The Monk and the Village Girl

I’ve taken the 5 main Buddhist precepts countless times. They are:  no killing, no stealing, no harmful speech, no sexual misconduct, and the fifth and most widely disregarded: no intoxicants.

That final one, oh I know so many Buddhists who don’t follow it. It’s taught that the reason for intoxicants can make mindfulness difficult, meditation challenging, and the other precepts harder to adhere to. There is a story to explain it  I’ve heard in various forms.

There was once a monk who lived in a cave on a long meditation retreat. A young girl from the village in the valley would come up to visit and bring gifts. Once she brought a goat and flirtatiously asked him to kill it for her so they could eat it together. He refused. Another time she came up and took off her clothes, tried to seduce him. He refused. The next time she came up she brought him beer. He almost refused, but then figured it would do no harm and maybe it would get her off his back. So he drank the beer. Then he killed the goat and had sex with the girl.

When lamas tell this story in teachings everyone always laughs knowingly.  I’ve done many things after a drink that I never would have done sober. I went a decade without drinking, and after my divorce I took it up again like I did in high school, as though no time had passed. I didn’t see the harm. But even when I just had one or two drinks  it would disconnect me from my source, even if only temporarily. I also noticed that at my age even 2 glasses of wine made me dull and groggy the next day. I let days slide by without getting the mail. My “check engine” light in my car was on for over a year. I stopped meditating. I made poor choices in men. I never killed a goat, but who knows what the future held 😉



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