coldwater wrote:this whole thread is really interesting...!
I'd like to share my views as another perspective in it all.
I've been vegetarian since I was 8 years old, not from family influence. They all ate meat and do from time to time though less because of my choice. My purpose was I did not want to have a chicken (or another animal) die against it's will for me because it had parents and children also. That is my rationale then and I stick with it still. Never has it been a political or environmental statement for me. I don't tie it in to my religion or spirituality though it can imply spiritual ideas. I simply wanted to minimize my support of killing- as best as I was able- choosing the path of least harm. I simply understand that if I try to hurt an animal it will try to get away and it will feel pain. Later I became vegan for 8 years when I learned about factory farming. Now I occasionally eat dairy or egg if it is around though I do not purchase it. 21 years later I am healthy and not passing out or emaciated, looking like death or what have you. No major health problems or malnutrition. It's been working for me, it doesn't work for everyone and that could be because of many factors- constitution, diet, lifestyle, genetics etc. so I don't advocate it as the example of health. I do advocate it as way to interact with the objectification of life and our choice in it.
my ever changing argument for being vegetarian:
I do understand and accept that farming, driving, consuming any product whatsoever, even breathing will inadvertently harm, disturb or kill life. It is interesting to me when meat eaters feel the need to point this out repeatedly. To point it out so strongly as a reason *not* to be vegetarian or why one thinks vegetarians 'are no better, no innocent, not any less harmful', I feel, is side stepping the issue of individual choice and collective responsibility. Using this logic it could be carried further that if grain is mass murder, than beef is even worse as a cow needs to consume even larger quantities than I would consume in the same amount of time...plus the cow needs to be killed as well....funny thing this interdependence it goes on forever in every direction if you want it to. How I see it using this logic doesn't ever make any death or killing less deadly or painful and simply being in a body will cause harm to some degree.
The frequent use of 'eating rice=mass murder' thinking by vegetarians also could also lead to the opposite extreme form of vegetarianism and even the religious 'ahimsa death' found in systems like Jainism. I find it helpful to take an idea to both extremes and see what happens. I think the Buddha's idea of the 'middle way' is useful...for lay people with 5 precepts it is not to 'kill a human' and advice not to engage in 'wrong livelihood'. For monks and nuns it is not to accept 'impure meat'.
What makes more sense to me than this obvious interdependence...is the intention and choices behind my purchases and eating. In what way can I most reduce deliberate or methodical harm by myself or for myself right now? When given choices that are in my sphere of influence what do I choose? What systems that intentionally cause harm am I supporting?
When I eat grains or vegetables it is not my intention to eat something killed specifically for me or requested by me- the 'consumer'. Nor am I asking the 'producer' to do it. The fact that people walked, tilled, harvested, transported and built buildings to sell those veggies will cause harm in the process but that is not the intention or goal of those activities.
On the other hand when I think about eating meat I consider that a individual life was bred, nourished, feed and then with a clear and direct intention was killed deliberately on my behalf against it's will...the whole thing, start to finish, was designed for me the 'consumer'.
I've applied the monastic practice of 'pure meat'... 'not seen, not known, not suspected to be killed on my benefit' to my purchases of food and so further along where my money goes for most services and products. Since factory farming and mass production of meat and animal products did not exist in the Buddha's time...I apply the label of 'consumer/customer' to myself when I enter a grocery store since the scale of production has changed. The products there are produced and sold by companies for anyone who is labelled 'consumer/customer'.
When I see, know or suspect intentional killing, theft, abuse etc. for the product I use I will choose a different supplier or source. This could be carried to clothing and products that employ child labor or unfair work practices etc. I can't stop it all from happening of course but I can make clear choices for myself.
So from my view then eating or not eating meat as an act is not inherently pure or ethical. I don't see any inherent value in it unless it is backed by and reinforced by intention and thought. Deliberately killing or asking others to on the other hand is usually a harmful choice.
Whether one does either with a sense of greed, arrogance, hatred, or unawareness to the process determines the 'purity' of ethics. For example...it would follow that to eat a meal of meat and rejoice in the death of the animal and be attached to the flavor of the animal's flesh would be 'rejoicing in death', to buy meat killed for me the 'consumer' would be 'asking another to do it on my behalf'. To eat a meal of meat that was 'purely offered' and to consider the life taken while not complaining or rejoicing in flavor/circumstances would be 'pure meat eating'.
For eating a vegetarian meal I try to think of it as a necessary medicine to support practice and that I need to turn over the energy gained through the work, sweat and blood of everyone who inadvertently suffered in the process to bring it to my table thus 'purely vegetarian'. To be vegetarian because it is a fad, diet, or I think it bestows special status, fame or rewards would for me mean 'impure vegetarian'. I can only live on the backs of others.
At the end of the day it is merely my opinion and I am responsible for my actions...it is up to others to figure out their minds in their own actions. I can't know the intentions of someone eating meat or vege so I am not assuming either is right. They have their reasons and I have my own as well.
On a side note- someone said the Dalai Lama tried being vegetarian but switched back to eating meat. One important point was not included- he eats meat every other day. The reason is to minimize his consumption but maintain his health according to his doctor's order. This way he can be vegetarian '6 months out of the year' and he promotes vegetarian eating in the Tibetan community. HH's main temple in Dharamsala only serves vegetarian food. A trend in Tibetan monasteries is to serve vege fare but monastics are still individuals and will purchase and eat meat outside of the monastery.
greentara wrote:catmoon, "On the other hand, if you define health as being vegan, then you will of course be healthy if you go vegan. Even if your hair is falling out, even though you half pass out every time you get out of a chair, even if your children suffer permanent mental impairments from B12 deficiency"
You can be B12 deficient on a vegetarian diet, you don't have to be vegan to be depleted. 'Ahimsa', (being harmless) is an issue we all have to think deeply about. There is no one shoe fits all.
In Sth India where vegetarianism is 'de regle', they eat huge servings of white rice and have a high incidence of diabetes. Their ancestors have been vegetarian for at least a thousand years and the body knows nothing else. We on the other hand......
PadmaVonSamba wrote:Buddhists take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. But what does "refuge" mean? It is the path to realization of the end of suffering, meaning that it is the path one chooses as the method of liberation. .
PadmaVonSamba wrote:porpoise wrote:seeker242 wrote:The practice of Buddhism intrinsically includes kindness to animals. The practice of Buddhism intrinsically includes kindness to all living beings.
That's my understanding. And I'd feel like a hypocrite buying meat because effectively I'd be saying: "I'm a Buddhist and don't want to kill animals, but I'm happy for somebody else to do it on my behalf."
Leaving aside the fact that business in meat is traditionally wrong livelihood.
Are you clinging to "not being a hypocrite" ?
porpoise wrote:PadmaVonSamba wrote: Are you clinging to "not being a hypocrite" ?
No. Are you clinging to eating meat?
Karma Gendun wrote:Meat is not positive to eat at all. The only time meat is acceptable in vajrayana is if you have special powers which allow you to transfer the animals conciousness to a better rebirth or bring them back to life. Otherwise it is very bad for the eater and the animal. As for becoming a student in a future life that is life release not meat eating. Meat eating creates a negative karmic connection. In the commentary on Kalachakra it predicts that many Vajrayana practitioners will eat meat but that Buddha strictly prohibited that.
To say your exaggerating would be an understatement. If people could feel such micro-changes in their body, how would so many millions be able to smoke, do drugs both illicit and prescribed, eat a meat heavy diet, eat corn syrup, eat GMOs, etc.? Sadly people cannot feel micro-changes and everytime someone makes a statement like you do, I seriously doubt their credibility. The world would be a totally different place if what you are saying was true, and sadly it is isn't so.
gyougan wrote:catmoon wrote:Ahem. We usually try to express ourseves a little more kindly than that around here.
Sorry. But veganazis really irritate me sometimes.
Being a vegetarian or a vegan, in Samsara, is a very nice thing to do, but that's really about all it is. So, thanks anyway, but don't act like it's some big deal, because it isn't.
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Then, they argue vegetarianism under the pretext of arguing some sort of "correct" Buddhism.
PadmaVonSamba wrote:The fact is, some Buddhists eat meat and some do not. And then, they die. And I think, to argue vegetarianism as the only true way a Buddhist should eat misses the whole point of the Buddha's teachings, and reduces Dharma to a set of dietary laws. And since the act of chewing and swallowing anything takes up less than 2% or 3% of a person's whole life, maybe the issue is blown out of proportion. If the Dharma is only available to vegetarians, then it is a very narrow and limited path.
Agreed for the most part. And yes other Pali scriptures contradict the above. But it's not "the act of chewing and swallowing". It's the act of not killing nor causing to kill, and exhibiting compassion and harmlessness to all living beings. A fundamental and necessary component of cultivating Bodhicitta.This really does not miss the whole point of the Buddha's teaching. In fact, it is an integral part of it.
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