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  • Writer's pictureartgainz

Escaping Pain: Drugs and Eastern Meditation

Fresco depicting Buddha meditating under a tree in a scene of the Buddha's life in the Doi Suthep temple.

There are at least three ways to respond to pain:

  1. Dealing with whatever problem is causing the pain,

  2. Nobly bearing the pain (Stoicism), or

  3. Trying to ignoring the pain.

Depending on the circumstances, 1 and/or 2 can be acceptable responses for a man of good character, but there is always the temptation of 3, trying to ignoring the pain, which is generally an unacceptable response and indicates poor character.

Some people try to ignore or suppress the pain through alcohol or the use of recreational drugs. This is very easily recognized as a self-destructive (and non-constructive) behaviour. What is not so easily recognized is that eastern meditation techniques are also an attempt to ignore pain. This is no better exemplified than in the story of the Buddha himself, who abandoned his family, felt bad about it, and eventually “found peace” through meditation —“emptying his mind”. I know that's not typically how the story of the Buddha is interpreted, but it seems rather obvious to me. In my opinion, all those statues and paintings of the Buddha serenely meditating are a lie. He's just a deadbeat pretending his family doesn't need him. Most men would just hit the bottle and leave it at that, but the Buddha founded an entire religion on the concept of running away from your problems.

People are driven to eastern meditation by the same thing that drives people to drugs and alcohol. They do not have the courage to deal with their problems. They would rather ignore the pain and fill their mind with emptiness.

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