Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Why would drinking alcohol lead to car accidents?
Driving a car is a relatively simple task, that most can do without accidents. However, add even a small amount of alcohol to the equation and the risks increase significantly.
Controlling the mind is a difficult task, that most cannot do without accidents. Add even a small amount of alcohol to the equation, let alone frequent and habitual use, and the chances of controlling the mind diminish exponentially.
There are other forms of intoxication, which are equally dangerous, or even more dangerous — fame, power, pride, etc. Alcohol taken frequently and habitually will destroy any sense of urgency regarding the spiritual quest, quite apart from the actual physical harm to one's health.
The early Saṅgha were all Noble Ones who knew without being told that sexual intercourse, using money, drinking intoxicants, wrong-livelihood, etc., were unsuitable for one gone forth as a recluse (see the Upakkilesa Sutta, Book of Fours). It was only later, when men with inferior perfections, or with ulterior motives, joined the Saṅgha that rules needed to be laid down and only after transgressions had been made.
Thank you Bhante, very well put. I like the comparison you drew between driving and mental training.