the great vegetarian debate

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby cooran » Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:09 pm

culaavuso wrote:
kitztack wrote:has anyone discussed how much easier it is to achieve better levels of concentration and tranquility in meditation when the body is freed of expending energy to digest meat?

i believe this is also one reason why vegetarianism is promoted amonst many Dhamma followers.


From Gifts He Left Behind: The Dhamma Legacy of Ajaan Dune Atulo
Ajaan Dune Atulo wrote:That's very good. The fact that you can be vegetarians is very good, and I'd like to express my admiration. As for those who still eat meat, if that meat is pure in three ways — in that they haven't seen or heard or suspected that an animal was killed to provide the food specifically for them — and they obtained it in a pure way, then eating the meat is in no way against the Dhamma and Vinaya. But when you say that your mind becomes peaceful and cool, that's the result of the strength that comes from being intent on practicing correctly in line with the Dhamma and Vinaya. It has nothing to do with the new food or old in your stomach at all.

As the quoted Ajahn Dune Atulo lived in Surin for about the last 50 years of his life, I don't think he would have been familiar with the factory-farming methods of the modern world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mun_River_Mouth.jpg

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:31 am

This is what a true carnivores teeth look like, still think you're a native carnivore????

Image
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Alex123 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:38 am

lyndon taylor wrote:This is what a true carnivores teeth look like, still think you're a native carnivore????


But we can cook.

What about the fact that our digestive tract is not as good as cow's, or horse's? We can't digest grass and synthesize all we need from it. A cow can live on grass and water. We cannot, we would run into serious health problems and die a painful death after few years strictly on that.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby culaavuso » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:17 pm

Alex123 wrote:What about the fact that our digestive tract is not as good as cow's, or horse's? We can't digest grass and synthesize all we need from it. A cow can live on grass and water. We cannot, we would run into serious health problems and die a painful death after few years strictly on that.


While an all grass diet may not be able to sustain a human body indefinitely, according to the following links a meatless diet can sustain a human body quite well.

Vegans Muscle Their Way Into Bodybuilding
Great Vegan Athletes
Protein for Vegetarians
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Alex123 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 5:15 pm

culaavuso wrote:
Alex123 wrote:What about the fact that our digestive tract is not as good as cow's, or horse's? We can't digest grass and synthesize all we need from it. A cow can live on grass and water. We cannot, we would run into serious health problems and die a painful death after few years strictly on that.


While an all grass diet may not be able to sustain a human body indefinitely, according to the following links a meatless diet can sustain a human body quite well.

Vegans Muscle Their Way Into Bodybuilding
Great Vegan Athletes
Protein for Vegetarians



Of course. Cashews and pumpkin seeds have complete protein and all.

Also whey protein is very good. It is meatless, but not completely vegan. I am, however , cautious about highly restrictive diets due to "ethical" reasons.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Mkoll » Sat Feb 01, 2014 5:26 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:This is what a true carnivores teeth look like, still think you're a native carnivore????

Image


:jawdrop:

Now that's a powerful image if there ever was one! Imagine getting bitten by those things...
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby binocular » Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:55 pm

clw_uk wrote:I am a bit sceptical though because even if we ignore the teeth, we still have forward facing eyes and a digestive system that absorbs both plant and animal matter. When its all combined I think it does point to Humans being mostly predators, with a herbivore slant (omnivore)

This line of reasoning also suggests that we are thoroughly defined by our human body and by particular culturally-specific (!) ideas about what it means to have a human body.
It's a form of deterministic thinking that allows little or no space for individual thought that would not be in line with the discourse of the official policy.

If some scientist (or a group of scientists) says "Humans are such and such" - must we then drop everything and comply with what he says??


Maybe there are occasions where what is ethical to do is separate from what is wholesome?

How could the two of them possibly be separate?
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:49 pm

Actually if you grind up human meat and feed it to cows they can eat and digest it just fine, does that mean they were meant to do it, and are omnivores?????
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:36 am

clw_uk wrote:Ideally we would not kill other beings and all be vegetarian, or grow meat in labs.


