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

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
User avatar
dylanj
Posts: 784
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:48 am
Location: San Francisco
Contact:

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

Post by dylanj » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:22 pm

>moderate

>1-3 drinks a day

>very unhappy to go without
susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

jmccoy
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun May 28, 2017 6:18 pm

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

Post by jmccoy » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:19 am

I find intoxication to inhibit or diminish my normal capacity to meditate. With alcohol, I tend toward a sense of vertigo. With cannabis, I tend toward a lack of heedfulness. I won't even start to share about other substances here.

Meditation / concentration is an integral element of the 8fold path: if I am inhibiting or diminishing my execution of the 8fold path then I cannot expect any reduction to my suffering.

As for whether it is optional or not, it is about as optional as the choice to do without suffering is.

User avatar
Kim OHara
Posts: 4975
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

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

Post by Kim OHara » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:40 am

jmccoy wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:19 am
As for whether it is optional or not, it is about as optional as the choice to do without suffering is.
And that's the best way to look at it. :thumbsup:
The precepts remind us about the most likely causes of suffering and encourage us to avoid them but our ability and willingness to follow them vary from moment to moment. We can't be perfect but we will suffer less if we do the best we can, than if we don't even try.

:meditate:
Kim

User avatar
rightviewftw
Posts: 1773
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:50 pm

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

Post by rightviewftw » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:17 am

The fifth precept is clearly mainly alcohol but can be by extension applied to weed, nicotine, coffee, tea and eventually all sensuality that entices the mind.

Id say as far as alcohol goes, getting drunk is clearly one of the nut worst things one can do if one is to categorize behavior into precepts.

However Drinking Intoxicants is the 5th worst thing, not 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th, but 5th. The significance of this may be explained by the Sigalovada Sutta;
"Inasmuch, young householder, as the noble disciple (1) has eradicated the four vices in conduct,[1] (2) inasmuch as he commits no evil action in four ways, (3) inasmuch as he pursues not the six channels for dissipating wealth, he thus, avoiding these fourteen evil things, covers the six quarters, and enters the path leading to victory in both worlds: he is favored in this world and in the world beyond. Upon the dissolution of the body, after death, he is born in a happy heavenly realm.

(1) "What are the four vices in conduct that he has eradicated? The destruction of life, householder, is a vice and so are stealing, sexual misconduct, and lying. These are the four vices that he has eradicated."

Thus spoke the Exalted One. And when the Master had thus spoken, he spoke yet again:

Killing, stealing, lying and adultery,
These four evils the wise never praise.

Intoxication is not a vice on par with those things and on this alone one has a case for saying that Indulgence in Intoxication is not fundamental to Spiritual Practice, a smaller evil which does not directly harm others.

In regards to marijuanna there are some people that call themselves Sadhus and yogis who smoke and eat a lot of that stuff. I assume yogis of old were doing similar things and getting stoned or taking psychedelic drugs.

Sensuality is counter productive to the practice, diluded states of mind are counter productive to the practice. I do not think it needs to be said that smoking or indulging in any kind of sensuality is going the wrong way obviously.

There is also Sarakaani Sutta blatantly saying that just because a person drinks it does not make him to go hell in by it self, also the story about Ven. Sagata, a meditator with magical powers who got smashed on pigeon liquor.

User avatar
seeker242
Posts: 729
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:01 am

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

Post by seeker242 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:53 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:17 am
a smaller evil which does not directly harm others.
Perhaps, but it can directly lead to committing of those other acts, which mean it's unskillful to do. And one could say that not doing unskillful things is fundamental to spiritual practice.

User avatar
rightviewftw
Posts: 1773
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:50 pm

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

Post by rightviewftw » Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:51 pm

seeker242 wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:53 pm
rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:17 am
a smaller evil which does not directly harm others.
Perhaps, but it can directly lead to committing of those other acts, which mean it's unskillful to do. And one could say that not doing unskillful things is fundamental to spiritual practice.
The words "fundamental to spiritual practice" are used in the discipline and have a certain albeit obscure meaning, IE Sotapanna does not make transgressions fundamental to holy life. Therefore i dont think it is rightfully said;
one could say that not doing unskillful things is fundamental to spiritual practice.
Because then the teaching on "Fundamental to Holy Life" are lost according to your interpretation.

User avatar
seeker242
Posts: 729
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:01 am

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

Post by seeker242 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:44 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:51 pm
The words "fundamental to spiritual practice" are used in the discipline and have a certain albeit obscure meaning, IE Sotapanna does not make transgressions fundamental to holy life.
Sure, however "practice" in this context is for people who are not yet a sotapanna, IE people who are still capable of such transgressions. A sotapanna no longer needs to practice not lying, not stealing etc. because that kind of behavior is already eradicated.

