Maturity doesn't have to equal cruelty

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Maturity doesn't have to equal cruelty

Postby Luke » Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:26 pm

I was watching a TV reality show a few months ago in which a modern family tried to live out in the countryside the way the original explorers lived out West in America centuries ago. In the show, there was one part when the mother of the family held down a chicken while the father chopped off its head with an axe. Their son was in tears and had been holding the chicken in his arms for hours beforehand, and he didn't want his parents to kill the bird whom he regarded as his special friend. His parents disregarded their son's feelings as immature and seemed to imply that it was "mature" to be able to coldly kill an animal.

Why does "maturity" have to involve cruelty? I've seen other examples of this, such as when a father takes his son out hunting for the first time, and the boy doesn't want to kill the animal despite the fact that his father has become so used to killing animals. Why is it "manly" to kill animals? I have no desire to do this. If that's not "manly," then so be it. I'd rather be a Bodhisattva than a "real man" or a "mature" (cruel) adult.

I think from a Buddhist point of view, children who still love animals and don't want to kill them are much more mature and in tune with their natural state than their parents are who have made their hearts so hard and cold that they no longer feel real compassion for other sentient beings who are in the form of animals.

There is already enough suffering in the world without us adding to it.

May all beings be happy.

Om Ami Deva Hrih
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Re: Maturity doesn't have to equal cruelty

Postby Lazy_eye » Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:47 pm

I agree. That just sounds stupid and brutal.
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Re: Maturity doesn't have to equal cruelty

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:00 pm

If I remember right, it caused such an uproar and the incident with the child was seen as so harmful to the kid that the show was taken off the air in the US. Which is good :soapbox:
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Re: Maturity doesn't have to equal cruelty

Postby Luke » Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:21 pm

Ngawang Drolma wrote:If I remember right, it caused such an uproar and the incident with the child was seen as so harmful to the kid that the show was taken off the air in the US. Which is good :soapbox:

Really? It's nice to see that TV networks have some sense. The program I was talking about was on PBS.
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Re: Maturity doesn't have to equal cruelty

Postby clw_uk » Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:28 pm

Greetings


A lot of it comes from the view of the man as a bread winner of the family, so to be able to go and hunt and kill for food is seem by some as a one leaving childhood and entering manhood, being able to kill and provide for your family is a "manly" thing to do, to have to food brought to you is for children of women


Metta
Those who are lust-infatuated fall back to the swirling current (of samsara) like a spider on its self-spun web. This too the wise cut off. Without any longing, they abandon all dukkha and renounce the world

Dhammapada - Verse 347
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Re: Maturity doesn't have to equal cruelty

Postby Luke » Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:43 pm

clw_uk wrote:A lot of it comes from the view of the man as a bread winner of the family, so to be able to go and hunt and kill for food is seem by some as a one leaving childhood and entering manhood, being able to kill and provide for your family is a "manly" thing to do, to have to food brought to you is for children of women

I see your point, but a "bread winner" doesn't have to be a "meat winner."

Men can take the initiative and provide for their families by growing and gathering grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes and by raising and milking cows, goats, and yaks.

Killing any living creature breaks the refuge vow.

I have no problem with bringing home the barley!
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Re: Maturity doesn't have to equal cruelty

Postby Lazy_eye » Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:03 pm

I understand the breadwinner thing. I can even understand the meat winner thing (given that the parents are not Buddhists). What I can't understand is the need to deliver this lesson in such a boneheaded, insensitive way. It's like deliberately running over the family cat in order to teach a child about death.
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Re: Maturity doesn't have to equal cruelty

Postby clw_uk » Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:05 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:I understand the breadwinner thing. I can even understand the meat winner thing (given that the parents are not Buddhists). What I can't understand is the need to deliver this lesson in such a boneheaded, insensitive way. It's like deliberately running over the family cat in order to teach a child about death.



Unenlightened beings have a heavy amount of conditioning in the minds that they act on and believe to be true

The people we are discussing have been conditioned in some way to believe that if one is to be a true man, they must learn to kill or hunt


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Last edited by clw_uk on Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Those who are lust-infatuated fall back to the swirling current (of samsara) like a spider on its self-spun web. This too the wise cut off. Without any longing, they abandon all dukkha and renounce the world

Dhammapada - Verse 347
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Re: Maturity doesn't have to equal cruelty

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:06 pm

Luke wrote:
Ngawang Drolma wrote:If I remember right, it caused such an uproar and the incident with the child was seen as so harmful to the kid that the show was taken off the air in the US. Which is good :soapbox:

Really? It's nice to see that TV networks have some sense. The program I was talking about was on PBS.


