5 precepts. Alcohol?

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Ed1980
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5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by Ed1980 » Tue Jul 05, 2016 7:59 pm

Hi, I am interested in learning more about the 5 Precepts for laypeople. Do many people using this forum recite these every day? And if you do, do you never drink alcohol? Fro example if you know one day that you are likely to be going somewhere where you’ll drink do you just not recite the precepts on that day? I suppose it would be wishful thinking to think that refraining from intoxicants just means not to get totally intoxicated. But realistically thinking, I suppose no alcohol is allowed whatsoever. Is it cheating just to recite 4 precepts?
:juggling:

philji
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by philji » Tue Jul 05, 2016 8:07 pm

You can recite and try to maintain whichever precepts you wish.... You can simply try your best... I drink alcohol but rarely if ever get drunk..( don't like that feeling) I know many Buddhists who drink.The vows are not commandments but guidance.. It is good to take vows and precepts , especially on full moon and new moon days.

Ed1980
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by Ed1980 » Tue Jul 05, 2016 8:50 pm

I see. Thanks. So the 5 precepts are not really for everyday practice. I was thinking of reciting them every morning but then thought I might find it difficult if I feel like a drink in the evening especially if I have to go somewhere to see friends or for a social event.

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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by philji » Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:00 pm

If you are pretty sure you are going to break it then don't take it.. Work with the ones you know you can keep...there is so much benefit and merit in that. On certain days work with the one(s) that are more difficult

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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by Ed1980 » Tue Jul 05, 2016 11:03 pm

Thank you for the advice. I will follow it.

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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by DGA » Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:16 am

Another way to think about it (I mean this in addition to philji's advice, which is excellent--not to contradict it):

If you have a problem with your conduct (actions of body, speech, or mind), then it's very helpful to take a vow to help you improve your conduct. For example: for many years I became out of control (overly critical of others, starting fights...) if I did any drinking at all. So I was a tee-totaller for over a decade, and it was good, because that gave me time to work on myself in a controlled environment, if that makes sense. I started drinking socially again some ten years ago, and I've had no troubles except a few extra pounds around the middle. I'm nursing some whiskey right now. It's great.

Different traditions and teachers will give you different instructions on this point. For some, engaging with sense pleasures is an offering to all the Buddhas; in others, engaging with sense pleasures like this whiskey here is an anchor in samsara and a poison of the mind. Best to follow your teacher's guidance on this.

Ed1980
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by Ed1980 » Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:01 am

Thanks. And cheers :cheers:

I read a Vajrasattva practice text pdf I downloaded which says about abstaining from actions for a minute, an hour or a day. Something like that. For as long as possible. So this gave me the impression there is some possible flexibility. That I won't "go to hell" if I took the 5 precepts in the morning and then found myself with a glass in my hand when spontaneously meeting friends for dinner.

SeeLion
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by SeeLion » Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:06 am

I don't recite the precepts, but set intentions based on applying the precepts in my daily life. For example, these days I'm more into right speech.

Now, if I was planning to drink at lunch, I might set the intention to abstain from alcohol before noon.

Because I think it's important to cultivate the right intention and determination. Otherwise, there isn't much point.

The opposite would be to cultivate a mindset like: I might drink if I feel like drinking. Where I don't see much opportunity for progress.

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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by seeker242 » Wed Jul 06, 2016 11:46 am

Ed1980 wrote:I see. Thanks. So the 5 precepts are not really for everyday practice.
Taking them everyday may not be an "everyday practice" but keeping them is considered an everyday practice. Traditionally, you take them once at a ceremony with your teacher, local temple, etc. Then after that you make an effort, everyday, to keep them pure, unbroken, etc. Many Buddhists never drink an ounce of alcohol ever. Personally, I'll drink 1 beer with dinner on the weekend, but that's it.

:meditate:
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by philji » Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:51 pm

SeeLion wrote:I don't recite the precepts, but set intentions based on applying the precepts in my daily life. For example, these days I'm more into right speech.

Now, if I was planning to drink at lunch, I might set the intention to abstain from alcohol before noon.

Because I think it's important to cultivate the right intention and determination. Otherwise, there isn't much point.

The opposite would be to cultivate a mindset like: I might drink if I feel like drinking. Where I don't see much opportunity for progress.

Good post.

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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by pemachophel » Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:51 pm

When people take refuge as an upasaka/upasika, you can take refuge with the precepts/vows or without, (although, IME, most Tibetan Teachers giving refuge in the West don't explain this and don't offer these vows. They do, of course, explain the general refuge vows.) So you can take refuge with upasaka/upasika vows or refuge without upsaka/upasika vows. If you take refuge with upsaka/uapsika vows, you may take refuge with one vow, two vows, three vows, four vows, or all five vows. That's usually up to the person taking refuge. IOW, you take the vows you want to take. Also, you can take any of these vows for any predetermined length of time: one day day, one week, one month, one year, etc. up to lifetime.
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

boda
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by boda » Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:19 am

DGA wrote:Another way to think about it (I mean this in addition to philji's advice, which is excellent--not to contradict it):

If you have a problem with your conduct (actions of body, speech, or mind), then it's very helpful to take a vow to help you improve your conduct. For example: for many years I became out of control (overly critical of others, starting fights...) if I did any drinking at all. So I was a tee-totaller for over a decade, and it was good, because that gave me time to work on myself in a controlled environment, if that makes sense. I started drinking socially again some ten years ago, and I've had no troubles except a few extra pounds around the middle. I'm nursing some whiskey right now. It's great.

