Silk in Vajrayana, and the bodhisattva practice.

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Silk in Vajrayana, and the bodhisattva practice.

Postby Inge » Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:44 am

Hi.
Can someone explain to me how the use of silk (kataks etc.) in Vajrayana buddhism is compatible with the bodhisattva practice. For instance in regards to statments as:

"Make every effort not to kill any living creature,
Birds, fish, deer, cattle and even tiny insects,
And strive instead to save their lives,"

by Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche. When, according to wikipedia, 3000 insects are killed in order to produce one kilo of silk.
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Re: Silk in Vajrayana, and the bodhisattva practice.

Postby heart » Wed Apr 21, 2010 3:12 pm

Inge wrote:Hi.
Can someone explain to me how the use of silk (kataks etc.) in Vajrayana buddhism is compatible with the bodhisattva practice. For instance in regards to statments as:

"Make every effort not to kill any living creature,
Birds, fish, deer, cattle and even tiny insects,
And strive instead to save their lives,"

by Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche. When, according to wikipedia, 3000 insects are killed in order to produce one kilo of silk.


Very few katas are silk katas. Katas is also a Tibetan cultural thing and not a Vajrayana thing.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
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Re: Silk in Vajrayana, and the bodhisattva practice.

Postby Inge » Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:50 pm

heart wrote:
Inge wrote:Hi.
Can someone explain to me how the use of silk (kataks etc.) in Vajrayana buddhism is compatible with the bodhisattva practice. For instance in regards to statments as:

"Make every effort not to kill any living creature,
Birds, fish, deer, cattle and even tiny insects,
And strive instead to save their lives,"

by Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche. When, according to wikipedia, 3000 insects are killed in order to produce one kilo of silk.


Very few katas are silk katas. Katas is also a Tibetan cultural thing and not a Vajrayana thing.

/magnus


Ok, but they are often used by vajrayana practitioners. I've seen both katas of silk, rayon and polyester. I have also seen silk used in ritual clothing, for instance the Chöd Rigdzin Shamo hat, and there are also silk thangkas, silk bell and dorje covers and malas with silk tassels, silk mala bags...

So it isn't inappropriate to use non-silk katas? No one will be offended?

I would like someone to explain to me in general the use of animal products in tibetan buddhism. The leather in chöd drums, the peacock feathers, the silk, the bones, the use of animal ingredients in tibetan medicine. If the animals are allready dead from "natural" causes, and have been dead long enough for the intermediate skandha body to leave, I can see no problem, but if they are slaughtered I don't see how this is compatible with the bodhisattva practice. Hopefully someone can explain all this to me to remove my doubts.

Thanks
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Re: Silk in Vajrayana, and the bodhisattva practice.

Postby heart » Thu Apr 22, 2010 2:18 pm

Inge wrote:
heart wrote:
Inge wrote:Hi.
Can someone explain to me how the use of silk (kataks etc.) in Vajrayana buddhism is compatible with the bodhisattva practice. For instance in regards to statments as:

"Make every effort not to kill any living creature,
Birds, fish, deer, cattle and even tiny insects,
And strive instead to save their lives,"

by Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche. When, according to wikipedia, 3000 insects are killed in order to produce one kilo of silk.


Very few katas are silk katas. Katas is also a Tibetan cultural thing and not a Vajrayana thing.

/magnus


Ok, but they are often used by vajrayana practitioners. I've seen both katas of silk, rayon and polyester. I have also seen silk used in ritual clothing, for instance the Chöd Rigdzin Shamo hat, and there are also silk thangkas, silk bell and dorje covers and malas with silk tassels, silk mala bags...

So it isn't inappropriate to use non-silk katas? No one will be offended?

I would like someone to explain to me in general the use of animal products in tibetan buddhism. The leather in chöd drums, the peacock feathers, the silk, the bones, the use of animal ingredients in tibetan medicine. If the animals are allready dead from "natural" causes, and have been dead long enough for the intermediate skandha body to leave, I can see no problem, but if they are slaughtered I don't see how this is compatible with the bodhisattva practice. Hopefully someone can explain all this to me to remove my doubts.

