is the 5th precept seen as "optional" by some?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16097
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: is the 5th precept seen as "optional" by some?

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:54 am

Hi Varillon,

I don't think that using marijuana for genuine medical reasons would be considered a violation of the precept, any more than the administration of morphine to an accident victim.

Recreational use of either is a different issue.

:anjali:
Mike

Varillon
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Sep 05, 2013 2:30 am

Re: is the 5th precept seen as "optional" by some?

Post by Varillon » Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:09 am

Hey Mike,

I think that is the typical view, but many people struggle with it still. There's no denying a change to the senses which can make judgement go awry. However, I am beginning to believe that meditation counteracts those effects. When I meditate, I can't tell a difference between very little pain/very little mj in my system and high pain/high dose. Granted, I do take longer to slip away using more mj because of how long it takes to drain my anxieties.

It's refreshing to see modern discussions on doctrine. (I was raised on Southern Christian doctrine.)

Namaste

User avatar
mirco
Posts: 448
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:12 pm

Re: is the 5th precept seen as "optional" by some?

Post by mirco » Sun Sep 08, 2013 12:15 pm

Dear Varillon,
Varillon wrote:Over a year ago, I caved and tried marijuana. For the first time in a decade, I got my mind back. It wasn't riddled with streaks of white pain. In my case there would be no chance of meditation, focus, or reflection without hindering my senses with something.
too bad, with all that pain. I feel sorry for you.

the 8fold path is more than meditation only.

Have you ever tried to work on that pain with a real competent Buddhist teacher?

I am asking, because I know stories of people having dealt with severe pain without medication. They did it 'only' with Buddha Dhamma and it worked out.


Warm Regards,
Mirco
"An important term for meditative absorption is samadhi. We often translate that as concentration, but that can suggest a certain stiffness. Perhaps unification is a better rendition, as samadhi means to bring together. Deep samadhi isn't at all stiff. It's a process of letting go of other things and coming to a unified experience." - Bhikkhu Anālayo

dagon
Posts: 526
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:45 am

Re: is the 5th precept seen as "optional" by some?

Post by dagon » Sun Sep 08, 2013 2:58 pm

For me the 5th precept is the easiest to keep - i just wish the other Precepts were as easy for me to keep. Personally i don't think that the first 4 Precepts would be an option for me if i was not following the 5th.

I used to drink very heavily (more than a bottle of vodka a day. One day laying on a beach in the Canaries i ask myself why I drank, but could not come up with even one reason that made any sense. I still can not, so i still do not drink. I don't consider that i gave anything up - i believe that i opened the door to many possiblities.

metta
paul

Varillon
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Sep 05, 2013 2:30 am

Re: is the 5th precept seen as "optional" by some?

Post by Varillon » Sun Sep 08, 2013 5:41 pm

Hi Mirco,

A little over 2 hours from where I live is the state capitol. For me, that's actually a big trek, and I wanted to learn more before contacting anyone for a real-life meet. If anyone here knows anything about the groups in Little Rock, AR, feel free to pm me. And thank you for the encouragement. I had hopes that someone in the Sangha could help one day.

Namaste

Jhana4
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: is the 5th precept seen as "optional" by some?

Post by Jhana4 » Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:21 pm

mynameisadahn wrote:Hello,

I am interested lately in how Americans/other westerners view and relate to the 5th precept, forbidding intoxicants.
I've been a life long non-drinker, non-intoxicant user so the 5th precept has never been an issue for me. It does seem inconstient to me to see people who are very much into meditation, into Buddhism, over deeply into yoga using those things. Though, like I wrote, it is never something I cared to do myself so outside of web board topics like this one it has never been an issue with me :)
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

User avatar
khlawng
Posts: 225
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:28 pm

Re: is the 5th precept seen as "optional" by some?

Post by khlawng » Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:07 am

sometimes, i read threads like this one and i am so glad you guys have the choice of saying no to alcohol in your daily life.
my reality is that, i am currently hard at work to earn money to clear my debts and i have elder parents to support.
drinking alcohol when entertaining my clients is part of my business. this business pays for my mortgage and allows me to take care of others. it is what i do for a living and given my age, it is just impossible for me to start afresh.
i am lucky that i don't have a dependency problem with alcohol and i don't consume alcohol outside of work/entertainment.
i rationalize this as having to be realistic about our lives and i use the following 3 principles to guide me:

1) morality base on what the buddha taught
2) common sense
3) law of the land/country

so yes, i confess, i do break the 5th but i try to hold on to it as long as i can when i take the precepts during major occasions at my temple. but i do not feel bad about it because it really is my "reality" for now.

User avatar
Dhammarakkhito
Posts: 1107
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:31 am
Contact:

Re: is the 5th precept seen as "optional" by some?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:21 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:I think the permissive attitude some have towards alcohol consumption is one of the greatest tragedies in western Buddhism. I just don't understand it; the five precepts are the most basic and foundational aspects of our practice and the idea that some see them as disposable is heartbreaking. Alcohol causes so much sorrow and pain in this world and intoxication is the absolute antithesis of the Buddha's path. There is no excuse for practicing Buddhists to consume any amount of alcohol, and anyone who has lost their way enough to advocate or even tolerate such a shameful behavior is not one I would trust for any guidance on the path.

