Problem with the 5th precept

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Re: Problem with the 5th precept

Postby Seishin » Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:20 pm

Zealot wrote:All of these factors, however, can be overcome with the proper mindfulness, acceptance, concentration, or moreover willpower.


Mindfulness and willpower can stop chemicals effecting the body? I'd be interested to see what your source of this.

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Re: Problem with the 5th precept

Postby Zealot » Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:32 pm

editedBecause I smoked pot, not matter the circumstance, these things will affect me? edited

You don't think with concentration we have complete control over our bodies? I'm not saying it isn't easy or doesn't have to be developed, I'm just saying it's possible.

editedI wasn't talking about chemical effects, I was talking about notable changes in consciousness due to smoking.edited

edited: it looks happier now
Last edited by Zealot on Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Problem with the 5th precept

Postby Seishin » Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:51 pm

Please calm down. I was really interested in your post and I agreed with all of it until you said that with mindfulness you can control the effects of pot. I would like to know where you got that idea from.
Please, I'm not trying to start an arguement, but it is customery and common courtesy on a Buddhist forum to provide sources for our claims when asked. :smile:

Also, if you do not think the effects are caused by chemicals where do you think they come from?

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Re: Problem with the 5th precept

Postby Zealot » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:02 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_cannabis
http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view ... nID=000640

Apologies. You do have a tendency to rile me up, Seishen. But I cannot blame you for that, only myself. So again, I'm sorry :)

Personal experience mostly. Well, it's common knowledge that cannabis contains the psychoactive compound THC which causes the change in perception. I do believe that in smoking you are giving yourself to the herb, and I think the experiences and change in consciousness come from such. If you submit fully, you will be fully overcome and intoxicated by the substance. But if you resist and insist that you are separate from the substance, then perhaps only the bodily functions (eg appetite stimulus, pain reduction) are the only ones experienced.

I think as observers we stimulate our own brain just like smoking provides stimuli. I decide I'm more powerful stimuli than the herb I smoke I suppose.

The idea also stems from anatman. Whatever I do to my body, it is not the observer who is being affected but perhaps levels of consciousness, feeling, and ego. So if I accept I am not part of these things, how can they affect me?

How do we control ourselves? Where are we separated from the body we control? How does smoking cannabis alter any of this?

Oh, how you stir up more questions in my mind....
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Re: Problem with the 5th precept

Postby CrawfordHollow » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:05 pm

It seems that pot is a hard substance to pin down, and maybe it isn't worth trying to make generalizations about its effects.
Marijuana can have completely different effects on different people, and a number of factors can contribute to this.

At this point in the conversation I honestly am not sure what is being debated. Are we trying to decide if pot is a legitimate substance for medicinal use, or are we trying to decide if the 5th precept should make allowances for marijuana use; in which case we would be debating if pot is an intoxicant or not. Or are we trying to prove that mindfulness can or can't be maintained while under the influence of pot? These subjects are rather distinct and I would have to say that my opinion varies on them. When it comes to the precetps, I would say that anyone taking formal vows against the use of intoxicants should not smoke weed. So what exactly are we trying to debate here? I think that it is possible to maintain a degree of mindfulness while under the influence of weed, but I believe that if you are a serious practicitoner that at some point it will become an obstacle. I firmly believe that more advanced practices would be impossible while under the influece of any substance, because these practices (and I'm thinking Vajrayana here) depend upon our system of channels and elements to be in complete balance. So this is a complex issue. As far as Zealot is concerned, I think that at this point we should not be too demanding on him to change his ways, but again I would definately discourage him from taking vows at this point in his practice.

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Re: Problem with the 5th precept

Postby Zealot » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:12 pm

I'm working my way towards my vows, and as seeing cannabis as a medicine. I take all of this debate internally and it wriggles and writhes inside of me. When I smoke now, I do so in private, and with all the concentration and mindfulness I am currently capable of. I ask myself, "Why do I want this? When will enough be enough? Will it ever be enough? Am I just playing into the Samsaric realm? What am I looking for?" I observe. I am critical. I believe the change needs to be made, but I don't want it enough in my present situation to make it. So I turn externally.

