Is it ok to take some alcohol occasionally?


In an earlier thread, you said that you occasionally break the fifth precept. Do you take the five precepts again next day?
My understanding is the idea of taking five precepts on a daily basis is to as a reminder.
This is similar to Patimokkha recitation by Bhikkhus once (twice?)a month.


Patimokkha recitation is confessing breaking the vinaya in front of other monks. There is hiri otappa involved in that setting.

I think if this is helpful for you, you should do it. It is possible the idea ‘I am a moral person’ helps to keep the precept and falling away from this creates some discomfort.

When you push a rubber ball under water it pops back up. If I intentionally have a sip of champagne I probably wont do it for many months or years as it was only for a special occasion. Sila as psychological factor is already in place. I don’t think there is anything special about ‘taking’ precepts, for me, but it might be different for you. If there is something harmful for myself or others I just don’t do it. I don’t think there is a need for a mantra, to replace common sense.

with metta,


I think they first confess and later recite again. I wonder whether any monk or someone in this forum can help us.


You’re right.

I am not a monk but I know that the confession session is there to give a change for mutual forgiveness of minor offenses and as well creating space for more serious ones to be brought to the attention of the Sangha.

A most important part of the event held every fortnight is nevertheless the actual recitation of all of the rules, as it keeps everyone reminded of the code of conduct that is required to be followed for those who wish to wear the robes and benefit from the laity’s generosity and support.



IMO, No (is it ok to take some alcohol occasionally). We have to consider the impact of our actions in a wider context. You may not be prone to chemical addiction, and maybe you can handle taking a small daily recreational non-harmful (relatively speaking) amount of alcohol, or cocaine, or heroin, tobacco, listening to music, watching television, whatever, but you set an example for your kids, your friends, your peers, that this is ok behavior. Is that what you want to do, when you know most people are very prone to addictive behavior?

Zero tolerance for defilements, if your goal is nirvana.


That is what police attitude for drug and alcohol consumption for P platers and learner drivers in some countries.


Just cutting it off from your life has a distinct advantage. If you simply regulate, you can go back-and-forth to smaller or larger amounts—or varying in frequency.

When the decision has been made (and you don’t undo this decision), it is clear and simple, and there is no draining thought or worry when situations present themselves.


This notorious monk from Sri Lanka said, in Sydney, that Visaka had 500 female friends and they all consumed alcohol. His comment (implied) was that Visaka also consumed alcohol even she was a Sotapanna.


It was only the companions who were given to drinking, not Visākhā:

This story the Master, while dwelling at Jetavana, told concerning five hundred women, friends of Visakha, who were drinkers of strong drink. Now the story goes that a drinking festival was proclaimed at Savatthi, and these five hundred women, after providing fiery drink for their masters, at the end of the festival thought, “We too will keep the feast,” and they all went to Visakha and said, “Friend, we will keep the feast.” She replied, “This is a drinking festival. I will drink no strong drink.” They said, “Do you then give an offering to the supreme Buddha: we will keep the feast.” She readily assented and sent them away.
(Kumbha Jātaka, Ja512)


Thank you, Bhante for clarifying this. I haven’t read all Jataka stories.
This particular monk omitted the most important statement by Visaka , in his talk.


I am given to understand that because of neuroplasticity, (neurons that fire together wire together) that there is indeed changes of behaviour based on repeatedly doing or abstaining from something. But I think that you might have a better understanding of this than I have, given what I know of your background.

Maybe we could say that the precepts are part of the training which can be carried out and are useful because they give a certain degree of calmness due non-remorse, which can be utilised for gaining a deeper understanding of causation, when the (willed) precepts can then be disposed of? A sort of ‘first rung of the ladder’ so to speak?


Fortunately, most doctors and people are misinformed about the supposed benefit. Luckily, we have Dr Greger to correct our views about this.

"Alcohol may also be a problem. As a plant-centered diet, no surprise, adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with lower cancer risk, but not with lower breast cancer risk. With all the fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and beans and low saturated fat, you’d assume there would be a lower breast cancer risk, but alcohol is a known breast cancer risk factor–even in moderate amounts. But if you create a special adapted version of the Mediterranean diet score that excludes alcohol, the diet does indeed appear to reduce breast cancer risk.

The wonderful grape phytonutrients in red wine can improve our arterial function such that if you drink de-alcoholized red wine, red wine with the alcohol removed, you get a significant boost in endothelial function–the ability of our arteries to relax and dilate normally, increasing blood flow. But if you drink the same red wine with the alcohol added back in, it abolishes the beneficial effect; it counteracts the benefit of the grape phytonutrients. So better just to eat grapes."

This other research video shows not only a negative effect of resveratrol supplementation, but also the futility of using mice in nutrition studies.

