HOW TO GET RID OF ADDICTIONS ? BUDDHIST WAY

1. How can we avoid addictions like smoking cigarettes?

There are so many different types of addictions. When you practise Vipassana, you will understand that your addiction is not actually to that particular substance. It seems as if you are addicted to cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, paan (betel leaf). But actually, you are addicted to a particular sensation in the body, a bio-chemical flow caused by that particular substance. Similarly, when you are addicted to anger, passion etc, these are also related to body sensations. Your addiction is to the sensations. Through Vipassana you come out of that addiction, all addictions. It is so natural, so scientific. Just try, and you will experience how it works.

2. Why is drinking only one glass of wine a breakage of sila (Morality )?


One glass becomes more. So why not come out it from the very beginning? Once one becomes addicted, it is so difficult to come out of the addiction. Why not refrain from anything that is addictive?

If someone who has come out of all kinds of intoxicants and is progressing in meditation takes even a very small quantity of alcohol, that person will immediately feel that it creates agitation and will feel unhappy. They can't take it. Ignorance causes impurities to develop and intoxicants are closely associated with ignorance. They drown all your understanding. Come out of them as quickly as possible.


3. The method you have just described is very practical, but can everybody benefit from it-even those who suffer from severe addictions, such as to drugs or alcohol?

When we talk of addiction, it is not merely to alcohol or to drugs, but also to addiction to impurities such as passion, to anger, to fear, to egotism. At the intellectual level you understand very well: "Anger is not good for me, it is dangerous, so harmful." Yet you are addicted to anger, keep generating anger because you have not been working at the depth of the behavior pattern of your mind. The anger starts because of a particular -chemical that has started flowing in your body, and with the interaction of mind and matter-one influencing the other-the anger continues to multiply.

By practicing Vipassana, you start observing the sensation which has arisen because of the flow of a particular chemical. You do not react to it. That means you do not generate anger at that particular moment. This one moment turns into a few moments, which turn into a few seconds, which turn into a few minutes, and you find that you are not as easily influenced by this flow as you were in the past. You have slowly started coming out of your anger.

People who have come to these courses go back home and apply this technique in their daily lives by their morning and evening meditation and by continuing to observe themselves throughout the day-how they react or how they maintain equanimity in different situations. The first thing they will try to do is to observe the sensations. Because of the particular situation, maybe a part of the mind has started reacting, but by observing the sensations their minds become equanimous. Then whatever action they take is an action; it is not a reaction. Action is always positive. It is only when we react that we generate negativity and become miserable. A few moments observing the sensation makes the mind equanimous, and then it can act. Life then is full of action instead of reaction.

(Answers Are given by S. N. Goenka ) 

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