the great vegetarian debate

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

Re: Ahimsa, Veganism, and Existing Food/Supplements

Postby Konchog1 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:28 am

SittingSilent wrote:I am learning more about Buddhism, although I'm not sure which school I feel comfortable in. However, as I am learning more about the concept of ahimsa, I am feeling drawn to become a vegan, especially considering the horrific conditions other sentient beings are raised and then slaughtered under simply to provide food for us. I am not comfortable with this. My difficulty however, is with what I am supposed to do with the chicken and beef in my freezer, as well as the medications that are in capsules made with gelatin (animal-sourced), etc. I feel I shouldn't consume them because that would be contributing to all four negative intentions, but if I dispose of them, how is that any better?

Thoughts please!

E
As I understand it, Ahimsa is more important in some sects of Hinduism and Jainism (whose version Gandhi followed) then in any sect of Buddhism.

Being vegetarian is nice, but are you doing it because it causes animals to suffer? Or because it's part of "the lifestyle" of being a Buddhist? There is overlap but also big differences. Personally, I feel it is acceptable to secretly cook and eat a dead bird you find while walking in a forest. Do you see?
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-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:03 am

It means the animal was killed for nothing. His flesh didn't even provided sustenance to the monk. By the way, monks can't be picky when it comes to food. They should eat indiscriminately whatever food is in their bowl, not even choosing what goes first and last to the mouth. What would be the point of him not eating the meat? Dietary preferences?
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Thug4lyfe » Fri Dec 09, 2011 3:42 am

When noob lay disciples tries to behave like higly cultivated nobel ones regarding "minor issues" in Samsara, it's a one way ticket to Avici hell....
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Re: Ahimsa, Veganism, and Existing Food/Supplements

Postby Thug4lyfe » Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:21 am

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Re: Ahimsa, Veganism, and Existing Food/Supplements

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Dec 09, 2011 5:55 am

The problem is again the habit. If one is trying to break a habit to digress from the pattern of other even if one has a good cause(not wasting things)....it is a cause for repeating the habit.

Habit is a powerful issue. EAting diet is all about habit, what we were taught to eat how and when.
Once indulgeing this habit again one finds oneself doing such again then will come the rationals to continue to do this.

So my strong advice....if you want to do this, don't deviate from it...it is to easy to slip back,the rationalizations will follow, but the bottom line will be one is no longer doing what one wanted to do....not eat this thing.

You will occasionally eat meat by other cause. SERved chicken in a restaurant one time as vegetarian....these incidents will happen. They do not however incite habitual formation. The choosing to do so for whatever reason is most powerful for that.
That is my advice I have no problem following this for 20 plus years. I can't count how many decide to and then slip back. So be careful on considering this carefully before doing it, but when decided do it. Otherwise a habit of decideing then breaking that decision is formed which may be a untoward kind of thing to form. Very negative.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Dec 09, 2011 6:04 am

In a practical sense the leader or abbot of the monastery will decide how the food is obtained and what is consumed nowadays like as not in M tradition.
Aas mentioned above in the main this is directed to lay not monastic this issue. Rreally a monastic knows clearly before becoming one in a particular school what the policy is. They do not enter it and then decide to change it. A monastic without a policy in a particular order I would not say never, but not usual.

REally this issue is for lay not ordained.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Inge » Fri Dec 09, 2011 9:52 am

Dechen Norbu wrote:It means the animal was killed for nothing. His flesh didn't even provided sustenance to the monk. By the way, monks can't be picky when it comes to food. They should eat indiscriminately whatever food is in their bowl, not even choosing what goes first and last to the mouth. What would be the point of him not eating the meat? Dietary preferences?


The point would be not to break the monastic code by consuming forbidden or impure meat, or other forbidden items.

As all the animals acts connected with the body from which the meat comes is in the past, how could what happens to the meat affect it's life?
As the act of slaughtering the animal is also in the past, how could what happens to the meat affect it's death?

Wouldn't eating or not eating only affect the bhikkhu in question?

I don't think it is true that bhikkhus should eat indisciminately whatever food is in thir bowl. For instance the following quote demonstrates that there is in fact discrimination:

"If a bhikkhu is uncertain as to the identity of any meat presented to him, he incurs a dukkaṭa if he doesn't ask the donor what it is before eating it (Mv.VI.23.9)."


Since there are practices like ganapuja, which establishes a bond between the practitioner and the being who's meat is used, is it also established a bond between those beings if the meat is consumed outside of ganapuja? And what kind of bond would that be?

I have also heard many times that if one recites a mantra and then blows on the remains of any dead being, one will affect that being favourably in whatever realm that being has taken birth. So apparently a being is still connected to it's past bodies in some way. I wonder what kind of connection this is?


"And one should not consume meat without having reflected on it (on what it is). Whoever should do so: an offense of wrong doing." — Mv.VI.23.9
And also I have heard that if unsuitable meat were received, the monastics used to perform a ritual for that meats being.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby wisdom » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:33 am

Inge wrote:As all the animals acts connected with the body from which the meat comes is in the past, how could what happens to the meat affect it's life?
As the act of slaughtering the animal is also in the past, how could what happens to the meat affect it's death?


Well its the same logic that people use when they turn the tragic death of a loved one into a vehicle for a cause. Someones kid dies of cancer, and so they found a society named after the child and raise money for cancer research. Or a little girl is killed and raped by a repeat sex offender, so they use her as a cause to create a stricter law or better security or whatever. In this case an animal is murdered for food, so rather than letting it become waste, its used for something that can be of some benefit by providing sustenance to the individual who received it as a gift.

It seems almost like a throwback to the primitive idea of asking the animal spirit for permission to hunt it, then killing it, and thanking it, doing rituals for it, and so forth. Yet there is a certain sophistication in doing that. In being conscious of it.

Inge wrote:"And one should not consume meat without having reflected on it (on what it is). Whoever should do so: an offense of wrong doing." — Mv.VI.23.9


I would rewrite that for modern people to read "one should not consume anything without reflecting on what it is". I mean just look at the ingredient lists for some of these things you buy in the store. Basic things like crackers have 30 ingredients of unpronounceable names. Right next to crackers that are just as delicious but are made from 5 ingredients that are all well known and familiar. I mean they add things to "preserve freshness". Then you buy something without that additive and you learn that freshness is the same, and is preserved for just as long. They add things to "preserve color", but you buy things without that additive and its just as colorful, doesn't seem to have faded at all. Its just absurd.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Inge » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:59 am

Food_Eatah wrote:When noob lay disciples tries to behave like higly cultivated nobel ones regarding "minor issues" in Samsara, it's a one way ticket to Avici hell....

But if we only open our hearts to the saviour Jesus Christ he will absolve us from our sins, right?
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Inge » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:13 am

wisdom wrote:Well its the same logic that people use when they turn the tragic death of a loved one into a vehicle for a cause. Someones kid dies of cancer, and so they found a society named after the child and raise money for cancer research. Or a little girl is killed and raped by a repeat sex offender, so they use her as a cause to create a stricter law or better security or whatever. In this case an animal is murdered for food, so rather than letting it become waste, its used for something that can be of some benefit by providing sustenance to the individual who received it as a gift.

Yes, but this does not make any difference to the life of the deceased, because that life has allready passed. That the living uses the loved ones death as a motivation to change their behaviour can make them ascribe some meaning to their loss, but it does not make the deceaseds life and death any more or less meaningful.

If it is a gift, then it comes with no attachments, so the recipient is free to do whatever he pleases with it. What do you mean when you say that it becomes waste?
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:53 am

I can see your point.
Still I don't see how it contradicts the fact that the monk should eat the meat that was offered to him, assuming it is not forbidden meat.
By eating it, the monk nourishes himself. By not eating, the flesh becomes waste (unless, of course, he offers it, but I'm not sure if this gives rise to other questions, as if it is legit for him to do so, since the donor was intending to benefit him, sangha, and not an animal, but let's leave the exploration of this point for another time).

