the great vegetarian debate

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: Pure land & vegetarianism

Postby Nosta » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:48 pm

I eat less meat since I take Buddhism seriously.

I prefer poultry because the suffering of a chicken being killed is lesser than the suffering of a cow or a pork. A cow or a pork are more aware of themselves, are more inteligent animals, with a better nervous system, so I suppose they suffer more when being killed.

Sometimes I will eat just an healthy soup, without meat. Its much better for my Dharma practice, for the sake of beings. Besides, its less expensive (but money its not my first priority when eating less meat!).
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Re: Pure land & vegetarianism

Postby sinweiy » Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:07 am

it does help in the form of precept/discipline. just like why Buddha told the Queen to take up the 8 precepts, so that she can be reborn in pureland as she wanted, in Visualisation Sutra.
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Re: Pure land & vegetarianism

Postby shaunc » Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:12 am

Thanks for everyones help. I'm starting to understand much better now.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby LastLegend » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:03 am

Consider taking 'super' food such as maca powder, chia seeds, goji berries, acai powder, yacon syrup, etc. These things contain more nutrition than your body ever need if you consider becoming a vegetarian or eating less meats. Buy them organic-sunfood.come sell them.Also google super food to learn more.
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Re: Pure land & vegetarianism

Postby Asoka1944 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:58 am

Hi,
I'm happy to find discussion about vegetarianism, a topic much on my mind lately. I have a tendency to try to simplify -- perhaps oversimplify -- everything, but it seems to me that vegetarianism is at least implied in the first precept which suggests that we abstain from taking the life of sentient beings; from that point of view alone, I have taken up a vegetarian life style. Whether I'll be able to maintain it, I don't know. Realizing that people who live in areas where edible vegetable matter is scarce, and that accepting all offerings of the laity by monks can be considered the greater good, and that there are many points of view and rationales for what we eat, I can only speak for myself, hopefully free of judgement. It's interesting to find the discussion under Pureland Buddhism here. I've also been recently introduced to Pureland practice, so it's nice to find these two together.
with Metta,
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Re: Pure land & vegetarianism

Postby Kaji » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:00 pm

Asoka1944 wrote:Hi,
I'm happy to find discussion about vegetarianism, a topic much on my mind lately. I have a tendency to try to simplify -- perhaps oversimplify -- everything, but it seems to me that vegetarianism is at least implied in the first precept which suggests that we abstain from taking the life of sentient beings; from that point of view alone, I have taken up a vegetarian life style. Whether I'll be able to maintain it, I don't know. Realizing that people who live in areas where edible vegetable matter is scarce, and that accepting all offerings of the laity by monks can be considered the greater good, and that there are many points of view and rationales for what we eat, I can only speak for myself, hopefully free of judgement. It's interesting to find the discussion under Pureland Buddhism here. I've also been recently introduced to Pureland practice, so it's nice to find these two together.
with Metta,
Michael (Buddharuci)

Thanks for bringing up this great point. I know there are Buddhists who likewise follow the second precept and take up a vegan diet and also not use animal products in all aspects of life, e.g. leather, feathers, silk.
Namas triya-dhvikānāṃ sarva tathāgatānām!
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Food and Dharma

Postby LastLegend » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:01 pm

How important is food in aiding us practicing Dharma? From what I have heard, consuming food with a high sugar content before practicing meditation will not help with concentration as sugar makes us quite hyper. Not promoting a vegetarian agenda here or anything. I just want explore how food plays a role in our practice because certain foods do affect our body and thus mind. Sorry if there is already a topic about this. Also feel free to move it to where appropriate.

Peace.
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Re: Food and Dharma

Postby Jikan » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:13 pm

It's a good question. We might as well ask, why do we eat at all, if we know that food production inevitably causes pain and hardship (often death) to many sentient beings? Here's one answer that I think gives a baseline for moving forward in considering the relation between Dharma practice and eating:

Verse of the Three Morsels of Food (selections)
This food is for the Three Treasures
This food is four our teachers, parents, nation, and all sentient beings.
This food is for all beings in the three worlds.
Thus we eat this food with everyone,
We eat to stop all evil,
We eat to practice good,
To save all sentient beings,
And to accomplish our path


We recite this verse (there's a bit more to it I'm leaving out) before meals at Tendai Buddhist Institute. To me, it suggests that we need to feed ourselves properly in order to accomplish our path: not to indulge the senses but to support the body's health and longevity in order to practice more and be of service to others.
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Re: Food and Dharma

Postby WuMing » Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:20 am

LastLegend wrote:How important is food in aiding us practicing Dharma?


think about the food your taking in and all the suffering connected with it and then decide which kind of food you still want to eat, or you are willing to eat, respectively.
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
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Re: Food and Dharma

Postby randomseb » Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:01 pm

My thought is that if a being has some form of brain and therefore has some manner of mind field engaged in world generation due to some form of awareness, destroying this disrupts your own mind-field by virtue of dependent origination and the single wholeness of the flux of the universal dharmã, you know?

