five precepts and ten Demeritorious Deeds

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five precepts and ten Demeritorious Deeds

Postby chethinie » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:01 pm

Hi,
Just wondering why the 05th precept - Refraining from self-intoxication through alcohol or drugs are not listed in the ten demeritourious deeds...
What do you think?
Chethinie

Ten Demeritorious Deeds (Dasa Akusala Kamma)

Through Bodily Action:
1. Panatipata - Killing
2. Adinnadana - Stealing
3. Kamesumicchacara - Sexual Misconduct
Through Verbal Speech:
4. Musavada - Lying
5. Pisunavaca - Slandering
6. Phaarusavaca - Harsh Speech
7. Samphappalapa - Frivolous Talk
Through Mind Thought:
8. Abhijjha - Coverousness
9. Vjapada - Ill-Will (hatred)
10. Micchaditthi - Wrong Views

Anguttara Nikaya X.176 : Cunda Kammaraputta Sutta
(To Cunda the Silversmith

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Re: five precepts and ten Demeritorious Deeds

Postby Babadhari » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:18 pm

intoxicants have caused me to do all ten demeritous deeds in the past! the drinking of alcohol itself is not the bad deed, it is the cause of the bad action in my opinion
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28

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Re: five precepts and ten Demeritorious Deeds

Postby waterchan » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:30 pm

The fifth precept is a bit different from the other four. It is not a gross demeritorious deed in itself, for consumption of intoxicants is not directly harmful to others. However it does provide the potential for heedlessness, negligence, and the potential to commit any of the ten demeritorious deeds, which is why it is a precept. Intoxication disrupts mindfulness, stillness, and hinders one's dhamma practice, despite many deluded claims to the contrary.

Note that according to the Vinaya, the fifth precept was the last of the five precepts to come into effect, after a monk received alcohol as alms, consumed it and consequently collapsed on the ground. He had to be carried back to his monastery and missed a dhamma talk by the Buddha. From that point on, the Buddha forbade his monks to consume or knowingly accept alcohol.

Ajahn Brahm has said that if one finds it hard to keep five precepts, keep only two: to not harm others and to not harm oneself. The first four precepts are about not harming others and the fifth one is to not harm yourself.
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Re: five precepts and ten Demeritorious Deeds

Postby chownah » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:54 pm

There are ten demeritorious deeds because eleven is just a really weird number and they couldn't figure out how to make it twelve so they figured that having a beer on a hot summer day was probably the least demeritorious of any of the eleven so they axed it to give a nice round number of ten so you could associate one demeritorious deed with each of your fingers.....or toes.....
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Re: five precepts and ten Demeritorious Deeds

Postby Babadhari » Mon Feb 24, 2014 2:10 pm

chownah wrote:There are ten demeritorious deeds because eleven is just a really weird number and they couldn't figure out how to make it twelve so they figured that having a beer on a hot summer day was probably the least demeritorious of any of the eleven so they axed it to give a nice round number of ten so you could associate one demeritorious deed with each of your fingers.....or toes.....
chownah

:rofl:
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28

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Re: five precepts and ten Demeritorious Deeds

Postby waterchan » Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:04 pm

chownah wrote:There are ten demeritorious deeds because eleven is just a really weird number and they couldn't figure out how to make it twelve so they figured that having a beer on a hot summer day was probably the least demeritorious of any of the eleven so they axed it to give a nice round number of ten so you could associate one demeritorious deed with each of your fingers.....or toes.....


Couldn't they have done something similar with the 227 bhikkhu precepts?! Like, make it 200 or something?
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Re: five precepts and ten Demeritorious Deeds

Postby culaavuso » Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:27 pm

chethinie wrote:Just wondering why the 05th precept - Refraining from self-intoxication through alcohol or drugs are not listed in the ten demeritourious deeds...
What do you think?


