It goes without saying that alcohol makes you mindless. Theres debate about pot creating conditions for enhanced mindfulness in SOME individuals.

My question is not "is it okay". I know what to expect.

Are there any specific stories involving Buddha on the subject of someone ingesting an herb or something, specifically to be mindful... and how that is bad.

I'm asking for the story or stories.

  • I'm not sure why anyone at the time of the Buddha would think that ingesting a substance would induce mindfulness. Aug 21, 2014 at 15:28
  • i find it hard to believe there isnt a story or two about a "sage" or something ingesting an herb for a different experience for some reason... and if anyone is familiar with them im sure you are bhante, being as familiar with the tipitika in its entirety as you are.
    – A Nonimous
    Aug 21, 2014 at 16:05
  • and maybe not so much induce mindfulness per say so much as bring it into sharper focus than what typically is experienced.
    – A Nonimous
    Aug 21, 2014 at 16:09
  • Well, the vedas talk about ingesting soma, but not for mindfulness, I don't think. Aug 21, 2014 at 16:21
  • what do they say about it? and what is soma?
    – A Nonimous
    Aug 21, 2014 at 17:00

3 Answers 3


The 5th precept deals with more than just alcohol. Taking anything leading to heedlessness is not acceptable. This is well explained in "THE FIVE PRECEPTS" which is a very good read on the 5 precepts.

The fifth precept reads: Surā-meraya-majja-pamāda-ṭṭhānā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi, “I undertake the training rule to abstain from fermented and distilled intoxicants which are the basis for heedlessness.” The word meraya means fermented liquors, sura liquors which have been distilled to increase their strength and flavor. The world majja, meaning an intoxicant, can be related to the rest of the passage either as qualified by sura,meraya or as additional to them. In the former case the whole phrase means fermented and distilled liquors which are intoxicants, in the latter it means fermented and distilled liquors and other intoxicants. If this second reading is adopted the precept would explicitly include intoxicating drugs used non-medicinally, such as the opiates, hemp, and psychedelics. But even on the first reading the precept implicitly proscribes these drugs by way of its guiding purpose, which is to prevent heedlessness caused by the taking of intoxicating substances.


No. The dharma is about returning to your buddha mind or original mind unaltered. The use of mind altering drugs goes directly against the return to the unaltered mind literally by definition. I would venture to say that Mind Altering things (ie. TV/EGO/DRUGS/External Attachments) are what the middle way and the dharma are trying to be free from.

  • I find it hard to believe there arent some stories in there about those sorts of things. If it mattered much I'd look but oh well... just curious.
    – A Nonimous
    Aug 29, 2014 at 0:48
  • Why do you find it hard to believe? The Buddha really only spoke about the middle way and the path to liberation from attachments. When it came to things that did not add to the dharma he typically did not speak about them.
    – Thien
    Aug 29, 2014 at 12:40
  • not necessarily that he told, just maybe mention that (for example) some sages, or something, maybe even from another tradition... just an occurance. Doesnt matter, take care, thanks for the effort.
    – A Nonimous
    Aug 29, 2014 at 13:56
  • maybe the question is, why do you find it so hard to believe?
    – A Nonimous
    Aug 29, 2014 at 14:13
  • 1
    Once again, I do not find it hard to believe or have any level of difficulty in belief in the matter. I guess I do not understand the point you are trying to make. I am sorry if I am not understanding you correctly.
    – Thien
    Aug 29, 2014 at 14:29

Question closed... i noticed Soma was a link in Ven.Yuttadhammo's comment.

Apparently soma is ancient slang for something widely speculated on being either an amphetamine or entheogen. Its probably both. The link Ven.Yuttadhammo shared had an excerpt;
"The Graeco-Russian archeologist Viktor Sarianidi claims to have discovered vessels and mortars used to prepare Soma in 'Zoroastrian temples' in Bactria. He claims that the vessels have revealed residues and seed impressions left behind during the preparation of Soma. This has not been sustained by subsequent investigations[19] Besides the residue of ephedra, the archeologists discovered the residues of Poppy seeds and Cannabis. The vessels also had impressions created by Cannabis seeds. Cannabis is well known in India as Bhang and sometimes Poppy seeds are used with Bhang to make the ritual drink Bhang Ki Thandai."

So i would imagine it was much like today, different strokes for different folks... or mix and match.

So, since it was obviously (which i already basically knew) available... and mentioned... the question is answered.

Thank you Ven.Yuttadhammo

Sadhu Bhante

  • Soma isn't Buddhist: it's Vedic.
    – ChrisW
    Nov 22, 2014 at 18:31

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