Agreed. But how can we personally try to live up to this ideal? Isn't that the point?
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Aloka » Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:36 am

I apologise if this has already been posted before in this very long thread. Its an excerpt from a blog post of Ajahn Sujato's a couple of years ago called: "Why Buddhists should be vegetarian".

eating meat requires the killing of animals, and this directly violates the first precept. Eating meat is the direct cause of an immense quantity of suffering for sentient beings. Many people, myself included, struggle with the notion that a religion as categorically opposed to violence as Buddhism can so blithely wave away the suffering inherent in eating meat.

Let’s have a closer look and see if we can discern the roots of this problem. There are a few considerations that I would like to begin with. We live in a very different world today than the Buddha lived in, and Buddhist ethics, whatever else they may be, must always be a pragmatic response to real world conditions.

Animals suffer much more today than they did 2500 years ago. In the Buddha’s time, and indeed everywhere up until the invention of modern farming, animals had a much better life. Chickens would wander round the village, or were kept in a coop. Cows roamed the fields. The invention of the factory farm changed all this. Today, the life of most meat animals is unimaginable suffering. I won’t go into this in detail, but if you are not aware of the conditions in factory farms, you should be. Factory farms get away with it, not because they are actually humane, but because they are so mind-bendingly horrific that most people just don’t want to know. We turn away, and our inattention allows the horror to continue.

The other huge change since the Buddha’s time is the destruction of the environment. We are all aware of the damage caused by energy production and wasteful consumerism. But one of the largest, yet least known, contributors to global warming and environmental destruction generally is eating meat. The basic problem is that meat is higher on the food chain as compared with plants, so more resources are required to produce nutrition in the form of meat. In the past this was not an issue, as food animals typically ate things that were not food for humans, like grass. Today, however, most food animals live on grains and other resource-intensive products. This means that meat requires more energy, water, space, and all other resources. In addition to the general burden on the environment, this creates a range of localised problems, due to the use of fertilisers, the disposal of vast amounts of animal waste, and so on.

One entirely predictable outcome of factory farming is the emergence of virulent new diseases. We have all heard of ‘swine flu’ and ‘bird flu’; but the media rarely raises the question: why are these two new threats derived from the two types of animals that are most used in factory farming? The answer is obvious, and has been predicted by opponents of factory farming for decades. In order to force animals to live together in such overcrowded, unnatural conditions, they must be fed a regular diet of antibiotics, as any disease is immediately spread through the whole facility. The outcome of this, as inevitable as the immutable principles of natural selection, is the emergence of virulent new strains of antibiotic resistant diseases. In coming years, as the limited varieties of antibiotics gradually lose their efficacy, this threat will recur in more and more devastating forms.

So, as compared with the Buddha’s day, eating meat involves far more cruelty, it damages the environment, and it creates diseases. If we approach this question as one of weights and balance, then the scales have tipped drastically to the side of not eating meat.

http://sujato.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/why-buddhists-should-be-vegetarian-with-extra-cute/


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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Ben » Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:29 am

Thanks Aloka.
Ven Sujato's piece reminds me of Ledi Sayadaw's Cow Dhamma.
kind regards,

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Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Aloka » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:46 am

Ben wrote: Ledi Sayadaw's Cow Dhamma.



Thanks Ben.

Years ago, when I lived in the country for a while, I made friends with a farm bull like the one in the picture, only with bigger horns. The men on the farm didn't treat him well and pulled him around by a ring in his nose and hit and poked him with sticks if they wanted to move him anywhere. Yet he was like a lamb at heart and would gallop across a field to see me and let me stroke and groom him with a horse brush and wash the shit off his tail in a bucket.

...So In general, I prefer to avoid eating my friends and their relatives. :)


Image

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Mkoll » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:07 pm

Reading Ven. Sujato's words reminded me of a documentary I've seen. I searched the thread and couldn't find a reference to "Earthlings" so I will post a link here.

Narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, it's about cruelty to animals and is very graphic and heart-rending. The filmmakers may use some crude methods and blatant emotional appeals but it is a powerful film, probably the most powerful film I've ever seen on these matters and I've seen a few.

