Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Anything goes (almost).

Which do you think is worse?

Eating meat
10
36%
Drinking alcohol
12
43%
Neither: They are equally bad
6
21%
 
Total votes : 28

Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby kirtu » Thu May 13, 2010 3:32 am

Huseng wrote:
kirtu wrote:And here is one set of statistics demonstrating that a measurable rise in vegetarianism, at least in 10% of 25-34 US year olds (in 2003), has had no verifiable effect in reducing meat production (except that the reduction in meat production from 2007-2008 does approximate a reduction of meat eating in 10% of 1/4 of the overall population - the fluctuations may be partly caused by fluctuations in meat eating patterns but the meat industry will general link these fluctuations to variations in income).

Kirt



That's probably because they're exporting more meat to meat loving cultures like Japan and Korea which have money to blow and no qualms about eating animals.


No not at all. That link also has export data. It's true that meat export to Japan and Korea are up over 2004-2006 when the US, Japan and Korea got into a fight over meat inspection and exports but in fact current exports are way down from 2002 and in fact out of between 27-28 billion pounds of meat produced yearly in the US only about 1.8 billion pounds are exported currently. So meat exports are actually around 1/14th or so of production.

The poor cows (and pigs and turkeys and geese and other animals) have been born on Cannibal Island.

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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby Clueless Git » Thu May 13, 2010 9:37 am

kirtu wrote:
And here is one set of statistics demonstrating that a measurable rise in vegetarianism, at least in 10% of 25-34 US year olds (in 2003), has had no verifiable effect in reducing meat production
Kirt

'Lo Kirtu :)

That is a very interesting statistic. If I read it correctly it means that an increasing % of vegetarians is being offset by a decreasing % of non vegetarians increasing their intake of meat?

As an argument against the individual uptake of vegetarianism though .. That would be akin to arguing that an ongoing national increase in, say, wife beating makes it futile for any individual to cease beating their own wife.
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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby kirtu » Thu May 13, 2010 1:28 pm

Clueless Git wrote:
kirtu wrote:
And here is one set of statistics demonstrating that a measurable rise in vegetarianism, at least in 10% of 25-34 US year olds (in 2003), has had no verifiable effect in reducing meat production
Kirt

'Lo Kirtu :)

That is a very interesting statistic. If I read it correctly it means that an increasing % of vegetarians is being offset by a decreasing % of non vegetarians increasing their intake of meat?


It's unclear if that is happening. Note that the percentages of people declaring themselves vegetarian are still very low. There is no evidence for a decreasing percentage of non vegetarians. The Vegetarian Journal article discussing Harris (and other) Poll results aledges that vegetarianism more than doubled from 1994 and 1997 from 1% of the population to 2.8% of the population although the article also basically discusses an estimate of between 4-10% of the population call themselves vegetarians (the article tries to parse the term vegetarian and has results for non-meat-eaters through vegans).

I would suggest that the fluctuations in meat production arise from economic trends not related to a drop in consumer demand generated by vegetarianism because the general increase in population + tourist consumption (at any given time the actual number of people in the US is higher than the population by several million - and tourists eat all the time) more than offsets the drop seen by the low percentage of vegetarians of any sort. Added to this I would suggest that meat production in relatively inelastic due largely to the expectation of future demand. It would take a sharp drop in demand in order to reduce meat production significantly - something over 10% and probably over 15% of the general population would have to be reliably vegetarian in order to see a drop in meat production.

As an argument against the individual uptake of vegetarianism though .. That would be akin to arguing that an ongoing national increase in, say, wife beating makes it futile for any individual to cease beating their own wife.


No - I'm not arguing against individual reduction in (or total elimination of) meat eating but am pointing out that individual actions have apparently no measurable effect in reducing animal slaughter. Industries generally do not see individual actions (except marketers) and low percentages usually have no effect against the overwhelming majority.

Using your analogy - there is an entire industry built upon wife-beating and the industry has an expectation of continued wife-beating.

However - in the future (20-30 years) if vegetarianism is a stable phenomena in the 2003 age group 24-32 then vegetarian choices may have an effect as families produce vegetarian children.

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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby Indrajala » Thu May 13, 2010 3:08 pm

One problem that comes to mind is that, at least in my observation, few people who might identify as a vegetarian for some time follow it through the rest of their lives. Being vegetarian when you're young is easy because social pressures are few.

Unfortunately the pressures of society, one's job and family often gradually force people to give up their vegetarian lifestyle so as to better conform to the expectations of others.

Unless all your friends and associates are of like mind, always sticking out as the vegetarian can be a bit tiresome.

"Let's have ribs. Oh, uh, yeah, you'll have to order a salad for yourself or something..." :|

In a workplace too it might be troublesome to always have to ask for special dishes. To constantly be thought of as "the vegetarian" who must be always considered.

So, to just give in and go with the flow makes life easier.

Thus, I think the amount of people who identify as vegetarian will not be consistent.

I pray I maintain my vegetarianism until I die, but no guarantees I guess. I find the smell of meat revolting and dislike even looking at it. However, a senior to me recently said to me, "I used to be idealistic when I was young too. I used to be vegetarian too."

Maybe I should just ordain and hang out in Chinese temples the rest of my life. Peer pressure will ensure I'll conform to the status quo of veganism. :yinyang:
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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby kirtu » Thu May 13, 2010 3:57 pm

Unfortunately the pressures of society, one's job and family often gradually force people to give up their vegetarian lifestyle so as to better conform to the expectations of others.


Well it's interesting that you hit on social pressures. If asked, and if I respond, the most common response to me telling someone that I am Buddhist is "No you're not!" [remember: they asked me] (or if the person is ethnic Buddhist and we are at a Buddhist place they might ask what I think about Buddhism or about Christian comparisons with Buddhism). It is illogical but people carry a fairly detailed script of expectations about us around with them and believe that their ideas about us have some validity.

Huseng wrote:One problem that comes to mind is that, at least in my observation, few people who might identify as a vegetarian for some time follow it through the rest of their lives. Being vegetarian when you're young is easy because social pressures are few.


I'm not sure this is true. Some people do transition between vegetarianism and non-vegetarianism as a personal choice but I have known people who are basically life-long vegetarians. Perhaps we can find a longitudinal study? From my POV social pressure is not really so valid for Western adults.

"Let's have ribs. Oh, uh, yeah, you'll have to order a salad for yourself or something..." :|


That used to be true but increasingly there are veg options other than salad. Even is meat production has not really declined there has been an increase in veg available food choices.

In a workplace too it might be troublesome to always have to ask for special dishes. To constantly be thought of as "the vegetarian" who must be always considered.


I didn't find this to be a problem in the work place actually.

Now in Japan - this might be quite different.

Since I am currently massively underemployed I have been thinking about finding a way to open a veg food stand .... veg food is often overly expensive but instead of a hot dog stand maybe hummus, tabbouleh, rice and tofu with kimchi maybe and maybe veg hotdogs and veggie burgers. Unfortunately I'm not a cook ....

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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby do_not_zzz » Sun May 16, 2010 1:16 pm

I haven't read every single post on here, but I couldn't help but notice the first few posts on this thread. In particular, with accepting meat to eat if it is already dead. For myself, it is not so much of an issue, eating meat that is. But what makes me a vegetarian, is the practice of factory farming.

And more than 80% of our meat in developed nations comes from "kill floors" etc. I can see how this principle might have worked a few hundred years ago, but for myself, it is almost impossible for me to eat mindfully, knowing how these animals were killed, and how they experienced such suffering right before their deaths.

The movie, Jungle Burger, first generated my vegetarianism. Followed by the harder-to-watch, Earthlings. Food Inc. is also tremendous, and doesn't make it's arguments with so much "shock" footage that the others do.


Just my two cents:)

In Metta

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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby Zhaxi Cairang » Sat Jul 17, 2010 7:10 pm

TMingyur wrote:Dear hungryghost

pali canon and mahayana sutras side with your view. Purchasing meat in the 21st century having plenty of alternatives in our western societies is unwholesome conduct.

Kind regards


The Ganden Tripa in an interview expounds different points of view:
"Q: Is vegetarianism compulsory? It has been suggested that cultivating crops kill untold

numbers of insects whilst the slaughtering of only one yak in old Tibet can feed the whole

family for a week. Therefore, from the numerical point of view, this group of people suggests

that we should consume meat of big-size animals rather than eating vegetables which

inevitably entail the death of countless creatures. Moreover, some masters have insisted on

vegetarianism as compulsory for a Buddhist whilst others quoted Buddhist texts to the

contrary. What is Your Holiness point of view?

A: In general, Lord Buddha has taught 3 differing points with regard to vegetarianism.

In the first one, in the Theravada tradition, it is taught that we cannot take the so-called three

categories of "Impure Meat": a) we perceive through our eyes or ears the killing of the meat;

b) we suspect that the meat is killed for ourselves; c) we know that the meat has been killed

for us. Besides these 3 categories of meat, we are permitted to partake of the rest.

In the second one, in the Mahayana tradition, it is taught explicitly that the taking meat is

necessarily unskillful and wrong. So vegetarianism is compulsory here.

In the third, in the Vajrayana tradition, it is taught that practitioners of this path should take

meat. The reason for this is given in the texts and requires extensive explanations. It is not

appropriate for me to elaborate here.

Students of Buddhism can choose to follow any of these 3 points. It is not possible for me to

dictate which points students should follow."

for the complete interview see: http://www.casotac.com/articles/interview.htm

ZC
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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby Indrajala » Sun Jul 18, 2010 4:40 am

Zhaxi Cairang wrote:
TMingyur wrote:Dear hungryghost

pali canon and mahayana sutras side with your view. Purchasing meat in the 21st century having plenty of alternatives in our western societies is unwholesome conduct.

Kind regards


The Ganden Tripa in an interview expounds different points of view:
"Q: Is vegetarianism compulsory? It has been suggested that cultivating crops kill untold

numbers of insects whilst the slaughtering of only one yak in old Tibet can feed the whole

family for a week. Therefore, from the numerical point of view, this group of people suggests

that we should consume meat of big-size animals rather than eating vegetables which

inevitably entail the death of countless creatures. Moreover, some masters have insisted on

vegetarianism as compulsory for a Buddhist whilst others quoted Buddhist texts to the

contrary. What is Your Holiness point of view?

A: In general, Lord Buddha has taught 3 differing points with regard to vegetarianism.

In the first one, in the Theravada tradition, it is taught that we cannot take the so-called three

categories of "Impure Meat": a) we perceive through our eyes or ears the killing of the meat;

b) we suspect that the meat is killed for ourselves; c) we know that the meat has been killed

for us. Besides these 3 categories of meat, we are permitted to partake of the rest.

In the second one, in the Mahayana tradition, it is taught explicitly that the taking meat is

necessarily unskillful and wrong. So vegetarianism is compulsory here.

In the third, in the Vajrayana tradition, it is taught that practitioners of this path should take

meat. The reason for this is given in the texts and requires extensive explanations. It is not

appropriate for me to elaborate here.

Students of Buddhism can choose to follow any of these 3 points. It is not possible for me to

dictate which points students should follow."

for the complete interview see: http://www.casotac.com/articles/interview.htm

ZC


Not in reference to His Holiness (who tried to go vegetarian but for health reasons could not continue), but unfortunately many people are addicted to their consumption of meat and will find any number of reasons to justify it.
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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby remm » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:18 am

Huseng wrote:
Namu Butsu wrote:Huseng you may want to read the book "The Vegetarian Myth"

Wasn't there many enlightened tibetan masters who ate meat? hmmm...perhaps your new rules takes away their buddhahood.

Gassho
Namo AMida Butsu


Are you an enlightened master living in Tibet? Do you even live in Tibet?

My own Tibetan teacher eats meat, but praises vegetarianism and has stated in his future life he hopes he can be vegetarian. As it stands now he would suffer health problems if he quit eating meat abruptly.

That being said the mechanized cruelty of the modern meat industry is inexcusable. The present system is a bit different from a single yak being slaughtered by nomads. In our present system countless animals are raised in horrid conditions, tortured and put to death. The system only exists because of a consumer demand for the product. If you purchase the product you support the system and are a cause for it existing.

The compassionate thing is to refrain from meat consumption for the well-being of the butcher (they only kill animals due to consumer demand) and for the animals who are being slaughtered.

If you are healthy and live in a place where a vegetarian diet is easily done, you should refrain from consuming meat.


Exactly! I couldn't have said it better myself.
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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby remm » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:38 am

Here is an interesting article that is definitely worth your time reading. This article was written by Rev. Heng Yuen to his sister.

You might remember the incident when the Buddha picked a handful of earth and explained that the number of beings born as humans is like the earth in his hand, whereas the amount of earth in the world is like the number of beings born in lower realms, such as animals, ghosts and in the hells. Humans commit many evil deeds which cause their rebirth in these lower miserable realms. Even the average citizen who, on the surface, appears to live without evil, is actually accumulating killing karma so long as he continues eating meat, and causing many innocent animals to die. With the number of animals a person eats, is it any mystery then, why he is reborn countless times as animals before he finally gets reborn as a human again? The trouble is that, once given the break as a human, he eats animals and again gets reborn countless times as those animals. Do you now understand why humans are so woefully few compared to those reborn in the suffering states?

The average person believes that eating meat gives him the energy and nutrition for his life force. In fact, anything you eat fills up your entire body system, whether vitamins or poison. But people forget that in eating animals, the entire animal life force also fills up your life force. The fear, anger, agony and vengeance that fill up every cell of the animal at the moment of death will also fill up every cell of the person who eats the animal. If you consider the sum total animal flesh eaten by the average person, do you know if there is any part of his blood supply, body cells or psyche which is not contaminated by those toxic animal energy? Think about this.

At the rate people are gobbling up meat, retribution couldn’t wait until the next life; retribution manifests in the very present life. The escalating diseases that I just mentioned suffered by meat eaters result from just their individual karma. Their collective killing karma is manifested in the alarming number of murders, wars, calamities such as earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, accidents, fires, etc. People are thinking and acting like animals, killing each other for no reason, in increasing numbers. Even kids kill their parents nowadays. People in greater numbers are growing up with a death wish, partly fed daily by the unnecessary abhorrent violence shown on TV and movies. The world is obsessed with killing.

You and I are related as brother and sister in this present human life. This is nothing new. We have been related as humans countless times before. But we have been related as animals many more times than as humans. If you continue eating meat, even if you do other good karma, it is unsure how many lives you would be reborn as animals or in other painful realms before we can be reborn in the same human family again. The chances of my explaining this to you again in a future human life is like looking for a needle in the entire Ganges River. The reason I have written this long letter is because I cannot bear to have you, my loving sister, reborn countless times as chickens or cows only to be slaughtered over and over again.

With each passing day, as you continue eating meat, you sink deeper into samsara with that many more lives to go through as those pitiful animals. Being an animal is no fun! Believe me! Who do you think are those getting reborn as chickens and cows everyday? And being killed everyday? They are the previous humans who ate animals without compassion. As humans they had no concern whatsoever for the fear, pain or agony of those poor animals. So the humans eventually end up being reborn as those animals only to be eaten by others. So the vicious cycle repeats itself ad infinitum.
The meat eater incurs more killing karma than the butcher, because you paid him to kill. It is like paying an assassin. So, don’t be naive in thinking you are absolved from the killing karma.

Be realistic. It is not eating meat that makes you or your children healthy and live long. It is doing good deeds, being compassionate and liberating life that guarantee you good health, and a long and happy life. When it comes to changing our bad habits, we should not wait. The best time to do good and avoid evil is NOW! If you would only make the resolve to stop eating meat this very instant, you would know how to cook non-meat meals. You are only putting unnecessary hurdles in front of yourself by fussing over the difficulty of cooking. Besides, there are many good cook books available on non-meat cooking. You teach your children to be filial by being filial yourself. You also teach them to be compassionate and respect life by not eating meat or feeding them the flesh of living beings.

This letter has taken a long time to write. But I write it with the sincerest intention. It is an unsurpassed gift a brother could give a sister, or to anyone. It is worth your reading it over many times. Today is the day to sincerely make the resolve: "I vow that from today on, and in all future lives, I will not knowingly eat the flesh of living beings or cause their death, directly or indirectly."

Amitabha.


http://www.drba.org/dharma/veggie/dearsis.asp
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Re: Eating Meat vs. Drinking Alcohol--Which is worse?

Postby neverdowell » Tue Jul 20, 2010 4:04 am

Sorry for jumping in like this for my first post, but I just want to say that was an excellent post remm.

I would say that eating meat is worse because you probably share in the karma of killing. At least that's what I suspect, because you share in the good karma of building a temple or feeding monks by donating towards them, so it seems like a mirror image to me. Even so, some people need to eat meat, including the Tibetans who have no choice because not enough vegetables grow in the cold of Tibet.

If alcohol causes you to hurt people with words, physically harming, and spreading cynical world views, maybe it could be worse than eating meat. Could it have permanent negative side effects on the mind-body complex as well, hindering enlightenment? Maybe.

To wax practically for a moment, I think it's worth trying to go vegetarian or reducing meat consumption to the bare minimum required(?). For me it's simple, I started off reducing meat consumption then stopped eating it completely. It didn't take long for my taste preference to change and fully appreciate wholly vegetarian foods. I feel less emotional (reduced anger and sexual desire particularly) and have more equanimity. Initially I missed the dull, heavy feeling that meat brought, but not anymore. Also, it has become more obvious over time that it feels wrong to kill an animal for food if it's not necessary. I think that is a manifestation of compassion. When I see meat I see an animal in it. It barely looks like food anymore.

:pig:

Also, the Karma Sutra says that refraining from meat is a cause to be intelligent in your next life.

Edit: sorry for editing this post so many times.

To develop bodhichitta, which is the actual practice, you need to develop such compassion that you simply cannot bear others being tormented by suffering. But in order to develop this compassion, you must know exactly how you yourself are plagued by suffering. And you must understand that the whole of samsara is by nature suffering. But first you must fear the lower realms, for without this you will have no repudiation of celestial and human happiness. You must therefore train your mind in the small- and medium- scope parts of the path. -- Pabongka Rinpoche
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