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Serious question – Siddharta Gautama and marijuana

Ok,
The 5th precept as we all know has been commonly associated with abstaining from taking intoxicants. Precepts, we must remember are closer to guidelines not strict rules
The 5th precept..though has been difficult to be directly translated . it is somewhat blurry in its meaning from its Sanksrit form

Liberal translations taken of the 5th precept say that one should not become intoxicated from taking these drugs.

Anyway, This post is not coming from a marijuana user. I am just commenting in an all seriousness. about the kinda urban myth that Siddharta Gautama lived primarily on marijuana seeds and lived through the early years before his enlightenment. Where did this originate from and how plausible is this? Everywhere i searched this it has always been from some skewed marijuana smoking site advocating marijuana use, cant seem to find any real basis for this theory.

Marijuana has in ancient times have commonly been associated with mystical practises, from Hindu worship, use of meditation. Same with Sufism and that

It seems to me that marijuana use has spirtually been not some form of dependency or kind of attachment, or even a direct act of unison with god or the divine formless (awakening), but more of a ritual form, that is not meant to lead to any attachments.

Anyway feel free to leave comments and hopefully clear things up a bit from different perspectives. I guess noone knows for sure. just like what Buddhism is to different people.. because noone was there at the time !

Comments

Industrial hemp and psychoactive cannabis are different. You can buy hemp seed granola, protein, etc, and it does not contain THC. There’s a big difference between the two.

As far as the Buddha goes, I’d be willing to say that he probably did eat hemp seeds at some point during his life. However I highly doubt it was anything significant, or that he subsisted on them entirely. Even if he did, what difference would it make?

As you stated, the precepts are guidelines – not rules. There’s no Buddhist inquisition that’s going to force people to stop drinking or doing drugs, because it’s up to the individual to choose their path in life.

Hi Mugzy
I C. sorry shouldv checked here beforehand properly. anyways so looking at that i can say noone really knows.. lol
I fully agree with you though, that it does not make any significant difference to anyones practice or to Buddhism. though just for curiosity’s sake..i was just interested in this because it seems to have been derived out of thin air. Like how would anyone know such an intricate detail of what happened 2500 + years ago. Sought of alluding to my point that alot of things in Buddhism and even religion in general seem to have these theories or beliefs (interpretations) that stem from nowhere. and sometimes when taken literally can cause alot of confusion and harm. Also i was interested in it in light of spiritual practices of ancient Hindus in particular (of which Siddharta Gautama was influenced by at the time) and the use of marijuana or even other hallucinogenic/psychoactive drugs which are used by Buddhist poets such as Han Shan (magic mushrooms) as well as other mystical religions.

There just seems to be this demonization of marijuana in contemporary west which i dont think there was. People tend to polarize everything nowadays without seeing through the bullshit so to speak – marijuana does have some healing properties. and yes can be addictive like pretty much everything in life. even meditation (when attachment is formed to the method of practice of it)!

But thanx for clearing up the matter about hemp seeds and THC. It does seem highly irrelevant from that point of view.

Hi caz namyaw
Do you want to explain your statement. like where you got that from.? Or did you somehow go back in time mind-moment by moment to Buddha’s time and investigate it. I joke lightly with no intention of patronizing you in anyway.. (although if u did that wouldve been quite cool. and i don’t expect you to tell me if you did )

Anyway i dont wanna spark another arguement.. only wanted to know if anyone actually had proper knowledge of how that theory came about.

Buddha advises specifically against intoxicants toward the Assembly of sangha.
They are not conductive to mind training in concentration anyone with even the smallest amount of wisdom knows that heaping hallucinagenic agents upon our already deluded mind will not result in any clarity but more confusion.
Buddha may well have tried them at some stage and found them unconductive, People have tried to infer that his enlightenment was non other then a hallucination as well through a theoretical diet of Hemp seeds.

So I say not so. Buddha hasnt proven himself to be a hypocrite.

The cynic in me feels that because Buddhism is sort of the only “Cool” religion in the “counter culture” there will be people trying to find a way to justify getting stoned with some spiritual benefit.

There are religions that feel there is spiritual value in getting intoxicated, usually using psychadelic plants. Buddhism isn’t one of them.

That said there is a difference between eating hemp seeds, wearing fabric made from hemp, or even using marijuana or opiates for medicinal purposes. I don’t think the Buddha was opposed to health care. I think he just felt that pointlessly numbing the mind was not conducive to awakening.

Avoiding, abstaining from evil; refraining from intoxicants, being heedful of the qualities of the mind: This is the highest protection.

