Alcohol

A forum for discussion of Buddhist ethics.
Jesse
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Re: Alcohol

Post by Jesse » Wed Dec 24, 2014 2:09 pm

Jesse wrote:Meh.. is it unethical to steal some food if your starving? Is it wrong to trespass into an unoccupied home if it's freezing cold/hot outside?

Is it unethical to kill an animal that's suffering severely and can't be helped? Is it wrong to get drunk if your suffering some sort of pain?

:coffee:
All im pointing out is that thing's depend, nothing is set in stone in my view.
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
-Henry David Thoreau

madhusudan
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Re: Alcohol

Post by madhusudan » Wed Dec 24, 2014 2:38 pm

One way I might look at the issue is not whether getting drunk in itself is wrong, as say murder or theft, but whether it is the right behavior to achieve a certain goal. For example, if the goal is to dry some clothes, it would be wrong to pour water, or alcohol :), on them.

madhusudan
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Re: Alcohol

Post by madhusudan » Wed Dec 24, 2014 2:46 pm

I agree that nothing is set in stone. In my view, perhaps the meaning of morality itself being empty is that it arises through dependent origination. Only in the context of two sentient beings interacting is murder wrong. Absent that context, murder itself wouldn't exist. In the context of an ocean of suffering sentient beings and with the desire to liberate them all, what is the proper behavior regarding alcohol?

We know there are many rest stops along the way, depending on the individual's needs. In terms of being more skillful, we're all just trying to get there.

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Grigoris
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Re: Alcohol

Post by Grigoris » Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:09 pm

Jesse wrote:Is it wrong to get drunk if your suffering some sort of pain?
Wrong? No. Mistaken? Maybe. Mind you, drinking some alcohol every time you feel "pain" is the first step towards alcoholism. There is ALWAYS pain. This is samsara after all.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

smcj
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Re: Alcohol

Post by smcj » Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:19 pm

Jesse wrote:Is it wrong to get drunk if your suffering some sort of pain?
Technically that would be "taking refuge" in alcohol. If alcohol were a viable refuge then it would work, it'd be ok. If alcohol is not a viable refuge it would be a mistake. How would you find out it was a mistake? Your suffering would increase. As your suffering increases you then try to take more alcohol to make your self feel better. It is a vicious circle of suffering propelled by delusion.

I've been clean and sober over 15 years now. I may not know my ass from a hole in the ground about Dharma, but I do know a little about what happens when you take intoxicants.
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1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

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Grigoris
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Re: Alcohol

Post by Grigoris » Fri Dec 26, 2014 8:47 pm

"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Forrestyogi
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Re: Alcohol

Post by Forrestyogi » Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:05 am

Ayu wrote:
shaunc wrote:The 5 precepts which most lay followers are expected to observe say not. As a general rule of thumb the 5th precept advises us against the use of alcohol & other drugs likely to cause heedlesness. Tobacco & caffeine are not usually considered part of this precept because although they are both addictive drugs they don't cau the user to become heedless.
I heard, the five percepts could be lessened. It is possible to take only three (no killing, no stealing, no harming by sex) or four (+ no lie). The fifth is regarded as an auxiliary rule - drinking alkohol may have not much harm in itsself but there are many bad appearances coming out of it's use i.e. abuse.

Also it is possible to train this by taking 8 vows for one day (Mahayana-Poshada-vows for 24 hours).

So the decision about drinking alcohol depends:
- on the person (is s/he at risk for adiction due to mental, physical or social circumstances?)
- on the choosen form of life as monk/nun or lay person
- and on the regular sadhana practice s/he does. When I started to do Vajrayana practice, I soon detected an incompability of alcohol with my meditation. My nervous system got seriously disturbed by drinking even small amounts. One glass of wine could destroy my sadhana for two days. That's why "no alcohol" is my personal full-hearted decision. Nobody needs to forbid or allow it to me.

I think, this is a personal decision for everyone and it has to be taken genuinely.
Very well put!!!

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Konchok Namgyal
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Re: Alcohol

Post by Konchok Namgyal » Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:25 pm

It depends upon what vows you have taken, if you have takes the vow to abstain then you should abstain, if you have have not then you can drink in moderation, i.e. not getting drunk.
The main Idea is to never lose full control over mind/ body.
Recognize that your mind is the unity of being empty and cognizant, suffused with knowing. When your attention is extroverted, you fall under the sway of thoughts. Let your attention recognize itself. Recognize that it is empty. That which recognizes is the cognizance. You can trust at that moment that these two – emptiness and cognizance – are an original unity. Seeing this is called self-knowing wakefulness. ~ Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

smcj
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Re: Alcohol

Post by smcj » Sat Jan 10, 2015 7:32 pm

Is it wrong to get drunk if your suffering some sort of pain?
I recently heard someone speaking about AA. He said that AA wasn't for someone that thinks they have a problem with alcohol. If you think you have a problem then you just quit, end of problem. Instead AA is for someone that thinks they have an answer with alcohol.
https://soundcloud.com/user-730689343/chenrezig-puja
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

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mossy
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Re: Alcohol

Post by mossy » Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:49 am

I quit drinking when i got serious about Buddhism. It was a stupid idea to go cold turkey, i went through some nasty withdrawal sickness. I had been drinking daily for 3 years to deal with depression. The alcohol made it easier to deal with emotions and people. So i stayed drunk for 3 years.

Because of my personal experiences, i don't see a reason to touch alcohol, it is addictive and brings suffering into the lives of people. But these are my experiences, if you wish to drink, then drink. I or anyone else on the internet cannot stop you. I can just share my experiences. I started off as a once a week drinker and ended up as a daily drinking alcoholic.

M.G.
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Re: Alcohol

Post by M.G. » Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:31 am

One of my main Buddhist teachers, someone who is quite respected, takes a view on (and engages in) alcohol use that's well, quite a lot looser than what I would consider even a liberal understanding of the vows.

In the end, when we're talking about non-monastics does it all come down to "drink the amount one can personally handle safely"?

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Ayu
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Re: Alcohol

Post by Ayu » Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:20 am

M.G. wrote:One of my main Buddhist teachers, someone who is quite respected, takes a view on (and engages in) alcohol use that's well, quite a lot looser than what I would consider even a liberal understanding of the vows.

In the end, when we're talking about non-monastics does it all come down to "drink the amount one can personally handle safely"?
Out of my own emotional view I would not say "personally handle savely" but "don't drink as soon as it has effects on the dharma practice and personal behaviour". Because "savely" is a very elastic term.

The pity is that one potency of alcohol is to disturb the self-perception seriously. Even if the drinker has many difficulties because of alcohol abuse, he doesn't perceive this.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:

uan
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Re: Alcohol

Post by uan » Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:44 pm

Ayu wrote: "don't drink as soon as it has effects on the dharma practice and personal behaviour". Because "savely" is a very elastic term

these are two very separate things, though they may have a substantial degree of overlap. I'm posting here on Dharmawheel - what effect does that have on my dharma practice? It may be taking time away from some type of practice I could be doing. (yes, we could make an argument about how it is part of our practice, I mean my own guru hasn't said specifically I shouldn't post...).

Yet it has zero effect on my personal behavior. Perhaps it even has a positive effect. Yesterday I posted on a forum for an online course I'm taking, in a sub thread that was going sideways. Part of response back I got was "...I am moved by your thoughtful response. Thank you for passing the peace pipe."

My dharma practice impacts my personal behavior. But posting on that forum is not "practicing". The course I'm taking has nothing to do with my "dharma practice." It probably takes away from not only my dharma practice directly (I have less time and the course is optional - I'm not required to take it), but then now I have less time with my family or other obligations because of that class, and that then impacts my dharma practice.

"Safely" is a very elastic term. (basically all terms coming from conceptual mind, deluded, stuck in samsara, are elastic). So too is "dharma practice" and "personal behavior". So too is "skillful means" that allows us to stretch the definition of "good/appropriate" personal behavior in support of teaching dharma to someone. Ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

I'm getting ready for work, I'm going to shower, check my priorities, drive to work, etc. -- and I'll lose mindfulness as I focus on those things - these things are impacting my dharma practice. Now what do I do? Should I quit my job? Leave my family? My ideal when I think of someone truly practicing dharma, are Tibet yogis high up in the Himalayas. Compared to that, I fall short.

Dharma teaches us that joy is a source of suffering as much as pain. So too with all things. It's easy to focus on alcohol, which has many negative aspects. But a person can become a workaholic, or stuck surfing the web, or any number of a hundred things that impact our practice.

Everything is really an outgrowth of our dharma practice. Practice to the capacity you as an individual has. Not what some other person has.

If drinking "safely" works for a person, that's good, that's a start. The idea that drinking can be a danger is inherent in that. Contemplate what safely means, and expand the areas it can apply to.

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Zen Mantra
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Re: Alcohol

Post by Zen Mantra » Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:45 am

We should always ensure that the consumption of alcohol does not affect our sound mind.
Intoxication does not allow us to achieve a calm, calculated mind.

