What is "spirituous liquor, arrack, nor fermented rice."

"Here, O bhikkhus, a certain individual is naked, devoid of social habits, [12] licks his hands [after eating], [13] does not accept alms if called or requested to wait, [14] and neither accepts food brought to him, nor specially prepared for him, nor an invitation [to dine]. Neither does he accept from the brim of a pot, or from the brim of a cooking vessel; [15] nor anything handed across a threshold, over a stick, or over a rice pounder; [16] not from two people eating together, [17] nor from a woman with child; [18] nor from one giving suck, [19] nor from one indulging in courtship with a man. [20] Nor does he accept food that has been collected from others, [21] nor from where a dog is waiting for food, [22] nor from where swarms of flies are buzzing round; [23] he neither eats fish nor flesh, nor drinks spirituous liquor, arrack, nor fermented rice."


What is the meaning of highlighted phrase?
Does this mean Alcohol?
If it is alcohol, should the monk accept alcohol if offered?


Yes, it means alcohol.

Here the Buddha isn’t talking about his monks but gives different examples of the ascetic practices people were doing at the time.


I suggest you read this extract from Horner’s translation of Bhikkhuvibhanga, namely Pacittiya 51. It pretty much answers your question directly :slight_smile:

An additional question to Ven. @sujato and/or @Brahmali: the translation says there is no offence if one drinks ‘a distilled liquor that is not strong drink (ariṭṭha).’ What is ariṭṭha and how should this rule be interpreted?

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Does this mean precepts (5,8,10) to be considered as ascetic practices?
Specially the fifth precepts “I refrain from consuming alcohol”

Sure, you could categorize them as ascetic practices, especially to a westerner :stuck_out_tongue:

The main point is, that these practices or training rules were recommended by the Buddha as helpful along the Path as opposed to others like sleeping on a bed of nails, plucking out your hair etc. Or maybe I’m not quite sure what you are asking about…

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Thanks @raivo.
It is interesting see observing precepts as ascetic practices.

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Dear SarathW1,

There’s a story of a monk during the Lord Buddha’s time who went on alms around and someone put alcohol in his alms bowl. He came back to the monastery in stupor :grinning: (My apologies but I forgot where I read in the suttas).

Being that we Buddhist follow the middle path, it could be considered that following the 5, 8, or 10 precepts are ascetic in a way. Ascetic that we are giving up things that could lead to harm to ourselves and others. And for us habitual creatures, unwholesome habits are take a long time to abandon/let go. Only with the help of the Dhamma and perseverance can we overcome them :relieved:. That’s why keeping the precepts is called mahadana :sunglasses:. When we keep the precepts, we are indeed giving a great gift. And by doing so, when we remember our deeds, it brightens up the mind and becomes a support for us in the path.

Just my thoughts.

in metta,