Teachings on Addiction Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

The great thing about mindfulness is that it allows each individual person to draw out their own uniqueness and spontaneity and find their own original ways of responding to events and triggers. There is no formula as everyone is different and addictions form differently and so both teachers are right about addiction; they just approach it from different angles. Yutthadhammo repeatedly emphasises this in his videos – the Buddhist path is a gradual path and requires constant practice to build up the mindfulness required to let go of addictions and other strong attachments. When it comes to livelihood, you can think about the principle literally. If not, it may be time to reflect on a change of career or workplace.

Ajahn Brahm tackles the issue of addiction with more of an emphasis on spontaneity and kindness towards oneself and others, and does so with a humour and lightness of touch that make his videos just as essential a viewing as Yuttadhammo’s videos. To tackle strong addictions it will likely require many months and often over a year of regular meditation to truly overcome the addiction. So in this sense mindfulness will not so much get rid of addiction directly, but more indirectly by helping us live with the addiction and the cravings and desire that come when we try to give up, and see that these desires mean nothing.

  1. When it comes to livelihood, you can think about the principle literally.
  2. If you have ever tried to practice meditation, you know that “thinking about nothing” and finding peace takes serious concentration—at least until you get proficient at the practice.
  3. The Sanctuary Foundation helps people of all faiths and religions regain the confidence to live a sober and fulfilling life.
  4. This keeps them stuck in their addiction and Brahn sees it as a self imposed prison of the mind, where the person could be free but on some level doesn’t want to be because they don’t feel good about themselves.

To summarize, you don’t have to be a religious Buddhist to live out these wise philosophies (though you can be). The most important thing is for you to find your Higher Power and your sources of strength. Following are those 8 parts and how they relate to addiction recovery. Though Hinduism (which is related to Buddhism in a similar way to Christianity and Judaism in that they share stories and some beliefs) and Islam became dominant in India, Buddhism continued to flourish in southeast Asia.

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Though the process can be daunting, the effort is worth it if it keeps you sober. An obvious example would be dealing drugs, but a more common example would be working in an office over a bar or nightclub that you and your coworkers used to frequent. If you have ever tried to practice https://sober-home.org/ meditation, you know that “thinking about nothing” and finding peace takes serious concentration—at least until you get proficient at the practice. Concentration is a powerful tool for deep reflection on your inner thoughts, as well as for overcoming cravings and triggers.

Each teacher is just allowing you a different way into the Buddhist perspective and each person can just use the approach that works best and makes the most sense to them. Moreover, if we know what the triggers are, we can often avoid them in the first place once we have awareness of them. For addiction that can involve being in a certain place, around certain people, certain sounds, smells and so on. Mindfulness can allow us to open up and respond to things in original ways we would not have thought of before, stuck in a narrow mindset. Instead of unthinkingly acting on an addictive trigger in the same way we have done before hundreds or thousands of times, we instead see the trigger and sequence of events before and after and have the choice to respond in a different way.

Exploring the First Noble Truth21:58

It is the undisputed resource on Buddhist philosophy applied to daily life and problems we all face. Nevertheless, even within the Buddhist tradition, experts and experienced meditators will still have a different take on the issue. Let’s now contrast the views of two Buddhist experts on mindfulness and addiction, as each of them both have equally interesting takes on the subject. Of all the major traditions or religions it is perhaps the one which focuses the most on mindfulness and inner reflection and observation as a source of understanding, though most of them do to some extent. In general terms, we would first like to lay out how the Buddhist tradition is so well suited to help people understand and deal with addiction. Buddhism places a huge emphasis on mindfulness and awareness of all phenomenon, but especially awareness of the mind.

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The practice of mindfulness will help you find your own unique response to addiction. It will improve self awareness and allow you to observe the mechanics of addiction as well as thought processes that drive it. You can approach addiction by observing the five senses or the inner workings of the mind, or both.

Mindfulness can also help open up our mind and see more options to respond to things in different ways. This applies to both addictions and wider life in general, and is especially useful for people who are quite fixed and rigid in their mindset, getting stuck in repetitive routines and ruts. Brahm particularly emphasises the role of negative thinking in addictive behaviours. This can take many forms such as moaning at every little thing or constantly criticising and fault finding with others.

Like Yuttadhammo, he also emphasises how mindfulness meditation can provide the self awareness needed to tackle addiction. In this article we will look at two different but equally interesting perspectives on addiction by Buddhist experts and compare and contrast the two. We will draw out the interesting contrasts how does hallucinogens affect the body of each view and try to find a unifying principle between the two views. There are several points of contact between Buddhism and the 12 Steps. Additionally, the first two steps overlap the first noble truth, and the fourth and fifth steps are related to the third through the fifth of the eightfold path.

To the practicing Buddhists in these locations and around the world, Buddhism is a religion. People visit temples, hold certain firm beliefs, and carry out rituals, such as making offerings to shrines. Whether or not you adhere to the concept of a Higher Power and no matter your religious beliefs, there is an abundance of powerful wisdom to be found in the philosophies of many belief systems. The principles of Buddhism in particular are extremely relevant to the walk of long-term recovery. I was not previously familiar with these principles, but have found them both tremendously enlightening and easy to incorporate into daily life.

Brahn also emphasises guilt and self hate as a common root of addiction. Addicts are often guilty or ashamed of something they have done in the past and carrying around a belief inside them that they don’t deserve to be happy for what they’ve done. We will again summarize the main points he makes but in general Ajahn sees addiction as a kind of mental “dead end” or rut that people can get stuck into, addicted to negative thinking and fault finding and then certain behaviours or substances.

This website is using a security service to protect itself from online attacks. There are several actions that could trigger this block including submitting a certain word or phrase, a SQL command or malformed data. Mindfulness is a powerful tool as both a tenet of Buddhism and a general therapeutic practice.

It needn’t be a permanent committment to never do it again as this will discourage people from even trying. Addiction could really be argued to be just another form of this; adopting the same rigid response every time to some kind of trigger or stimulus. Rather he implores us to do these things if we absolutely must, but just do them mindfully and observe them carefully, and by doing so we will see there is nothing really good about them. When we act out mindfully, we see the addiction for what it is and all the allure of it just dissolves. The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation is the perfect place for anyone to learn how to live sober.

It means to become less of a prisoner to your thoughts and temptations, which is imperative for overcoming patterns of addiction. There are several “Buddhist countries,” which are defined as countries where more than 70% percent of the population practices Buddhism. These include Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka.

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