Buddhism & Alcohol

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Buddhism & Alcohol

Postby Hi, how are you? » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:04 pm

Hey,

I am seriously thinking of quitting alcohol and it has made me question the Buddhist perspective on drinking, if there is such a thing, and how Buddhism can help me to become tee total. My main reason for quitting alcohol is because I believe I may be unpleasant to be around when I am drunk and I've embarrassed myself once too often.

:anjali:
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Re: Buddhism & Alcohol

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:09 pm

Welcome friend! I too have struggled with alcohol in the past. Do you have a meditation practice at all? Even a small amount of mindfulness meditation will give you some great tools to work with craving.

I wish you the best! The Buddha taught us that a clear, sober mind is a great gift, not something to be cast off for fun. A life without intoxication is a rich and meaningful one.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Buddhism & Alcohol

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:18 pm

Im an alcoholic and have been sober for 20 years. I am a practicing buddhist, but i wouldnt have made it this far without AA. I strongly suggest you look at that alternative. Some buddhist sanghas also have substance abuse groups/ meetings, but i really dont think there is a substitute for AA if you have a problem and want to stay sober. Good luck :)
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Buddhism & Alcohol

Postby Coyote » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:27 pm

Hi Hi,

Dedicate yourself to the practice - sila, generosity, meditation ect. - and you'll soon see that intoxication is not something that you want to get involved in. It's the opposite of wholesome states that the Buddha praised. The more wholesome states you generate the easier it is to see the unwholesome and stop it. Contemplation of drawbacks, e.g what you mentioned, could also be helpful so keep at it.
Also try and look at what it is that leads you to drink - are you a social drinker for instance? Examining this could help you make the best decisions in regards to keeping away from occasions of sin, so to speak.

Best of luck,
Coyote
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Buddhism & Alcohol

Postby Hi, how are you? » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:36 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:Im an alcoholic and have been sober for 20 years. I am a practicing buddhist, but i wouldnt have made it this far without AA. I strongly suggest you look at that alternative. Some buddhist sanghas also have substance abuse groups/ meetings, but i really dont think there is a substitute for AA if you have a problem and want to stay sober. Good luck :)


The thing is, I don't actually drink that much (no more than the average person I would say), it's just that when I am drunk I am an idiot, if I am drinking in a group say, I will be the loudest and frankly the most boring, I've also ended up in fights because of the way I am when I drink, on one occasion I was talking with someone and for no reason I just hit him :shrug: No idea why I did that. For whatever reason when I drink I just turn into someone else. Does that sound like a type of alcoholic?
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Re: Buddhism & Alcohol

Postby appicchato » Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:00 am

Words (we are told) of the Buddha:

"There are these five gifts, five great gifts — original, long-standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning — that are not open to suspicion, will never be open to suspicion, and are unfaulted by knowledgeable contemplatives & brahmans. Which five?

#5 "Furthermore, abandoning the use of intoxicants, the disciple of the noble ones abstains from taking intoxicants. In doing so, he gives freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings. In giving freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings, he gains a share in limitless freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, and freedom from oppression. This is the fifth gift, the fifth great gift — original, long-standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning — that is not open to suspicion, will never be open to suspicion, and is unfaulted by knowledgeable contemplatives & brahmans.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... asila.html
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Re: Buddhism & Alcohol

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:00 am

appicchato wrote:Words (we are told) of the Buddha:

"There are these five gifts, five great gifts — original, long-standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning — that are not open to suspicion, will never be open to suspicion, and are unfaulted by knowledgeable contemplatives & brahmans. Which five?

#5 "Furthermore, abandoning the use of intoxicants, the disciple of the noble ones abstains from taking intoxicants. In doing so, he gives freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings. In giving freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings, he gains a share in limitless freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, and freedom from oppression. This is the fifth gift, the fifth great gift — original, long-standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning — that is not open to suspicion, will never be open to suspicion, and is unfaulted by knowledgeable contemplatives & brahmans.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... asila.html

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Re: Buddhism & Alcohol

Postby Digity » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:29 am

Hi, how are you? wrote:The thing is, I don't actually drink that much (no more than the average person I would say), it's just that when I am drunk I am an idiot, if I am drinking in a group say, I will be the loudest and frankly the most boring, I've also ended up in fights because of the way I am when I drink, on one occasion I was talking with someone and for no reason I just hit him :shrug: No idea why I did that. For whatever reason when I drink I just turn into someone else. Does that sound like a type of alcoholic?

I had a breaking point where I quit cold turkey. I just had enough and felt like a fraud following the path while drinking. Just give it up...it sounds like it would do you some good. I don't have any regrets and feel more confident that I don't rely on alcohol to be in social situations.
Samsara sucks.
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Re: Buddhism & Alcohol

Postby m0rl0ck » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:41 am

Hi, how are you? wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:Im an alcoholic and have been sober for 20 years. I am a practicing buddhist, but i wouldnt have made it this far without AA. I strongly suggest you look at that alternative. Some buddhist sanghas also have substance abuse groups/ meetings, but i really dont think there is a substitute for AA if you have a problem and want to stay sober. Good luck :)


The thing is, I don't actually drink that much (no more than the average person I would say), it's just that when I am drunk I am an idiot, if I am drinking in a group say, I will be the loudest and frankly the most boring, I've also ended up in fights because of the way I am when I drink, on one occasion I was talking with someone and for no reason I just hit him :shrug: No idea why I did that. For whatever reason when I drink I just turn into someone else. Does that sound like a type of alcoholic?


I'd say yes. If you are doing things when you drink that cause negative consequences in your life or that are alienating people you may have a problem. What i have heard at AA meetings is that if you think you may have a problem you probably do. Most people cant quit until serious consequences pile up, jail, losing friends, jobs relationships etc. Get ahead of the game and do something about it now. Something to think about is that people who dont have a problem with alcohol never need to make efforts to control their drinking.
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Buddhism & Alcohol

Postby Nyorai » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:06 am

It makes you lost control in consciousness, and the limit depends individually. Small amount for cooking, and in winter without warmer will not cause much damage to organs, in fact small amount in cooking for some dishes (not everyday) augur well for health. As monks are not allowed and they are as healthy without alcohol, so, there is no necessity for drinking alcohol. metta :anjali:
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If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path. He who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all beings, and all beings in his own Self.Image
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Re: Buddhism & Alcohol

Postby knighter » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:58 pm

Hello there

i tried sooooo many times to give up alcohol, and when i couldnt i used to beat myself up and get all out of balance.
i then thought i'll just keep with my practice and see were it takes me
after a long while alcohol for me started to taste horrible and the effects not good
even a small glass of wine at night would give me a massive head ache in the morning
i will never say ive given up alcohol i just chose not to drink it.
After a hard days work in the 35 degree heat ill
drink a great drink called schloss gold its none alcoholic 0.0 beer.
i also only eat small amounts of meat.
Be happy
knighter

p.s If you practice enough you'll give things up naturally slowly slowly.
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Re: Buddhism & Alcohol

Postby Monkey Mind » Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:10 pm

I like the practice tools offered by SMART recovery:
www.smartrecovery.org
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710
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Re: Buddhism & Alcohol

Postby greggorious » Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:05 pm

You obviously don't drink that much so you neither need SMART or AA. Only if you feel dependent on alcohol would you need help. If you feel quitting alcohol for good would be beneficial to your practice then go for it. Alcohol is a poison and a depressant, therefore it's not like you're losing out on anything.
"The original heart/mind shines like pure, clear water with the sweetest taste. But if the heart is pure, is our practice over? No, we must not cling even to this purity. We must go beyond all duality, all concepts, all bad, all good, all pure, all impure. We must go beyond self and nonself, beyond birth and death. When we see with the eye of wisdom, we know that the true Buddha is timeless, unborn, unrelated to any body, any history, any image. Buddha is the ground of all being, the realization of the truth of the unmoving mind.” Ajahn Chah
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Re: Buddhism & Alcohol

Postby Monkey Mind » Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:18 pm

Well, I also suggest this site:
http://www.drinkerscheckup.com/index-Fr ... covery.cfm

Take a quick survey about your drinking behaviors, and it will give some feedback. If the OP concern is
main reason for quitting alcohol is because I believe I may be unpleasant to be around when I am drunk and I've embarrassed myself once too often

then my guess is you need some help with making a decision.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710
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Re: Buddhism & Alcohol

Postby Digity » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:32 pm

greggorious wrote:Alcohol is a poison and a depressant, therefore it's not like you're losing out on anything.

That's not what the beer ads will have you believe. They sell the image of being fun and popular...and of course they've got the girls in the ads. They don't show the husband who gets drunk and beats his wife, the dead people from a hit & run and the drunk uncle who's lying on the floor passed out. Alcohol can be scary. I know most people don't let it get this far, but damn, there's always the potential. It's better to abstain, but you'll have to deal with a whole throng of people that will look at your queerly for not drinking. It's kind of scary to think how ingrained drinking has become in our society.
Samsara sucks.
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Re: Buddhism & Alcohol

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:05 pm

Recent news I heard is that US Tobacco companies are going to have to advertise that they lied to consumers about the effects of tobacco, and intentionally made cigarettes more addictive.

I wonder how long it will be before alcohol manufacturers will have to face the same class legal actions from consumers and punishments from the authorities?

Never, is my best guess.
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Re: Buddhism & Alcohol

Postby nem » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:47 am

I find that all the sensual pleasures go together. If I am involved with the opposite sex (women), I tend to drink. Drink in the process of finding them, and drink in the process of keeping them happy, and drink in the process of losing them. :juggling: It makes me understand the value of the monastic life.

Metta and best wishes with your struggle
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Re: Buddhism & Alcohol

Postby alan... » Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:10 am

alcohol is easily countered with dhamma. this is not to say it will be easy from day one but that once you get good at practicing meditation and mindfulness it will be easy to stay sober.

i'm reposting my post from another thread because it is appropriate:

just know that there is a point of no return in the dhamma. in the beginning it's novel and has some good results, but backsliding is always a risk and there are things that seem like they could be more fun than the dhamma. however there is a point in which you see deeply into reality and it changes the way you think. after this happens you will never relapse or even think about alcohol again. it will seem pointless.

one really good trick is to learn jhana. the bliss one can achieve is said to be much better than literally anything else. so by comparison it's like "why did i ever use intoxicants before when this is readily available, has reverse tolerance effect and is FREE?" i am very much a meditation junky. without it i would possibly fall off the wagon, but hey, it's step eight on the eightfold path and the buddha assures us that there is no ill effect from enjoying the bliss, so i see no problem with this. especially this is important because it becomes quite obvious that only through regular practice and complete sobriety will you be able to enter into jhana. thus, again, intoxicants are a laughable option you probably won't even consider. you get free bliss for as long as you want every day and it gets better and better, using an intoxicant will not feel as good as this and then will hinder your ability to achieve the much higher state of jhana! so it's like trading a brand new high end car for a dangerously malfunctioning, out dated go cart. totally absurd.
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Re: Buddhism & Alcohol

Postby Ruralist » Sat Mar 23, 2013 11:58 am

if you are struggling in the initial stages or finding maintenance due to social conventions difficult, consider reading this book
Image
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kick-Drink-Easily-Jason-Vale/dp/1845903900
it's excellent at deconstructing the image and association with alcohol that a lot of westerners have, myself included. i'm unsure of your location (it's irrelevant really) however i do feel that people brought up in cultures and societies where alcohol is not such a normal part of everyday life often struggle to empathise with those for whom interactions with alcohol/people that drink alcohol are commonplace on a day to day basis.
"Let monkeys be monkeys without getting emotionally involved. Peace can be born within you because you know the way monkeys are. Knowing the manner of monkeys, you will let go and be at peace, not getting tied up in monkey business." Ven. Ajahn Chah
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