I cannot see why small portions of alcohol is bad; moderation is key. :cheers:

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Ayu
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Re: Alcohol

Post by Ayu » Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:57 am

Zen Mantra wrote:...
I cannot see why small portions of alcohol is bad; moderation is key. :cheers:
You can not see for yourself or for anybody?

As I wrote before, I think it is an individual issue.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:

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Zen Mantra
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Re: Alcohol

Post by Zen Mantra » Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:28 pm

Ayu wrote:
Zen Mantra wrote:...
I cannot see why small portions of alcohol is bad; moderation is key. :cheers:
You can not see for yourself or for anybody?

As I wrote before, I think it is an individual issue.
Anybody, but it is an individualistic problem.

I suppose it is down to the person in the end.

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Grigoris
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Re: Alcohol

Post by Grigoris » Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:14 pm

Zen Mantra wrote:I suppose it is down to the person in the end.
EVERYTHING is down to the person in the end. One chooses to take the precept and then one chooses to keep or break the precept. It's 100% your karma.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Adamantine
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Re: Alcohol

Post by Adamantine » Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:38 pm

For some people, latent addictive tendencies within neurotic mind may attach to alcohol, and then this is a big obstacle for them if they are practicing Dharma, and should abstain. For some people, latent addictive tendencies within neurotic mind may attach to internet use, sex, idle chatter, etc. etc. It may really not be the same issue for any two people.

Although alcoholism is found in my family, I've never had an issue with it. I may drink casually with friends once or twice a month, but never to the point of drunkenness. I may take a small amount of some tantric "medicine" that involves whisky more regularly. I certainly take some alcohol at the times of tsok offerings. To impose a strict rule on myself never to drink any alcohol would be artificial and useless, maybe harmful. However, I have relatives that should never even have a drop, because it arouses inner demons, and they always get into trouble, or create it. These things are relative, and we need to know our own situation with clarity.
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha

M.G.
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Re: Alcohol

Post by M.G. » Sat Jan 31, 2015 6:06 am

Adamantine wrote:For some people, latent addictive tendencies within neurotic mind may attach to alcohol, and then this is a big obstacle for them if they are practicing Dharma, and should abstain. For some people, latent addictive tendencies within neurotic mind may attach to internet use, sex, idle chatter, etc. etc. It may really not be the same issue for any two people.

Although alcoholism is found in my family, I've never had an issue with it. I may drink casually with friends once or twice a month, but never to the point of drunkenness. I may take a small amount of some tantric "medicine" that involves whisky more regularly. I certainly take some alcohol at the times of tsok offerings. To impose a strict rule on myself never to drink any alcohol would be artificial and useless, maybe harmful. However, I have relatives that should never even have a drop, because it arouses inner demons, and they always get into trouble, or create it. These things are relative, and we need to know our own situation with clarity.

This seems to be the view of most of my Buddhist teachers and friends. Though I've noticed they reject the idea of moderation and relative harm potential when the topic turns from alcohol to tobacco!

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Adamantine
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Re: Alcohol

Post by Adamantine » Sat Jan 31, 2015 6:57 am

M.G. wrote:
Adamantine wrote:For some people, latent addictive tendencies within neurotic mind may attach to alcohol, and then this is a big obstacle for them if they are practicing Dharma, and should abstain. For some people, latent addictive tendencies within neurotic mind may attach to internet use, sex, idle chatter, etc. etc. It may really not be the same issue for any two people.

Although alcoholism is found in my family, I've never had an issue with it. I may drink casually with friends once or twice a month, but never to the point of drunkenness. I may take a small amount of some tantric "medicine" that involves whisky more regularly. I certainly take some alcohol at the times of tsok offerings. To impose a strict rule on myself never to drink any alcohol would be artificial and useless, maybe harmful. However, I have relatives that should never even have a drop, because it arouses inner demons, and they always get into trouble, or create it. These things are relative, and we need to know our own situation with clarity.

This seems to be the view of most of my Buddhist teachers and friends. Though I've noticed they reject the idea of moderation and relative harm potential when the topic turns from alcohol to tobacco!
Well, depends on lineage I guess.. Nyingmas are particularly adamant about not using tobacco. This is because there are prophecies of Guru Rinpoche and accounts of great masters such as Dudjom Lingpa concerning it's use. The bottom line is that beyond any mundane health risks, it is considered to be especially damaging to one's ability to practice the Vajrayana, as it obscures the inner subtle channels. That's why it's not viewed as something to indulge in even moderately. Alcohol doesn't have this effect.
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha

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