the great vegetarian debate

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

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby greentara » Thu May 10, 2012 5:59 am

Nisargadatta Maharaj says "Vegetarianism is a worthy cause but not the most important"
I guess he's pointing to stilling the mind which overrides all other 'isms'
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Malcolm » Thu May 10, 2012 1:51 pm

practitioner wrote:
My point being, Milarepa was a Buddha, capable of extraordinary feats due to his complete realization of emptiness. So the fact that Milarepa or Marpa or any other highly realized practitioner ate meat is of no concern to me because they of course realized the true emptiness of that action.



Well, no, Milarepa ate meat as a matter of course in his life, both before and after his awakening.


How many people who eat meat claiming to do it with a Dzogchen/Vajrayana view of eating the meat of sentient beings out of compassion really have the realization to actually do it? How many are just using the terms Dzogchen and Vajrayana to justify their own attachments to eating meat?


It does not require "realization", it merely requires a method, mindfulness and compassion.

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" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
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-- Uttaratantra
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Malcolm » Thu May 10, 2012 4:40 pm

asunthatneversets wrote:Chatral Rinpoche is a dzogchen master and is a big advocate of vegetarianism...



Yes, that is correct. He is setting a good example for those who do not have the capacity to employ methods.

As for me, I follow Chogyal Namkhai Norbu's advice.

But frankly, being a vegetarian is not a superior moral choice. If you are a vegetarian for reasons of health it is one thing. But vegetarianism as moral campaign is deluded. Millions of animals large and small die to bring vegetables and grains to our plates every day. But over and over again vegetarians justify this claiming that the purpose of such agriculture is not to kill animals, so therefore, they morally excuse themselves from culpability in the death of countless millions of creatures.

We all live in a world where our decisions negatively impact the lives of other creatures all the time. We drive a car for 20 minutes, how many bugs are smashed on our windshields? I see a serious myopia on the part of vegetarians who excuse themselves from the harm they cause insects and mammals through driving, who excuse themselves from the environmental degradation caused by their use of oil, who excuse themselves from their contributions to the effluent stream much of which is simply dumped into the ocean, and who then excortiate in a high handed fashion people who meat.

Frankly, eating grassfed meat is far better for the environment and ecosystems in the world than being a consumer of soy products. Soy is a very environmentally damaging crop (http://civileats.com/2009/01/27/a-vegan ... erspective). Grass fed cattle who are moved from fresh pasture to pasture actually sequester carbon and rebuild the local environment becase of the interaction between cattle and pasture. Joel Salatin writes in his recent The Sheer Ecstacy of Being a Lunatic Farmer (2010, Polyface):

There you have it: mob stocking herbivarious solar conversion lignified carbon sequestration fertilization. If every farmer in America practiced this prehistoric system, in fewer than ten years we would sequester all the carbon that has been emitted since the beginning of the industrial age. It's really that simple. One of the most environmentally-enhancing things you can do is to eat grass finished beef. That sequesters more carbon than soybeans, or corn, or any other annual. And yet how many radical environmentalists have turned to soy milk and veganism in order to be earth friendly. (page 28)

Finally, in the end, being an eater of meat does not make one less capable of realizing the meaning of the teachings, and being a vegetarian does not make one more capable of realizing the teachings.

That is the bottom line.

N
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby practitioner » Thu May 10, 2012 6:29 pm

Namdrol wrote: But vegetarianism as moral campaign is deluded.


Some might consider accusing people who disagree with you are following a lower path and refusing to extend their compassion is "deluded"...
One should do nothing other than benefit sentient beings either directly or indirectly - Shantideva
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Josef » Thu May 10, 2012 6:42 pm

practitioner wrote:
Namdrol wrote: But vegetarianism as moral campaign is deluded.


Some might consider accusing people who disagree with you are following a lower path and refusing to extend their compassion is "deluded"...

This is why the vegetarian campaign in deluded.
Your assertion that those who eat meat are not extending their compassion is full of assumptions and it is ignorant of the conditions and the path of those whom you are asserting do not extend their compassion.
I rarely eat meat but when I do it is for the very purpose of extending compassion.

This does not mean that you or HH Karmapa are deluded by any means. The assertion of a higher moral ground is what is deluded.
Last edited by Josef on Thu May 10, 2012 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Pero » Thu May 10, 2012 6:46 pm

Nangwa wrote:I rarely eat meat but when I do it is for the very purpose of extending compassion.

When I read this I got this pic in my head:
Image
Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
- Shabkar
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Josef » Thu May 10, 2012 6:54 pm

Pero wrote:
Nangwa wrote:I rarely eat meat but when I do it is for the very purpose of extending compassion.

When I read this I got this pic in my head:
Image

:smile:
Oh man, I wish I was clever enough to have thought of that when I wrote that post.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby gad rgyangs » Thu May 10, 2012 6:55 pm

is karma intent? according to Buddhism, yes.

when one follows a vegetarian diet, is there intent to harm or kill sentient beings? no.

in order to eat meat, must there first be a deliberate intent to kill the sentient being before eating it? yes.

if you purchase meat, either in a store or restaurant, you are, in effect, paying someone to kill the animal for you, so the intent is there just as much as if you killed the animal yourself.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Josef » Thu May 10, 2012 6:58 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:in order to eat meat, must there first be a deliberate intent to kill the sentient being before eating it? yes.
.


Maybe for the hunter or slaughterhouse worker but not the average eater.
To kill and to eat are very different acts.
The assertion that buying meat is karmically the same as killing is absolutely insane.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu May 10, 2012 8:08 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:
when one follows a vegetarian diet, is there intent to harm or kill sentient beings? no.



Hitler was a vegetarian.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Malcolm » Thu May 10, 2012 8:15 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:
if you purchase meat, either in a store or restaurant, you are, in effect, paying someone to kill the animal for you, so the intent is there just as much as if you killed the animal yourself.


By the same reasoning, if you eat a tomato, etc. to which pesticides have been applied, you are as culpablein terms of intent as the farmer in the death of the insects. But of course ideological vegetarians alway try to excuse the harm to beings caused by agriculture. It is one of their largest blind spots.

N
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby practitioner » Thu May 10, 2012 8:23 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:
when one follows a vegetarian diet, is there intent to harm or kill sentient beings? no.



Hitler was a vegetarian.



And Stalin ate meat.
One should do nothing other than benefit sentient beings either directly or indirectly - Shantideva
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Infinite » Thu May 10, 2012 8:33 pm

practitioner wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:
when one follows a vegetarian diet, is there intent to harm or kill sentient beings? no.



Hitler was a vegetarian.



And Stalin ate meat.

The point you are missing is vegetarianism doesn't guarantee or tell you anything about an individual. I don't get why people have such a hard time getting this.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby saltspring » Thu May 10, 2012 8:36 pm

This issue has always been a huge problem for me. I agree with Namdrol that eating meat that is grass fed, and not raised in a factory feedlot is ethicaly ok. Vegetarians hopefuly do realize that animals and insects are killed in large numbers for their food. But I disagee with Nangwa assertion that those working in a slaughterhouse are more karmicaly guilty than those who purchase there products. I personaly can't buy meat from a grocery store I find the idea repugnant, but I do eat animals that I have raised and slughtered for myself and family. I feel if I eat it I should bare the consequences not some poor butcher. i will be attending a class this summer taught by Joel Salatin here on Saltspring Island hopefully I can learn to further minimize my impact on the environment through proper husbandry.Anyway rant over and I do hope we can all get off this ride that is Samsara, vegetarians and meat eaters may we all achieve liberation soon!
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby gad rgyangs » Thu May 10, 2012 8:41 pm

Namdrol wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:
if you purchase meat, either in a store or restaurant, you are, in effect, paying someone to kill the animal for you, so the intent is there just as much as if you killed the animal yourself.


By the same reasoning, if you eat a tomato, etc. to which pesticides have been applied, you are as culpablein terms of intent as the farmer in the death of the insects. But of course ideological vegetarians alway try to excuse the harm to beings caused by agriculture. It is one of their largest blind spots.

N


i was speaking of intention, as was the Buddha when he said, in the Nibbedhika Sutta AN 6.63:

"Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect.


and Vasubandhu in Ch 4 of the Kosa:

What is action?
1b. It is volition (cetana) and that which is produced through volition.
1c-d Volition is mental action: it gives rise to two actions, bodily and vocal action


according to the Buddhist view of karma, accidentally stepping on a bug is different from deliberately stepping on a bug. What is the difference? In the first case there is no intention to kill, in the second there is. In eating a carrot, there is no intention to kill; in eating a hamburger, by definition, there is. If you don't agree with Buddhist doctrine, thats fine, but you have to admit that before you can argue what you are saying above.
Thoroughly tame your own mind.
This is (possibly) the teaching of Buddha.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby saltspring » Thu May 10, 2012 8:44 pm

Good posting gad rgyangs.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Acchantika » Thu May 10, 2012 9:06 pm

Namdrol wrote:But frankly, being a vegetarian is not a superior moral choice. If you are a vegetarian for reasons of health it is one thing. But vegetarianism as moral campaign is deluded. Millions of animals large and small die to bring vegetables and grains to our plates every day. But over and over again vegetarians justify this claiming that the purpose of such agriculture is not to kill animals, so therefore, they morally excuse themselves from culpability in the death of countless millions of creatures.


It seems to me that your argument is against the modern agriculture industry not vegetarianism per se. If vegetarianism could operate without the use of organic or inorganic pesticides in a sustainable way perhaps that would be the superior moral choice. This isn't feasible on a large scale currently, but vegetarianism even in its current state would be a progressive step towards that end while non-vegetarianism cannot be. In the same way that world peace is not achievable currently, and many may technically die because one does not join an army to protect oppressed countries by killing oppressors, this is not a valid reason to join the army.
...
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Nemo » Thu May 10, 2012 9:16 pm

I don't know if that is still true. Organic agriculture would only produce enough food for about 3 billion people right now with current land usage. Not a particularly moral choice for roughly half the planet.

The health benefits for either camp are simply not there. They are fabricated in some studies for either group of course. But in larger studies outcomes of veggies and omnivores are statistically insignificant unless dealing with those with specific genetic anomalies like lactose intolerance and the inability to fabricate certain amino acids.

If you can't stomach murdering animals for your food though I think that is a good thing.
Last edited by Nemo on Thu May 10, 2012 9:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Malcolm » Thu May 10, 2012 9:19 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:according to the Buddhist view of karma, accidentally stepping on a bug is different from deliberately stepping on a bug. What is the difference? In the first case there is no intention to kill, in the second there is. In eating a carrot, there is no intention to kill; in eating a hamburger, by definition, there is.


Sorry, that just not fly. Buying a hamburger in a market does not eqaute intention to kill. I know you desperately want it too, but it does not. Asking someone outright to slaughter a steer so you can have meat on the other hand would involve an intention to kill.

Bhavaviveka dispensed with your argument long ago in his Tarkajvala.

N
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Malcolm » Thu May 10, 2012 9:21 pm

Nemo wrote:I don't know if that is still true. Organic agriculture would only produce enough food for about 3 billion beople right now with current land usage. If that is the "moral" choice,.....


That is also not true. The only reason we have industrial agriculture is because of oil.

There are much smarter ways to do agriculture. Small organic farms generate a much higher yield per acre than large agrobusiness monocrop "farms".

N
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
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