How Insistent Are You in Observing Your Fifth Precept?

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Re: How Insistent Are You in Observing Your Fifth Precept?

Postby 2600htz » Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:39 pm

C. Do entertain some small amount of drinks in social gathering with friends, family or business.

I use to think an occasional drink was at most not being able to practice in the next day. But last time it was stunning to see how the practice was kinda reseted and altered for around 10-12 days after drinking...
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Re: How Insistent Are You in Observing Your Fifth Precept?

Postby Ytrog » Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:54 am

I was jus thinking about the use of alcoholic beverages in food. I you cook it all of the alcohol should be evaporated away, so that wouldn't really be a problem.
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Re: How Insistent Are You in Observing Your Fifth Precept?

Postby manas » Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:16 am

2600htz wrote:C. Do entertain some small amount of drinks in social gathering with friends, family or business.

I use to think an occasional drink was at most not being able to practice in the next day. But last time it was stunning to see how the practice was kinda reseted and altered for around 10-12 days after drinking...


I agree, and I find the same goes for indulgence in harsh or otherwise unwholesome speech. I had a night of much joking and laughter with my brother, and it was heaps of fun, but much of the humour was not very wholesome. The next day, there were ripples in the mind which were clearly evident during meditation practice. The ripples manifested themselves as disturbing thoughts, and daydreams. Very annoying, and something I did not used to notice, but now I notice that whatever we put into our mind doesn't just disappear overnight into oblivion. It's recorded...we have to be careful.
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Re: How Insistent Are You in Observing Your Fifth Precept?

Postby Terasi » Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:00 am

A.

I remember when I first joined this forum a bit more than a year ago, I had 1.5 boxes of beer in my living room. They are still there, but I didn't touch not even a single drop. But I use cooking wine, and I buy cooked food quite often. I still eat cakes with alcohol though, because they won't make me heedless (not more than how heedless I am normally), and cakes make you full before you much enough to be intoxicated. Not with drinks though, it's slippery! But I have never had any problem with alcohol, I never tasted any when I grew up in a non-alcoholic background, so it's easy.

Speaking of cakes, I feel a bit embarrased even now. Few months ago, I brought a large chocolate cake to our centre for a celebration. I've never eaten that kind of cake, and unknown to me, the middle is soaked in wine. There were some monks attending the celebration, they had lunch before us. I remember wondering the cake was almost untouched, only one slice was taken. After the celebration, we found the truth. Can't imagine that one unsuspecting monk who cut the cake and put it in his pata... I am sure he didn't eat it as soon as he tasted the wine, but still.....
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Re: How Insistent Are You in Observing Your Fifth Precept?

Postby pedro1985 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 6:25 am

I do not drink a sip of alcohol, and do not use it in cooking too.

But recently I discovered that alcohol is an ingredient in the toothpaste I use to brush my teeth :o

Not sure if that counts...
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Re: How Insistent Are You in Observing Your Fifth Precept?

Postby Pacific » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:59 pm

I used to drink a lot. I had a beer two weeks ago & it tasted really awful. I still like it though I don't drink these days. I'm not insistent about it because otherwise it just makes me feel too earnest. I know my limits and weaknesses and i'd just rather be relaxed
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Re: How Insistent Are You in Observing Your Fifth Precept?

Postby householder » Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:36 pm

A.

I used to drink a lot (circa 18 months ago) then stopped during (natch) and after my first 10 day vipassana. Then a couple of months later a client at work bought me a drink before I had the chance to opt out of a round. Good client relations and etiquette meant I drank it. The taste wasn't pleasant and it was interesting to observe that my consumption previously was based on conditioning (and its ignorance) rather than a genuine enjoyment of drinking.

Since then I had a couple of beers in Italy over a year ago (again, not particularly pleasant and there was intense investigation of the whole experience) and nothing since. The desire to drink now simply doesn't arise. There's no desire I have to acknowledge and resist, or suffering in seeing other people 'enjoy themselves' and a sense of missing out. There's simply no arising of the desire, full stop. What probably helps there is regular exposure to the drawbacks of drinking, which I end up experiencing vicariously through others.

In the unlikely event I were to consume alcohol for whatever reason, I doubt I'd be feeling shameful or beating myself up about it. But then I might. I don't know.

I'll not object to it being used as a cooking or medicinal ingredient in something I'm going to consume, however. I find some food to be pleasant with it, especially sauces. And I have a sweet tooth for Tiramisu on occasion.

Now if someone tells me chai latte is an intoxicant, I'm in real trouble...
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Re: How Insistent Are You in Observing Your Fifth Precept?

Postby cooran » Fri Aug 19, 2011 9:12 pm

Hello all,

And then there is the ‘elephant in the room’ - caffeine. But, ‘hush, no!’ it has to be O.K. because I can’t live without it, and I’m not giving it up. :coffee:

Heightens Athletic Stamina
The use of caffeine in competitive sports is considered contraband, as positive testing will invalidate a participant in the Olympic Games and other international events. For years, athletes have claimed caffeine increases long-term stamina in sports such as running, cycling and soccer, but is not effective for sports that require short bursts of energy. This view was corroborated in a 2008 study in the journal "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise," in which researchers from Canterbury Christ Church University found caffeine increased performance significantly in 40 km cycling events.