“And how is one an individual who practices for his own benefit and for that of others? There is the case where a certain individual himself abstains from the taking of life and encourages others in undertaking abstinence from the taking of life. He himself abstains from stealing and encourages others in undertaking abstinence from stealing. He himself abstains from sexual misconduct and encourages others in undertaking abstinence from sexual misconduct. He himself abstains from lying and encourages others in undertaking abstinence from lying. He himself abstains from intoxicants that cause heedlessness and encourages others in undertaking abstinence from intoxicants that cause heedlessness. Such is the individual who practices for his own benefit and for that of others.”

I don’t know of the hemp-seed myth, but the Buddha’s opinion of any intoxicant whatsoever is crystal clear.

There is no teaching in Buddhism that is ever 100% taken to be true. Because nothing has been written in text at the time of Buddha’s lifetime, which i believe in part is because words can have many different interpretations and it would be dangerous to try and spread written texts like it is truth. Buddhism spread by missionary-style, through verbal discourses and was constantly transformed and given interpretative meaning from cultural context and traditions. To say that the Buddha’s was opinion of intoxicants is “crystal clear” is an incorrect assumption. You should always questions what you hear, even if they come from seemingly higher authority or more wise..Always investigate yourself. The greatest Buddhist teachers have frequently said this.

With regards to the sutta’s you have given me. If you’ve ever done studies of directly translating ancient pali or sanskrit texts to english, you will notice the obstacles that one faces in doing this. Often there are terms with ambiguous and multiple meanings and even contradicting ones. I advise you to read :

www.smith.edu/philosophy/TTT%208_24_04.rtf on Translation as Transmission and Transformation, specifically talking about Asian Buddhist texts

“Some naïve readers might read a translation and believe that they are thereby reading the text that was translated. But nobody involved in the translation business could ever take this view seriously. When we read a translation, we are reading a text in a target language composed by a translator or a team of translators who were reading in the source language. To be sure, different translators call the reader’s attention to their presence and agency to different degrees, some occluding their presence in a presentation that suggests the presence of the source text, others calling constant attention to their choices and methodology. But whether or not the translator acknowledges this act of transformation, translation is always an act of this kind.”
– Jay Garfield

It is interesting that you gave a link for a translation of the Maha-Mangala sutta which is from the Pali Canon, written some five centuries after the Buddha passed away. Even in that link, if you click on Piyadassi’s alternate translation, the part that is translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu as “He himself abstains from intoxicants that cause heedlessness and encourages others in undertaking abstinence from intoxicants that cause heedlessness.” is translated by Piyadassi as “To cease and abstain from evil, to abstain from intoxicating drinks, and diligent in performing righteous acts — this is the highest blessing” Now it is clear that there is a difference here, but who is correct? That is ultimately up to you to judge, and you are in all right to question both of these two or agree with one of them over the other. You can also question what they classified as “intoxicants” back then. Anyways, regardless, these are just sutta’s and is not unquestionable word of mouth discourse of the Buddha.

Also, well since this thread has been brought back to life from the dead, I have actually read now about what i feel has been the origination of this hemp seed thingy. According to a certain tradition of Mahayana, it was believed that the Buddha subsisted on a hemp seed a day in the 6 years prior to his enlightenment. Although i have not read it, but this has been documented in the book “Plants of their Gods:Their Sacred, Healing and Hallucinogenic Powers” by Hoffman and Schultes : http://www.amazon.com/Plants-Gods-Sacred-Healing-Hallucinogenic/dp/0892819790
Although im not sure of the credibility of the book, since i have not read. This Mahayana tradition would have also sourced much of its beliefs from interpretations of ancient texts.

Also checking out http://www.cnsproductions.com/pdf/Touw.pdf “Religious and Medicinal uses of Cannabis in India, China and Tibet”
It is believed that traditonally, Tibetans viewed cannabis as sacred.

And heres somewhat a more condensed form of the background to spiritual use of Cannabis :http://sparcsf.org/spiritual-use-of-cannabis
Though do take it as a grain of sand.

Having said all this though, im not arguing for the validity or justification in the use of marijuana for spiritual practise, must be clear. And the hemp seed thing probably had no real relevance to getting high anyway due to no THC working factor. But it just seems to me like views of cannabis plants or what not were not so unnecessarily polar like they are today.

Ok, The 5th precept as we all know has been commonly associated with abstaining from taking intoxicants…Precepts, we must remember are closer to guidelines not strict rules The 5th precept..though has been difficult to be directly translated …it is somewhat blurry in its meaning from its Sanksrit form Liberal translations taken of the 5th precept say that one should not become intoxicated from taking these drugs…