How do Buddhists view medical marijuana?

Rev. Dr. Bhante Saranapala, a Buddhist monk and preacher working at the West End Buddhist Temple and Meditation Centre in Mississauga, Ontario

When the Dalai Lama recently revealed his support for the use of medical marijuana, advocates of the drug discovered they had a new ally. But are the Dalai Lama’s views on medical cannabis breaking rank with the traditional Buddhist stance? Or are Buddhists generally in favour of medical marijuana as well?

Primary to the debate is what Buddhism calls the “five precepts”: refrain from taking life, don’t take what’s not yours, avoid sexual misconduct, don’t speak falsehoods, and avoid intoxicants.

It’s the last precept that’s a sticking point when it comes to medical marijuana.

Rev. Dr. Bhante Saranapala, a Buddhist monk and preacher working at the West End Buddhist Temple and Meditation Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, contends that the fifth precept forbids marijuana in any form.

“The five precepts are moral principles, and one of them is to refrain from intoxicants. If any substance leads to heedlessness, or could make one unconscious, you have to refrain, regardless of whether you think it’s good,” he says. “It alters the pure nature of the mind.”

The possibility exists, he added, that “you would not understand what you’re doing, or what you’re saying (while high). That’s why this is distinct.”

Historically there are few, if any, references in Buddhism regarding marijuana as a medicine, according to an article on

Yet, the San Francisco Patient and Resource Center notes that Buddhists have used cannabis in tandem with meditation practices “as a means to stop the mind and enter into a state of profound stillness, also called Samadhi.” They add: “Various spiritual texts, including the Buddhist Tara Tantra, list cannabis as an important aide [sic] to meditation and spiritual practice.”
One source notes that Buddha himself believed cannabis was a cure for rheumatism.

Brian Ruhe, of the Theravada Buddhist Community of Vancouver, sides with the Dalai Lama on the issue.

“I’m in favor of [medical marijuana] as well. I explain it by saying the idea of medical marijuana is reducing suffering, and reducing suffering is good. In this case it’s reasonable, showing intelligent use for that situation,” he adds.

Ruhe has been a practicing Buddhist for 22 years and spent seven months as a Buddhist monk in Thailand in 1996.

“Medical marijuana is OK because Buddhism is a path of intelligence, discernment and compassion, not just following rules,” he contends.

“The Buddha said his teachings were not internally inconsistent because sometimes he would say one thing to a person, and something else to someone else. This is an example.”

Brian Ruhe, of the Theravada Buddhist Community of Vancouver,

Brian Ruhe, of the Theravada Buddhist Community of Vancouver

Ruhe, also the author of two books on meditation and a teacher of university-level courses on Buddhist philosophy and meditation, emphasizes that the medicinal aspect is key. “You should avoid recreational marijuana, to avoid deluding thoughts.”

Sean Hillman, a Buddhist scholar-practitioner and a University of Toronto doctoral student in Religion, Bioethics and South Asian Studies, says that “it is difficult to establish an authoritative stance” on many issues.

As such, “what people choose to ingest is their private business, not subject to Buddhist religious scrutiny,” Hillman notes.

He spent 13 years as a Buddhist monk, ordained by the Dalai Lama. His research straddles religious studies and medical anthropology, with a strong interest in the interaction between religion and end-of-life decision making.

“Simply, when the pain at hand is addressed without any intoxicating side effects, medication has been administered correctly and pain management is effective,” he states.

“Finding the best delivery method and dosage are the challenges. If there is intolerable pain, it is not yet managed. Going beyond this threshold can lead to side effects, including drowsiness and even respiratory failure. I would ask if it is possible to treat illness by this means without side effects.”

The real challenge, therefore, may not be inherent in the chemistry of the drug. Unwieldy side effects are “obstacles on the various Buddhist paths,” as Hillman puts it.

Ajahn Punnadhammo, a Buddhist monk ordained in Thailand in 1992 who runs the Abbot of Arrow River Forest Hermitage in the Thunder Bay, Ontario, region, says most Buddhists would find medical marijuana acceptable because the use of opiates as painkillers for severe injury or illness has already been around for decades and Buddhists don’t oppose that medicine.

“Recognizing that any of these substances are open to abuse, most Buddhists would accept their proper medical use with due caution,” Punnadhammo adds.

Photos courtesy Rev. Dr. Bhante Saranapala and Brian Ruhe


gordonDave Gordon is a freelance writer in Toronto. His work can be found in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Toronto Star, National Post and others.


175 thoughts on “How do Buddhists view medical marijuana?

  1. Pingback: How do Buddhists view medical marijuana? | Late...

  2. Pingback: hefalimp cardijon

  3. Pingback: dryer cleaning houston

  4. Pingback: cialis 5 mg comprimГ© pelliculГ© boГ®te de 28

  5. Pingback: online slots

  6. Pingback: read this,

  7. Pingback: free apple ipad

  8. Pingback: download music

  9. Pingback: Look At These Guys

  10. Pingback: macarons kopen belgie

  11. Pingback: payday loans

  12. Pingback: automotive

  13. Pingback: Education

  14. Pingback: read here

  15. Pingback: related

  16. Pingback: helpful

  17. Pingback: important source

  18. Pingback:

  19. Pingback:

  20. Pingback:

  21. Pingback: situs porno

  22. Pingback:

  23. Pingback: My Homepage

  24. Pingback:

  25. Pingback:

  26. Pingback: porn

  27. Pingback: lawyer

  28. Pingback:

  29. Pingback:

  30. Pingback:

  31. Pingback: Business

  32. Pingback:

  33. Pingback:

  34. Pingback:

  35. Pingback:

  36. Pingback: terms of use

  37. Pingback: cialis generique pharmacie

  38. Pingback: acheter cialis pas cher en ligne

  39. Pingback: Popcorn Ceiling Removal

  40. Pingback: try what she says

  41. Pingback: beach body products

  42. Pingback: site nasil kurulur

  43. Pingback: Flat Fee MLS Realtor IL

  44. Pingback: What Can Remarkamobile Do For Your Business?

  45. Pingback: werbung

  46. Pingback: Usda loans

  47. Pingback: traffic ticket attorney los angeles

  48. Pingback: rosary beads

  49. Pingback: painonpudotus

  50. Pingback: cialis et pamplemousse

  51. Pingback: vorzeitige ejakulation

  52. Pingback: maths tutor pune mumbai

  53. Pingback: work at from home

  54. Pingback: hyundai incentives

  55. Pingback: nearest mazda dealer

  56. Pingback: Jual Tambah Follower

  57. Pingback: Afford a Home with these tips...

  58. Pingback: hyundai dealer chicago

  59. Pingback: 2014 vw beetle

  60. Pingback: One little mortgage website that could save you hundreds!

  61. Pingback: diagnostic services

  62. Pingback: scentsy business

  63. Pingback: lasik eye surgery tucson

  64. Pingback: eye check

  65. Pingback: workers comp attorney

  66. Pingback: games like racing

  67. Pingback: link m88

  68. Pingback: Aaron Kocourek

  69. Pingback: For Sale By Owner Dallas TX

  70. Pingback: visit here

  71. Pingback: Orlando FL For Sale By Owner

  72. Pingback: tv geo news online

  73. Pingback: Betboo

  74. Pingback: photo crochet

  75. Pingback: fitness supplies

  76. Pingback: how can you stop premature ejaculation

  77. Pingback: promovare pe internet

  78. Pingback: MovieStarPlanet Cheats

  79. Pingback: Nike Coupon Code

  80. Pingback: juicy couture on sale

  81. Pingback: Whatsapp Hack

  82. Pingback: openappmkt

  83. Pingback: Cialis

  84. Pingback: slot machine games online

  85. Pingback: twerking

  86. Pingback: free online slot machines no download

  87. Pingback: order fresh seafood

  88. Pingback: bayan izmir escort

  89. Pingback: prescription drug insurance

  90. Pingback: real money online slots

  91. Pingback: Denver DUI Attorneys

  92. Pingback: emotional intelligence training

  93. Pingback: emotional intelligence training

  94. Pingback: film izle

  95. Pingback: cash for gold

  96. Pingback: Home Doing Online Jobs

  97. Pingback: small animal cages

  98. Pingback: click

  99. Pingback: notepad bluebox

  100. Pingback: click for source

  101. Pingback: dalaman transfers

  102. Pingback: useful site

  103. Pingback: Break

  104. Pingback: web design perth

  105. Pingback: plum lipstick

  106. Pingback: click here

  107. Pingback: website development in perth

  108. Pingback: ?????? ???? 3 ??? 1 ??????

  109. Pingback: blimpies franchise

  110. Pingback: emotional intelligence training

  111. Pingback: badmintonschläger test

  112. Pingback: emotional intelligence training

  113. Pingback: play free slot machine games

  114. Pingback: Sydney Wedding Photography

  115. Pingback: foder conas peludas

  116. Pingback: free slots casino games

  117. Pingback: wearing white tights

  118. Pingback: Sinisterly - Hack Wordpress, XSS RCE

  119. Pingback: how to sing high notes with power

  120. Pingback: commander cialis quebec

  121. Pingback: cialis

  122. Pingback: fathers rights

  123. Pingback: Cash in for Coins for $$$-Advertise you website to thousands

  124. Pingback: banana blue

  125. Pingback: comment devenir riche

  126. Pingback: Weight loss for women

  127. Pingback: hearthstone arena guide

  128. Pingback: Stop Fisk

  129. Pingback: awakened kundalini

  130. Pingback: awaken kundalini energy

  131. Pingback: tworzenie stron www lódz

  132. Pingback: seo information

  133. Pingback: App Exposure

  134. Pingback: plan my trip

  135. Pingback: karadayi shqip

  136. Pingback: arkitekter kobenhavn

  137. Pingback: hecigarette review

  138. Pingback: tangkasnet

  139. Pingback: Learn Hacking Tutorials

  140. Pingback: xlovecam token generator

  141. Pingback: maryland divorce lawyers

  142. Pingback: Snipzilla

  143. Pingback: free gadgets

  144. Pingback: channel

  145. Pingback: GreenSmoke e-cigarettes

  146. Pingback: distinctive roofing fort worth

  147. Pingback: Wigs Denver

  148. Pingback: agence digitale

  149. Pingback: Hair Transplant

  150. Pingback:

  151. Pingback: House Cleaning Sydney

  152. Pingback: video 360 interactive

  153. Pingback: information

  154. Pingback:

  155. Pingback: Jogos de carros

  156. Pingback: Link listings

  157. Pingback: hard money tennessee

  158. Pingback: kinder surprise

  159. Pingback: Livejasmin codes

  160. Pingback: Technology

  161. Pingback: M88A

  162. Pingback: esta web sobre la alcachofa de laon

  163. Pingback: maty grzewcze

  164. Pingback: LINK M88

  165. Pingback: folie okienne slask

  166. Pingback: comparatif assurance vie

  167. Pingback: kangen water filter

  168. Pingback: M88A

  169. Pingback: kangen water filter

  170. Pingback: World Vision France

  171. Pingback: bank owned homes

  172. Pingback: Multi Site SEO

  173. Pingback: Ocean Isle Wedding Photographer

  174. Pingback: life hacks

  175. Pingback: Bamboo Flooring

Comments are closed.