the great vegetarian debate

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Polar Bear
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Re: Is fishing breaking the precept?

Post by Polar Bear » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:12 am

Yes,
I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Sāvatthī at Jeta's Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika's monastery. And on that occasion, a large number of boys on the road between Sāvatthī & Jeta's Grove were catching fish. Then early in the morning the Blessed One adjusted his under robe and — carrying his bowl & robes — went into Sāvatthī for alms. He saw the large number of boys on the road between Sāvatthī & Jeta's Grove catching little fish. Seeing them, he went up to them and, on arrival, said to them, "Boys, do you fear pain? Do you dislike pain?"

"Yes, lord, we fear pain. We dislike pain."

Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:


If you fear pain,
if you dislike pain,
don't anywhere do an evil deed
in open or in secret.
If you're doing or will do
an evil deed,
you won't escape pain
catching up
as you run away.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Fish Have Feelings, Too: The Inner Lives Of Our 'Underwater Cousins'

Fish Could Be Conscious

Fish Are Sentient and Emotional Beings and Clearly Feel Pain: Fish Deserve Better Treatment Based on Data on Their Emotional Lives

We should neither kill nor harm fish, or even insects, even if you aren't buddhist or following any dharmic religion:

What insects can tell us about the origins of consciousness

And yes, you should do your personal best to go vegan, even if you don't rack up negative kamma for purchasing previously slaughtered animals at the market.

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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No_Mind
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Re: Is fishing breaking the precept?

Post by No_Mind » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:22 am

polarbear101 wrote: And yes, you should do your personal best to go vegan, even if you don't rack up negative kamma for purchasing previously slaughtered animals at the market.
No. Not that I eat lot of meat .. maybe 500 grams a month. But I will not ever be a confirmed vegetarian. I do not like absolute choices/extremes.

Neither do I side with those who will not eat a meal if there is no meat .. nor side with those who will not eat if there is meat. I do like eating eggs, ice creams, cakes .. so I guess being vegan is out of question.

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Is fishing breaking the precept?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:21 am

No_Mind wrote:Is fishing (as a pastime) breaking the First Precept?
If the fish is not killed, but caught and thrown back, then no, it does not break the first precept. Nevertheless it is unwholesome kamma. The results are different to killing.
Cūḷakammavibhaṅgha Sutta wrote:7. "Here, student, some woman or man is one who harms beings with his hands or with clods or with sticks or with knives. Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell. If instead he comes to the human state, he is sickly wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to sickness, that is to say, to be one who harms beings with one's hands or with clods or with sticks or with knives.
Killing living beings has the following results:
5. "Here, student, some woman or man is a killer of living beings, murderous, bloody-handed, given to blows and violence, merciless to living beings. Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell. If, on the dissolution of the body, after death, instead of his reappearing in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell, he comes to the human state, he is short-lived wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to short life, that is to say, to be a killer of living beings, murderous, bloody-handed, given to blows and violence, merciless to living beings.
No_Mind wrote:I have to clarify why I asked .. lately I have become a fan of River Monsters on Animal Planet. Yesterday I thought .. hold on .. is Jeremy (the host) guilty of Wrong Livelihood .. hence my OP.
Yes. Earning a living by killing animals is wrong-livelihood.
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ganegaar
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Re: Is fishing breaking the precept?

Post by ganegaar » Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:26 am

Alternatively we may look at a precept not as a rule, but rather as an "action that have consequences", in that "bad consequences".
I do not know how kamma would work in future, but yet about the situation here and now, just when breaking a precept, even before braking it (when mind is inclining into breaking), while breaking it and after doing so, the mind is not at ease, the mind is not cool, this calm happy feeling is not there at all, instead what is there is a heated mind, a suffering mind!
It is a rather interesting and confusing why I myself would break precepts time to time, fully knowing the consequences here and now!, I suppose it is to do with me being not having strong mindfulness and strong will power to resist the temptation to break yet, I suppose it is the Moha factor in play that shields the mind to do the opposite.
Following is from a Joseph Goldstien talk (not exact words he used, but just the idea), which really apply to me as well: I am about to break a precept, I know it has no benefit to me, I know I will suffer, so the choice is clear, "do I want to be happy" or "do I want to suffer", surprisingly and quite paradoxically, I do choose to suffer time to time!.

On the reverse side, keeping precepts do have a certain joy in it, a joy that is hard to describe, but all my good friends who are so diligent in keeping precepts would sure have felt that and would sure agree with me.

Even the 1st precept if we tend to see it "as a rule", "as a commandment", the mind have a tendency to rebel against the command, mind have a tendency to go against it, isn't it?
And killing vs eating, to kill the mind is having a "Dvesha citta" - a mind based in hatred, while in eating (unmindfully) the mind is a "Lobha citta" - a mind based in "Greed". Both are bad, but pointing at a crab to be killed to be eaten, you will get both bad stuff!. My unenlightened mind do have a more potent issue than Dvesha (hatred) and Lobha (greed), that is the Moha (dilution). This moha paints a nice picture and hides the actual suffering, and presents suffering as pleasure, suffering as happiness and then presents the real pleasure as suffering, real happiness as suffering!.
The Moha have this strange ability to justify our unjustifiable actions, with quite convincingly absurd arguments!, but over and over fully knowing we fall into the same trap! what a mess :))
Sīlepatiṭṭhāya naro sapañño, cittaṃ paññañca bhāvayaṃ;
Ātāpī nipako bhikkhu, so imaṃ vijaṭaye jaṭanti.

