Becky applied to attend a course at the Abbey. In her application she said that she had a drink several times a week. We responded by asking her to stop drinking completely at least a month before coming to the Abbey so that she didn’t have to deal with changing this habit while at the Abbey. That way she would be able to abide happily in the precept of not taking intoxicants and focus on her Dharma practice.
Becky responded eagerly saying, “Thank you! I am really looking forward to the retreat. As for drinking, if Venerable Chodron is encouraging me to stop, I can and I will. I don’t think I have a real dependence on it, but I guess I will find out, won’t I? And that will be a good thing to know.”
Ten days later, she wrote us again, saying, “I just wanted to let you know that I stopped drinking as soon as I got your message. I put the precept to the test (so to speak) shortly after that. I was away from home for a week at a library conference, and I am happy to report that I didn’t drink, didn’t miss it, and enjoyed being clear-headed and unconcerned about saying something foolish to my colleagues. There was a real sense of peace and clarity that I had because it was one of the precepts, not something that I just thought would be a good idea on my own. I am so thankful for Venerable’s guidance.”
We rejoice at Becky’s courage in challenging herself and in her success in doing so. May all beings be clear-headed and unconcerned about saying something foolish!