0 votes
by (220 points)
If one is able to stay mindful about one's intentions while being somewhat drunk, does taking alcohol actually cause heedlessness and break the precept?

Surely if one would be sober and meditating instead of drinking, the mindfulness would be on another level. But if one is about to take some alcohol anyway, isn't the intention to stay mindful at least something that can carry wholesome kamma?

4 Answers

0 votes
by (250 points)

The precepts are designed to make our lives easier. It's a lot of work to try and figure out exactly how much alcohol is "safe" to drink. However much you think it is, its probably much less than that. I would say that the amount of alcohol that there is in a glass of regular juice is safe to drink. If you think that's too conservative, how do you know? The precepts are a safety net. If you want to drink, you can. But now there's a hole in your safety net. Do you want holes in your safety net? It's up to you.

0 votes
by (7.7k points)
If you are mindful, you would not knowingly drink alcohol. Because you would be mindful of the urge to drink alcohol. You'd be mindful about the addiction. Thinking that you will try to be mindful after drinking alcohol is basically the mind playing tricks to somehow find a way to satisfy the addiction.

Yes, it does break the preset whether you are a little tipsy or on the floor vomiting.
+1 vote
by (220 points)
Thank you for the reasonable answers haytables and sankha. I appreciate.

The reality is that if it was that simple to drop alcohol altogether, I wouldn't be here asking about the precept.

It is what it is. I just decided that I won't feel bad anymore about myself as a dhamma practitioner because of some occasional drinking.

Feeling bad about one self does not carry any fruit.

After all I have done so many good things in this life that feeling bad about something like occasional alcohol consumption is in comparison just ridiculous and totally wrong.

May all beings be well, happy and peaceful.
by (7.7k points)
It's not about feeling good or bad. If you are mindful of the urge whenever it comes up, it won't become difficult to give it up over time.
by (960 points)
The 5th precept is a unique precept compared to the other 4 as it only revolves around us. Killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct all rely upon us creating negativity towards others, even if we do not create the physical or verbal action and the intention is in our mind it still includes someone else.
That being said, being intoxicated can lead us to "easily" do the former 4 negative actions because we are intoxicated, which leads to mindlessness.
Personally I drink and it causes me to not break the 4 other precepts but the issue here is that if I was in a situation where I was intoxicated and the causes arose there is no telling what i could then do because I have less control of my faculties.

As others have said, there is no sin being done, there is just mindlessness by intoxication. If you do not want to be mindless then do not intoxicate yourself (despite mindlessness is the whole point of intoxication)

I would like to point out that there are the 6 sensory consciousnesses and intoxication is usually related to the mind sense, you are seeking pleasure via the mind sense (unless you also enjoy the taste, sight, smell of alcohol and the feeling of drinking)
So just see it as such, see it as a seeking pleasure of the mind via external factors. There is no need to beat yourself up about it, possibly when you get older you will want to seek pleasure via the mind through other avenues, like meditation. Just know that intoxication is an obstacle to meditation.
+1 vote
by (5.0k points)
In Buddhism there's no concept of sin. Nothing to feel good or bad about. Nothing to feel righteous or guilty about. Buddhism is more interested in the causes and conditions of suffering.

If you practice according to our "How to meditate" booklet you will develop the skills necessary to see what are the causes and conditions that lead you to drinking. Also, you will see what are the effects of drinking on your mind, your emotions, and your life in general.

Once this is seen clearly your mind, on its own, will stop creating the desire to drink because it sees that drinking doesn't bring any satisfaction. It's not something you can force.

So don't waste time deciding whether to feel guilty or not. Instead start practicing and in time you will see for yourself what is the correct way.
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