Results 1 to 35 of 35

Thread: Drinking as Religion, and other sense pleasures

  1. #1

    Drinking as Religion, and other sense pleasures

    I am aware of the precept against the consumption of mind altering substances. In fact, I understand why this is "good" dharma. Even a beer or two does a pretty good job of clouding my mind. But, I have to admit I enjoy a glass of wine or a pint of beer --- both for the flavor and the relaxing effects.

    Right now as I type this I'm in a rather gloomy mood and about to pour a second drink, as I listen to sad music. I know this will not improve my mood, in fact I rather enjoy wallowing in this melancholy stew.

    My question is not about whether or not this is breaking the precepts, I think these are questions best answered by ourselves. I suspect that I am a precept breaker (not just on this one, lol). What I am questioning is if this attachment is fundamentally an attachment to the self visa a vi an attachment to sense pleasures. Not so much looking for answers, just feeling the need to air my dirty laundry.

    Take Care

  2. #2
    Hey Gregor

    I'd venture to say that the attachment would lie in trying to maintain the melancholy after it begins to fade. Also an attachment would be trying to force your mood into something else.

    I'm with you on the occasional drink bro. As long as you can keep presence of mind and focus it's all good.

    :wink: but I'm naughty like that.

    Rodney

    *edit* forgot to sign my name.

  3. #3
    Rev,

    Thanks, I won't hold onto the gloominess. My moods are ever changing, but perhaps mixing red wine with Elliott Smith is a recipe for such feelings. Sometimes I just enjoy going deeper into it the haze.

    I think you are right about the occasional drink, I do this very rarely I'm stopping after two, not driving, and darn was it tasty.

    gassho,

    Greg

  4. #4
    Hey Greg,

    I second the Rev on this ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R
    Hey Gregor

    I'd venture to say that the attachment would lie in trying to maintain the melancholy after it begins to fade. Also an attachment would be trying to force your mood into something else. .
    When sad, just be sad. To be human is to be sad sometimes. Neither be attached to one's sadness (it may be surprising, but so many of us are actually attached and clinging to our sadness and depression), nor wish it to be any other way when sad ... do not resist it, for the resistance is the suffering. I think.

    As to alcohol ... I speak from the perspectives of most Japanese Buddhist priests I know, and Soto priests in particular (and that varies person-to-person, of course). I have been at a New Years party with the 'Zenji-sama' (basically, the Pope of the Soto church) where the beer and sake was flowing with some liberality, as was the Karaoke. I have also had various talks with Nishijima on this more than once (and he is basically against alcohol, tolerant of meat eating, with sex optional and celibacy not mandatory) I tried to tell him that one or two glasses of wine a day are now considered healthful to the body, and I almost sneaked it into the translation of his book I did (he made me take that out).

    My opinion: All things in life in moderation ... alcohol in small amounts is healthful and no harm (unless one has a drinking problem, in which case any amount may be poison). If one is using it to medicate sadness, that is probably not be present with the sadness. If one is using it in moderation for a bit of relaxation, no problem. However, one should not mix it with Zazen. Monks all over Asia, North and South, regularly mix tobacco and tea with Zazen ... and that is not much different.

    I am also a believer of "all things in moderation ... including moderation". We should all be willing to allow ourselves to break the Precepts now and then (only, again, not if on a recovery progream) ... so long as we take it as a learning experience, and are will to bear the Karmic consequences that may arise. We are human, not robots, as long as we do not encourage our mistakes, merely allow for them.

    Gassho, Jundo (and I think I will have my nightly glass of wine soon)

  5. #5
    I guess I don't have much more to add than you all have already, except to say I'm with you. I also enjoy a nice wine or beer every so often (or on very special occasions, a Bombay Sapphire and tonic).

    I look at a good drink as I would a good piece of music or a moving work of art, one of many ways to experience and enjoy life. As Jundo said, we're not robots. I don't practice to be something other than a human, but to be as fully human as possible. As is discussed here, the Precepts are guidelines to lead a balanced human life, which includes all that goes with it, including being melancholy and listening to Elliott Smith. I certainly can relate, Greg! "Do you miss me, Miss Misery..."

    Gassho,
    Keith

  6. #6
    An old story: A lama was traveling amongst the nomadic tribes. The people would give him food and lodging in exchange for his blessings. One evening he was offered lodging by a young woman who lived alone. She made it conditional that he would have to do one of three things: sacrifice a goat, sleep with his hostess or drink alcohol. He decided on the last of these options, thinking that drinking alcohol was the least harmful of the three. One drink led to another, however, and before long he was drunk. In this state, the sound of the goat started to annoy him so much that he went out and killed it, and when he woke up the next morning he found he had been to bed with the hostess!

    Maybe he should have just left rather than choose one! :lol: (actually if I remember correctly, it's been awhile for me, a monk sleeping in the same dwelling with a single woman would be breaking his vows). Probably not a true story. Anyway, since I come from the vinaya side of things, the Japanese ways for monastics seem a bit odd to me. It's as if they can't decide what they want to be. As for lay people, you makes your choices I guess, but there are Zen orders, I'm told, who are as serious about the precepts for lay people as for monastics, and the monastics are to keep them to the letter.
    Gassho,
    Bruce

  7. #7
    Hi Bruce,

    I do not think it is a choice between Practice that is 'light and not serious' and Practice that is 'strict and serious'. Instead, it reflects two competing philosophies that have always existed in Buddhism.

    Much as in Judeo-Christianity, there have always been puritanical, body-denying factions within Buddhism, and other factions more accepting of the body and human condition. It has been so thoughout the history of Buddhism, depending on which Sutras one reads by which faction. One book I can recommend, although focused primarily on sexuality, makes that case.
    http://<br /> <a href="http://http:...448&sr=8-1</a>

    There are pro and cons to each road of Practice. The former group looks at the latter as 'too loose' in its Practice of the Precepts, while the latter group considers the former group misdirected in its concept of enlightenment as a denial of the body, extreme and not practical in its suppression of the senses and, unnatural in its avoidance of the basic human condition.

    Personally, I believe that the Precepts guide us to non-harmful conduct, and to live a balanced and healthful human life. This is particularly true for practitioners outside a monastic setting (with, by the way, a "monastery", in my view, not being ideally a PERMANENT place of retreat from the world, but a place of short time training before RETURN to the world. That has also been a split in Buddhism since early days on that topic too). The Precepts guide us to avoid excess, attachments, harmful human conduct, self-abuse and extreme behavior. An overly strict interpretation of the Precepts is, in my view, a type of harmful conduct and extreme behavior. I cannot support it.

    It is like the string on the bow ... to be neither too lose nor too tight. That is my view.

    You know, I come from a Jewish background. The situation reminds me of my friend Moshe, who was an observant, orthodox Jew ... just not as orthodox as some. He would follow 200 religions proscriptions each day while his wife, a more orthodox convert, would follow 500 (I am just pulling these numbers out of the air). She used to drive Moshe crazy with all the extra rules! The only thing they both agreed on was that their friend, the Jewish-Buddhist, was a heathen.

    Gassho, Jundo

  8. #8
    If you are interested, here is an article from Today's New York Times that is not unrelated to the topic ...

    Gassho, Jundo (I like the part in the article about 'more respect for authority! ;-) )

    September 18, 2007
    Is ‘Do Unto Others’ Written Into Our Genes?
    By NICHOLAS WADE

    Where do moral rules come from? From reason, some philosophers say. From God, say believers. Seldom considered is a source now being advocated by some biologists, that of evolution.

    At first glance, natural selection and the survival of the fittest may seem to reward only the most selfish values. But for animals that live in groups, selfishness must be strictly curbed or there will be no advantage to social living. Could the behaviors evolved by social animals to make societies work be the foundation from which human morality evolved?

    In a series of recent articles and a book, “The Happiness Hypothesis,” Jonathan Haidt, a moral psychologist at the University of Virginia, has been constructing a broad evolutionary view of morality that traces its connections both to religion and to politics.

    Dr. Haidt (pronounced height) began his research career by probing the emotion of disgust. Testing people’s reactions to situations like that of a hungry family that cooked and ate its pet dog after it had become roadkill, he explored the phenomenon of moral dumbfounding — when people feel strongly that something is wrong but cannot explain why.

    Dumbfounding led him to view morality as driven by two separate mental systems, one ancient and one modern, though the mind is scarcely aware of the difference. The ancient system, which he calls moral intuition, is based on the emotion-laden moral behaviors that evolved before the development of language. The modern system — he calls it moral judgment — came after language, when people became able to articulate why something was right or wrong.

    The emotional responses of moral intuition occur instantaneously — they are primitive gut reactions that evolved to generate split-second decisions and enhance survival in a dangerous world. Moral judgment, on the other hand, comes later, as the conscious mind develops a plausible rationalization for the decision already arrived at through moral intuition.

    Moral dumbfounding, in Dr. Haidt’s view, occurs when moral judgment fails to come up with a convincing explanation for what moral intuition has decided.

    So why has evolution equipped the brain with two moral systems when just one might seem plenty?

    “We have a complex animal mind that only recently evolved language and language-based reasoning,” Dr. Haidt said. “No way was control of the organism going to be handed over to this novel faculty.”

