Well, in sending the good ole precepts to hell I drank 3 cups of chianti while reading Loori's intro to the art of sitting, and I tumbled upon "The resulting form (of the stone carved by the river as compared to the practitioner carved by zazen ) has as much to do with the stone as with the action of the water". I can't start to explain the sweetness of this fact becoming clear to me; it feels like I've always known it, and yet the verbalization reconciles me with why some people in every sangha are the way they are: some angry, some shy, some full of shit, some craving for the mystical, some faithful, some whatever adjective you like (and most of us, all the adjectives at one time or another). Well, duh, the river can't transform a big rock into a little one, or a red one into a neon blue one.
Anyways, the point of this rambling post is a different one. The point is that maybe (a maybe based on my perceptions at the time) the wine helped me get into a calm state in which I was savoring every phrase just like you would your favorite poem. I've been throug this situation before: something that normally would not (and in fact has not) called my attention before , suddenly becomes easy to grasp and let go when I achieve some relaxation (this time thanks to wine)
Let me paraphrase the precept: "I vow not to drink booze but to keep the mind clear" (of course the precept has dozens of different forms, but I'll take this for the sake of discussion). So I won't drink to keep the mind clear, uh? So what the hell is a clear mind? Granted, a clear mind goes way beyond the perception of being more calm, understanding, compassionate, etc. But is it possible that a clear mind exists while drinking 3 glasses of wine (or, terrible heresy, thanks to the wine?)
Wanshi Sogaku: "If enlightenment neglects serenity, then agression appears... If serenity neglects enlightenment, opacity screws up the Dharma". So meditation requires a component of serenity, and for those of us who live in the regular world as opposed to the monastery, serenity just happens to be not so achievable (you put the name of you favorite angry buddhist here). Can a little bit of ethanol help? Is that cheating?
This is just for general consideration. I toss the idea with very little to defend it; indeed, I am anxious to see how you deconstruct the bullshit in the suggestion that booze is acceptable.
But again, it is at least theoretically possible that booze (within measure) can help achieve some balance and some serenity in the modern, overstimulated mothertrucker? Ideally we should all go to Antaiji and leave the bull behind, but I don't think they have that many spots available. So for those of us out here (and I'm allowing for now the dichotomies of here and there and all that), my theory is that it is possible to drink 2 or 3 shots and actually have a mind more clear and receptive than before. Of course, this is just a temporary thing, but everything is temporary: the alpha waves following zazen do vanish, the fabulous kensho does fade into militarism and peronal interests, etc.
Having said that, I vow not to do it tomorrow (cause the darn bottle is empty)