What causes addictions and what is the remedy to break free from addictions according to Buddha?


6 Answers 6


In brief:

Addiction (craving, tanha), good householder, has not knowing, Avijja, as cause. Not knowing, not seeing what? Suffering, stress, the backwards of short lasting happiness, and the path out of it in a lasting kind.

How one get's free from addiction? By listening to the good Dhamma while maintaining proper attention. By uprooting not knowing, seeing, ignorance. Pointed out the way to view, one sees the suffering for oneself. Seeing the backwards one is able to let go. Having experienced freedom from addiction by certain release, one has gained addiction toward the freedom from it, is bound for liberation.

And what is the most needed condition for getting free from addiction outwardly? Association with those heading toward freedom from drugs or with those already liberated. As long in association with addicted there is less to no way to leave that burden behind.

May all gain touch with the unexcelled replacement-drug and fall addicted to it.

[Note that this isn't given for stacks, exchance, other binding trades or to serve addictions in the world but for escape from this wheel]


Addiction is simply a recurring craving for a sensory stimulus may it be drugs, alcohol, etc.

This can be eliminated through Vipassana to reduce craving.

There are many studies and resources on this: vipassana+addiction


Briefly thinking about the question, it appears similar to if you are enjoying playing a sport so much, that afterwards your muscles become so tired, tight, cramped & painful. The muscles have been exerted & stretched to an excessive degree that there is euphoria followed later by pain.

Mental craving & the associated pleasure appear the same. Certain types of pleasure are causing excess euphoria to the nervous system, which later results in pain. Due to the pain & the memories of the source of pleasure embedded in that painful nervous system, the object of euphoria is craved to obtain relief from the pain & stress. This is addiction.

Addiction is when the object of pleasure also causes pain; thus the object of pleasure is craved to relieve the pain.


What causes addictions and what is the remedy to break free from addictions according to Buddha?

We develop habitual tendencies. There are wholesome tendencies and there are unwholesome tendencies. Addictions are unwholesome tendencies. Habitual lying , habitually suspicious , habitual cruelty, habitual alcoholic, habitual substance abuse etc ... Greed , Hatred , Delusion are the causes behind these addictions. The remedy is to have unwavering faith in Dhamma and to commit wholeheartedly to Nobel 8 fold path. In other words commit to the wholesome. Commit to non greed, non hatred and Dhamma. Choose not to lie because neither you are afraid nor you are greedy. Choose not to take drugs because you are not afraid of painful emotions nor you wish to enjoy drug induced pleasurable emotions. Meditate on compassion, joy , pity , impurities and equanimity.



Master Lu’s Public Talk in Melbourne, Australia

11th November 2017

All people in the human world have to be responsible for legal consequences, while Buddhist practitioners have to be responsible for karma. As a Buddhist practitioner, you reap what you sow; regardless of good or bad consequences, nobody else would face it but you. Only when you have truly understood this inwardly, would you be able to do it. Do not let your physical desires control your soul. On the contrary, let your soul and conscience control your rapacious physical desires.

Understand that vexation stems from unreasonable desires. If your desire is unreasonable and you still pursue it even though you know it is not attainable, vexation will emerge.

All worldly phenomena are forms of prisons. When we are fond of a thing, we become entangled by it and become its slave, as if we are imprisoned. Just like smoking and gambling, once you have tried them, you will be easily addicted to them, and then you will not be able to be free of the addiction.

Q&A 50. Helping compulsive gamblers return to the right path February 19, 2016

Q: Master Lu, I would like to ask a question. My older brother is addicted to gambling. He gambles all day and does not work at all. When he is broke, he comes home and forces our parents to give him money. What should we do to direct him onto the right path? Master Lu, please show us the way out of this situation, and tell us specifically what we should do. Thank you.


For an individual who is addicted to gambling, it is best to start with reciting the Heart Sutra at least 7 times per day and give him some time to think things through. In fact, this is a transformation process. Even if he cannot figure himself out and continues to gamble, the Dharma Protectors would treat him in a gentle manner and hand out less severe punishment.

It is best if he can recite the sutra for himself. If he does not believe in Buddhism, then his family members should recite for him. They can say the following prayer: “May the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and bless , grant him wisdom and help him completely give up the unwholesome habit of gambling.”

If he does not listen to you, recite the Qi Fo Mie Zui Zhen Yan21 to 49 times per day and say the following prayer: “May the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva forgive .” He is just like a child who has committed a wrongdoing and is now asking for forgiveness.

If he has completely fallen into addiction, recite the Eighty-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance 5 times per day. As he has already committed these wrongdoings, you need to say the following prayer: “May the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and bless , and help to repent and eliminate the karmic obstacles caused by gambling.” At the same time, you can recite the Mantra to Untie Karmic Knots and say the following prayer: “May the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and bless , help to untie his karmic knots with gambling.”

If you feel that foreign spirits have occupied him, you need to recite Little Houses and address them to the “Karmic Creditor of ”. Otherwise, there is no need to recite Little Houses.

People with a gambling addiction tend to attract foreign spirits easily. The money in gambling areas often has foreign spirits, regardless of whether it is money won or lost.

Radio Program Extract 077 February 16, 2020

[From the Editor] A caller provided some feedback during “The Art of Applying Comprehensive Metaphysics” radio program on 29th November 2013. The caller’s son was no more addicted to computer games ever since the mother started practising recitation on his behalf. The son also concerned that the addiction to computer games would destroy his future. He is now able to stop himself from stepping into the internet cafe. The caller really appreciated that her son was disciplined with the blessings of the Guan Yin Bodhisattva.

Caller: Master, I’m so touched that the Guan Yin Bodhisattva is so efficacious! I have been performing recitation on behalf of my son for his addiction to computer games. Sometimes he tried to find excuses going to the internet cafe. Somehow he stopped in front of it and realized that the place would destroy his future. It was the blessings of the Guan Yin Bodhisattva who disciplined him and stopped him from stepping into there again.

Master Lu: Exactly. It was the blessings of Guan Yin Bodhisattva that stopped him from playing computer games when he was about to.

Caller: He told me it was dim inside the internet cafe and it was felt like the place would ruin his life. There are so many kids got sucked in and spend most of their time there. What a shame…

Master Lu: This is a place full of karmic obstacles. It is really an improvement for him to stay away from it.

Caller: He’s not doing very well at school and doesn’t like to study.

Master Lu: He doesn’t like to study because of his playing nature. He would settle down as soon as he gains more wisdom.

Caller: Yes. He’s been much better ever since I started practising recitation for him. He spent hours playing computer games when he was in primary school through to the junior high school. But now he rarely plays again.

Master Lu: Isn’t that good enough? You are unable to make him a new person all at once right after practising recitation. It is far over your capability.

Caller: Master, I feel guilty as a mother. I’m not doing well in cultivation myself.

Master Lu: Don’t be guilty. Take it as your motivation so you will not regret as long as you are diligent in performing recitations.

Above from guanyincitta.com detailed practice instructions can also be found at guanyincittasf.com and Guan Yin Citta local offices worldwide.


Restraint and renunciation is how you break free of addiction. The Buddhadharma is training in both of these. Addiction is a biological state your body/brain can be in. When we do wonderful fun terrible drugs, our brain says "Look at how much serotonin and dopamine I have in here. I'm never going to have to ever make any of this again." Little does that foolish brain know, people get rather depressed without all their usual chemicals. People relapse onto hard drugs when they find their ability to experience good thoughts, good emotions, is hampered by the lack of a functioning biological reward system. The natural cycle of mood regulation has been "replaced" by the drug. Only time repairs these things.


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