The Five Precepts Blues; #5.1 – sloppy drunk / the precept to refrain from intoxication

Standard

The Buddha said, “Whoever destroys living beings, speaks false words, who in the world takes that which is not given to him, or goes too with another’s wife, or takes distilled, fermented drinks — whatever man indulges thus extirpates the roots of himself even here in this very world.”

Refraining from these actions, we have, of course, the five precepts, also called “manussa-dhamma” or “the Dharma for human beings”;

1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.

2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.

3. Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.

4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.

5. Suramerayamajja pamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.

Let’s start with the fifth and work our way up…

A friend of mine, who knows these things, once told me the fifth precept arose from complaints to the Buddha that certain members of the Sangha appeared to be drunks and the Buddha responded accordingly.

Superficially, breaking the fifth precept doesn’t seem as serious or harmful as the others, but it could sort of be seen as the key stone which holds the others in place. The final word, carelessness, is the complete opposite of mindfulness, what most of us are trying so hard to cultivate. Without mindfulness, practice becomes little more than a house of cards.

[click on the image to open the song in a new tab/page]

2 responses »

  1. There are passages in the Pali Canon where Buddha clarifies the fifth precept. He means: Don’t consume any alcohol or other intoxicating substance.

    Of course, not everyone wants to give up consumption and so they focus on the “heedlessness/carelessness” clause, as if one could consume just a little without effect. But, as Thich Nhat Hanh says, intoxication begins with the first glass.

  2. Jut to add to Barry’s comment… we are intoxicated by the belief that we can indulge in a little bit and not cause harm; or that we can segment out the precept to soothe our discomfort with what it is asking of us. That form of thinking feeds the preferential mind.

    Love the banner picture, btw. Very intoxicating! 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s