For those who follow Jainism, in a nutshell, it is only by suspending the building up of karma that the soul is freed up to float and stick to the ceiling of the universe (yep, that’s their awakening on a nutshell ).
If one take this approach to things then getting drunk and falling unconscious is a lesser evil to all the bad karma involved, from their perspective, in all the not necessarily intentional harm involved in the conscious world!
If the above is true, is it the case that the fifth Buddhist precept, of abstaining from intoxicants, was in the early days a differentiation factor between early Buddhist and Jainist spiritual communities?
Is it the case that the non-violence centered Jain approach to sila would see drunkenness as a lesser evil to all the unintentional and, in their view, sinful harm necessarily involved in all activities one has to go about as a living being?
Is there anything in EBTs that would invalidate or support the above?
Getting drunk means getting less attentive, falling asleep or losing consciousness when drunk means doing it less mundfully. Less attentively and less mindfully means doing more harm to the living being. Plus not being conscious means not experiencing conscious suffering, i.e. not dissolving the old karma.
Sure. I totally get it, but do/did Jains think like this?
I have no doubt that even in Jainism a serious contemplative would rather not drink but instead be consciously causing himself/herself pain through penances, as doing it would only serve them to shrug off the kamma particles they believe keep the soul from attaining to siddhashila.
The question is what about non-contemplative Jains?
Their axioms are so strict (and absurd) that if one finds himself adhering to their teachings but still unable to take the path of austerities, getting totally wasted with intoxicants could very well be the lesser of the evils, no? It would at least suspend things, both good and bad!
Hence, what insight do EBTs provide us on whether the five precepts offered by the Buddha were or not a differentiating factor?
What about pre-Buddhist teachings, do these offer any insight on that?