the great vegetarian debate

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

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby porpoise » Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:39 am

Simon E. wrote:The important thing is to follow the school that you align yourself to, and follow your own conscience.


But there may be a conflict between these two. To take an extreme example, what if one's teacher is a womanising drunk - is that a good example to be followed or just bad behaviour?
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Simon E. » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:20 pm

My first teacher WAS a womanising drunk.
So I stayed away and found one that wasn't.
Later I appreciated all of the positives about my first teacher. I did not want to witness his self destruction however.
So I became the student of another teacher in the same ( Kagyu ) school. Then I discovered the D.C.
That's why I stressed the school AND your own conscience.
And yes, you might experience inner conflict. For some considerable time. I still do after decades. No one said any of this was easy.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby seeker242 » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:37 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:People cling strongly to their convictions
because this helps to solidify an identity of a 'self'
to which one one can feel good about developing attachment.
Since eating food is basic to human survival,
it is no wonder that this discussion goes on and on.
There are many reasons why eating meat should be avoided
and just as many reasons why one should avoid passing judgement over those who eat meat.
The question, from a Buddhist perspective,
isn't really about whether chewing and swallowing meat for a few minutes a day
is ethically right or wrong.
It's about clinging to a comfort zone
built on the foundation of being morally and ethically pure.
What is the internal motivation behind wanting to be right,
about trying to convert others to your own way of life?


The internal motivation is often great compassion for animals who suffer and die horrible deaths at the hands of the meat industry. The internal motivation is what you feel when you personally visit a slaughterhouse and say "this whole entire operation is barbaric, inhumane and unethical". The internal motivation is empathy. The internal motivation is to speak on behalf of these suffering beings, that can not speak for themselves.

:namaste:
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby seeker242 » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:44 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Ok, i'll try explaining it one last time.

I'm not saying you need to do those things, i'm saying that the fact that you don't do those things nullifies any claim to substantially reducing one's complicity in indirect taking of life via vegetarianism, because those things are arguably a bigger deal, at least collectively, than your diet is. I'm using it as an example to point out what I consider the absurdity of many of the moral claims typically made for vegetarianism, not as a suggestion that people need to do those things.


I don't think that reasonable to say it nullifies them because there is still a net reduction in the amount of harm being caused. And wherever one can reduce the amount of harm caused, they should do so, within reason. It's almost like you are saying "Well if you care about starving children, then you should fly to Africa and feed them. If you don't you are a hypocrite."...
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Simon E. » Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:16 pm

seeker242 wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:People cling strongly to their convictions
because this helps to solidify an identity of a 'self'
to which one one can feel good about developing attachment.
Since eating food is basic to human survival,
it is no wonder that this discussion goes on and on.
There are many reasons why eating meat should be avoided
and just as many reasons why one should avoid passing judgement over those who eat meat.
The question, from a Buddhist perspective,
isn't really about whether chewing and swallowing meat for a few minutes a day
is ethically right or wrong.
It's about clinging to a comfort zone
built on the foundation of being morally and ethically pure.
What is the internal motivation behind wanting to be right,
about trying to convert others to your own way of life?





The internal motivation is often great compassion for animals who suffer and die horrible deaths at the hands of the meat industry. The internal motivation is what you feel when you personally visit a slaughterhouse and say "this whole entire operation is barbaric, inhumane and unethical". The internal motivation is empathy. The internal motivation is to speak on behalf of these suffering beings, that can not speak for themselves.

:namaste:

Most animals live pretty horrible lives even if they never encounter a human being.
Being an animal is a pretty heavy gig.
Many Vajra teachers say that by incorporating them into a human form by eating, alongside various prescribed practices, we are doing them a favour.
You don't have to accept this.
Buddhadharma is a broad ship.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:19 pm

Simon E. wrote:Please feel free to concern yourself about what other chaps have for dinner if that interests you.
My sole interest in this debate is to ensure that it remains clear to those who may not know, that diet is very much a secondary issue in Buddhadharma and should never be seen as a bar to those who are exploring the teachings of the Buddha.
There are schools that insist on a vegetarian diet.
There are schools that insist on meat eating on specific occasions.
And there are other schools which have nothing to say on the issue at all.
Which school one orients to is an entirely individual matter.
I recommend you read Shabkars "Food of Bodhisattvas".
"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."
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby seeker242 » Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:34 pm

Simon E. wrote: Most animals live pretty horrible lives even if they never encounter a human being.
Being an animal is a pretty heavy gig.
Many Vajra teachers say that by incorporating them into a human form by eating, alongside various prescribed practices, we are doing them a favour.
You don't have to accept this.
Buddhadharma is a broad ship.


That may be true. And I don't accept what those Vajra teachers say, I think it's a cop out personally, a mere rationalization. But no one is saying they aren't entitled to their opinion.

But to say that speaking on behalf of animals that are used for food, is just an ego trip like some people suggest, is not always correct. The fundamental root cause for such speech is ultimately compassion. Although, some people take that compassion and put on top of it moral superiority, which is a foolish thing to do. But to say all speech on behalf of food animals, is moral superiority and only moral superiority, is a fundamental error in understanding the internal intentions for many people who speak on behalf of these animals.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:46 pm

seeker242 wrote:The internal motivation is often great compassion for animals who suffer and die horrible deaths at the hands of the meat industry. The internal motivation is what you feel when you personally visit a slaughterhouse and say "this whole entire operation is barbaric, inhumane and unethical". The internal motivation is empathy. The internal motivation is to speak on behalf of these suffering beings, that can not speak for themselves. :namaste:


Yes, yes that is all very true.
However, even that is subjective.
We don't automatically feel that way when we see
land flooded to grow vegetables.
We don't identify with the millions of tiny creatures who drown.
there are things we can help and things we can't help.
That is one issue that anyone can address, buddhist or not.
Most people who are vegetarians for ethical reasons
are not buddhists.

But there is another issue that pertains to buddhists specifically.
If "not eating meat" is part of how people define who they are,
then while they may have solved the problem of what is an ethical choice for dinner
they still haven't escaped the problem of
wanting to define who they are.
.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Simon E. » Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:52 pm

If the Vajra teachers are correct, and I know that you do not accept that they are...
Then simply saving them to live out their lives in their present condition is compassionate.
But aiding them to a precious human birth from which they can Realise, is even more compassionate.
No one would suggest that prolonging the life of a preta AS a preta is compassionate.
In the Vajrayana we see helping beings ( by means within the guidelines of the precepts ) not to be animals or pretas as compassionate activity.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Dan Dorje » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:22 pm

Question: Some claim that one can help the animals one eats by praying for them, and thus eating meat is compassionate. Other than for the most accomplished yogis and lamas, what do you make of this claim?
Answer: With supernatural powers gained through certain meditations, it is true that there are some realized beings who can revive animals from the dead and help them reach a higher rebirth or enlightenment by consuming small amounts of their flesh. But this is not done for sustenance, only for the purpose of helping that animal. I personally do not have that power and because of that I never eat meat. Eating meat in one’s diet is much different than eating flesh to liberate a being through supernatural powers. I am just an ordinary practitioner who really doesn’t have these qualities. So, if I ate meat it would be the same if you or any other lay person ate meat. I would be committing sin and I would be getting negative karma. I don’t pretend as if I have special powers and eat meat, I just avoid it altogether.

Question: Many Buddhist practitioners in the United States eat meat because their Tibetan lamas eat meat. What do you make of this?
Answer: Many great siddhas in India drank enormous amounts of alcohol and developed magical powers. One of these mahasiddhas (Virupa) kept drinking alcohol all day and suspended the sun in the sky and kept it from setting.[i] Naropa, Tilopa—these were great masters. If you can acquire supernatural powers, you don’t need to follow the same standards of normal people and you can drink alcohol and eat meat. Those who have supernatural powers can still give great teachings and benefit all sentient beings. So, if the teachers in America are of that level, ask all your friends to join them in drinking alcohol and eating meat. * It all depends on the level of realization one has achieved. A lama who enjoys meat and alcohol can still bring people on the right path, so long as they have developed supernatural powers.

http://shabkar.org/download/pdf/Steadfa ... Ethics.pdf
Chatral Rinpoche, Compassionate Action

So basically, a great yogi, HH Chatral Rinpoche, says that he has no power to help animals by eating them...
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Simon E. » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:44 pm

Which goes to show that the Vajrayana is a spectrum rather than a monolith.
Chatral Rinpoche is a very great Lama but other great Lamas differ from him in this regard.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Adamantine » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:07 pm

Dan Dorje wrote:
Question: Some claim that one can help the animals one eats by praying for them, and thus eating meat is compassionate. Other than for the most accomplished yogis and lamas, what do you make of this claim?
Answer: With supernatural powers gained through certain meditations, it is true that there are some realized beings who can revive animals from the dead and help them reach a higher rebirth or enlightenment by consuming small amounts of their flesh. But this is not done for sustenance, only for the purpose of helping that animal. I personally do not have that power and because of that I never eat meat. Eating meat in one’s diet is much different than eating flesh to liberate a being through supernatural powers. I am just an ordinary practitioner who really doesn’t have these qualities. So, if I ate meat it would be the same if you or any other lay person ate meat. I would be committing sin and I would be getting negative karma. I don’t pretend as if I have special powers and eat meat, I just avoid it altogether.

Question: Many Buddhist practitioners in the United States eat meat because their Tibetan lamas eat meat. What do you make of this?
Answer: Many great siddhas in India drank enormous amounts of alcohol and developed magical powers. One of these mahasiddhas (Virupa) kept drinking alcohol all day and suspended the sun in the sky and kept it from setting.[i] Naropa, Tilopa—these were great masters. If you can acquire supernatural powers, you don’t need to follow the same standards of normal people and you can drink alcohol and eat meat. Those who have supernatural powers can still give great teachings and benefit all sentient beings. So, if the teachers in America are of that level, ask all your friends to join them in drinking alcohol and eating meat. * It all depends on the level of realization one has achieved. A lama who enjoys meat and alcohol can still bring people on the right path, so long as they have developed supernatural powers.

http://shabkar.org/download/pdf/Steadfa ... Ethics.pdf
Chatral Rinpoche, Compassionate Action

So basically, a great yogi, HH Chatral Rinpoche, says that he has no power to help animals by eating them...


This is fair, and I often quoted it myself when I was
younger and a bit more fanatical about vegetarianism.
I'm a bit more open minded now, due to cognitive dissonance
based on close relationships with very realized Dudjom lamas, some
of them quite close disciples of Chatral Rinpoche and some of them Dudjom
family. Now, Chatral Rinpoche has a good point, but he is also a disciple
of HH Dudjom Rinpoche and was very close with Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche.
These are both widely recognized Mahasiddhas. However, they
advised their students to eat meat, both to overcome
dualistic fixation and clinging regarding diet- as in ganapuja-
and also from a POV of understanding the subtle body and building
of tiglè important in higher yana practices. I have immense faith in these lamas and
Rinpoches as well as Chatral Rinpoche. It's a koan or an exercise in non duality
simply to reconcile these two seemingly opposing views and advice from realized beings who
are at similar levels of attainment. I used to just "side" with Chatral Rinpoche's view
because that was close to the view I held myself, even before I truly entered the Dharma.
But now I'm able to appreciate both views, and it makes me far less judgmental and
thus my relationships with others are improved.
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Simon E. » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:29 pm

:good: Excellent. :namaste:
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:37 pm

seeker242 wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:Ok, i'll try explaining it one last time.

I'm not saying you need to do those things, i'm saying that the fact that you don't do those things nullifies any claim to substantially reducing one's complicity in indirect taking of life via vegetarianism, because those things are arguably a bigger deal, at least collectively, than your diet is. I'm using it as an example to point out what I consider the absurdity of many of the moral claims typically made for vegetarianism, not as a suggestion that people need to do those things.


I don't think that reasonable to say it nullifies them because there is still a net reduction in the amount of harm being caused. And wherever one can reduce the amount of harm caused, they should do so, within reason. It's almost like you are saying "Well if you care about starving children, then you should fly to Africa and feed them. If you don't you are a hypocrite."...



Nope, as i've said now more times than I can count, I think it's a beneficial thing to do and i'm all for it, what I don't accept is the idea that you've done anything special, or are in any position to tell other people they are doing something wrong by not adopting your diet, if that's not what you're doing, then no problem.
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is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:16 pm

seeker242 wrote:I don't think that reasonable to say it nullifies them because there is still a net reduction in the amount of harm being caused. And wherever one can reduce the amount of harm caused, they should do so, within reason.

Well, people vary as to what they consider to be within reason. One thing you don't seem to understand is that there are trade-offs involved here, i.e. that there are benefits to eating meat, or at least many people think so.
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:47 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:Well, people vary as to what they consider to be within reason. One thing you don't seem to understand is that there are trade-offs involved here, i.e. that there are benefits to eating meat, or at least many people think so.
The only benefits may be for personal health, I tend to think the "creating a link" argument is rather weak, especially when you can consider that you can create a link by saving an animal too. So when it comes to the choice of creating a link by being involved in its death, or creating a link by being involved in its living... well... I guess each one of us is adult enough to make their own decisions.
Last edited by Sherab Dorje on Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Malcolm » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:00 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:I tend to think the "creating a link" argument is rather weak, especially when you can consider that you can create a link by saving an animal too.



I try to do both i.e. create a link for the living and the dead.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:19 pm

So do I.
In the majority of cases, it is obvious that the argument
that one is helping animals by eating them is absurd. In a long
poem contained in his autobiography, Shabkar refers to the
matter with ironic humor. He describes himself sitting in a
meadow, surrounded by a large flock of sheep and goats. An
old sheep comes forward and speaks to him, lamenting the
terrible destiny of domestic animals, even in a religious country
like Tibet.
The fate of goats and old mother ewes
Lies in the hands of visiting lamas.
Now, in the bardo, and in our future lives,
The guru is our only hope,
So pity us.
Do not now betray us in this time if hope!
Let us live our lives out to the end,
Or take us, wllen we die, to bettr realms.
if you do not do so,
Pain will be our lot in this and future lives.
From one life to the next we're killed and killed again.
Do not let your wisdom, love, and power be so feeble!
Patrons come to you the lamas, cap in hand.
"Visit us, come to our house," they say.
But don't pretend you do not know
That as they're greeting you,
It's us the sheep they're planning to dispatch!
When the lama comes into the house
And takes his seat upon his comfy throne,
They're killing us outside, just by the door!
Don't pretend you do not know,
You who are omniscient!
Shabkar replies with the standard argument. Throughout
the animals' past lives, not once have they been able to contribute
something to the preservation of the Doctrine. They
should now be glad at such an opportunity! By relinquishing
their bodies to nourish the lama, they are doing something
worthwhile. "Is it not a noble thing," Shabkar exclaims, "to
give up one's body for the Dharma?" But it is the animals
themselves who are given the last word. "As I said that, the
goats and sheep exclaimed with one voice: 'Oh, no! He is
one of those lamas!' And terrified, they all ran away."
"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 Malcolm » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:27 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:So do I.


Your story misses the point.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:37 pm

No, my story makes a different point.

I am vegetarian (and I have taken a vow to abstain from consuming alcohol) because it helps break my desirous attachment to consuming meat (and alcohol) without being mindful of its source (I tend to eat rather hastily and with little thought anyway) and I eat meat (and drink alcohol) at tsog to break my prideful attachment to the purity of my diet.

Now whether either action helps animals or not, I really am not at the point where I can say wih 100% certainty, but it certainly helps my practice.

PS It's not my story, it's Shabkars story, if you have a beef :tongue: with it, then take it up with him.
"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."
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