Why the Buddha banned booze.

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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby mutsuk » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:11 pm

Malcolm wrote:I can imagine that their views on the subject are not definitive.

Sure, you can imagine anything to reassure yourself. Their teachings are anyway very explicit and they are in particular very clear. Your opinion about them does not change what they state.
In the Aryanandikasutra, the Buddha himself gives 35 reasons why not to use alcohol. He gives 10 reasons for each of the four other vows, but 35 for alcohol only!!! As for the result of this, the Buddha says : "A person who delights in drinking alcohol/ Cannot bring benefit to himself or happiness to others." (chang 'thung ba la mngon par dga' ba'i mi/ bdag la phan dang gzhan la bde mi nus/). He also adds : "Since it is like the Hala poison, do not drink it." (ji ltar ha la'i dug bzhin de mi btung). Contradicting this is just a justification trying to banalize one's use of an intoxicant which kills thousands of people every day throughout the world directly or indirectly. Time to grow up.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby mutsuk » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:14 pm

I forgot to add that, in this sutra, the Buddha says regarding avoiding usage of alcohol :
"— This is the instructions for householder (lay people)." (khyim gnas rnams kyi bslab pa 'di yi nte/).
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:31 pm

mutsuk wrote: the Buddha says : "A person who delights in drinking alcohol/ Cannot bring benefit to himself or happiness to others." (chang 'thung ba la mngon par dga' ba'i mi/ bdag la phan dang gzhan la bde mi nus/).



Depends on what one means by "delights" -- I am pretty sure that a glass of wine with dinner is not included.

M
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Dronma » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:36 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:I personally know of two people that died due to the consequences of long term alcohol (over) consumption. I had another two friends go through detox programs and another one that detoxed on their own. I also personally know a couple of people that died in automobile and motorcycle accidents due to drink driving.


Greg, intoxication is something that nobody is supporting here.
I understand what you mean, since I also knew people who were in chronic alcoholism or drugs. It is a curse!
I had also the awkward experience of participating in Ganapujas with people who were drinking galons of alcohol with the excuse that they were Dzogchenpas without limitations. Occasionally, a few of them were participating in practices while they were stoned. It is deeply sad!
That was the main reason for me to stay away of those circles.
But nobody here is supporting intoxication and the breaking of samayas!
A glass of wine or beer is not harmful for most people. But when we say a glass, we mean one glass! Not a whole bottle...
"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 Sherab Dorje » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:42 pm

Malcolm wrote:No, greg. It does not. Everthing in the world can be either poison or amrita -- it depends on the method.
From the ultimate perspective: yes! From the relative perspective: no! Given that 99.999999999999% of beings act from within the limitations of the relative then it is just plain stupid to say (for example): drinking and driving is not necessarily dangerous, it all depends on the method. Exactly how many people do you know that have the capacity to apply the "method"? And how many that do not?

I once saw a video with a Hindu yogi who swallowed a teaspoonful of mercury without even blinking. Should we recommend people swallow a small quantity of mercury every day since everything can be either poison or amrita, or do we just draw a line based on our personal preferences?
"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 Malcolm » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:50 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Malcolm wrote:No, greg. It does not. Everthing in the world can be either poison or amrita -- it depends on the method.
From the ultimate perspective: yes! From the relative perspective: no! /quote]

Method means relative, that is the point of having a method.
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he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby mutsuk » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:53 pm

Malcolm wrote:Depends on what one means by "delights" -- I am pretty sure that a glass of wine with dinner is not included.

In the text, it's clear it's an intensive for "to like" and this implies to consume. You are pretty sure of what reassures your daily usage. This is addiction. There is a lengthy text by Peltrul Rinpoche on the dangers of alcohol which clearly states that drinking alcohol is the source of only drawbacks. And the Aryanandikasutra is very explicit on the subject. It is clear throughout all the pages of this thread that you definitely need to justify your usage.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:01 pm

mutsuk wrote:It is clear throughout all the pages of this thread that you definitely need to justify your usage.



Need to justify? No, not in any sense at all.

But when we consider textual sources, for example, the late Dudjom Rinpoche writes very clearly in the Throma retreat manual that it is important to drink a small amount of alcohol everyday for integration.

The Caraksamhita as well as the rgyud bzhi does not describe alcohol solely in terms of faults.

Longchenpa as we have seen praises the benefits of alcohol.

Chogyal Namkhai Norbu explicitly teaches us in the DC that we need not consider ourselves constrained by pratimokṣa rules _at all_, and he is a person who benefits many people who regularly partakes of alcohol.