Besides, perhaps the next Einstein or the next great spiritual leader would have transmigrated out of that cow you were eating, had it been able to contemplate the grass growing for a whole bovine lifetime. But as it was cut short by confusing sudden slaughterhouse pains, it will have to go through a lifetime as a moth and a wombat first :tantrum:

I do know that the current Karmapa put out a release at some point strongly discouraging the use of meat or alcohol in locations that fall under his lineage, or the handling of meat or alcohol by monks and nuns under said lineage. Going so far as saying beings and locations which do so are not a part of that lineage anymore.

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Re: Food and Dharma

Postby LastLegend » Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:29 pm

Sure, eating meats has its ill effects directly and indirectly. Human now use chemicals and hormones to raise their animals and all cage raise them. When we eat these animals, we ingest their effects also. On the other hand, by eating vegetarian or vegan diets, we are not contributing to the death of those animals and also avoid ingest their effects otherwise would have. But does that mean eating any vegetarian or vegan diet is healthy or even beneficial to our practice? For example, when we eat sugary food, our body will release many CO2 through metabolism. So we need O2; this means we have to breath harder. This means the heart has to pump blood faster, and therefore increase pressure in blood flow. When the brain experiences the pressure, neurons will fire more and we think more. So then our mind cannot remain calm.

What about the advice that we should drink plenty of water? Sure if we eat a lot and many portions at the same time, then we will need a massive amount of water to process wastes and impurities resulting from biochemical reactions. The problem with drinking a lot of water is we are putting extra stress on our kidneys. An average adult has about 5 liters of blood that are filtered by our kidneys about 200 times per day. So that means the kidneys filter 1000 liters of blood per day in addition to the amount of water that we drink. How is this gonna benefit us on the long run? Now if we only eat, let say a medium portion of brown rice and soy sauce, then there is a low level of biochemical reaction. Thus, we don't have to drink a lot of water and less stress on kidneys. Also notice that when we have to pee so often throughout a day, we have a hard time practicing meditation on that day.
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Re: Food and Dharma

Postby WuMing » Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:49 pm

LastLegend wrote:... when we have to pee so often throughout a day, we have a hard time practicing meditation on that day.


:lol: ... but seriously, you can even pee in a meditative state of mind, paying attention to the very act itself. Don't reduce "meditation" (what an awkward word that is!) to just sitting on the cushion. Buddhist cultivation (bhavana) includes every activity, yes, even excretion.

... eating any vegetarian or vegan diet is healthy or even beneficial to our practice?


May I ask you a question: How do you feel (honestly) after eating anything, it doesn't matter what, of which you know caused suffering to others?
And then look at how do you feel after eating anything which didn't cause suffering to others.

Does that answer your question?
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
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Re: Food and Dharma

Postby LastLegend » Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:02 pm

WuMing wrote:
:lol: ... but seriously, you can even pee in a meditative state of mind, paying attention to the very act itself. Don't reduce "meditation" (what an awkward word that is!) to just sitting on the cushion. Buddhist cultivation (bhavana) includes every activity, yes, even excretion.


Sure you are right. But have a cup of sweet desert and try to be mindful versus have a cup of brown rice with some soy sauce.Then compare the two.

May I ask you a question: How do you feel (honestly) after eating anything, it doesn't matter what, of which you know caused suffering to others?
And then look at how do you feel after eating anything which didn't cause suffering to others.

Does that answer your question?


I am not arguing for eating meats or eating vegetarian diets. I am talking about how certain foods whether vegetarian or not affect how our body metabolizes, and thus affects our mental states. I am not sure how our body metabolizes meats, but from what I heard meats are pretty acidic and just as bad as sugar.
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Re: Food and Dharma

Postby black_tea » Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:23 pm

LastLegend wrote:Sure, eating meats has its ill effects directly and indirectly. Human now use chemicals and hormones to raise their animals and all cage raise them. When we eat these animals, we ingest their effects also. On the other hand, by eating vegetarian or vegan diets, we are not contributing to the death of those animals and also avoid ingest their effects otherwise would have. But does that mean eating any vegetarian or vegan diet is healthy or even beneficial to our practice? For example, when we eat sugary food, our body will release many CO2 through metabolism. So we need O2; this means we have to breath harder. This means the heart has to pump blood faster, and therefore increase pressure in blood flow. When the brain experiences the pressure, neurons will fire more and we think more. So then our mind cannot remain calm.


