Hello everyone! My first post in this forum.
Let me try to input abit regarding this topic… i’ll try my best, apologies if i’m not good with words
IMO the idea to occasionally take abit of alcohol is contradicting the very purpose of the precept. Or rather, doing something “for abit” is kind of against the very purpose by itself.
It is akin to smoking, how do we determine if someone is a smoker or not?
When i am puffing with the stick in my mouth or holding in my hand, i’m a smoker?
When i have just finished the stick and laid down the cigarette butt, i’m no longer a smoker?
Someone asked: Are you a smoker?
Me: Nope! Not smoking now! I did 5mins ago thou.
Someone asked: I heard you stopped smoking! It’s nice to hear!
Me: Yup! Stopped 5mins ago. The moment when i laid down my last cigarette butt 5mins ago, technically i’m not a smoker the next second already?
In the context of this question, how can one considered to be keeping the fifth precepts if he or she drinks occasionally? Is there any time-line that says how long has it been the last time we took the last drop of alcohol consider us as keeping the fifth precept? Nope!
IMO, like when we undertook the 5 precepts, we take it voluntarily, from inside us to strive towards’ the Buddha’s teaching, to self-cultivate ourselves. It matters most importantly only to us, ourselves only. It is only us that need to know if we are exploiting the loopholes, believing what we want to believe, to occasionally drink or understanding from the Buddha’s point of view why he taught us to refrain from intoxicants and not to do it.
From a more personal note, for myself, i see it being a break of precept if i clearly knew what i am doing and crossed the precept due to my lack of mindfulness or my giving in to the temptation. For example, if my group of friends are drinking and invites me to drink with them, giving in to peer pressure and temptation to get drunk and party - i gave in, i will consider it as a break of my precept.
On the issue of having a “little drink”, to my own experience and observation of others who drank (whether alittle or alot), alcohol seemed to have every effect even if in a small dose. I, or the persons i observed might still be mindful and straight but (maybe) due to the dilation of the blood vessels (and seemingly relaxed us) there is a slight change of inhibition however one would protest that he or she is not affected! Hence i believe that even a small amount of alcohol will inhibit us.
That’s why desire of the senses and sensuality can be so intoxicating that all it takes it just one try, one cup to the second to the third and to the oblivion It is so much easier to not take the first stick of cigarette, the one little cup of alcohol than to trying to quit / sober one up after it.
Metta for everyone