Addiction in Buddhism
Attachment to things, concepts, experiences, sensations and states of
beings are all attachments and are counterproductive in your quest for
the end of suffering.
To put it simply, in Japanese Buddhism, as humans, we are
always categorizing our various experiences as one of two things:
desire (craving) or hatred (repulsion). It would be similar
the concepts of pleasure and pain in modern psychology and in the NPL
If we understand this, we can explain why an addict will crave his fix
(craving) when he has problems at work or at home
The pain of dealing with the problem seems bigger than the pain of
hurting oneself with substances that will alter your mind and hurt you
and your loved ones.
As long as the addict will see it this way, it will be difficult to
control the addiction.
What is an addiction?
An addiction is, according to www.dictionary.com:
- A physical or psychological need for a habit-forming
substance, such as a drug or alcohol. In physical addiction,
the body adapts to the substance being used and gradually
requires increased amounts to reproduce the effects originally
produced by smaller doses.
- A habitual or compulsive involvement in an activity, such as
So any activity or substance that becomes
you need to do it and cannot control the craving) is considered an
Note: adrenalin is a very common natural drug
created by the body. Strong sensations will trigger the
production of adrenalin, potentially making it addictive..
Buddhism’s view on addiction.
First off, in Buddhism there is no Good and Evil.
only productive and counterproductive behaviors toward your goal of
ending suffering for yourself and other sentient beings.
being said, the Buddha gave us the Noble eightfold path as a guide to
attain our main goal, the end of suffering or in this case, addiction.
In it he mentions some precepts that demonstrate that any mind-altering
substances should be avoided as they are working against our efforts to
One of them is the Right
This is being aware at all time of what our body and mind is feeling,
When we are taking drugs, alcohol or even watch
TV, we numb our mind and even our body which stops the painful
feelings. In this scenario, Right Mindfulness
is not observed.
We should act in a way as to not hurt ourselves or others. It
includes, not taking lives, not stealing, not engaging in sexual
misconducts and by extension, not taking substances that destroy our
heath. Tobaccos, drugs and foods in excess all endanger our
health even if it is a very slow process. Dangerous
that endanger our safety or the safety of others like drunk driving,
arson, fighting and street racing are all dangerous behaviors.
I am talking about addictions here but you
have to understand that
there are many types of
addiction and not all of them are recognized. We
all consider addictions like alcoholism, heroin, illegal and legal
drugs, gambling to be highly destructive.
What about TV, the internet, video games,
sex, work, shopping, chocolate and other foods, love, co-dependency,
junk collecting or even exercising? All these activities when
done passed a certain level are also addictions.
Addictions are simply desires and cravings (that we all experience as
part of being human) on steroids. They are big, strong and
The addiction overshadows the sense of self and the
sense of pleasure is twisted to the point that it can only come through
the addictive behavior. Thus addicts lose control of their
and surrender to Dukkha, craving and suffering.
When questioned, addicts often deny any problems or, when
it will often blame it on external factors, on what other people have
done to them or what life has given them (or failed to). In
case, it is important to explain the concept of karma to them.
Thankfully addictions can be helped. It is never
instantaneous, but neither is life. There are many ways to
control addictions and many rehab systems use Buddhism and meditation
as tools to get a grip back on our lives and fight the addiction.
Do you know someone who suffered of addiction?
Do you think Buddhism could have or did helped them?
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