Thanks


No matter what we eat, how we dress, how we walk, drive and so on, we will cause harm to other sentient beings. There is no way around that. The only thing we can do is try to minimize the damage we do and try to develop a good motivation and attitude. However how we do this is personal and we should not judge other people but rather try to motivate and inspire them to change what we consider bad behavior.
The heart of tibetan buddhism, or all buddhism, is to change our own minds, not other peoples mind. So please offer synthetic katas, dress in synthetic cloths and eat food that cause as little misery to other sentient beings as possible. Tell others why you do it but keep your mind free from judgment.

with love
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"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
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Re: Silk in Vajrayana, and the bodhisattva practice.

Postby Heruka » Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:56 am

the eagle, she picks my eyes

the worm, he licks my bones!

making an offering of ones corpse to the vultures, whom don't kill any living thing to eat, is a very virtuous act.
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Re: Silk in Vajrayana, and the bodhisattva practice.

Postby Heruka » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:04 am

Inge wrote:And strive instead to save their lives,"

by Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche. When, according to wikipedia, 3000 insects are killed in order to produce one kilo of silk.


Chatral Rinpoche is squarley putting the teaching on your own actions and not looking to diffuse it in excuse about what others do.

one must arrive at this through swallowing the core of the Buddhas example as a teacher and not as a dictate of a set standard path, it must make sense on a DNA level, and not on indulging in fantasy about being a Buddhist.
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Re: Silk in Vajrayana, and the bodhisattva practice.

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Sun May 09, 2010 5:43 am

Inge wrote:
heart wrote:
Inge wrote:Hi.
Can someone explain to me how the use of silk (kataks etc.) in Vajrayana buddhism is compatible with the bodhisattva practice. For instance in regards to statments as:

"Make every effort not to kill any living creature,
Birds, fish, deer, cattle and even tiny insects,
And strive instead to save their lives,"

by Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche. When, according to wikipedia, 3000 insects are killed in order to produce one kilo of silk.


Very few katas are silk katas. Katas is also a Tibetan cultural thing and not a Vajrayana thing.

/magnus


Ok, but they are often used by vajrayana practitioners. I've seen both katas of silk, rayon and polyester. I have also seen silk used in ritual clothing, for instance the Chöd Rigdzin Shamo hat, and there are also silk thangkas, silk bell and dorje covers and malas with silk tassels, silk mala bags...

So it isn't inappropriate to use non-silk katas? No one will be offended?

I would like someone to explain to me in general the use of animal products in tibetan buddhism. The leather in chöd drums, the peacock feathers, the silk, the bones, the use of animal ingredients in tibetan medicine. If the animals are allready dead from "natural" causes, and have been dead long enough for the intermediate skandha body to leave, I can see no problem, but if they are slaughtered I don't see how this is compatible with the bodhisattva practice. Hopefully someone can explain all this to me to remove my doubts.

Thanks


Heart and Heruka have made some very important points about focusing on one's own actions and not others'. In any case, I'm pretty sure it's possible to harvest silk without killing or harming the worms. I'm not sure about the peacock feathers, but I think they may shed those. And yes, to use animal parts such as bones or skin, the animal would have to have died of natural causes for one to acquire them directly from the animal oneself. If it makes you feel better, Inge, in my experience the vast majority of Vajrayana implements that would have once been made of bone and skin are nowadays made of wood and other non-animal or synthetic materials, with a few exceptions. I imagine this is because back when Vajrayana was practiced in India or early Tibet and it was almost entirely serious yogis practicing it, it would have been feasible to gather the necessary materials from animals who'd died of natural causes, but nowadays when it is practiced comparatively more widely, it's necessary to use non-animal materials since murdering animals to make implements out of them is absolutely out of the question. I've heard, though, that in places like Nepal, poor locals have sometimes taken to making these implements to sell in order to make a living and when they make them out of animal products, who knows how they acquire them. This is why lamas caution students that if they are going to acquire implements made from animal products, they have to be very careful and make sure they know the source is reputable because ill-gotten implements are not good at all for use in one's practice.
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Re: Silk in Vajrayana, and the bodhisattva practice.

Postby Zhaxi Cairang » Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:01 am

Inge wrote:Hi.
Can someone explain to me how the use of silk (kataks etc.) in Vajrayana buddhism is compatible with the bodhisattva practice. For instance in regards to statments as:

"Make every effort not to kill any living creature,
Birds, fish, deer, cattle and even tiny insects,
And strive instead to save their lives,"

by Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche. When, according to wikipedia, 3000 insects are killed in order to produce one kilo of silk.


Apparently it is not a problem for Inner Tantra practitioners:
"Outer tantra practitioners maintain scrupulous personal cleanliness and purity of appearance, cleaning themselves several times a day and keeping a very clean external appearance. Inner tantra practitioners experience everything equally. This does not mean that they are dirty or crazy, but they realize the equal nature in each situation without needing to constantly distinguish between good and bad.
Outer tantra practitioners are vegetarian, eating only the three white and the three sweet substances. They drink from beautiful cups studded with precious gems. Inner tantra practitioners may wear animal skins for clothing, such as human, tiger and elephant." (Gyatrul Rinpoche, The Generation Stage in Buddhist Tantra, p. 18).


ZC
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Re: Silk in Vajrayana, and the bodhisattva practice.

Postby narraboth » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:11 pm

Zhaxi Cairang wrote:
Inge wrote:Hi.
Can someone explain to me how the use of silk (kataks etc.) in Vajrayana buddhism is compatible with the bodhisattva practice. For instance in regards to statments as:

"Make every effort not to kill any living creature,
Birds, fish, deer, cattle and even tiny insects,
And strive instead to save their lives,"

by Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche. When, according to wikipedia, 3000 insects are killed in order to produce one kilo of silk.


Apparently it is not a problem for Inner Tantra practitioners:
"Outer tantra practitioners maintain scrupulous personal cleanliness and purity of appearance, cleaning themselves several times a day and keeping a very clean external appearance. Inner tantra practitioners experience everything equally. This does not mean that they are dirty or crazy, but they realize the equal nature in each situation without needing to constantly distinguish between good and bad.
Outer tantra practitioners are vegetarian, eating only the three white and the three sweet substances. They drink from beautiful cups studded with precious gems. Inner tantra practitioners may wear animal skins for clothing, such as human, tiger and elephant." (Gyatrul Rinpoche, The Generation Stage in Buddhist Tantra, p. 18).


ZC



No no, inner tantra practitioners are not allowed to kill animals directly or indirectly either, unless they have the ability to liberate those animals. Inner tantra practitioners need to obey all vows unless they have the ability not to, which is a rare case. Otherwise inner tantra won't require rarer, kinder, more deligent and smarter students: everyone can do for comfortable and easy.
Tantras never say that you can kill human, elephant or tiger to get clothes just for your own greed.
In sense of the number of animals being killed, silk is much more serious than leather I think.

The problem of silk in Tibetan culture is, Chinese silk was a precious product in both Tibet and India, and when they saw it it's already a silk cloth, you can hardly think of boiling insects from it. Giving a Katak might seem just to be a custom today, but in old time katak itself is an expensive thing for Tibetan. It used to be that katak itself can be a gift, receiver didn't need to give it back to your neck. Also keep in mind that Tibetan also count their property as numbers of animals: how many cows and lambs they have. They didn't raise those animals to let them die naturally.

In another sense, when old Tibetan got those silk clothes, it's already a done product. They might just have wanted to offer what they think valuable to whom they think supreme. You can't say that motivation was bad.

Anyway, since we live in a modern world now and everyone has enough knowledge, I personally think we should choose a product that doesn't require thousands of worms to be boiled to death.

http://www.thebetterindia.com/135/ahims ... -silkworm/
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Re: Silk in Vajrayana, and the bodhisattva practice.

Postby Astus » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:02 pm

heart wrote:So please offer synthetic katas, dress in synthetic cloths and eat food that cause as little misery to other sentient beings as possible. Tell others why you do it but keep your mind free from judgment.


Synthetic textiles are usually made of polyester which is made of PET. So if we say that silk is not OK because worms died for it, what about environmental impact? Just to show how hard - practically impossible - to remove the disadvantages without producing other side effects. But if we keep thinking like this we eventually realise that through breathing we kill tiny animals and then end up like the Jains.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Silk in Vajrayana, and the bodhisattva practice.

Postby Chaz » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:53 am

Inge wrote:Hi.
Can someone explain to me how the use of silk (kataks etc.) in Vajrayana buddhism is compatible with the bodhisattva practice. For instance in regards to statments as:

"Make every effort not to kill any living creature,
Birds, fish, deer, cattle and even tiny insects,
And strive instead to save their lives,"

by Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche. When, according to wikipedia, 3000 insects are killed in order to produce one kilo of silk.



This is a tough call, because if we choose to go down the road of choosing things for our practice that don't have the taint of death or killing we aren't left with much. There is the matter of animal by-products, many of which can only be obtained via the death of animals. The same would be true for plant products where oftentimes sentient beings are killed as a result of the process of agriculture. Even the metals found in ritual implements can't escape the fact that sentient beings, humans and animals alike, have died to produce those metals.

Death and killing are to be found in every aspect of our lives and the world we live in. You can't escape it.

If you want that to stand between you and tantric practice, it's up to you. It's your karma. That's not to say I object to the position I presume you have. I have unanswered questions similar to yours. The truth is, though, that the only person who can put your mind at ease about this is you.

I may be best to pose this question to a vajra master and see that person says.
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Re: Silk in Vajrayana, and the bodhisattva practice.

Postby narraboth » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:00 pm

indeed it's very impossible to avoid any kind of harming beings.
however I think people are comparing different levels of things here.

A tradtional way handeling silk is to put tons of silkworm larva into boiling water. The standard here should be how many beings are killed for this and how they are killed, base on what motivation they are killed.

I don't really think we can comfortably say 'oh, we can't avoid harming animals anyway'? Just MHO.
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Re: Silk in Vajrayana, and the bodhisattva practice.

Postby Karma Gendun » Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:56 am

The best material in all aspects is organic cotton, or buy used things.
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Re: Silk in Vajrayana, and the bodhisattva practice.

Postby Matylda » Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:35 pm

Oh yes! We should ban all silk and pet kataks etc-as. then we should weave ourselves like Gandhi some sort of wild cotton, picked up without harming plants or creatures. we should not wash them in any sort of soap etc. only clean water and natural ash... stop driving cars, better push them. And must use only 1 car all life. environment would never forgive us the harm we cause. we should stop issuing gas from our natural pipes, I mean the natural gas.. it adds to warming effect. then maybe we should do something about eating.. it is not very good for other beings, isn't it? finally stop moving just keep motionless till end of life... do not cause any dust to be disturbed, dust effects others lungs, and gives allergy effect -so while moving around we may cause some discomfort and ... harm.
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Re: Silk in Vajrayana, and the bodhisattva practice.

Postby justsit » Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:09 pm

You may want to consider so-called "Peace Silk," in which the larvae are allowed to become moths and fly away, leaving the silk cocoon behind, as opposed to the larvae being boiled.
Fascinating video on the two processes, the lethal at the beginning, life-preserving the final few minutes.

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Re: Silk in Vajrayana, and the bodhisattva practice.

Postby Matylda » Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:59 pm

Indeed, there is something called in the West I think 'wild silk'.. but mostly it is sort of a raw material not so fine like real silk... by the way.. Chinese when they make silk they do not throw away the larva, but eat them... and have some special dishes from silk larva. Anyway, they eat everything....
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