    He likens the mind’s subterranean moral machinery to an elephant, and conscious moral reasoning to a small rider on the elephant’s back. Psychologists and philosophers have long taken a far too narrow view of morality, he believes, because they have focused on the rider and largely ignored the elephant.

    Dr. Haidt developed a better sense of the elephant after visiting India at the suggestion of an anthropologist, Richard Shweder. In Bhubaneswar, in the Indian state of Orissa, Dr. Haidt saw that people recognized a much wider moral domain than the issues of harm and justice that are central to Western morality. Indians were concerned with integrating the community through rituals and committed to concepts of religious purity as a way to restrain behavior.

    On his return from India, Dr. Haidt combed the literature of anthropology and psychology for ideas about morality throughout the world. He identified five components of morality that were common to most cultures. Some concerned the protection of individuals, others the ties that bind a group together.

    Of the moral systems that protect individuals, one is concerned with preventing harm to the person and the other with reciprocity and fairness. Less familiar are the three systems that promote behaviors developed for strengthening the group. These are loyalty to the in-group, respect for authority and hierarchy, and a sense of purity or sanctity.

    The five moral systems, in Dr. Haidt’s view, are innate psychological mechanisms that predispose children to absorb certain virtues. Because these virtues are learned, morality may vary widely from culture to culture, while maintaining its central role of restraining selfishness. In Western societies, the focus is on protecting individuals by insisting that everyone be treated fairly. Creativity is high, but society is less orderly. In many other societies, selfishness is suppressed “through practices, rituals and stories that help a person play a cooperative role in a larger social entity,” Dr. Haidt said.

    He is aware that many people — including “the politically homogeneous discipline of psychology” — equate morality with justice, rights and the welfare of the individual, and dismiss everything else as mere social convention. But many societies around the world do in fact behave as if loyalty, respect for authority and sanctity are moral concepts, Dr. Haidt notes, and this justifies taking a wider view of the moral domain.

    The idea that morality and sacredness are intertwined, he said, may now be out of fashion but has a venerable pedigree, tracing back to Emile Durkheim, a founder of sociology.

    Dr. Haidt believes that religion has played an important role in human evolution by strengthening and extending the cohesion provided by the moral systems. “If we didn’t have religious minds we would not have stepped through the transition to groupishness,” he said. “We’d still be just small bands roving around.”

    Religious behavior may be the result of natural selection, in his view, shaped at a time when early human groups were competing with one another. “Those who found ways to bind themselves together were more successful,” he said.

    Dr. Haidt came to recognize the importance of religion by a roundabout route. “I first found divinity in disgust,” he writes in his book “The Happiness Hypothesis.”

    The emotion of disgust probably evolved when people became meat eaters and had to learn which foods might be contaminated with bacteria, a problem not presented by plant foods. Disgust was then extended to many other categories, he argues, to people who were unclean, to unacceptable sexual practices and to a wide class of bodily functions and behaviors that were seen as separating humans from animals.

    “Imagine visiting a town,” Dr. Haidt writes, “where people wear no clothes, never bathe, have sex ‘doggie style’ in public, and eat raw meat by biting off pieces directly from the carcass.”

    He sees the disgust evoked by such a scene as allied to notions of physical and religious purity. Purity is, in his view, a moral system that promotes the goals of controlling selfish desires and acting in a religiously approved way.

    Notions of disgust and purity are widespread outside Western cultures. “Educated liberals are the only group to say, ‘I find that disgusting but that doesn’t make it wrong,’ ” Dr. Haidt said.

    Working with a graduate student, Jesse Graham, Dr. Haidt has detected a striking political dimension to morality. He and Mr. Graham asked people to identify their position on a liberal-conservative spectrum and then complete a questionnaire that assessed the importance attached to each of the five moral systems. (The test, called the moral foundations questionnaire, can be taken online, at http://www.YourMorals.org.)

    They found that people who identified themselves as liberals attached great weight to the two moral systems protective of individuals — those of not harming others and of doing as you would be done by. But liberals assigned much less importance to the three moral systems that protect the group, those of loyalty, respect for authority and purity.

    Conservatives placed value on all five moral systems but they assigned less weight than liberals to the moralities protective of individuals.

    Dr. Haidt believes that many political disagreements between liberals and conservatives may reflect the different emphasis each places on the five moral categories.

    Take attitudes to contemporary art and music. Conservatives fear that subversive art will undermine authority, violate the in-group’s traditions and offend canons of purity and sanctity. Liberals, on the other hand, see contemporary art as protecting equality by assailing the establishment, especially if the art is by oppressed groups.

