the great vegetarian debate

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Oct 31, 2013 4:42 pm

Jikan wrote:Disagree.

The statement "I am a diabetic" articulates a form of identification, an identity. The second statement, "I have diabetes," articulates a characteristic of a person that may or may not have an identity structure built around it. Other examples:

"I like to play basketball" vs "I am a basketball player"

"Frank once beat his wife" vs "Frank is a wifebeater"

in both these examples, the latter formulation is much more reductive. The relevance to this discussion? The two statements "I keep a vegetarian diet" and "I am a vegetarian" reflect this distinction too. The latter articulates an identity one has built for oneself, while the former just describes something about the person, a characteristic.

This isn't splitting hairs. It's a consequential distinction, especially in a Buddhist context.

EDIT: looks like Simon beat me to it. Sorry to pile on.
I don't think it can be so cut and dry. What defines a basketball player? The fact that they play basketball. What does somebody who likes to play basketball do? They play basketball. They are a basketball player. They are not a crocheter, they are not a nit picker, they are a basketball player.

My diet is vegetarian thus I am a vegetarisn.

If Frank beats his wife then Frank is a wifebeater. Frank is a wife beater because he beats his wife.

Greg has a vegetarian diet thus Greg is a vegetarian.
"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 Sherab Dorje » Thu Oct 31, 2013 4:50 pm

dharmagoat wrote:Yes, I see your point. That it is possible to adopt a vegetarian diet without identifying oneself as a vegetarian, and therefore avoiding wearing one's vegetarianism as a kind of badge, an extension of one's personality.
This is the thing though: not all people that are vegetarian use it as a badge. This line of thinking seems to assume that all vegetarians do what they do out of a need to inflate their sense of self. Out of pride. Out of a need to feel superior to others. It seems to me that a person using this type of reasoning is basically just trying to rationalise their own feelings of low self esteem (arising as a consequnece of their behaviour).

This is why I recommend Shabkar: because here we have a Bodhisattva (somebody beyond dualistic notions of self) teaching why vegetarianism is a wholesome path. Not out of pride. Not out of self aggrandisment. Out of a sense of pure compassion and all expanisve love. I realise that this may be scary for those wishing to cling to a self-centred view that eating meat is not only just fine, but is good for the murdered animal too.
"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 Johnny Dangerous » Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:00 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:Yes, I see your point. That it is possible to adopt a vegetarian diet without identifying oneself as a vegetarian, and therefore avoiding wearing one's vegetarianism as a kind of badge, an extension of one's personality.
This is the thing though: not all people that are vegetarian use it as a badge. This line of thinking seems to assume that all vegetarians do what they do out of a need to inflate their sense of self. Out of pride. Out of a need to feel superior to others. It seems to me that a person using this type of reasoning is basically just trying to rationalise their own feelings of low self esteem (arising as a consequnece of their behaviour).

This is why I recommend Shabkar: because here we have a Bodhisattva (somebody beyond dualistic notions of self) teaching why vegetarianism is a wholesome path. Not out of pride. Not out of self aggrandisment. Out of a sense of pure compassion and all expanisve love. I realise that this may be scary for those wishing to cling to a self-centred view that eating meat is not only just fine, but is good for the murdered animal too.



Actually some of the best advice I read on vegetarianism has come from HHDL and The Karmapa, where they basically just say "yes, of course it's a wholesome thing to do if you can", but they don't seem to proselytize about it much. I assume that's because they know there are also many other ways to be wholesome, and do wholesome things. While they seem to acknowledging that one should take steps like this if they are possible, they also acknowledge that it's not realistically possible for everyone.

Not accusing you of it, but honestly look at the way some vegetarians and vegans use it as a way to hold themselves above others morally, it's ridiculous, not to mention unconvincing. I'd go as far as to say that especially with vegans i've known, it's quite an obsession, an "us against the world" thing that is most definitely verging on an unhealthy (from a Buddhist standpoint) sense of identity. Any time someone basically says "Everything would be great if the world was just like me" to me it's worth looking at critically.

Naturally there are also a large number of people who make fun of vegetarianism and veganism, and especially minimize the very real altruistic motivations behind becoming one, to me either position is bad.
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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 Sherab Dorje » Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:10 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Not accusing you of it, but honestly look at the way some vegetarians and vegans use it ...
The key term here is "some". Let's keep it in mind.
"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 Simon E. » Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:11 pm

Actually Johnny I think I am correct in saying that ONE of the Karmapas commends a vegetarian diet..the other one a.f.a.i.k. has not addressed the issue..but I am open to correction.
H.H.D.L. does indeed commend a vegetarian diet for those who can stay healthy on such a diet, while speaking openly about the fact that he himself cannot.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:15 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:Not accusing you of it, but honestly look at the way some vegetarians and vegans use it ...
The key term here is "some". Let's keep it in mind.



Some is correct, yes of course. Though honestly i'd say that kind of adversarial attitude is part and parcel of pretty much the whole vegan subculture.

And yeah, one Karmapa heh.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
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 Sherab Dorje » Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:18 pm

I would agree with you, but I have had the joy of meeting quite a few vegans that were not proselytising fanatics. It's just that the fanatics tend to take up the majority of ear time and thus make their presence felt more strongly.

PS Both Karmapas. Actually Karmapa Thaye Trinley has even gone so far as to ask for ganapujas to be vegetarian and without alcohol since many people were breaking their samaya through their actions at the "events" (ie they were not at a point where they could do the practice properly with the meat and alcohol present).
"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 Johnny Dangerous » Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:23 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:I would agree with you, but I have had the joy of meeting quite a few vegans that were not proselytising fanatics. It's just that the fanatics tend to take up the majority of ear time and thus make their presence felt more strongly.

PS Both Karmapas. Actually Karmapa Thaye Trinley has even gone so far as to ask for ganapujas to be vegetarian and without alcohol since many people were breaking their samaya through their actions at the "events" (ie they were not at a point where they could do the practice properly with the meat and alcohol present).


That's fair enough, I have some militant vegan family members that probably color my perception.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
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 Simon E. » Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:23 pm

Thank you.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby mandala » Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:26 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:Yes, I see your point. That it is possible to adopt a vegetarian diet without identifying oneself as a vegetarian, and therefore avoiding wearing one's vegetarianism as a kind of badge, an extension of one's personality.
This is the thing though: not all people that are vegetarian use it as a badge. This line of thinking seems to assume that all vegetarians do what they do out of a need to inflate their sense of self. Out of pride. Out of a need to feel superior to others. It seems to me that a person using this type of reasoning is basically just trying to rationalise their own feelings of low self esteem (arising as a consequnece of their behaviour).

This is why I recommend Shabkar: because here we have a Bodhisattva (somebody beyond dualistic notions of self) teaching why vegetarianism is a wholesome path. Not out of pride. Not out of self aggrandisment. Out of a sense of pure compassion and all expanisve love. I realise that this may be scary for those wishing to cling to a self-centred view that eating meat is not only just fine, but is good for the murdered animal too.


Completely agree.
I can't see the big deal in identifying as vegetarian. During our whole lives we make pragmatic use of labels.. I've never seen any objections to people being described as teachers, or sportsmen/women, or clean-living/sober or gardener or party animal... it is what it is. Why say, "oh I'm someone who chooses to practice Buddhism".. you're a Buddhist. Nothing wrong with that. Both are expressing a form of identity. After all, what we do and say IS who we are, and how we present ourselves to others.
The only time it becomes a big deal is in our own mind of how we identify with the label, personally. And some people are extreme & love to push their lifestyles down your throat, no matter what they may be into (yes, meat eaters included!)

I'm all for labels.. they stop us from drinking poison. :tongue:
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Simon E. » Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:28 pm

I have mentioned this before Johnny, but one of my mentors gave us the following advice;
' When a vegan comes for a consultation I always make sure that they are not between me and the door '..
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Adi » Thu Oct 31, 2013 7:05 pm

:focus:

Simon E. wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
seeker242 wrote:So you are essentially saying "No, prayer is just not good enough. You have to eat their flesh in order to really help them"?

I think he is essentially saying "If an animal has ALREADY been killed, eating it's flesh is more effective, for VAJRAYANA practitioners with a suitable METHOD, than praying for it."

Thats what he's sayin'........ :thumbsup:


This seems not only reasonable but also in accord with Vajrayana teachings in all schools. Prayers can bring benefit and merit and are always good to do, but practitioners with suitable methods can do relatively more and relatively quicker, something else that accords with Vajrayana.

If one does not have faith in such practices then it's best not to do them. What could be simpler?

There is that old saying that when the teacher is ready the student shows up. Perhaps here it could be phrased as when the practitioner is ready the cow shows up.

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Simon E. » Thu Oct 31, 2013 7:11 pm

Not sure about the cow bit... ;) But.. :good:
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby seeker242 » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:30 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
seeker242 wrote:It was a direct quote from Buddhist scripture, the Shurangama Sutra specifically.

Seeker242, I do not know the answer to the following question:

Do you think everything in the Shurangama Sutra is literally true?


The part where it talks about eating meat, I don't think that is a metaphor no.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Jikan » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:37 pm

If the Surangama Sutra is your path, then a vegetarian diet is entirely warranted for you.

Not all Buddhist traditions accept the Surangama Sutra as canonical.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:05 pm

seeker242 wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:Do you think everything in the Shurangama Sutra is literally true?


The part where it talks about eating meat, I don't think that is a metaphor no.

I do not know the answer to the following question:
Which part where it talks about eating meat are you referring to?
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 Jikan » Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:18 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
seeker242 wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:Do you think everything in the Shurangama Sutra is literally true?


The part where it talks about eating meat, I don't think that is a metaphor no.

I do not know the answer to the following question:
Which part where it talks about eating meat are you referring to?


here's a place to start:

http://online.sfsu.edu/rone/Buddhism/Sh ... uotes.html

"You should know that these people who eat meat may gain some awareness and may seem to be in samadhi, but they
are all great rakshasas. When their retribution ends, they are bound to sink into the bitter sea of birth and death. They are not
disciples of the Buddha. Such people as these kill and eat one another in a never-ending cycle. How can such people
transcend the Triple Realm?
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby seeker242 » Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:21 pm

Jikan wrote:If the Surangama Sutra is your path, then a vegetarian diet is entirely warranted for you.

Not all Buddhist traditions accept the Surangama Sutra as canonical.


Yes. :smile: But it's more than just that one particular sutra. I just happened to mention that one as simon mentioned that one. Although, with regards to meat eating I personally consider the Surangama Sutra secondary so to speak. For me personally, the primary ones would be the Nirvana sutra, Brama Net sutra and lastly, because I prefer zen, the Lankavatara sutra.

:namaste:

dzogchungpa wrote:
seeker242 wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:Do you think everything in the Shurangama Sutra is literally true?


The part where it talks about eating meat, I don't think that is a metaphor no.

I do not know the answer to the following question:
Which part where it talks about eating meat are you referring to?


The parts where the word "meat" appears. :smile:
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Dan Dorje » Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:31 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
Dan Dorje wrote:At some moment, I also followed advice of a teacher, to eat meat to help other beings, ganapuja stuff and so on; the usual arguments that are used also here, on forum.
To be very sincerely, except some increased muscular strength (which I can barely consider a benefit), I did not noticed any other benefits.
My mind was less sharp, more confused, less calm, I had problems with night sleep.
When I returned to my vegetarian diet, all those problems were solved.

Are you familiar with the nocebo effect?

And you think vegetarianism is nocebo, because ... ?
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:35 pm

Seeker242, you appear to be unwilling to engage in a serious discussion.
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.
- Conze
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