Ah, I see. PBS must have picked it up. Thanks, I was a little confused as to how it was being aired given the public outcry about it :namaste:
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Re: Maturity doesn't have to equal cruelty

Postby clw_uk » Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:12 pm

Greetings


I see your point, but a "bread winner" doesn't have to be a "meat winner."

Men can take the initiative and provide for their families by growing and gathering grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes and by raising and milking cows, goats, and yaks.

Killing any living creature breaks the refuge vow.

I have no problem with bringing home the barley!



Sadly not everyone has the choice of just growing and eating these things, for some it is kill or watch themselves and their children slowly starve to death

However in 1st world countries, i see no reason to kill for food at all (unless one needs to eat meat for dietary reasons), let alone to prove one is a "man"


Metta
Last edited by clw_uk on Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Those who are lust-infatuated fall back to the swirling current (of samsara) like a spider on its self-spun web. This too the wise cut off. Without any longing, they abandon all dukkha and renounce the world

Dhammapada - Verse 347
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Re: Maturity doesn't have to equal cruelty

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:16 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:I understand the breadwinner thing. I can even understand the meat winner thing (given that the parents are not Buddhists). What I can't understand is the need to deliver this lesson in such a boneheaded, insensitive way. It's like deliberately running over the family cat in order to teach a child about death.


Well said Lazy_eye!
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Re: Maturity doesn't have to equal cruelty

Postby Luke » Sat Apr 18, 2009 10:12 am

The family in that series was extraordinarily rich in real life. Their real house was so big that they hardly noticed when the other members of their family were at home. It's like they had been alienated from each other and from nature by their extreme wealth. I think it shows how wealth can still lead to ignorance.
*******

I've experienced other examples of this same theme while I've eaten dinner at the houses of friends and relatives. I've often been told a story about how people brought their kids to meet some cow or sheep at a farm and then later told them that it had been slaughtered for meat and they joked about people being too sensitive to eat this animal.

It's like these people delight in the wickedness of befriending an animal only to later have it killed to eat it. It's just another example of cruelty being part of the culture of adults. Why should we laugh about the deaths of animals? Animals seek happiness, just like we do. When we can no longer feel sympathy for animals, I think we have lost something special. Sometimes children are wiser than we are.
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Re: Maturity doesn't have to equal cruelty

Postby genkaku » Sat Apr 18, 2009 10:41 am

It is better to be kind than unkind. But in order for the truth of such a statement to be realized, I think we must first address our own very real unkindnesses.

If someone thinks that because they are Buddhist and because they abstain from killing, they are somehow uninvolved in killing ... well, I think they had better think a little harder. Isn't each breath, each bit of barley, each chicken, something that might make the difference between life and death for some other being? Maybe going hungry for a while will help underline our imagined virtues.

No criticism or disrespect from here. I just think it's worth thinking about.
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Re: Maturity doesn't have to equal cruelty

Postby Drolma » Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:46 pm

*see post below*
Last edited by Drolma on Sat Apr 18, 2009 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Maturity doesn't have to equal cruelty

Postby Drolma » Sat Apr 18, 2009 3:48 pm

imagined virtues


– are there any other kind? :rolling:
Holding to inherent existence is behind both grasping and rejecting .

Free from holding things like 'virtues' to exist truly, or holding that they don’t exist at all, see all things as similar to illusions- merely labeled by mind - then the collecting of virtues, merits, and giving or dedicating without abiding, becomes a true wisdom practice. :bow:

I think that it is because we cannot live in this world and at the same time avoid harming other beings [like insects] - it is important that we avoid - knowingly - willingly and intentionally, taking the life of another sentient being.

I don't think that we need to go hungry, instead of underlining virtues from not intentionally killing, we could just dedicate those virtues to those who do not see any harm in killing, yet.

Precious supreme bodhi-mind,
May it, where unborn, arise
And, where born, never decline
But increase forever more.

:heart:
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Re: Maturity doesn't have to equal cruelty

Postby termite » Sat Apr 18, 2009 7:24 pm

genkaku wrote:Isn't each breath, each bit of barley, each chicken, something that might make the difference between life and death for some other being?


No. There is no difference. Which "other being" should die, so that which "other being" will live?
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Re: Maturity doesn't have to equal cruelty

Postby Luke » Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:05 pm

genkaku wrote:It is better to be kind than unkind. But in order for the truth of such a statement to be realized, I think we must first address our own very real unkindnesses.

