Why the Buddha banned booze.

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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:47 pm

Jikan wrote: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.
If avoiding alcohol is an issue with you then you can drink non-alcoholic beer for the same purpose. I like to down one when I get home after training/teaching at the gym. My classes tend to finish late and this causes muscular-tension which leads to a lack of ability to sleep. Non-alcoholic beer also has hops in it, and some of them have lot's of hops in them.

Prescription muscle relaxants are REALLY tough on the stomach.

Another option is to buy hops from a home brew store and make some tea. It'll need a fair quantity of honey/sweetner as hops tend to be very bitter.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Jikan » Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:46 pm

That's good advice, Greg. Thank you for it.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby padma norbu » Sat Mar 17, 2012 4:17 pm

There is one thing about the Bible which is somewhat appealing... God or someone says to let the miserable people drink and forget their miserable existence. I can not deny that alcohol leads to much misery, but I have a problem with absolute ideas of good and bad. Is intoxication bad because it causes one to be non-mindful? I guess it would be if I was always mindful, but I'm not. Is it interfering with my mindfulness, then? Not really, unless I'm going to beat myself up about being a lazy practitioner. If I'm watching tv, I could be accomplishing just as much getting intoxicated. The ideas also that intoxication might lead to hell realms or animal rebirth just also seems extreme. There's not much I can do about it, though. I didn't come up with it, my teachers did. I can either believe them or not. I guess I both do and don't believe it, the same way some might say they're not really superstitious but they throw salt over their shoulder and knock on wood "just in case." I don't want to believe it, but I'm afraid enough of poor rebirths to be concerned about it for more than just health reasons.

Apparently I'm not afraid enough to completely stop drinking, however. I accidentally got drunk last night (again). I didn't even want to go out and I said "no" three times before finally saying "alright, just one beer, then." Then, at the time I was finished with the 1 beer, it seemed rude to get up and go, AND my boss was buying the drinks. The last drink I really didn't want, but somehow ended up with another drink, anyway. When I left I was plastered. Oddly, I wanted to go home and read a book about sobriety! I had no interest in getting drunk and yet I got there, anyway!

From the original text in OP, I don't understand why Amra the naga would become displeased if he heard about the drunk Bikshu. Why? Because he's not liberating a single frog? I'm sure he wouldn't be, anyway, if he was sitting there listening to the Buddha talk.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby tomamundsen » Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:07 am

Hi,

I just came across a scriptural passage that support the idea that the precept on abstaining from alcohol serves to prevent a practitioner from breaking the other vows. From Chapter Four of the Abhidharmakosa, verses 34c-d: One renounces strong liquor, which is a transgression of disobedience, In order that the other rules may be kept.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Nighthawk » Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:19 am

Also if one has a family history of alcohol abuse it would be appropriate to restrain from it as best as one can. Alcohol is just like any other drug, it is highly addictive but even more so for those who have a family history of it which many studies have concluded.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Indrajala » Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:30 am

padma norbu wrote:From the original text in OP, I don't understand why Amra the naga would become displeased if he heard about the drunk Bikshu. Why? Because he's not liberating a single frog? I'm sure he wouldn't be, anyway, if he was sitting there listening to the Buddha talk.


Clearly the monk then lacked the ability to placate even a frog, let alone a naga. Hence the previously placated naga might see this as an opportunity for revenge.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Indrajala » Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:37 am

tomamundsen wrote:Hi,

I just came across a scriptural passage that support the idea that the precept on abstaining from alcohol serves to prevent a practitioner from breaking the other vows. From Chapter Four of the Abhidharmakosa, verses 34c-d: One renounces strong liquor, which is a transgression of disobedience, In order that the other rules may be kept.


This is the general explanation given by many teachers.

If we assume the Mahāsāṃghika Vinaya is the most accurate account of the incident we have, then we can see that the monk was criticized for breaking rules of deportment, but not anything severe. He became unintentionally impolite (extending his legs out towards the Buddha), wasted time (sleeping during the day) and was unable to hear the lecture the Buddha was giving at the time. These are all minor transgressions.

The Buddha did not specifically say here that consuming alcohol would lead one to go murder one's parents and slay arhats.

The other versions of the story then have the Buddha explaining the faults of alcohol, but those might be later expansions onto the original story by later generations.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby LastLegend » Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:54 am

Alcohol works to alter one's state of mind.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Indrajala » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:28 am

LastLegend wrote:Alcohol works to alter one's state of mind.


Meditation also alters your mind.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby LastLegend » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:39 am

Yes

But there is no altering stubborness. :namaste:
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:41 am

Some people are like children. They can't take responsibility for themselves, so they need prohibitions about what they can and can not do.
Others are responsible and can act accordingly.
If you need something that may not be harmful banned from your life by an exterior authority because you fear you can't control it, you're still to overgrow your childhood. That's the point. People should know that a drink is OK while getting wasted is not. Those who need to take a vow to control their drinking clearly have a problem with their decision making processes. Alcohol is a substance that if moderately consumed brings no harm. There's no need to become puritanical about it.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:56 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote: People should know that a drink is OK while getting wasted is not. Those who need to take a vow to control their drinking clearly have a problem with their decision making processes. Alcohol is a substance that if moderately consumed brings no harm. There's no need to become puritanical about it.


Not everybody who takes a vow to not drink has a "problem with their decision making processes",
otherwise what you are saying is that those who take the vow,
as a means of stopping drinking, made a confused decision.
In fact, it may be a very wise decision.

Once you have had the experience of a clear and awakened mind,
then after that, the sensation that alcohol produces just sort of drags you down.
It's like putting on a clean white shirt and then spilling red wine on it.

The taste of wine simply does not compare with the taste of mind.

That is my understanding.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Nighthawk » Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:11 pm

Would having a couple strong beers everyday after work constitute as alcoholism?
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:08 pm

Ryoto wrote:Would having a couple strong beers everyday after work constitute as alcoholism?
If you stopped drinking them would you go into withdrawal (either psychological or physical)?
dechen norbu wrote:Some people are like children. They can't take responsibility for themselves, so they need prohibitions about what they can and can not do.
Others are responsible and can act accordingly.
This is rather arrogant and overstated. Does a monk/nun that takes vows of celibacy have a reduced sense of responsibility for their sexual behaviour? Are they incapable of acting accordingly? Do they do it because they need to be controlled? Obviously not! People take precepts for a wide variety of reasons, not solely because of a lack of self control.
People should know that a drink is OK while getting wasted is not.
Not according to the Buddha it isn't. According to the Buddha a drink is not OK (and getting wasted definitely isn't).
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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 Nighthawk » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:58 pm

Greg, I would say no but for the first week of abstinence I would say it would be a bit difficult psycologically as it is something I enjoy doing in order to wind down and relax.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:23 pm

Then, I would venture to say that you are not an alcoholic. An alcoholic experiences physical withdrawal symptoms like shakes, sweats, rapid changes in bodily temperature, possible seizures, lack of capacity to sleep, heart palapitations etc... The severity of the symptoms depends on the degree of addiction and normally has to do with the length of the period of addiction. On the psychological level withdrawal symptoms may be: mood swings, delerium, hallucinations, depression, anxiety, etc...

The physical withdrawal symptoms may require medical attention and may even result in death!!!
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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 PadmaVonSamba » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:22 pm

Nobody has to take this vow. Buddha didn't create a list of sins. What he set down were practical tools and methods. If you want to drink, then drink. But if you take the vow not to, then you really shouldn't. It's like a wedding vow. You can sleep around with as many people as you want before you get married, but if you take a marriage vow and you are to be faithful to just one partner, then you are supposed to stick with that. There are people who get very useful insight while intoxicated or high or tripping, or whatever, or just relaxed, and there are those who do not.

Whatever you do always brings you closer to where you are headed. I guess Sakyamuni had reason to suspect that drinking alcohol distracted a person from meditation and, ultimately, realization.

So the point really has nothing to do with the merits of alcohol. Everybody knows you get a buzz from it.
The point is not to do things that get in the way of your awakening.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby tobes » Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:56 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Once you have had the experience of a clear and awakened mind,
then after that, the sensation that alcohol produces just sort of drags you down.
It's like putting on a clean white shirt and then spilling red wine on it.

The taste of wine simply does not compare with the taste of mind.

That is my understanding.
.
.
.


Totally agree with this; a nice metaphor.

Although I am prepared to accept this stance as my own dogma. Maybe I''m more of a liberal than I want to be......

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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby Indrajala » Tue Mar 27, 2012 5:19 am

tobes wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Once you have had the experience of a clear and awakened mind,
then after that, the sensation that alcohol produces just sort of drags you down.
It's like putting on a clean white shirt and then spilling red wine on it.

The taste of wine simply does not compare with the taste of mind.

That is my understanding.
.
.
.


Totally agree with this; a nice metaphor.

Although I am prepared to accept this stance as my own dogma. Maybe I''m more of a liberal than I want to be......

:anjali:



Everything is empty and of one flavour, including the mud and wine.
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Re: Why the Buddha banned booze.

Postby tobes » Tue Mar 27, 2012 6:05 am

Everything is empty and dependently co-arising, which means that mud is distinct from wine is distinct from water, and that each have different dependently arising effects upon consumption.

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