Is smoking tobacco/ e-ciggarettes a breach of the 5th precept?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
Strive4Karuna
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Is smoking tobacco/ e-ciggarettes a breach of the 5th precept?

Post by Strive4Karuna » Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:14 pm

I have read on this forum that smoking tobacco ciggarettes is not a breach of the 5th precept. Others disagree.

Is smoking tobacco a breach of the 5th precept or not?

How about e-ciggarettes (vaping)?

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budo
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Re: Is smoking tobacco/ e-ciggarettes a breach of the 5th precept?

Post by budo » Sat Nov 03, 2018 7:12 pm

There's only one reason someone would need to smoke, in order to feel good. You can learn to feel good without substances.

SarathW
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Re: Is smoking tobacco/ e-ciggarettes a breach of the 5th precept?

Post by SarathW » Sat Nov 03, 2018 8:05 pm

In my opinion, it does not breach the five precepts.
However particular smoking contributes to headlessness then I would say yes.
By the way, I used to smoke and I quite it.
It is one of the most disgusting habits.
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Re: Is smoking tobacco/ e-ciggarettes a breach of the 5th precept?

Post by Laurens » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:44 pm

The 5th precept is, so far as my understanding goes, about substances which cause heedlessness.

Tobacco is difficult to fit definitively into the category of things which cause heedlessness because in terms of it's effects it doesn't impede your judgement as much as something like alcohol, or other drugs. However it is conceivable that tobacco could cause lapses in our judgement due to it's extremely addictive nature. For instance one might be tempted to steal a cigarette if one was craving nicotine and someone had left their cigarettes behind. Craving nicotine also has the effect of making one irritable, and quick to anger.

The state of physically craving a cigarette, I would say potentially has the ability to cause heedlessness, more so than the actual direct effects of nicotine itself. Having said that though, I doubt many people would consider nicotine to be a breach of the 5th precept any more than coffee. People also get grumpy and irritable when they haven't had their morning coffee.

I guess it might be best left to your own judgement. Does tobacco make you fall into unwholesome states of mind that aren't conducive to your practise? If so maybe you should give it up. It depends how far you want to stretch the definition to fit in with your practise and your knowledge of how it affects your mind.

But you should give it up anyway, as it can cause a plethora of health issues.
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pitakele
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Re: Is smoking tobacco/ e-ciggarettes a breach of the 5th precept?

Post by pitakele » Sat Nov 03, 2018 11:28 pm

Strive4Karuna wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:14 pm
Is smoking tobacco a breach of the 5th precept or not?
Unlike alcohol & drugs, nicotine is not a cause for negligence (pamādaṭṭhāna) as stated it the fifth training rule (afaik).

I have heard that monks in the Dhammayut forest tradition in Thailand smoked, e.g. Ajahn SingTong, a famous disciple of Ajahn Maha Bua. Supporters would offer expensive American cigarettes. Also, in the Ajahn Chah tradition, monks have been known to partake of snuff. In some Thai forest monasteries, copious amounts of coffee are consumed to promote wakefulness.

In Sri Lanka, smoking by monks in generally frowned upon. However, betel nut is regularly chewed in temples. I also witnessed regular chewing at Nissarana Vanaya when I resided there in the eighties. I tried it once - made me feel quite ill.

Personally, I don't see any benefit in smoking tobacco - dangerous for health & very expensive in many Western countries.
Last edited by pitakele on Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:12 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Is smoking tobacco/ e-ciggarettes a breach of the 5th precept?

Post by chownah » Sun Nov 04, 2018 1:33 am

I would say that a drug (tobacco) which addicts you to taking it (tobacco) which results in disease, premature death, destructive fires (at home and in the forest) does in fact cause heedlessness (especially because it is addictive).....if one was heedful one would not smoke it.
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Re: Is smoking tobacco/ e-ciggarettes a breach of the 5th precept?

Post by rightviewftw » Sun Nov 04, 2018 2:12 am

I don't really know the answer however

i won't say no because i would not want to encourage it and i won't say yes because i would not want to upset and worry you

i will encourage you to give up that obstacle tho. The craving for smoking shrinks and rolls after a few weeks.
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Re: Is smoking tobacco/ e-ciggarettes a breach of the 5th precept?

Post by salayatananirodha » Sun Nov 04, 2018 2:21 am

alcohol
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

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Re: Is smoking tobacco/ e-ciggarettes a breach of the 5th precept?

Post by xofz » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:53 am

Tobacco should be avoided. Nicotine vape pens are ok.
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Re: Is smoking tobacco/ e-ciggarettes a breach of the 5th precept?

Post by Dinsdale » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:45 am

Strive4Karuna wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:14 pm
I have read on this forum that smoking tobacco ciggarettes is not a breach of the 5th precept. Others disagree.
Is smoking tobacco a breach of the 5th precept or not?
How about e-ciggarettes (vaping)?
Nicotine is a stimulant, so I don't think it would cause heedlessness. Vaping appears to be much less physically harmful than smoking cigarettes.
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Re: Is smoking tobacco/ e-ciggarettes a breach of the 5th precept?

Post by dharmacorps » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:34 pm

Whatever we may think about this, there are numerous highly respected forest Ajahns who smoked, or chewed tobacco and/or betel nut. There are none that drink alcohol or do street drugs.

Undoubtedly tobacco/betel nut are gross and unhealthy habits, no argument there. :anjali:

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Is smoking tobacco/ e-ciggarettes a breach of the 5th precept?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:00 pm

When I first became a Buddhist I learnt that “Craving is the cause of suffering.” It was quite obvious to me that I smoked cigarettes due to craving for nicotine. I therefore gave it up after about four weeks.

Whether such addictive substances as betel or tobacco break the fifth precept is a moot point. It is, however, very obvious that these habits are a hindrance to the reduction and final abandonment of craving.
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Re: Is smoking tobacco/ e-ciggarettes a breach of the 5th precept?

Post by tamdrin » Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:14 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:00 pm
When I first became a Buddhist I learnt that “Craving is the cause of suffering.” It was quite obvious to me that I smoked cigarettes due to craving for nicotine. I therefore gave it up after about four weeks.

Whether such addictive substances as betel or tobacco break the fifth precept is a moot point. It is, however, very obvious that these habits are a hindrance to the reduction and final abandonment of craving.
A Brief Discourse to Gotamī wrote:“Those things, Gotamī, regarding which you know, ‘These things lead to dispassion, not to passion; to freedom from bondage, not to bondage; to relinquishment, not to accumulation; to having few wishes, not to having many wishes; to contentment, not to discontent; to seclusion, not to association; to arousing energy, not to laziness; to being easy to support, not to being hard to support,’ definitely, Gotamī, you can decide, ‘This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher’s instruction.’”


That smoking is the very definition of craving is pretty obvious. Why did Ajahn Mun and other Thai forest monks continue smoking then?

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pitakele
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Re: Is smoking tobacco/ e-ciggarettes a breach of the 5th precept?

Post by pitakele » Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:46 am

tamdrin wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:14 am
That smoking is the very definition of craving is pretty obvious. Why did Ajahn Mun and other Thai forest monks continue smoking then?
To my understanding, there is no way to definitely know there is craving in the mind of someone imbibing tobacco, betel etc. unless one possesses cetopariyāyañāṇa (knowledge encompassing the minds of others).
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Re: Is smoking tobacco/ e-ciggarettes a breach of the 5th precept?

Post by tamdrin » Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:36 am

Smoking is just so obviously something Theravada Buddhists should avoid for many reasons.

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