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1310Fifth Precept

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  • cammack
    May 10, 2012
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      Dear venerable monks
      I am in some confusion regarding the fifth precept.  I have never taken any kind of drugs but I do drink alcohol in moderation. I often have a glass of wine or a glass of whisky and water while I relax before my dinner. Sometimes beer if the weather is hot. I never drink when I am going to drive and seldom when I am dining out with friends.
      There seem to be various views regarding this question. Some say it is strictly against the rules while others say that it is OK in moderation. For example in "The Eightfold Path for the Householder"  Jack Cornfield says, "It means don't take intoxicants or drugs or alcohol to a point where you become heedless, where you lose your awareness. It doesn't mean don't have a glass of wine or whatever, but it means pay attention, don't harm yourself or the things around you by indulgence in a way that leads to carelessness or heedlessness or loss of consciousness"  In "The Noble Eightfold Path" the author, Bikkhu Bodhi, doesn't mention the Fifth Precept at all. I have also read that it is permitted except during certain times of the year - I am not sure which these are.
      As a practicing lay person how should I act? May I continue drinking in moderation or must I abstain completely?
      Please give me your views on this.
      With loving kindness