the great vegetarian debate

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby tobes » Thu Jan 23, 2014 11:33 pm

Jigme Tsultrim wrote:What western philosophy refers to as contextualism and individualism are the very essence of the Buddha's teachings IMO. This in no way contradicts the importance of developing Boddicitta.
Having a history which includes a period of activism, I have sympathy/admiration for those who band together to fight the good fight, as they see it.
Getting back to the point of this thread, it is entirely ok to be vegetarian. Having been one myself for a considerable period, I get it. My objection is to anyone who claims that this is a Buddhist view. It certainly can be practiced from a Buddhist perspective. The practice of it could be seen to be a step in one's personal development, but based on the scriptural references both pro and con have offered here as well as the teachings I have received I see no justification for viewing the practice as being doctrinal. I maintain my obligation to consider anything I do or abstain from doing taking into account the conditions I find present.
To say that anyone arrives at their views as a result of yielding to temptation may trivialize and demean the well considered choices they may have made in response to their conditions. Regardless of how cleverly it is couched, dogma is still dogma.
To say that any idea applies to all situations is to reject Sunyata. As Nagarjuna pointed out, even emptiness is empty. Nagarjuna rejected causes. To establish a cause is to establish an essence. One has every right to do so of course but to do so is rejected as error by Madhyamika
http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/Nagarjuna/Chinn.htm
A well written review of some the work of Nagarjuna


It is a well written article. There is a long running debate in contemporary Madhyamika scholarship about this (and related) issues. Some great exchanges between Huntington (who defends a similar Rortyian position) and Garfield in Phil East & West. I think Garfield has it right, principally because of chapter 24 in the MMK and many statements in the Vig - Nagarjuna is clearly defending the relationship between the four noble truths, dependent co-arising and emptiness, and this relationship is nonsensical without reference to causation. i.e. does duhkah have a cause? The Buddha says it does, and I take Nagarjuna to be defending this very foundational proposition (in the Vig for example, against realists who claim that his doctrine of emptiness refutes the Buddha's own soteriological message). Moreover, if this cause had an essence, it could not be eradicated/relinquished.

Your claim that to establish a cause is to establish an essence is quite strange. It is rather that to establish that an entity has an essence, is to deny that it is subject to causes. i.e. the ontological definition of svabhava is that an entity is what it is in lieu of is primary qualities, and not on its dependent causes and conditions.

Nonetheless, I see how certain traditions - Dzogchen, Zen - can read Nagarjuna as denying all forms of causation. I have no issue with that, but I do not agree with that interpretation.

On the question of vegetarianism, I have not made any claims suggesting that it is a doctrinal Buddhist position.

:anjali:
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Jigme Tsultrim » Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:11 pm

If one accepts the assertion that all arises dependently, then the matter of the emptiness of causation becomes quit simple. The very assertion is sufficient. Further, what is the distinction of a cause from a condition? If one accepts the above assertion, there can be no distinction. Therefore causation is empty.
In regards vegetarianism, please excuse my attempt to avoid this discussion from becoming OT. The context of this thread being "The great vegetarian debate".
It does seem to me that the import of the two sides of this "debate" is that one side seems to claim a doctrinal justification for vegetarianism, while those on the other side dismiss that assertion. My own conclusion is in agreement with the latter taking Sunyata into account.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:28 pm

Jigme Tsultrim wrote:Nagarjuna rejected causes.


Ultimately, yes; conventionally, no.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:30 pm

tobes wrote:Nonetheless, I see how certain traditions - Dzogchen, Zen - can read Nagarjuna as denying all forms of causation.


Dzogchen does not reject causes and conditions conventionally, in fact it elaborates a whole elaborate scheme to explain the cause of samsara as well as consciousness, memory, etc.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby porpoise » Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:31 pm

Tomorrow I'm going for a walk with some friends so I've made some tasty quorn-sausage sandwiches ( with mustard ). :tongue:
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Jigme Tsultrim » Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:28 pm

porpoise wrote:Tomorrow I'm going for a walk with some friends so I've made some tasty quorn-sausage sandwiches ( with mustard ). :tongue:

That's nice. Have fun and a great day!. Tomorrow I'm going to have bacon, a cheese omelet, and a baked potato, then go pot some orchids.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby gad rgyangs » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:22 pm

causation can be said to operate conventionally in the same way that a person with defective vision sees hairs: in each case the appearance is accepted at face value, as in a dream.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:41 pm

Jigme Tsultrim wrote:If one accepts the assertion that all arises dependently, then the matter of the emptiness of causation becomes quite simple. The very assertion is sufficient. Further, what is the distinction of a cause from a condition? If one accepts the above assertion, there can be no distinction. Therefore causation is empty.


Just because causes are empty of inherent reality (they are conditioned arising themselves) does not mean a result does not occur from their component arising nature. A thing does not have to be inherently existent in order to be a cause. It can be the result of causes and also be the cause of something else. For example, eating tofu and rice today caused me to be full without eating any meat. The meal as well as the eater are empty of any inherently self-arising reality. All the same, I caused it to be cooked, and it caused me to not be hungry.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:20 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:causation can be said to operate conventionally in the same way that a person with defective vision sees hairs: in each case the appearance is accepted at face value, as in a dream.



Indeed, yet it appears.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
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he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby tobes » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:48 pm

Malcolm wrote:
tobes wrote:Nonetheless, I see how certain traditions - Dzogchen, Zen - can read Nagarjuna as denying all forms of causation.


Dzogchen does not reject causes and conditions conventionally, in fact it elaborates a whole elaborate scheme to explain the cause of samsara as well as consciousness, memory, etc.


Let me re-phrase: I see how certain interpreters of Dzogchen, Zen, can read Nagarjuna as denying all forms of causation....

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:54 am

tobes wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
tobes wrote:Nonetheless, I see how certain traditions - Dzogchen, Zen - can read Nagarjuna as denying all forms of causation.


Dzogchen does not reject causes and conditions conventionally, in fact it elaborates a whole elaborate scheme to explain the cause of samsara as well as consciousness, memory, etc.


Let me re-phrase: I see how certain interpreters of Dzogchen, Zen, can read Nagarjuna as denying all forms of causation....

:anjali:



The main point being made is that causality itself cannot withstand ultimate analysis.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Jigme Tsultrim » Sat Jan 25, 2014 1:02 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Jigme Tsultrim wrote:If one accepts the assertion that all arises dependently, then the matter of the emptiness of causation becomes quite simple. The very assertion is sufficient. Further, what is the distinction of a cause from a condition? If one accepts the above assertion, there can be no distinction. Therefore causation is empty.


Just because causes are empty of inherent reality (they are conditioned arising themselves) does not mean a result does not occur from their component arising nature. A thing does not have to be inherently existent in order to be a cause. It can be the result of causes and also be the cause of something else. For example, eating tofu and rice today caused me to be full without eating any meat. The meal as well as the eater are empty of any inherently self-arising reality. All the same, I caused it to be cooked, and it caused me to not be hungry.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby gad rgyangs » Sat Jan 25, 2014 3:22 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Jigme Tsultrim wrote:If one accepts the assertion that all arises dependently, then the matter of the emptiness of causation becomes quite simple. The very assertion is sufficient. Further, what is the distinction of a cause from a condition? If one accepts the above assertion, there can be no distinction. Therefore causation is empty.


Just because causes are empty of inherent reality (they are conditioned arising themselves) does not mean a result does not occur from their component arising nature. A thing does not have to be inherently existent in order to be a cause. It can be the result of causes and also be the cause of something else. For example, eating tofu and rice today caused me to be full without eating any meat. The meal as well as the eater are empty of any inherently self-arising reality. All the same, I caused it to be cooked, and it caused me to not be hungry.
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and how does this differ from any other realist description of causality? saying "oh, its empty of inherent reality" is just a bunch of words. Who has ever seen an "inherent reality"? Theres just appearances and awareness. The rest is stories: you can tell stories about causality or stories about inherent boogie-men, its all the same blah blah blah. Dreaming that your arm fell off and then "explaining" it with a story that makes sense to you in the dream "oh, that lightpole over there said that the sidewalk is green, and that caused my arm to fall off!", and then thinking you've said something meaningful. Then say "hey, just because its a dream doesn't mean there's no cause and effect, see, the pole talked & my arm fell off: QED!"
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby porpoise » Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:30 am

Jigme Tsultrim wrote:
porpoise wrote:Tomorrow I'm going for a walk with some friends so I've made some tasty quorn-sausage sandwiches ( with mustard ). :tongue:

That's nice. Have fun and a great day!. Tomorrow I'm going to have bacon, a cheese omelet, and a baked potato, then go pot some orchids.


:tongue:
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Election by lot » Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:30 am

I do not say this to be provocative, but I hope that everyone can realize:

The excuses being offered here (for eating meat, inside Buddhism) are the same as the excuses everywhere else (not connected to Buddhism in any way).

For those who are still eating meat:
Why not pause to recognize that the first stage of what you are doing is constructing an excuse?

If you recognize that this is something you need to make excuses for, then you already know it is bad or wrong (even if your excuses are totally convincing, to your own mind's eye). So, why make excuses?

The argument, "I am an adult, I make my own decisions", is something you will see all over the internet (in places that have no connection to Buddhism). What do people really mean when they say this?

Implicitly, they mean,
(1) any attempt that other people make to debate my decisions must assume that I am a child, and must be belitting to me, and,
(2) any decision (any personal choice) is neither good nor evil, but is simply whatever I want it to be.

The debate begins with the understanding that the people involved are adults. The debate begins with the understanding that this is a matter of personal choice (that is being debated). It is absurd to see people trying (again and again) to end the debate, by pointing to these basic assumptions. It is absurd, and it is sad.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Simon E. » Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:44 am

I am not making an excuse.

I will be eating a chicken pie for my lunch.
I feel no need at all to make excuses for that or justify it.

Apart from anything else I am not overly concerned about your opinion about what appears on my lunch plate...just as I don't care what you eat. Unless you have a recipe to share.


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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby garudha » Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:24 pm

If one doesn't believe in death, then one wouldn't believe that the animal they are eating had even died.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:09 pm

garudha wrote:If one doesn't believe in death, then one wouldn't believe that the animal they are eating had even died.
The extreme of nihilism.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby yan kong » Sat Mar 29, 2014 2:23 am

I've not read the entire thread but as a vegetarian I am always rather surprised at how much compassion some vegetarians have for animals while being able to lash out at people who have different opinions than them.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Thrasymachus » Sat Mar 29, 2014 2:34 am

That is like saying abolitionists should have compassion for the feelings of slave owners -- by supporting slavery. Or that people in the Third World who are against imperialism, who don't have access to clean drinking water should have compassion for the possibly offended fat Americans who want to drive SUVs, eat meat, dairy or eggs every meal of everyday and otherwise live a ridiculously lavish lifestyle because of said imperialism -- since these slovenly people believe the American military is some global social welfare provider, and thus the more valid perspective of the colonized could offend them.

You cannot equate the lives of animals, to the taste preferences of certain humans, unless you have a sick worldview. Also, imho, vegetarians cannot really speak out for animals, either, sorry.
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