Dear Lama Zopa


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I Want to Stop Smoking

Dear Lama Zopa,

I need to stop smoking. How can I find the strength? I have tried so many times. I have cut down, but I find it so hard, I just don’t know what to do. My partner smokes and sometimes it’s such a nice social time together when we go out for a cigarette, but I know it’s bad for us physically and mentally. It’s an old habit and so much of my life goes along with my cigarette breaks. Do you have any advice on how I can quit once and for all?

                                        Best wishes,

                                        Denise, London

Dear Denise,

I am happy that you have cut down your smoking, as it is very harmful to your body and life. It can shorten your life and cause cancer. It is said both in Buddhist teachings and in ordinary life that smoking is harmful and extremely distasteful.

           The teachings say that the material used in cigarettes is impure, and that evil beings caused the substances to grow in order to interfere with people’s practice of virtue, degenerate their minds, and engage them in nonvirtue, so that their minds are not free from delusion.

I once saw the body of a woman who died of lung cancer from smoking, and her lungs were black and blue. A Tibetan doctor from Dharamsala showed me one of her lungs. You could die like this if you don’t stop!

           Smoking also makes people who don’t smoke unhappy.

Smoking pollutes your whole body, making it impure. It harms your subtle body, too. It makes it difficult for virtuous thoughts to arise, and it makes it very hard not to have attachment. Smoking just brings temporary pleasure, and that’s all. When you die, you don’t take one single benefit from smoking with you. It doesn’t protect you from suffering, and it can’t help you achieve a good rebirth in your next life...

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