Fish problem

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Fish problem

Postby SteveP » Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:16 pm

I have an odd question.

I work in the food production industry, mainly fish and aquatic products to be precise. I understand that Lamrim says that I should not engage in activities involved with killing animals. I do not kill animals, but I work closely with an industry that does. I am wondering what thoughts people have about this:

Fish contain oils that are essential for human health and child development. They cannot be extracted from elsewhere. Without these oils, human populations have a real health problem...both mental and physcial health will be affected.

On the one hand, it says you should not harm animals, on the other hand, without doing so, cancers, heart disesase, alzeimers, and child neurological development issues will all be exacerbated.

People thoughts on this would be interesting.

Love Steve :shrug:
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Re: Fish problem

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:49 pm

SteveP wrote:I have an odd question.

I work in the food production industry, mainly fish and aquatic products to be precise. I understand that Lamrim says that I should not engage in activities involved with killing animals. I do not kill animals, but I work closely with an industry that does. I am wondering what thoughts people have about this:

Fish contain oils that are essential for human health and child development. They cannot be extracted from elsewhere. Without these oils, human populations have a real health problem...both mental and physcial health will be affected.

On the one hand, it says you should not harm animals, on the other hand, without doing so, cancers, heart disesase, alzeimers, and child neurological development issues will all be exacerbated.

People thoughts on this would be interesting.

Love Steve :shrug:
I think that if you have that motivation you'll be fine
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

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Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
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Re: Fish problem

Postby Mr. G » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:16 pm

This thread may assist you:

viewtopic.php?f=77&t=6679
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Fish problem

Postby Straka » Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:32 pm

A question: Are you in any way supporting the killing of those animals?
If this is the case, this is the understanding i have come to: Ultimately, karma can be either complete or incomplete. In this case, you have both negative and positive karma accumulating. There is the incomplete karma of supporting the taking of life of another being, and the incomplete karma of supporting health as it is and possible health advancements.

Mr. G. has so graciously pointed out this text:

From the Abhidharmakosabhasyam:

When many persons are united with the intention to kill, either in
war, or in the hunt, or in banditry, who is guilty of murder, if only one of
them kills?

72c-d. As soldiers, etc., concur in the realization of the same
effect, all are as guilty as the one who kills.

Having a common goal, all are guilty exactly as he who among them
kills, for all mutually incite one another, not through speech, but by the
very fact that they are united together in order to kill.
But is the person who has been constrained through force to join the
army also guilty?
Evidently so, unless he has formed the resolution, "Even in order to
save my life, I shall not kill a living being."


Now, this is merely talking about being apart of that organization, which is why i asked if you were in any way supporting it.
You see, as my being apart of the Navy, i have no intention of taking the life of another, but i also know that my job will inevitably support taking the lives of others, thus it seems that negative karma would be accumulated, albeit incomplete negative karma.
If my job, however, entitled in no way the taking of a life of another, then i feel no negative karma would be accumulated.

So, if that were the case, well, it could be both wrong and right.
Is there no way though, that this oil can be extracted from the fish without killing them (if that were the case)?

Now, a disclaimer:
I am merely a beginner, and most of what i say will probably be the most basic of anything i have read. :D
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Re: Fish problem

Postby Straka » Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:38 pm

Mr. G, i am very grateful for your posts. There are very thought invoking, haha.
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Re: Fish problem

Postby Mr. G » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:00 am

I am not knowledgeable as other members here are, but am glad you find them helpful. :thumbsup:
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Fish problem

Postby SteveP » Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:04 pm

Thank you for the posts.

I do not kill any animals myself, but in industry does. Without the industry, there will be a world food shortage as well as increased illness among human populations...it will result in starvation and death, and thus an increase in suffering. I dont think it is right that an industry that keep people alive and eliviates suffering should be stopped...yet I am not supposed to support an industry that kills. :juggling:
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Re: Fish problem

Postby Mr. G » Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:24 pm

SteveP wrote:Thank you for the posts.

I do not kill any animals myself, but in industry does. Without the industry, there will be a world food shortage as well as increased illness among human populations...it will result in starvation and death, and thus an increase in suffering. I dont think it is right that an industry that keep people alive and eliviates suffering should be stopped...yet I am not supposed to support an industry that kills. :juggling:


So, best case scenario, find a new profession. However, large amounts of insects are killed in large scale farming options as well. I think the idea to focus on is that you have made the vow to not kill regardless. In the end, it's best to study and practice to the best of one's efforts. It's not realistic to tell every fisherman, farmer and butcher to up and quit their jobs.

    "And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong livelihood as wrong livelihood, and right livelihood as right livelihood. And what is wrong livelihood? Scheming, persuading, hinting, belittling, & pursuing gain with gain. This is wrong livelihood...

    "One tries to abandon wrong livelihood & to enter into right livelihood: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong livelihood & to enter & remain in right livelihood: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right livelihood."

    — MN 117
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Fish problem

Postby SteveP » Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:49 pm

Ok...your quotes are very apt. Very useful, thanks.

To me, the important thing is that abandoning culturing fish is not benign, it would actively have a negative impact on the future of world food security and upon peoples health. It is not only unrealistic, but also damaging. From one perspective at least... I can imagine alternative arguments.
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Re: Fish problem

Postby Paul » Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:01 pm

I am not really sure how true this is:

Fish contain oils that are essential for human health and child development. They cannot be extracted from elsewhere. Without these oils, human populations have a real health problem...both mental and physcial health will be affected.


There's bound to be some decent information out there.

I don't eat fish. I really don't like it. I also don't take supplements. As far as I can tell, I am not physically or mentally ill in any way. Are you sure you've not been listening to the marketing department too much?

Besides, you yourself are not a vital lynch-pin in the industry. It will continue without you and no-one will starve. If you are involved in Buddhism, then it's a good idea to research what the Buddha and prominent teachers have said about being involved in the (now industrialised) killing of animals for their meat & oils.

Personally, I would get out of there.
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All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
With such a confidence, empowered by the regal state of natural mind,
The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: Fish problem

Postby SteveP » Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:31 pm

No, I am not listening to the marketing department, I am listening to the data. I am one of those who preaches such information, and I do it purely for ethical reasons..I wan't people to be healthy and children to grow up safely.

You wont neccsarily be ill immediatly from not eating fish, but there is a chance that you may develop illness in later life...it really is essential, unless you are getting EPA and DHA from alternative sources. Its a bit like not eating vitamin C...I wouldn't recommend doing that.

For your own health, I would recommed looking for non-animal sources of EPA and DHA so that you remain healthy...such as soybean etc. It is not as good..but better than having non at all.

I have recently been reading Buddist literature about working with the killing of animals, and this is where my dilemma arises...I am thinking about the greater good,..trying to weigh it up in my head, and I am interested in the opinions of others.

Thanks,

Steve
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Re: Fish problem

Postby Straka » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:16 pm

As was stated already by Mr. G: "So, best case scenario, find a new profession."
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Re: Fish problem

Postby AdmiralJim » Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:58 pm

I think there is no need to abandon your profession unless you feel that you have an absolute moral stance on it and cannot accept working in that profession any longer. Take modern medicine for example what if all buddhist doctors no longer practice because of a similiar reason? could you imagine the suffering that would result? I remember a scenario where I used to work in obstetrics and gynaecology, I hit upon a very powerful scenario when I had to attend an abortion clinic, although I never performed the procedure myself it did make me feel uncomfortable but ultimately it wasn't my choice or indeed the choice of the surgeons carrying out the procedure, it was the choice of the patients involved - so I see no sense in getting upset by what someone else is choosing to do - within the law. The fact of the matter is modern medical science has not evolved beyond the need for animal testing, while I think it is distasteful the other alternatives aren't reliable - there is a need for an intact physiological system and until we can simulate that reliabley we are stuck with it.
So in relation to your query do not look for another job if you are comfortable with what your are doing and make sure it is not just some sort of misplaced idealisation of the precepts, which you are applying to people who aren't even buddhist - however if you really feel passionately about it then I would think about it. in all honestly I think there comes a point where following the precepts without any sort of flexibility is a bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face - take even sexual misconduct, buddhists aren't even agreed at what constitutes this, some are more liberal others are as or even more puritanical as any stalwart christian about homosexuality.
Wishing you well,
James
I don't know where we are going but it will be nice when we get there
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Re: Fish problem

Postby Straka » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:58 pm

http://www.dharma.org/ij/archives/2002a/nonviolence.htm

I am not entirely sure if this will help you, but i see how it could help your current situation, as we were both having similar conflicts with our current profession.
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Re: Fish problem

Postby SteveP » Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:42 pm

As usual, thanks for all the nice reponses. Thanks very much. I have been thinking much about this the last few days. It is interesting to see the variety of responses.
I still belive, at this moment, that the greater good is to farm fish...to stop would be to starve millions...although I appreciate that I myself do not need to participate.
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Re: Fish problem

Postby Bhavana » Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:21 am

I don't believe that we need to consume any animal products to be healthy - and that it is the consumption of animal products that is the cause of many diseases and health problems.(not to mention the environmental and moral issues surrounding consumption of animals)

This fantasy that we need to eat animals starts being shoved at us in our early school years, with the food charts we learn from - food charts that are supplied to the schools by the meat and dairy industry. Bottom line is that there are a lot of people out there whose living is dependent on us humans being good little consumers of their (animal) products. And I don't believe a word they say. I understand that a lot of medical research has been dependent on animals in the past - however, from what I have learned, most of it can be done in other ways...but those other ways are not cost effective. Easier to just keep doing it the inhumane way. As for starvation? Well, the grain used to feed the animals we raise for food could probably feed the world a few times over.

I have eaten animals in the past, I can't do it now. I can't even kill spiders in the house anymore, something I continued to do long after giving up meat. I just don't feel that I have any right to take the life of anything, for any reason. Life is so precious, so sacred - who am I to put an end to it?
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