Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Anything goes (almost).

Which do you think is worse?

Eating meat
10
36%
Drinking alcohol
12
43%
Neither: They are equally bad
6
21%
 
Total votes : 28

Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby kirtu » Mon May 10, 2010 11:08 am

Astus wrote:One shouldn't confuse killing with eating meat. They are not the same.


In a demand-driven economic system they are the same. With a decrease in demand there will eventually be a decrease in production.

If eating meat is a problem because (in most cases) it is a result of someone killing an animal, and by buying meat one indirectly is involved in the meat industry, paying taxes is even more problematical. Or, for instance, I work at an IT company that I know is involved in government and military things too, therefore my work indirectly supports the soldiers on the battlefield.


Quite correct. But Hungary is not involved in war at the moment.

On Planet Earth, at this time, unless we really work hard at separating ourselves from society, we cannot disengage ourselves from the overall creation of suffering that the larger society engages in. If we disengage ourselves from that society then we may violate our Bodhisattva Vows (of course we can always go to a society that creates less suffering).

If you live in a NATO country then you do in fact indirectly support the current wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan through your taxes (unless the society has a peace exception in the tax system - I am unaware of any such society). If you are a US citizen then you have to consider the alternatives - not supporting defense activities will in fact lead to more killing on US soil eventually because there are groups of people who do want to kill US citizens on US soil.

We need to be creative and find alternatives that at least reduce suffering. But in our current situation, we cannot eliminate the suffering of food production or through normal activities disengage ourselves from participation in war.

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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby kirtu » Mon May 10, 2010 11:14 am

Huseng wrote:By eating meat, however, you are basically having someone else do something that you yourself are probably not willing to do.

It is passing off the horrific karma of killing to someone else and not worrying about the repercussions they will suffer.

Is that really an indication of bodhicitta?


You are assuming that people are not concerned about the repercussions of the karma of killing in order to eat meat. What is the basis for this assumption?

Some Tibetan Buddhists are taught that they can help the dead animal by eating meat so how does this factor in?

If a Dharma practitioner is told by a doctor to eat meat or observes themselves that their health improves with eating meat, then is it better overall for them to do so and continue Dharma activity or is it better for them to maybe get ill and depart this life?

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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby Astus » Mon May 10, 2010 11:42 am

Huseng,

"By eating meat, however, you are basically having someone else do something that you yourself are probably not willing to do."

Please, make a difference between intentional act and interconnectedness. There is neither the karma of kiling nor the breaking of the precept against taking lives involved in buying a sausage. There is no moral responsiblity in what one hasn't done. I may give some money to a homeless person from what he buys liquour, or meat, or a knife to take lives and rob people. I may buy something on a flea market that was stolen. This is being connected with many bad things, being connected with the entire society.

There are many other products which involve killing of animals, like soaps, shoes, jackets, glue, medicine, make ups, etc. And in case one would use synthetised ingredients, such chemicals may very well harm animals (like fish) when they make contact with it through sewage water, etc. What to do about these things? Am I morally responsible for the death of a cow/pig if I wash my hands? And there was no mention of pesticides used in farming, killing thousands of animals and polluting the air and the soil.
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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby Ella » Mon May 10, 2010 11:43 am

I see nothing wrong in eating meat alcohol however causes problems like drinking behavior i dont see people who have ate meat after a night out smashing things and causing them selfs to be lifted by the police i dont see anyone going into rehab because they have ate to much meat or meat ruining peoples lifes and them around them
am talking from experience i had a problem with drink it ruined my life and those around me i would drink every night until one day i ended up with ripping the lining of my stomach and started to be sick with blood in it because i didnt eat and was drinking all the time now i dont touch it at all and i see how dangerous it is

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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby Astus » Mon May 10, 2010 11:45 am

Kirt,

Hungary is a NATO country, not just money but soldiers too go to the war. To make it worse, I work for an American company.
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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby Indrajala » Mon May 10, 2010 12:11 pm

kirtu wrote:
And are you certain that the scriptures being quoted are definite and not interpretable?



It is quite clear when the line reads, "Eating meat destroys the seed of Buddhahood." Buddha is also quoted as saying he now forbids the consumption of meat. A minor Bodhisattva vow also includes in plain language a vow where one promises to not eat flesh.

It is quite clear. There is no room for any other interpretation.


Animals certainly do not want to be slaughtered. And everyday millions of them do experience a horrific end.


Does that justify eating them? If fewer people eat meat, the market demand decreases and less animals are meeting horrific ends.

However, another aspect to this is the sometimes heard injunction that eating meat in a tantric context will be beneficial to the being who's flesh is consumed. The few times I have eaten meat in the past few years I have always prayed that the beings may be immediately reborn in the Pure Lands.


Do you really believe that works for anyone? I think such practises might only be relevant to advanced practitioners.

It is a cultural fact that Tibetan Buddhists eat meat. It is also a fact that there have been some lamas opposed to widespread meat eating but they form a minority in Tibetan Buddhist thought.


I'm aware of that. But you and I are not Tibetan so that cultural reality does not apply to us.
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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby Indrajala » Mon May 10, 2010 12:18 pm

Astus wrote:Please, make a difference between intentional act and interconnectedness. There is neither the karma of kiling nor the breaking of the precept against taking lives involved in buying a sausage.


There is an intention to purchase a sausage which is made from slaughtered animals. If you buy that sausage you directly support the industry that produces such products by killing animals. It is quite a direct cause and effect relationship. It might not constitute a violation of precepts for those without vegetarian vows, but it still ghoulish and without compassion.

There is no moral responsiblity in what one hasn't done. I may give some money to a homeless person from what he buys liquour, or meat, or a knife to take lives and rob people. I may buy something on a flea market that was stolen. This is being connected with many bad things, being connected with the entire society.


Meat is a bit different. The animals have no choice. The butchers ply their trade because people purchase sausages. There is a market demand. That demand is filled.

There are many other products which involve killing of animals, like soaps, shoes, jackets, glue, medicine, make ups, etc. And in case one would use synthetised ingredients, such chemicals may very well harm animals (like fish) when they make contact with it through sewage water, etc. What to do about these things? Am I morally responsible for the death of a cow/pig if I wash my hands? And there was no mention of pesticides used in farming, killing thousands of animals and polluting the air and the soil.


The lesser of evils is still refraining from eating meat.

Many insects die in order for grain to be produced. I acknowledge that.

However it takes 14 kilos of grain to produce 1 kilo of beef.

So, if you eat beef it is not only the cow that was killed, but also the insects that had to die to produce such a large quantity of grain to produce such a small amount of meat.

Vegetarianism is the lesser of evils. It is the compassionate route to take. By refraining from eating meat you contribute to the welfare of animals and the environment.

You may not be able to save the whole world, but restraining yourself in a few ways can be of great benefit.
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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby Astus » Mon May 10, 2010 12:45 pm

Huseng,

I don't question at all that not eating meat is related to some lessening in production. All I've argued for that meat eating is not breaking the precept against killing or taking the karma of killing. On the other hand, it is breaking the precept against meat eating of course, if one has taken that vow.
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True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
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This face, the face at birth."

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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby Dexing » Mon May 10, 2010 5:18 pm

Astus wrote:One shouldn't confuse killing with eating meat. They are not the same. The precept against killing includes asking someone else to do it, includes even telling others that it is OK to kill. But if you don't ask for it, it is not killed for you, there is no harm on one's "precept-body", neither is there intentional act (karma) of killing involved.


However, people don't usually find steaks lying on the sidewalk. They order them in a restaurant, which is asking for it and partaking in the process of killing, selling, cooking and using an animal for food.

The animal was killed directly for the consumer. Being a consumer, paying for the meat you are directly linking yourself to the kill. It's not as indirect as it seems.

On the topic of "pure meat" (not seen, heard, or known to have been killed for you), that is Hinayana teaching. As stated in the Lankavatara Sutra;

"And some people will say: 'In other sutras, the Tathagata has allowed eating of three kinds of meat', they simply do not understand that the meaning of precepts is to stop meat eating gradually, so they will say that meat eating is allowed."

It is said also in the Lankavatara Sutra; those who "look at living beings as meant for food and destruction-- no compassion is awakened in them".

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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby Astus » Mon May 10, 2010 7:03 pm

Dexing,

Compare these two:

“Bodhisattvas and bhikshus who practice purity will not even step on grass in the pathway; even less will they pull it up with their hand. How can one with great compassion pick up the flesh and blood of living beings and proceed to eat his fill? Bhikshus who do not wear silk, leather boots, furs, or down from this country or consume milk, cream, or butter can truly transcend this world. When they have paid back their past debts, they will not have to re-enter the Triple Realm. ... Both physically and mentally one must avoid the bodies and the by-products of living beings, by neither wearing them nor eating them. I say that such people have true liberation."
(Surangama Sutra, ch. 5)

"Kasyapa said again to the Buddha: "If the Tathagata means to prohibit the eating of meat, such things as the five kinds of flavours as milk, cream, fresh butter, clarified butter, and sarpirmanda, all kinds of clothing, silk cloth, horse-shoe shell, hide and leather, bowls of gold and silver should not be received." "O good man! Do not muddle things up with what the Nirgranthas [Jains] say. Each of the prohibitions which the Tathagata lays down has a different meaning. By this, three pure meats are permitted standing on different grounds and the ten kinds of meat are prohibited by different standpoints. By different standpoints, all are prohibited, until the time of one's death. O Kasyapa! "I, from now on, tell my disciples to refrain from eating any kind of meat"."
(Nirvana Sutra, ch. 7)

Interestingly enough, what the Surangama Sutra prohibits is called the teaching of Jains in the Nirvana Sutra.

Dexing wrote:Being a consumer, paying for the meat you are directly linking yourself to the kill.


I understand direct link to mean immediately involved and indirect link to be involved via separate steps. That way being a consumer is an indirect link. But again, I didn't say a meat eater cannot be linked to the killing of animals but that there is no killing, or the intention of killing on his part. Therefore using and consuming animal products is not negative karma. And it shouldn't be forgot that karma is personal and not something that could be produced by someone else.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby Indrajala » Mon May 10, 2010 10:11 pm

Even if there is Jain influence in Buddhist morality as taught in some scriptures, I don't see that as a problem.

The Jains respect the welfare of even plants. Such a way of thinking should be revered even if we disagree on the sentient factor of plants especially in our present day when so much environmental destruction is being laid on plant life.
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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby catmoon » Tue May 11, 2010 10:40 pm

I don't think either one is worse. Or better for that matter.
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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Tue May 11, 2010 10:55 pm

Is this going to turn into one of those old eSangha threads about how many insects are killed by cultivating crops?

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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby kirtu » Wed May 12, 2010 5:29 am

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:Is this going to turn into one of those old eSangha threads about how many insects are killed by cultivating crops?

:stirthepot:


Sure - it's already been mentioned at least once.

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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby kirtu » Wed May 12, 2010 5:45 am

Huseng wrote:
kirtu wrote:
And are you certain that the scriptures being quoted are definite and not interpretable?



It is quite clear when the line reads, "Eating meat destroys the seed of Buddhahood." Buddha is also quoted as saying he now forbids the consumption of meat. A minor Bodhisattva vow also includes in plain language a vow where one promises to not eat flesh.

It is quite clear. There is no room for any other interpretation.


Sure there is. A person or group devoted to vegetarianism inserted the line in the sutra. May or may not be true but we'd have to examine the history of the sutra to see if we can determine it.

BTW where is the minor Bodhisattva vow you referenced?

Animals certainly do not want to be slaughtered. And everyday millions of them do experience a horrific end.


Does that justify eating them? If fewer people eat meat, the market demand decreases and less animals are meeting horrific ends.


The supply response is relatively inelastic - in part because suppliers expect other people to eat meat.

However, another aspect to this is the sometimes heard injunction that eating meat in a tantric context will be beneficial to the being who's flesh is consumed. The few times I have eaten meat in the past few years I have always prayed that the beings may be immediately reborn in the Pure Lands.


Do you really believe that works for anyone? I think such practises might only be relevant to advanced practitioners.


It is clearly relevant for some practitioners. However while this is said to be the case I have never heard it taught by a lineage master or a khenpo.

It is a cultural fact that Tibetan Buddhists eat meat. It is also a fact that there have been some lamas opposed to widespread meat eating but they form a minority in Tibetan Buddhist thought.


I'm aware of that. But you and I are not Tibetan so that cultural reality does not apply to us.


It was not so long ago in the West that it was in fact very difficult to eat veg food regularly esp. in restaurants. The current state of affairs (a near vegetarian paradise compared to 15 years ago) is a recent development.

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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby Indrajala » Wed May 12, 2010 7:40 am

kirtu wrote:
Sure there is. A person or group devoted to vegetarianism inserted the line in the sutra. May or may not be true but we'd have to examine the history of the sutra to see if we can determine it.


Even if the line was inserted, it still holds true to Buddhist ethics and there is scriptural support for such a statement in other sutra. Therefore it should be considered and examined.


BTW where is the minor Bodhisattva vow you referenced?



Brahma Net Sutra. Here is the Chinese line:

《梵網經》卷2:「若佛子。故食肉一切肉不得[17]食。斷大慈悲[18]性種子。一切眾生見而捨去。是故一切菩薩不得食一切眾生肉。食肉得無量罪。若故食者。犯輕垢罪。」(CBETA, T24, no. 1484, p. 1005, b10-13)
[17]食+(夫食肉者)【明】。[18](佛)+性【宋】【元】【明】【宮】。

"If you are a son of the Buddha, you must not intentionally eat meat. All meats are not to be consumed. It cuts away great compassion and the seed of Buddhahood. All beings will see you and flee. For this reason all Bodhisattvas must cannot eat the meat of any and all beings. Eating meat brings about immeasurable sins. Thus one who intentionally eats meat violates and commits a minor sin."



The supply response is relatively inelastic - in part because suppliers expect other people to eat meat.


