Those who wish to be fully awakened
do not bear to spend even a moment
intoxicated or confused;
they only wish to further awaken.
If drinking like this profited us in this world or the next, what could one say? But in this world it leads to all manner of error, and causes both illness and loss of wealth. Wine has been called ‘the greatest of medicines’ [in ‘Han Shu’], but in fact all sickness springs from it. It is claimed that you forget your sorrows in drink, but from what I can see, men in their cups will in fact weep to recall their past unhappiness.
As for the next world – having lost the wisdom you were born with [through intoxication], reduced all your good karma to ashes, built up a store of wickedness and broken all the Buddhist precepts [through loss of mindfulness], you are destined for hell. Remember the Buddha teaches [in the Brahma Net Sutra] that those who lift the wines glass either to their own lips or to others’ will spend five hundred lifetimes without hands.
Essays In Idleness [徒然草: Scribbles In Vain]
Translated By Meredith Mckinney