Making fermented drinks

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
Digity
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Making fermented drinks

Post by Digity » Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:05 am

I'm planning to experiment with making fermented drinks. I've heard they're good for your gut health due to the probiotics, but I'm nervous about the drinks potentially containing too much alcohol in them. I first plan to try making kombucha, which only has 0.5% alcohol. That's the same amount non-alcohol beer has. Maybe I should just stick to that...but some other drinks that require longer fermentation I think come out with higher alcohol content. I think it can be up to 3%. I'd think at that amount you're breaking the precepts, no?

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Sam Vara
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:15 am

Digity wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:05 am
I'm planning to experiment with making fermented drinks. I've heard they're good for your gut health due to the probiotics
You might want to save yourself the bother.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45434753

With regard to tiny amounts of alcohol, it seems to be a matter of interpretation and judgement regarding the precept. I've heard of monks boiling off the alcohol in medicine (like Bach Flower Remedies) before taking it; whereas I know some lay people who allow themselves a single glass of wine because it does not impair heedfulness.

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Grigoris
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by Grigoris » Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:27 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:15 am
Digity wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:05 am
I'm planning to experiment with making fermented drinks. I've heard they're good for your gut health due to the probiotics
You might want to save yourself the bother.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45434753

With regard to tiny amounts of alcohol, it seems to be a matter of interpretation and judgement regarding the precept. I've heard of monks boiling off the alcohol in medicine (like Bach Flower Remedies) before taking it; whereas I know some lay people who allow themselves a single glass of wine because it does not impair heedfulness.
As far as I am aware it is allowed, according to the Vinaya, for a monastic to drink alcohol for medicinal purposes,
Last edited by Grigoris on Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha,
tesaṃca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo.

Of those phenomena which arise from causes:
Those causes have been taught by the Tathāgata,
And their cessation too - thus proclaims the Great Ascetic.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:31 am

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:27 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:15 am
Digity wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:05 am
I'm planning to experiment with making fermented drinks. I've heard they're good for your gut health due to the probiotics
You might want to save yourself the bother.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45434753

With regard to tiny amounts of alcohol, it seems to be a matter of interpretation and judgement regarding the precept. I've heard of monks boiling off the alcohol in medicine (like Bach Flower Remedies) before taking it; whereas I know some lay people who allow themselves a single glass of wine because it does not impair heedfulness.
As far as I am aware that it is allowed, according to the Vinaya, for a monastic to drink alcohol for medicinal purposes,
Thanks. Maybe they were being scrupulous, or this was something that they had carried over from lay life.

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Grigoris
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by Grigoris » Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:53 am

And again, as far as I am aware, a lay practitioner is under no obligation to uphold the fifth precept. It is voluntary.
ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha,
tesaṃca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo.

Of those phenomena which arise from causes:
Those causes have been taught by the Tathāgata,
And their cessation too - thus proclaims the Great Ascetic.

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Volovsky
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by Volovsky » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:40 am

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:27 am
As far as I am aware it is allowed, according to the Vinaya, for a monastic to drink alcohol for medicinal purposes,
No. If it tastes like alcohol, smells like alcohol or makes drunk, the monk shouldn't take it (if any of the three is present). But alcohol can be used for external purposes (rubbing).
And again, as far as I am aware, a lay practitioner is under no obligation to uphold the fifth precept. It is voluntary.
Yes. But still this person (even non-buddhist) would accumulate bad kamma when drinking alcohol. This holds for breaking any of the 5 precepts.

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Grigoris
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by Grigoris » Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:00 pm

Volovsky wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:40 am
No. If it tastes like alcohol, smells like alcohol or makes drunk, the monk shouldn't take it (if any of the three is present). But alcohol can be used for external purposes (rubbing).
ix: The Alcoholic Drink Chapter
51
The drinking of alcohol or fermented liquor is to be confessed.

“Then Ven. Sāgata went to the hermitage of the coiled-hair ascetic of Ambatittha, and on arrival—having entered the fire building and arranged a grass mat—sat down cross-legged with his body erect and mindfulness to the fore. 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 the Blessed One, having stayed at Bhaddavatikā as long as he liked, left on a walking tour to Kosambī. The lay followers of Kosambī heard, ‘They say that Ven. Sāgata did battle with the Ambatittha nāga!’

“Then the Blessed One, having toured by stages, came to Kosambī. The Kosambī lay followers, after welcoming the Blessed One, went to Ven. Sāgata and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there they said to him, ‘What, venerable sir, is something the masters like that is hard for you to get? What can we prepare for you?‘

“When this was said, some group-of-six bhikkhus said to the Kosambī lay followers, ‘Friends, there is a strong liquor called pigeon’s liquor (the color of pigeons’ feet, according to the Commentary) that the bhikkhus like and is hard for them to get. Prepare that.’

“Then the Kosambī lay followers, having prepared pigeon’s liquor in house after house, and seeing that Ven. Sāgata had gone out for alms, said to him, ‘Master Sāgata, drink some pigeon’s liquor! Master Sāgata, drink some pigeon’s liquor’ Then Ven. Sāgata, having drunk pigeon’s liquor in house after house, passed out at the city gate as he was leaving the city.