    Extreme liberals, Dr. Haidt argues, attach almost no importance to the moral systems that protect the group. Because conservatives do give some weight to individual protections, they often have a better understanding of liberal views than liberals do of conservative attitudes, in his view.

    Dr. Haidt, who describes himself as a moderate liberal, says that societies need people with both types of personality. “A liberal morality will encourage much greater creativity but will weaken social structure and deplete social capital,” he said. “I am really glad we have New York and San Francisco — most of our creativity comes out of cities like these. But a nation that was just New York and San Francisco could not survive very long. Conservatives give more to charity and tend to be more supportive of essential institutions like the military and law enforcement.”

    Other psychologists have mixed views about Dr. Haidt’s ideas.

    Steven Pinker, a cognitive scientist at Harvard, said, “I’m a big fan of Haidt’s work.” He added that the idea of including purity in the moral domain could make psychological sense even if purity had no place in moral reasoning.

    But Frans B. M. de Waal, a primatologist at Emory University, said he disagreed with Dr. Haidt’s view that the task of morality is to suppress selfishness. Many animals show empathy and altruistic tendencies but do not have moral systems.

    “For me, the moral system is one that resolves the tension between individual and group interests in a way that seems best for the most members of the group, hence promotes a give and take,” Dr. de Waal said.

    He said that he also disagreed with Dr. Haidt’s alignment of liberals with individual rights and conservatives with social cohesiveness.

    “It is obvious that liberals emphasize the common good — safety laws for coal mines, health care for all, support for the poor — that are not nearly as well recognized by conservatives,” Dr. de Waal said.

    That alignment also bothers John T. Jost, a political psychologist at New York University. Dr. Jost said he admired Dr. Haidt as a “very interesting and creative social psychologist” and found his work useful in drawing attention to the strong moral element in political beliefs.

    But the fact that liberals and conservatives agree on the first two of Dr. Haidt’s principles — do no harm and do unto others as you would have them do unto you — means that those are good candidates to be moral virtues. The fact that liberals and conservatives disagree on the other three principles “suggests to me that they are not general moral virtues but specific ideological commitments or values,” Dr. Jost said.

    In defense of his views, Dr. Haidt said that moral claims could be valid even if not universally acknowledged.

    “It is at least possible,” he said, “that conservatives and traditional societies have some moral or sociological insights that secular liberals do not understand.”

  9. #9
    Interesting article. I do think that most people have some innate knowledge of "right and wrong", even criminals. Some people are just hardened and have convinced themselves that what they do is ok. Isn't that hardening some of what we break down by doing zazen?

    Anyway, my understanding of the development of the vinaya was that the rules were/are a means of not only protecting the sangha, but also a means of protecting one from one's self and their human condition, that condition being full of impulses and cravings that lead to more suffering and negative karma. Moreover, what I was taught was that until one's mind is sufficiently purified and enough "merit" gained, progress in practice would be slow, so therefore practicing the precepts was as important as any other form of practice, at least in terms of helping to stop you from creating more negative karma. Many of the western monks and nuns I knew took robes in large part to protect themselves from themselves.

    Like you said, the "rules" have changed from one country and sect of Buddhism to the next. The Tibetans got the vinaya from India, but even they don't maintain all the vows. I suspect some of the vows will eventually change in the west as well. Some of the lesser vows are so ancient and specific to Buddha's time as to be totally irrelevant today.

    Just my opinion, but the precepts concerning intoxicants and sexual misconduct are there for a good reason. One often leads to the other, and having done my share of both I can speak first hand. If someone is one of those people who can sit with one drink for most of an evening and never gets the least bit intoxicated then what's the harm. A lot of people, including me, aren't like that though. Intoxication often leads to harmful speech, and all sorts of things. We've all seen people who never get drunk and do stupid things who have a bad day, go over board on the sauce and end up doing or saying something they never would have otherwise. Obviously the Buddha knew that when he said you shouldn't use intoxicants. I suspect the inability to practice while pissed had something to do with the rule too, especially since practice was about all they did back then. :lol:

    I dunno mate. I enjoy a few pints as much as the next guy, but we don't keep it at home anymore. There's a pub literally around the corner and it's our village's social centre, just like most other villages in the UK. We never go because we don't have time and because we have a toddler. Now I don't really want to because one drink messes up my mind too much for zazen. It's something I've thought about with regard to taking the precepts again - how exactly will I choose to deal with that aspect of them. I guess it's something every person has to decide for themselves.

