Why the Buddha banned booze.

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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Seishin » Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:12 pm

I agree that one glass here or there will not hinder progress, and high fives to those who have the will power to say "no more" in social situations.

However I do believe it's important to highlight that there is a fine line between alcohol having no effects and having detrimental effects.
NHS studies have shown that one glass with your sunday meal can be benificial to your health. But two glasses overwrites those benifits and actually becomes something negative. This sort of alcohol once in a while won't leave any lasting detrimental effect on the body or mind, but regularly taken over a long period of time will be detrimental to body and mind. I knew a lecturer while I was at uni who had a glass of wine everyday with his dinner and he had significant health problems, but didn't have the will power to give it up. *edit* (he was in his 70s)
Wine glasses in the UK have actually increased in size, so one glass is actually equivilant to 1 and half.

So while I agree that we shouldn't prohibit alcohol (I favour "abstain") I do not think discussion on the matter to be silly. :smile:

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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:54 pm

Huseng wrote:Not consuming any alcohol with my Japanese colleagues proved a bit anti-social to be honest.
Though I can understand the sentiment behind this statement (in Greece it is traditional to go out for ouzo and meze) I personally find that engaging in this behaviour may actually just be pandering to aspects of the 8 worldly dharmas (or a good excuse to slip in a drink or two ;) ). What I normally do is fill a glass, take a sip during the toast and then leave the rest. One also has the option of sneakily disposing of it under the table during the course of the meal if one wants to save "face".
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Indrajala » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:16 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Huseng wrote:Not consuming any alcohol with my Japanese colleagues proved a bit anti-social to be honest.
Though I can understand the sentiment behind this statement (in Greece it is traditional to go out for ouzo and meze) I personally find that engaging in this behaviour may actually just be pandering to aspects of the 8 worldly dharmas (or a good excuse to slip in a drink or two ;) ). What I normally do is fill a glass, take a sip during the toast and then leave the rest. One also has the option of sneakily disposing of it under the table during the course of the meal if one wants to save "face".


However, if you're engaging people on their terms and wanting to discuss Buddhism with them, then when in Rome doing as the Romans do can prove beneficial to all parties involved.

I'm not talking about being out shooting the shit with friends, but discussing Buddhism with my colleagues.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:57 pm

Seishin wrote:I agree that one glass here or there will not hinder progress, and high fives to those who have the will power to say "no more" in social situations.

However I do believe it's important to highlight that there is a fine line between alcohol having no effects and having detrimental effects.
NHS studies have shown that one glass with your sunday meal can be benificial to your health. But two glasses overwrites those benifits and actually becomes something negative. This sort of alcohol once in a while won't leave any lasting detrimental effect on the body or mind, but regularly taken over a long period of time will be detrimental to body and mind. I knew a lecturer while I was at uni who had a glass of wine everyday with his dinner and he had significant health problems, but didn't have the will power to give it up. *edit* (he was in his 70s)
Wine glasses in the UK have actually increased in size, so one glass is actually equivilant to 1 and half.

So while I agree that we shouldn't prohibit alcohol (I favour "abstain") I do not think discussion on the matter to be silly. :smile:

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I mostly agree with what you say. People need to act responsibly. If we don't know how to behave when it comes to booze, we're in deep shit as this is a minor challenge among the many we will face. For some people though, alcohol is a big problem and they should stay clear, Buddhist or not.
As with every action, we should try to foresee the outcome. The same applies when we drink. If by ingesting some beverages we get a better health and don't hurt ourselves or others, there's no reason for us not to take it.

The discussion of the matter itself is not silly. Silly is someone arguing that a pint or a glass of wine will block realization (unless in very specific cases). I should have been more clear. If someone took a vow, then it's also little different, because such person is betraying his own commitment and this may have a psychological effect the next time someone is trying to uphold something. But in the good spirit of Buddhist moral, our actions are mostly evaluated by the intention behind them, the skill applied and their consequences. Knowing that, it should be obvious how are we to see this whole issue. This doesn't mean, however, that if someone wants to take such precept as a training method such should be discouraged. There's a place for it also. Nevertheless, considering alcohol nasty per se and, as such, off limits to Buddhists is plain worthless puritanical mentality.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:06 pm

Huseng wrote:I'm not talking about being out shooting the shit with friends, but discussing Buddhism with my colleagues.
Again, I see where you are coming from. The problem with "preaching" in pubs is that after the second pint anything discussed during the first pint is quickly forgotten which is why pub conversations normally quickly degenerate into simple emotive subjects like football and sex. Not that there's anything wrong with discussing football and sex (or any other simple emotive subjects). Actually, now that I thought about it there is a clause in the precepts about "shooting the shit" with one mates.
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Last edited by Sherab Dorje on Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby catmoon » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:09 pm

I do have to wonder though, if alcohol consumption was a regular thing in the very early Sangha, how on earth did they manage to meditate? A couple of drinks and I'm out of the meditation game for 24 hours. Four or five and I'm out for 3 or 4 days.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Seishin » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:19 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:
.....


