Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “disadvantages of liquor” 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 2 - Disadvantages of liquor

As the Buddha said to the upāsaka Nan t’i kia (Nandika), wine has thirty-five disadvantages.[1] What are these thirty-five?

1)     In the present (iha) lifetime, wealth (vasu) is exhausted. Why? When one drinks wine and becomes intoxicated, the mind loses any moderation (mātra) and one spends without reckoning.

2)     Drink is the door to all illnesses (sarvavyādhidvāra).

3)     It is a source of quarreling and disputes (vigrahavivādamūla).

4)     The drunkard is not ashamed of being seen naked (nagna).

5)     He has a bad name, bad reputation and is not respected by people.

6)     Drink ruins knowledge.

7)     The drunkard does not get the good things that he should obtain, and he loses those that he has already obtained.

8)     He tells people all his secrets (guhya).

9)     He misses all kinds of business and realizes nothing.

10)   Drunkenness is a source of grief (śakamūla). Why? Drunkenness involves many lapses (hāni) and when one awakens, there is shame (hrī), confusion (apatrāpya), sadness (daurmanasya) and grief (śoka).

11)   Physical strength (kāyabala) progressively diminishes.

12)   Beauty (rūpa) changes.

13)   The drunkard no longer respects his father.

14)   He does not respect his mother.

15)   He does not respect monastics (śramaṇa).

16)   He does not respect brāhmanas.

17)   He does not respect his uncles or old people. Why? Because, in his grief and the troubles of drunkenness, he no longer makes distinctions.

18)   He no longer venerates the Buddha.

19)   He no longer respects the Dharma.

20)   He no longer respects the Community (saṃgha).

21)   He mixes in the intrigues of evil people (durjana).

22)   He distances himself from beauty (bhadra) and wholesomeness (kuśala).

23)   He becomes an immoral person (duḥśīlapuruṣa).

24)   He has neither shame (hrī) nor embarrassment (apatrāpya).

25)   He does not guard his six sense organs.

26)   He lets himself go (read tsong ki: 120 and 11, 49) and neglects himself (pramāda).

27)   People hate him; they are not pleased to see him.

28)   He is rejected by serious people, his relatives (jñāti) and his friends (mitra).

29)   He cultivates bad dharmas (akuśaladharma).

30)   He abandons good dharmas (kuśaladharma).

31)   He does not enjoy the trust (prasāda) of intelligent (medhāvin) and learned (paṇḍita) people. Why? Because of the lapses (pramāda) due to wine.

32)   He is far from nirvāṇa.

33)   He plants the causes and conditions (hetupratyaya) for madness (unmāda).

34)   At the destruction of the body (kāyabheda) at the end of his life (jivitaparyavasāna), he falls into the bad destinies (durgati), into hell (niraya).

35)   If he succeeds in being reborn as a man, he will always be mad (unmatta). [158c]

These are the various faults of drink. This is why one should not drink. Some stanzas say:

Wine wastes the intellect (buddhi),
Beauty (rūpa) is changed and is ruined,
The mind is agitated and disturbed
Shame (hrī) is diminished.

Wine ruins memory (smṛṭi) and excites anger (krodha),
It ruins joy (muditā) and breaks up families.
What is called “drinking”
Really is taking the poison of death (mṛtyuviṣa).

One is worried when one should not be worried,
Then one laughs when one should not laugh,
One cries when one should not cry,
One strikes when one should not strike.

One speaks when one should not speak,
One is no different from a madman.
Wine removes all good qualities (guṇa).
The person who has self-respect does not drink.

Footnotes and references:


Cf. Nandikasūtra, in Feer, Extraits, p. 247; T 81, p. 899b26–c12.