    Gassho,
    Bruce

  10. #10

    drinking as religion

    I thought I'd bellyup to the bar here with my good ol' buddhabuddy
    Ikkyu--he said he'd buy me a drink!
    I don't take that drink lightly. I don't refuse it.
    Here in the barroom zendo, sitting with the barstool sangha members, I have a very good view of this practice. I leave as I arrive: not looking for anything, not getting away from anything, not getting away with anything. Look's like I'll be Ikkyu's designated driver, unless he goes home with the gal he's been winking at! Hey, the peanuts in this place are pretty tasty!

    gassho
    keishin

  11. #11
    Just thought I'd post this link to the section of the vinaya dealing with alcoholic drink as a comparison.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... h08-6.html

    It's pretty strict! I really can't remember if there are any lay vows that talk about it.

    Anyway, for lay people I think it's just about trying to be as good a person as you can be while still being human. The precepts give you a standard, that you may not otherwise have, to be mindful of. I suppose one could say the same for a monastic under the vinaya, but they have a much tighter set of rules. Some things are just out for them, but almost all breakages can be restored.

    Gassho,
    Bruce

  12. #12
    Hi Bruce,

    The nāga (living in the fire building) saw that Ven. Sāgata had entered and, on seeing him, was upset, disgruntled, and emitted smoke. Ven. Sāgata emitted smoke. The nāga, unable to bear his rage, blazed up. Ven. Sāgata, entering the fire element, blazed up. Then Ven. Sāgata, having consumed the nāga's fire with his own fire, left for Bhaddavatikā. ... Then Ven. Sāgata, having drunk pigeon's liquor in house after house, passed out at the city gate as he was leaving the city.
    I would say for sure that, if one is drinking enough to be seeing fire-breathing dragons and collapsing at the city gate, then one is DEFINITELY drinking to excess!

    I also note some of the other proscribed conduct in the list cited ... and I notice that alcohol consumption comes right on the list before tickling ...

    52. Tickling with the fingers is to be confessed. ... The act of playing in the water is to be confessed. ... Should any bhikkhu bathe at intervals of less than half a month ...
    Some people need such hard and strict rules in order to find balance and a life of moderation. To do this, they run from the world and retreat behind monastery walls. However, our practice is one of finding balance and moderation in a world of imbalance and complexity. We retreat into 'retreats' for short periods of days, weeks or months ... then return to the world. It is a very different philosophy, and I believe that a Buddhism that is only useful in a temple or monastery is a blind alley Buddhism.

    I come from a Jewish tradition in which there was a prohibition on turning on a stove during the Sabbath, or a radio, so my grandmother would turn on the stove the day before the Sabbath and leave it burning, or pay a non-Jewish boy to come turn on the radio for her. Anyway, it was a lovely way to live for my grandmother, and gave her a feeling a stability and peace. It was not, however, the only way to know god or to be a Jew. I think.

    No more believe the historical truth of the above story of the Buddha than believe in the truth of the dragons appearing in the story ... it is the Harry Potter of its day. It was written by human beings, with their own ideas about training, and their own moral views and concepts of purity, long after the time of the Buddha. Furthermore, as you note, different societies have different values and requirements. This is not a standard for all monastics, it is a standard for monastics in a particular place and time with a certain narrow view of Practice. When one practices in the monasteries of, as Keishin notes, buses and offices, homes and streets, the rules and requirements must be different.

    Anyway, my understanding of the development of the vinaya was that the rules were/are a means of not only protecting the sangha, but also a means of protecting one from one's self and their human condition, that condition being full of impulses and cravings that lead to more suffering and negative karma. Moreover, what I was taught was that until one's mind is sufficiently purified and enough "merit" gained, progress in practice would be slow, so therefore practicing the precepts was as important as any other form of practice, at least in terms of helping to stop you from creating more negative karma. Many of the western monks and nuns I knew took robes in large part to protect themselves from themselves.
    The Precepts are as described here: They support our Practice and help bring the mind into a balanced state. But an extreme, unbalanced forcing of the Precepts will result in extreme and unbalanced states of mind. Removing oneself from the world, and from ordinary life, will do little to teach one to live in the world amid ordinary life. Attaining balance and moderation, for many of us, does not depend on strict prohibitions, but prohibitions observed with balance and moderation (and, again, it may depend on the person ... some folks may need to follow such a self-denying path in order to bring themselves under some control). Our ultimate discovery is that, if life is lived with balance and moderation, we rarely need to protect ourself from our self, or from the human condition. 'Karma' is a very complex subject, but never think that it is a matter of merely following certain detailed rules.

    If someone is one of those people who can sit with one drink for most of an evening and never gets the least bit intoxicated then what's the harm. A lot of people, including me, aren't like that though. Intoxication often leads to harmful speech, and all sorts of things.
    Then, yes, if one is the latter type of person, one probably should not drink at all.


