* Buddhist leaders protest casino deal
By Shihar Aneez
COLOMBO, Oct 22 (Reuters) -
Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, Investment Promotion minister, said the decision to alter the deal's terms came after various opposition politicians said Packer was getting concessions not given to local entrepreneurs and Buddhist leaders said the casino could be detrimental to Sri Lanka's culture.
What Hinduism and Buddhism say about gambling
Sources: Edmund Bergler / OnlinePokies,
07 March 2011
As with a number of areas, Islam and Hinduism are largely in alignment on the issue of gambling. Hindu scriptures prohibit gambling. These are the sections of the Hindu scriptures which mention and prohibit gambling:
“A Gamester / gambler says,‘My wife holds me aloof, my mother hates me’. The wretched man finds none to comfort him.” (Rigveda 10:34:3)
“Play not with dice: No, cultivate thy corn land. Enjoy the gain and deem that wealth sufficient”.(Rigved 10:34:13)
“Drinking, gambling, women (not lawfully wedded wives) and hunting, in that order, he should know to be the very worst four in the group of (vices) born of desire”
(Manu Smriti 7:50)
Gambling is also prohibited in several verses of the Manu Smriti including:
ii. Manu Smriti Chapter 7 Verse 47
iii.Manu Smriti Chapter 9 Verses 221-22
iv.Manu Smriti Chapter 9 Verse 258
And so it can be seen that Hinduism does not approve gambling as a lawful activity. However, in other sections of Hindu scriptures, there are suggestions that there been gambling activities carried out in Hindu culture.
Mahabharata is a famous epic story and scripture in Hinduism. In this epic there are numerous instances of gambling activities. The epic states that gambling in the form of dice games was a source of entertainment for Kings.
There are also other Hindu scriptures which indicate that gambling activities were carried out in Hindu empires. Thus the scriptures seem to be both prohibit gambling, and also acknowledge it as a religious norm. Contradictions in the scriptures are naturally not uncommon.Buddhism
Buddhism takes a nuanced view of gambling and its prohibition. In Sigalovada Sutta’s “The Layman’s Code of Discipline” the following is stated:
“There are, young householder, these six evil consequences in indulging in gambling:
(i) the winner begets hate,
(ii) the loser grieves for lost wealth,
(iii) loss of wealth,
(iv) his word is not relied upon in a court of law,
(v) he is despised by his friends and associates,
(vi) he is not sought after for matrimony; for people would say he is a gambler and is not fit to look after a wife.”
Dighajanu Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya VIII.54 states the following about gambling from a Buddhist perspective:
“These are the four drains on one’s store of wealth: debauchery in sex; debauchery in drink; debauchery in gambling; and evil friendship, evil companionship, evil camaraderie. Just as if there were a great reservoir with four inlets and four drains, and a man were to close the inlets and open the drains, and the sky were not to pour down proper showers, the depletion of that great reservoir could be expected, not its increase. In the same way, these are the four drains on one’s store of wealth: debauchery in sex; debauchery in drink; debauchery in gambling; and evil friendship, evil companionship, evil camaraderie.
These are the four inlets to one’s store of wealth: no debauchery in sex; no debauchery in drink; no debauchery in gambling; and admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie. Just as if there were a great reservoir with four inlets and four drains, and a man were to open the inlets and close the drains, and the sky were to pour down proper showers, the increase of that great reservoir could be expected, not its depletion. In the same way, these are the four inlets to one’s store of wealth: no debauchery in sex; no debauchery in drink; no debauchery in gambling; and admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie.”Thus it seems that in Buddhistm, while gambling itself is not considered inherently wrong for the layperson (monks are forbidden from gambling), if it is indulged in to the extent that is produces “evil consequences” then it is inadvisable. It should be noted however, that, as with Christianity and other religions, there are many different types of Buddhism. The above is from Theravada Buddhism, which is practised in Thailand and elsewhere in South East Asia, but there are many other forms.
Buddha: An unskillful activity
To gamble (jūtakīḷā) is to risk money on games of chance. Gambling was already an ancient activity by the Buddha’s time and the Vedas, the most ancient Hindu scriptures, contain the famous ‘Gambler’s Lament’ in which a man cries after having wagered and lost his wife and children. Such extreme betting is also mentioned in the Tipiṭaka (M.III,107).
Hardly surprisingly, the Buddha saw gambling as an unskillful activity. He said: ‘There are these six dangers of being addicted to gambling. In winning one begets hatred; in losing one mourns the loss of one’s wealth; one’s word is not accepted in court; one is avoided by both friends and officials; one is not sought after for marriage because people say a gambler cannot support a wife.’ (D.III,183). On another occasion he said that ‘squandering wealth on dice’ leads to one’s decline (Sn.106).
However, we might say that there are three types of gambling – recreational, habitual and addictive.
The first type is when someone occasionally plays cards for small stakes or buys a lottery ticket to support a charity.
Habitual gambling is to gamble a significant but manageable percentage of one’s income on a regular basis.
Addictive gambling is the inability to resist the opportunity to gamble and thus be constantly in debt.From a Buddhist perspective, recreational gambling would be considered harmless and not against the Precepts
. However, because all gambling plays on at least some element of greed, it is certainly unbecoming for Buddhist organizations to raise funds by lotteries and games of chance.
Habitual and addictive gambling are psychologically, socially and spiritually harmful because they are motivated by and reinforce delusion, avarice and the mistaken belief in good and bad ‘luck.’
For the Buddha, it is being virtuous that makes one ‘lucky,’ not having a winning streak. He said: ‘If a gambler were to win a fortune on his very first throw his luck would nonetheless be insignificant. It is many times more “lucky” to conduct oneself wisely with body, speech and mind and after death be reborn in heaven.’ (M.III,178).