Why the Buddha banned booze.

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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Seishin » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:08 pm

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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Ramon1920 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 2:26 am

Ramon1920 wrote:A lot of people get defensive around alcohol.

If you can't even give up booze maybe you aren't serious about Buddhism at all.


Ah haha, a lot of people got defensive just now lol.

I know some people are not given the vow to abstain from alcohol, and, even if you do have it, some vows supersede others. My own vows on alcohol are not hard and fast, so it's not like I'm unaware of these exceptions to the general rule.

But I stick with my statement, if you can't give up booze, or coffee, or sweets, or other little luxuries, you're not serious.

Enlightenment or booze?
:thinking:

If you can't even give up such a minor thing just what can you offer to the practice?
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jul 12, 2013 2:38 am

Ramon1920 wrote: But I stick with my statement, if you can't give up booze, or coffee, or sweets, or other little luxuries, you're not serious.


You're clearly saying this to belittle others, which is inconsiderate and lacking in compassion.

Some people would become socially handicapped if they gave up liquor. In a lot of Asian countries for example, alcohol is part of doing business. If you do not drink even a bit, then you'll become alienated from your colleagues and partners. It might even lead to career problems, which further lead to financial problems, which are often the root of marriage problems.

It is not so much a matter of should or should not, but simply that certain social conventions might entail a need for infringing on certain religious precepts. Another example might be having to deal with cockroaches and rats in your restaurant. As the owner, even as a Buddhist, if you don't deal with the problem then you might get shut down.

As a monk I'm excused from most of these situations, sure, but I realize that not everyone can so easily say no to liquor. We should show compassion and concern for them, rather than belittling them and saying they're not serious like you're doing here:

If you can't even give up such a minor thing just what can you offer to the practice?


There is more to practice than refraining from alcohol. There are four other precepts as you know. Learning to be free from pride, arrogance, harmful behaviour (including harmful speech) and malice are far more important than giving up alcohol.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Ramon1920 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:32 am

Indrajala, you've put a lot on me. I can understand why you think what you do about me. While writing here, the thought of conceit wasn't prominent, but of course I could have a blind spot so I will investigate.

There is a prohibition to belittling others and aggrandizing oneself, I'll have to think a while to see if my actions qualify as an offense.



I was actually imitating someone from the past that inspired me with their open criticism of people's half hearted intentions that falter at the slightest inconvenience. The effect of hearing it was I recognized the ludicrousness of my squabbles over inconveniences when it came to Dharma. Being raised in America I've been trained to throw a tiffy at the slightest inconvenience and sabotage whatever caused it with indiscretion. If I hadn't heard that criticism I might be somewhere tearing down Buddhist groups because I didn't agree with one of their rules. I would probably be trying to make my own tradition to appease the tendencies I was unwilling to change.

I do not withdrawal my statement as I think this is the right time, the right place, that what I've said is true, and that it is beneficial. I've been told that words hurting other's feelings do not constitute wrong speech, and to be wary of people who would twist one into saying this, or that, or not speaking, with the prospect that you hurt someone's feelings.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:35 am

Thing is that I see pride and identification existing on both sides of this argument. To say that somebody is of lesser capacities because they take a vow to not drink alcohol seems to be insinuating that those that do drink alcohol are of greater capacities. A visit to any local pub will quickly clear up that misconception.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Sönam » Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:34 am

gregkavarnos wrote:Thing is that I see pride and identification existing on both sides of this argument. To say that somebody is of lesser capacities because they take a vow to not drink alcohol seems to be insinuating that those that do drink alcohol are of greater capacities. A visit to any local pub will quickly clear up that misconception.


This is not what it means, it does not concern only alcohol, but all vows taken. And it explains that those who take vows do so because they are not sure they can respect a rule, so if they transform it into a samaya they will have some kind of higher protection (against them self). It's a prove that the vow-taker has a lot of confindance in the Dharma (more than in oneself). But it is said that the one that has a perfect "certitude" (not anymore doubt) about the dharma, do not need to tie himself within a vow ... perfection is self arisng.
As for Trungpa, Virupa and some others, they are Vidyadhara, it means they dwell permanently in rigpa, therefore boose or any other additive has not a common impact on them, perfection in spontaneity is there mode.

