Fifth precept

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

Re: Fifth precept

Postby PeterB » Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:32 pm

A good illustration of the fact that there is a whole dimension that whoever invented the precepts could not have envisaged.
Personally I have never had any drinking buddies, The concept is completely alien to me.
Myself and some of my friends including Buddhist ones have been known to have a glass of vino with dinner with family or friends.
Would they count as drinking buddies ?
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby Mawkish1983 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:59 pm

PeterB wrote:A good illustration of the fact that there is a whole dimension that whoever invented the precepts could not have envisaged.
I mean absolutely no disrespect here, PeterB, but in my opinion 'whoever invented the precepts' was much further along the path than you or I, so it's wise to trust their advice.
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby cooran » Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:21 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Jason wrote:
PeterB wrote:I always end up feeling in these debates that I play the role of the Defender Of Alcohol.. :smile:
...
I think we have to decide for ourselves where on the spectrum from total abstinence to drinking within our personal limits lies.

I more or less share PeterB's sentiments (e.g., see this).

I'm with you guys. :smile:
I don't drink much, and don't want to, but (for me, at least) a glass of wine with dinner is no worse for me in any way than a couple of chocolates afterwards: minor indulgences with no consequences. If I could find another drink that I enjoyed as much with food, I would probably switch, but finding such an alternative is a fair way down my list of 'things which would make me a better person' so I may not get around to it for years.

:meditate:
Kim

Hello all,

I'm wondering if someone can point to a Sutta where total abstinence at all times is required. I can see it is part of the Uposatha Day ceremony - but can anyone point to where having a glass of wine/other alcohol on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis at a dinner is forbidden?

with metta
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby Mawkish1983 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:38 pm

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 & priests. And this is the eighth reward of merit, reward of skillfulness, nourishment of happiness, celestial, resulting in happiness, leading to heaven, leading to what is desirable, pleasurable, & appealing; to welfare & to happiness.


Abhisanda Sutta: Rewards
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:43 pm

cooran wrote:I'm wondering if someone can point to a Sutta where total abstinence at all times is required. I can see it is part of the Uposatha Day ceremony - but can anyone point to where having a glass of wine/other alcohol on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis at a dinner is forbidden?


"Furthermore, abandoning the use of intoxicants, the disciple of the noble ones abstains from taking intoxicants."

Anguttara Nikaya 8.39

The fifth precept, with no indication that it is only for Uposatha Days; recited on those days, but a precept for all times. However, I seem to recall Bhante Dhammanando mentioning once that this sutta or perhaps some others suggested that 'moderation' might be acceptable for those who are not yet noble ones, i.e. puthujjana. But for sotapannas and higher, it is clear that the precepts are kept strongly, with no intentional breaking of any of them.
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:01 pm

Oops, I didn't see that Mawk already posted the link to AN 8.39

But now I think I remember what Bhante Dhammanando said. I think he said that 'disciple of noble ones' could be interpreted as the ordained Sangha, not necessarily lay people, but that it is somewhat vague. But in any event, lay or ordained, the precepts are pure for sotapanna and higher, which should be motivation enough to abstain most / all the time.
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby Mawkish1983 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:10 pm

Does anyone know the original pali word that was translated here as 'disciple'?
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby bodom » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:20 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:Oops, I didn't see that Mawk already posted the link to AN 8.39

But now I think I remember what Bhante Dhammanando said. I think he said that 'disciple of noble ones' could be interpreted as the ordained Sangha, not necessarily lay people, but that it is somewhat vague.


The Buddha was quite clear that his lay disciples who "enjoy worldly pleasure", who are "encumbered by wife and children.", as well as the ordained sangha should abstain from alcohol and intoxicants:

"Venerable sir, in what way is one a lay follower?

"Mahanama, inasmuch as one has gone to the Buddha for refuge, has gone to the Dhamma for refuge, has gone to the Sangha for refuge; in that way, Mahanama, one is a lay follower."

"Then, venerable sir, in what way is a lay follower virtuous?"

"Mahanama, inasmuch as a lay follower abstains from destroying living beings; abstains from taking what is not given; abstains from sexual misconduct; abstains from lying; and abstains from wine, liquor and intoxicants that are causes for heedlessness; in that way, Mahanama, a lay follower is virtuous."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... html#fnt-1

Lord, to what extent is one a lay follower?"

"Jivaka, when one has gone to the Buddha for refuge, has gone to the Dhamma for refuge, and has gone to the Sangha for refuge, then to that extent is one a lay follower."

"And to what extent, lord, is one a virtuous lay follower?"

