Is it ok to take some alcohol occasionally?


Yes. Peason who practice Stipathana will not consume alcohol.
You are unmindful when you are consuming alcohol.
Because you ignore the fact that alcohol reduce your mindfulness.


Yes, I think the medical consensus now is that any amount of alcohol is harmful, certainly over a period of time.
Though in the suttas it seems more about the mental effects of intoxication, and the unskillful behaviour that results.


I think that’s correct, though of course the point of intoxication is not to be mindful. :smirk:


Some countries probation drives are tested for zero alcohol levels.
Which means even a small amout of alcohol affect your decessio making ability.


Sure, but the prevention of drunk driving is about preventing short-term harmful behaviour, rather than about preventing long-term medical problems. I’m suggesting that the precept is mostly concerned with the former application.


Do you mean latter application?


No, the former. I mean the precept is about preventing unskillful behaviour, rather than preventing long-term medical problems (though that might be a bonus) .

I say this because preventing unskillful behaviour seems to be the main purpose of all the precepts. Preventing harm to self and others.


Singalovada Sutta gives a detailed reasons for avoiding alcohol.

(3) "What are the six channels for dissipating wealth which he does not pursue?

(a) "indulgence in intoxicants which cause infatuation and heedlessness; (b) sauntering in streets at unseemly hours; © frequenting theatrical shows; (d) indulgence in gambling which causes heedlessness; (e) association with evil companions; (f) the habit of idleness.

(a) "There are, young householder, these six evil consequences in indulging in intoxicants which cause infatuation and heedlessness:

(i) loss of wealth, (ii) increase of quarrels, (iii) susceptibility to disease, (iv) earning an evil reputation, (v) shameless exposure of body, (vi) weakening of intellect.


In my experience, its not easy to find a Muslim who will admit that they drink and smoke. Each religion develops it’s own culture and quirks.


Interesting reference from the Singalovada Sutta - I wasn’t aware that “susceptibility to disease” is included as one of the “evils of drink”.

For some reason this discussion reminds me of a character called Father Jack, in the TV comedy “Father Ted”. :laughing:


Should we avoid alcohol in medication.


I understand your point, but technically - where virginity is concerned - that is a false comparison. Once I have sex I can never be a virgin again.

That being said, if I vowed to be celibate, and I have sex anyway, I can return to celibacy. If I vowed to abstain from alcohol, and I have a few sips of alcohol, I can always go back to abstaining from alcohol. You seem to be very focused on the actual act of consuming alcohol, and not as much on the real purpose for the precept, which is to avoid the heedlessness that often follows the consumption of alcohol.
Like I said, from one point of view I broke the precept. Yes, but ultimately, so what? What harm did it do in that moment? Does it mean I cannot renew the precept and vow to abstain from drinking again? Did I learn something about myself in the process of breaking the precept that will enable me to hold to the precept even more strongly than I did before, which was nearly perfect for the last few years? You seem to have a very absolute extreme viewpoint on this topic, which I personally don’t believe is truly in line with the Buddhas intentions, or at the very least, doesn’t work for some while it may be essential for others (e.g. recovering alcoholics).


Actually, I completely disagree with the statement. Mindfulness simply means that you are bringing your full awareness to a situation in that moment, considering possible outcomes and reasons, etc. I had the 5th Precept and my 3 years of keeping it fully in mind the entire time.
I sat there with that can for a long time, and sipped it very carefully and with full attention to what I was doing, and with full reflection after the fact.
If that’s not mindfulness, what is?


Not EVERYTHING can be or is supported by a sutta. That’s the mindset some Christians have too (show me in the Bible where it says that’s OK) and it is downright scary.


The problem with this ideology is that you can go back and forward for ever. Angulimala just gave up killing. He did not try to test it again.


This may include wrong mindfulness as well.
In Buddhsim we are talking about Satipathana mindfulness.


We are not allowed to express our personal opinions in this forum. Any claims without Sutta support is rejected.


@JMGinPDX James, I trust you’ve been up to White Salmon, and the hermitage there? A very cool and excellent Theravada / Forest environment in PDX, which I enjoyed on many trips to see my daughter at PSU. Beautiful area, and it was great to see the influence of the tradition there. Portland’s just a great city.

I want to comment on rule breaking. If those three sips of Mexican beer did not include a lime, then I feel that might be the most critical rule that you broke that day. :slight_smile:


Mindfulness also has an active component, for example as the “gatekeeper” here in SN35.345:


Meh, I don’t think this is true. The medical consensus is that drinking in excess is a problem, but there is some evidence of the health benefits of light/moderate drinking (the “J”-curve phenomenon).

For the record, I don’t drink, though I used to. I just don’t think Buddhists should misrepresent the scientific literature to promote the 5th precept.