Not being the case, the monk can't really be picky with his food. If I'm not mistaken, and I apologize for not looking for the right quote, they start eating from the left to the right and take to their mouth whatever is there, no specific order, no preference manifested, no bit left aside because it doesn't suit their taste or similar. I'm a bit doubtful if they really do this in practice (but this is a whole different matter) and I suppose such rules only serves to break attachment to particular foods, but that's how it seems to be.

Can you explain a little further?
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Inge » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:48 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:I can see your point.
Still I don't see how it contradicts the fact that the monk should eat the meat that was offered to him, assuming it is not forbidden meat. By eating it, the monk nourishes himself. By not eating, the flesh becomes waste (unless, of course, he offers it, but I'm not sure if this gives rise to other questions, as if it is legit for him to do so, since the donor was intending to benefit him, sangha, and not an animal, but let's leave the exploration of this point for another time).

Not being the case, the monk can't really be picky with his food. If I'm not mistaken, and I apologize for not looking for the right quote, they start eating from the left to the right and take to their mouth whatever is there, no specific order, no preference manifested, no bit left aside because it doesn't suit their taste or similar. I'm a bit doubtful if they really do this in practice (but this is a whole different matter) and I suppose such rules only serves to break attachment to particular foods, but that's how it seems to be.

Can you explain a little further?


A bhikkhu are allowed to receive more food than they eat, and then distribute it among other bhikkhus. There are also different types of food that can be stored for different lengths of time, so if items are mixed, the bhikkhus are allowed to pick out some kinds of items and save for later. And also they are allowed to reheat the food. So it is clear that it is not the case that whatever is placed in the almsbowl is to be consumed by the owner of that bowl without discrimination. There seems to be plenty of room for picking and choosing. I also think it is common to leave a portion of the food as offering to some other beings, and this also leaves room for picking and choosing.

So I'm not saying that meat should not be eaten, only that it is false that they had to eat whatever was offered, and that there no picking and choosing.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:59 pm

Inge wrote:
A bhikkhu are allowed to receive more food than they eat, and then distribute it among other bhikkhus. There are also different types of food that can be stored for different lengths of time, so if items are mixed, the bhikkhus are allowed to pick out some kinds of items and save for later.

This doesn't necessarily entails that they can choose. They may take a random portion, not choosing what they prefer.

And also they are allowed to reheat the food. So it is clear that it is not the case that whatever is placed in the almsbowl is to be consumed by the owner of that bowl without discrimination. There seems to be plenty of room for picking and choosing. I also think it is common to leave a portion of the food as offering to some other beings, and this also leaves room for picking and choosing.

The same argument as above.

So I'm not saying that meat should not be eaten, only that it is false that they had to eat whatever was offered, and that there no picking and choosing.

I see your point.
Do you know you are going to make me search for the source of this in the vinaya? :lol: And I realy didn't want to go looking. I remember reading a good commentary about this years ago, but as we all know the vinaya has different interpretations, never are its rules completely and fully obeyed, changing from place to place, sometimes monastery to monastery...
But I remember reading this. So I'll try to fetch it and come back to you later. Perhaps I'll ask a Ven. in our sister board.
Thanks for taking the time to clarify your point. :anjali:
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Dec 09, 2011 3:07 pm

Here Inge,

RECEIVING AND EATING ALMSFOOD

When receiving alms, a bhikkhu should:

be mindful to receive them appreciatively.
focus his attention on the alms bowl.
take bean curry only in proper proportion to the rice.
accept no more food than will fill the bowl level to the bottom edge of the top rim. (Sk 27-30)