Different traditions and teachers will give you different instructions on this point. For some, engaging with sense pleasures is an offering to all the Buddhas; in others, engaging with sense pleasures like this whiskey here is an anchor in samsara and a poison of the mind. Best to follow your teacher's guidance on this.
There's no denying the negative effects of alcohol on our nervous & endocrine systems, impulse control, etc., so either that matters or is doesn't. If it doesn't matter that can only mean that following the path doesn't actually lead anywhere.

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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by DGA » Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:56 am

boda wrote:
There's no denying the negative effects of alcohol on our nervous & endocrine systems, impulse control, etc., so either that matters or is doesn't. If it doesn't matter that can only mean that following the path doesn't actually lead anywhere.
If you follow a path of renunciation, and that works for you, then great. Not all of us do.

you haven't demonstrated how your claim that the path leads nowhere for those on the tantric path follows from the negative health effects of alcohol abuse . that's a non sequitur.

boda
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by boda » Thu Jul 07, 2016 4:44 am

DGA wrote:
boda wrote:
There's no denying the negative effects of alcohol on our nervous & endocrine systems, impulse control, etc., so either that matters or is doesn't. If it doesn't matter that can only mean that following the path doesn't actually lead anywhere.
If you follow a path of renunciation, and that works for you, then great. Not all of us do.

you haven't demonstrated how your claim that the path leads nowhere for those on the tantric path follows from the negative health effects of alcohol abuse . that's a non sequitur.
I just performed a quick search for "tantric Buddhism and alcohol." It did not prove enlightening. Maybe you can suggest a more promising keyword combination?

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Thomas Amundsen
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Thu Jul 07, 2016 6:07 am

boda wrote:
DGA wrote:
boda wrote:
There's no denying the negative effects of alcohol on our nervous & endocrine systems, impulse control, etc., so either that matters or is doesn't. If it doesn't matter that can only mean that following the path doesn't actually lead anywhere.
If you follow a path of renunciation, and that works for you, then great. Not all of us do.

you haven't demonstrated how your claim that the path leads nowhere for those on the tantric path follows from the negative health effects of alcohol abuse . that's a non sequitur.
I just performed a quick search for "tantric Buddhism and alcohol." It did not prove enlightening. Maybe you can suggest a more promising keyword combination?
"Virupa"

DGA
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by DGA » Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:28 pm

boda wrote:
I just performed a quick search for "tantric Buddhism and alcohol." It did not prove enlightening. Maybe you can suggest a more promising keyword combination?
It would help to know something about Vajrayana generally. This is a useful DW thread to get you going on what is meant by "path of renunciation" in this context.

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.ph ... 2&start=60

and more to the point, a thread in which the great Longchenpa's "Praise to Booze" is quoted:

http://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=21542

boda
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by boda » Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:51 pm

You had to go back seven centuries to dig up a Buddhist authority to praise booze for you? The Zen master who founded the temple in my town drank himself to death in this century. Not to make light of tragedy.

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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by Kaccāni » Fri Jul 08, 2016 12:05 am

Don't make too big a story out of it. The more you take your ego back, the more chance is you will, on a social level, live along with your company. And if it is custom to have a drink here or there, then you will probably follow that. (Important to establish a practice routine, then, to maintain the middle way!) Unless, at a point, you decide to take yourself out of that company completely. That may be an option if you notice that the influence really is detrimental. But every so often, it is not. Life has to go on somehow, and it includes company, unless you prefer life in remote solitude.

Alcohol has the effect that it makes controlling emotion and maintaining a nonconceptual view much more difficult. It somewhat works as anti-meditation, narrowing down your focus and increasing reactivity. That may be a problem, or it may not. Typically it is considered one. In the end, you'll have to judge yourself. If you repeatedly notice that alcohol emotionally wears you down, you have your problem. And you know the solution.

As a precept, maybe take "not to indulge in alcohol", i.e. not trying to seek comfort in alcohol, but seek comfort in the 3 jewels. Different story, then.

Best wishes
Kc
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by DGA » Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:57 am

boda wrote:You had to go back seven centuries to dig up a Buddhist authority to praise booze for you?
No, I did a simple search function on DharmaWheel as a courtesy to you, because you couldn't figure out how to do it yourself, as you said before.

Anyway, realized masters such as Longchenpa are alive and well--in the sense that you can actually relate to them--to a Vajrayana practitioner. Longchenpa is as authoritative as it gets in this context, and hence his song is a useful example. It's not hard to find much more recent examples if you have an open mind and a willingness to inquire.
The Zen master who founded the temple in my town drank himself to death in this century. Not to make light of tragedy
That's a shame, but it's not clear how this example is relevant. Can you identify anyone in the threads I posted above who advocated drinking oneself to death?

You may wish to dial back the hyperbole, by the way.

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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by boda » Fri Jul 08, 2016 3:56 am

I've not exaggerated, in fact the story is much more severe in its tragity than I've mentioned.

We all know how alcohol can destroy lives. I know that "realized masters" are not immune to that potential destruction.

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