Addiction
As with many stimulants, caffeine and caffeine-like alkaloids are physiologically and psychologically addictive. Withdrawal can instigate headaches, muscle cramping and fatigue. Psychological symptoms include grumpiness, inability to focus, depression and anxiety. CNN Medical Correspondent Judy Fortin has reported that 80 to 90 percent of Americans drink caffeinated beverages every day, and half of these would experience withdrawal symptoms if they missed the daily dose. Going "cold turkey" is not recommended. Instead, Fortin's research suggests that weaning yourself slowly and deliberately is the easiest way to reduce caffeine dependency
http://www.livestrong.com/article/96172 ... -caffeine/

Be careful with caffeine
http://www.pe2000.com/caffeine.htm

with metta
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Re: How Insistent Are You in Observing Your Fifth Precept?

Postby Jhana4 » Sat Aug 20, 2011 1:44 am

cooran wrote:Hello all,

And then there is the ‘elephant in the room’ - caffeine. But, ‘hush, no!’ it has to be O.K. because I can’t live without it, and I’m not giving it up. :coffee:


Interesting points cooran! Many Buddhists who look at the spirit, rather than the letter of the 5th precept to rationalize alcohol use say that it is about avoiding things that make you act in a heedless and skillful ways ( ironically, some of these same3 people go on to criticize those who use other intoxicants or take liberal interpretations with precepts themselves ).

Caffeine can certainly make you act in heedless and unskillful ways when you get too much. Even too much green tea can make me short with people and contribute to poor sleep habits which inspire other problems Buddhists would not want.

The history of tea is apocryphal at best, but I remember reading a book on tea last year and it *seemed* that the Buddha lived before the use of tea arouse in ancient India. If that is correct, I wonder if tea would have become such a large part of the culture of Buddhist and formerly Buddhist countries.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: How Insistent Are You in Observing Your Fifth Precept?

Postby ground » Sat Aug 20, 2011 3:27 am

cooran wrote:And then there is the ‘elephant in the room’ - caffeine. But, ‘hush, no!’ it has to be O.K. because I can’t live without it, and I’m not giving it up. :coffee:


The same holds true for all kinds of sense pleasures in general one is not willing to give up (e.g. sexual pleasures, music etc.). In some sense caffeine drinks may be considered twofold-sense pleasures: primary taste & secondary stimulation of several senses simultaneously (body, mind door) through caffeine.
So the householder who is interested in the dhamma carefully selects what to put aside (usually those things one is not very much interested in in the first place) and what to continue clinging to.


kind regards
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Re: How Insistent Are You in Observing Your Fifth Precept?

Postby Jhana4 » Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:21 am

I think there is a difference in choosing not to keep precepts versus choosing not to do what a monk might. Keeping the precepts is supposed to fundamental and ameliorate major kammic damage.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: How Insistent Are You in Observing Your Fifth Precept?

Postby Jhana4 » Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:26 am

I think the elephant in the room, isn't an elephant in the room, it is still alcohol, which many western Buddhists still use openly.

It probably isn't a big deal for their practice if they are truly non-alcholic, moderate, occasional drinkers.

It does leave them open to being viewed as hypocrites and being respected less if they are vocal about their Buddhism, particularly ethics, when they are dispensing with one fifth of the fundamental rules for no other reason than they like it.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: How Insistent Are You in Observing Your Fifth Precept?

Postby PeterB » Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:41 am

I have an occasional beer or glass of wine. So do many Buddhist people I know. If that is hypocracy then I am a hypocrite. Being a hypocrite does not bother me.
I have no dependency at all on alcohol. I just like it on occasion..
I think it is rather more skilful to give heed to our own business than to the business of others.
Just as the Buddha says in the Dhammapada.
" It is not what others do or do not do that is my concern, but what I myself do or do not do "
Dhammapada 4. 7
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Re: How Insistent Are You in Observing Your Fifth Precept?

Postby PeterB » Sat Aug 20, 2011 11:09 am

2600htz wrote:C. Do entertain some small amount of drinks in social gathering with friends, family or business.

I use to think an occasional drink was at most not being able to practice in the next day. But last time it was stunning to see how the practice was kinda reseted and altered for around 10-12 days after drinking...

I have experienced nothing like that...our physiological response to alcohol varies widely from person to person and even for the same person at different times.
If I did experience that reaction I would stay away from alcohol.
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Re: How Insistent Are You in Observing Your Fifth Precept?

Postby cooran » Sat Aug 20, 2011 7:45 pm

Hello all,

This teaching by Bhikkhu Bodhi is cause for reflection.

5. THE FIFTH PRECEPT: ABSTINENCE FROM INTOXICATING DRINKS AND DRUGS

The fifth precept reads: Suramerayamajjapamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami, "I undertake the training rule to abstain from fermented and distilled intoxicants which are the basis for heedlessness."
The word meraya means fermented liquors, sura liquors which have been distilled to increase their strength and flavor. The world majja, meaning an intoxicant, can be related to the rest of the passage either as qualified by surameraya or as additional to them. In the former case the whole phrase means fermented and distilled liquors which are intoxicants, in the latter it means fermented and distilled liquors and other intoxicants. If this second reading is adopted the precept would explicitly include intoxicating drugs used non-medicinally, such as the opiates, hemp, and psychedelics. But even on the first reading the precept implicitly proscribes these drugs by way of its guiding purpose, which is to prevent heedlessness caused by the taking of intoxicating substances.

The taking of intoxicants is defined as the volition leading to the bodily act of ingesting distilled or fermented intoxicants.[10] It can be committed only by one's own person (not by command to others) and only occurs through the bodily door.

For the precept to be violated four factors are required: (1) the intoxicant; (2) the intention of taking it; (3) the activity of ingesting it; and (4) the actual ingestion of the intoxicant. The motivating factor of the violation is greed coupled with delusion. No gradations of moral weight are given.

In taking medicines containing alcohol or intoxicating drugs for medical reasons no breach of the precept is committed. There is also no violation in taking food containing a negligible amount of alcohol added as a flavoring.

This fifth precept differs from the preceding four in that the others directly involve a man's relation to his fellow beings while this precept ostensibly deals solely with a person's relation to himself — to his own body and mind. Thus whereas the first four precepts clearly belong to the moral sphere, a question may arise whether this precept is really ethical in character or merely hygienic. The answer is that it is ethical, for the reason that what a person does to his own body and mind can have a decisive effect on his relations to his fellow men. Taking intoxicants can influence the ways in which a man interacts with others, leading to the violation of all five precepts. Under the influence of intoxicants a man who might otherwise be restrained can lose self-control, become heedless, and engage in killing, stealing, adultery, and lying.

Abstinence from intoxicants is prescribed on the grounds that it is essential to the self-protection of the individual and for establishing the well-being of family and society. The precept thus prevents the misfortunes that result from the use of intoxicants: loss of wealth, quarrels and crimes, bodily disease, loss of reputation, shameless conduct, negligence, and madness.

The precept, it must be stressed, does not prohibit merely intoxication but the very use of intoxicating substances. Though occasional indulgences may not be immediately harmful in isolation, the seductive and addictive properties of intoxicants are well known.
The strongest safeguard against the lure is to avoid them altogether.
http://buddhism.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1 ... el282.html

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: How Insistent Are You in Observing Your Fifth Precept?

Postby Beneath the Wheel » Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:34 pm

This is something I have struggled with on and off for some time. I have found that making exceptions and excuses for drinking eventually leads me to weeks and then months of drinking whenever - after work, in the evenings with friends, and the eventual sluggishness that results is very detrimental to my practice.

I have, as such, tried to stop any use of alcohol altogether. This stress and discomfort this caused me at first was a clear indication of dependence and clinging, and as such I am very glad to be rid of it.

I hope I can stick with the program.
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Re: How Insistent Are You in Observing Your Fifth Precept?

Postby householder » Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:21 am

Well I tried a premix G&T last night as an experiment after a year or so of abstinence.

Maybe it was the premix, but I found the taste and (minimal and fairly subtle) effects observed afterwards to be thoroughly unpleasant, with no desire to indulge in that experience again for any reason. No sense of guilt or shame - just a strong sense of disgust. Have firmly concluded that alcohol is something I'm quite happy without - but still won't object to its use in cooking whilst a lay person, for reasons previously outlined by posters who also chose Option A. And if others want to drink, that's for their own body and mind - this body and mind are more than enough to preoccupy!
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Re: How Insistent Are You in Observing Your Fifth Precept?

Postby Digity » Sun Aug 28, 2011 2:11 am

I drink, but not much and I can't remember the last time I ever got drunk. I still haven't convinced myself that drinking a bit from time to time is a problem. If I go to a bar and have one beer I don't think I become heedless and intoxicated. Although, I doubt the Buddha would advocate me doing it. At the end of the day, it's probably best not to drink at all. I have an alcoholic in my family...so I know where it can lead.
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Re: How Insistent Are You in Observing Your Fifth Precept?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Aug 28, 2011 2:34 am

Here's an interesting talk relevant to this discussion:

Confidence, Confidence
Rachel Green talks about developing confidence in keeping the five precepts of Buddhism, especially the fifth precept of not taking alcohol or other intoxicants. How to say no with confidence. How meditation helps confidence.

Rachel is a former President of the BSWA and runs her own business helping others: Confident Woman Australia.
http://www.dhammaloka.org.au/component/ ... dence.html

:anjali:
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Re: How Insistent Are You in Observing Your Fifth Precept?

Postby Terasi » Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:56 am

I had half glass of sangria on Friday. Funny thing is, I had it when going out with friends from my Buddhist centre. I let my glass filled because everyone had theirs, and since it's in my glass, I finished it. I don't think there's anything wrong with it because we didn't order any second jug, but I notice this small incident left a trace of slight regret in my mind. It's one more item in the extremely long list of "things-I-should-have-refrained-from-but-did-anyway-because-of-uncontrolled-mind".
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