Alcohol and Caffeine.

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

Alcohol and Caffeine.

Postby Individual » Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:24 am

Do you use caffeine or alcohol? What in your opinion is the consequence for the habitual use of these two substances? On alcohol, not necessarily alcoholism, but the kind of person who likes to get drunk occasionally, or even somewhat often, but in such a way that it does not interfere with their family life or employment.
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Re: Alcohol and Caffeine.

Postby pink_trike » Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:03 am

Individual wrote:Do you use caffeine or alcohol? What in your opinion is the consequence for the habitual use of these two substances? On alcohol, not necessarily alcoholism, but the kind of person who likes to get drunk occasionally, or even somewhat often, but in such a way that it does not interfere with their family life or employment.


I gave them both up in 1980. I'm glad I did. I have a glass of wine about twice a year. Never caffeine. Looking in from the outside, I've observed for nearly 30 years a caffeinated/marinated society drive itself mad. Coffee is the "up" drug, alcohol is the "down" drug. Junk up on coffee to meet the unreasonable, stressful demands of daily life or to counter-effect the chronic fatigue that is epidemic in modern life - then junk down with alcohol to recover from the "up" high, while doing grievous damage to the internal organs over time.

Rule of thumb...if it's needed just to make it through the day (outside of food, water) then it's a crutch and likely an addiction. If "a good drunk" is needed, then likely something isn't being dealt with emotionally or mentally. If coffee is needed to meet physical or mental demands, adjustments in lifestyle/career may be needed.

My recommendation to society is to give them both up and let our corporate culture reorder itself around human beings moving and thinking and sleeping at a pace that fosters health and clarity - rather than be pawns in a factory economy that uses humans like talking tools and discards them like rotten meat if they're no longer productive or if they produce too slowly.

Regarding meditation practice, I'd suggest giving both up for a year and observe the effect on practice. At the end of that year, for one week go ahead and drink coffee and get drunk. Then observe the effects of that on the mind, body, practice, and life. It likely will be pretty revealing.
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Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

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Re: Alcohol and Caffeine.

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:46 am

Greetings Individual,

Individual wrote:Do you use caffeine or alcohol?


Yes, and rarely, respectively.

Individual wrote:What in your opinion is the consequence for the habitual use of these two substances?


If you mean in a physical sense, I'd ask a medical expert.

If you mean in a mental sense, again, I'd ask a medical expert.

If you mean in a spiritual Buddhist sense, I would suggest the problem with use would be to the extent that mindfulness and heedfulness are hindered. In part, that's a product of the above two (physical and mental) but it's also in terms of habitual action (kamma) and the extent to which it is driven by craving. On this point, there's a lot to be said for faultless adherence to sila... whether it's 5 precepts or 227, the mindfulness involved in keeping your precepts, and the sublimation of craving and conceit that goes with not allowing yourself to wriggle out of them, is very beneficial to practice.

Individual wrote:On alcohol, not necessarily alcoholism, but the kind of person who likes to get drunk occasionally, or even somewhat often, but in such a way that it does not interfere with their family life or employment.


In a worldly sense, plenty of people do this without a problem.

In a spiritual sense, it sends your mindfulness completely off kilter... not just at that very moment, but it strengthens unwholesome latent tendencies, which then become harder to subdue after the event than they otherwise would have been.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Alcohol and Caffeine.

Postby Fede » Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:37 am

Individual wrote:Do you use caffeine


Yes

or alcohol

Rarely. too rarely for words...

What in your opinion is the consequence for the habitual use of these two substances

Everything taken in excess is harmful.
Given that the 'habitual effects' vary from person to person, really, only the person can evaluate.
we have medical opinions and psychological diagnoses, but it's all clinical....
On alcohol, not necessarily alcoholism, but the kind of person who likes to get drunk occasionally, or even somewhat often, but in such a way that it does not interfere with their family life or employment.


Piffle.
Drunkedness interferes. Always. On subtle and more obvious levels, but trust me, the moment a person is drunk, there is an effect.
Both social and kammic.