The ethics of eating meat aside, from a health standpoint you can be an unhealthy meat eater or a healthy meat eater, an unhealthy vegetarian or a healthy vegetarian, etc. It's making sure we get the stuff that we need, and don't go overboard on the stuff that we don't. However, our bodies are all different -- some people are more affected by things like sugar, caffeine, etc. Some might have a harder time processing certain foods. We have to pay attention to what our bodies are telling us. If I ate enough sugar I would not feel well, but putting a little in my tea or having the occasional treat doesn't make me not calm or speedy. However, I am much more sensitive to caffeine and anything stronger than tea is a no-no for me. But that's me.

What about the advice that we should drink plenty of water? Sure if we eat a lot and many portions at the same time, then we will need a massive amount of water to process wastes and impurities resulting from biochemical reactions. The problem with drinking a lot of water is we are putting extra stress on our kidneys. An average adult has about 5 liters of blood that are filtered by our kidneys about 200 times per day. So that means the kidneys filter 1000 liters of blood per day in addition to the amount of water that we drink. How is this gonna benefit us on the long run?


Though it is possible to drink too much water, that would take a good bit of effort to do. Most people don't drink enough. Staying well hydrated helps prevent UTI's as you flush out more bacteria. It's actually better for your kidneys and bladder.

Now if we only eat, let say a medium portion of brown rice and soy sauce, then there is a low level of biochemical reaction. Thus, we don't have to drink a lot of water and less stress on kidneys. Also notice that when we have to pee so often throughout a day, we have a hard time practicing meditation on that day.


But does that brown rice and soy sauce contain a balance of what you need? It's also possible to stay mindful while you pee. I have a problem with low blood pressure, and if I get dehydrated my blood volume drops and I get more symptoms. Being dizzy and lightheaded is far more distracting than taking a moment to go use the restroom. I think worrying about keeping a low biochemical reaction maybe looking at the wrong things (or perhaps overcomplicating the issue???) -- you need to look at whether or not you are getting the nutrition that you need to be healthy and that you are staying hydrated. I agree that eating in moderation is a good thing as well as not overindulging when it comes to sugary snacks
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Re: Food and Dharma

Postby LastLegend » Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:42 pm

black_tea wrote:The ethics of eating meat aside, from a health standpoint you can be an unhealthy meat eater or a healthy meat eater, an unhealthy vegetarian or a healthy vegetarian, etc. It's making sure we get the stuff that we need, and don't go overboard on the stuff that we don't. However, our bodies are all different -- some people are more affected by things like sugar, caffeine, etc. Some might have a harder time processing certain foods. We have to pay attention to what our bodies are telling us. If I ate enough sugar I would not feel well, but putting a little in my tea or having the occasional treat doesn't make me not calm or speedy. However, I am much more sensitive to caffeine and anything stronger than tea is a no-no for me. But that's me.


Sugar in form of sucrose or fructose is a poison. From what I have been told, isolated red bloods are killed by sucrose within 30 seconds. Also our body metabolizes sugar as a fat.

But sure, you can have some sure.

Though it is possible to drink too much water, that would take a good bit of effort to do. Most people don't drink enough. Staying well hydrated helps prevent UTI's as you flush out more bacteria. It's actually better for your kidneys and bladder.


Well, if your immune system is well in the first place, you would not have UTIs. So I believe the food that we eat is what causes UTIs.

You also get water from food that you eat. For example, rice has water.

But does that brown rice and soy sauce contain a balance of what you need?
It's also possible to stay mindful while you pee. I have a problem with low blood pressure, and if I get dehydrated my blood volume drops and I get more symptoms. Being dizzy and lightheaded is far more distracting than taking a moment to go use the restroom. I think worrying about keeping a low biochemical reaction maybe looking at the wrong things (or perhaps overcomplicating the issue???) -- you need to look at whether or not you are getting the nutrition that you need to be healthy and that you are staying hydrated. I agree that eating in moderation is a good thing as well as not overindulging when it comes to sugary snacks


Yes, you can be mindful in everything that you do. However, certain foods do affect your mental states. That was the point I have been saying.

Does brown rice and soy sauce have enough nutrition that you need? Well let me ask you this, does grass have enough nutrition that a cow needs? Does vegetation have enough nutrition that a deer needs?


It's the desire to eat and taste that you are defending.
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Re: Food and Dharma

Postby LastLegend » Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:50 pm

If you have low blood pressure, that's because there is something wrong with your body. If your body is healthy in the first place, you would not have low blood pressure.
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Re: Food and Dharma

Postby WuMing » Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:23 pm

If you are concerned about health issues, then you should maybe ask your physician/nutritionist and/or listen to your body.
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
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Re: Food and Dharma

Postby randomseb » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:25 am

The dharma of now, this moment, which is all that should be anyone's concern, what is going on at this very instant, does not depend on any particular states of health. In other words, if you are all hyper due to coffee, sugar, whatever, or if you are all sore and drained due to sickness or disability.. These are all things happening "now". Did you have sugar and are all hyped up? Then include this feeling in your being mindful of "this". Examine this feeling, feel it fully and accept it as part of the moment.
:woohoo:

It's not something that comes and goes due to some meditation induced state of mind, that is just a conditioned response and not the goal itself, a stepping stone perhaps?

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Re: Food and Dharma

Postby black_tea » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:47 am

LastLegend wrote:If you have low blood pressure, that's because there is something wrong with your body. If your body is healthy in the first place, you would not have low blood pressure.


I have an autonomic nervous system disorder. It has nothing to do with what I eat or the overall state of my health -- it's genetics at work. It does make me more sensitive to certain things and being dehydrated is one of them (there are worse things in life than having to pee ;) ). I understand your concerns, but it feels like you are exaggerating the perceived dangers. That has a way of happening in discussions about diet no matter where one goes.

What I was trying to get at with the sugar and caffeine example was simply that we are all different, and what affects you negatively may have little to no effect on someone else. Of course you don't need either sugar or caffeine in your diet, but they are what popped into my head as it is easy to see how they can effect people in completely different ways -- that's why proclaiming something as a 'poison' across the board comes off as reactionary. If eating something sugary or drinking a cup of coffee really does interfere with your physical health or meditation, then by all means avoid those things, but don't assume that they have the same effect on all other people. At the heart of it, though, we do need a variety of nutrients to be healthy and that is not likely to come from brown rice and soy sauce alone. Also, the amount of water you drink when your naturally thirsty is not going to damage your kidneys -- this is where listening to your body comes in. If you are thirsty, your body is telling you something. And while diet is an important part of one's overall health, good diet alone is not going to stop you from ever getting sick. UTI's don't come from an unhealthy immune system, they are caused by bacteria ending up in your urinary tract (an issue much more common for women than men for obvious anatomical reasons). I'm not saying you should guzzle water all day, or over indulge when it comes to food -- just suggesting a little moderation. We shouldn't be gluttons, but we shouldn't deprive our bodies either.
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Re: Food and Dharma

Postby LastLegend » Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:07 am

black_tea wrote:
I have an autonomic nervous system disorder. It has nothing to do with what I eat or the overall state of my health -- it's genetics at work. It does make me more sensitive to certain things and being dehydrated is one of them (there are worse things in life than having to pee ;) ). I understand your concerns, but it feels like you are exaggerating the perceived dangers. That has a way of happening in discussions about diet no matter where one goes.


Before I make any comments about you personally, let me ask you were you born with a autonomic nervous system disorder?

What I was trying to get at with the sugar and caffeine example was simply that we are all different, and what affects you negatively may have little to no effect on someone else. Of course you don't need either sugar or caffeine in your diet, but they are what popped into my head as it is easy to see how they can effect people in completely different ways -- that's why proclaiming something as a 'poison' across the board comes off as reactionary. If eating something sugary or drinking a cup of coffee really does interfere with your physical health or meditation, then by all means avoid those things, but don't assume that they have the same effect on all other people.


Look, just pay attention to what you eat and how it affects your mental states. See if you can figure out what is in your food that affects your mental states. See if there is a pattern. Study for yourself.

Also pay attention to what you eat and see when you get sick and when you don't get sick. See if there is a pattern.

At the heart of it, though, we do need a variety of nutrients to be healthy and that is not likely to come from brown rice and soy sauce alone.


I asked you already, does grass have enough nutrition that a cow needs? Does vegetation have enough nutrition that a deer needs?

If you cannot answer these questions above, you have no idea about nutrition.

Also, the amount of water you drink when your naturally thirsty is not going to damage your kidneys -- this is where listening to your body comes in. If you are thirsty, your body is telling you something.


A lot of junk food can make you thirsty. Also if you are used to drink a lot of water, your body will be conditioned to do that.

It is not going to damage your kidneys now but on the long run you will not live long. That's what happens when you overwork them thinking that's what good for them.

And while diet is an important part of one's overall health, good diet alone is not going to stop you from ever getting sick.


It depends on what your consider a good diet.

UTI's don't come from an unhealthy immune system, they are caused by bacteria ending up in your urinary tract (an issue much more common for women than men for obvious anatomical reasons).


What you said there make no sense at all. Your body's immune system is designed to fight off bacteria. If for some reason, it does not do its job, it's because you have not been eating right.

I'm not saying you should guzzle water all day, or over indulge when it comes to food -- just suggesting a little moderation. We shouldn't be gluttons, but we shouldn't deprive our bodies either.


Depriving your body? You need to answer my question about the deer and cow above before you can continue making comments about not consuming enough nutrition.
Last edited by LastLegend on Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:27 am, edited 9 times in total.
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