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Book: Buddhism in Five Minutes

Chapter: 67. Are Alcohol and Drugs ever Acceptable to Buddhists?

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.40810


The answer to this question depends in part on whether Buddhism is understood as a lived and changing tradition or whether it is understood through apparently timeless ethical principles. If the former, then there is plenty of evidence that drugs and alcohol have been and are acceptable to Buddhists in different settings around the globe. Tempting though it may be to respond with “it didn’t ought to be,” thus giving the role of judge to certain written and oral texts, namely the five precepts, it is more productive to explore the role, function, and interpretation of those texts in diverse Buddhist communities over time.

Chapter Contributors

  • Wendy Dossett ( - wendydossett) 'University of Chester'