Intoxication and the Path of Detox

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In the Buddha’s discourses, the most often repeated teaching on the purpose and fruit of the path is the ending of the intoxicants. Often translated as taints, effluents, or floods, the asava refers to the trio of sensual lust, becoming, and ignorance. The quality that binds these together as poisons is that they intoxicate the mind such that we behave in ways that cause suffering to ourselves and others. And we don’t even know we are drunk! We think, “Oh, I can drive just fine, I can live my life well just like I am right now.” But then, we’re overtaken by some sensation, or some criticism. We’re influenced by a cruel person or try to fill a hole in our hearts with purchases and experiences. We can wake up from our utter ignorance about stress and freedom, but it takes a whole life path. Our capacity for good behavior, wise understanding, and joy is enormous. But, no zeal, no deal.

In this series, Gregory Kramer will offer three sessions, each including a talk and practice period of Insight Dialogue. Each session will focus on the nature of intoxication: how it catches fire in relationships and society and how we can live a whole life path of detox using the Buddha’s framework of a whole life eightfold path. Practices of waking up, like mindfulness and right view, help to diminish and eventually vanquish ignorance. Good friends on the path and relational meditation practices like Insight Dialogue harness the power of human relatedness on a path that is alive in every moment of our lives.