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Thread: Alcohol

  1. #1

    Alcohol

    Below is part of Thich Nhat Hanh 's speech on alcohol. I generally do not keep alcohol in my home but occasionally enjoy a glass of wine in a restaurant or public function. recently after playing golf on a hot day, a cold glass of beer seemed to bring me back to life. I understand what Thich is saying because I've seen so many addicted to alcohol and know how destructive it can be. Setting an example for children also is a good idea. What do you think?


    "There are people who drink alcohol and get drunk, who destroy their bodies, their families, their society. They should refrain from drinking. But you who have been having a glass of wine every week during the last thirty years without doing any harm to yourself, why should you stop that? What is the use of practicing this precept if drinking alcohol does not harm you or other people? Although you have not harmed yourself during the last thirty years by drinking just one or two glasses of wine every week, the fact is that it may have an effect on your children, your grandchildren, and your society. We only need to look deeply in order to see it. You are practicing not for yourself alone, but for everyone. Your children might have a propensity for alcoholism and, seeing you drinking wine every week, one of them may become alcoholic in the future. If you abandon your two glasses of wine, it is to show your children, your friends, and your society that your life is not only for yourself. Your life is for your ancestors, future generations, and also your society. To stop drinking two glasses of wine every week is a very deep practice, even if it has not brought you any harm. That is the insight of a bodhisattva who knows that everything she does is done for all her ancestors and future generations. The emptiness of transmission is the basis of the Fifth Precept. The use of drugs by so many young people should also be stopped with the same kind of insight."

    excerpted from http://dharma.ncf.ca/introduction/prece ... ept-5.html

  2. #2
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Alcohol

    I've seen this article before, and I remember how ridiculous I thought it was then, too.

    Chet

  3. #3
    Member Seona's Avatar
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    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    I understand what Thich is saying because I've seen so many addicted to alcohol and know how destructive it can be.
    I lived with an alcoholic for many years. It wasn't a pleasant experience and I will never do it again. I've noticed that I don't even like to date people who casually drink anymore. The rational part of my brain understands that lots of folks have a drink and it's no big deal, but emotionally, I can't get past the memories of what it's like when someone has no control.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    Setting an example for children also is a good idea. What do you think?
    I grew up with a single dad who drank and smoked and I do neither. My son grew up with a single mother who doesn't drink nor smoke and he does both! Frankly, I don't know what to think about that. :?

  4. #4

    Re: Alcohol

    Hi.

    We've had quite an discussion surrounding this one here i sweden.
    I mainly refer to it as "don't misuse drugs", not just mainly alcohol, that would be an altogether "extreme" and would miss out to much.
    But, different tastes in different mouths.
    Here one goes flapping again.

    Mtfbwy
    Tb

  5. #5

    Re: Alcohol

    We had a very good reflection and discussion on this Precept, and Thich Nhat Hanh's interpretation as well, during our Jukai Preparations last year ...

    viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1229

  6. #6
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Alcohol

    I love TNH. He ain't wrong here, but that doesn't mean he's right either.

  7. #7

    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Seona

    I grew up with a single dad who drank and smoked and I do neither. My son grew up with a single mother who doesn't drink nor smoke and he does both! Frankly, I don't know what to think about that. :?
    I guess I'm just going to do what feels right for the situation. I never really know what that is until it it is time to do it. I respect Thich so I'll take into consideration his guidelines.

  8. #8
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Alcohol

    Some friends stopped by tonight. We shared a few beers and a pizza and had a very nice time. When they left we noticed the (almost) full moon rising just above the trees. I thought of having another beer to toast the moon and finish the evening, but it would not, could not, have made the moon any more beautiful or evening any more enjoyable. Jundo recently said something about there is nothing we can do to make the ocean any more the ocean, and that's the way I felt when I saw the moon. But there have been many times in my past that I felt (delusionally) different, and I know I am not alone.

    Goodnight....

  9. #9

    Re: Alcohol

    Can you stop?

    That's the point.

    Can you stop without regret?

    Does effect your life in a negative way?

    Do the people around you mention it?

    Do you avoid certain tasks in favor of having a drink?