If someone thinks that because they are Buddhist and because they abstain from killing, they are somehow uninvolved in killing ... well, I think they had better think a little harder.

Ha! Like my lama you prevent attachment even to holy acts and press for deeper insight... :meditate:

I didn't mean to imply that not eating meat automatically makes a person super-holy. I was just trying to examine some negative aspects of our culture. Yes, I still have a lot of my own negativities and I'm going through the slow process of trying to purify them.

termite wrote:
genkaku wrote:Isn't each breath, each bit of barley, each chicken, something that might make the difference between life and death for some other being?


No. There is no difference. Which "other being" should die, so that which "other being" will live?

So, the logical solution would be to harm as few total sentient beings as possible during our lifetime.

Drolma wrote:
imagined virtues

– are there any other kind? :rolling:
Holding to inherent existence is behind both grasping and rejecting .

Free from holding things like 'virtues' to exist truly, or holding that they don’t exist at all, see all things as similar to illusions- merely labeled by mind - then the collecting of virtues, merits, and giving or dedicating without abiding, becomes a true wisdom practice. :bow:

I think that it is because we cannot live in this world and at the same time avoid harming other beings [like insects] - it is important that we avoid - knowingly - willingly and intentionally, taking the life of another sentient being.

I don't think that we need to go hungry, instead of underlining virtues from not intentionally killing, we could just dedicate those virtues to those who do not see any harm in killing, yet.

Wow, Drolma. Your viewpoint on this issue is quite lofty and sounds like it's correct.

I guess the heart of the issue is whether Buddhism views types of social activism (such as promoting vegetarianism or other social issues) as meaningful or as pointless. In the Pali Canon, teaching the Dharma is called a virtue. I guess my thinking was that trying to get people to care about the suffering of animals is part of teaching the Dharma, and therefore something important.

Perhaps I should have posted this in the "Engaged Buddhism" subforum, but it had aspects of personal experience in it.
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Re: Maturity doesn't have to equal cruelty

Postby Drolma » Sun Apr 19, 2009 3:42 pm

I guess the heart of the issue is whether Buddhism views types of social activism (such as promoting vegetarianism or other social issues) as meaningful or as pointless. In the Pali Canon, teaching the Dharma is called a virtue. I guess my thinking was that trying to get people to care about the suffering of animals is part of teaching the Dharma, and therefore something important.


Hi Luke,
I don't believe that there are any actions that are pointless, all actions produce results. Because all things do not exist truly and are dependent, positive actions produce positive results and negative actions produce negative results - all actions matter. :twothumbsup:

These people who teach their children to kill, I don't think that anyone really delights in wickedness. No one delights in something that they believe in their heart of hearts is wrong. These kind of people really see no harm in killing, and think that those of us that do are just over sensitive, immature and silly. When someone is under the influence of delusions, and is acting on mental afflictions, ignorance is at play, people are not wicked or evil by nature. Their harmful actions plant seeds for further sufferings, so those harming are in need of our help and compassion. :thumbsup:
To be effective we need to check out our own beliefs and assumptions. For example, children are not always sweet, some kids enjoy harming insects and animals from an early age.
Wealth in itself does not lead to ignorance, ignorance with its attendent grasping and aversion leads to more ignorance. Wealth can be used to help animals in shelters and people who are hungry, it can support dharma centers. It depends on what a particular individual does with it.
Because we are not awake and all wise and knowing and can't see with an omniscient mind exactly what kind of action or teaching will help someone else, and suit their particular disposition, checking our assumptions and looking at what we bring to everything is important. Working with our own delusions and mental afflictions all the time time on the path, is essential. If we don't then we will bring our own ignorance and nonsense to everything that we encounter and just make matters worse, getting tangled in the eight worldly dharmas. People could even end up with a strong aversion toward the Dharma. That would be awful. Knowing that our own ignorance and aversion will cloud our judgment and that our attachment will stop us from being effective, keeps us mindful and on track.

:meditate:
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Re: Maturity doesn't have to equal cruelty

Postby genkaku » Sun Apr 19, 2009 5:10 pm

So, the logical solution would be to harm as few total sentient beings as possible during our lifetime.


... and perhaps learn to take responsibility for the harm that we (invariably) do?
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Re: Maturity doesn't have to equal cruelty

Postby termite » Sun Apr 19, 2009 5:40 pm

genkaku wrote:... and perhaps learn to take responsibility for the harm that we (invariably) do?


Taking responsibility, it seems to me, happens in the Department of Intentions. :)
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