept to abstain from intoxicating drinks and drugs causing heedlessness.
- Would it therefore be fine, since it doesn't cause heedlessness (rhetorical question)?
- If someone were to agree, why couldn't chewing on coca leaves (used for making cocaine, but contains little of the active drug) be fine? What about smart drugs/nootropics?
- And even if it does not cause heedlessness, does it go against the general spirit of the precept?
Another thing I understand about caffeine is that if someone consumes it every day, he feels energetic and normal, but in reality, if he were to not drink his daily coffee, he would be mentally sluggish and "in the negative", so to speak. To feel normal, as if he were healthy and not consuming caffeine, he needs his daily dose of the drug. Is he dependent on caffeine to feel normal, therefore addicted, in a way?
How do you see caffeine? How is it seen in the monastic community?
NOTE: I know that coffee and chocolate don't break the fifth precept. Since with caffeinated products, it is a peculiar situation, it simply could be an interesting topic of discussion.