Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön | 2001 | 940,961 words

This page describes “various kinds of drinks” as written by Nagarjuna in his Maha-prajnaparamita-sastra (lit. “the treatise on the great virtue of wisdom”) in the 2nd century. This book, written in five volumes, represents an encyclopedia on Buddhism as well as a commentary on the Pancavimsatisahasrika Prajnaparamita.

Part 1 - Various kinds of drinks

“Not to drink wine” (madyavirati). – There are three kinds of wine: i) cereal wine (surā), ii) fruit wine (phalamadya), iii) herb wine (oṣadhimadya).

Fruit wine. – Grapes (drākṣā), berries of the A li tcha (ariṣṭaka) tree, and other similar fruits give fruit wine. [158b]

Herb wine. – Any herb mixed with rice flour (read mi mien = saktu) or sugarcane (ikṣurasa) juice can change into wine. Also the wine derived from the milk (kṣīra) of hoofed animals: any fermented milk can give wine.

Briefly (samāsataḥ), liquors, dry or wet, clear or cloudy, that cause excitation (kampana) or weakness (pramāda) in the human mind are called wine.

They should not be consumed, and this is what is called abstaining from liquor (madyavirati).

Question. – Wine can combat cold (śīta), strengthen the body and rejoice the mind. Why not drink it?

Answer. –The benefits of wine for the body are very rare, but the damages (upaghāta) are very numerous. This is why it should not be drunk. Wine is like excellent food into which poison has been mixed. What are these poisons?