Thanks for clearing that up Dechen :smile:

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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:27 pm

You're very welcome. :smile:
Sorry for not being clear right from the start. :emb:
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:33 pm

catmoon wrote:I do have to wonder though, if alcohol consumption was a regular thing in the very early Sangha, how on earth did they manage to meditate? A couple of drinks and I'm out of the meditation game for 24 hours. Four or five and I'm out for 3 or 4 days.

There are people who meditate very well after a sip. Not my case either. I can't even convince myself to drink a glass of red wine during meals, even if I know it would be great for my health. I get very lazy only by drinking a little.
Still, there was a teacher who even said that meditation went better after a martini (a small glass of vermute... but I'm sure it doesn't matter), perhaps because some people tend to be very uptight when they start their formal practice (too much formality perhaps :lol: ). But that comment was made in a specific context and under particular conditions. So it's better not to generalize it.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Indrajala » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:38 pm

catmoon wrote:I do have to wonder though, if alcohol consumption was a regular thing in the very early Sangha, how on earth did they manage to meditate? A couple of drinks and I'm out of the meditation game for 24 hours. Four or five and I'm out for 3 or 4 days.


I don't know how many regularly took alcohol. I just said they could and some clearly did.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Malcolm » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:56 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:
catmoon wrote:I do have to wonder though, if alcohol consumption was a regular thing in the very early Sangha, how on earth did they manage to meditate? A couple of drinks and I'm out of the meditation game for 24 hours. Four or five and I'm out for 3 or 4 days.

There are people who meditate very well after a sip. Not my case either. I can't even convince myself to drink a glass of red wine during meals, even if I know it would be great for my health. I get very lazy only by drinking a little.
Still, there was a teacher who even said that meditation went better after a martini (a small glass of vermute... but I'm sure it doesn't matter), perhaps because some people tend to be very uptight when they start their formal practice (too much formality perhaps :lol: ). But that comment was made in a specific context and under particular conditions. So it's better not to generalize it.



Dudjom Rinpoche recommends in one retreat manual that one should have a drink every day while in retreat.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:47 pm

Does he say why?
(I think the teacher who said the comment I alluded to earlier was Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, but as I'm not 100% sure...)
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Will » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:45 pm

I recall being at some tantric wong where everyone was given a sip of vodka. I wonder if that leads to regular 'sippin' by tantric practioners?
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Malcolm » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:13 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:Does he say why?
(I think the teacher who said the comment I alluded to earlier was Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, but as I'm not 100% sure...)



For integration.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby alpha » Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:10 pm

I rarely drink alcohol but i have noticed that a sip or two of red wine during ganapuja for example relaxes and increases clarity...i dont know why though...it warms my insides.... :twothumbsup:
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:16 pm

alpha wrote:I rarely drink alcohol but i have noticed that a sip or two of red wine during ganapuja for example relaxes and increases clarity...i dont know why though...it warms my insides.... :twothumbsup:
Probably due to the effect of the ganapuja and not the alcohol (which theoretically is transmutated during the ritual). I can also drink much more in a ganapuja, and retain clarity, than in a pub.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby kirtu » Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:56 am

gregkavarnos wrote:... chai!


:twothumbsup: :jumping:
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:02 am

When I took the 5 precepts from my teacher (lama) he explained that this is a branch precept and that its purpose had to do with protecting the other four (not to kill, steal, lie or engage in wrongful sexual practices). Taking alcohol if it is part of a needed medicine, he said, does not violate that precept. So, it is not a situation that alcohol, a liquid substance, is, itself a bad thing. He told the story of a young monk who accompanied a woman to a cave for some reason, and she offered him a drink, and he thought, "well, not drinking isn't really that big of a deal...if I have a few it's not like it will hurt anybody else" and so he got pretty drunk, and the woman asked him to kill a goat and cook it and he did that and then he forced himself on her sexually and so on, breaking all the precepts and many monks vows (I remember thinking, when he told this story that at least the monk wasn't so drunk that he killed the woman and had sex with the goat!) So, the point of the story was that not drinking protects the mind that way, so that a person doesn't get too loose and violate other precepts.

Incidentally, that was about 22 years ago, and for me it was a very good precept to take, especially from this great lama. Up until then I had no control over my alcohol consumption (which was a lot every day), and no efforts to quit helped. But immediately after and ever since taking that and the other 4 lay precepts I have never had any craving for even another taste of it. I only mention this, not because I am pushing some tea-totaller morality crap (I like being around other people who drink!) but merely to suggest that the precepts are not just rules made up for the sake of having some rules, but can actually have a transforming effect for a person if the conditions are there.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Adamantine » Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:19 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote: (I remember thinking, when he told this story that at least the monk wasn't so drunk that he killed the woman and had sex with the goat!)



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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Jikan » Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:02 pm

catmoon wrote:I do have to wonder though, if alcohol consumption was a regular thing in the very early Sangha, how on earth did they manage to meditate? A couple of drinks and I'm out of the meditation game for 24 hours. Four or five and I'm out for 3 or 4 days.


I've been advised by my MD to consume a bottle of beer (the hoppier the better) daily as a muscle relaxer. The side effects of this are less vile than the prescription stuff, which I refuse to use. I'm not a big guy (170lbs). I find that silent meditation is not impacted significantly, but study and contemplation of the teachings is dulled by even a small amount of grain alcohol. Distractions seem to have greater power.

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