I am practicing.
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Re: Problem with the 5th precept

Postby Zealot » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:32 pm

Troy,

I am interested in these channels and the Vajrayana meditation you wrote of. Could you reference me a good place to start reading on them? Also, any scientific basis for these channels would also greatly interest me. I have always had some faith in systems such as that or similar ones, however, I never have had a basis for understanding or truly accepting them.

Trying to stay humble,
Zealot

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Re: Problem with the 5th precept

Postby Seishin » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:33 pm

Zealot wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_cannabis
http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view ... nID=000640

Apologies. You do have a tendency to rile me up, Seishen. But I cannot blame you for that, only myself. So again, I'm sorry :)


That's ok. It's also worth taking heed that pot has been linked to paranoia

Zealot wrote:Personal experience mostly. Well, it's common knowledge that cannabis contains the psychoactive compound THC which causes the change in perception. I do believe that in smoking you are giving yourself to the herb, and I think the experiences and change in consciousness come from such. If you submit fully, you will be fully overcome and intoxicated by the substance. But if you resist and insist that you are separate from the substance, then perhaps only the bodily functions (eg appetite stimulus, pain reduction) are the only ones experienced.


THC has different effects on different people like most substances. However I'm incredibly skeptical that you are able to control the drug with your mind. It's a bit like saying you can control morphine or alcohol. It doesn't add up

Zealot wrote:I think as observers we stimulate our own brain just like smoking provides stimuli. I decide I'm more powerful stimuli than the herb I smoke I suppose.

If your mind is more powerful, then you should be able to produce the same medicinal benefits with your own mind. Wouldn't you? :shrug:

Zealot wrote:The idea also stems from anatman. Whatever I do to my body, it is not the observer who is being affected but perhaps levels of consciousness, feeling, and ego. So if I accept I am not part of these things, how can they affect me?.

For a high level yogi, lama, master etc maybe but for a beginner or even someone going 10years plus this would be near impossible. This is also a slightly warped idea of anatman, but that's for another thread :tongue:

Zealot wrote:How do we control ourselves? Where are we separated from the body we control? How does smoking cannabis alter any of this?
A strong meditation practice :smile:

Zealot wrote:Oh, how you stir up more questions in my mind....

We must constantly question ourselves and it's even more benefition when other people question our minds. This is why a sangha (and teacher) is important IMHO.

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Re: Problem with the 5th precept

Postby Seishin » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:34 pm

CrawfordHollow wrote:It seems that pot is a hard substance to pin down, and maybe it isn't worth trying to make generalizations about its effects.
Marijuana can have completely different effects on different people, and a number of factors can contribute to this.

At this point in the conversation I honestly am not sure what is being debated. Are we trying to decide if pot is a legitimate substance for medicinal use, or are we trying to decide if the 5th precept should make allowances for marijuana use; in which case we would be debating if pot is an intoxicant or not. Or are we trying to prove that mindfulness can or can't be maintained while under the influence of pot? These subjects are rather distinct and I would have to say that my opinion varies on them. When it comes to the precetps, I would say that anyone taking formal vows against the use of intoxicants should not smoke weed. So what exactly are we trying to debate here? I think that it is possible to maintain a degree of mindfulness while under the influence of weed, but I believe that if you are a serious practicitoner that at some point it will become an obstacle. I firmly believe that more advanced practices would be impossible while under the influece of any substance, because these practices (and I'm thinking Vajrayana here) depend upon our system of channels and elements to be in complete balance. So this is a complex issue. As far as Zealot is concerned, I think that at this point we should not be too demanding on him to change his ways, but again I would definately discourage him from taking vows at this point in his practice.

Troy


Agreed

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Re: Problem with the 5th precept

Postby Zealot » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:45 pm

Well, the question still arises within me: Why do I desire this?

Alcohol and morphine are quite different compounds from CBD's and THC. One is a central nervous system depressant, and the other is poison. I find your correlation produces my own skepticism :)
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Re: Problem with the 5th precept

Postby Seishin » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:51 pm

Zealot wrote:Well, the question still arises within me: Why do I desire this?

Alcohol and morphine are quite different compounds from CBD's and THC. One is a central nervous system depressant, and the other is poison. I find your correlation produces my own skepticism :)


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Re: Problem with the 5th precept

Postby Zealot » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:00 pm

*ahem* Skepticism that you grouping a psychoactive compound with those two means anything :P
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Re: Problem with the 5th precept

Postby CrawfordHollow » Sat Nov 10, 2012 2:46 am

Zealot,

of course you are "playing into the Samsaric realm." We all are. You can call your pot medicine, and somebody else could call it poison, but it really doesn't matter. If you hold onto acceptance and rejection, you are in samsara. Acceptance and rejection, hope and fear, subject and object; these are all the realm of duality, which is the mark of samsara. Why is it that you happen to desire this substance? Because you are a sentient being wandering in samsara. You are going to have allfictions and obscurations; desires and addictions of all kinds. If you can recognize and accept this then you can truly say that you are on the spiritual path.

Right now you are spending a lot of energy obsessing and rationalizing your marijuana use. Maybe you should just let that go for now. I can assure you that your energy would be much better spent practicing and studying the Dharma. I think that you have good intentions and are doing as little harm as possible. That is great! I am not going to tell you that you should continue to smoke pot forevor, but I am also not going to tell you that you absolutely must stop this second. I have a feeling that if you take up practice in a sincere way then this will work itself out very naturally. Is pot medicine? Is it a drug? Is it good? Is it bad? You will never come to a definitive conclusion about this because these are all concepts. You are just daydreaming. I think its time to let that go for now. Put that mind of yours to some good use. Practice shamatha, practice tonglen, study, find a teacher, make aspiration prayers...

It is said that the difference between a Buddha and an ignorant sentient lies between knowing and not knowing the nature of your own mind. Lets see if you can find that knowledge.

Yours truly,
a totally ignorant, addicted, and senseless sentient being,
Troy
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Re: Problem with the 5th precept

Postby Seishin » Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:01 am

It may be worth noting that the following characteristics are resolved through meditation

Zealot wrote:Impairment - Grasping
Anxiety - Forgetfulness
Confusion - Loss of concentration
Sloth


And the following characteristics are created through meditation
Zealot wrote:Relief of Tension
Reduction of Pain
Healing


Therefore, there would be no need for smoking pot as meditation will give all the benefits and take away the negatives. :smile:

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Re: Problem with the 5th precept

Postby Zealot » Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:10 pm

Fantastic points! Thank you Seishen and Troy for your contributions. You are both absolutely right! Also, Troy, I am trying very hard to spend more time cultivating a practicing mentality and less time debating my illusions and desires. If the desire arises from nothing and I cannot see it as nothing or let it dissolve back into nothing, I give in, and try to be as mindful as possible whenever I choose to smoke now.

It is also so that I still cannot see hallucinogens as drugs, poisons, or the like; however, I can see when I thing makes me intoxicated and am intimate with the knowledge that my practice will eventually reach a stand-still if I do not eventually end my grasping.

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Re: Problem with the 5th precept

Postby Seishin » Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:37 pm

:smile:
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Re: Problem with the 5th precept

Postby GarcherLancelot » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:06 am

:alien: :alien: :alien: @Well,what happens if you break a precept?.. .
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Re: Problem with the 5th precept

Postby CrawfordHollow » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:14 pm

It depends if you have formally taken the precept or not, in which case one should not be smoking pot at all, regardless of how they view the substance. But generally any Hinayana precept must be either given back or taken again within a certain amount of time, unlike the Mahayana and Vajrayana vows which are constantly being broken and restored. I am no expert, mind you.
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Re: Problem with the 5th precept

Postby GarcherLancelot » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:35 pm

I mean will there be any karmic consequences?.. .
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Re: Problem with the 5th precept

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:12 pm

GarcherLancelot wrote:I mean will there be any karmic consequences?.. .


There are descriptions of all sorts of hells, mountaiuns of knife blades and metal dogs with big teeth and things like that.
A person tends to take these as literal
or as metaphoric expressions of self-induced misery
depending on how one thinks about them.
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