Finally, I am not sūtrayāna practitioner, so what is appropriate for such people is not appropriate for me in every case.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby mutsuk » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:12 pm

Malcolm wrote:But when we consider textual sources, for example, the late Dudjom Rinpoche writes very clearly in the Throma retreat manual that it is important to drink a small amount of alcohol everyday for integration.

THis is done in order to test one's integration of various circumstances including using intoxicants. Dudjom Rinpoche has also given a very lively portrait of people "calling themselves Dzogchenpas when their breath fetid with wine, their heavy bottom, their stinking odor, etc." (rDzogs chen ngo sprod skal bzang snying nor, bDud ‘joms gsung ‘bum, vol. 25, p. 341). This is in context of rDzogs chen instructions, not sutras.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:20 pm

mutsuk wrote:
Malcolm wrote:But when we consider textual sources, for example, the late Dudjom Rinpoche writes very clearly in the Throma retreat manual that it is important to drink a small amount of alcohol everyday for integration.

THis is done in order to test one's integration of various circumstances including using intoxicants. Dudjom Rinpoche has also given a very lively portrait of people "calling themselves Dzogchenpas when their breath fetid with wine, their heavy bottom, their stinking odor, etc." (rDzogs chen ngo sprod skal bzang snying nor, bDud ‘joms gsung ‘bum, vol. 25, p. 341). This is in context of rDzogs chen instructions, not sutras.



Yes, this is no different than having a glass of wine with dinner. If you cannot integrate, you should not drink wine for dinner -- who ever said otherwise?

And yes, it is in the context of Dzogchen instructions, just like ChNN's point of view. As I said, I am not a sūtrayāna practitioner. What is appropriate for them is not appropriate necessarily for Vajrayāna practitioners.

If you are a person with a propensity for a problem with anything, be it food, alcohol, sex, etc., then one has to examine that. If not, then there is no problem using any of these things.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby mutsuk » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:43 pm

Malcolm wrote: If not, then there is no problem using any of these things.

No, there is a problem with alcohol indeed in itself. As he was about to leave Tibet for subjugating the Srin-pos, Padmasambhava said to those who call themselves Ngakpas :
"— O Ngakpas! The cause that brings destructions is alcohol.
In alcohol, all the causes for raising desire, hatred, delusion
As well as pride, jealousy, and all passions without exception
Are entirely collected in that (poison).
For this reason, my oral instructions is to avoid drinking alcohol."
(sngags pa phung byed rgyu ni chang nag yin/ chang 'dod chags zhe sdang gti mug dang/ nga rgyal phrag dog nyon mongs ma lus pa/ slong ba'i rgyu kun 'di la tshang ba yin/ de phyir chang nag ma 'thung zhal gdams yin/).

Maybe Guru Rinpoche is not a source good enough for you.

In this testament, he goes on and on explaining how drinking alcohol (chang 'thung ba, not only becoming intoxicated) is a cause for various deficient rebirths (including one human birth characterized by craziness, etc., not to mention all those in various hells, etc.) Then he adds :
" —Because of that, drinking alcohol has been condemned
In (all) series of Sutras and Tantras; (thus I myself), Padma have not proclaimed that you should dring alcohol.
Those Ngakpas from the degenerate ages of the future
Claiming that (myself), Orgyen Pema has said (you can) drink alcohol,
These are not followers of mine:
They are the followers of the black demons.
The individual who makes his own thinking, his own meditation and his own offering (of this beverage),
Drinking alcohol, he is deceiving myself, Padma!"
(chang 'thung de phyir mdo dang rgyud sde nas/ bkag phyir pad mas chang 'thung gsungs pa med/ ma 'ongs snyigs ma'i dus kyi sngags pa rnams/ chang 'thung o rgyan padma'i gsung yin zer/ de dag nga yi rjes 'jug ma yin te/ nagpo bdud kyi rjes su zhugs pa yin/ nga bsam nga bsom nga mchog byed pa'i mis/ chang 'thung padma nga nyid bslus pa yin/).

I guess the advices of Shardza Rinpoche, Nyagla Pema Dudul, Peltrul Rinpoche, and above all Guru Rinpoche himself, among so many others, are good enough for me and very clear and explicit. They contradict all your points (alcohol is not poison, you can drink a little, etc.) systematically.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:48 pm

mutsuk wrote:
Malcolm wrote: If not, then there is no problem using any of these things.

No, there is a problem with alcohol indeed in itself.


He also wrote in the dgongs pa zang thal:

There is no fault if on occasion
one administers yogurt, good alcohol and milk.


and:

"After that, in order to enhance one’s channels and vāyu, use good meat, good alcohol that is sweet and gentle, milk soups, butter, triphala medicinal ghee and pañcamula medicinal ghee."

