Making fermented drinks

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

Post by Digity » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:09 am

Are some of you saying that even if a drink contains 0.05% percent alcohol, which is safe to serve even to a child, then you're breaking the precept if you drink it?

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Volovsky
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by Volovsky » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:40 am

Digity wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:09 am
Are some of you saying that even if a drink contains 0.05% percent alcohol, which is safe to serve even to a child, then you're breaking the precept if you drink it?
I would go the rule I've already mentioned: if it doesn't smell, doesn't taste like alcohol and doesn't make drunk, then it is okay. I have heard this criteria from one monk, who was strict in Vinaya, I believe it should be somewhere in vinaya or in the commentaries.

binocular
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by binocular » Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:35 pm

Digity wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:09 am
Are some of you saying that even if a drink contains 0.05% percent alcohol, which is safe to serve even to a child, then you're breaking the precept if you drink it?
Of course.
which is safe to serve even to a child
What's the relevance of mentioning this?
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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DNS
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by DNS » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:46 pm

binocular wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:35 pm
Digity wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:09 am
Are some of you saying that even if a drink contains 0.05% percent alcohol, which is safe to serve even to a child, then you're breaking the precept if you drink it?
Of course.
Isn't it possible that some foods eaten become about 0.05 in the body as the body digests it? For example, sugar, bread and similar foods digesting slowly in the body and then becoming alcohol, albeit very small trace amounts?

I'm not trying to justify small amounts of alcohol, it's just that I thought I heard somewhere that even regular foods can turn into small trace amounts as they digest.

binocular
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by binocular » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:19 pm

DNS wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:46 pm
I'm not trying to justify small amounts of alcohol, it's just that I thought I heard somewhere that even regular foods can turn into small trace amounts as they digest.
Yes, they do. Some animals eat some overripe fruits or drink nectar and get a high on them (link 1, link 2).

There are also some jams, esp. the one made from plums, that can ferment, and then they taste and smell like Schanpps/Slivovitz. I don't know about the alcohol content of those; but I do know that some change happens because fresh jam doesn't have that taste and smell, but once it's stood for a while, it does.

Case in point: It's the season for making Slivovitz here and two of my neighbors brew it at home, and the smell goes through the neighborhood. I'm sure there is some alcohol even in those fumes in the air. Am I breaking the precept if i breathe that air? I say that if I breathe it in with the intention to enjoy it, then, yes.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

Digity
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by Digity » Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:21 pm

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.
https://www.dhammatalks.org/vinaya/bmc/Section0021.html

So, those of you that think kombucha is fine disagree with the definition given by Vibhaṅga?

I'm sort of torn, because I've drank a bunch of kombucha and felt no intoxication at all. I'm just drinking it because I think it's good for your gut (potentially), I like tea and it tastes pretty good too. I'd hate to dump out all this kombucha I'm making...this is my first time doing homemade.

Digity
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by Digity » Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:25 pm

One thing I will say, I seem to have broken the precepts a few times during holidays when my sister brought desserts with alcohol in them and I'd eat them. I have this paranoid belief that she was trying to get me to consume alcohol, because she knows I don't, but maybe I'm just being paranoid...and weird to think that. It just seemed odd that she started making those alcohol desserts suddenly and never made them before. Anyway. at the time I figure it was fine, but realize now that was a violation....since I don't believe the alcohol was really cooked.

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DNS
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by DNS » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:20 pm

Digity wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:21 pm
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.
https://www.dhammatalks.org/vinaya/bmc/Section0021.html

So, those of you that think kombucha is fine disagree with the definition given by Vibhaṅga?

I'm sort of torn, because I've drank a bunch of kombucha and felt no intoxication at all. I'm just drinking it because I think it's good for your gut (potentially), I like tea and it tastes pretty good too. I'd hate to dump out all this kombucha I'm making...this is my first time doing homemade.
It doesn't sound like a violation considering the intent is for health (if it even works for that, we're not entirely sure) and there is no taste or smell of alcohol, nor any effects of alcohol. Stores that sell it have to make sure it is below .05 otherwise they would have to put it in the liquor section, as under 21 can legally buy kombucha. And then the point I made above how even food could ferment in the stomach and might produce .05 (unintentionally).

However, the Vibhanga passage sounds very strict, so maybe one of our Vinaya experts might have a better and more clear opinion.

dharmacorps
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by dharmacorps » Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:16 am

Digity wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:25 pm
One thing I will say, I seem to have broken the precepts a few times during holidays when my sister brought desserts with alcohol in them and I'd eat them.
I had this happen a few years ago at Christmas. I got a box of chocolate candies, and the first one I bit into I immediately knew had rum in it. Spit it out but the taste was in my mouth for hours. Now I won't eat such chocolates unless it is clearly marked they are alcohol free. Apparently tiramisu also has alcohol in it.

Digity
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by Digity » Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:57 am

dharmacorps wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:16 am
Digity wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:25 pm
One thing I will say, I seem to have broken the precepts a few times during holidays when my sister brought desserts with alcohol in them and I'd eat them.
I had this happen a few years ago at Christmas. I got a box of chocolate candies, and the first one I bit into I immediately knew had rum in it. Spit it out but the taste was in my mouth for hours. Now I won't eat such chocolates unless it is clearly marked they are alcohol free. Apparently tiramisu also has alcohol in it.
Yeah, my sister makes tiramisu with alcohol a lot of times during the holidays. It puts me in an awkward position of having to refuse to eat it.

I figured it wasn't such a bad thing, since I wasn't eating it to get drunk and the kids were eating it too.

binocular
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by binocular » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:40 am

Digity wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:25 pm
One thing I will say, I seem to have broken the precepts a few times during holidays when my sister brought desserts with alcohol in them and I'd eat them. I have this paranoid belief that she was trying to get me to consume alcohol, because she knows I don't, but maybe I'm just being paranoid...and weird to think that. It just seemed odd that she started making those alcohol desserts suddenly and never made them before. Anyway. at the time I figure it was fine, but realize now that was a violation....since I don't believe the alcohol was really cooked.
At this point, it might be in place to investigate why exactly you want to keep the precepts.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Grigoris
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Re: Making fermented drinks

Post by Grigoris » Tue Sep 11, 2018 5:09 pm

binocular wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:13 pm
Oh, yes, "essentially". "Essentially", nothing is an intoxicant because there is nobody to become intoxicated ...
No, I mean that if one has a small amount of alcohol every night then one quickly develops tolerance and one does not become intoxicated by it. Essentially they are not intoxicated.
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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