"Jivaka, when one abstains from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from lying, and from fermented & distilled drinks that lead to heedlessness, then to that extent is one a virtuous lay follower."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"We, Lord, are laymen who enjoy worldly pleasure. We lead a life encumbered by wife and children. We use sandalwood of Kasi. We deck ourselves with garlands, perfume and unguents. We use gold and silver. To those like us, O Lord, let the Exalted One preach the Dhamma, teach those things that lead to weal and happiness in this life and to weal and happiness in future life."...."Herein a householder abstains from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and from intoxicants that cause infatuation and heedlessness. This is called the accomplishment of virtue.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nara.html

The Buddha asks us to abstain from alcohol as well as killing, stealing, sexual misconduct and lying. Abstinence means to completely refrain from. Would the Buddha say that it is sometimes OK to kill, steal, lie etc.? Why would this be so with the fifth precept? I don't believe he intended a middle ground with the precepts.

:namaste:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:31 pm

bodom wrote:"Then, venerable sir, in what way is a lay follower virtuous?"

"Mahanama, inasmuch as a lay follower abstains from destroying living beings; abstains from taking what is not given; abstains from sexual misconduct; abstains from lying; and abstains from wine, liquor and intoxicants that are causes for heedlessness; in that way, Mahanama, a lay follower is virtuous."


Thanks bodom, good finds!

But it mentions "virtuous lay follower". The precepts are not commandments, so technically a "Buddhist" (lay follower) could be non-virtuous. I can't imagine why a lay follower would choose to be non-virtuous though.
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby kirk5a » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:23 pm

Mawkish1983 wrote:Does anyone know the original pali word that was translated here as 'disciple'?


"Ariya-sāvaka"
In the traditional Pali commentaries, the Pali term "ariya-sāvaka" is explained as "the disciple of the Noble One (i.e. Buddha)".[10] Accordingly Soma Thera and Thanissaro Bhikkhu translate this term as "The disciple of the Noble Ones" [11]
However Bhikkhu Bodhi interprets this term as "noble disciple", and according to him, in the Pali suttas, this term is used in two ways:[12]
broadly: any lay disciple (Pāli: upasaka, upasika) of the Buddha;
narrowly: one who is at least on the path to enlightenment (Pāli: sotāpatti maggattha). In this sense, "ordinary people" (puthujjana) can be contrasted with this narrow definition of "noble disciple" (ariya-sāvaka).[13]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9Ar%C4 ... .81vaka.22

So if this is taken in the narrow sense, it suggests that those who have not abandoned the use of intoxicants are not even on the path to stream entry.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:34 pm

Sarakaani was known for his alcohol drinking. When the Buddha proclaimed him to be a sotapanna, some monks remarked:

"A fine thing, a marvelous thing! Nowadays anyone can become a Stream-Winner, if the Blessed One has proclaimed Sarakaani who died to be Stream-Winner... assured of enlightenment! Why, Sarakaani failed in his training and took to drink!"


Apparently, sarcasm was in use at the time of the Buddha. :tongue:

But the Buddha declared,
"Mahaanaama, Sarakaani the Sakyan fulfilled the training at the time of death."


The lay person Sarakani practiced the moral precepts in full before his death, thus, confirming that one cannot be a stream-entrant or higher if one violates the precepts.

SN 55.24
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby PeterB » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:38 pm

I have no doubt at all that I am non-virtuous and definitely not on the path to stream entry. So thats a relief all round. :smile:
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby octathlon » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:55 pm

PeterB wrote:
octathlon wrote: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: )

If you do then you do find anything in the Suttas, then apply it to yourself. You will not find anthing that I havent considered.
Even if you found a Sutta passage that says " and in particular PeterB should not have an occasional glass of wine " I would still reserve the right to form my own judgement thank you Shakyamuni, as I am not you and you are not me.And you live in an ancient culture which in general terms is life negative. And you are not a god.
Now, please tell me what you think about the Bhumis. Thats your forte.

:anjali:

Ahem, to be clear, I have no desire to influence you in any way and I'm not passing judgement on you whatsoever for choosing not to take the 5th precept. Please choose one of the following emoticons to apply to that :lol: , :roll: , :heart: according to your preferred way of reacting.

