texts/teachings on problems of alcohol

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Jangchup Donden
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texts/teachings on problems of alcohol

Post by Jangchup Donden » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:21 pm

So I know there are some texts and teachings on the problems of smoking (e.g., from Guru Rinpoche) -- I was wondering if there was anything similar about the problems of consuming alcohol? I was looking for some texts/teachings which I could use as a contemplation on this.

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Re: texts/teachings on problems of alcohol

Post by Miroku » Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:06 pm

Jangchup Donden wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:21 pm
So I know there are some texts and teachings on the problems of smoking (e.g., from Guru Rinpoche) -- I was wondering if there was anything similar about the problems of consuming alcohol? I was looking for some texts/teachings which I could use as a contemplation on this.
Upasaka vows suttas should help. Alcohol and intoxicants are really basic 5 precepts thing. I was looking around and what really made me go to complete sobriety (outside of ritual/social context where I feel samayas and bodhisattva vows are more improtant so a little sip of wine is permissable I think, unless one is really an alcoholic) was the explanation why it is in the 5 precepts. Basically it is there as under the influence one is more likely to break the other precepts. Which yes, it can be debatable, however it really made me think about what is more improtant. My practice of morality, or alcohol which I knew from personal experience did lead to breaking the precepts.

As for tibetan sources I don't know. However Nagarjuna in the Letter to a Friend tells the friend (who was a king) that he should not consume any alcohol.
“Observing samaya involves to remain inseparable from the union of wisdom and compassion at all times, to sustain mindfulness, and to put into practice the guru’s instructions”. Garchen Rinpoche

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Re: texts/teachings on problems of alcohol

Post by Punya » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:08 am

I've read versions of this story before, but I can't remember where. I assume it comes from a sutra.
"There was once a monk who was living in a mountain cave practicing meditation. His benefactor down below would bring up food from time to time. He also had a beautiful daughter who would bring the supplies for the monk, and over time, she became completely smitten with him.

Eventually, she suggested to the monk that she would like to marry him. The monk replied, "I couldn't possibly do that. I'm a celibate monk. I'm sorry." She was greatly disappointed and she returned down the mountain.

The next time she went up the mountain, she brought a goat to offer to the monk. She then suggested that they could both slaughter the goat and have a feast together. "Oh no, I can't do that. I'm a Buddhist monk. I cannot kill a living being." So back down the mountain she went.

The next time, she returned with a big jug of Tibetan beer, which is known as "chang". She said, "Okay, you cannot marry me and you cannot kill. But surely you can drink!" The monk pondered, "The fifth precept is the least important. The least harmful of the five precepts would be to drink the chang." So he said, "Okay, we shall drink the chang together." And so they did.

Of course, the monk could not control himself and got completely drunk. In the process, he first broke his third precept of celibacy (for monks). Then feeling hungry, he saw a chicken and decided to have it for food, thus breaking the second precept of stealing and then the first precept of killing. The next morning, when the neighbour asked if he had seen his missing chicken, the monk replied in the negative, thus breaking his fouth precept. Thus, the monk ended up breaking all the five precepts because he thought the fifth precept on abstaining from alcoholic drinks was the least important for his practice!
https://www.reddit.com/r/Buddhism/comme ... =post_body
We abide nowhere. We possess nothing.
~Chatral Rinpoche

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sangyey
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Re: texts/teachings on problems of alcohol

Post by sangyey » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:09 am

I briefly came across something from the Library of Tibetan Classics - ‘Ornament of Abhidharma’ where it was discussed in context.

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Re: texts/teachings on problems of alcohol

Post by Punya » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:48 am

In a broader sense, consumption of alcohol for many becomes a habitual pattern. Pema Chodron's Taking the Leap provides ways of challenging such habitual patterns and therefore would provide some food for contemplation on this topic.

For example, she talks about the fact that most human beings are afraid of negative feelings and are constantly scrambling to find ways to avoid feelings of embarrassment, boredom, anxiety, etc. Pema labels these moments of insecurity ‘groundlessness’ or being ‘off-balance.’ We avoid the experience of groundlessness in what, in one sense, is a very effective way – we get distracted. Alcohol can be one of those distractions.
We abide nowhere. We possess nothing.
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Jangchup Donden
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Re: texts/teachings on problems of alcohol

Post by Jangchup Donden » Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:56 pm

Thanks all, I was hoping to find something which went into detail about the results of alcohol consumption (even better if related to effects on vajrayana practice) to serve as reminders, as well as something which went over the benefits of abstention. I know it's pretty basic stuff but I thought it would help serve as a reminder. Most of these things I know due to personal experience but I was hoping there was a nice enumeration somewhere that could be used for a contemplative meditation. The references are helpful though, maybe I'll just put something together myself!

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Re: texts/teachings on problems of alcohol

Post by Terma » Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:59 pm

Jangchup Donden wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:56 pm
Thanks all, I was hoping to find something which went into detail about the results of alcohol consumption (even better if related to effects on vajrayana practice) to serve as reminders, as well as something which went over the benefits of abstention. I know it's pretty basic stuff but I thought it would help serve as a reminder. Most of these things I know due to personal experience but I was hoping there was a nice enumeration somewhere that could be used for a contemplative meditation. The references are helpful though, maybe I'll just put something together myself!
I am still searching around a little on this topic for you, hope I find something concrete because it is quite helpful and a good motivator.

For example, my teachers have instructed me to be strict with the dietary observations in regards to the outer tantra's (no meat, eggs, garlic or onion). While the first 2 are fairly self explanatory, while digging a little deeper I have found several explanations for the latter 2, on both a course (outer) level and a more subtle (inner) level more related to Vajrayana practices. I'm sure there is something along similar lines in relation to alcohol, besides the more obvious aspects discussed on the sutric level.

As an aside, some of what I found from a Vajrayana standpoint was consistent with some finding from the Aryavedic point of view. It makes sense as there seems to be somewhat of a crossover in terms of subtle body and such.

Actually I think a good piece of advice would be to ask either one's Vajra Guru (of course) but otherwise a Tibetan Medicine practitioner might be able to provide some perspective on these things in terms of how it affects us in terms of both mind and our subtle body in a yogic kind of way.

When I have some time I will try to find something more concrete for you.

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Jangchup Donden
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Re: texts/teachings on problems of alcohol

Post by Jangchup Donden » Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:45 pm

Terma wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:59 pm
Jangchup Donden wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:56 pm
Thanks all, I was hoping to find something which went into detail about the results of alcohol consumption (even better if related to effects on vajrayana practice) to serve as reminders, as well as something which went over the benefits of abstention. I know it's pretty basic stuff but I thought it would help serve as a reminder. Most of these things I know due to personal experience but I was hoping there was a nice enumeration somewhere that could be used for a contemplative meditation. The references are helpful though, maybe I'll just put something together myself!
I am still searching around a little on this topic for you, hope I find something concrete because it is quite helpful and a good motivator.
I really appreciate it! I think it would be very useful (beyond for myself). I know for other practices of moral discipline (e.g., smoking) there are termas or other teachings which enumerate both the faults for poor behavior and the benefits for avoiding it. So I think having something easily delineated could make for a powerful contemplation.

I've been trying to use some things from the words of my perfect teacher and it's commentary but they're kind of all over the texts and not in a nice neat place. Might need to go look around the Nikayas.

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Re: texts/teachings on problems of alcohol

Post by heart » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:16 pm

Jangchup Donden wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:21 pm
So I know there are some texts and teachings on the problems of smoking (e.g., from Guru Rinpoche) -- I was wondering if there was anything similar about the problems of consuming alcohol? I was looking for some texts/teachings which I could use as a contemplation on this.
I guess you heard the story about the monk, the woman, the goat and the bootle of alcohol?

/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)

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Re: texts/teachings on problems of alcohol

Post by Miroku » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:25 pm

Nagarjuna also mentions complete prohibition of alcohol in Letter to a Friend.
“Observing samaya involves to remain inseparable from the union of wisdom and compassion at all times, to sustain mindfulness, and to put into practice the guru’s instructions”. Garchen Rinpoche

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Re: texts/teachings on problems of alcohol

Post by ford_truckin » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:58 pm

Miroku wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:25 pm
Nagarjuna also mentions complete prohibition of alcohol in Letter to a Friend.
Link?
"We should not express outwardly signs of wisdom, goodness, or diligence, for inwardly we are filled with falsity."
- Shinran Shonin

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Re: texts/teachings on problems of alcohol

Post by Miroku » Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:47 pm

ford_truckin wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:58 pm
Miroku wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:25 pm
Nagarjuna also mentions complete prohibition of alcohol in Letter to a Friend.
Link?
Well, either here http://www.rigdzindharma.org/uploads/6/ ... friend.pdf as it says
(10) When one gives up causing harm, thieving, sexual activity, lying,
Alcohol, and attachment to eating when it's not time,
Delight in high beds and seats,
Songs, dance, and all sorts of jewelry,

(11) And takes on these eight branches that emulate
The ethical discipline of liberated arhats,
(These) one-day precepts will bestow on men and on women
An attractive body of a desire-realm god.
Or the translation I read from the Padmakara group (and the reason why I wrote it)
10

Eschew all harm, don’t steal, make love, or lie,
Abstain from drink, untimely greed for food,
Indulging in high beds, and singing too,
Refrain from dancing, all adornments shun.

11

For men and women who keep this eight- branched vow
And emulate the vows the Arhats took,
Their wish to nurture and to cleanse will grant
Them handsome bodies as celestial gods.
“Observing samaya involves to remain inseparable from the union of wisdom and compassion at all times, to sustain mindfulness, and to put into practice the guru’s instructions”. Garchen Rinpoche

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Re: texts/teachings on problems of alcohol

Post by Jangchup Donden » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:07 pm

Hmm, unfortunately being reborn as a god isn't a particularly good motivator for me as it seems like that's just a roundabout ticket to a hell realm... I'd much rather be reborn as a human where I can practice the dharma if I can't get out this time around.

So far the clearest/more direct I've come across is from Khenpo Ngawang Pelzang's Guide to the Words of My Perfect Teacher:
As for the point when shramaneras, fully ordained monks and nuns, Bodhisattvas, and tantric yogis can drink alcohol: when they have attained the "heat" of samadhi, and thence the power to transform the color, smell, taste, and effect of alcohol by reciting the three syllables, and when they can transform the color, smell taste, and potency of even the deadly black aconite and e at it with no ill effects, then they may drink alcohol and the like without harm. Otherwise, if a shramanera or bhikshu or anyone craves the smell or taste of alcohol and then drinks it, according to our teacher the Buddha, the link between teacher and student is severed:

"Whoever drinks alcohol is no disciple of mine;
Neither am I his teacher"
This is definitely clear and direct, but I wish I had some more to chew on in regards to negative/positive results to really hammer things home.

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Re: texts/teachings on problems of alcohol

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:32 am

Punya wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:08 am
I've read versions of this story before, but I can't remember where. I assume it comes from a sutra.
"There was once a monk who was living in a mountain cave practicing meditation. His benefactor down below would bring up food from time to time. He also had a beautiful daughter who would bring the supplies for the monk, and over time, she became completely smitten with him.

Eventually, she suggested to the monk that she would like to marry him. The monk replied, "I couldn't possibly do that. I'm a celibate monk. I'm sorry." She was greatly disappointed and she returned down the mountain.

The next time she went up the mountain, she brought a goat to offer to the monk. She then suggested that they could both slaughter the goat and have a feast together. "Oh no, I can't do that. I'm a Buddhist monk. I cannot kill a living being." So back down the mountain she went.

The next time, she returned with a big jug of Tibetan beer, which is known as "chang". She said, "Okay, you cannot marry me and you cannot kill. But surely you can drink!" The monk pondered, "The fifth precept is the least important. The least harmful of the five precepts would be to drink the chang." So he said, "Okay, we shall drink the chang together." And so they did.

Of course, the monk could not control himself and got completely drunk. In the process, he first broke his third precept of celibacy (for monks). Then feeling hungry, he saw a chicken and decided to have it for food, thus breaking the second precept of stealing and then the first precept of killing. The next morning, when the neighbour asked if he had seen his missing chicken, the monk replied in the negative, thus breaking his fouth precept. Thus, the monk ended up breaking all the five precepts because he thought the fifth precept on abstaining from alcoholic drinks was the least important for his practice!
https://www.reddit.com/r/Buddhism/comme ... =post_body
When I heard this story, it was a goat, rather than a chicken.
At least he didn't get so drunk as to eat the woman and have sex with the chicken!
:rolling:
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Re: texts/teachings on problems of alcohol

Post by ford_truckin » Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:13 am

Miroku wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:47 pm
ford_truckin wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:58 pm
Miroku wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:25 pm
Nagarjuna also mentions complete prohibition of alcohol in Letter to a Friend.
Link?
Well, either here http://www.rigdzindharma.org/uploads/6/ ... friend.pdf as it says
(10) When one gives up causing harm, thieving, sexual activity, lying,
Alcohol, and attachment to eating when it's not time,
Delight in high beds and seats,
Songs, dance, and all sorts of jewelry,

(11) And takes on these eight branches that emulate
The ethical discipline of liberated arhats,
(These) one-day precepts will bestow on men and on women
An attractive body of a desire-realm god.
Or the translation I read from the Padmakara group (and the reason why I wrote it)
10

Eschew all harm, don’t steal, make love, or lie,
Abstain from drink, untimely greed for food,
Indulging in high beds, and singing too,
Refrain from dancing, all adornments shun.

11

For men and women who keep this eight- branched vow
And emulate the vows the Arhats took,
Their wish to nurture and to cleanse will grant
Them handsome bodies as celestial gods.
good thanks
"We should not express outwardly signs of wisdom, goodness, or diligence, for inwardly we are filled with falsity."
- Shinran Shonin

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Re: texts/teachings on problems of alcohol

Post by Miroku » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:39 am

Jangchup Donden wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:07 pm
Hmm, unfortunately being reborn as a god isn't a particularly good motivator for me as it seems like that's just a roundabout ticket to a hell realm... I'd much rather be reborn as a human where I can practice the dharma if I can't get out this time around.

So far the clearest/more direct I've come across is from Khenpo Ngawang Pelzang's Guide to the Words of My Perfect Teacher:
As for the point when shramaneras, fully ordained monks and nuns, Bodhisattvas, and tantric yogis can drink alcohol: when they have attained the "heat" of samadhi, and thence the power to transform the color, smell, taste, and effect of alcohol by reciting the three syllables, and when they can transform the color, smell taste, and potency of even the deadly black aconite and e at it with no ill effects, then they may drink alcohol and the like without harm. Otherwise, if a shramanera or bhikshu or anyone craves the smell or taste of alcohol and then drinks it, according to our teacher the Buddha, the link between teacher and student is severed:

"Whoever drinks alcohol is no disciple of mine;
Neither am I his teacher"
This is definitely clear and direct, but I wish I had some more to chew on in regards to negative/positive results to really hammer things home.
Atisha in his Lamp for the Path to enlightenment says there are basically three types of practitioners and the lowest kind are the ones who without attachment for this life do everything they can for better future lives. So I'd take that as a context for the quote. Also it does not have to be your wish to be reborn as a god, but have enough merit for it is always good, right? ;)

That's a good quote, thanks for sharing that.
“Observing samaya involves to remain inseparable from the union of wisdom and compassion at all times, to sustain mindfulness, and to put into practice the guru’s instructions”. Garchen Rinpoche

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Re: texts/teachings on problems of alcohol

Post by Punya » Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:31 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:32 am
Punya wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:08 am
I've read versions of this story before, but I can't remember where. I assume it comes from a sutra.
"There was once a monk who was living in a mountain cave practicing meditation. His benefactor down below would bring up food from time to time. He also had a beautiful daughter who would bring the supplies for the monk, and over time, she became completely smitten with him.

Eventually, she suggested to the monk that she would like to marry him. The monk replied, "I couldn't possibly do that. I'm a celibate monk. I'm sorry." She was greatly disappointed and she returned down the mountain.

The next time she went up the mountain, she brought a goat to offer to the monk. She then suggested that they could both slaughter the goat and have a feast together. "Oh no, I can't do that. I'm a Buddhist monk. I cannot kill a living being." So back down the mountain she went.

The next time, she returned with a big jug of Tibetan beer, which is known as "chang". She said, "Okay, you cannot marry me and you cannot kill. But surely you can drink!" The monk pondered, "The fifth precept is the least important. The least harmful of the five precepts would be to drink the chang." So he said, "Okay, we shall drink the chang together." And so they did.

Of course, the monk could not control himself and got completely drunk. In the process, he first broke his third precept of celibacy (for monks). Then feeling hungry, he saw a chicken and decided to have it for food, thus breaking the second precept of stealing and then the first precept of killing. The next morning, when the neighbour asked if he had seen his missing chicken, the monk replied in the negative, thus breaking his fouth precept. Thus, the monk ended up breaking all the five precepts because he thought the fifth precept on abstaining from alcoholic drinks was the least important for his practice!
https://www.reddit.com/r/Buddhism/comme ... =post_body
When I heard this story, it was a goat, rather than a chicken.
At least he didn't get so drunk as to eat the woman and have sex with the chicken!
:rolling:
:smile:
We abide nowhere. We possess nothing.
~Chatral Rinpoche

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