It's noteworthy that practicing mindfulness and concentration is not listed as a meritorious deed, either. In that case, the practice itself is not a skillful action but it is an important step to developing heedfulness such that skillful actions will be taken in the future. Similarly, the reason given for abstaining from intoxicants is that using intoxicants causes heedlessness. Heedlessness is a condition allowing for the arising of unskillful conduct. Using intoxicants is described as an "occasion for demerit", a "channel for dissipating wealth", and a "cause of heedlessness". The other unskillful actions are directly demeritorious.

To explain metaphorically: getting hit by a car leads directly to painfulness, but wandering in the middle of the highway is only an "occasion for painfulness".

Snp 2.14
Snp 2.14: Dhammika Sutta wrote:A layman who has chosen to practice this Dhamma should not indulge in the drinking of intoxicants. He should not drink them nor encourage others to do so; realizing that it leads to madness. Through intoxication foolish people perform evil deeds and cause other heedless people to do likewise. He should avoid intoxication, this occasion for demerit, which stupefies the mind, and is the pleasure of foolish people.


DN 31
DN 31: Sigalovada Sutta wrote:"There are, young householder, these six evil consequences in indulging in intoxicants which cause infatuation and heedlessness:

(i) loss of wealth,
(ii) increase of quarrels,
(iii) susceptibility to disease,
(iv) earning an evil reputation,
(v) shameless exposure of body,
(vi) weakening of intellect.


AN 4.99
AN 4.99: Sikkha Sutta wrote:And how is one an individual who practices neither for his own benefit nor for that of others?
...
He himself doesn't abstain from intoxicants that cause heedlessness and doesn't encourage others in undertaking abstinence from intoxicants that cause heedlessness.

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Re: five precepts and ten Demeritorious Deeds

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:31 pm

The fifth precept is about protecting oneself from heedlessness, it isn't an unwholesome action in the same way the others are.
The other acts are unwholesome regardless of reason, however, intoxicants can be useful in certain circumstances such as when it is used as a preservative ingredient, pain relief, or as a medicine. These "neutral" uses are also allowable for mendicants in proper context/amounts.
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Re: five precepts and ten Demeritorious Deeds

Postby chethinie » Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:24 am

Hello all,

Thank you very much for the very insightful feedback. Personally I do not consume alcohol nor do any of my family members. It’s just that I’m trying to understand everything clearly and as such my questions on this. Thank you Culaavuso for the detailed references. It’s now clear that the Lord Buddha did instruct us to abstain from intoxicants. :smile:

Could anyone please also give me the reference to the sutta or likewise where the Buddha mentioned us to follow the five precepts please?

Thanks a million in advance!

Chethinie

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Re: five precepts and ten Demeritorious Deeds

Postby santa100 » Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:50 pm


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Re: five precepts and ten Demeritorious Deeds

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Feb 25, 2014 6:00 pm

There is also the index entries here http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-su ... l#precepts
although the entries under protection are also useful, as are the entries in Sila here http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-subject.html#sila
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: five precepts and ten Demeritorious Deeds

Postby Anagarika » Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:01 pm

Cittasanto wrote:The fifth precept is about protecting oneself from heedlessness, it isn't an unwholesome action in the same way the others are.
The other acts are unwholesome regardless of reason, however, intoxicants can be useful in certain circumstances such as when it is used as a preservative ingredient, pain relief, or as a medicine. These "neutral" uses are also allowable for mendicants in proper context/amounts.


Cittasanto, I have a question for you, if you don't mind. I know that you were an Anagarika. I was for a brief time a samanera in Thailand, and wish to take this year permanent 8 precepts; Anagarika precepts. My hope is to be a solid 8 precept practitioner. Articles like this https://www.yahoo.com/food/is-red-wine- ... 88911.html always raise a question for me. I do not drink to excess, and have only, until this year, drank a glass or two of red wine. Approaching the summer and wishing to request of my abbot to take the full 8 precepts for life, I stopped drinking anything with alcohol in it. However, science suggests there really are health benefits to drinking small amounts of red wine for men, especially men of my age...over 50.

As has been discussed, consuming intoxicants leads to heedlessness. However, can in your opinion a half a glass of red wine for health reasons alone be medicinal, and an ethical exception to the rules?

Happy to hear from anyone on this subject...thanks in advance to Cittasanto.

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Re: five precepts and ten Demeritorious Deeds

Postby culaavuso » Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:36 pm

BuddhaSoup wrote: However, can in your opinion a half a glass of red wine for health reasons alone be medicinal, and an ethical exception to the rules?

Happy to hear from anyone on this subject...


A few points worth considering:

First, much of the benefit of red wine is attributed to resveratrol which can be found in red grapes without consuming alcohol. In addition to red grapes and red wine, there are dietary supplements of resveratrol as an option as well. See Resveratrol Supplements for more information.

Second, some researchers are still not convinced about the validity of these studies (see Resveratrol: Don't Buy the Hype for an example).

Third, reduced stress from increased meditation practice can itself produce a lot of the beneficial consequences in terms of heart health. See Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients. This is interesting in that using alcohol as a coping mechanism for stress in the absence of better methods may explain some of its efficacy.

Finally, it's worth carefully considering the motivations and influence of such a decision on mental state. If there are valid and well founded medical reasons for such a decision, that's a very different matter from a situation where the mind uses poorly established research findings as an excuse to continue behavior that is enjoyable or alleviates anxiety and fears of illness and death. Whatever you choose, it's worth carefully examining your motivation to ensure that unwholesome mental states aren't being reinforced through the decision.

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Re: five precepts and ten Demeritorious Deeds

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:11 pm

Research done on Seventh Day Adventists that neither drink, smoke, or in 1/2 the cases, eat meat show them to live something like 6 years longer than meat eating SDAs, and healthier in almost every extent than the general population. As none of them drink there's really no way to compare that data, but I have heard the same thing, all the so called positive benefits of wine can be had from non fermented grape juice.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John

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Re: five precepts and ten Demeritorious Deeds

Postby Anagarika » Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:13 pm

culaavuso wrote:
BuddhaSoup wrote: However, can in your opinion a half a glass of red wine for health reasons alone be medicinal, and an ethical exception to the rules?

Happy to hear from anyone on this subject...


A few points worth considering:

First, much of the benefit of red wine is attributed to resveratrol which can be found in red grapes without consuming alcohol. In addition to red grapes and red wine, there are dietary supplements of resveratrol as an option as well. See Resveratrol Supplements for more information.

Second, some researchers are still not convinced about the validity of these studies (see Resveratrol: Don't Buy the Hype for an example).

Third, reduced stress from increased meditation practice can itself produce a lot of the beneficial consequences in terms of heart health. See Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients. This is interesting in that using alcohol as a coping mechanism for stress in the absence of better methods may explain some of its efficacy.

Finally, it's worth carefully considering the motivations and influence of such a decision on mental state. If there are valid and well founded medical reasons for such a decision, that's a very different matter from a situation where the mind uses poorly established research findings as an excuse to continue behavior that is enjoyable or alleviates anxiety and fears of illness and death. Whatever you choose, it's worth carefully examining your motivation to ensure that unwholesome mental states aren't being reinforced through the decision.


Excellent response, thanks, Culaavuso.

I had though that resveratrol was a product of fermented red wine, and not just the juice of the grape. If there are ways to get the same (claimed) health benefits from drinking a nonalcoholic drink, even grape juice itself, then that for me is the way to go, and I avoid even the repugnant idea of being an 8 preceptor and buying the occasional (medicinal) bottle of Malbec. Glad for this timely info!

In a strange way, the renunciation of items that for most of my life were commonplace and even valued has helped me with samma mindfulness and meditation. This practice brings home daily not just a sense of renunciation, but also a sense of just how much one does, or has done in one's life, that is part of that addiction to sense pleasure...that roller coaster of sense pleasures that just repeats like an unhealthy feedback loop.

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Re: five precepts and ten Demeritorious Deeds

Postby waterchan » Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:29 pm

BuddhaSoup wrote: However, science suggests there really are health benefits to drinking small amounts of red wine for men, especially men of my age...over 50.


