Moment of Clarity

The Buddha laid down five guidelines for those who wished to follow the Dharma These were: Avoid killing, lying, sexual misconduct, stealing and intoxication While all the five guidelines are imperative for a peaceful and happy life, here we will examine the how and why of intoxicationIn modern times, when the stress is high the desire to ‘unwind’ with a glass of wine becomes stronger.There is nothing wrong in it, even though drinking is not the ideal thing to do to de-stressHowever, if you.become mindful of what the Buddha cautioned against, you will be able to enjoy these experiences better.

Be fully awareWe all have the Buddha mind in us Every sentient being has it This mind is always present, always clear, and always perfect The natural expression of the perfect mind is clarity The problem is when this mind is filled with delusions, aggressive and non-virtuous thoughts arising out of the five poisons of pride, ignorance, greed, jealousy and desire If we continue to carry out all our actions with this karmic mind, it often leads to suffering If we try and understand the difference.between the base and the karmic mind, we will be able to clearly see the afflicted mind.

As alcohol enters our blood stream, it brings confusion with it Gradually, as the intoxicant starts affecting us, the clarity of the base mind and the dullness of the karmic mind merge The otherwise black-white starkness gives way to an increasing ‘grey area’ expanse or confusion As more alcohol enters the blood stream, it increases confusion A baffled mind cannot differentiate between virtuous and non-virtuous thoughts, words and actionsRetain your balanceWhile enjoying your tipple, be.aware of your thoughts.

If you sense the ‘grey expanse’, you need to be more vigilant and careful about your speech and actions Stop indulging when you feel that you are being enveloped by confusionGive time for the levels of intoxicants to settle down Practise awareness, when you are at a social do Often people overindulge and cause embarrassment to others Sometimes, the situation may become really ugly, even violent Many a time, the person who behaved inappropriately the previous evening, calls later to.apologise for his behaviour.

This happens only when clarity of the mind is restoredTibetan Buddhists say a short prayer before partaking of any alcohol or intoxicant They offer the drink to the presiding deities and Buddhas They pray for keeping the effects of the intoxicants under control, so that it can be easily digested by the body and doesn’t confuse the mindSo if you are mindful about the intake of intoxicants, you will see that they can actually be good for you in some ways If alcohol is used with awareness, we.can avoid the suffering it causes us by affecting our body and mind.