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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:10 am

Sönam wrote:This is not what it means, it does not concern only alcohol, but all vows taken. And it explains that those who take vows do so because they are not sure they can respect a rule, so if they transform it into a samaya they will have some kind of higher protection (against them self). It's a prove that the vow-taker has a lot of confindance in the Dharma (more than in oneself). But it is said that the one that has a perfect "certitude" (not anymore doubt) about the dharma, do not need to tie himself within a vow ... perfection is self arisng.
That is the view according to the tradition that you practice in. Other traditions hold a different view.
As for Trungpa, ... , they are Vidyadhara,
Yes, well, some may not exactly agree with your opinion.

Thing is though, that not all vidyadharas drink alcohol and all alcohol drinkers are not vidyadharas.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Simon E. » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:34 am

No one, including the man himself, saw his alcohol abuse as anything other than alcohol abuse.

But this is the Fallacy Of The Slippery Slope..we are not talking about alcohol abuse. We are talking about alcohol use.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Sönam » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:59 am

From "The heart of the Buddha", chapitre "Alcohol as Medicine or Poison", Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (p.185-191) some extracts:

There seems to be something wrong with an approach to alcohol that is based entirely on morality or social propriety. The scruples implied have solely to do with the external effects of one's drinking. The real effect of alcohol is not considered, but only its impact of the social format. On the other hand, a drinker feels that there is something worthwhile in his drinking aside from the pleasure he or she gets out of it. There are the warmth and openess that seem to come from the relaxation of his usual self-conscious style. Also there is the confidence of being able to communicate his perceptions accurately, which cuts through his usual feeling of inadequacy. Scientists find they are able to solve their problems; philosophers have new insights; and artists find clear perception. The drinker experiences greater clarity because he feels more really what he is; therefore daydreams and fantasies can be temporarily put aside.

It seems that alcohol is a weak poison which is capable of being transmuted into medicine.
(...)
Conscious drinking is a real and obvious demonstration of mind over matter. It allows us to relate to the various stages of intoxication: we experience our expectations, the almost devilish delight when the effect begins to be felt, and the final breakdown into frivolity in which habitual boundaries begin to dissolve.

Nevertheless, alcohol can as easy be a death poison as a medicine.
(...)
Wheter alcohol is to be a poison or a medicine depends on one's awareness while drinking.
(...)
But naturally the ordinary drinker who tries to compete with or imitate this transcendental style of drinking will turn his alcohol into poison.
(...)
The conception of alcohol as a temptation of the devil is a highly questionable one.
(...)
In the Buddhist tantra, alcohol is used to catalyze the fundamental energy of intoxication; this is the energy that transmutes the duality of the apparent world into advaya ‒ "not two." In this way, form, smell, and sound can be perceived literally, as they are, within the realm of mahasukha or great joy.
By understanding everything you perceive from the perspective of the view, you are freed from the constraints of philosophical beliefs.
By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Dronma » Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:37 pm

Personally I don't see any benefit in any of both extremes.
The way that I perceive it is that Buddha did not condemn alcohol itself, but intoxication in general. Any intoxication, for obvious reasons.
We can agree or disagree forever here...

These days I am reading the book "Magic Dance" by Thinley Norbu Rinpoche.
There are some interesting passages which can contribute to the discussion:


"The minds of all beings are magicians whose magic is a deceptive trick through which truth is made untrue or untruth made true for pleasure or for suffering".

Then, he explains the aspects of the 4 demons:
1) The obstruction demon.
2) The unobstructed demon.
3) The self-satisfaction demon.
4) The self-righteous demon.

Especially for the 2 latter ones:


"The self-satisfaction demon of our spiritual qualities is more subtle. For example, we may think our spiritual path is superior, our teacher is best, our blissful or visionary experiences are very special".
..........
"The self-righteous demon appears when the need arises to express comparative concepts about oneself which interpret the self as being better than the other".
..........
"Self-satisfaction demons and self-righteous demons are the most dangerous for practitioners. Without realizing Wisdom Mind, a practitioner may become a saint or a sage with his ego, and through certain sadhanas, may attain great powers like a magician. But without a true understanding of our real wisdom nature and without confidence in our Wisdom Mind, no matter what powers we attain through practice, if we cannot release our mind from our ego's pride at having attained these powers, it is only the cause of samsara".
"My view is as vast as the sky, but my actions are finer than flour"
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby flavio81 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:53 pm

Ramon1920 wrote: I was actually imitating someone from the past that inspired me with their open criticism of people's half hearted intentions that falter at the slightest inconvenience.


