Friday, April 18, 2014


I quite enjoyed watching this video this morning.

On thing that strikes me about this video from 1993, 21 years ago, is that Bhante thinks about the consequences to others. Pratityasamutpada is the first thought. If someone references a red herring of other's behaviors, then he suggests people focus on themselves. He demonstrates a kind of democracy, in that they voted on whether to add a 11th precept, and it failed. He discussed the differences between the west and India, where drinking is more taboo. He talks about his own example, where he quit drinking all together even though he likes a drop of wine during a meal, because of the impact of others. I really like it that he supports the freedom of others, but shows such a kind example. Another tac he takes is that fine, you look at one example, but what about the majority example, can you see that? Finally he does say that there is to be no drinking in FWBO centers, now renamed TBC.

In all my time with the TBC, they were dry events, except parties. I do remember someone asking if I was fit to drive, after I'd had some beer. At the time I thought that was annoying question, but I think it's a fair question.

I have been reflecting a lot on drinking lately. I have brewed my own beer, and there have been times in my life when drinking did take energy and money from me. I do think I have alcoholic tendencies, and there were a lot of people in my life while I was growing up who you could say drink too much.

I remember in one of Bante's memoirs, he drove across Europe, and was astonished by how much of agriculture was given up to wine, and I think he said he stopped drinking at that point, because while he liked a little, he thought the world had devoted too many resources to drinking and he did not want to participate in that.

He also talks about contributing to the culture of bragging about drinking, and the effect that might have on other people.

One time when I wrote in the reporting journal of men who have asked for ordination, that I got tanked with my preceptor, and someone condemned me from Sri Lanka. I remember being very tired the next day for a retreat inside a prison. But in the end it went well. I think being in jail was very stressful for me, and that may have contributed to the drinking. Also some people bought us a round when we were about to leave, and they wanted to talk about Buddhism.

I guess I remember some bit in Milarepa where he drinks and thinks he gets enlightened. But if you look at that story, that is the only instance of drinking, and he's laid of lot of ground to get to the point, and maybe the drinking released some inhibitions. They talk about Ananda not being enlightened and wanting to join a counsel of remembered speech from the Buddha, but you had to be enlightened. This made his efforts more tense, but just before he fell asleep, he relaxed and achieved enlightenment.

What I think is interesting in all this is that it's a case by case example, and that you must consult with your spiritual friends. Friendship is the emphasis. They don't want to judge others. I really find the desire not to judge others as really important.

Bhante also uses the phrase "pseudo-spiritual book keeping" to refer to someone who says, "well, I don't drink so I can be a little lax with the speech precepts." Bhante says you must apply yourself to all the precepts and not look for excuses not to.

My son wants to use the computer to play Minecraft, so I'll edit this later.

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