Why Buddhism views Pot as a no-no (hint: it’s not about morality)
I believe it should be legal, safe, and taxed like alcohol. But I personally don’t smoke, because I don’t find it helpful.
Either way, folks gonna smoke. Let’s pull drug culture into the open sunshine, keep it safe and healthy, and tax it: here’s a lil’ something I wrote a year ago.
My buddy D and I have had the is-pot-a-good-thing-for-humans argument for years…well before pot became more or less legal in these here parts.
I’ve smoked pot, we’ve all smoked pot. But I was brought up Buddhist, and Buddhism is all about clearing and opening and waking up one’s mind. Pot isn’t always conducive to such, though in limited and mindful quantities it can be a lot of fun, and relaxing. So I don’t smoke, and haven’t done for many, many years. (In high school, in Vermont, however, I had my bogarting everyone’s spliffs phase).
Many folks still view marijuana as immoral. Buddhism doesn’t, and I don’t. It’s about the same as alcohol, to my mind, only far less harmful (alcohol causes so many accidents, and can lead more easily to fights…pot leads to eating brownies, watching TV, deep conversations about where fire goes when it burns out, and deep conversations about Sartre, and God, and Kant). That said, from a point of view of developing one’s path of meditation, pot might not be helpful for most of us.
Still, Buddhism more or less forbids the smoking of pot. I remember my Buddhist teacher, Chogyam Trungpa, invited all his Buddhist students to bring all their pot to “a party” in the early days—and, when they got there, they were ordered/asked to throw it upon a bonfire. Smoking dope is akin to “inviting clouds of ignorance into your mind,” Trungpa Rinpoche said, or something along those lines.
I couldn’t remember the exact quote, or find it online, so I asked my momma:
From: Waylon Lewis <info at elephantjournal dot com>
Subject: Re: curious
Date: Wednesday, June 2, 2010, 1:13 PM
I looked all over…there’s lots of references to him talking about it as inviting clouds of ignorance in to your mindstream, that sort of thing, but I didn’t find an exact quote.
All I know is what I’ve told you before—Rinpoche told us in the early “70’s, after trying most everything himself without it having much of an effect on him, that we shouldn’t do drugs or grass, “Try ordinary mind instead!”—not that we knew what that was then.
But the message was at least clear to me to give up my hippie pattern of trying whatever was offered; if I were going to have a teacher, I should follow his teachings.
Later in the mid- to late ’70’s he was asked about drinking and he seemed to think that was ok because if one lost one’s mindfulness, the hangover was the re-grounding message.
In the early 80’s he also said over and over again not to mimic his life-style, but to emulate him.
This made sense as all along he had pointed out that Gampopa was not like Mila who was not like Marpa who was not like Naro who was not like Tilopa. (The monk was not like the yogi who was not like the merchant-farmer-translator who was not like the scholar of the Northern Gate of Nalanda who was not like the man along the banks of the river living off of fish heads and entrails!)
Cheers and love,
A few other perspectives: