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Fifth precept - Dhamma Wheel

Fifth precept

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
JackV
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Fifth precept

Postby JackV » Sun Aug 28, 2011 11:10 am

Good day.

I just wanted to get people's views on this.

I was speaking to my Mum and one of my close friends yesterday about quiting drinking. My Mum and friend were of the same opinion. I only really tend to drink on the weekend and not a great deal. I mean I get drunk, but not paralytic. They said if it isn't harming me or anyone else then what is the need to remove that.
Now I was quite suprised about this coming from my Mum. Her reasoning is that should I cut drinking out then I would be less inclined to go out and be social, not that I need to drink in order to do that but that most, if not all, of the social activities my friends and I do (as I presume most Londoners in their 20's do) involve drinking or have alcohol as a major part. For instance going out to a gig. Should I not have a drink I figure that I would simply get bored with the goings on and wish to leave. The next time we go to go out I will be less inclined to go and end up staying in and the weekends are the only time I get to see friends.
I can understand the necessity of not smoking weed for instance, but unlike weed alchohol doesnt linger in my head for days on end distoring my thoughts and ruining my mindfulness. Drinking Friday night means I can still meditate on Sunday (for instance)

I want to commit myself properly to meditation and as such dont want to just decide which bits of the Dhamma I want to follow so I guess I will do it soon, but what are other peoples views and experiences on this? Has anyone else made that step from enjoying drink to tee total? If so, is it easy/hard, do you have to change your life about or just be strong and continue?
I made the transition from carnivore to vegan about 8 years ago and that didn't really seem as difficult as this. And it's carnival today.
Here where a thousand
captains swore grand conquest
Tall grasses their monument.

Mawkish1983
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Location: Essex, UK

Re: Fifth precept

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sun Aug 28, 2011 11:39 am

Follow the precept or not, your choice. Cherry pick or not, your choice. Follow the teachings of the Buddha or not, your choice. It's all your choice and your kamma.

You're kidding yourself if you think alcohol is harmless.

JackV
Posts: 93
Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:19 am

Re: Fifth precept

Postby JackV » Sun Aug 28, 2011 12:01 pm

Here where a thousand
captains swore grand conquest
Tall grasses their monument.

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acinteyyo
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby acinteyyo » Sun Aug 28, 2011 12:19 pm

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

Mawkish1983
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sun Aug 28, 2011 12:32 pm


chownah
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby chownah » Sun Aug 28, 2011 12:47 pm

I agree with everyone about it being your decision. I drank and smoked pot regularly at the early stages of my journey and quit it when it became obvious that my practice benefitted me more than the drinking and smoking and when they got in the way of the superior benefit of the practice. So I guess my advise is to develop a good solid schedule of meditation (twice a day every day....not just on sunday) and work on developing mindfulness throughtout the day....I can almost guarantee you that if you do this for a few months you will discover on saturday morning when you meditate that the alcohol you drank the night before was kind of a waste and it is still a waste the day after consumption.....maybe I'm wrong....that's what happened for me.... I guess if you don't discover why it is better to not drink then there really is no reason to stop...I didn't stop until the benefits of stopping became obvious to me...
chownah

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Aug 28, 2011 3:27 pm

• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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Monkey Mind
Posts: 538
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:56 pm
Location: Pacific Northwest, USA

Re: Fifth precept

Postby Monkey Mind » Sun Aug 28, 2011 11:16 pm

"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

PeterB
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby PeterB » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:23 am

I always end up feeling in these debates that I play the role of the Defender Of Alcohol.. :smile:

The fact is that I can and do go weeks between a glass of wine to the next glass of wine.

I have been meditating for quite a few years and a glass of wine does not effect my mindfulness at all.

( I will await the replies of those who assure me that I must be wrong about myself. )

However I am also aware that the physiological response to alcohol varies greatly.

I think we have to decide for ourselves where on the spectrum from total abstinence to drinking within our personal limits lies. For some it will clearly be that they need to be teetotal.

I like an occasional glass of Serge Hochar's extraordinary red wine, and will from time to time raise one to toast the health of everyone on this forum. Whether they choose to toast me back, and with what, is their choice.

:anjali:

santa100
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby santa100 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:39 pm

My body definitely doesn't work well with alcohol. It interferes with me keeping mindfulness during meditation. I couldn't stay focus to study for final exams. I do regular running for 1 hour every other day. If I drink, I won't be able to maintain the stamina and start running out of steam way before the 1-hour mark.. For me, not drinking gives some real practical benefits: save money from buying drinks, improve focus/mindfulness for meditation, and strength/stamina when doing long strenuous exercises..

Slow Learner
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby Slow Learner » Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:58 pm

It tooks me a few years of meditating before I was ready to stop drinking, and then at that point it was an easy step to take. I came back from a 10 day retreat and realized that I wanted to continue to be open to things as they are, no matter how unpleasant, rather than create false feelings of pleasure through alcohol.

During the first little while after stopping drinking I approached a lot of occassions like a bit of an experiment - what will it be like to go to this party and not drink, go out after work with friends and not drink, go out for dinner and not drink? It didn't take long before I realized these events were more enjoyable for me, and probably for others, when I wasn't drinking. Of course, as time went on I lost interest in some of these activities, particularly where the main focus was on alcohol.

My suggestion would be to let the insight that develops through your meditation practice guide you in this aspect, and try some of your own experiments to see how they affect you. I don't believe the precepts are commandments to be followed by willpower.

With metta,

Tim

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Jason
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby Jason » Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:47 pm

"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" ().

(Buddhist-related blog)
(non-Buddhist related blog)

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octathlon
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby octathlon » Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:47 pm

If you have no addiction or attachment to alcohol, the 5th precept should be the easiest one of all to follow. So why not just do that, regardless of whether you perceive drinking as affecting your mindfulness or not. It seems like the Buddha must have considered it to be pretty important, to put in the top 5. (Or, maybe it was just meant for some people, the ones whose mindfulness is affected by it? Let's see if I can find where it says that in the Suttas... :reading: )

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Ben
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby Ben » Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:12 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

2600htz
Posts: 159
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: Fifth precept

Postby 2600htz » Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:43 am

Yes just go for it.
The idea its to be good in this, whats the point of playing a game if you play it in the wrong way ?...

With metta.

jackson
Posts: 245
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:40 am

Re: Fifth precept

Postby jackson » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:36 am

Greetings JackV, :smile:
I've found that if I'm attached to something it's around the two years of abstaining mark that I really get perspective and can decide if it's worth indulging myself. So anyway, I'd recommend making a determination to give up alcohol for an extended period of time. It may or may not be easy, but you may find that once it's out of your system you'll actually be turned off by the idea of intoxication, at least that was the case for me when I quit using intoxicants, these days I wouldn't trade sobriety for the world. Anyway, I hope my advice helps.
May you be well, happy, peaceful, and free from suffering, :smile:
Jackson
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice." - Ajahn Chah

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Kim OHara
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby Kim OHara » Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:16 am


PeterB
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby PeterB » Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:29 am


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Ruralist
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby Ruralist » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:18 pm

"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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Epistemes
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby Epistemes » Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:07 pm

I came to the realization that my drinking buddies were not really my friends at all. Sure, we'd play pool, share some jokes, maybe even catch a live band or something, but there was never any real bonding. I soon realized that they could take me or leave me depending on my drinking schedule.

I'm not saying this is everyone's situation, but if you can't have interaction with your (drinking) buddies outside of drinking, then they're not your friends and you're better off alone anyway. This loneliness is a perfect time to judge your motivation to truly practice the dhamma.

Friends come and go. All relationships are impermanent, and so are the effects of alcohol.
The wind spins without end,
one moment southward,
the next moment northward.


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