Is alcohol allowable in certain cases?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Re: Is alcohol allowable in certain cases?

Postby Nibbida » Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:25 pm

Viscid wrote:Sometimes I don't know whether the strict adherence to the precepts that is advocated by fundamentalist Buddhists are a product of incredible piety or incredible neuroticism. I question why having such a restrictive interpretation of the precepts would be so instrumental in the development of concentration, wisdom and insight.

[Ananda:] "What, O Venerable One, is the reward and blessing of wholesome morality?"

[The Buddha:] "Freedom from remorse, Ananda."


It would seem to me that how strictly one should interpret the precepts would depend on whether or not one's interpretation reliably prevents them from experiencing remorse. If you are not remorseful drinking a single beer, and it does not result in unwholesome action or mindlessness, then what's the harm?



It tends to detract from samadhi, which is reason enough for me.
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Re: Is alcohol allowable in certain cases?

Postby Viscid » Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:28 pm

Nibbida wrote:It tends to detract from samadhi, which is reason enough for me.


Right, and that's a very good reason. But if you knowingly enjoyed a small enough amount of alcohol so that it didn't detract from samadhi, then you'd agree that there was no harm in it.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Is alcohol allowable in certain cases?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:08 pm

Viscid wrote:if you knowingly enjoyed a small enough amount of alcohol so that it didn't detract from samadhi
In my past experience, that isn't possible. In my past experience, any alcohol consumed has an effect on samadhi.
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Re: Is alcohol allowable in certain cases?

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:29 pm

Mawkish1983 wrote:
Viscid wrote:if you knowingly enjoyed a small enough amount of alcohol so that it didn't detract from samadhi
In my past experience, that isn't possible. In my past experience, any alcohol consumed has an effect on samadhi.


Makes sense. But how does that effect compare to that of other activities a person might be involved with during the course of a day? For example -- watching a movie. Playing a sport. Having sex. Getting into a heated discussion on an internet Buddhist forum.

Don't we run into this problem anyway as long as we are attempting samadhi in a non-secluded environment?
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Re: Is alcohol allowable in certain cases?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:17 pm

... which is precisely what I was asking before, but maybe in a less direct way :)
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Re: Is alcohol allowable in certain cases?

Postby Peace » Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:56 am

I've thought about this myself. . . Thank you, Retrofuturist, for the reminder that each of us is a lamp unto ourselves--an island of peace. What's good for one, may not be so good for another. I often meditate on "the middle way" when situations like this arise. I've also used this thought with vegetarianism, movies, concerts, etc.
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Re: Is alcohol allowable in certain cases?

Postby Nibbida » Sat Mar 26, 2011 12:54 am

Viscid wrote:
Nibbida wrote:It tends to detract from samadhi, which is reason enough for me.


Right, and that's a very good reason. But if you knowingly enjoyed a small enough amount of alcohol so that it didn't detract from samadhi, then you'd agree that there was no harm in it.


It's not my personal preference, but Id' say that I agree with that in principle.
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Re: Is alcohol allowable in certain cases?

Postby clw_uk » Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:01 am

Jhana4 wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:That cuts though the idea I see in some interminable threads that the precepts are some sort of legal system that should be prodded and poked by clever lawyers...


I've noticed that too, both in myself and others. I think that way of thinking is the result of growing up in a culture dominated by an Abrahamic religion ( Christianity, Islam and Judiasm ). When people live under the threat of punishment from an authority figure they only learn to respect the letter of the "law", not the spirit and reason behind it.

The 5 precepts are not laws. The 5 precepts are tips for your own benefit.

It is like going to a nutritionist to learn how to slim down. You aren't doing anything morally wrong by having a slice of cake. Nobody is going to punish you. You are just wasting the money you spent for the advice and thwarting your own desires in reaching your goals.




Good analogy :smile:


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