    Do you find yourself thinking about the next one your gonna have?

    We all have our faults and bad habits. Some are more extreme than others, and effect our judgment and practice.

    Practice is the point that we are here. Why else would we be here?


    Gassho

    W

  10. #10

    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    Some friends stopped by tonight. We shared a few beers and a pizza and had a very nice time. When they left we noticed the (almost) full moon rising just above the trees. I thought of having another beer to toast the moon, but it would not, could not, have made the moon any more beautiful. Jundo recently said something about there is nothing we can do to make the ocean any more the ocean, and that's the way I felt when I saw the moon. But there have been many times in my past that I felt (delusionally) different, and I know I am not alone.

    Goodnight....
    Thank you, Alan. We share the same moon.

    Gassho, J

  11. #11

    Re: Alcohol

    AlanLa,

    Thank you for sharing this.


    Bows

    Taigu

  12. #12

    Re: Alcohol

    I like the idea that we are not just practicing for ourselves.

    I do have a thing for good beer, which I enjoy in moderation. This thread has me thinking about that whole "practicing for others" thing, because I have an 8-year-old daughter. She knows her Daddy likes a good beer, and she can pick some of the better brands from the shelf because she knows what Dad likes. She also knows Mom likes her wine now and then, and that both her parents drink bourbon.

    So, what have we been teaching our daughter?

    1) She knows that neither her Mom nor Dad will even consider driving a vehicle after drinking even a little bit. Or using the lawn mower. Or whatever.

    2) She knows that Mom and Dad discuss who'll be driving when we go to a party, and that the driver won't be drinking.

    3) She knows that Mom and Dad drink mostly at home, and in the company of close, trusted friends.

    4) She knows that both Mom and Dad do not drink to the point of getting drunk.

    5) She knows that alcohol impairs decision-making, perception and thinking skills, and that's why Mom and Dad approach it carefully.

    6) She knows it is easy to go too far, and hard to come back if you do.

    She's a smart girl, and I think her Mom and I have removed a lot of the "mystique" from alcohol by being up-front about what it is and what it does. If, when she is older, she chooses to drink she will know what she is getting into.

    We might have had an "alcohol-free" home, but that's no guarantee of anything. I like our practice so far of being honest with our girl, and she is a gem.

  13. #13

    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by ZenYen
    I like the idea that we are not just practicing for ourselves.

    I do have a thing for good beer, which I enjoy in moderation. This thread has me thinking about that whole "practicing for others" thing, because I have an 8-year-old daughter. She knows her Daddy likes a good beer, and she can pick some of the better brands from the shelf because she knows what Dad likes. She also knows Mom likes her wine now and then, and that both her parents drink bourbon.

    So, what have we been teaching our daughter?

    1) She knows that neither her Mom nor Dad will even consider driving a vehicle after drinking even a little bit. Or using the lawn mower. Or whatever.

    2) She knows that Mom and Dad discuss who'll be driving when we go to a party, and that the driver won't be drinking.

    3) She knows that Mom and Dad drink mostly at home, and in the company of close, trusted friends.

    4) She knows that both Mom and Dad do not drink to the point of getting drunk.

    5) She knows that alcohol impairs decision-making, perception and thinking skills, and that's why Mom and Dad approach it carefully.

    6) She knows it is easy to go too far, and hard to come back if you do.

    She's a smart girl, and I think her Mom and I have removed a lot of the "mystique" from alcohol by being up-front about what it is and what it does. If, when she is older, she chooses to drink she will know what she is getting into.

    We might have had an "alcohol-free" home, but that's no guarantee of anything. I like our practice so far of being honest with our girl, and she is a gem.
    I applaud you for dealing with alcohol in a responsible and aware way, and especially for considering the effects on your daughter. When my children were your daughters age, I drank occasionally to relieve stress and in social situations. Now I view alcohol as a strong medicine and rarely use it. One other factor to consider is that due to family history and inherited genes, people react differently to alcohol and have more or less tendency for habituation or addiction.
    /Rich

  14. #14
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    Quote Originally Posted by ZenYen
    I like the idea that we are not just practicing for ourselves.

