The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Sura is a strong distilled alcoholic beverage. It is referred to as an anesthetic by Sushruta (a surgeon in India around 4 BCE) before the advent of surgical operation. Other ancient medical authorities also mention it; Charaka referred to making a woman with a miscarriage senseless to pain by administering alcoholic drinks like sura, sidhu, arishta, madhu, madira or Asava.
The method for preparation appears in the Atharvaveda in the Kandas 5 and 8.
In Buddhist texts sura is mentioned as one of intoxicating drinks, along with (Pali) meraya and majja (maybe equivalent of Sanskrit madhu, mead or hydromel), and renunciation of its usage constitutes the 5th of the Buddhist precepts (pancasila): "I undertake the training rule to abstain from fermented drinks which cause heedlessness" (Surāmerayamajjapamādaṭṭhānā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi).