Does the precept of no drugs or alcohol mean no coffee?

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Does the precept of no drugs or alcohol mean no coffee?

Postby Ervin » Tue May 22, 2012 10:55 am

From what I remember there are five precepts in Buddhism and they are no lying, no killing, no stiling, no sexual misconduct and no drugs or alcohol.

Now, would you say that coffee is an intoxicant that we need to stay away from? And how about psych drugs like antidepressants for instance?

I am seriously trying to quit coffee. I noticed some good benefits in the past when I quit coffee. I am finding it hard at times because of the addiction that I created by drinking coffee but I am determined to quit.

What do the rest of you have to say on this subject?

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Re: Does the precept of no drugs or alcohol mean no coffee?

Postby catmoon » Tue May 22, 2012 11:35 am

Well, if coffee goes, then tea, cocoa, cola drinks and chocolate would have to go with it.
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Re: Does the precept of no drugs or alcohol mean no coffee?

Postby Jikan » Tue May 22, 2012 12:14 pm

Cola is poison, that's for sure.

But if coffee's off the reservation, I'm not sure I can cope. :coffee:
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Re: Does the precept of no drugs or alcohol mean no coffee?

Postby Astus » Tue May 22, 2012 12:45 pm

The meaning of the fifth lay precept is to avoid a state of mind where one could easily break the first four precepts. Drinking alcohol and consuming drugs have no karmic effect in and of themselves as far as the ten good/bad deeds are concerned. Coffee, tea, different medicines, etc. don't make it any more likely to break the first four precepts, thus using or avoiding them is irrelevant to Buddhist ethics.
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Re: Does the precept of no drugs or alcohol mean no coffee?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue May 22, 2012 12:48 pm

Greetings Ervin,

Whatever the precept actually is (and I say that because there are different versions of it in different lineages), my suggestion would be to take it as it is written.

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Re: Does the precept of no drugs or alcohol mean no coffee?

Postby Caz » Tue May 22, 2012 1:08 pm

Generally its Alcohol and mind altering Drugs that are prohibited with exception for medical cases. Coffee and Tea don't Lessen your mindfulness In fact they are very helpful for a early morning Puja :)
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Re: Does the precept of no drugs or alcohol mean no coffee?

Postby Indrajala » Tue May 22, 2012 2:05 pm

"No alcohol" just refers to alcohol. It doesn't mean "intoxicants" though many interpret it to mean that without knowing the original context for the prohibition.

If you're interested in why alcohol was banned I wrote a little article on it using the Vinaya:

https://sites.google.com/site/dharmadep ... rohibition
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Re: Does the precept of no drugs or alcohol mean no coffee?

Postby Nemo » Tue May 22, 2012 5:58 pm

Last time I checked we were not Mormons.

If you have developed some negative health effects you have my sympathy. I did not like giving up coffee. I was surprised that after about 5 years when I had recovered from my injuries I could drink it again.
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Re: Does the precept of no drugs or alcohol mean no coffee?

Postby Konchog1 » Tue May 22, 2012 8:42 pm

Ervin wrote:Now, would you say that coffee is an intoxicant that we need to stay away from?
IIRC some Buddhists believe so, but the majority opinion says its fine. Of course, if you're addicted to something you should quit.


Ervin wrote:And how about psych drugs like antidepressants for instance?
Medicines don't count among intoxicants. However, I personally believe anything that changes the mind should be avoided unless it's required (e.g. suicidal desires).
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Re: Does the precept of no drugs or alcohol mean no coffee?

Postby KeithBC » Tue May 22, 2012 9:54 pm

I agree with the responses that say that the precept does not cover coffee. So, it is not required that you give it up.

On the other hand, if you perceive that addiction to caffeine is causing you problems, then I would recommend giving it up, precept or no precept. In the Mahayana tradition, you should consider yourself a bodhisattva. Anything that harms yourself is harming a bodhisattva.

Good luck!

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Re: Does the precept of no drugs or alcohol mean no coffee?

Postby DharmaKitty » Wed May 23, 2012 8:54 am

I personally like the text (translation/paraphrase) that reads :

...to refrain from intoxicants or any abuse of the senses which are the occasion for carelessness...

It is in the carelessness caused by these intoxicants that we harm others (and ourselves) and as such I prefer to refrain from them.

Coffee, for me, is not on that list! In fact, if I don't have my morning dose(s), I may cause much harm to those around me! :smile:
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Re: Does the precept of no drugs or alcohol mean no coffee?

Postby Josef » Wed May 23, 2012 9:10 am

"Does the precept of no drugs or alcohol mean no coffee?"

No.

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Re: Does the precept of no drugs or alcohol mean no coffee?

Postby Wesley1982 » Thu May 24, 2012 5:35 pm

Last I checked - drinking coffee does not have moral repercussions.
Last edited by Wesley1982 on Thu May 24, 2012 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Does the precept of no drugs or alcohol mean no coffee?

Postby Paul » Thu May 24, 2012 5:38 pm

I have heard at least one high rinpoche explicitly state no. Caffeine use in Buddhist history goes back a long way.
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Re: Does the precept of no drugs or alcohol mean no coffee?

Postby greentreee » Mon May 28, 2012 5:09 pm

:rules:


:zzz: :coffee: :techproblem: :tantrum:

:cheers: :broke: :crying:

i'd be very curious to see what list there is of "acceptable medications" for respective ailments that are permitted. i'm know how caffein works, and i've questioned what the O/P is asking, years ago. i can only imagine the uproar if dharma centers all over the world switched to decaf! quitting coffee is hard, but not as hard as cigarettes, good luck ervin!
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