Is it ok to take some alcohol occasionally?


These research are funded by vine companies.


Yes, I am very familiar with the Hermitage, in fact here is a photo of my son with Ajahn Sudanto, climbing the rocks above his kuti.

Ah yes, subsection A part 3 of the 5th Precept “if I fail to abstain from drinking Mexican beer, I vow to use lime.” Unfortunately I did in fact break that training rule as well. :wink:


Some research is, but not all. Look, I don’t want to get into an argument about the health science of drinking right now; I’m just making a suggestion that Buddhists should not be basing their support for the 5th precept on health grounds, when there is so much debate on the topic in the scientific community.


I’ll be happy to remove my comment if a moderator deems it, but I would say the vast majority of this thread and many threads are personal opinion. It would be a pretty boring and useless discussion if all we did was quote suttas without our interpretations or musings on them.

Besides, I wasn’t referring to comments on this board - I was referring to the detailed minutiae of daily life. We shouldn’t have to run to the EBTs every time we have to decide between corn flakes or Wheaties.


And once again, you are trying to draw comparisons between specific Precepts and treat them as equal, and I think that is unreasonable.
You cannot reasonably suggest that breaking the 5th Precept has the same karmic weight as breaking the 1st. The purpose of the 5th is to help you keep the other 4, that’s it. I can safely say that my 3 sips of beer in no way inspired me to kill someone, lie, steal, or sexually abuse someone. I fully understand the concept behind the 5th and take it seriously, but I do think your argument is taking inconsequential semantics to an illogical extreme.


Unfortunately we can’t rely on personal opinion and science. We have to be abide by the Buddha’s instructions. I am here to discuss what Buddha taught.
However you are free to do as you wish.


Please do as you wish.
Precepts are not commandments. This is something you undertake with your own wish.


The research suggesting that any amount of alcohol is unhealthy is quite new whereas the belief that a glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away is older and been around longer. My guess is you haven’t seen the new research.


The latest research suggests that any amount of drinking is harmful to health.

But as I’ve been saying, that isn’t the main point of the precept. The precept is about avoiding intoxication, because it leads to unskillful behaviour, and lapses of mindfulness.


What a great photo! Thanks for sharing that.


@Martin and @Polarbear, I am familiar with the research you linked to. The study you’re talking about is very controversial, and imho the media has done a poor job in reporting it (see here and here). There is also recent research indicating the opposite.

I’m NOT trying to argue that alcohol is healthy. I’m simply saying the science is inconsistent, and hence should not be relied upon to make an argument. We should not cherry pick the scientific literature just to support our religious beliefs.

I have nothing else to add to this point.
much metta :pray:


Agreed. One of the main reasons I quit drinking was that I became aware of how badly it was screwing with my mindfulness.


I don’t think there are any suttas that state the problem with alcohol is it interferes with mindfulness. Not that it doesn’t, it does, but the EBTs mention things like negligence, loss of wealth, getting into fights etc. I imagine it would have been assumed way back then that if you were practicing mindfulness you were already a serious enough practitioner it was clear you were following the five precepts.


I think weakening of intellect mentioned in my above post is about the loss of mindfulness as well.


Indeed – disappointing to hear that.

It’s not inspiration, it’s about heedlessness. If being drunk, you then decide, through heedlessness, to get behind the wheel of a car and continue on the road, the potential for you to get in an accident and, at worst, kill someone on the road is far greater. There was no intention or inspiration to kill someone, however, through heedlessness, that result came about. The same goes for lying, stealing, and potentially sexual abuse.

The Buddha’s teaching concerns the ultimate. We must refrain from belittling our negligent actions with a “so what?”. What harm did it do in that moment? Unwholesome kamma has been given more inertia. Potentially you can learn something, I don’t disagree there, however, because of breaking the precept there will be an inclination to break it again in the future and this is undeniable. It takes one bad day, one bad moment even, for a monk or a meditator to completely give up the spiritual life.

Yes, the precept is to refrain from intoxicants that lead to heedlessness, however, the act of taking an intoxicant and the prior mental states and thoughts that eventually lead to the act of drinking is what we are trying to eradicate. This is what the precept is for, it is the last thing we must not do. It would be ridiculous for the Buddha to lay down a precept for not thinking unwholesome thoughts. And, ultimately, indulging in those thoughts and actions will reinforce the future becoming of those same thoughts and actions.

I am baffled about the length of this thread. The simple answer is no.


The precept is about avoiding intoxicants which cause heedlessness.


I think we have to investigate why people drink.

  • My first drink was wen I was young and became a fool of myself was to get extra confident and I completely lost my face.
  • Then I started drinking just to test myself
  • Then it became a social event
  • Then it became a stress reliever
  • Fortunately I was never addicted to it. May be because I had my first drink when I was in my mid twenty.

Why I gave it up.

-I think it is a joke when a Dhamma teacher consumes alcohol.
-Improve my meditation

  • Knowing the risk. (police,accidents etc)


Yes, I mentioned negligence which is another translation of pamāda. My point is that in the gradual training, not drinking would come well before mindfulness.

closed #240


Controlling the expression of personal opinions is best done by whoever holds the opinions in the first place. When youall move on to contribute to other threads please pause and ask yourselves if the new idea makes a valuable contribution to the discussion of a sutta text or whether it is really just a proliferation of personal view.