The Bottle Finally Takes The Man

There was once a monk who was living in a mountain cave practicing meditation. His benefactor down below would bring up food from time to time. He also had a beautiful daughter who would bring the supplies for the monk, and over time, she became completely smitten with him.


Eventually, she suggested to the monk that she would like to marry him. The monk replied, “I couldn’t possibly do that. I’m a celibate monk. I’m sorry.” She was greatly disappointed and she returned down the mountain.

The next time she went up the mountain, she brought a goat to offer to the monk. She then suggested that they could both slaughter the goat and have a feast together. “Oh no, I can’t do that. I’m a Buddhist monk. I cannot kill a living being.” So back down the mountain she went.

The next time, she returned with a big jug of Tibetan beer, which is known as “chang”. She said, “Okay, you cannot marry me and you cannot kill. But surely you can drink!” The monk pondered, “The fifth precept is the least important. The least harmful of the five precepts would be to drink the chang.” So he said, “Okay, we shall drink the chang together.” And so they did.

Of course, the monk could not control himself and got completely drunk. In the process, he first broke his third precept of celibacy (for monks). Then feeling hungry, he saw a chicken and decided to have it for food, thus breaking the second precept of stealing and then the first precept of killing. The next morning, when the neighbour asked if he had seen his missing chicken, the monk replied in the negative, thus  the monk replied in the negative, thus breaking his fourth precept. Thus, the monk ended up breaking all the five precepts because he thought the fifth precept on abstaining from alcoholic drinks was the least important for his practice! There is a Tibetan saying,

First man takes a bottle,
Then the bottle takes a bottle,
And finally the bottle takes the man!

– Yangsi Rinpoche


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