I personally find it both odious and unnecessary for a person to get drunk.
It's a loss of control. And often results in idiocy.
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Alcohol and Caffeine.

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:47 am

Greetings,

Fede wrote:Piffle.
Drunkedness interferes. Always.


In an worldly sense, sometimes "a social drink" is an integral component of one's family life and one's employment. Sometimes being a non-drinker actually "interferes" with family life and employment. What's that old saying....?.... "Never trust a man that doesn't drink". These views exist in the world.

It depends on your status quo from which you're measuring interference.

:juggling:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Alcohol and Caffeine.

Postby zavk » Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:11 am

Hi Individual,

Do you use caffeine or alcohol?


There's caffeine in tea, does it count? I have a cup of tea every morning. I still enjoy coffee from time to time but can do without it. Oh yes, I drink energy drinks occasionally too, but can also do without it.

I don't know if I enjoy alcohol, to be honest. I like a bit of beer very occasionally but my body is really sensitive to the effects of alcohol. So sometimes I actually feel sick and lousy after having a drink, whilst other times I don't. For this reason, when I do drink I don't drink very much at all.

What in your opinion is the consequence for the habitual use of these two substances?


I like Pink's rule of thumb (see above). Habituation in any form is not a good thing.

On alcohol, not necessarily alcoholism, but the kind of person who likes to get drunk occasionally, or even somewhat often, but in such a way that it does not interfere with their family life or employment.


For the reasons explained above, I've never drank till the point where I get drunk. If I do drink more than I can manage (which really isn't that much), I just fall asleep. And I too find drunkenness very annoying. I stay away from people like that, even my own friends.

I agree with Retro, alcohol throws mindfulness totally out of whack. Have not felt the urge to drink for a while now. But I probably will when I go out tomorrow night for a friend's birthday.

Metta,
zavk

PS: I must say I really like the taste of well-brewed beer. I would drink non-alcoholic ones if they taste as good.
With metta,
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Re: Alcohol and Caffeine.

Postby Ben » Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:38 am

Hi Retro
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Fede wrote:Piffle.
Drunkedness interferes. Always.


In an worldly sense, sometimes "a social drink" is an integral component of one's family life and one's employment. Sometimes being a non-drinker actually "interferes" with family life and employment. What's that old saying....?.... "Never trust a man that doesn't drink". These views exist in the world.

It depends on your status quo from which you're measuring interference.

:juggling:

Metta,
Retro. :)


In my mind, any social interaction that requires one to break one's sila isn't worth having.
Life is short anf fickle and death can come at any time.
Metta

Ben
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Re: Alcohol and Caffeine.

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:43 am

Greetings Ben,

Ben wrote:In my mind, any social interaction that requires one to break one's sila isn't worth having.
Life is short anf fickle and death can come at any time.


Actually I agree with you.... I was just answering Individual's question.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Alcohol and Caffeine.

Postby Fede » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:26 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Fede wrote:Piffle.
Drunkedness interferes. Always.


In an worldly sense, sometimes "a social drink" is an integral component of one's family life and one's employment. Sometimes being a non-drinker actually "interferes" with family life and employment. What's that old saying....?.... "Never trust a man that doesn't drink". These views exist in the world.

It depends on your status quo from which you're measuring interference.

:juggling:

Metta,
Retro. :)


Is there not a distinction between your "social drink" and Individual's "the kind of person who likes to get drunk"?

I personally make a distinction....

:namaste:
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Alcohol and Caffeine.

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:28 am

Greetings Fede,

Fede wrote:Is there not a distinction between your "social drink" and Individual's "the kind of person who likes to get drunk"?


Not in the insurance industry.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Alcohol and Caffeine.

Postby Fede » Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:50 pm

Now you're just being piccky.... :tongue: :stirthepot:

:namaste:
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/
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Re: Alcohol and Caffeine.

