Why the Buddha banned booze.

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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jul 14, 2013 4:20 pm

mutsuk wrote: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.


There are two different things here:

1) The textual system of Dzogchen in which there are samayas which much be maintained (actually some Dzogchen tantras state there are no samayas to maintain -- this point is addressed by Nyi 'bum in his tshig don bcu gcig).

2) The teachings of Chogyal Namkhai Norbu in which it is maintained that the principle of Dzogchen is not based on vows to follow. But of course even ChNN expects his students to follow samaya. But in his case, it is interesting because he has not (to my knowledge) detailed a specific list of vows nor has he bothered to say anything about samaya other than that we ought to strive to get along with each other, and not blabber secret teachings in public.

But this is all besides the point of thread -- the subject of which is why Śakyamuni Buddha felt compelled to prohibit alcohol.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Dronma » Sun Jul 14, 2013 5:08 pm

Malcolm wrote:2) The teachings of Chogyal Namkhai Norbu in which it is maintained that the principle of Dzogchen is not based on vows to follow. But of course even ChNN expects his students to follow samaya. But in his case, it is interesting because he has not (to my knowledge) detailed a specific list of vows nor has he bothered to say anything about samaya other than that we ought to strive to get along with each other, and not blabber secret teachings in public.



That's right!
The instructions and explanations which a teacher (in this case, ChNN Rinpoche) is transmitting to his students, are not a subject which can be discussed publicly.

Moreover, different people we perceive differently the sayings of the same teacher. So, none is really capable to advocate that his/her understanding is 100% the authentic transmission of the teacher.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jul 14, 2013 5:26 pm

I remind everybody involved that this thread is in the Open Dharma section of the forum. If people want to discuss which of ChNN's teachings are allowed (or not) to be discussed publicly they should do so in the relevant thread.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby kirtu » Sun Jul 14, 2013 5:52 pm

Malcolm wrote:But this is all besides the point of thread -- the subject of which is why Śakyamuni Buddha felt compelled to prohibit alcohol.


The prohibition was to keep monks from clouding their minds and indulging in wrong activity. This was primarily for monks not on the Arya stages (have to say primarily because Ven. Punadhammo told me once about a Stream Enterer who wasn't a monk and was alcoholic). This is in accordance with the vows of personal liberation. But in tantra, at least under the proper circumstances, this doesn't apply, although indulgence also does not apply (unless you have Virupa's or Drukpa Kunley's level of realization). For most people on this path, a glass of wine or beer clearly isn't indulgence.

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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby mutsuk » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:15 pm

kirtu wrote:
Malcolm wrote: For most people on this path, a glass of wine or beer clearly isn't indulgence.

Well Shardza Rinpoche is of the opinion that alcohol affects channels and winds with irreversible results... Even if it is actually consecrated as a samaya substance, it is actually better to use "real" amrita (bdud rtsi produced during sgrub-chen).
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Dronma » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:24 pm

mutsuk wrote:Well Shardza Rinpoche is of the opinion that alcohol affects channels and winds with irreversible results... Even if it is actually consecrated as a samaya substance, it is actually better to use "real" amrita (bdud rtsi produced during sgrub-chen).


Can you please, provide a link with the source of the particular words of Shardza Rinpoche?
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:27 pm

mutsuk wrote:
kirtu wrote: For most people on this path, a glass of wine or beer clearly isn't indulgence.

Well Shardza Rinpoche is of the opinion that alcohol affects channels and winds with irreversible results...


Well, there are many opinions out there. And Shardza was after all a monk.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby mutsuk » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:33 pm

Malcolm wrote:Well, there are many opinions out there. And Shardza was after all a monk.

Before anything, he was a Dzogchen practitioner as can be seen by his Fruit.

In a body, channels and winds are channels and winds, no matter if one is a monk, a yogi or someone doing nothing. The poison is doing the same ravages... Even for lay people, transgressing the 5th precept is considered as the one causing the transgression of all other precepts... But that is certainly too doctrinaire again, right ? I guess that when people start to understand that vows are boosters and that samayas are the life of the path leading to actual siddhis then they'll stop projecting their illusions and grasp (for real) a healthier approach to the Path...
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:04 pm

mutsuk wrote:
In a body, channels and winds are channels and winds, no matter if one is a monk, a yogi or someone doing nothing. The poison is doing the same ravages...


Alcohol is not a poison, unless it is misused, just like water.
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he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby mutsuk » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:26 pm

Malcolm wrote:Alcohol is not a poison, unless it is misused, just like water.

It is, for Shardza Rinpoche, who describes it as the king of poisons and the source of all root downfalls (and because it destroys channels and winds, etc.). Avoiding alcohol at all cost is actually necessary when you combine Chulen and Thogel as Thogel is usually practiced in his tradition. Contact with alcohol would be a further pollution which would definitely not help in that combined practice. It takes a long time to purify the organism from the claws of that demon.

Furthermore, drinking a glass of alcohol is not the same as drinking a glass of water.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Sherlock » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:40 pm

Are there any other gurus who manifested rainbow body even with alcohol consumption? That would show pretty well whether or not it prevents complete realization in a Dzogchen context.

No personal stake in this, I very rarely consume alcohol outside of ganapujas.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Dronma » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:49 pm

mutsuk wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Well, there are many opinions out there. And Shardza was after all a monk.

Before anything, he was a Dzogchen practitioner as can be seen by his Fruit.


Μutsuk, honestly I don't know who is Shardza Rinpoche or his fruit. From a quick search I see that he was a Bon teacher. Until now, I have no real connection with Bon tradition, only a few readings. All my Vajrayana/Dzogchen teachers keep a different, more moderate view.

So, until you provide here the source of this particular teaching by Shardza Rinpoche, there is no reason for people to be convinced of what you are saying.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby mutsuk » Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:07 pm

Dronma wrote:[color=#000080]Μutsuk, honestly I don't know who is Shardza Rinpoche or his fruit.

A Dzogchen master who reached rainbow body.

From a quick search I see that he was a Bon teacher. Until now, I have no real connection with Bon tradition, only a few readings. All my Vajrayana/Dzogchen teachers keep a different, more moderate view.

Nobody's perfect. I guess it's important to keep the audience coming back.

So, until you provide here the source of this particular teaching by Shardza Rinpoche, there is no reason for people to be convinced of what you are saying.

I am not home right now and no access to my library or files. But it's in the volume of Shardza's mGur if my memory serves me well. You don't have to take me for granted, go read it is on TBRC.
His opinion is rooted on the biography of Tönpa SHenrab in 12 volumes. I am sorry I don't have the reference of the concerned sutra in this biography but you can browse the collection on TBRC for yourself.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Lhug-Pa » Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:15 pm

mutsuk wrote:Well Shardza Rinpoche is of the opinion that alcohol affects channels and winds with irreversible results... Even if it is actually consecrated as a samaya substance, it is actually better to use "real" amrita (bdud rtsi produced during sgrub-chen).


Sure Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche's words are just as authoritative as the words of any other classical Dzogchen Master, and they also have to be taken in context (and I don't currently read/speak Tibetan, so therefore cannot go to TBRC at the moment to read them regarding this topic).

What makes sense to me, in regard to the effects of alcohol:

Much more than a glass of wine = Likely 'irreversible' results.

One glass of wine = Depending on one's individual constitution and overall health, perhaps harmful, yet not necessarily irreversible.

A few sips during a Ganapuja = Highly doubtful that any damage would occur to the Nadis and such.

This being said, what if one did damage for example by having in the past binged on alcohol every now & then and/or went through periodic cycles of drinking semi-heavily?

Exactly how "irreversible" is the damage done from heavy alcohol consumption?

Couldn't one reverse at least a relatively large percent—if not all—of the damage done by alcohol, via conserving and rebuilding Ojas with Ayurveda & Tibetan Medicine along with healthy sexual habits and daily & extensive practice of 'Khrul-'Khor/Yantra Yoga/Tsa-Lung, etc.?
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Dronma » Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:42 pm

mutsuk wrote:Nobody's perfect. I guess it's important to keep the audience coming back.


I am not sure what you mean. However, I consider my teachers as perfect.

mutsuk wrote:
I am not home right now and no access to my library or files. But it's in the volume of Shardza's mGur if my memory serves me well. You don't have to take me for granted, go read it is on TBRC.
His opinion is rooted on the biography of Tönpa SHenrab in 12 volumes. I am sorry I don't have the reference of the concerned sutra in this biography but you can browse the collection on TBRC for yourself.


Seriously now, are you suggesting that people have to go to TBRC and trying to find out in the whole library the ideas you posted here?
Not to mention that most people do not know Tibetan (including me). And from the narrow circle of Westerners who study Tibetan, only very few are really capable to translate in a decent way, and never without the help of a qualified Tibetan Master.