It's OK to criticize if your intention is to genuinely help the other person, i think. The problem is that you are assuming that the people that is buddhist and drink on this forum, are people "with half hearted intentions that falter..." That's where the problem is. The self-righteous demon.

These kinds of subtle workings of the ego are perfectly, thoroughly described by a buddhist master that, oh surprise, used to drink a good deal of alcohol -- Chogyam Trungpa in his book "Cutting through spiritual materialism". You must read this book, it will really help you and i don't say this as a personal thing: It will help most buddhists.

Ramon1920 wrote: Being raised in America


Ahh, that's where the problem is. Raised in America. It's a cultural thing. Let me explain:

Some years ago i was on Virginia, USA for work matters, as an engineer. At the time of lunch, we went out to have a nice feast with the USA engineers -who were extremely nice, by the way-. I ordered my meals and when it came to order something to drink, i ordered what i used to have with my meals at that time -- a good beer.

The US engineers looked at me with a puzzled, startled face and one of them told me "Hey Flavio, why do you want to get drunk at lunch time?!" Then, i became the puzzled one. "Drunk?! How could i become drunk with just 1 small beer?!", i said.

Then i undestood that apparently there's a BIG difference with the usage of alcohol between the US and at least my country. Apparently, on the US people drank alcohol with the specific purpose to get drunk (drink one beer ,then the next one, then the next one, and so on, and so on...), while in my country it's usual to have only ONE beer, in other words, to drink for the enjoyment of it, without any intention to get drunk.

As mentioned before, alcohol consumption is not exactly the same as intoxication. I know that if i take up to about 620mL of beer, i will be OK with no problem. I also know that i can take one glass of "whiskey on the rocks" and be OK, if i take two of them i will have to move carefully and slowly, and that i shouldn't exceed that limit. I don't really like being drunk. I'm also the kind of people that do not change too much its behavior from being sober to drunk, so it's not as if you would notice a dramatically different person.

So the way i understand the precept is simply to not let alcohol control you! That's how my Master explains it, by the way.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Ramon1920 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 6:56 am

Trungpa is not my teacher, so if he's not quoting sutra, a tantra I am committed to, or a valid commentary what he says has no fundamental credibility with me. I'm a Buddhist, not a Trungpaist, I have better things to read and I don't appreciate people pushing some guru's ramblings onto me as if he's an authority I must acknowledge. But I've already gone into that on another thread.

My statement was not, "if you drink alcohol you're not serious", but rather, "if you cannot give up alcohol you're not serious".

I think it's worth saying that vows are not an exercise in adhering to random rules for the sake of testing yourself.

Buddha Shakyamuni and Buddha Vajradhara was not a kung fu master from a movie telling people to paint fences and wash cars to test young disciples fortitude.

The vows are deliberate and they don't become irrelevant just because you have the self control to hold them.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Sönam » Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:34 am

Ramon,

The path can be a long way, I wish you many nice journeys ...

Buddha Shakyamuni and Buddha Vajradhara (which are not two) are also kung fu master, even in a movie ... and sometime they paint and wash. And the self which is controled has nothing to do with the irrelevancy of vows ... relevance may have with controled self.

Sönam
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By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Ramon1920 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 1:44 pm

Sönam wrote:Ramon,

The path can be a long way, I wish you many nice journeys ...

Buddha Shakyamuni and Buddha Vajradhara (which are not two) are also kung fu master, even in a movie ... and sometime they paint and wash. And the self which is controled has nothing to do with the irrelevancy of vows ... relevance may have with controled self.

Sönam


I used "was" to indicate that I was talking about a single person.

If you see phenomenon as mandalas or deities, you can't take things at face value. So say you are viewing a crazy person as a deity and they tell you to kill your vow, empowerment, tutor, and root lamas. If you take that on face value(i.e. the Buddha told me to and my samaya means I must), you'll destroy everything good.