This is something that I too struggle with, namely the completely and utter abstinence of alcohol as per the fifth precept. The scientific consensus is pretty clear that moderate drinking, that is one to two drinks per day, provides many health benefits. The scientist in me simply cannot ignore this fact. And I drink very occasionally, perhaps once every three months, so I know that the desire for alcohol is not a problem that clouds my judgement.

The question then remains — why did the Buddha, in his infinite wisdom, declare the abstinence of alcohol as a precept? I encourage every layperson to make up their own decisions on whether or not to drink based on the following points:

  • The origin story in the Vinaya for this precept — a monk accepted an alcoholic beverage as alms, came back to the monastery and collapsed while the Buddha was giving a talk.
  • It is suggested that healthful drinking was not a common activity in the Buddha's time. People drank to get drunk and have a damn good time.
  • The Buddha wasn't a chemist. He may have simply been unaware of the physiological health benefits of drinking in moderation, or thought that the benefits did not outweigh the dangers. Plus, in those days the alcohol industry didn't have the stringent standards that exist today. Poorly produced alcohol contains methanol which hits your body hard and is hazardous to health.
  • Regular meditation possibly provides far greater health benefits than moderate drinking, and any level of intoxication is a hindrance to meditation.
  • Not many people are capable of drinking alcohol in strict moderation without becoming heedless.

I take a dim view of laypeople who dogmatically and blindly obey this precept while refusing to look at the scientific research. At the same time, it's exceedingly rare to come across someone who can drink alcohol without having any attachment to the buzz it provides, so I can see why this precept is important. Plus, in poorer Asian villages, you can get extremely cheap booze, so cheap that it could not possibly have been fermented in accordance with international health standards, and thus possibly retains leftover methanol from the fermentation process. Methanol is highly poisonous.
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Re: five precepts and ten Demeritorious Deeds

Postby andyebarnes67 » Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:55 pm

waterchan wrote:Regular meditation possibly provides far greater health benefits than moderate drinking, and any level of intoxication is a hindrance to meditation.


Herein lies the hub of the matter, me thinks.
As usual, I don't think buddha's concern with anything save the most effective methods of obtaining awareness.
I know that I am less able to reach any equanimity and concentration if I have consumed, or done, anything that unbalances my mind. Even too much sugar can throw my meditation off.
If trying to remain mindful in daily life, then the same must apply.
I don't see any kind of rule here on the basis of concern for health or moral certitude, simply another condition necessary for the best results from practice.
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Re: five precepts and ten Demeritorious Deeds

Postby Anagarika » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:26 am

I saw that there is another theme running here on DW, wherein this article from Bhikkhu Bodhi was posted: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_36.html Ven. Bodhi makes the case that the Path calls for abstinence from alcohol. His arguments resonate with me, as it seems all too easy to look for reasons to qualify the Fifth Precept, or look for a loophole within the suttas.

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Re: five precepts and ten Demeritorious Deeds

Postby waterchan » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:42 am

BuddhaSoup wrote: or look for a loophole within the suttas.


How about the loophole of getting free great kamma? We know from the suttas that giving dana to an arahant makes great kamma, right?

1. Person gives dana to arahant.
2. Arahant returns the dana back to the person.
3. Person gives the dana back to the arahant.
4. Arahant again returns it to the person.

Repeat until desired amount of good kamma has been earned.

Any arahants on Dhamma Wheel want to help me earn great kamma?
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Re: five precepts and ten Demeritorious Deeds

Postby Anagarika » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:45 am

waterchan wrote:
BuddhaSoup wrote: or look for a loophole within the suttas.


How about the loophole of getting free great kamma? We know from the suttas that giving dana to an arahant makes great kamma, right?

1. Person gives dana to arahant.
2. Arahant returns the dana back to the person.
3. Person gives the dana back to the arahant.
4. Arahant again returns it to the person.

Repeat until desired amount of good kamma has been earned.

Any arahants on Dhamma Wheel want to help me earn great kamma?


But if the intention is to rig the 'kamma machine', then it seems to me that negative kamma is created. If the intention is pure in the dana, then good kamma. If the intention is to find a loophole, then negative kamma accrues. It's all in the intention.


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