So not only is alcohol damaging to the vascular and therefore cardiovascular system, it causes breast cancer and men can also get breast cancer. So it’s best not to break the precept of abstaining from alcohol ever for any purported physical benefit as they have been proven false.


Is it ok to take alcohol occasionally ? The question is , this kind of endorsement should not come from monastic background community . This is very much against the principle of the dhamma and vinaya to my understanding .


see msg. 131 for excellent response with scientific study.

In a nutshell, what really helps is not alcohol, but the good stuff in grapes, and other fruits rich in phytochemicals, antioxidants, reservatol, etc. That study shows grape juice and grapes worked better than wine. Alcohol not only didn’t help, but increased breast cancer risk.

Don’t trust junk science claims funded by megacorporations for phd researchers who are looking for grants to pay off their expensive student loans or climb up the academic ladder with an insatiable need to publish research.

If the wine industry is paying for the research, or the tobacco companies pay for research that claims that cigarettes are not really that bad, you should doubt their findings.

Always follow the money, and you can usually figure out what the real story is.


There’s pretty strong evidence (large scale epidemiological studies) that relatively low levels of alcohol consumption do have a significant protective health effect, particularly on the heart. It’s a balancing act though, as pointed out here. Hearts risks go down by quite a bit (reduction in percentage risk in the mid to high twenties), but cancer risks go up in proportion to the amount consumed. Once the alcohol consumption is relatively moderate (maybe 2 units or less a day), then the net effect is still an overall reduction in all-causes morality (13% in the article).

There seem to be some small studies indicating that non-alcoholic red wine is equally as good, but given their size it’s hard to know for certain. Health-wise, it’s conceivable they might be even better (avoiding the carcinogenic effects of the alcohol). Reverse osmosis seems to be the most popular process for removing the alcohol these days, which avoids heating it up.

However, non-alcoholic wine, particularly red, is not terribly pleasant to the taste (all the tannins and aromas really need alcohol to be delivered to the tastebuds and nose). Maybe that’s even a plus with respect to Buddhist practice! Probably is not going to be drunk for sensual pleasure! :wink: It’s practically a medicine (potentially with pretty significant effects). That said, it’s hard to remove all the alcohol (probably still a fraction of a percent left).

However, unless one is particularly pernickety with regards to the fifth precept, I’d suspect the drinking of non-alcoholic wine by someone with a heart condition is fine (and even for general health purposes is probably ok).


You can have the same benefit by eating grapes.
This glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away is a fallacy.


Thank you for posting this. I’m clearly not advocating that anyone consume alcohol and as I’ve mentioned before I take the precepts very seriously. My only point was that we approach the precept re alcohol with a measure of science and sensibility and rather than being dogmatic or punishing/judging ourselves and others, we celebrate the precepts as a part of our training and practice that furthers us along the path. If a small amount of red wine actually provided a cardiac health benefit to a percentage of the population I certainly wouldn’t beat them over the head with the precepts if this were the case and that’s the only point that I was trying to make.


Perhaps these researchers are funded by vine makers.
There are many other things can be done to help with your heart health.
Excercise and moderation in eating and consume good food and Buddhist meditation.
I am saying this from my own experience.


Reservatrol, which is the substance in grape skins which many believe is one of the most beneficial components of grapes, health wise, is available in supplement form, alcohol free. :smiley:

Its also the subject of substantial research in metabolic disease including diabetes.


Alternative to wine :

  1. Garlic, is both a powerful antioxidant and blood thinner. It is commonly recommended as a cholesterol-lowering agent, and has been shown to help lower triglycerides – blood fats that are closely linked to heart disease.
    Garlic is beneficial for conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and coronary heart disease. It helps slow the development of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Plus, improves circulation and has antithrombotic and antiplatelet aggregatory effects.
  2. Hawthorn is a well-known herb for heart conditions because it is excellent for the cardiovascular system. It helps increase blood flow to the heart and improves cardiac muscle contractions, thus leading to a stronger pumping action.
    It also helps increase cardiac performance and output, and reduces the heart’s workload. Plus, it has an anti-arrhythmic effect that helps steady the heartbeat.
  3. Turmeric can help prevent atherosclerosis. Turmeric has an active ingredient called curcumin that helps maintain heart health by reducing cholesterol oxidation, plaque buildup and clot formation.
    Plus, it helps lower LDL and provides anti-inflammatory benefits. Being a potent antioxidant, it also neutralizes free radicals that contribute to aging and several chronic diseases.

I think there is a Indian herb called Arjuna where it’s bark used medicinally and uses primarily as a heart remedy , treating heart disorders and blood vessels .

There are many more !
Thank you and have a good day ahead .