I wondered about the phrase you used to describe this thread until I remembered that it is possible to get drunk on dharma. At least for me it is.
Then I remembered a zen priest saying to me one time, "Zazen affects some people like alcohol." And even stranger, when that happens, the best way to sober up is to actually have some alcohol.
Puts a few things in perspective.
Dear all and All,
more than you wanted to know about Zen and alcohol.
The analogy of "my mother drunk or sober", as used here, is not about being drunk on Dharma, nor is it just about a Teacher drinking beyond limits, and preserving normal mind, in spit of that. This analogy, to me, has a specific "action" usage which is: If my mother were to come home at 4 am, barfing drunk, and too well partied, she is still my mother.
Nothing she does can change that fact, and that I love her and have responsibility for her.
My job, (the action part) is to clean her up, put her to bed, and try to talk to her gently when she wakes up, that she should not do this again. It is bad for her health and very frightening for her children who love her- including me. The analogy as applied to a Teacher, is that if a Teacher acts badly (appears to be acting outside of the Dharma, convention, or common sense) then my job is to think of them like my mother acting badly, and not
to stop having faith in them because of their apparent bad actions. Sometimes, If I am feeling very brave, I can try to gently intervene (stepping on the tail of the tiger?) and let the Teacher know that their actions are causing many students (who love them) to leave. Sometimes I (very sadly at the time) change Teachers.
The key point is that what a teacher does or does not do, (the example they set) is their business. What my Dharma brothers and sisters, do or don't do (the example they set), is their business. What I do, or don't do is my business
. An example is sex. When I was growing up in the 60s, it was natural to smile at a woman and be in bed with her 10 minutes later. The worst of the downside was that you might have to step up to being a father. Now, in the age of aids it is different: like playing Russian roulette with a bullet that could take 10 years to arrive, and
possibly becoming a father to an aids baby. Now there is only "safer" sex with an unknown partner. There is no safe sex unless you have a partner you trust.
Not to mention, trying to communicate "resting in the natural state" to a sperm and ovum when they are getting together.
It can be done, but maybe not so easy. Reminds me of the porcupine joke. How do porcupines make love? Very, very carefully.
The key point is that understanding, accepting, and acting according to my limits,( hopefully with awareness), is appropriate for me, and what other people do, is up to them.
As regards Teachers and alcohol, one of my Teachers, Chakdud Rinpoche, was known to be able to drink a lot, and kept it up until his Doctors made him quit. Apparently he was not affected. Knowing my limits, I make a rule not to drink alcohol when I do not want my judgement to be impaired at all. I make a rule that if I am driving, I do not drink a drop. (One drop, for Ghana Puja, is OK.)
As regards being drunk as a poetic metaphor for enlightenment, I like this metaphor very much: works for me.
My favorite books on the subject
are:http://www.amazon.com/Wine-Of-Endless-L ... 566&sr=1-1
"An anthology of nearly 100 Chinese lyrics (san-ch'u) by 23 poets, three of them anonymous, all from the Yuan period (1271-1368). Seaton's colloquial English renderings are a sheer pleasure to read, so much so that the reader is apt to forget he is enjoying translations, until the occasional proper noun appears. All the lyrics chosen deal in one way or another with the rejection of worldly pursuits, and the majority recommend wine as one way, if not the way, to find relief from the tensions of life, hence the subtitle." -- Choice.
This thin book is my favorite give-away book - It's gone again and I will have to order another copy.
----(roughly from memory) "and we pound time on our plates, and bowls, until they break." http://www.amazon.com/Anthology-Buddhis ... 439&sr=8-9
Very beautiful expressions of Tantric truths using "Twilight Language."http://www.amazon.com/The-Divine-Madman ... 316&sr=1-1
Stories of the sublime Drukpa.http://www.amazon.com/The-Essential-Rum ... 167&sr=1-1
Sublime stories of the great Dzogchenpa Rumi. May Peace be upon Him and his family. See poem one: The Tavern
- "Whomever Brought Me Here Will Have To Take Me Home."
Now it is story time.
It was long ago, etc.
One day a beautiful maiden was walking by the Temple and she made respects to the old high Lama who was sitting out front. The old Lama called the maiden, took her behind the Temple, and gave her a baby, then and there. When they had regained their composure, the now matron, asked the Lama, "Lamala you are supposed to be a high Lama, and beyond such things. Why are you behaving like an ordinary man?" The high Lama replied, "Oh don't be concerned. With my eye of wisdom I saw that you were going to be captured by an evil bandit tonight and he was going to give you a bad birth baby who would make trouble for you. So I thought that I should give you a good birth baby who will help you in your life."
I think that the moral of the story is supposed to be that we poor confused sufferers in Samsara, cannot judge the actions of a holy Lama when we don't know what is going on in their mind: maybe so - maybe not.
I reserve the right not to comment further on this story.
May this be of help to someone!
Good fortune to all and ALL,