    BOTTOM LINE: Never think that one way of 'Practicing the Precepts' is better or worse than the other. They are merely different philosophies of Buddhist training. One is, perhaps, more suited to human beings retreating from the demands of the world and living in close confines in a monastery, one is perhaps best for human beings living in the world as human beings.

    Gassho & A Tickle, Jundo

    (Yes, I feel strongly about this topic ... but not enough to become upset or imbalanced in emotions, thus impinging on a Precept! )

  13. #13
    Here here Jundo.

    I'm of the mind that Buddha did not give us a one-size-fits-all philosophy, but rather a framework-a skeleton that we flesh out through our own practice and according to our experience.

    I don't understand the motivation to separate oneself from the world. I'd say that kinda defeats the purpose.

    Rodney

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R
    Here here Jundo.

    I'm of the mind that Buddha did not give us a one-size-fits-all philosophy, but rather a framework-a skeleton that we flesh out through our own practice and according to our experience.

    I don't understand the motivation to separate oneself from the world. I'd say that kinda defeats the purpose.

    Rodney
    Hear hear Rev.

    Yet there are those "Buddhists" who elevate their particular traditions founder, believing him to be infallible and the only True™ source of the Dharma and it's correct practice.

    Any suggestion that perhaps he was wrong is met with deft rebuttals in his defence that are often peppered with semi-Yoda speak.

    In effect they become little mini-cults (as a good friend dubs them).

    Rather than looking back at the words of the Buddha and what he taught, the founder's words have taken on an authoritative tone that overshadows the original teachings.

    Gassho

  15. #15
    My internet was off for a day. Wow. Lots of posts.

    The precepts (in my view) are basically a way of not getting yourself into trouble when you are not mindful. For example, if you are caught in the state of greed, or craving, the precepts are good way to keep yourself from doing something stupid. However, if you were mindful, you probably would notice your greed or craving.

    For a beginner the precepts are probably useful in this sense. To some degree.

    I have enough trouble staying mindful that I find alcohol would just be anti productive. I don't really drink much anyway. I prefer orange juice or grape.

    Greg
    My moods are ever changing, but perhaps mixing red wine with Elliott Smith is a recipe for such feelings. Sometimes I just enjoy going deeper into it the haze.
    I used to get into those Elliot Smith (Between the Bars) + wine= meloncholy moods, but I didn't always particularly enjoy it. Like a lot of stuff throughout my life it was just a haze with ego getting in the way trying to make the moment about me.

    I actually listened to some of his music last week. I hadn't listened for a while. And I found my view had actually changed entirely. I still enjoyed the music, but it's a different enjoyment now without so much attached to it and without the fog in the way of the sounds.

    Gassho

  16. #16
    Hi,

    Great discussion, so many interesting perspectives.

    Jundo wrote:
    This is not a standard for all monastics, it is a standard for monastics in a particular place and time with a certain narrow view of Practice.
    Exactly. The Buddha didn't just sit down and try to think of things which should be forbidden. Instead, each rule arose as a result of a particular real situation which had happened in his Sangha and which was detrimental to the Practice of one or more Bhikkhus. I think if each individual looks clearly at each particular situation and acts in a matter which is beneficial for himself and others she/he will automatically be acting in accord with the Precepts. For example, I think at the right time and place a glass of wine can indeed be beneficial, but for the life of me I can't think of any situations in which 10 glasses would be beneficial...

    Gassho
    Kenneth

  17. #17
    Kenneth
    I think if each individual looks clearly at each particular situation and acts in a matter which is beneficial for himself and others she/he will automatically be acting in accord with the Precepts.
    Yep.

    Gassho

  18. #18

    drinking as religion

    Well after the first drink (it was a 'school night'--it's a 'school night' almost always) I switched to Perrier and a lime. Ikkyu ordered a round for everyone in the bar at 'last call' There was one group at a table in the corner that didn't take him up on it. They seemed to be having a serious discussion--every now and again I'd hear the word 'precepts'--
    I lost sight of Ikkyu after he went to pay and just before the karaoke started up again--you know, Ikkyu's got a great voice!
    I kept thinking one of you would show up--I mean, it's not like we had a plan to meet or anything--well, maybe next time....until then

    happy trails....to you....until..we meet..again...(karaoke gets in the blood as effectively as alcohol I think!!)

    (PS the bartender wants to name a special drink in honor of Ikkyu--I couldn't think of any good names, my mind was a blank--anyone got any ideas?)