However, what I posted is the attitude that I personally take towards the precepts, and I believe that I'm allowed to share my opinion on here just like everyone else. Also, I don't pretend to successfully keep them all the time--not by a long shot, breaking them either through carelessness or even intentionally through temptation. But since I took the 5 precepts I do try to keep them and like most Buddhists here, I don't think I'm wise enough to casually dismiss any of them as no longer relevant or some other reason.
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby PeterB » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:02 pm

I do take the precept. I dont consider myself to be in breach of it.
But likewise I would never encourage anyone to emulate me in anything at all.
I am entirely without wisdom.....seriously.
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby octathlon » Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:05 am

All I can say is that if I had an alcoholic drink I would consider it as a violation of the 5th precept.
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby PeterB » Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:50 am

So dont...... :smile:

:anjali:

Dont do as I do, and dont do as I say. Do what seems right to you after mature reflection.
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby Dhammakamo » Fri Sep 09, 2011 6:30 am

Greetings,

the 5th precept is the triumph card of the all 5-precepts, As it is to prevent one from heedlessness. Breaking the 5th precept will result in a downfall and breaking of the other 4 precepts due to the lack of mindfulness.

The popular question is "can I just have a glass/bottle on special occasions or gatherings? I won't even feel tipsy at all, it works like a cigarette to me."

The simple answer from ajahns : I didn't say that you can't, but I didn't encourage you either.
"When an evil-man, seeing you practise goodness, comes and maticiously insults you, you should patiently endure it and not feel angry with him, for the evil-man is insulting himself by trying to insult you" - The Buddha
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby PeterB » Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:35 am

Having a glass of wine occasionally has never been the cause my breaking any of the other precepts.
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby DarwidHalim » Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:02 am

I do not know whether buddhist precept make you feel like you are in jail or not.

If we have a duality mindset, we will have a concept of right is always right. Wrong is always wrong.

But reality is not like that. One thing can be right, can be wrong, can be neutral, can be half right, can be half wrong, can be anything. You claim it, you get it.

Reality cannot be describe. That is why whatever you describe, it is not absolute. It is relative, relative to your opinion.

Regarding drinking beer, I do not know whether you ever read the life history of Milarepa, the great yogic of TIbet. His teacher, Marpa, drinks beer on many occasion. It doesn't matter.

If you read another Indian buddhist mahasiddha called Tilopa. He stayed at the bank of river and eat fish. He kills the fish and eat the meat. He even worked in the prostitute house.

A lot of their actions seems breaking all buddhist vows. If we take the buddhist vows literally, definitely it breaks it. But, what is the use of that vows? It is to guide us to see realize reality.

The action of killing is considered bad. This itself is not true. There is nothing can be absolute true or not. Reality is free from wrong or right. In previous Siddharta Gautama life, he has to killed 1 person in the ship, because that person wanted to kill all passengers in the boat. His motivation is by killing this guy, he will be saved from his sins killing so many people. Killing 1 person will already give you bad karma. So, killing around 499 persons, definitely it will be much heavier. But because of his compassion to save this guy from experiencing bad karma, this killer get a lot of good karma. The story is action is free from anything. It is the motivation that determine, whether it is good or bad.

There is a debate about the issue of drinking beer. Some people say if you drink beer, but you don't get drunk, it is ok. Some people say you cannot drink no matter what is the reason.

In my personal opinion, I do not agree with all these. In any situation, no matter how sinful it looks like, if we are skillful that situation can become our best method of enlightnment. Similarly, no matter how good the situation is, if we are unskillful, that situation can send us to the hell.

If you drink a beer and you are mindful and you are really mindful to understand the essenceless of the joy from drinking your beer (for example), in my opinion you are very skillful in developing your understanding of wisdom. In my opinion, it is wholesome.

Even though you drink until you want to get drunk or vomit and if you still can be mindful and from that vomitting and mindfulness you can experience directly the essenceless of all this activity, it is a good technique to learn buddhadharma.

We need to be realistic as well. How good is your understanding of buddha dharma. If we just a baby who learn buddhadharma, may be we should refrain it because we won't have power to control our mind yet. But, once you feel you can control your mind, sometimes this kind of "bad" action can become your best teacher.

Buddha dharma is everywhere. In the beer, in the hell, in the tree, in everywhere.

If you are skillful, you will enrich you understanding and reach your own buddhahood.

If you are unskill, even reading buddha dharma can send you to the hell.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: Fifth precept

Postby cooran » Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:23 am

Hello DarwidHalim,

The action of killing is considered bad. This itself is not true. There is nothing can be absolute true or not. Reality is free from wrong or right. In previous Siddharta Gautama life, he has to killed 1 person in the ship, because that person wanted to kill all passengers in the boat. His motivation is by killing this guy, he will be saved from his sins killing so many people. Killing 1 person will already give you bad karma. So, killing around 499 persons, definitely it will be much heavier. But because of his compassion to save this guy from experiencing bad karma, this killer get a lot of good karma. The story is action is free from anything. It is the motivation that determine, whether it is good or bad.


This is not correct. The Jataka Tales are NOT Buddhavacana – only the Verses are. None of the Verses suggest that killing can be excused at any time or for any reason.

With metta
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