    I do have a thing for good beer, which I enjoy in moderation. This thread has me thinking about that whole "practicing for others" thing, because I have an 8-year-old daughter. She knows her Daddy likes a good beer, and she can pick some of the better brands from the shelf because she knows what Dad likes. She also knows Mom likes her wine now and then, and that both her parents drink bourbon.

    So, what have we been teaching our daughter?

    1) She knows that neither her Mom nor Dad will even consider driving a vehicle after drinking even a little bit. Or using the lawn mower. Or whatever.

    2) She knows that Mom and Dad discuss who'll be driving when we go to a party, and that the driver won't be drinking.

    3) She knows that Mom and Dad drink mostly at home, and in the company of close, trusted friends.

    4) She knows that both Mom and Dad do not drink to the point of getting drunk.

    5) She knows that alcohol impairs decision-making, perception and thinking skills, and that's why Mom and Dad approach it carefully.

    6) She knows it is easy to go too far, and hard to come back if you do.

    She's a smart girl, and I think her Mom and I have removed a lot of the "mystique" from alcohol by being up-front about what it is and what it does. If, when she is older, she chooses to drink she will know what she is getting into.

    We might have had an "alcohol-free" home, but that's no guarantee of anything. I like our practice so far of being honest with our girl, and she is a gem.
    I applaud you for dealing with alcohol in a responsible and aware way, and especially for considering the effects on your daughter. When my children were your daughters age, I drank occasionally to relieve stress and in social situations. Now I view alcohol as a strong medicine and rarely use it. One other factor to consider is that due to family history and inherited genes, people react differently to alcohol and have more or less tendency for habituation or addiction.
    /Rich
    Alcoholism runs in my family, but oddly, family history is not always destiny. My mother only very rarely drinks and until recently, after getting into the nuances of beer, I also only drank infrequently. In light of the regularity of my drinking in the past 3 or so months, I also have decided to stop for at least a number of days.

    Chet

  15. #15

    Re: Alcohol

    I am fortunate in that there has been no history of alcoholism in my family, although the family tree is full of people who enjoyed a swig now and then.

    My grandfather was a coal miner, who worked hard and liked his whiskey -- but he was a rather sober soul. He was the type to have a shot once in a while, not a hard drinker by any means.

    Now that I think back, my own father's attitude about alcohol and raising kids was similar to my own. He didn't overindulge, but he didn't make it a hush-hush subject, either. He told us quite frankly what booze was, what it does and what can happen if you screw up. None of his three kids has any alcohol problem (two drink, one does not).

    The reminders about taking family history into consideration are useful, Rich. Thanks.

    And Chet, good luck in your period of abstinence.

  16. #16
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Alcohol

    Hi all,

    I wasn't going to chime in since I don't drink at all, but did want to give Rich a reply to his question. I just never founmd drinking in any way alluring so I haven't done it in years. I have some friends who drink and they say that drinking responsibly in front of their kids shows them how to use alcohol in moderation. I believe that to be true but also think choosing not to drink is showing children that it is truly a choice. The only thing there is to avoid making it a taboo subject to even discuss, something my parents did which is extreme.

    So, while I do agree with much of TNH's article, I think he tends to make it sound like parents who drink will inevitably have kids who drink. I am sure there are countless examples of drinking parents without drinking kids and vice versa. It's a personal choice for me not to drink and I would only advise someone else not to drink if I saw them pick up some car keys after having one. When my sons are old enough I'll talk to them and allow them to make an informed choice of their own volition.

    That's my $0.02.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  17. #17

    Re: Alcohol

    "Although you have not harmed yourself during the last thirty years by drinking just one or two glasses of wine every week, the fact is that it may have an effect on your children, your grandchildren, and your society"

    I think that is an important part of what TNH is saying.
    We need to remember that alcohol is a drug. A very dangerous one which has a high death rate. There must be a certain amount of accepted association that every time we buy a beer, wine or whisky we are providing financial support to very powerful corporation who are not so responsible when it come to who and how they push their drug.
    This will have a negative effect on your child, grandchild or society.


    Undo

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