Simon E. wrote:
The point he was making is that sentient existence always involves the death of other sentient beings to maintain life. Purity is not an option....Gratitude is.
Yes, that is a good point! My point was just that is does not even address the issue that the "westerners", that he criticizes, are concerned about.
That is interesting. However, he fails to acknowledge that many more ants were killed by the animal being born and raised to begin with. How much rice or other grain did the animal eat during it's lifetime? I'm sure it was more than one bag! Why does he not count them too? Are they not important too?! Of course cows raised on a pasture would be less, but that is not how it's done in the modern day mass production in the west.
So clearly you make a distinction between grass-fed (i.e.) grazing animals vs. ones fed diets of cultivated corn or hay? So you would be willing to concede that it is more harmful to eat a vegetarian diet than natural grass-fed beef?
EDIT: by the way.. I made the exact same argument as you earlier in this thread.. years ago now. I like to think I have a bit more subtlety of thought and acceptance of the complexity of the situation, and acceptance of other's views these days. Buddhist practice is not about developing more rigid minds, or more dualistic ways of thinking, in my opinion or experience.
No, I would not be willing to concede that! I said pasture raised beef is less harmful than mass produced CAFO beef. I did not say that natural grass beef is less harmful than no beef. I accept other views no problem, I just don't agree with them! I don't think there is anything wrong with that.
And this shows that you are uninformed. I myself was a strict vegetarian for years, and then developed a serious digestion problem that no doctors could diagnose. I lost so much weight I began to look skeletal. I literally had to eat some meat and meat broths to get adequate nutrition and build my system back. It was not pleasant, but it did help.
Anecdotal evidence is not evidence and using it shows that you are misinformed. Does the average person have digestive problems? No they don't. Is there any scientific evidence that vegetarianism causes digestive problems? No, there isn't! Is there any real evidence that not eating meat caused your digestive problem? No, there isn't! Pretending that this is evidence is not a reasonable argument. Reasonable arguments have actual facts supporting them.
I was not talking about the "average person" but people with health issues that may need to eat meat for various reasons.. if you have absolute faith in Western medical science over traditional medicines that is fine but that is faith-based and other people have different views. You can start your own thread in Open Dharma questioning the basis of traditional medicines but this is not the place.
This is not the place for a "vegetarian debate"? Of course it is! The title of this very thread is "the great vegetarian debate". Why should one aspect of it be prohibited from being debated? After all, this thread is THE place to debate ALL aspects of vegetarianism. The mods specifically set it up that way.
Facts, are also relative. The facts of my experience are indeed facts: I ate meat out of desperation and it did help my condition. I never said NOT eating meat caused my problem. However, eating meat helped it. Also, the times I tried to be extreme and be completely vegan I always got weak and sick. I needed some animal proteins, eggs or milk and cheese, etc. despite knowing well the recommendations for vegan diets and following them diligently.
Again, anecdotal evidence is not evidence!
And the biological sciences have debunked the need for "animal protein" with valid scientific method. There is no such thing as "animal protein". Protein is amino acid and it is the same if it comes from a plant or an animal. Lysine is Lysine regardless if it comes from a plant or an animal, it is the exact same substance. Was it not the Dalai Lama himself that said if modern science proves something to be wrong, then it should change? Yes, he did say that!
There is such a thing as the body's ability to digest and absorb different sources of protein. .every body is different.. some are allergic to all grains, for instance, etc. Some digest certain sources of protein better than others. So far, I know of no one that relies on amino acid pills to give them their protein requirements.
Regarding your previous post re: the Dalai Lama and Tibetan doctors not understanding a proper vegetarian diet.. I think this is grossly misinformed.
No, it is not grossly misinformed when you consider what the Dalai Lama was eating when he turned vegetarian in 1960's. There is evidence to suggest that he subsisted on a completely bizarre diet consisting entirely of milk and nuts. This is a very unhealthy diet by any standards. Actual evidence supports the idea that the Dalai Lama had no idea how to eat a proper vegetarian diet. And of course, if you have no idea how to eat a vegetarian diet, of course you will have problems. But the problem is not the vegetarian diet, the problem is the persons lack of nutritional knowledge. People say things like "I went vegetarian and I became sick, therefore I need meat". That is not a reasonable argument. The reason why it's not reasonable is because there is nothing there to support the conclusion other than a guess. A valid conclusion need something besides a guess supporting it. A reasonable conclusion needs actual facts supporting it, not guesses and unfounded assumptions.
I don't know if your source is correct about his diet or free of bias. Please prove this was his diet. And even if it was, why do you think this was the diet recommended by Tibetan Doctors? I am sure that it was not. Perhaps he was emulating Ghandi's diet. Regardless, there is no proof of what his diet was at the time or that it caused him any problems.
There certainly is evidence supporting ideas of what his diet was and it supports the idea that it was not balanced. In his 1990 autobiography (pp. 184-185) we read his account of how he became a carnivore (again). I summarize and quote: He enthusiastically followed a vegetarian regimen in 1966. Few Tibetan dishes are vegetarian, but the cooks experimented with milk and nuts to provide him with protein. He liked these dishes. “I felt really well on them.” Then, “after twenty months I contracted a severe case of jaundice.” Luckily, “eventually the illness, which turned out to be Hepatitis B, cleared up, but not before I had consumed large quantities of Tibetan medicine.” His doctors advised him to cut the grease, milk, and nuts and “to start eating meat again.” So “reluctantly I returned to being non-vegetarian. Today I eat meat except on special occasions required by my spiritual practice.” This is the currently accepted account of his diet during that time and it is accepted that his vegetarian diet was unbalanced. These statements are corroborated by the memoirs of Olga La Marquise de St. Innocent' published in 1974. Olga was the wife of Woodland Kahler, President of International Vegetarian Union from 1960-71, who personally advised the Dalai Lama on vegetarianism when he came to the bi-annual World Vegetarian Congress in India where he gave a speech at the opening ceremony.
Regardless if the Dalia lama is vegetarian or not, what he eats or not, the fact still remains that non vegetarian food is more harmful than vegetarian food. To choose the more harmful option is not the compassionate choice!