the great vegetarian debate

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: Veganism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:11 pm

It's tempting to lure ourselves to believe that by eating vegan we don't contribute to suffering or contribute less, I know. That's debatable. Some say yes, some say no.
Can we now go :focus: ? That debate takes place in another sub forum and thread as above pointed. I'm to blame because I too participated in this derailment. But it can stop here. Otherwise I'll have to move our little debate to its proper place. :smile:
User avatar
Dechen Norbu
 
Posts: 2798
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:50 pm

Re: Veganism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:30 pm

I reckon the OP's question (flame) has been answered (extinguished) long ago and it was inevitable that this thread, being composed of one of the three Buddha Forum poisons, was going to travel down this path.
Image
"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
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 7938
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Veganism

Postby Thrasymachus » Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:37 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:Let's :focus: please.
...
It's hard to find a nutritionist or a doctor that says veganism is a diet without risks. It's not. One has to be well informed and not everyone is suited to follow such diet by a myriad of factors.
Thanks.


Doctors in my country only spend about 19 course hours in their whole study on nutrition according to this Pubmed study. In a week with effort, a month easily anyone can surpass that, so I don't see how you can use an argument from authority to support your position but feign benevolent neutrality. Again to my often raised point in this forum: you cannot ignore social systems. In addition to their almost non-existent training in nutrition, it is also too easy for large corporations to set up charities, "neutral" funds and "unbiased" studies to influence these doctors and other health care providers in the centrally located, top-down university systems that certify them for their professions. Alot of the people who actually look at social systems and criticize them say that the modern Western allopathic medical system developed precisely so that doctors as a group could not criticize or stop corporate or industrial growth with objections based on its ill-effects on health.

Also I echo Greg that this topic itself was started by a person who for some suspicious reason didn't even have the good faith to participate in it or this forum outside of the one seeding post.
User avatar
Thrasymachus
 
Posts: 272
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:28 am
Location: Dover, NJ

Re: Veganism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:55 pm

In spite of what you think- and you made some good points- the great majority of doctors doesn't give a rat's ass about the meat industry corporations and their opinions aren't based on their propaganda. Just because they don't agree with you, that doesn't make them wrong. Most don't give a rat's ass about vegan propaganda either. I come from a family with many doctors, so I know what I'm talking about. I'd also say doctors are well aware that many deaths deaths are mostly caused by diets that, if anything, include too much meat, accompanied with a bad lifestyle. This, however, doesn't bail out the vegan diet as a safe one. It's not. The vegan diet has risks if the person undertaking it is not well informed and persistent. That's not something that can be debated. People can be vegan by many reasons, but they must be made aware of the risks of having such a diet. That's all. This bares no consequence on the value of such lifestyle (because being a vegan is more than a diet) for those who chose to adopt it. Things are what they are, just that. :smile:
User avatar
Dechen Norbu
 
Posts: 2798
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:50 pm

Re: Veganism

Postby Thrasymachus » Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:12 pm

Doctors eliminate almost totally diet and lifestyle as a health factor, that is why they are so beneficial to corporations nowadays. If their social role was otherwise and they took diet and lifestyle into account they would be one of the biggest societal obstacles to agricultural and other conglomerates.

I take my elderly grandma all the time to traditional Western doctors and they are just pimps of pills and surgeries operationally. Most of their info on these pills comes straight from the companies that make them, they don't question the impact of diet on why so many millions have a pandemic of Western diseases of civilization like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, etc. They also receive so little actual education on nutrition your original point cannot be taken seriously. Even for what they do receive, there is the question of where it came from, because most research is industry funded and most government oversight groups are also funded by the industries they pretend to police.

So if you look at social conditions, you cannot use doctors as an excuse or evidence for the dangers of veganism. Doctors are a far bigger danger to public health than veganism.
User avatar
Thrasymachus
 
Posts: 272
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:28 am
Location: Dover, NJ

Re: Veganism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:52 pm

Well, that's your opinion. I don't feel obliged to share it. My view of western doctors is not that grim, even if I'm aware of some shortcomings concerning medicine.
User avatar
Dechen Norbu
 
Posts: 2798
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:50 pm

Re: Veganism

Postby tobes » Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:38 am

gregkavarnos wrote:Whereas choosing to eat corpses is not ideologically based, it is not a moral-political movement, it is not irrational? Its logic is not purely anthropocentric? It is based on a coherent and intelligent analysis? Workers in the meat industry are not exploited and destroyed both physucally and psychologically by their work?

Yeah, right!

Anyway, what in tarnations does working in sweatshops have to do with choosing not to eat and utilise animal products???

Sorry Tobes, but the fancy and academic nature of your language does not sucessfully cover up the weakness of your arguments.
:namaste:


Mods - I hope you don't mind me responding to a post explictly addressed to me, even though I agree that we're in the wrong place for this conversation.

Greg k - I think it is well justified to say that "eating corpses", through most of the history of human evolution, has not been predicated on ethical reflection - and therefore, it could not in any coherent sense be called ideological or moral-political. This is not to endorse or deny it - merely to say that through a great deal of human history, humans just ate what they ate.

Incidently, these days, when ethical reflection on diet is very prominent, I find that a lot of people deploy this evolutionary logic to justify a Paleolithic diet. They'll argue on 'this is natural' lines, Vegans will argue on 'this is morally consequential lines.'

I'm not trying to use fancy academic language - all I'm saying is that if there are strong ethical claims being made, we need to know what they are, and how they are being used to justify a position. Unfortunately, there's no way to do that without using the language of moral philosophy.

The sweatshop argument I made is as follows: 1/ A vegan does not eat honey because it is produced from an animal; because bees work hard to produce the honey, it is held that humans taking it is not morally justified.

2/The reasoning seems to be - the bees are exploited by the humans, in their production of honey.

3/ It follows that the moral problem is exploitation where production is concerned. (In this case, the bees themselves are not harmed or killed.)

My conclusion: If the moral problem is exploitation where production is concerned, all commodities where there is exploitation in production ought to be abstained from.

:anjali:
User avatar
tobes
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 987
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am

Re: Veganism

Postby tobes » Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:54 am

Sorry, one more thing - Peter Singer, probably the greatest philosophical influence in the spread and popularity of Veganism, endorses what he calls the Paris Exemption:

From Wiki - "Singer is not concerned about what he calls trivial infractions of vegan principles, arguing that personal purity is not the issue. He supports what is known as the "Paris exemption": if you find yourself in a fine restaurant, allow yourself to eat what you want, and if you're in a strange place without access to vegan food, going vegetarian instead is acceptable."

That's more or less what I was arguing for through this thread, although I am critical of Singer's reasoning.

:anjali:
User avatar
tobes
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 987
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am

Re: Veganism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:23 am

tobes wrote:Greg k - I think it is well justified to say that "eating corpses", through most of the history of human evolution, has not been predicated on ethical reflection - and therefore, it could not in any coherent sense be called ideological or moral-political. This is not to endorse or deny it - merely to say that through a great deal of human history, humans just ate what they ate.
Your source for this theory? Coz it seems to me that the majority of "pre-industrial" cultured people were VERY aware of the source of their "nutrition", respected the animals that they had to kill in order TO SURVIVE (not for taste) going so far as to generate rituals asking the animals for forgiveness for their action of killing and even worshiping the animals themselves as making the supreme sacrifice so that the people may live.
:namaste:
"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
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 7938
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Veganism

Postby Thrasymachus » Sat Mar 10, 2012 4:07 pm

Greg is right, there is even a TV series called Tribal Odyssey where I saw some Polynesian tribe making an elaborate ritual of forgiveness/celebration because they chopped down a tree to make a canoe. To them even the trees had spirits, were sentient, so they had to repent for chopping it down or else the spirit of the trees would curse them. They have a belief system that situates them firmly in the natural world. The people on this forum, have the opposite: we are part of a social and belief system that makes us combatants against the natural world.

Now for "primitive tribesmen" that hunted maybe you could even argue that eating meat in their context is more ethical, when compared to a "civilized" vegetarian society, because their way of life allowed more animals to go on totally unmolested than ours. But for us it is only possible to argue for meat eating in terms of ethics, resources, etc., if you ignore the system that brought the meat to us. The later is what many in this thread tend to because they think Buddhism is an excuse to ignore social systems and their evolution and instead stay with the meme that there was always greed and evil and that Buddhism always dealt with these problems, and these are new manifestations of the same. But our systems evolve to become more unethical, and inhuman each day. A good example is this video(not safe for children and psychologically distressing):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJ--faib7to
mercyforanimals wrote:"For the nearly 150,000 male chicks who hatch every 24 hours at this Hy-Line facility, their lives begin and end the same day. Grabbed by their fragile wings by workers known as "sexers," who separate males from females, these young animals are callously thrown into chutes and hauled away to their deaths. They are destined to die on day one because they cannot produce eggs and do not grow large or fast enough to be raised profitably for meat. Their lives are cut short when they are dropped into a grinding machine tossed around by a spinning auger before being torn to pieces by a high-pressure macerator."


People naturally, even perhaps the worst of us, are not this sadistic. To just immediately extirpate so many new lives as soon as they born in such a horrible and painful manner is part of a new game created by the institutions of Western civilization that put the search for efficiency and profit above every other consideration in life. It is because they are small part of a larger system and they feel they have little choice between that job and perhaps starvation that they can co-operate. Technology allows them seperation from the actual death blow, they just have to allow the assembly line of death to continue by ignoring its consequences, the grinder will do the rest, and they are paid to ignore it. One of the greatest intellectuals of the 20th Century explains this well:
Jacques Ellul wrote:In a society such as ours, it is almost impossible for a person to be responsible. A simple example: A dam has been built somewhere and it bursts. Who is responsible for that? Geologists worked on it. They examined the terrain. Engineers drew up the construction plans. Workmen constructed it. And politicians decided that the dam had to be in that spot. Who is responsible? No one. There is never anyone responsible. Anywhere. In the whole of our technological society the work is so fragmented and broken up into small pieces that no one is responsible. And no one is free either. Everyone has his own specific task. And that's all he has to do.

Just consider, for example, that atrocious excuse, it was one of the most horrible things I have ever heard. The person in charge of the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen was asked during the Auschwitz trial, the Nuremberg trials regarding Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen: "But didn't you find it horrible? All those corpses?" He replied: "What could I do? The capacity of the ovens was too small. I couldn't process all those corpses. It caused me many problems. I had no time to think about those people. I was too busy with that technical problem of my ovens." That was the classic example of an irresponsible person. He carries out his technical task and he's not interested in anything else.

Source: The Betrayal by Technology


This is why you cannot ignore systems and use Buddhist precepts as an excuse. Most of the evil, the negative karma, done now is legally protected and it is just a simple matter of doing one's job. The most direct evil you will do in the world is likely when you are on the time clock and the most evil you will collaborate with by your association is when you just buy say a package of flesh and thus make your compact with the industrial livestock and slaughter industries by funding them and giving them a reason to continue on.
User avatar
Thrasymachus
 
Posts: 272
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:28 am
Location: Dover, NJ

Re: Veganism

Postby LastLegend » Sat Mar 10, 2012 4:34 pm

Eating meats is a habit and this habit has some karmic relationship to the meat industry because by eating meats one is indirectly participating in the production of meats.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
User avatar
LastLegend
 
Posts: 1736
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: Veganism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sat Mar 10, 2012 5:28 pm

OK, guys, :focus:

:lol:
User avatar
Dechen Norbu
 
Posts: 2798
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:50 pm

Re: Veganism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sat Mar 10, 2012 5:47 pm

It was suggested to me to split this thread and place our little debate in the great vegetarian debate thread so that everyone can continue explaining his ideas. Anyone opposes?
User avatar
Dechen Norbu
 
Posts: 2798
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:50 pm

Re: Veganism

Postby tobes » Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:03 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
tobes wrote:Greg k - I think it is well justified to say that "eating corpses", through most of the history of human evolution, has not been predicated on ethical reflection - and therefore, it could not in any coherent sense be called ideological or moral-political. This is not to endorse or deny it - merely to say that through a great deal of human history, humans just ate what they ate.
Your source for this theory? Coz it seems to me that the majority of "pre-industrial" cultured people were VERY aware of the source of their "nutrition", respected the animals that they had to kill in order TO SURVIVE (not for taste) going so far as to generate rituals asking the animals for forgiveness for their action of killing and even worshiping the animals themselves as making the supreme sacrifice so that the people may live.
:namaste:


My source is nothing more than a mere unqualified assumption. Whilst it easy to find evidence for what ancient (even pre-civilised) homo sapiens ate, we can't really infer how (or if) they thought about what they ate. I take your point that some pre-industrial cultures might have demonstrated some kind of reflective awareness. But the majority? Going back 20,000 years? Your source for this theory?

:anjali:
User avatar
tobes
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 987
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am

Re: Veganism

Postby tobes » Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:03 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:It was suggested to me to split this thread and place our little debate in the great vegetarian debate thread so that everyone can continue explaining his ideas. Anyone opposes?


I think it's a wise move.
User avatar
tobes
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 987
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am

Re: Veganism

Postby tobes » Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:08 pm

Thrasymachus wrote:Greg is right, there is even a TV series called Tribal Odyssey where I saw some Polynesian tribe making an elaborate ritual of forgiveness/celebration because they chopped down a tree to make a canoe. To them even the trees had spirits, were sentient, so they had to repent for chopping it down or else the spirit of the trees would curse them. They have a belief system that situates them firmly in the natural world. The people on this forum, have the opposite: we are part of a social and belief system that makes us combatants against the natural world.

Now for "primitive tribesmen" that hunted maybe you could even argue that eating meat in their context is more ethical, when compared to a "civilized" vegetarian society, because their way of life allowed more animals to go on totally unmolested than ours. But for us it is only possible to argue for meat eating in terms of ethics, resources, etc., if you ignore the system that brought the meat to us. The later is what many in this thread tend to because they think Buddhism is an excuse to ignore social systems and their evolution and instead stay with the meme that there was always greed and evil and that Buddhism always dealt with these problems, and these are new manifestations of the same.


You make a lot of unfounded and pernicious claims about Buddhism and the Buddhists on this board.

:anjali:
User avatar
tobes
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 987
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am

Re: Veganism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:30 pm

tobes wrote:I take your point that some pre-industrial cultures might have demonstrated some kind of reflective awareness. But the majority? Going back 20,000 years? Your source for this theory?
My personal contact with Southern Australian Aboriginal culture, a culture with a 60,000 year oral history.

You live in the US of A don't you? Why don't you take a trip out to a reserve or some sort of info centre for American Indians in your region and they'll fill you in on some details too. There are also quite a few books, both anthropological and autobiographical, by and about American Indian culture with this type of info.
:namaste:
"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
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 7938
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Veganism

Postby Nemo » Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:48 am

I've spent a lot of time on reserves.I'm part Indian. Most just enjoy hunting. These romantic and revisionary theories of the noble savage have very little reality to back them up. Though I do know a few who like to put on a show for the city people. They think of wild game the same way you think of your fridge or the supermarket. I had some fun times working for a lodge that specialized in teaching white people to become Indian Shamans. Little did they know the guy in the kitchen was more Indian than any of them, lol.
User avatar
Nemo
 
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:23 am
Location: Canada

Re: Veganism

Postby tobes » Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:46 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
tobes wrote:I take your point that some pre-industrial cultures might have demonstrated some kind of reflective awareness. But the majority? Going back 20,000 years? Your source for this theory?
My personal contact with Southern Australian Aboriginal culture, a culture with a 60,000 year oral history.

You live in the US of A don't you? Why don't you take a trip out to a reserve or some sort of info centre for American Indians in your region and they'll fill you in on some details too. There are also quite a few books, both anthropological and autobiographical, by and about American Indian culture with this type of info.
:namaste:


I live in Southern Australia, and have a huge admiration for indigenous cultures. I emphasise the s - it is not one culture. Anthropologists are generally not in the business of generalising a complex 60,000 year social history via personal contact with a contemporary manifestation of that.

In any case, even if you're right about Aboriginal food habits (and I can definitely see where you're coming from) that is one personal encounter with one ancient social group - hardly a solid foundation to be making sweeping grandiose claims about how all humans ate over tens of thousands of years.

Surely we both need to acknowledge that we're making wild assumptions on this question....

:anjali:
User avatar
tobes
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 987
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am

Re: Veganism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Mar 11, 2012 10:59 am

Well then, you must know exactly what I am talking about then! ;)

I am quite aware that the Australian Aboriginals were a enormous collecion of different cultural and language groups, just in the state of Victoria alone there were 150 languages in use.

I reccomend reading Black Elk Speaks for another gross generalisation of "Native" (Oglala Sioux) culture.

What about the Dinka of Southern Sudan? Nomadic cow herders that live amongst their herds, they don't kill their cows but live off their milk and blood and only eat their flesh if they die of natural causes?

As for you Nemo, I wasn't even vaguely referring to romantic "noble savage" theories. In modern times all cultures have been debased and degraded, but even the Old Testament of the bible has references to Ancient Hebrew people worshipping cows (remember Moses and his run in with the Golden Calf, the god Baal?) regardless of how they treat them now. The ancient Hebrew didn't engage in animal sacrifices until the building of the Temple of Solomon. Hell, they even had human sacrifices up until Job came along. So looking at what a cultural group does now, is not so indicative of what they did before.
:namaste:
"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
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 7938
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dharma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests

>