  19. #19
    Well after the first drink (it was a 'school night'--it's a 'school night' almost always) I switched to Perrier and a lime. Ikkyu ordered a round for everyone in the bar at 'last call' There was one group at a table in the corner that didn't take him up on it. They seemed to be having a serious discussion--every now and again I'd hear the word 'precepts'--
    I lost sight of Ikkyu after he went to pay and just before the karaoke started up again--you know, Ikkyu's got a great voice!
    I kept thinking one of you would show up--I mean, it's not like we had a plan to meet or anything--well, maybe next time....until then

    happy trails....to you....until..we meet..again...(karaoke gets in the blood as effectively as alcohol I think!!)
    hehe :lol:

    (PS the bartender wants to name a special drink in honor of Ikkyu--I couldn't think of any good names, my mind was a blank--anyone got any ideas?)
    How about "My Glass is Empty" hehe :lol:
    [/quote]

  20. #20
    hey will,

    "You must first empty your pint to taste my beer."

    Keishin,
    A drink to honor Ikkyu. Well we could go with my alternate name for a Black and Tan "Not one, not two."

    or you could take Jagermeister and Pineapple juice and call it an Ikkyu.

    trust me, try one and you will say exactly that.

  21. #21
    Rev R
    "You must first empty your pint to taste my beer."
    Gotcha. I'll keep drinking.

    Gassho

  22. #22
    I have mixed feelings.

    I do no abuse alcohol or use other substances. I love a good pub and enjoy a good drink, especially with food. I'll go a few months without having or wanting a drink, this summer I've been putting a few back but with moderation.

    But, I have made poor decisions in the past surrounding intoxicating substances, sexual misconduct, ecetera, ecetera. I don't like using the addiction word, because I don't think it's an accurate fit, but who knows? It's a source of embarrassment and regret for me, luckily I escaped any lasting consequences of my actions (so far). I think these days are behind me but I've said that before too. I'm not too worried, just understand that I must be mindful of my old habits and not nurture such seeds.

    Ouch. . . . this post is becoming like Zen confession or something. Mia culpa. How many prostrations and Om Mani-s do I owe?

  23. #23
    Sorry man. I teach English not psychiatry.

    gregor
    I'm not too worried, just understand that I must be mindful of my old habits and not nurture such seeds.
    yep. Just be mindful. I don't think drinking should be a part of a beginners practice or until you at least have some mindfulness.

    Instead of getting down on yourself, how bout you just pay attention when you drink. Notice the thought ,or the way you go, (I don't know if you go, but I go) "should I have another one? I feel guilty for having another one. I guess I'll have another. Then after many more, your screaming your ex girlfriends name from the top of someone's car in the parking lot. "Maria! I lof youuuu!!!!" then it just gets way out of hand. Your friends (if they're not as drunk as you) try to get you to come off the car and stop screaming. You start to cry (or whimper) mumble something and pass out.

    Wooo. I feel like sh@# this morning. What did I do last night? I shouldn't have drank so much. Well why did you drink so much? Just pay attention.

    Anyway,

    practice dude

    Gassho

  24. #24
    Been in all those situations except the crying bit. Never have been much of a cryer.

    Thing is though we all make mistakes. Little lapses in judgement here and there that result in minor consequenses (like a hangover or vomiting). It's part of the experience of life. It's what makes us human.

    I was once told, "you'll never be perfect and you'll never have all the answers, but it shouldn't stop you from trying."

    Rodney

  25. #25
    Thanks guys, I appreciate the support.

    Things are just fine, the booze is not a "problem" for me. . . the worst of my attachments lie elsewhere, and they still drive me up the wall at times. The encouraging news is that instead of acting on them I'm learning to let them fizzle out. . . it has a lot to do with noting them then deciding to put our energy into something skillful instead.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Gregor
    Thanks guys, I appreciate the support.
    That's sangha.

  27. #27
    Dude that was fantastic!

    Thanks for the laugh.

  28. #28
    Keishin,

    HA! Sounds like fun. I just attended my wife's sister's wedding here in Osaka, bubbly, beer and wine flowed liberally. All things in moderation, and never lift more than you can chew.

  29. #29
    Hello all,

    Thank you for the teachings here. This is a wonderful thread. I just turned 21 (the legal age for drinking in the States) last month, so I'm still struggling to strike the balance between having a "social drink" and being a "social drunk," if you will. I tend to close my evenings with a glass of wine (or two), but I'm trying to make that my limit as a general rule from now on. Too many nights have started with my nightcap and ended with the bottle mostly empty.

    A few weeks back, in the thread on "The Fire of Attention" in Everyday Zen, Paige suggested that someone invent a drink called The Flaming Gassho.

    In celebration of my birthday, I did it!



    I did not get burned, and it was delicious.

