Can anything wholesome, helpful, wise and skillful be mentioned about the (Chinese and/or nearby regions) origin(s) of tobacco and how it may and/or may not relate to tobacco use among Native American people — especially the types of tobacco Native Americans approve of now and throughout the known past?

Context from https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/2010/01/22/the-defects-of-tobacco-and-smoking-dudjom-rinpoche/ on this topic:

Approximately a hundred years after Buddha Shakyamuni’s parinirvana, a Chinese demon, maddened with obsession, spoke these dying words:

“Through my body I wish to lead the beings of this earth to lower realms. Bury my body intact and eventually a plant, different from all others, will grow out of my remains. Merely by smelling it, people will experience pleasure in body and mind, far more joyful than the union of male and female. It will spread far and wide until most of the beings on this earth will enjoy it.”

And a description from a talk https://www.pathgate.org/index.php/audio-teachings-by-lama-dondrup-dorje/18-old-audio-teachings/104-old-the-buddhist-perspective-on-tobacco on the topic:

Lama Dondrup Dorje gives a teaching based on the Terma and prediction of Chogyal Ratna, Sangay Lingpa, Rinzin Godem, Dundul Dorje and other great masters. The teaching explains the origin of tobacco and other drugs, the negative influences of the Four Maras, and the harm caused by tobacco, which brings war, famine, disease and chaos to the world, and separates those who are users of tobacco from ever attaining any understanding of the Dharma, leading them to take rebirth in the lower realms.

  • 1
    I don't understand what you mean by "Chinese origin of tobacco". It originated in America, and was introduced to Japan and China in the 16th century.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jul 6, 2019 at 23:23
  • What does that have to do with the Dhamma? It's "medicine", allowed, nothing about developing paths upwardly. Medicine might differ from country to country, region to region, culture... nothing "buddhist" at all.
    – user11235
    Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 4:05
  • Maybe include those contents in the question, householder Vimutti, and make the focus on "are this teachings correct and useful on the path" on it.
    – user11235
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 5:05
  • what is the relation between Buddhism and tobacco ?
    – PL_Pathum
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 7:06
  • 1
    This question is about 'terma' en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terma_(religion) of the Vajrayana Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The reason that it probably says 'Chinese demon' is because the originator of the terma was Tibetan and believed that Tobacco came from the east and was not aware of its origin in the Americas.
    – user13375
    Commented Jun 10, 2021 at 14:01

1 Answer 1


Householder Vimutti, interested,

Only that far, as possible related (not so much in folk-culture relation):

The Buddha allowed his monks to make use of allowed medicine to be inhaled via smoke trough nose or moth, as well as using pipes for such treatment, incl. even to hold one fr each of the seven week days and a bag to keep them good.

What is not allowed is using medicine for simple sense pleasure and to take means which cause heedlessness (indoxicants causing lose of moral shame and fear of wrong doing)

There are many sorts of "tobacco", plant-leaves, other plant medicine used in ways of inhalation of their smoke till today and this being so the usual name for this "tobaccos", plants for inhalation, is "medicine" (smoking medicine). Many monks and Yogies, till this days, smoke, of course not always just for medication.

As not really violating the Vinaya, outwardly aspects, smoking tobacco is not regarded as break of precepts principle and very common under monks in SEAsia, at least also because sense pleasure that does only harm possible one self and no other beings.

As for normal smoke tobacco, used this days in most cigarettes, it easy leads to addiction regarded to strong sense-pleasure-addition, so one is not at all encouraged to make use of such.

Medicine, one of the four requirements to practice and maintain the body for that, bas to be taken in this manner:

  1. Wisely reflecting I will make use of medicine only as an aid to eliminate bodily pains that have arisen, and also to maintain that important condition, freedom from disease. (The Fourfold Reflection of a Monk )

Medizine, in and of itself, is no direct means of practice, while it's use and how to gain it, is.

Smoking of things not causing carelessness (lack of moral shame, fear of wrong doing), for lay people (5 Silas, is no breaking of any precept. When observing Uposatha, use at wrong time, not as just medicine, might be, in regard of mental factor, intention, if for just sense pleasure.

At least: if humans only sense addiction whould be tobacco, there would be no harm of others, no war, no conflicts and nature destruction in this world. People who enjoy other sense-pleasures, stating from using vehicles of nice clothers, even in regard of air-pollution, are no match in harming others at all.

(my person has not investigated the links and teaching given in the comments to the question)

(Note that this gift of Dhamma is not dedicated for trade, exchange, stacks or entertainment but as a means to make merits toward release from this wheel)


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