5 precepts. Alcohol?

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Quay
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by Quay »

smcj wrote:
Quay wrote:I think many good things have been said already on this topic. To them I hope to add that in different traditions the precepts are translated somewhat differently and that difference can be enormous in any individual practitioner's path. For instance:

"Do not take any intoxicants"

is very different if you can see it from

"Do not become intoxicated."

The former is a flat prohibition, the latter is a command to mindfulness under all circumstances including when one takes a drink. If you can't keep the latter the former is often the best. They're both to aid the practitioner in developing discipline and other necessary qualities. But it really comes down to each person and their particular situation.
Do you know of a tradition that uses the latter definition that isn't just a modern reinterpretation?
I will see if I can find a reference for you. Meanwhile I was present at several ceremonies, two Nyingma and one Shangpa Kagyu, where the latter was used when people were formally taking vows in the presence of Sangha. The Lamas at all of the ceremonies were very traditional/orthodox in most things.

Edit to note: as far as I know, Theravadan traditions are fairly clear about this fifth precept, which is to say one is to refrain from taking intoxicants. It is something of a Mahayana/Tibetan view to translate this precept as refrain from being intoxicated. Both have the same aim but with different means.
"Knowledge is as infinite as the stars in the sky;
There is no end to all the subjects one could study.
It is better to grasp straight away their very essence--
The unchanging fortress of the Dharmakaya."

– Longchenpa.

vinegar
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by vinegar »

Quay wrote:"Do not take any intoxicants"

is very different if you can see it from

"Do not become intoxicated."

The former is a flat prohibition, the latter is a command to mindfulness under all circumstances including when one takes a drink.
Does that make sense? Alcohol crosses the blood-brain barrier quickly and impairs function, so how is it not intoxication by definition? Additionally from a dharma pov one is habituating themselves to mental dullness

smcj
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by smcj »

Quay wrote:I will see if I can find a reference for you. Meanwhile I was present at several ceremonies, two Nyingma and one Shangpa Kagyu, where the latter was used when people were formally taking vows in the presence of Sangha. The Lamas at all of the ceremonies were very traditional/orthodox in most things.

Edit to note: as far as I know, Theravadan traditions are fairly clear about this fifth precept, which is to say one is to refrain from taking intoxicants. It is something of a Mahayana/Tibetan view to translate this precept as refrain from being intoxicated. Both have the same aim but with different means.
AFAIK the in the Karma/Shangpa Kagyu tradition the definition for the 5th precept was "not even as much as a dewdrop on a single blade of grass". Nyingmas aren't big into the precepts to begin with, so I don't know about them.

I guess the times have changed.
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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Quay
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by Quay »

smack wrote:...Nyingmas aren't big into the precepts to begin with, so I don't know about them.
The first part of that statement is questionable, the second indisputable. :smile:
"Knowledge is as infinite as the stars in the sky;
There is no end to all the subjects one could study.
It is better to grasp straight away their very essence--
The unchanging fortress of the Dharmakaya."

– Longchenpa.

smcj
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by smcj »

Quay wrote:
smack wrote:...Nyingmas aren't big into the precepts to begin with, so I don't know about them.
The first part of that statement is questionable, the second indisputable. :smile:
Have you met many Nyingma monks? When Dudjom R was in California with his entire entourage he wanted to ordain a Westerner. But there weren't any monks in his entourage to give the ordination, so he had to ask some Kagyus that were traveling with HH Karmapa (16) to do it for him.

So no, the idea that you can generalize that the Nyingmapas aren't into the Pratimoksha Vows is not very controversial.
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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kirtu
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by kirtu »

smcj wrote: Nyingmas aren't big into the precepts to begin with, so I don't know about them.
Not sure where you are coming from with this.

I don't remember the exact wording HH Penor Rinpoche used wrt this precept but I do remember what he said about smoking and it's harmful influence.

At any rate the upshot was to not use drugs and to not get intoxicated. I'm pretty sure that HH explicitly said that drinking some alcohol use during ganachakra was fine. I suppose he mentioned this to remove any hesitation people might have during Nyingma ganachakra (and of course Nyingma have *A LOT* of ganachakra).

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

smcj
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by smcj »

kirtu wrote:
smcj wrote: Nyingmas aren't big into the precepts to begin with, so I don't know about them.
Not sure where you are coming from with this.

I don't remember the exact wording HH Penor Rinpoche used wrt this precept but I do remember what he said about smoking and it's harmful influence.

At any rate the upshot was to not use drugs and to not get intoxicated. I'm pretty sure that HH explicitly said that drinking some alcohol use during ganachakra was fine. I suppose he mentioned this to remove any hesitation people might have during Nyingma ganachakra (and of course Nyingma have *A LOT* of ganachakra).

Kirt
Yeah, Nyingmas have an issue with smoking. They say it screws up you winds and channels for yogic practices. I have not heard that they have a specific vow against it though. It's just strongly discouraged.

My experience is that Nyingmapas don't take Pratimoksha Vows. They will take Bodhisattva Vows, Tantric Vows, and Ngagpa Vows, but not the precepts or monk's vows. That's Hinyana stuff. It's not their thing.
Last edited by smcj on Mon Jul 18, 2016 2:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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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kirtu
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by kirtu »

smcj wrote:
Quay wrote:
smack wrote:...Nyingmas aren't big into the precepts to begin with, so I don't know about them.
The first part of that statement is questionable, the second indisputable. :smile:
Have you met many Nyingma monks?
Yes.
When Dudjom R was in California with his entire entourage he wanted to ordain a Westerner....
But Dudjom R.'s lineage is essentially a lay lineage although he did in fact have monks. So at this particular time there weren't a sufficient number (5, right?) so he asked HH K.'s monks to assist. I don't see the issue. The Karmapa lineage (with one exception of course) is a monastic lineage.

There are other Nyingma lineages that are more monastic and others completely lay or more lay. But they all follow the same praktimoksha vows.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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kirtu
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by kirtu »

smcj wrote: Yeah, Nyingmas have an issue with smoking. They say it screws up you winds and channels for yogic practices. I have not heard that they have a specific vow against it though. It's just strongly discouraged.
From memory there wasn't a specific vow against smoking but HH Penor Rinpoche said explicitly that in order to take refuge with him one had to give up smoking. Drugs were also included in this. I think then this was included in the 5th vow. HH did speak at length about smoking messing up the vajra body.

I was surprised later to find students who did smoke. They basically said that their intention was to eventually give up smoking.
My experience is that Nyingmapas don't take Pratimoksha Vows. They will take Bodhisattva Vows, Tantric Vows, and Ngagpa Vows, but not the precepts or monk's vows. That's Hinyana stuff. It's not their thing.
My experience is the opposite. All Nyingma that I know take the Pratimoksh Vows. An there are definitely monks and nuns following the normal TB "relaxed" version of monks/nuns vows (relaxed in the sense of eating after noon). It is true that some lineages are more lay and some more monastic. And of course there are some completely ngagpa lineages. Of course ngagpas have there own sets of precepts. But I have never seen any Nyingma lineage that doesn't have the Pratimoksha Vows.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

smcj
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by smcj »

I didn't say that the Pratimoksha Vows don't exist in Nyingma. As a generalization I will say they aren't stressed. Another generalization I will make is that both Nyingma and Kagyu don't emphasize academics. Does that mean I think there are no Nyingma or Kagyu khenpos? No, of course not! But it is not what they their focus is. The Gulugpas and Sakyapas have more of a focus on academics.

Those are all generalizations, not absolute rules. There is a huge difference between generalizations and absolute rules. As generalizations I think they are accurate and fair.
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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Quay
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by Quay »

smcj wrote:Have you met many Nyingma monks?
Yes. Especially from Mindrolling.
So no, the idea that you can generalize that the Nyingmapas aren't into the Pratimoksha Vows is not very controversial.
You are right. It is not controversial at all because it is simply wrong. One need only find one of the many text and commentaries on this by Nyingmapas, such as Ngari Panchen's Perfect Conduct: The Absolute Certainty of the Three Vows with commentary by Dudjom Rinpoche.

I mention all this in deference to the OP who might assume from your comments that one of the Tibetan schools is somehow deficient in its view of the Pratimoksha or the Genyen vows. This is hardly the case as Kirtu also points out.
"Knowledge is as infinite as the stars in the sky;
There is no end to all the subjects one could study.
It is better to grasp straight away their very essence--
The unchanging fortress of the Dharmakaya."

– Longchenpa.

smcj
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by smcj »

I believe my generalizations are correct within the scope of what constitutes a generalization.

Another generalization I will make is that men are taller than women. Does that mean that that all men are taller than all women? No. Does that mean that there are no women that are tall? No. Does that mean that there are no men that are short? No. It is a generalization, not an absolute rule. You can find all the exceptions to the generalization you want without negating the generalization. There are millions of women that are taller than millions of men, and it still doesn't negate the validity of the generalization. If one were to make assert "All men are taller than all women" as an absolute rule, then all you would have to do is find one woman that is taller than one man and the absolute rule would be negated. But that is not how generalizations work.

Of course there are Nyingma monks, but as a generalization it is not stressed in Nyingma. That is a generalization. It is not meant as an absolute rule. Nyingmapas make an issue out of smoking. That is a generalization, not an absolute rule. You'll find Nyingma lamas that don't care (Trungpa was Nyingma also and smoked), but as a generalization they make an issue out of it. Gelugpas are into Prasanghika Madyamaka, not Shentong. That is a generalization, not an absolute rule. I knew a Gelugpa that was into Shentong. That does not negate the generalization.

I believe the generalizations I have made are fair and correct. If you disagree, that's fine. Just understand that I am not trying to assert absolute rules, so as many exceptions as you want to cite are acceptable within my generalization, which I believe represents the common perspective and understanding of the TB community in general.
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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Quay
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by Quay »

“Any general statement is like a cheque drawn on a bank. Its value depends on what is there to meet it.”
― Ezra Pound

In the case of your argument, I think you may be overdrawn.
"Knowledge is as infinite as the stars in the sky;
There is no end to all the subjects one could study.
It is better to grasp straight away their very essence--
The unchanging fortress of the Dharmakaya."

– Longchenpa.

Rakz
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by Rakz »

Norwegian wrote:
Rakz wrote:
Simon E. wrote: One of the most obviously realised Buddhist teachers I have ever met smoked and drank freely. He did not expect us to emulate him however.He he lived constantly in a state of absorption.
He did not 'break the precepts' because he did not observe them nor did he teach them.
Not all Buddhist traditions do.
If he was in a "constant state of absorption" why was there any need to drink alcohol in the first place?
Who are talking about a "need" to drink alcohol? One can enjoy things, like food, alcohol, etc. all kinds of various things, without there having to be a "need" for it, without any problems.

Enjoyment is not a problem. Attachment is.

To argue against these things as above, is an attitude found in Hinayana, not Vajrayana.
You don't have to have any of those things for enjoyment if you are always in a blissful state. Why would you?

Rakz
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by Rakz »

Simon E. wrote: No idea. I didn't ask him. Nor did I care. His obvious state of absorption made that pretty redundant.
I think the main point here is the fact that he neither observed the precepts nor required his students to. That is a common situation in the world of Vajrayana.
I see but how could you tell he was always in a state of absorption? What clues did he give off that made you feel that way about him?

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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by Simon E. »

Rakz wrote:
Norwegian wrote:
Rakz wrote: If he was in a "constant state of absorption" why was there any need to drink alcohol in the first place?
Who are talking about a "need" to drink alcohol? One can enjoy things, like food, alcohol, etc. all kinds of various things, without there having to be a "need" for it, without any problems.

Enjoyment is not a problem. Attachment is.

To argue against these things as above, is an attitude found in Hinayana, not Vajrayana.
You don't have to have any of those things for enjoyment if you are always in a blissful state. Why would you?
I don't think anyone mentioned blissful states.
What he was was always completely present in all circumstances. Completely awake and present. Even when quite clearly not in a blissful or even comfortable state.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.

vinegar
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by vinegar »

Simon E. wrote:I don't think anyone mentioned blissful states.
What he was was always completely present in all circumstances. Completely awake and present. Even when quite clearly not in a blissful or even comfortable state.
That is far inferior to even basic single-pointed concentration.

Simon E.
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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by Simon E. »

Au contraire. :namaste:
I think you need to be careful if you are planning an attainment pissing contest.
This forum has specific things to say about that in its TOS.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.

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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by dzogchungpa »

Simon, are you talking about the teacher referred to here:
http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.ph ... 24#p286324 ?

Just curious.
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

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Re: 5 precepts. Alcohol?

Post by Virgo »

We are ignorant enough as it is, and it is very difficult to develop Right Understanding. Is it better for us to be drunk or sober?

In addition alcohol usage makes one dumb.

Kevin

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