I don't understand what you're saying here, "And the self which is controled has nothing to do with the irrelevancy of vows ... relevance may have with controled self."
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby mutsuk » Sat Jul 13, 2013 7:35 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Sönam wrote:This is not what it means, it does not concern only alcohol, but all vows taken. And it explains that those who take vows do so because they are not sure they can respect a rule, so if they transform it into a samaya they will have some kind of higher protection (against them self). It's a prove that the vow-taker has a lot of confindance in the Dharma (more than in oneself). But it is said that the one that has a perfect "certitude" (not anymore doubt) about the dharma, do not need to tie himself within a vow ... perfection is self arisng.
That is the view according to the tradition that you practice in. Other traditions hold a different view.

That is actually not the view of the tradition he thinks he follows. The respect of vows and necessity to hold them is affirmed in numerous Dzogchen Tantras, starting with the sGra-thal-'gyur. It is again a case of misunderstanding Dzogchen and the Dzogchenpa.


gregkavarnos wrote:
As for Trungpa, ... , they are Vidyadhara,
Yes, well, some may not exactly agree with your opinion.

Thing is though, that not all vidyadharas drink alcohol and all alcohol drinkers are not vidyadharas.

Yes!! Way time to call a spade a spade. :applause:
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jul 14, 2013 5:28 am

mutsuk wrote: The respect of vows and necessity to hold them is affirmed in numerous Dzogchen Tantras, starting with the sGra-thal-'gyur. It is again a case of misunderstanding Dzogchen and the Dzogchenpa.


Among the 27 samayas mentioned by Longchenpa in the bla ma yang thig, avoiding alcohol is never mentioned.

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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jul 14, 2013 6:35 am

Malcolm wrote:
mutsuk wrote: The respect of vows and necessity to hold them is affirmed in numerous Dzogchen Tantras, starting with the sGra-thal-'gyur. It is again a case of misunderstanding Dzogchen and the Dzogchenpa.


Among the 27 samayas mentioned by Longchenpa in the bla ma yang thig, avoiding alcohol is never mentioned.

M
I think you will find that "mutsuk" is talking about vows in general and not the specific vow about imbibing alcohol.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby mutsuk » Sun Jul 14, 2013 6:58 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
mutsuk wrote: The respect of vows and necessity to hold them is affirmed in numerous Dzogchen Tantras, starting with the sGra-thal-'gyur. It is again a case of misunderstanding Dzogchen and the Dzogchenpa.


Among the 27 samayas mentioned by Longchenpa in the bla ma yang thig, avoiding alcohol is never mentioned.

M
I think you will find that "mutsuk" is talking about vows in general and not the specific vow about imbibing alcohol.

Yes that's exactly it! Thanks for reading with unbiased eyes ! What Sönam is trying to have people swallow is that: 1. there are no vows or samayas in Dzogchen, and 2. people who follow vows are of inferior capacities. This is misleading.

1. There are vows and samayas in Dzogchen. If one simply refers to the text Malcolm is mentioning, Longchenpa says at the beginning (free rendering from JLA's translation): « Even though there are no samayas likely to be broken or transgressed in the Natural Great Perfection since it is beyond a limitation to protect, the yogis practicing the Path have to maintain their samayas and because of that their continuum must be purified. » Moreover, chapter 7 of the Theg-mchog-mdzod gives extensive explanations of the 27 samayas based on various sources, which implies there are samayas (not only the 4 described in the gNas-lugs-mdzod). Inducing wrong views in the mind of others is one of those breaks of samaya. This is again, again and forever, based on the incapacity to clearly understand the difference between Dzogchen and the Dzogchenpa. It is a deviation (gol-sa) from which it is practically impossible to escape once it's installed in the continuum.

2. Let's take one single example. If we follow Sönam's logic, then someone like Shardza Rinpoche who kept his vows (pratimoksha, bodhisattva, and tantric vows) pure throughout his life is an inferior being in need of vows because he has inferior capacities. Well we know what Fruit he manifested. I don't know a single Dzogchen text affirming that people following vows are inferior. This again is a wrong results coming from not understanding Dzogchen and the Dzogchenpa.
Last edited by Sherab Dorje on Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:07 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby kirtu » Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:08 am

Ramon1920 wrote:A lot of people get defensive around alcohol.

If you can't even give up booze maybe you aren't serious about Buddhism at all.


There are actually practices where alcohol is required.

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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:18 am

If I have to pull (or edit) one more post out of this thread I will lock it.

If people are incapable of serious and mature discussions around this issue then I will have no qualms about taking away all the toys and kicking them out of the sandbox.

Yes, I am being TOTALLY serious.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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