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 Hanzze » Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:57 am

Through eating vegetables from the supermarket one knowingly causes harm. Do not do that!
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Re: Veganism

Postby ground » Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:59 am

That is why the wise praise discerning wisdom.

Homage to Manjushri!


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Re: Veganism

Postby Hanzze » Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:05 am

To eat only eggs (not inseminate) and milk products is a good possibility to abstain from killing, if you have the possibility to take care of some animals. They will love to share :-)
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Re: Veganism

Postby KeithBC » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:07 am

Hanzze wrote:To be just vegetarian is a lie. ... If you grow your vegetables by your self, mindful, you will see there is still killing. If you know how vegetarian food is made, you will still see killing.

No it isn't a lie. It is merely dukkha. All vegetarians know that some killing is regrettably unavoidable in growing vegetables. This is not a big revelation. However, vegetarians also know that less killing is better than more killing. Less dukkha.

Perfection is only possible for buddhas. For the rest of us, we must strive for perfection but be satisfied with merely doing our best.

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Re: Veganism

Postby KeithBC » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:12 am

Individual wrote:Veganism doesn't make much sense because there is not even any killing involved in milking a cow or making eggs. I know the argument, "Dairy cows and egg hens are often used for their meat too."

You would find it fruitful to ask real vegans what their arguments actually are, instead of setting up straw men to shoot down.

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Re: Veganism

Postby Individual » Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:12 am

KeithBC wrote:
Hanzze wrote:To be just vegetarian is a lie. ... If you grow your vegetables by your self, mindful, you will see there is still killing. If you know how vegetarian food is made, you will still see killing.

No it isn't a lie. It is merely dukkha. All vegetarians know that some killing is regrettably unavoidable in growing vegetables. This is not a big revelation. However, vegetarians also know that less killing is better than more killing. Less dukkha.

Perfection is only possible for buddhas. For the rest of us, we must strive for perfection but be satisfied with merely doing our best.

Om mani padme hum
Keith

Keith, the local Zen monk here broke down morality for his students with two very simple rules:
1. Don't abuse others.
2. Don't abuse oneself.

I agree that in most cases, in modern society vegetarianism is the ideal because it fits that criteria. Not so for veganism. Veganism is an unnecessary burden for self. Even if Mahayana texts do advocate vegetarianism, do any of them advocate veganism?
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Re: Veganism

Postby Hanzze » Fri Nov 12, 2010 7:58 am

KeithBC wrote:
Hanzze wrote:To be just vegetarian is a lie. ... If you grow your vegetables by your self, mindful, you will see there is still killing. If you know how vegetarian food is made, you will still see killing.

No it isn't a lie. It is merely dukkha. All vegetarians know that some killing is regrettably unavoidable in growing vegetables. This is not a big revelation. However, vegetarians also know that less killing is better than more killing. Less dukkha.

Perfection is only possible for buddhas. For the rest of us, we must strive for perfection but be satisfied with merely doing our best.

Om mani padme hum
Keith

Precepts are to train on them and not lie to one self. The are her to force you to look up the real reason. If you are taught to be a Bodhisattva when you are abstain from killing as much as possible in eating vegetable that you will have not much success, I guess. Most interpretations are older then our "modern" society" and many monks and teacher have no idea about our "modern" world. A Buddha wouldn't be able to teach in such a confused world. There is a gigantic food industry behind the most Mahayana Asian countries and you would not argue like this sitting next to a refrigerator, ii you would see how the forest and wildlife disappears in only 15 years for food production to export. To have money to buy a refrigerator to :-) So there was also a second advice on food from the Buddha. Do not store it. :-)
Foolishness and enlightenment do not compare and that has to be find out by train the precepts and not by adapting an other hidden lie.
I guess Mahayana monks traditional grow there food by them self, that is a very honest way and one can be careful and cause very less harming while be mindful. To drive with his car to the next alternative shop and buy the last hip bio veggies is more than sick and has no benefit for anyone. The beggar next to the hot dog store will make more good merits even he drinks some beer and lives from the sausages.
I guess to be honest to one self is the most important step to do in any kind of Buddhadhamma practices. There is one rule, if one thinks that he is right he can be sure that he is totally wrong :-)

Seeing things as right and wrong is western...
So what do you think is the best, as long we are no Buddhas? :-)

Don't take it personal, its only my lack of lovely speech, so pardon me if it to hard. :bow:
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Re: Veganism

Postby Indrajala » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:53 pm

Individual wrote:Keith, the local Zen monk here broke down morality for his students with two very simple rules:
1. Don't abuse others.
2. Don't abuse oneself.

I agree that in most cases, in modern society vegetarianism is the ideal because it fits that criteria. Not so for veganism. Veganism is an unnecessary burden for self. Even if Mahayana texts do advocate vegetarianism, do any of them advocate veganism?


Veganism as a word came to exist in 1944. It was coined by Donald Watson.

Thus it is not a term that could exist in non-English classical texts from many centuries ago.


In East Asian Buddhism there has been discussion as to whether or not eating eggs constitutes theft or not. The reasoning is simple: taking eggs from a sentient being without that being's consent is theft. Dairy is likewise to be considered with the same reasoning, but historically dairy was not widely consumed in much of East Asia. Cheese and milk are fairly new additions to the diet of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese peoples.

Your reasoning that veganism is an unnecessary burden while vegetarianism suits the specified criteria is flawed. Dairy cattle are often mistreated horribly and sent to the butcher when they stop producing milk. They are injected with hormones and kept perpetually pregnant to produce unnatural amounts of milk which causes horrible suffering. To make matters worse, their calves are usually stolen which causes emotional pain for both the mother and the offspring. All in all, the life of dairy cattle is probably worse than that of the cow bred and raised specifically for meat.
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Re: Veganism

Postby Hanzze » Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:18 pm

Dear Huseng,
The world will stay mad if you don't do it your self :-) It all up motivation, and I guess it is not steeling to take a inseminate egg. You can see it as, giving the chicken freedom while it is caring about something death.
To take over thousands of km2 of forest which have been habitats for endless beings to plant the peaceful vegetables while killing the rest of beings which live on it... there are many discussion when the days are boring, but time is changing and intelligence of human also.
If we look on what others are causing to much we need to walk the ascetic way.

Even it seams to be far away from "modern" life. We can follow an some simply devices of the Buddha. Less as possible harming is take what is given. There is no different between, killing, steeling or lying.

Responsible as possible, and always a step forward, never relax :-)

To take some milk, or an death egg is more harmless then to cut a plant or to eat a germ. When ever somebody gives advices and do not explain the essence one should be aware of its causes.

On one foot we can walk, but easily fall. Compassion leads to wisdom as long we are mindful. On both we walk easy forward.

Not command, not execute - look your self, learn yourself, do your self - that leads to freedom and peace.
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Re: Veganism

Postby KeithBC » Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:32 pm

Hanzze wrote:There is a gigantic food industry behind the most Mahayana Asian countries and you would not argue like this sitting next to a refrigerator, ii you would see how the forest and wildlife disappears in only 15 years for food production to export.
...
To drive with his car to the next alternative shop and buy the last hip bio veggies is more than sick and has no benefit for anyone.

We are not talking about shopping or driving habits. I agree with you on those points. The subject of the thread is vegetarianism and veganism.

Your assertion that vegetarianism is a lie is sloppy thinking. The vegetarians that I know have a much better understanding of where their food comes from and what is involved in its production than most non-vegetarians do.

You simply disagree in principle with vegetarianism. That is fine as a personal decision. No one is telling you how to eat. No one is calling your decision a lie. To call the well thought out ethical principles of people you have never met a lie is wrong speech.

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Re: Veganism

Postby Hanzze » Sat Nov 13, 2010 12:49 am

:twothumbsup: from the mental formation till the act it self :-) simple/just vegetarianism is a lie regarding the intention to reduce harming.
veganism, if it is done out of real compassion, please think on the vegetables and there origin first, you might loose a good and save nutrition source.:-)
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Re: Veganism

Postby catmoon » Sun Nov 14, 2010 4:32 am

KeithBC wrote:
vegans seem to almost universally be militant PETA members.

If you generalize based on militant PETA members, then of course that is what you will conclude. And of course you are more likely to generalize about them rather than about normal people because they are so much more visible. But if you control your generalizing so that you look at normal people, you will find that most vegans are normal people.
Keith


Strangely, I know one(1) vegan and she is in fact a militant PETA member who places a markedly higher value on animals than people. She also put her cat on a vegetarian diet. It died.

But there's a hidden bias... if she wasn't militant, I never would have known she was a vegan.
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Re: Veganism

Postby Hanzze » Sun Nov 14, 2010 7:15 am

Her in Cambodia are many cats and dogs eating only rice and vegetables. I guess its was kharma and not the vegetarian food.
As a militant vegan would probably die soon if there is only meat left to eat. :-) A mind thing I guess :-)
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Re: Veganism

Postby catmoon » Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:52 am

Hanzze wrote:Her in Cambodia are many cats and dogs eating only rice and vegetables. I guess its was kharma and not the vegetarian food.
As a militant vegan would probably die soon if there is only meat left to eat. :-) A mind thing I guess :-)



Well, let's ask a vet.

In addition, unlike humans, protein is the stimulus for insulin release in cats. Cats have adapted to high protein diets by being insulin resistant. This maintains blood glucose during periods of fasting, convenient for a cat in the wild, but not so good for pets eating a lot of carbohydrates.

"When you take an individual that is genetically programmed to consume high protein and low carbohydrates, and you put them on a high carbohydrate diet, what happens is their insulin resistance works against them," she said. "Their blood glucose concentrations are too high ... they can't overcome that, and they start to release more and more insulin in an attempt to reduce blood glucose levels." This doesn't work, however, and the cat eventually develops type 2 diabetes mellitus. The cat gets amyloid deposition in the pancreas, exhaustion of the pancreatic cells, and glucose toxicity from consumption of large amounts of carbohydrates.

According to Dr. Greco, it all comes down to common sense. "We must use a cat's natural diet as a guideline."

-Denver Colorado, American Veterinary Medical Association.


Dogs of course are quite different and can tolerate a much lower protein diet than a cat can.

So if you see a cat living on vegetables and rice, you may confidently assume it is either quite sick, or will be soon.
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Re: Veganism

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:20 pm

It's rare that there is an opportunity to mix two of the most contentious topics on Buddhist forums, but here goes - 'Veganism' AND 'Rebirth'. LOL :)

If one accepts that rebirth is either fortunate or unfortunate according to the outcome of karma, then being born as a vegan (cow maybe) is probably more fortunate than being born as a predator like a wild cat, which then has to kill to eat, thus creating more negative karma through that killing.

As humans we have the ability to thrive omnivorously, and we are intelligent enough to think about our dietary choices. So if we believe killing is bad karma, we can choose not to eat other beings and still be healthy.

As Catmoon has pointed out, the problem comes when we impose those choices on the animals we feed. Assuming the protein needed must be of animal origin (?) there's not much point, from the point of view of karma, in feeding a cat a vegan diet which will kill it. A wonderful example of how humans can mess up the feeding of animals with disastrous consequences is BSE (Mad Cow Disease) when normally vegan cows were fed animal products.

I feed myself according to the principle of causing least harm, so pretty much a vegan. I feed my dog according to what causes least harm, but have to accept the responsibility that having been born a carnivore, he thrives best when the food includes animal products.

I don't see a solution that results in no suffering for carnivores or their prey. If carnivores were eliminated from the world, I don't know what the consequences may be on the planet - probably disastrous. However, I do know that if I take on a dog who has already been born and needs a home, I can't alter his needs to fit my own views, so either I accept the karma of feeding him a diet containing animal products or leave him possibly to be 'euthanised'.

Tough choices - those are my answers, and for humans I think veganism is the dietary option of least harm. Medical evidence for the harm of restricted diets, or too much dairy, too much meat, etc. etc. also have to be factored into sensible and well-informed choices.

However, whilst some nations have a huge range of products making that choice easy, we mustn't forget the many countries where such dietary choices simply do not exist. ;)
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Re: Veganism

Postby Indrajala » Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:40 pm

Yeshe wrote:As Catmoon has pointed out, the problem comes when we impose those choices on the animals we feed. Assuming the protein needed must be of animal origin (?) there's not much point, from the point of view of karma, in feeding a cat a vegan diet which will kill it. A wonderful example of how humans can mess up the feeding of animals with disastrous consequences is BSE (Mad Cow Disease) when normally vegan cows were fed animal products.


Weren't they fed recycled cows?
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Re: Veganism

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:33 pm

Huseng wrote:
Yeshe wrote:As Catmoon has pointed out, the problem comes when we impose those choices on the animals we feed. Assuming the protein needed must be of animal origin (?) there's not much point, from the point of view of karma, in feeding a cat a vegan diet which will kill it. A wonderful example of how humans can mess up the feeding of animals with disastrous consequences is BSE (Mad Cow Disease) when normally vegan cows were fed animal products.


Weren't they fed recycled cows?


I seem to remember it was ground up bits of other cattle, including nerve tissue - where the highest concentrations of the infection were found. Humans also seemingly contracted a variant (CJD) from the same source, or so I recall, whereas at first it was claimed that it could not cross from species to species. It aso made me aware of the other stuff they chuck into cattle food, such as growth hormones.

''A British inquiry into BSE concluded that the epizootic was caused by cattle, who are normally herbivores, being fed the remains of other cattle in the form of meat and bone meal (MBM), which caused the infectious agent to spread.'' (Wiki)

Of course, vegetarians aren't excluded (milk, cheese etc.) and vegans have difficulty avoiding GM crops, pesticides etc, so we're all affected by the humans who want to experiment on our foods. Maybe we always have been, since organised food production began in ancient times and people wanted fewer plant and animal diseases and higher yields. It does worry me, though, that the pace of the change is now maybe too fast for the impact to be properly assessed.

Maybe there is a sound argument that at least vegans are a little safer, as they consume the original plant material rather than having the added risks of animal diseases etc. I'm reminded that Jains I know go even further and eat plant material which does not kill the plant when harvested - so apples are OK but potatoes are not acceptable. 'Ahimsa' in action.
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Re: Veganism

Postby Hanzze » Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:48 pm

Yeshe wrote:I'm reminded that Jains I know go even further and eat plant material which does not kill the plant when harvested - so apples are OK but potatoes are not acceptable. 'Ahimsa' in action.


High regards! Normal human have not that much possibility to live that way. I guess he do not buy it and grows it self or pick it up in nature.
A most peaceful way of taking, but it is still not given. :-)
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Re: Veganism

Postby Individual » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:46 pm

Yeshe:

:good:

I would like to be a vegetarian, but it would be so much trouble for me. Until recently, I have been eating a diet of junk -- microwaved pre-cooked foods, sodas, etc. -- and I think I may have been close to death by heart attack because of this.

For me right now, the Middle Way involves a healthy meal of grilled fish and chicken, with microwaved rice and vegetables. How animals and the world are impacted is a distant concern -- a long-term goal, but something I'd have too much difficulty implementing right now.

So, as I see it, eating meat (in a culture where it predominates) isn't the same as murder; it's more like a subtle form of laziness and ignorance.
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Re: Veganism

Postby catmoon » Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:16 pm

Individual wrote:So, as I see it, eating meat (in a culture where it predominates) isn't the same as murder; it's more like a subtle form of laziness and ignorance.



Well it isn't the same as murder, but it isn't all that different either. It's more a matter of degree. If the karmic benefits of giving to a Buddha are greater than the benefits of making the same gift to an ordinary person, then I seems to me that killing an animal is less harmful than killing a person or a Buddha.

Intention counts too. If you kill an animal just for the sake of venting anger or something, and it is done with clear intent to kill, and the body is simply thrown away, and if at the end, one says "Stupid animal. I sure showed him a thing or two." ... well in this case the karmic harm should be much greater than say, stepping on a bug and being completely unaware of it.

My current teachers find the killing of animals for food, especially ones that have been poorly cared for, completely horrifying. I don't find it horrifying for some reason. I'm looking into this...
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