PadmaVonSamba wrote:or, as Thrasymachus posted: "To me thinking you can actually become enlightened is hubris, it is just an ideal."
meaning that you don't really believe it to begin with.
There are several very public examples of teachers/lamas in recent times performing sexual abuse, smuggling antiquities and endangered animals, declaring celebrities as Tulkus in exchange for money. I am sure they had lots of great justifications and performed many mental hand stands to justify such unsavory behavior. Probably alot of the offenders cited their realization, their striving for enlightenment, probably they mediated far more than me. But that does not make them ethical or compassionate. Making excuses that the ends negates the means is a great excuse to get away with bad karma.
There are reasons to eat meat like: taste, convenience, tradition, living in a sub-optimal environment for human agriculture. However you cannot really build a case based on ethics and compassion, and a good evidence of this is the extreme mental contortions that practitioners have developed to justify their meat eating to combat such ideals which are even contained in dharma. Two of the most popular:
1.) You cannot do the impossible, so don't do the possible.
Basically this argument maintains that since even eating plant foods involves killing insects and micro-organisms, that the meat abstainers are no different or better. But trying to do the impossible always results in failure. Does this mean we should not do what is possible in terms of saving lives? Does that sound a very compassionate or enlightened argument? It sounds like a very bad excuse to bring down the bar of ethics and compassion to satisfy the attachment of those with certain taste preferences.
2.) I create opportunities to liberate the dead animal by giving it the chance to come into the august mouth of a practitioner.
This sounds very woo woo and out there to me, and I am amazed it can even be accepted by anyone. Wouldn't it be more merciful to just cut hair from a still live animal and for the practitioner to meditate on the hair's taste? Or if the flesh is necessary why not notch out a piece of the ear of a livestock that thus needn't be killed and chew on that? Perhaps you could get a voodoo practitioner from Haiti in on this as well with their black magic. I guess though all that does not satisfy the attachment to taste patterns for carnistic dharma practitioners who feel the need for ethical apologia. This time instead of merely trying to create fake guilt against vegetarians for not doing what is impossible, this argument tries to create guilt for not seeing the impossible to see chances for liberation of bardo animals corresponding to dead flesh chunks in someone's mouth.
Obviously vegetarians are not enlightened enough to see the afterlife.
If you want to eat meat, do it, but trying to do mental gymnastics to justify it ethically is very unenlightened. Just let it be what it is.
PadmaVonSamba wrote:It's great to be a vegetarian, but don't think you are doing anybody any favors.
Personally as a vegan I know I am doing a very small favor to livestock animals by being on the vanguard of the animal liberation movement with my dietary choice, not to mention the health and environmental benefits. Every year over 10 billion totally enslaved animals are slaughtered so Americans can be one of the fattest populations around the globe. Since you seem to love a reductionist dharma approach, I am sure in the past many countless dharma practitioners justified human slavery, serfdom also, and their justifications did not stop their practice either. I know animals deserve more than to be considered as property, as mere industrial inputs whose end purpose is a shrink wrapped flesh display in some supermarket so a few can enrich themselves and many can engorge themselves. When you fight for the most voiceless in the social hierarchy -- livestock -- you also fight for everyone else by pushing the bottom of the pyramid upwards. That really benefits all sentient beings, especially humans. If humanity had that type of compassion, the human created social order would cease being dominated by warlike and greedy impulses instead of altruism.