WARNING: Not for the faint of heart or those with weak stomachs. This film is about cruelty to animals and there is a lot of human cruelty in this film. Also, don't shoot the messenger please.

http://earthlings.com/?page_id=32
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby chownah » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:36 pm

If people who think that animals should be raised humanely would raise animals then animals would be raised humanely....but people who think animals should be raised humanely don't raise animals so it is the people who don't care about raising animals humanely that end up doing it.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby waterchan » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:58 pm

Ben wrote: Ledi Sayadaw's Cow Dhamma.


Abstinence from beef is very common in Burma and the rationale provided by a lot of people is in line with what Ledi Sayadaw says in his rather romanticized essay.

However, I do and always have taken issue with this kind of selective and self-centered compassion being presented as part of the Dhamma, let alone from an advanced authority in Buddhism such as Ledi Sayadaw. "We won't eat cows because we owe them a debt of gratitude for helping develop our lands and producing rice, but we'll keep eating our fried chicken, roast duck, pork curry and grilled fish, since we owe nothing to THOSE animals!" This attitude also displays an ignorance of basic ecology, which tells us that we owe these other animals just as much as we owe cows for maintaining the natural balance of life.

This kind of selective, egoistic compassion is neither rooted in the selfless compassion of the Buddha nor in basic scientific understanding.

If one wants to avoid beef because they pity cows, fine, that's your personal choice, but don't try and pass it off as Dhamma. I am not a vegetarian, but I have much respect for those who can maintain a vegetarian diet out of compassion for all animals, not just the ones they perceive with their limited narrow vision as their sole benefactors.

All things given, I suppose partial and selective compassion is better for your kamma than a lack of compassion. But Ajahn Sujato's article on why Buddhists should be vegetarian is a much more relevant and all-encompassing argument for vegetarianism, in my opinion.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Ben » Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:32 am

waterchan wrote:
Ben wrote: Ledi Sayadaw's Cow Dhamma.


Abstinence from beef is very common in Burma and the rationale provided by a lot of people is in line with what Ledi Sayadaw says in his rather romanticized essay.

However, I do and always have taken issue with this kind of selective and self-centered compassion being presented as part of the Dhamma, let alone from an advanced authority in Buddhism such as Ledi Sayadaw. "We won't eat cows because we owe them a debt of gratitude for helping develop our lands and producing rice, but we'll keep eating our fried chicken, roast duck, pork curry and grilled fish, since we owe nothing to THOSE animals!" This attitude also displays an ignorance of basic ecology, which tells us that we owe these other animals just as much as we owe cows for maintaining the natural balance of life.

This kind of selective, egoistic compassion is neither rooted in the selfless compassion of the Buddha nor in basic scientific understanding.

If one wants to avoid beef because they pity cows, fine, that's your personal choice, but don't try and pass it off as Dhamma. I am not a vegetarian, but I have much respect for those who can maintain a vegetarian diet out of compassion for all animals, not just the ones they perceive with their limited narrow vision as their sole benefactors.

All things given, I suppose partial and selective compassion is better for your kamma than a lack of compassion. But Ajahn Sujato's article on why Buddhists should be vegetarian is a much more relevant and all-encompassing argument for vegetarianism, in my opinion.


Water chan, I think your post is rather curious. Ledi Sayadaw preferred vegetarian offerings and praised vegetarianism.
Perhaps it would be wise for you not to jump to conclusions about "egotistic compassion", as you see it.
Kind regards,
Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:06 am

On another thread people are worried about killing mosquitos, I can't help but wonder if they aren't sitting down to a steak or chicken dinner......
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:13 am

chownah wrote:If people who think that animals should be raised humanely would raise animals then animals would be raised humanely....but people who think animals should be raised humanely don't raise animals so it is the people who don't care about raising animals humanely that end up doing it.
chownah


Relevance?
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:21 am

lyndon taylor wrote:On another thread people are worried about killing mosquitos, I can't help but wonder if they aren't sitting down to a steak or chicken dinner......


Yes, we can be quite selective about our ethical concerns at times.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby chownah » Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:10 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
chownah wrote:If people who think that animals should be raised humanely would raise animals then animals would be raised humanely....but people who think animals should be raised humanely don't raise animals so it is the people who don't care about raising animals humanely that end up doing it.
chownah


Relevance?

For example, the humane treatment of hamburger.
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