I'd expect that you could provide here some valid references about a book in English, or at least a link with some English text in the web, so everybody can study and understand.
Otherwise, there is no reason to discuss about it.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jul 14, 2013 11:11 pm

mutsuk wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Alcohol is not a poison...

It is.


It isn't.

Read long chen pa's praise of the qualities of alcohol.

dri med 'od zer. " bdud rtsi zil mngar ma/." In gsung thor bu/_dri med 'od zer/(sde dge par ma/). TBRC W23504. 2: 332 - 335. paro, bhutan: lama ngodrup and sherab drimey, 1982. http://tbrc.org/link?RID=O00EGS1013837| ... 506$W23504
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby mutsuk » Sun Jul 14, 2013 11:25 pm

Malcolm wrote:
mutsuk wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Alcohol is not a poison...

It is.


It isn't.

It is according to Shardza. I trust his opinion.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Lhug-Pa » Sun Jul 14, 2013 11:36 pm

Well there's no reason to believe that Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche and Longchen Rabjampa would contradict each other point blank. I trust both of them, and so there must be some middle-ground here if we read carefully what they've both written about alcohol, and also the exact context of each passage in regard to alcohol written by the two Dzogchen Masters (and this relates to what I'd written in my previous post in this thread).
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby mutsuk » Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:04 am

Lhug-Pa wrote:Well there's no reason to believe that Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche and Longchen Rabjampa would contradict each other point blank. I trust both of them, and so there must be some middle-ground here if we read carefully what they've both written about alcohol, and also the exact context of each passage in regard to alcohol written by the two Dzogchen Masters (and this relates to what I'd written in my previous post in this thread).


This is definitely a poison. On the multiple dangers of chang (chang gi nyes dmigs) see JLA's Enlightened Rainbows, text no. 281, p. 337 and for those who have access to it (I don't), there is (in my memory) a nearly complete description of the 25 + 36 reasons to avoid contact with alcohol on the yungdrung-rigna ling forum (according to Shardza's text). There is a similar work credited to his master Dechen Lingpa but I haven't found it anywhere in his Sungbum (at least in the edition JLA has compiled). There is also a short one by Dudul Dorje which I am going to put into English and include it here in the course of this week (if I find the time). There are several others, such as the famed one by Nyagla Pema Düdül that JLA has published somewhere with an extensive commentary. Some verses say: "Chang is the base of all faults/ It is their root, as the Victorious Ones have said" (chang ni nyes tshogs kun gyi gzhi/ rtsa ba yin pa rgyal bas gsungs). And:
"Chang destroys (this body endowed with) freedom and leisure which is difficult to obtain" (chang gis rnyed dka'i dal 'byor phung). Or : "Chang causes decay in merits" (chang gis bsod nams nyams par byed), etc. Is it necessary to go on ? You have the opinion of two authoritative masters who did Rainbow Body (Shardza and Nyagla).

So the dangers of alcohol are well-known in tibetan literature. I would not say this is a genre in itself but among "the dangers of whatever" (whatever gyi nyes dmigs), it occupies a noticeable place.

Shardza had "discussions" with tantrikas talking about using alcohol as a samaya substance in Tsoks instead of "actual" Amrita (bdud-rtsi made from sgrub-chen). He said (sorry, no I don't have the ref at hand right now, I think it's in the bio but not sure) that if one says one can transmute that poison (alcohol) during Tsok then one should be able to do the same with the five meats and five "amritas" in their concrete form... He was more than doubtful and I think he was right.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Lhug-Pa » Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:22 am

Thank you for references, Mustuk.

I'm not denying that alcohol is harmful even in moderate consumption. It seems that this is clearly stated by Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche and Nyagla Pema Düdül.

And at the same time, the Hevajra Tantra, Milarepa, and Longchenpa would all agree that a good sip or two (less than moderate consumption) of alcohol could actually be beneficial.

(And doesn't Tibetan Medicine in general state that there are circumstances where little-to-moderate alcohol consumption can be beneficial?)

Therefore, like Dronma said, without seeing precise English translations of the mentioned passages (mentioned by both yourself and Malcolm)—and maybe even the few passages before and after the said passages—we don't know the exact context.

Also, as I'd expressed in my post before my previous post; my main concern isn't if a few sips is harmful or not, but rather how much one could possibly reverse the effects of damage from past alcohol abuse.
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