The vinaya should be updated

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clw_uk
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The vinaya should be updated

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jun 30, 2013 6:32 am

I would like to discuss the vinaya. From my understanding Buddha put the rules of the vinaya in place to restrain the monks and nuns and also to keep the sangha in good standing with the culture at large.


Based on this, in my opinion, the vinaya should be amended to ban smoking and caffeine (including tea). I think this because they are intoxicants that lead one to sensuality and craving. I also think that if Buddha was aware of caffeine and nictonine in his own time he would have banned them under the vinaya.


Leading on from this I think the ban on dwarfs should be lifted as these are no longer subject to serious social stigmata as they used to be.


Thoughts?
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Re: The vinaya should be updated

Postby Ben » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:09 am

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Re: The vinaya should be updated

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:44 am

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Re: The vinaya should be updated

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:59 am

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Re: The vinaya should be updated

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:16 am

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Re: The vinaya should be updated

Postby binocular » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:41 am


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Re: The vinaya should be updated

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:50 am

I understand the precept as a restraint against anything that will A) cloud judgement and lead to unskilful behaviour, for example getting drunk and being aggressive.


B) consuming anything that increased craving. That would include heroin, cocaine, caffeine, nicotine and even painkillers.



Obviously Buddha didn't know about caffeine and nicotine, or even cocaine and heroin, because he wasnt all knowing but I do believe that if he did know about them he would prohibit them (obviously heroin and cocaine is a given).


If you do a thought experiment can you really imagine Buddha saying its ok to smoke, or using caffeine to stay awake it's skilful?
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Re: The vinaya should be updated

Postby gavesako » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:59 am

A lot of monks seem to be heavy coffee drinkers. I am not, but I find tea useful for staying awake and not falling asleep during evening meditation. This seems to be the long-standing experience of Chinese and Japanese Zen monks as well.
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Re: The vinaya should be updated

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:11 am

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Re: The vinaya should be updated

Postby BlackBird » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:29 am

Respectfully I don't think the Buddha would have banned caffiene. It's not an intoxicant unless taken in excessively high level doses by which point the experience becomes really unpleasant - The average cup of coffee does not inhibit mindfulness. I would argue if anything, a cup of coffee helps promote mindfulness, or at least helps hold sloth and torpor at bay.

But that's just my 2cents.
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Re: The vinaya should be updated

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:04 am

I hope the vinaya is only changed because of very important reasons, and no other. And I consider the ban on dwarfism to be a very important reason. The smoking and caffeine, not so much.
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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Re: The vinaya should be updated

Postby gavesako » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:44 am

The Buddha allowed various parts of plants such as leaves and roots and resins to be used as bhesajja (medicine) and even consumed in the afternoon. I suppose he followed the Ayurveda of his time and the advice of physicians like Jivaka on what is suitable and what is not. So these days we could certainly adapt some of this knowledge in accordance with modern research (such as on the effects of tobbaco). I can't tell from personal experience what the effect of speed or other substances is on the human mind, but one important factor in making decisions here is the public opinion. Whatever is objected to by the society at large and would be seen as a fault in the eyes of the world (loka-vajja) would not be suitable for a bhikkhu.
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Re: The vinaya should be updated

Postby lyndon taylor » Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:59 pm

I would guess, there was plenty of tea of some kind was available in India in the Buddha's time and I would assume some of that tea contained caffeine, doesn't the highest grade tea come from India. For instance, green tea, I believe, contains some caffeine, just not as much. Lots of plants naturally contain caffeine not just black tea or green tea.

Well according to wikepedia, tea as we know it was introduced to India from China in the early 1800s; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_tea
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Re: The vinaya should be updated

Postby binocular » Sun Jun 30, 2013 4:19 pm


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Re: The vinaya should be updated

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Re: The vinaya should be updated

Postby Coyote » Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:01 pm

"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: The vinaya should be updated

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