Postby Mexicali » Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:55 pm

I drink coffee and tea every day, but haven't had soda or energy drinks in a while. I'm shamefully caffeine-addicted; if they ever ban caffeine, I'll end up homeless and emaciated just looking to cop in some back alley. ;) I also couldn't be a bhikku for that reason unless some kind soul could bring me coffee every day.

Alcohol, not so much.
"We do not embrace reason at the expense of emotion. We embrace it at the expense of self-deception."
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Re: Alcohol and Caffeine.

Postby pink_trike » Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:17 pm

Ben wrote:Hi Retro
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Fede wrote:Piffle.
Drunkedness interferes. Always.


In an worldly sense, sometimes "a social drink" is an integral component of one's family life and one's employment. Sometimes being a non-drinker actually "interferes" with family life and employment. What's that old saying....?.... "Never trust a man that doesn't drink". These views exist in the world.

It depends on your status quo from which you're measuring interference.

:juggling:

Metta,
Retro. :)


In my mind, any social interaction that requires one to break one's sila isn't worth having.
Life is short anf fickle and death can come at any time.
Metta

Ben


Well said, but we can still participate in these events if we're confidently on our dot. Quentin Crisp once said something to the effect of "If you find yourself in circumstances that are inconsistent with your own values, give only your name, rank, and serial number and hold firm - eventually everyone will join you". Which I take to mean that when we stick to our convictions without being a nagging bore about them, we are modeling beneficial behavior that other people may eventually adopt. I find that sila is attractive to many people once they get over their habitual reactions to it (and then the questions begin to fly).
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Alcohol and Caffeine.

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:30 pm

Alcohol: No
Caffeine: Yes, because it is in most teas:

Green tea: trace amounts
Jasmine tea: trace amounts
Black tea: medium amount
Coffee: large amount
Chocolate: trace amounts

I drink all teas, but mostly Jasmine, some coffee, and love chocolate.

I find that my mind is not effected with caffeine, unless I "accidentally" drink too much coffee in one day.
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Re: Alcohol and Caffeine.

Postby vitellius » Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:14 pm

I do not drink alcohol.

Usually I drink tea and more rarely coffee, - and I don't feel much effect of that. But in the middle of a recent one-month retreat I had a cup of instant coffee and had to meditate up to 2 AM after that (when bed time was at 9 PM), just because I couldn't get asleep. So, probably, there may be a reason to abstain from caffeine...
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Re: Alcohol and Caffeine.

Postby davcuts » Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:57 pm

I don't believe caffeine is an intoxicant at least not to the point it affects someone ability to function properly. I've never heard anyone getting a DUI from drinking coffee, tea, and soft drinks for instance. I drink four glasses of soda a day. The only thing that hurts me is if I drink it after 8pm. I tend not to be able to sleep. Still I don't feel I'm intoxicated. As for alcohol I hate it. The first time I got drunk I was 28. I'm a control freak and anything that makes me feel like I'm losing control sucks. If I have alcohol these days its a glass of wine with dinner. I've not even had a glass of wine in 5 years. I don't feel I've broken my vow of sustaining from intoxicants because of caffeine. I would if I had alcohol, especially if my intention was to get wasted. I don't feel it's even possible to get "wasted" on caffeine.
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Re: Alcohol and Caffeine.

Postby pink_trike » Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:05 pm

Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Alcohol and Caffeine.

Postby Ben » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:00 pm

Hi Pink

pink_trike wrote:Well said, but we can still participate in these events if we're confidently on our dot. Quentin Crisp once said something to the effect of "If you find yourself in circumstances that are inconsistent with your own values, give only your name, rank, and serial number and hold firm - eventually everyone will join you". Which I take to mean that when we stick to our convictions without being a nagging bore about them, we are modeling beneficial behavior that other people may eventually adopt. I find that sila is attractive to many people once they get over their habitual reactions to it (and then the questions begin to fly).


I'm not advocating boorish behaviour. When I'm in social situations where alcohol is being used as the social lubricant I politely decline offers of alcoholic beverages and go for something non-alcoholic. I just tell people that I don't drink. And 99 times out of 100, that is the end of the matter and everyone gets on just fine. My observation is that there seems to be a lot more non-drinkers than 20 years ago and so I don't stand out as a bizarre social curiosity (for my non-drinking). Only once recently did I have to explain my reluctance to serve alcohol as part of a catering function that I was invited to work at/. And there the response was that they would separate the roles of the people working so that I wouldn't have to serve alcohol.
I just don't tolerate people insisting that I should drink.
Metta

Ben
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- Hereclitus


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Re: Alcohol and Caffeine.

Postby cooran » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:15 pm

Hello all,

Regarding caffeine - meindzai posted this elsewhere. Each topic has a Scientific and an Educational Paper:

The Effects of Caffeine and Coffee on Health

This series of health care papers, based on numerous medical studies, document the effects of coffee and caffeine on health conditions that affect millions of people. Coffee drinking, both decaf and regular, aggravates symptoms of a wide variety of chronic and acute conditions that increase suffering and limit people’s enjoyment of life.
Over a decade of marketing Teeccino and hearing daily of people’s experiences improving their health when they quit caffeine and coffee, has convinced me of the necessity to educate people about the health consequences of caffeine addiction.
The scientific papers with full scientific citations are designed for use by health care professionals, writers and researchers.
An educational summary for each health condition provides easy reading that covers the top reasons for being caffeine-free.

On Weight Loss
Fertility, Menopause, Breast and Uterine Health
On Aging
On Stress
Effects of Decaffeinated Coffee
On Cardiovascular Disease Including:
High Blood Pressure, Arrhythmias, High Cholesterol
On Heartburn
Acid Reflux & GERD
On Diabetes, Insulin Resistance Syndrome & Hypoglycemia
On Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn's Disease & Colitis
On Interstitial Cystitis and Cystitis
http://www.teeccino.com/caffeineeffects.aspx

metta
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Re: Alcohol and Caffeine.

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri May 01, 2009 4:34 pm

Individual wrote:Do you use caffeine or alcohol? What in your opinion is the consequence for the habitual use of these two substances? On alcohol, not necessarily alcoholism, but the kind of person who likes to get drunk occasionally, or even somewhat often, but in such a way that it does not interfere with their family life or employment.


Thanks for the topic. :)

DIscovering Buddhism a few years ago was the reason I stopped using alcohol on a regular basis. I pondered the Fifth Precept for awhile, then decided it was worth a try. And generally speaking, nothing since has suggested any good reason to take up drinking.

However, I'm not 100% in observance -- I have a glass of wine or beer occasionally at family or social gatherings. If someone invites my family over for dinner and hands me a Bud, I'll probably accept it -- even though in this case, the issue isn't just the precept, but the horrible quality of the beer. :juggling:

I've also switched from coffee to tea. I used to consume so much coffee that it gave me heart palpitations -- an experience so strange that I ended up going to the doctor, fearing a heart problem.

As for the effects of alcohol, well, I researched those intensively during my teens and twenties. And some conclusions stand out. One is that you start to crave the experience of intoxication, so you start becoming less and less patient with normal, non-intoxicated life. Gradually everything becomes a pain in the rear which you need to get out of the way so you can get to the important business of drinking. Alcohol brings about a wonderful, God-like feeling. When you're not drinking, you feel irritable...the solution to which is more drinking.

The other is that you lose inhibitions. And yes, that can be fun...however, it's the "quick and easy" way to do this, and like most quick and easy solutions (ramen noodles, bug spray, McDonald's dollar menu) there are side effects. Also, people may not always find your uninhibited self as charming as you do while drunk.

And finally, it's a kind of dependence...like having a baby bottle to carry around. I just read a great memoir about a son's experiences with an alcoholic father -- "A Wolf at the Table", by Augusten Burroughs. The guy was so chained to his bottle of sherry that he couldn't bring himself to play catch with his son or even exchange more than three sentences. It's really, ah, sobering.

Metta,
LE
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