“Then the Blessed One, leaving the city with a number of bhikkhus, saw that Ven. Sāgata had passed out at the city gate. On seeing him, he addressed the bhikkhus, saying, ‘Bhikkhus, pick up Sāgata.’

“Responding, ‘As you say, venerable sir,’ the bhikkhus took Ven. Sāgata to the monastery and laid him down with his head toward the Blessed One. Then Ven. Sāgata turned around and went to sleep with his feet toward the Blessed One. So the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying, ‘In the past, wasn’t Sāgata respectful to the Tathāgata and deferential?’

“‘Yes, venerable sir.’

“‘But is he respectful to the Tathāgata and deferential now?’

“‘No, venerable sir.’

“‘And didn’t Sāgata do battle with the Ambatittha nāga?’

“‘Yes, venerable sir.’

“‘But could he do battle with even a salamander now?’

“‘No, venerable sir.’”

(§—Reading deḍḍubhena-pi with the Thai and Sri Lankan versions of the Canon.)

Object
Alcohol means any alcoholic beverage made from grain, yeast, or any combination of ingredients. Examples now would include whiskey, beer, vodka, and gin. Fermented liquor means any alcoholic beverage made from flowers, fruits, honey, sugar, or any combination of ingredients. Examples now would include wine, mead, and rum. Together, the two terms are meant to cover all kinds of alcoholic beverages.

There is some controversy as to what other substances would be included in this factor in line with the Great Standards. Because the Canon repeatedly criticizes alcohol on the grounds that it destroys one’s sense of shame, weakens one’s discernment, and can put one into a stupor—as happened to Ven. Sāgata—it seems reasonable to extend this rule to other intoxicants, narcotics, and hallucinogens as well. Thus things like marijuana, hashish, heroin, cocaine, and LSD would fulfill this factor. Coffee, tea, tobacco, and betel do not have this effect, though, so there is no reason to include them here.

Perception as to whether a liquid counts as alcohol or liquor is not a mitigating factor here (see Pc 4). Thus a bhikkhu drinking champagne that he thinks to be carbonated apple juice would fall under this factor, regardless of his ignorance.

Effort
The Vibhaṅga defines drinking as taking even as little as the tip of a blade of grass. Thus taking a small glass of wine, even though it might not be enough to make one drunk, would be more than enough to fulfill this factor.

The Vibhaṅga does not, however, indicate how offenses are to be counted here. According to the Commentary, the number of offenses involved in taking an alcoholic drink is determined by the number of separate sips. As for intoxicants taken by means other than sipping, each separate effort would count as an offense.

Non-offenses
The Vibhaṅga states that there is no offense in taking items that are non-alcoholic, but whose color, taste, or smell is like alcohol. Thus, for example, carbonated apple juice that resembles champagne would not be grounds for an offense.

There is also no offense in taking alcohol “cooked in broth, meat, or oil.” The Commentary interprets the first two items as referring to sauces, stews, and meat dishes to which alcoholic beverages, such as wine, are added for flavoring before they are cooked. Because the alcohol would evaporate during the cooking, it would have no intoxicating effect. Foods containing unevaporated alcohol—such as rum babas—would not be included under this allowance.

As for alcohol cooked in oil, this refers to a medicine used in the Buddha’s time for afflictions of the “wind element.” The Mahāvagga (VI.14.1) allows this medicine for internal use only as long as the taste, color, and smell of the alcohol are not perceptible. From this point, the Vinaya-mukha argues that morphine and other narcotics used as pain killers are allowable as well.

In addition, the non-offense clauses contain a phrase that can be read in two different ways. The first way would be, “With regard to molasses and emblic myrobalan, (there is no offense) if he drinks unfermented ariṭṭha.” This is the way the Commentary interprets the phrase, which it explains as follows: Ariṭṭha is the name of an aged medicine, made from emblic myrobalan, etc., whose color taste, and smell are like alcohol, but which is not alcoholic. This item, however, would seem to come under the first non-offense clause. Another way to read the phrase would be to take ariṭṭha as an adjective, which would yield, “With regard to molasses and emblic myrobalan, (there is no offense) if he drinks what has not fermented and not turned bad.” Perhaps the mixture of emblic myrobalan and molasses was used to make a type of toddy, in which case the allowance would grant permission for the mixture to be drunk before it had fermented. This allowance could then be extended to liquids like apple cider consumed before it has turned alcoholic.

Summary: Taking an intoxicant is a pācittiya offense regardless of whether one is aware that it is an intoxicant." https://www.dhammatalks.org/vinaya/bmc/Section0021.html
Yes. But still this person (even non-buddhist) would accumulate bad kamma when drinking alcohol. This holds for breaking any of the 5 precepts.
How exactly would I accumulate "bad kamma" by, for example, sharing a glass of beer at home with my wife?
ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha,
tesaṃca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo.