So how does one, who is not yet a sotapanna, obtain the wisdom that is "fundamental to holy life" IE "the fundamentals of spiritual practice for attaining the path of sainthood" The Panna Sutta speaks to this: http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-con ... 2-piya.pdf
Bhikshus, there are these 8 reasons and conditions that conduce to the gaining of wisdom yet unattained, wisdom that is fundamental to the holy life and, when that wisdom is gained, to making it more, making it abundant, and developed to fulfillment

What are the eight?

4: He is morally virtuous.
He dwells restrained by the restraint of the Pātimokkha,
accomplished in proper conduct and proper resort,
seeing danger in the slightest fault,
he trains himself in the training-rules he had undertaken....

6: He dwells exerting effort in abandoning unwholesome states and promoting wholesome states,
strong in effort, steady in the task [not laying down the yoke] of wholesome states
Of course the above means not intoxicating yourself.
Last edited by seeker242 on Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
rightviewftw
Posts: 1773
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:50 pm

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

Post by rightviewftw » Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:56 pm

seeker242 wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:44 pm
rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:51 pm
The words "fundamental to spiritual practice" are used in the discipline and have a certain albeit obscure meaning, IE Sotapanna does not make transgressions fundamental to holy life.
Sure, however "practice" in this context is for people who are not yet a sotapanna, IE people who are still capable of such transgressions. A sotapanna no longer needs to practice not lying, not stealing etc. because that kind of behavior is already eradicated.
Well Sarakaani attained stream entry at Death for example with alcohol on his breath according to the official interpretation.
Also when you say;
A sotapanna no longer needs to practice not lying, not stealing etc. because that kind of behavior is already eradicated.
i will say that it is not good to say such things and that this is a view you have. Ive debated this up and down most comperhensively already.
viewtopic.php?t=29507&start=100
There have been numerous discussions about this and it seems to me that the view has been sufficiently refuted.
That thread most comperhensive afaik. If you have anything to add please bump it or lets have another one, i am even more prepared now.

User avatar
seeker242
Posts: 729
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:01 am

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

Post by seeker242 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:28 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:56 pm

Well Sarakaani attained stream entry at Death for example with alcohol on his breath according to the official interpretation.
Alright, but is it wise or skillful to wait until death to try and attain stream entry? One should be setting in motion, right now, the causes and conditions for such to happen, which includes not intoxicating yourself.

User avatar
Dhammarakkhito
Posts: 1115
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:31 am
Contact:

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

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:34 pm

alcohol is evil, throw it in the trash
"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
rightviewftw
Posts: 1773
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:50 pm

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

Post by rightviewftw » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:27 pm

seeker242 wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:28 pm
One should be setting in motion, right now, the causes and conditions for such to happen, which includes not intoxicating yourself.
I do agree with this. Also i do not look at any precept as "optional", even small transgressions are regretable how much more so is getting drunk, even by non-Buddhists it is considered one of the hardest drugs.

User avatar
rightviewftw
Posts: 1773
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:50 pm

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

Post by rightviewftw » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:34 pm

another thing is that i do not think it should be overly demonized because that can make those who cant help themselves feel worse than they have to and create more attachment for them as they feel like bad people, failures, helpless addicts, like the practice is not for them etc...
If it seems like i am downplaying the importance of the precept when talking to alcoholics who cant stop, it is for those reasons that i do it.

Patrice
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:16 pm

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

Post by Patrice » Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:03 pm

I like to think of the precepts as "Things that can get us into trouble and can make us suffer". A dozen beers turns me into an idiot each time. A glass of wine during dinner doesn't. So I don't drink a dozen of beers anymore. But I do have a glass of wine over a meal. To me, it's a question of knowing the risks and know yourself.

That being said, I'd like to share a thought I had about alcohol the other day. I live among natives in the arctic. For them, alcohol has been around for no more than 150 years. When it comes to alcohol, things are much different here than what it was back home where I'm from. A few beers and they go nuts, they fight, rape, whatever (I'm not exaggerating). It's a huge problem. What takes me 24h to eliminate from my body, they need a full week. Alcohol related birth defect is 30x higher for them. They know how bad it is so in many communities, they (the natives) make laws to prohibit alcohol. They pretty much made the 5th precepts a community law because it makes total sense at this point in time for them. Will it still make as much sense in another 2500 years? I don't know. But it will be less of a problem than it is now? Of course it will. Since we are talking about a precept that's 1000s of year old, I don't think it's science fiction to say that things might have changed a little over the years. But to what degree? Go figure. Again, that's just a reflecion I had.

User avatar
rightviewftw
Posts: 1773
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:50 pm

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

Post by rightviewftw » Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:54 am

i think everything regarding sensuality on account of what or in regards to what there arises liking, wanting, aversion, disliking or other unwholesome states unwholesome is unwholesome basically.

Also i think there are levels of perversion of perception, some things we could not or would not want to live with, other more subtle evil we still have enough blindspots to rationalize.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests