Kunga Lhadzom wrote:But wouldn't the karma of those beings that died... so you could live, be positive ? You create something positive out the negative....we are dependent on other life forms to survive....and we can't survive without each other...so it is very compassionate to give your life essence. Plants probably have no sense of compassionate activity...it is spontaneous....selfless....Huseng wrote:you need to create negative karma just to survive.
Karma is defined as volitional action, directed by either wholesome or unwholesome intentions.
The beings that have died in most cases will have no intention of sacrificing their lives for the well-being of others. In most cases in the industrialized world they are forced into horrific conditions whereupon they are slaughtered against their will.
Just watch some PETA videos and you'll see what I mean.
There is nothing positive about killing beings in order to live. In most cases we kill things or at least participate in the economy of killing with enjoyment. If you drink a milkshake and enjoy it, you'll probably not think of the horrific suffering of the cows in the modern dairy in industry for example. You could probably be satisfied with a bowl of oats and an apple, but how many people will go to a seafood restaurant and have a lobster boiled alive so they can relish the flesh of the creature?
If we introduce the idea that plants are likewise sentient and qualify as sattva in some form or another, then even that bowl of oats cannot be enjoyed guilt-free.
The Jains, however, have the idea that fruit and vegetables that are taken from a plant that does not result in its death (like an orange) is alright to be consumed, whereas killing a whole plant (like a carrot) is sinful.
That might not prove realistic for most of us. One thing we can do is understand the horrific suffering that goes behind a bowl of rice and recognize both our desire for food and our unfortunate dependance on it as a result of our past negative karma (being a human in the kama-loka is better than many other places in samsara, but it is still a result of unwholesome deeds and craving).
Incidentally, this is why devas get off the hook in many ways. They don't need to consume coarse material food and are free from the violent processes of having to obtain it.