Of those phenomena which arise from causes:
Those causes have been taught by the Tathāgata,
And their cessation too - thus proclaims the Great Ascetic.

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Volovsky
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by Volovsky » Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:02 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:00 pm
The Vibhaṅga states that there is no offense in taking items that are non-alcoholic, but whose color, taste, or smell is like alcohol. Thus, for example, carbonated apple juice that resembles champagne would not be grounds for an offense.
This I didn't know. Thanks for pointing this out.
As for alcohol cooked in oil, this refers to a medicine used in the Buddha’s time for afflictions of the “wind element.” The Mahāvagga (VI.14.1) allows this medicine for internal use only as long as the taste, color, and smell of the alcohol are not perceptible.
Also intersting. But this wouldn't really contradict to what I said: no taste, no smell. I assume all alcohol is evaporated when heated in oil. But apparently medicine, which is dissolved in alcohol (as some medicines nowadays) wouldn't be allowable. And for monks it is unallowable to drink "even (as much as) with a blade of grass".
How exactly would I accumulate "bad kamma" by, for example, sharing a glass of beer at home with my wife?
Unfortunately Buddha didn't described the exact mechanism, how this happens. But he said:
Drinking liquor and wine, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being drinking liquor and wine at minimum conduces to madness.
(AN 8.40)

I would assume, that by drinking alcohol a person is trying to create some sort of madness or dull mindness (may be even in micro scale). So, that what he/she will get eventually. Of course, you can argue that glass of wine doesn't count as "developed, and cultivated" but I wouldn't go the risk on, especially since we all know how fast one glass becomes two. But the choice is yours, of course :smile:

binocular
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by binocular » Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:13 pm

Volovsky wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:02 pm
I would assume, that by drinking alcohol a person is trying to create some sort of madness or dull mindness (may be even in micro scale).
I agree.
This is also why mild intoxication (whether due to consuming smaller quantities of potent intoxicants, or due to consuming weak intoxicants) is so dangerous because it leads the person to believe that there's nothing wrong with a little intoxication or that they can handle it.

Mild intoxication blinds one to its effects: one doesn't see that one is intoxicated. If one drinks a bottle of wine and becomes drunk, one knows one is drunk and one knows how imparied one's capacities are. But if one drinks just a glass of wine or eats a chocolate, the intoxication is mild and barely noticeable, which, if repeated, can lead one to think that one isn't under the influence at all.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

dharmacorps
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by dharmacorps » Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:22 pm

The 5th precept is to "abstain from intoxicating drink and drugs that lead to carelessness". Alcohol is an intoxicating drink, therefore, consuming it intentionally is breaking the 5th precept. If you don't hold the 5 precepts, then this isn't a problem. If you don't want to follow the precepts, then it also isn't a problem. If you are looking for loopholes, justifications, and excuses because you want to drink alcohol containing substances while also telling yourself you are following the 5th precept, then you probably do have a problem.

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Grigoris
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by Grigoris » Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:32 pm

binocular wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:13 pm
...the intoxication is mild and barely noticeable, which, if repeated, can lead one to think that one isn't under the influence at all.
Because essentially they are not.
ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha,
tesaṃca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo.

Of those phenomena which arise from causes:
Those causes have been taught by the Tathāgata,
And their cessation too - thus proclaims the Great Ascetic.

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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by DNS » Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:33 pm

Digity wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:05 am
I first plan to try making kombucha, which only has 0.5% alcohol. That's the same amount non-alcohol beer has.
I saw a guy on youtube attempting to get drunk on kombucha and he couldn't do it. He drank dozens of bottles, forgot how many he did. All he did was vomit from excessive drinking and then tested the alcohol in him with a breathalyzer and it only read something like 0.01 or something like that.

I don't normally watch videos like that, but I had the same question, regarding the alcohol content of kombucha.

TRobinson465
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by TRobinson465 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:01 am

No amount of alcohol is good for you.

https://www.npr.org/2018/08/24/64161893 ... udy-claims
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

TRobinson465
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by TRobinson465 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:02 am

dharmacorps wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:22 pm
The 5th precept is to "abstain from intoxicating drink and drugs that lead to carelessness". Alcohol is an intoxicating drink, therefore, consuming it intentionally is breaking the 5th precept. If you don't hold the 5 precepts, then this isn't a problem. If you don't want to follow the precepts, then it also isn't a problem. If you are looking for loopholes, justifications, and excuses because you want to drink alcohol containing substances while also telling yourself you are following the 5th precept, then you probably do have a problem.
^This
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

binocular
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by binocular » Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:13 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:32 pm
binocular wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:13 pm
...the intoxication is mild and barely noticeable, which, if repeated, can lead one to think that one isn't under the influence at all.
Because essentially they are not.
Oh, yes, "essentially". "Essentially", nothing is an intoxicant because there is nobody to become intoxicated ...

dharmacorps wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:22 pm
If you are looking for loopholes, justifications, and excuses because you want to drink alcohol containing substances while also telling yourself you are following the 5th precept, then you probably do have a problem.
Exactly.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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