As the number of vegetarians increase, companies produce special products for them and the face of some supermarkets changes. Likewise, as vegetarians increase the demand for meat will decrease. Nobody will want to raise animals that are not going to be sold.

It was not so long ago in the West that it was in fact very difficult to eat veg food regularly esp. in restaurants. The current state of affairs (a near vegetarian paradise compared to 15 years ago) is a recent development.



This is a positive development, I welcome it and hope it continues.
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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby Clueless Git » Wed May 12, 2010 9:38 am

Huseng wrote:Even if the line was inserted, it still holds true to Buddhist ethics ...

Particularly the 'ethic' of wishing all sentient beings to be free from suffering and its causes.
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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby kirtu » Wed May 12, 2010 1:56 pm

Huseng wrote:
kirtu wrote:
Sure there is. A person or group devoted to vegetarianism inserted the line in the sutra. May or may not be true but we'd have to examine the history of the sutra to see if we can determine it.


Even if the line was inserted, it still holds true to Buddhist ethics and there is scriptural support for such a statement in other sutra. Therefore it should be considered and examined.


However it has to be interpreted because .....


Brahma Net Sutra. Here is the Chinese line:

《梵網經》卷2:「若佛子。故食肉一切肉不得[17]食。斷大慈悲[18]性種子。一切眾生見而捨去。是故一切菩薩不得食一切眾生肉。食肉得無量罪。若故食者。犯輕垢罪。」(CBETA, T24, no. 1484, p. 1005, b10-13)
[17]食+(夫食肉者)【明】。[18](佛)+性【宋】【元】【明】【宮】。

"If you are a son of the Buddha, you must not intentionally eat meat. All meats are not to be consumed. It cuts away great compassion and the seed of Buddhahood. All beings will see you and flee. For this reason all Bodhisattvas must cannot eat the meat of any and all beings. Eating meat brings about immeasurable sins. Thus one who intentionally eats meat violates and commits a minor sin."


1. Eating meat cannot cut away the seed of Buddhahood since it is impossible to cut away the seed of Buddhahood.
2. When I did the Aitkins Diet all beings did not flee from me (however perhaps I am reaping that karma now as all employers have apparently fled from me).
3. If eating meat cut away the seed of Buddhahood for real then it wouldn't be ranked in the last line as a minor sin.
4. Some Tibetan Buddhists will regard sutras that proclaim injunctions against meat eating as interpretable since this was one of Devadatta's heretical teachings.
5. Meat eating is really taken on the same level with patricide, matricide, intentionally killing a Buddha or an Arhat, intentionally shedding the blood of a Buddha or an Arhat or causing a schism in the sangha? If so there should be six heinous sins rather than five heinous sins.

The supply response is relatively inelastic - in part because suppliers expect other people to eat meat.


As the number of vegetarians increase, companies produce special products for them and the face of some supermarkets changes. Likewise, as vegetarians increase the demand for meat will decrease. Nobody will want to raise animals that are not going to be sold.


In the US, the number of vegetarian people has increased over the past century (or even the past decade) but meat eating has increased as the population has increased. So a measurable increase in the percentage of vegetarians has not resulted in decreased meat production. In fact at the US Department of Agriculture meat consumption is (or was in the 80's and 90's) dogmatically taken as an indication of increasing personal wealth.


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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby kirtu » Wed May 12, 2010 7:58 pm

kirtu wrote:In the US, the number of vegetarian people has increased over the past century (or even the past decade) but meat eating has increased as the population has increased. So a measurable increase in the percentage of vegetarians has not resulted in decreased meat production. In fact at the US Department of Agriculture meat consumption is (or was in the 80's and 90's) dogmatically taken as an indication of increasing personal wealth.


Here is an article explaing Harris Poll results on vegetarianism in the US.

And here is one set of statistics demonstrating that a measurable rise in vegetarianism, at least in 10% of 25-34 US year olds (in 2003), has had no verifiable effect in reducing meat production (except that the reduction in meat production from 2007-2008 does approximate a reduction of meat eating in 10% of 1/4 of the overall population - the fluctuations may be partly caused by fluctuations in meat eating patterns but the meat industry will general link these fluctuations to variations in income).

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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby Indrajala » Thu May 13, 2010 1:47 am

kirtu wrote:And here is one set of statistics demonstrating that a measurable rise in vegetarianism, at least in 10% of 25-34 US year olds (in 2003), has had no verifiable effect in reducing meat production (except that the reduction in meat production from 2007-2008 does approximate a reduction of meat eating in 10% of 1/4 of the overall population - the fluctuations may be partly caused by fluctuations in meat eating patterns but the meat industry will general link these fluctuations to variations in income).

Kirt



That's probably because they're exporting more meat to meat loving cultures like Japan and Korea which have money to blow and no qualms about eating animals.
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