When eating, a bhikkhu should:

be mindful to eat his food appreciatively.
focus his attention on the bowl.
eat his food methodically, from one side of the bowl to the other.
eat bean curry only in proper proportion to the rice.
refrain from taking food from the middle of the heap in his bowl.
refrain from hiding his substantial food with rice, out of a hope of getting more.
refrain from looking at another bhikkhu's bowl intent on finding fault with him for not sharing his food.
refrain from making extra-large mouthfuls.
eat his rice in rounded mouthfuls.
refrain from opening his mouth until he has brought food to it.
refrain from putting his whole hand in his mouth.
refrain from speaking when there is so much food in his mouth that it affects his pronunciation.
refrain from lifting a large handful of food from his bowl and breaking off mouthfuls with the other hand.
refrain from nibbling bit by bit at his mouthfuls of food.
refrain from stuffing out his cheeks.
refrain from shaking food off his hands or scattering rice about.
refrain from sticking out his tongue or smacking his lips.
refrain from making a slurping noise.
refrain from licking his hands, his bowl or his lips.
refrain from accepting a water vessel with a hand soiled by food.
refrain from throwing away — in an inhabited area — bowl-rinsing water that has grains of rice in it.(Sk 31-36, 38-56)

from: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... intro.html

There's more to it, regarding the amount of food a monk can accept (3 bowls that must be shared with the sangha), not keeping the offered food for the following day (so it must be shared), especially considerations for one is in wilderness, when food is left over among others.

The main points are not being greedy about food, never abuse the donor, never give the perception of taking what hasn't been given, not being attached to food of any particular kind and so on and so forth, as long as forbidden substances are avoided.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Mr. G » Fri Dec 09, 2011 3:46 pm

The Buddha did allow bhikkhus to eat meat and fish except under the following circumstances:

If a bhikkhu sees, hears or suspects that it has been killed for him, he may not eat it. (M.I,369)

If a bhikkhu is given meat on alms round and he has no knowledge about how the animal died, he has to 'receive it with attentiveness.' (See the Sekhiya Trainings.) He should be grateful and recollect that the food he is given is what enables him to continue to live the bhikkhu life, and that as a mendicant he is not in a position to choose what he gets.... An individual bhikkhu who lives on alms food cannot make such choices. Often the donors are unknown — perhaps not even Buddhist, or just starting to find out about Dhamma — and to refuse their generosity may so offend them that they never have anything to do with Dhamma again....Finally it comes down to the lay people who go to the market to buy food to give to the bhikkhus. If they are vegetarian themselves or like to give vegetarian food, then the bhikkhu should receive that food with 'appreciation' — especially if it means that fewer animals are being slaughtered. Nevertheless, it should not become a political issue where other people are attacked for their behavior.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... .html#meat

- Bhikkhu Ariyesako
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Dec 09, 2011 3:55 pm

An electronic copy of the practice "Essence of Benefit and Joy" by Jamgon Kongtrul for the liberation of LIVE animals destined for murder and consumption:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/9844773/Essence ... it.rar.exe
Or you can buy it here:
http://www.namsebangdzo.com/Essence_of_ ... p/5324.htm
Happy practicing!
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Dec 09, 2011 7:31 pm

Yes, if it was for the liberation of DEAD animals it wouldn't make much sense, would it? ;)
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Dec 09, 2011 7:45 pm

I got the feeling that that was exactly what was being argued by some of us in this thread. :?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Dec 09, 2011 7:56 pm

In ameica at least the trend for vegetarian is firmly established. Suchly places like whole foods hains foods places that offer such and label such are doing great stock wise and have for years being recession proof.

Few trust the government to provide meat that is not concentrated with toxin considering how animals of all sorts being kept in unnaturally concentrated environments must be kept fed antibiotics and things of that sort.

So one for health begins to choose what to eat. Once habit is devolved and choice is present diet may also become chosen for other purpose such as less harm...so this spreads.

Even wallmart now has vegan and vegetarian food offering of a packaged sort.

So it spreads. Teh trend itself is undeniable. Actually eating so much meat at each and every meal is a way way recent thing. For years and years catholics for instance would not eat meat on Wednesday fridays and saturdays, never during lent, then it went to only on fridays, then to only during lent, and now always.... this is all very recent this current diet of meat...unnatural.

So it is not so very hard to get away from as well.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Dec 09, 2011 8:10 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:I got the feeling that that was exactly what was being argued by some of us in this thread. :?

I thought you meant the practice of releasing animals who were going to be sold for consumption. :lol: That's why I said that if they were dead, that wouldn't make much sense.

Thanks for the little booklet, though. It's great.

:anjali:
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