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Re: Is fishing breaking the precept?

Post by SarathW » Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:37 am

:goodpost: Ganegarr
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

form
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Re: Is fishing breaking the precept?

Post by form » Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:54 am

Bhante Besala,

What about if

1) someone works for a company that distributes frozen meat?

2) operate a farm that produce meat but not a slaughter house?

3) dairy farm or eggs farm with animal living in bad conditions?

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Is fishing breaking the precept?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:22 am

form wrote:What about
Or, what about opening up a can of worms?

Just be mindful of your own intentions, and don't worry too much about that of others.
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Anagarika
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Re: Is fishing breaking the precept?

Post by Anagarika » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:38 am

I agree with Ven. Pesala's response. I like to keep in mind that the precepts are, literally, training rules. They are not laws or ordinances, that entail a punishment for their "breaking," or violation. You can't break a training rule, but you can examine the quality of the intention, and the quality of the act and determine whether the conformance with the rule is advancing your training on the Path. The precepts are very important, and mindfulness of these trainign rules is critical, but it's the quality of one's training that is the key, and not whether a law was broken that entails guilt or punishment.

So, with the First Precept, rather than arguing that fishing isn't killing, so it's OK (per the precepts), better to look at the act of fishing and make a determination whether that conduct is wholesome, and whether it further's one's ethics, mindfulness, samadhi, and cultivation of compassion.

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Re: Is fishing breaking the precept?

Post by davidbrainerd » Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:29 pm

Does Buddha specifically mention fish as a living being? Because Gnostic religions that are similar to Buddhism in several regards and commanded against eating meat nonetheless allowed eating fish on the basis that it is not a proper animal (or not technically sexually produced [that is fish dont get it on but spew it in the water like flowers spew it in the air, making fish more like plants as it comes to procreation]). Catholicism's old fasting rules for Fridays in Lent derive from the same.

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ganegaar
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Re: Is fishing breaking the precept?

Post by ganegaar » Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:23 am

davidbrainerd wrote:fish on the basis that it is not a proper animal (or not technically sexually produced
In Buddhism "a being" is not classified based on it's sexual orientation. As I have understood it, the division is based on whether its "living" with some form of "consciousness" or "ability to think".
Here in the dictionary reference of the term "pāṇa " there is references to where the word is used. But here also, the definition is given by how it appears in Visuddhimagga:
Buddhagosha's defn of pāṇa is "pāṇanatāya pāṇā; assāsapassās' āyatta -- vuttitāyā ti attho" Vism 310.
Sīlepatiṭṭhāya naro sapañño, cittaṃ paññañca bhāvayaṃ;
Ātāpī nipako bhikkhu, so imaṃ vijaṭaye jaṭanti.

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Is fishing breaking the precept?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:41 am

davidbrainerd wrote:Because Gnostic religions that are similar to Buddhism in several regards and commanded against eating meat nonetheless allowed eating fish on the basis that it is not a proper animal.
There is something very fishy about that! :redherring:

Buddhaghosa's definition of "Breathing things," also covers fish, which breathe through gills, and insects, which breathe though their skin.

Monks have to filter water through a cloth before using it to remove any small organisms, but presumably that won't remove amoeba or other living things that are invisible to the naked eye.
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Re: Is fishing breaking the precept?

Post by justindesilva » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:03 am

There is something very fishy about that! :redherring:

Buddhaghosa's definition of "Breathing things," also covers fish, which breathe through gills, and insects, which breathe though their skin.

Monks have to filter water through a cloth before using it to remove any small organisms, but presumably that won't remove amoeba or other living things that are invisible to the naked eye.[/quote]
To my understanding the 1st precept is about sentient beings. ( beings who can sense). It is the aquatic being that later developed to be a mammal in evolution of beings. This means that fishing too is included not to be harmed in the 1st precept.
Secondly karma depends on the intention. Hence the advise made by Lord Budda that meat can be eaten if one does not kill it , or if one does not order it to be killed and so on. But my intention is not to eat fish what ever when there is vegetables abundantly.
In an Island where there is no other foods and the intention is to feed the rest then we cannot complain. There are such places as islands in the South Pacific.

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ganegaar
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Re: Is fishing breaking the precept?

Post by ganegaar » Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:51 pm

Also to note is that "refrain from killing" is a slight mismatched translation. The precept is "paana+atipaata veramani" not "paana+ghata veramani",; so the first precept sounds more like "refrain from causing to relieve a life"!.
Which actualy means, even if one is killing by proxy, or in the chain of command knowingly will be braking the precept. Not just the one holding the fishing rod, but a person driving the fishing boat as well probably included!
Sīlepatiṭṭhāya naro sapañño, cittaṃ paññañca bhāvayaṃ;
Ātāpī nipako bhikkhu, so imaṃ vijaṭaye jaṭanti.

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Re: Is fishing breaking the precept?

Post by Zom » Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:40 pm

Fishing, kammically, leads to pain, as said in Ud 5.4 --> http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
And to shortened life as well, as seen from Majjhima sutta about kamma.

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Re: Is fishing breaking the precept?

Post by DNS » Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:30 pm

In addition to the Christian concept of fish not being meat, this exists in Judaism too. Religious Jews don't mix meat and dairy in the same meal. Foods that are neither meat nor dairy are called 'parve' and can be consumed in a meat meal or in a dairy meal. In Judaism, fish is considered parve. I always thought that was strange since they are clearly animals and they do feel pain, they breathe, move, etc.

Fish
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata

They are not mammals like us, but they are animals, members of the Animal Kingdom.

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