NPR contributor, Ted Rose, offers up a very interesting piece on mindfulness and the consumption of alcohol. It’s well worth the read.
…once a meditator has developed basic Buddhist discipline (known as Hinayana training) and adopted the intention to dedicate his or her life to benefit others (the Mahayana view) the practitioner is ready to incorporate Vajrayana teachings, in which the simple prohibitions outlined in traditional Buddhist sutras are re-evaluated. When a meditator reaches this point, which usually takes a number of years, a dangerous substance like alcohol is viewed—within a context of strong discipline and clear intention—not as a conventional escape, but instead as a tool for loosening the subtle clinging of ego.
The key here is that in the ultimate sense everything is an advanced practice, but we can’t shortcut this process. Ego’s will try, but this is why we take vows. The vows offer a moral code that is structured in ways that make it harder for the ego to think that it’s enlightened. Chogyam Trungpa perhaps exemplified this kind of misstep in his many “advanced” practices. And to be sure, I do my best to be mindful as I enjoy a glass of wine or my pizza and beer. But I (and the rest of us) must be careful with our “advanced” practices. Especially if they aren’t grounded in vows.
Bows, elephant journal.