I hate to sound harsh or judgmental but I just don't see any possible leeway on the subject.
the noble eightfold path and the four noble truths are the foundation of buddhism in my opinion. i agree a mind that seeks escape in alcohol or any other substance is not a pure one, but the fifth precept regards causing a violation of the other precept. bad kamma is generated by violation of any of those precepts, but the fifth precept doesn't necessarily generate bad kamma. this isn't an apology for inebriation or intoxication, but i'm trying to explain why it may be seen as 'optional'.
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

https://www.facebook.com/noblebuddhadha ... 34/?type=3

http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://sites.google.com/site/santipada ... allytaught

User avatar
anthbrown84
Posts: 290
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2015 6:59 am

Re: is the 5th precept seen as "optional" by some?

Post by anthbrown84 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:35 pm

I have a question relevant here

On occasion i drink these 0% beers... to make me look like i fit in if i pop out with my wife. I have recently found out they are 0.05% alcohol. This is probably the amount that is present in a bunch of aged grapes. Do you think this breaks the precept? They are sold as alcohol free and i think the 0.05% is the absolute maximum they COULD contain
"Your job in practise is to know the difference between the heart and the activity of the heart, that is it, it is that simple" Ajahn Tate

User avatar
BasementBuddhist
Posts: 281
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:03 pm

Re: is the 5th precept seen as "optional" by some?

Post by BasementBuddhist » Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:25 pm

All of Buddhism is 'optional'.

I drank last night because a guest brought me some wine and I could tell she was very upset. To create a congenial atmosphere where she could relax and feel free to tell me her troubles I drank. Did it cause heedlessness? Yes. Could I maintain mindfulness and listen as easily? No. Will there be karmic consequences? Yes.

Would I do it again? Probably. Helping a friend was more important to me than my own enlightenment, and the few hours I could not pay as much attention. This is just how it is.

Digity
Posts: 1332
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Re: is the 5th precept seen as "optional" by some?

Post by Digity » Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:02 pm

I still struggle with the whole not drinking, because it creates a lot of awkward social situations in my life. I just allow the situation to be awkward and don't drink. Still, you can sense that sort of strain and awkwardness with friends at times when they see I'm the only one not drinking at the table. You sort of stick out like a sore thumb in those situations.
BasementBuddhist wrote:All of Buddhism is 'optional'.

I drank last night because a guest brought me some wine and I could tell she was very upset. To create a congenial atmosphere where she could relax and feel free to tell me her troubles I drank. Did it cause heedlessness? Yes. Could I maintain mindfulness and listen as easily? No. Will there be karmic consequences? Yes.

Would I do it again? Probably. Helping a friend was more important to me than my own enlightenment, and the few hours I could not pay as much attention. This is just how it is.
In this situation I would have refused to drink. It would have lead to an awkward situation. So is it better to break the precepts and make the situation less awkward or stick to the precept and accept the awkwardness? How do others deal with the awkwardness? Do you just break this precept from time to time or just bite the bullet and allow it to be awkward?

I don't like the idea of treating the precepts as too optional, since that could lead to a slippery slope. Having said that, I recently killed some carpenter ants that I discovered in my house, since they were in the walls burrowing through the wood causing structural damage. I would have felt dumb just allowing the ants to continue destroying the house and couldn't think of a humane way to stop them.

Digity
Posts: 1332
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Re: is the 5th precept seen as "optional" by some?

Post by Digity » Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:08 pm

Buckwheat wrote: Drinking is not against my principles. It is against the Buddha's principles. When I turn down a drink, it's due to peer pressure from the Buddha. :thumbsup:
Peer pressure from Buddha! Lol! I'm going to remember that next time I feel pressure to drink in a social situation.

User avatar
padmini
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2016 7:13 am
Contact:

Re: is the 5th precept seen as "optional" by some?

Post by padmini » Sat Jan 20, 2018 6:53 pm

I've just finished reading this thread, and i found it so inspiring I had to post a reply, even though the OP is quite old.

I am currently trying to keep the 5th precept (the hardest one for me, together with stopping idle chatter and gossip!), and find it quite hard when there's peer pressure. However, being a vegan I think I'm used to awkward situations anyway, so I don't think becoming 'the one who doesn't drink' will damage my image much more. :D

The hardest part for me is to make my partner understand why I stopped, I don't think he's ready to accept it yet. And this sometimes cause friction between us, which makes me really sad since we usually have a very smooth and mutually respectful relationship.

I hope one day he'll understand, and maybe even follow on my footsteps.
The Buddha's path is simple and meant for ordinary people; anyone with goodwill and determination can follow its steps toward freedom of heart and mind
-- Ven. Ayya Khema

dharmacorps
Posts: 443
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 7:33 pm

Re: is the 5th precept seen as "optional" by some?

Post by dharmacorps » Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:07 pm

I recently heard at a dhamma talk, where Thanissaro Bhikkhu gave advice to someone who was looking for a way to explain to people their refusal to drink. He suggested to say, "my doctor told me not to drink". This is not a lie-- the Buddha is referred to as the great physician diagnosing and treating the human condition--dukkha.

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 3774
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: is the 5th precept seen as "optional" by some?

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:14 pm

dharmacorps wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:07 pm
I recently heard at a dhamma talk, where Thanissaro Bhikkhu gave advice to someone who was looking for a way to explain to people their refusal to drink. He suggested to say, "my doctor told me not to drink". This is not a lie-- the Buddha is referred to as the great physician diagnosing and treating the human condition--dukkha.
That's excellent - wit and wisdom in equal measure!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests