THE FIFTH PRECEPT PROJECT Reducing Substance Abuse in Thailand…


Thailand (Photo credit: @Doug88888)


Reducing Substance Abuse in Thailand

I choose to do this topic on a social network level and specifically chose to create a Facebook group named “The Five Precepts of Buddhist Practice” because  realize that substance abuse is a global problem that exists in big and small scale. Recently, I had to the opportunity to walk the streets of Skid Row in Los Angeles. It was very depressing and it is hard to believe there are people in America, the most powerful nation in the world, living in that kind of condition.  The problem maybe many things combined, it is evident that the majority of the people there are drug and alcohol abusers.  Whether in a big country like America or a small country like Thailand where I am from, substance abuse will ruin lives the same way.  Drugs and alcohol, once they take over a person’s life, they will ruin not only health, but destroy relationships, properties, and eventually take lives.  Addictions can be very hard to break.  I am hoping this forum I am creating will get people to come together and raise awareness.

I find that education is the key to enlighten people of the risk of substance abuse.  Educating people on what to do and how to prevent it from happening, I think, will help people live their lives better and happier. You do not have to be a Buddhist to follow the Five Precepts.  But it would help if you understand it and try to apply the rules to your life.  This topic is most beneficial to young adults who may be faced with peer pressure and on the verge to taking drugs.  If this forum will somehow reach someone and help them choose the right path, it is worth it.  I hope a lot of people will participate and I hope Buddha’s teaching will be helpful to everyone involved directly or indirectly in the way of spiritual leadership training.

The topic I choose to discuss about is addiction in Thailand.  Whether it is addiction to alcohol, drugs, or any kind of outside influence, it causes a person to be careless and mindless.  It alters a person’s mental ability and, more often than not, causes them to make bad judgment.  Being influenced by alcohol and/or drugs changes a person’s mind, attitude, judgment, and if a person is dependent on it, they can become highly addicted to it.  Once it gets to the point of addiction, it can ruin their health, tear up a family/relationship, cause them to lose their job or social status, and many other unpleasant and destructive circumstances

To be addicted to something causes you to lose your freedom – you need to have it, drink it, inhale it, inject it, or use it in order to survive and go on with your life.  That is a form of attachment.  In Buddhism, this form of addiction is breaking of the fifth precept (there are five main Precepts), which is to refrain from intoxication whether it is alcohol or drugs.

Poverty and homelessness issues often times stem from drug and alcohol abuse.  Once people become addicted to substance, they use more to forget their problems and to escape from pain.  The more they use, the more addicted they become.  The more addicted they become, the more trouble they are in.  It is a vicious cycle.  It is an addiction that requires both physical and mental help.

I believe the Buddha’s teaching, although set over 2500 years ago, can be applied back then and can be used in this day and age as well.  Drug and alcohol abuse is a big problem everywhere in the world.  It is the cause of many health issues.  Overdosing on drugs causes instant death while alcohol abuse shortens a person life.  It is a death sentence waiting to happen, and it is all from the addiction.

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4 thoughts on “THE FIFTH PRECEPT PROJECT Reducing Substance Abuse in Thailand…

  1. Praduchai says:

    Good aticle.

    An alcohol, drugs, or any kind of outside influence, it causes a person to be careless and mindless.

  2. Anonymous says:

    That’s right, An alchohol, and drug is the cause of the problems such as accident ,homeless ,and so on ,someday educated people will help us to cure the problems .

  3. As my understand, Buddhism in Thailand is considered national religion. Monks in Saffron robe go for alms-giving everyday. People offer food to monks and go to the temples to worship and venerate the Buddha. I guess that many of them may know the five precepts, particularly the fifth. But, many of them are alcohol abuse. There are many reasons for people to get trapped on using drug or alcohol. One possibility is that they have no wise way to escape the tiredness of physical body and the problems of psychological issues. If using the fifth precept alone, there is not easy to help reduce the substance abuse.

  4. Du Wayne Engelhart says:

    Thank you very much for the discussion about substance abuse and the Fifth Precept. What you say is very informative. I have known a couple individuals at my job who cut their lives short because they were overcome by their addiction. It is sad to see this kind of thing.
    I like to think about the abuse of alcohol and substances in terms of death. Luang Ta Chi has an article translated into English called “Those Who Fear Death.” He talks about two kinds of death. The first kind of death is the untimely death that substance abuse can cause. Here he, too, mentions the Five Precepts: “The best way to make one’s life longer, to avoid untimely death, is to conduct oneself strictly according to the five precepts.” Luang Ta Chi also talks about another kind of death, the ultimate death that will finally catch up with each of us because it is part of life. We don’t have to be afraid of ultimate death if we have the Dhamma. Luang Ta Chi says, “For people who would like to flee the grasp of death, the higher level of the Dhamma should be sought. Apply meditation and awareness to observe the body and mind, and to see the three interrelated basic characteristics of existence . . .” In other words, to overcome ultimate death live, a life of vipassana meditation–all day every day.
    I think we should think about death every day. Thinking about death every day is not the sign of a sick mind. It is actually very healthy–it is good medicine. Thinking about death helps keep our minds focused on the things that really matter in life–living a life of kindness and compassion, and avoiding anger and greed. A good life in the Dhamma is in one sense at bottom a life preparing to die without fear or regret or sadness.

    Du Wayne Engelhart

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