But there are other occasions when he strongly recommends avoiding alcohol, for example, when doing rasāyana, etc. And indeed criticizes people for _heedlessly_ consuming meat and alcohol.

So the real point is one must work with circumstances and understand one's situation.

M
Last edited by Malcolm on Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Norwegian » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:52 pm

Poison? Medicine?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_intoxication
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_dose_makes_the_poison
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxicology

And as far as the references to statements of masters or sutras, it reminds me of the following quotes:

"Do not rely on the person, rely on the teaching,
do not rely on the words, rely on the meaning,
do not rely on the provisional, rely on the definitive,
do not rely on conciousness (vijnana), rely on primordial wisdom (jnana)
"
-- Akshayamati-nirdesha sutra.

and then, the following:

"If one asks what are the sutras of definitive meaning and what are the sutras of provisional meaning, those sutras which are taught in order that one might enter the path are called the provisional meaning, and those sutras which are taught in order that one might enter the result are called the definitive meaning.

Those sutras which teach of self, sentient beings, life itself, creatures, individuals, personalities, personal selves, actors, subjects of sensation, explanations according to diverse terms, and of that which is not a possessor as a possessor, are called the provisional meaning.

The sutras which teach of emptiness, of that which is signless, aspirationless, not manifestly conditioned, uncreated, unoriginated, insubstantial, without self, without sentient beings, without life itself, without individuals, without a possessor, and without any properties even as far as the approach to liberation, are called the definitive meaning.

This text is said to rely on the sutras of definitive meaning, but not to rely on the sutras of provisional meaning.
"
-- Akshayamati-nirdesha sutra
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby mutsuk » Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:23 pm

Malcolm wrote:
mutsuk wrote:
Malcolm wrote: If not, then there is no problem using any of these things.

No, there is a problem with alcohol indeed in itself.


He also wrote in the dgongs pa zang thal:

There is no fault if on occasion
one administers yogurt, good alcohol and milk.


and:

"After that, in order to enhance one’s channels and vāyu, use good meat, good alcohol that is sweet and gentle, milk soups, butter, triphala medicinal ghee and pañcamula medicinal ghee."

But there are other occasions when he strongly recommends avoiding alcohol, for example, when doing rasāyana, etc. And indeed criticizes people for _heedlessly_ consuming meat and alcohol.

So the real point is one must work with circumstances and understand one's situation.

M


He says "on occasion", not every day at every meal. Moreover, most of this is explained with medical purposes, not daily behavior. His testament to the Ngakpas remain full of sense.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby flavio81 » Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:03 am

Dronma wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:I personally know of two people that died due to the consequences of long term alcohol (over) consumption. I had another two friends go through detox programs and another one that detoxed on their own. I also personally know a couple of people that died in automobile and motorcycle accidents due to drink driving.


Greg, intoxication is something that nobody is supporting here.
I understand what you mean, since I also knew people who were in chronic alcoholism or drugs. It is a curse!
I had also the awkward experience of participating in Ganapujas with people who were drinking galons of alcohol with the excuse that they were Dzogchenpas without limitations. Occasionally, a few of them were participating in practices while they were stoned. It is deeply sad!
That was the main reason for me to stay away of those circles.
But nobody here is supporting intoxication and the breaking of samayas!
A glass of wine or beer is not harmful for most people. But when we say a glass, we mean one glass! Not a whole bottle...


:good:

There is a big difference between consumption and intoxication. If you're, for example, a disciple of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, then you're expected to be aware of your own limitations, all the time, to work with your limitations. Not to rely on an external rule but to be mindful of one's own capacity. If one has been a former alcohol addict then one has to be aware of this limitation, and then limits his/her alcohol consumpion to just a few drops on the ganapujas. Or if one tends to drink and then start being disrectpectful to other people, then one should know that limitation and act accordingly. Otherwise there is no such problem.

People who know their limitations and who work with their circumstances will not have any problem with alcohol. The rule is to be aware of what one does.

Now, if one is a disciple of other master and he/she instructs not to take alcohol at all, that's OK too. But it is wrong to impose then such restriction on all other practitioners.

As for Padmasambhava, to paint him as somebody that would forbid alcohol in all circumstances, makes me think perhaps i have been reading in the past about a very different Padmasambhava... :thinking: And I guess Tilopa wasn't a serious Buddhist either then... :thinking:
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Dronma » Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:36 am

flavio81 wrote:There is a big difference between consumption and intoxication. If you're, for example, a disciple of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, then you're expected to be aware of your own limitations, all the time, to work with your limitations. Not to rely on an external rule but to be mindful of one's own capacity.


The fact is, Flavio, that today some people do really confuse the state of Dzogchen and the Dzogchenpa (the one who aspires for the realization of Dzogchen).
There is a thin line in between awareness and illusion. And the practice is a constant attempt for delicate balance.

So, what I understand after so many perfect posts above, is that behind every rule, the real issue is the desire/attachment and the anger/aversion.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:32 am

mutsuk wrote:
He says "on occasion", not every day at every meal. Moreover, most of this is explained with medical purposes, not daily behavior. His testament to the Ngakpas remain full of sense.


Well, you began by saying that alcohol was poison that destroyed the channels -- but in fact as we see, that is false -- alcohol can be quite good for the channels.

Secondly, while I don't have a drink with every meal, far from it, I still maintain that it is no problem to have a glass of wine with dinner, especially if it is good quality, properly and carefully made wine. No one, apart from someone with a medical condition, gets intoxicated from a glass of wine with dinner and the health benefits are well documented.

Of course, in the eighth century, and in places like China today, alcohol was an appalling travesty -- it is all rot gut. There is no good quality alcohol anywhere outside of the important wine growing regions of the world and their markets.

Tibetan chang is an exception, because it is rarely is more than 2 percent alcohol and is quite weak. Arak is a different story.

In short, there is a lot of alcohol such as whiskey and so on that can be quite harmful to one's health. But wine and beer in moderation is not a problem (which is all I have been saying) for most people, in general.

M
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby mutsuk » Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:51 am

Malcolm wrote:Well, you began by saying that alcohol was poison that destroyed the channels -- but in fact as we see, that is false -- alcohol can be quite good for the channels.

Well, you began by saying that alcohol was not a poison. It is a poison as stated by Guru Rinpoche.

Secondly, while I don't have a drink with every meal, far from it, I still maintain that it is no problem to have a glass of wine with dinner, especially if it is good quality, properly and carefully made wine. No one, apart from someone with a medical condition, gets intoxicated from a glass of wine with dinner and the health benefits are well documented.

I hear drug addicts having the same discourse.

Of course, in the eighth century, and in places like China today, alcohol was an appalling travesty -- it is all rot gut. There is no good quality alcohol anywhere outside of the important wine growing regions of the world and their markets.

In their condemnation of that poison, Guru Rinpoche, Shardza, Nyagla, etc., did not mention quality. They use a verbal form which is very clear : to drink alcohol (chang 'thung ba).

Tibetan chang is an exception, because it is rarely is more than 2 percent alcohol and is quite weak. Arak is a different story.

So imagine what it is for the rest of the various kinds of alcohol.

In short, there is a lot of alcohol such as whiskey and so on that can be quite harmful to one's health. But wine and beer in moderation is not a problem (which is all I have been saying) for most people, in general.

This is your idea. It is not hat of Guru RInpoche and those I mentioned and quoted.

To quote again :

"For this reason, my oral instructions is to avoid drinking alcohol."

And:
" —Because of that, drinking alcohol has been condemned
In (all) series of Sutras and Tantras; (thus I myself), Padma have not proclaimed that you should dring alcohol.
Those Ngakpas from the degenerate ages of the future
Claiming that (myself), Orgyen Pema has said (you can) drink alcohol,
These are not followers of mine:
They are the followers of the black demons.
The individual who makes his own thinking, his own meditation and his own offering (of this beverage),
Drinking alcohol, he is deceiving myself, Padma!"
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:29 am

Malcolm wrote:Method means relative, that is the point of having a method.
The aim of a method is to help us cut through the veil of relative, dualistic, samsaric conceptualising, otherwise it is a method to propogate samsara. A beings mind stream has to be ripe enough in order to utilise the method. I severely doubt that anybody here, that is pushing the "alcohol is amrita" line, is doing anything more than parroting the teachings. Since their view is based largely on personal preference (ie since they are incapable of swallowing a teaspoonful of mercury along with their burger, instead of a beer) then I would say that it is best to err on the side of of caution and limit alcohol consumption to a ritual context until one is able to take it (alcohol AND awareness) into daily life. It's like somebody that is so out of form that they cannot walk down to the local store to buy their next pack of cigarettes, trying to run a marathon.

But hey, that's just my personal experience (and my observation of those around me). I guess your experience and observations differ? I doubt it!
"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 Sherab Dorje » Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:34 am

Just as an aside: Is there an English translation of the Aryanandikasutra?
"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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