Marijuana is seen as a tool toward enlightenment, but what does Buddhism actually say about it?
Buddhism is not the most popular religion in North American with less 1 percent self identifying, but its ideas permeates our culture. From song lyrics by the Beastie Boys and spiritual themes in Star Wars, to the publicly professed faith of celebrities including Orlando Bloom, Harrison Ford and Richard Gere. Steve Jobs claimed to be a Buddhist. And nothing reflects the imagine of zen, peaceful state of mind than someone consuming marijuana. And, the name Buddha translates to “Awakened One” in Sanskrit.
Buddhism is one of the world’s largest religions and originated 2,500 years ago in India. Buddhists believe that the human life is one of suffering, and that meditation, spiritual and physical labor, and good behavior are the ways to achieve enlightenment, or nirvana.
The Four Noble Truths comprise the essence of Buddha’s teachings, though they leave much left unexplained. They are the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering.
Buddhism strongly discourages alcohol and other substances that intoxicates. This is despite the great diversity of Buddhist traditions across various countries. Alcohol has been on the frowned since the beginning of the religion. Consuming marijuana can help you quiet your mind and reach a zen like tranquility or temporary enlightement, but seems to be a bit at odds with Buddhism’s beliefs on intoxicants.
The Dalai Lama isn’t that keen on recreational marijuana use, but the spiritual leader told supporters in Mexico on in 2014 that he supports legal, medicinal marijuana when the drug has been shown to have value.
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In Buddhism, the Fifth Precept is frequently interpreted to mean “refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to heedlessness”, although in some direct translations, the Fifth Precept refers specifically to alcohol. Cannabis and some other psychoactive plants are specifically prescribed in the Mahākāla Tantra for medicinal purposes.
Medical marijuana has converts from all walks of like and Buddhism is one of its fans. Consider the healing nature, fewer side effects and low cost, Buddhist appreciate the prop tiers of cannabis.
A Buddist quote is “May all beings have happy minds.” For those who consume, you can take as you want.