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the great vegetarian debate - Page 46 - Dhamma Wheel

the great vegetarian debate

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
PeterB
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Re: vegetarian vs veganist

Postby PeterB » Tue Jan 11, 2011 6:40 pm


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James N. Dawson
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Re: vegetarian vs veganist

Postby James N. Dawson » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:32 pm

Pedro,

There's a range of views on vegetarianism and veganism among Western Theravadins. Beginning before I was a Buddhist, I was a vegetarian and off-an-on vegan for about 30 years, and have been a "99% vegan" for about the last 5 or 6.

I walk a fine line between respecting and acknowledging the sincerity and logic behind the orthodox teaching on meat-consumption, and being not-quite-comfortable with it philosophically. But being a vegan/vegetarian isn't the be-all and end-all of right and wrong, of cruel and kind, of good and bad. There are non-vegetarians with strengths and virtues far more developed than mine. Also, I do believe it's true that whatever we do, we are "supporting" cruelty and death, to some degree. What I myself try to do is be aware of cruel and harmful practices and disinvolve myself as much as I can, though I know, just from my own greed, aversion and delusion, I fall short. Veganism doesn't make you pure. In fact, it's impossible to objectively draw a line between veganism and non-veganism---it's a continuum. (Many vegans I suspect would object to this concept, and I've found, are a bit too judgemental of others, and unaware of their own inconsistencies.)

As the Buddha has said, there's a time and place to discuss things. This forum's a perfectly good place for your question. But it would be wise not bring it up at other places---temples, meditation retreats, other Buddhist gatherings, except to request a vegetarian or vegan dish at a public meal. (Vegan food in such a situation I think would be difficult for others to provide for you.) It's all been hashed out before. Let's follow our conscience and support like-minded persons, but be humble and respect the choices of others. Also, bhikkhus must generally accept what they're given, to cultivate equanimity, and also to avoid hurting people's feelings. I can very much understand that.

Wikipedia has a good overall article on Buddhist Vegetarianism.

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Kim OHara
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Re: vegetarian vs veganist

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:51 pm

:goodpost:
Kim

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James N. Dawson
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Re: vegetarian vs veganist

Postby James N. Dawson » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:05 am

Thank you, Kim.

alan
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Re: vegetarian vs veganist

Postby alan » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:14 am

Eat all the cheese you want. For those not lucky enough to live in the land of a million cows, I'd advise this product:
Delicious and healthy.

PeterB
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Re: vegetarian vs veganist

Postby PeterB » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:01 am


vesuyul
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Re: vegetarian vs veganist

Postby vesuyul » Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:27 pm

Its ok to eat meat in Theravada provided that a few criterias are fulfilled:

"Jivaka, I say that on three instances meat should not be partaken, when (1) seen, (2) heard, or when (3) there is suspicion.
I say, that on these three instances meat should not be partaken.
I say, that meat could be partaken on three instances, when not seen, not heard, and not when there is suspicion about it."

-The Buddha in MN55 : Jivaka Sutta

We can buy meat from shops if it fulfills the criteria above. Yes there is argument about indirect killing and all but the arahants through the years did not have any problem eating meat, why all the fuss? :)

Also read Amagandha Sutta where the ascetic Tissa addresed the Buddha Kassapa. The talk ensues aout what is stench and what is not stench.

But if you like to be vegetarian, by all means that is good! Metta..........

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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: vegetarian vs veganist

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:49 pm

What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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tobes
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Re: vegetarian vs veganist

Postby tobes » Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:47 am

I was a vegetarian for many years, but currently eat meat. I really respect people who live up to their ethics in this way.....but if we're operating on the utilitarian premises of preventing the suffering/deaths of sentient beings, then why do we not extend that to insects? Millions of insects must perish for the fields of carrots and lettuce. Are they of lesser worth? If not, do we need to accept that eating in a samsaric realm generally involves killing things.....or do we go in the direction of Jainism and fruitopism (that may be the wrong signifier....I mean the principal of only eating things which fall off a tree naturally)?

I think in some respects veganism is well intentioned but slightly illogical. One of my good friends became a vegan, and I had a debate with him about his refusal to eat honey but his willingness to drink wine.

I said "The production of wine entails the deaths of countless sentient beings. One does not need to consume wine at all, so if your eating habits are strongly utilitarian, on what basis can you justify drinking wine? After all, bees do not actually die in the honey producing process, so surely eating honey is less of a moral problem than drinking wine?"

I did not get a satisfactory response, but he is not a Buddhist, so I think a defence can be proposed on the basis that he does not regard killing insects as much of a moral problem.

But if killing insects is a moral problem, which I think it clearly is for Buddhists, what does this do to the logic of Veganism?

:anjali:

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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: vegetarian vs veganist

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:03 am

Thanks, tobe.

What you say is correct. I remember reading a Venerable's description and explanation of a monk's rebirth as a swarm of mosquitoes, apparently because of kamma from a previous life.

Again, what harm we cause is a matter of choice. Do we choose to drive on the highways at seventy miles per hour and scrape all manner of insects off our windshields, or do we choose to take the side roads at thirty and leave most insects unscathed?

Do we choose to buy so-called "organic" foods which are largely planted and harvested in less harmful means to the environment and put up with a few bug marks on our fruit and vegetables, or do we go for the prices afforded by corporate farming methods using insecticides, which destroy thousands upon thousands of insects?

As for eating honey: The bees did and do not volunteer giving their product (honey), which was produced by their labor for their offspring. Therefore, like milk, eggs, and cheese this violates the precept: "Take not what has not been freely given."

But, on the other hand, so vegans don't feel too special: Taking apples, berries, apricots, strawberries, grapefruit, oranges, cantelope, and etc. violates the exact same precept if you acknowledge the fact that plants are life-forms.

Which brings us back to: "Life needs to eat other life in order to live."
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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tobes
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Re: vegetarian vs veganist

Postby tobes » Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:37 am

Yes, it really gets tricky.

But I suppose the Buddhist response is to really contemplate the idea of intention. I don't think it can be disputed that eating a Vegan diet generally requires engendering kusala intentions.

But two points about that: 1/the intentions cultivated by the Vegan subject are more ethically significant than the consequences on the animal world, 2/ there are such a manifold of ways to engender kusala intentions (such that eating this particular diet or that is not really that morally significant).

I think what I'm saying is that Veganism makes much more ethical sense using non-Buddhist ethical logic (and moral psychology).

:anjali:

Paññāsikhara
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Re: vegetarian vs veganist

Postby Paññāsikhara » Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:53 am

My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .

PeterB
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Re: vegetarian vs veganist

Postby PeterB » Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:58 am

Thank you for that clear statement of the Chinese Mahayana position Ven Huifeng.

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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: vegetarian vs veganist

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:55 am

What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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Annapurna
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Re: vegetarian vs veganist

Postby Annapurna » Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:17 pm

http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: vegetarian vs veganist

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:38 pm

Last edited by Ron-The-Elder on Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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Annapurna
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Re: vegetarian vs veganist

Postby Annapurna » Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:49 pm

Thank you, Ron. :anjali:
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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David N. Snyder
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Re: vegetarian vs veganist

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Jan 13, 2011 5:06 pm

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Nibbida
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Re: vegetarian vs veganist

Postby Nibbida » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:02 pm


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Spiny O'Norman
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Re: vegetarian vs veganist

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:44 am



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