Second reply of Beer-Chang to TeaArticle 5 of 7 The verdict of a Wise Tibetan King

Arbitration of a Buddhist king between Beer and Tea.


The king delivers a perfect lesson of Buddhism applied to this casus belli :

Tea and Chang are in an unprecedented war. The main cause of this situation, the root of their ulterior motives, is again caused by attachment to oneself. This tree gave life to the boughs of other delusions: passionate attachment to misconception, as well as to various other branches and flowers. From beginningless time until today, it has led to the fruition of cyclic existence, but of course it resulted in suffering. Therefore, the root of grasping at oneself should be cut by the axe of knowledge and wisdom. The branches of grasping at oneself and others should be sawed into pieces. The leaves of the misperception of attachment and hatred are to be illuminated by the sun of wisdom. If the fruition of the lower states of birth and experiences of self-grasping return to their natural state, then the '84,000 soldier army' of the three poisonous afflictions[1] would be attacked and defeated completely. Then the main army of the Great Blissful Buddha body would triumph: the entire process resembling the return of a rabbit to its hole. "


The Buddhist king sets the scene: Chang and Tea are under the rule of ignorance and ego. Ignorance of the great law of "cause and effect". Neither Beer nor Tea are the cause of the wonders, benefits or prejudices they claim or denounce. Human beings are solely responsible for their behaviour in their present life, and by their previous existences. Chang is not responsible for drunkenness, disturbance of the mind, loss of insight, but the drinker is. The same goes for Tea. What to do? To condemn Chang or Tea: nonsense. To enlighten the mind, to understand, to sympathize, this is the Buddha's pathway. The king first of all tries to separate truth from falsehood in every utterances of Chang and Tea.


To the discrédit of Chang :

  •    Beer certainly comes from Mother-White Barley. But the strength of the Lamas, Yidams, Dakinis and Protectors of the Doctrine comes neither from their beer offerings nor from the beverages they drink, for they have liberated themselves from thirst and hunger. Their strength grows when they accept all kinds of offerings from the laity (including jars of beer-chang), in order to open the door for these human beings to gain merits. So, ignorance of Chang.
  •    In ancient times, the Tibetans were offered 5 kinds of seeds by the deities, from which they got the beer[2]. This great antiquity of beer does not attribute to it any prerogative over the tea that came later. In the time of the Tibetan kings who were protectors of the faith, beer was the only one honoured, including for Buddhist rituals. But already at the time of Mila and Dagpo Lhaje, the tea recently introduced into the country was used for auspices. Both beverages are means of livelihood, not finalities in themselves. Chang can derive no special status from his long history. Henceforth, tea and beer are among the 5 liquid offerings of the laity.
  •    Chang brings intelligence, courage and joy. But the abuse of chang causes the worst evils. Chang is guilty of omitting these consequences, by its own ignorance. If in the future the lovers of chang refrain from overindulging, this lie by omission will be weighed again.
  •    Mixing salt and butter with tea does not impoverish the country. It is overstated to say that monks, mothers and young women, hiding in the summer to drink tea when it is hot, deplete the food reserves that will be lacking in winter.
  •    Chang is responsible for the actions committed under his influence: defeat of the gods imbibed of beer-chang against the Asuras, murder of the historical and Buddhist king Tri Ralpachen (704-797). But the episode of the beer-drunk disciple of Buddha will not be judged twice: the Buddha himself drew the consequences in the form of a monastic teaching and rule. Even a king does not go back on this.
  •    Tea cannot be assimilated to the toxic seshing-tree, except by deception.
  •    Chang is the amrita of the Indian canonical texts and sastra, the beverage of rituals and offerings, but not the nectar (dutsi) contained in the sacred bowl of Tara, goddess of meditation. Even less the celestial nectar that gave the Asura so much strength that neither Brahma nor Indra and the other gods could overcome them." After having a drop of that celestial nectar one becomes very powerful and mighty, but after having taken you, although one becomes strong, one loses the ability to uphold one's body and runs into a wall bashing one's head. Sometimes one even falls into a ditch, becoming wounded or full of misfortune, and so on. Therefore, you cannot compare your qualities to the qualities of that celestial nectar." Chang is guilty of excess.


To the discrédit of Tea :

  •    Tea claims to be a child of the Tree of cogitation and the Tree of Enlightenment. No evidence of that is found in the corpus or the Buddhist Pramāna (true body of knowledge). Tea lies
  •    The leaves collected in summer, autumn and winter are not three kinds of tea from the same tree, but leaves in three states. Trickery commit by Tea.
  •    Tea claims to be the root of life for every believer. Only pure Dharma possesses this quality. Foolishness of Tea.
  •    Every historical example of incompatibility between beer and Buddhism is the result of a misinterpretation done by Tea. Buddha forbids beer to those who follow the Way, but only they, because it makes the drinker sleepy rather than awake. Atisha sends Matripa away from the garden of his disciples, not because of the chang that he has drunk, but to go later with him to Tibet to spread the Doctrine. Birwapa stops the course of the sun while he pays the female brewer the price of all the beer-chang he has drunk, but this miracle aims at converting the inhabitants of the country to Buddhism, not at throwing shame on the beer tavern. Tea's ignorance about the true meaning of these exemplary lives.
  •    All the accidents that Tea attributes to the excess of beer among the royal courts are not proven. Langdarma, who murdered his brother and king, was known for his taste for alcohol, his violence and his hostility to Buddhism. His evil nature was cause of the misfortunes whose he instigated, not the beer he abused. Tea has cheated.


[1] The 3 poisonous humans affects: Desire, Aversion and Ignorance.

[2] "5 kinds of grains" is a wording from India. But one finds easily this expression in classical Chinese documents where the "6 grains" are: millets (2 species), wheat/barley (grouped), rice, hemp and soya.

Second reply of Beer-Chang to TeaArticle 5 of 7 The verdict of a Wise Tibetan King