    Thank you all again for the discussion here. It's wonderful to see that such a strong support network exists for all of us.

    Gassho.[/img]

  30. #30

    drinking as religion

    Hello Justin:
    Many happy returns of the day, and best of birthday wishes!!

    The Flaming Gassho sounds like an interesting drink and from your photo it must be quite astounding visually--perhaps when making it, the person should gassho to their glass before drinking--then you could really 'drink as if your hair were on fire' !!!

    Ikkyu thought it would be funny to name a drink 'Bartender, I'll have another' and that way when you ordered it the second time you'd be saying "bartender, I'll have another Bartender I'll Have Another, and you might end up with two of them!!
    I told him, not so fast---not two, not even one--most likely the bartender would cut him off--babbling and repeating himself like that....
    I told him I thought we should name a drink 'Precepts' Well you should have seen the look on his face--he completely straightened up, but was completely open, flexible--not rigid at all--he said with utmost sincerity, "The glass would have to be bottomless, and you'd never come to the end of that drink" He put his hat on and left, very cheerfully.
    I was alone at the bar, but I raised what was left of my drink (the perrier and lime
    remember?) and toasted "To Precepts"!

    I have to say Rev R's Jagermeister and Pineapple juice sounds like a perfect "ickk-eeww"

    reporting from the third barstool on the left

    gassho
    keishin

  31. #31
    Keishin,

    perhaps when making it, the person should gassho to their glass before drinking--then you could really 'drink as if your hair were on fire' !!!
    One does! The instructions I transcribed on my blog are as follows:

    -Pour 3/4 shot Amaretto
    -Pour 1/4 shot 151-proof rum
    -Light
    -Gassho
    -With great attention: drop into glass of dark beer. Taste the creamy goodness. Realize you are the universe tasting itself.
    -Replace glass on table
    -Gassho

    Would it be repetitive to gassho once more to close the post? Ah, but I suppose monks have been known to bow a thousand times a day, I can certainly gassho once more.

    Gassho.

  32. #32
    Interesting drink, flaming rocks!

    I've always preferred my drinks to be simple whiskey neat, red wine, glass of ale ---> but my former service as a bartender might be responsible for this. After mixing cocktails all night, It was just easier to crack a beer than shake up a mai tai.

    Quick question. . . which style of beer is better English or Belgium? I think this might be the most important issue that this Sangha will ever deal with.

  33. #33
    English, surely.

    I think this might be the most important issue that this Sangha will ever deal with.
    Haha.

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Gregor
    Quick question. . . which style of beer is better English or Belgium? I think this might be the most important issue that this Sangha will ever deal with.
    Be happy that you have a beer.


    What is the recipie for the flaming gassho anyway?
    *edit* duh I missed a post.

  35. #35
    Stephanie
    Guest
    This thread is right on target with a lot of things I've come to believe quite strongly about the nature of things.

    One aspect of Buddhism I've come to completely renounce is the trend to hold up monasticism as the pinnacle of human achievements. Don't get me wrong--I value and appreciate the institution of monasticism. But I don't see it as superior in any way. And I suppose I do see it as a bit wrong-headed. Because I believe that the pleasures of the world are not only "okay," but one of the main sources of human joy and meaning.

    Sounds hedonistic, but I'm not a hedonist. I completely agree with the Buddha when it comes to the outcome of ignorant drift from one sense-contact to another. But there can be a wise engagement with the world--as William Blake put it, a "marriage of Heaven and Hell." Delight, exuberance, beauty--I completely embrace the Blakean vision of the intersection of "World" and "Spirit."

    Recognizing that the deepest and most profound happiness cannot be found in sensory pleasures doesn't mean that such pleasures should be shunned. And I'm thinking of the simple pleasures of human existence--the taste of an ordinary home-cooked meal, the sight of fireworks over the river, the gentle touch of a lover... I agree with Philip Pullman's vision that our experience of these things is not only good, but a core aspect of our humanity. Experience is not sinful or shameful--it is delightful.

    What one enjoys may vary, but I pity the person who cannot enjoy their glass of wine, piece of chocolate, Beethoven symphony, or whatever it might be. The joy of the natural world is a font of spiritual energy for us, and any spirituality that dismisses it is an abomination, or at least a neurosis, in my view.

Similar Threads

  1. Sense of Humor
    By mhoke46375 in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: 02-02-2013, 10:57 PM
  2. Hell-raising holy men: Buddhist monks drinking and gambling
    By AlanLa in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 05-11-2012, 09:11 PM
  3. Zen a religion?
    By Chogetsu in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 03-18-2009, 01:33 AM
  4. Sense of separate self
    By kirkmc in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 08-21-2007, 01:36 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •