2nd precept and milk and eggs

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Tom
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2nd precept and milk and eggs

Post by Tom » Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:28 am

Is milking a cow and drinking its milk considered taking what is not given?
Also what about taking eggs from a chicken?

SarathW
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Re: 2nd precept and milk and eggs

Post by SarathW » Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:54 am

"What do you think, O monks? Will they eat the food for the pleasure of it, for enjoyment, for comeliness' sake, for (the body's) embellishment?"[7]

"Certainly not, O Lord."

"Will they not rather eat the food merely for the sake of crossing the desert?"

"So it is, O Lord."


https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .nypo.html
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Sam Vara
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Re: 2nd precept and milk and eggs

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:06 pm

Tom wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:28 am
Is milking a cow and drinking its milk considered taking what is not given?
Also what about taking eggs from a chicken?
I don't think so. In this context, what can't be given, can't be taken. I had always considered "taking what is not given" to refer to the issue of theft and property rights. Presumably, buying milk and eggs would be fine, in that you are not taking them; you are given them in exchange for cash or something else. If we consider that the farmer "takes what is not given" when he milks his cow or collects the eggs from his chickens, then the same would apply to all types of food when the farmer acquires them. The cow and chickens can't give anything to the farmer, but neither can his plants or the soil. By extension, the same applies to the entire "primary sector" of the economy (i.e. extraction of raw materials such as ore, timber, water, etc.); and also to the oxygen we use when breathing.

perkele
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Re: 2nd precept and milk and eggs

Post by perkele » Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:40 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:06 pm
Tom wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:28 am
Is milking a cow and drinking its milk considered taking what is not given?
Also what about taking eggs from a chicken?
I don't think so. In this context, what can't be given, can't be taken. I had always considered "taking what is not given" to refer to the issue of theft and property rights. Presumably, buying milk and eggs would be fine, in that you are not taking them; you are given them in exchange for cash or something else. If we consider that the farmer "takes what is not given" when he milks his cow or collects the eggs from his chickens, then the same would apply to all types of food when the farmer acquires them. The cow and chickens can't give anything to the farmer, but neither can his plants or the soil. By extension, the same applies to the entire "primary sector" of the economy (i.e. extraction of raw materials such as ore, timber, water, etc.); and also to the oxygen we use when breathing.
To compare taking eggs and milk from animals with extracting metals, minerals, oil, rock, ... or whatever other dead materials from the landscape seems like quite a stretch to me.
Animals are living beings, who certainly have a sense of ownership at least about some things. To say, "It is no 'taking', because they could not 'give' it" seems totally illogical to me.

I also don't believe this is true that there could never be such a case where such animals could intentionally give something to a human (or other being) of their own accord. It is probably exceedingly rare, but I don't see why it should be outright impossible.

So, I would say, in the strictest sense, yes, taking milk from a cow or eggs from chicken or other birds without their consent would constitute theft.
One coud argue that when a cow acquiesces to be milked, and a chicken contends itself with its eggs being taken away all the time, in exchange for a safe living space and stable food source, then maybe it's not theft. But to take eggs from wild birds for example, who have no dependency on a human for their survival and fend for themselves, I would say that would most definitely be theft.

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Sam Vara
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Re: 2nd precept and milk and eggs

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:21 pm

perkele wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:40 pm

To compare taking eggs and milk from animals with extracting metals, minerals, oil, rock, ... or whatever other dead materials from the landscape seems like quite a stretch to me.
Animals are living beings, who certainly have a sense of ownership at least about some things. To say, "It is no 'taking', because they could not 'give' it" seems totally illogical to me.
Yes, you may well be right, but I have known people who would say the same about plants and even the world ("Gaia"). My understanding of this is that
there can be no taking without ownership as a precondition, and this is a matter of the law and customs of the society in which we find ourselves. My view is informed by Dhammanando's point here:

viewtopic.php?f=42&t=7499&p=443765#p443741

but it might be that my extrapolation is very wide of the mark. And it shouldn't need pointing out that issues of giving, etc., are separate from the issue of cruelty involved in farming.

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robertk
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Re: 2nd precept and milk and eggs

Post by robertk » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:30 pm

another relevant post by ven. Dhammanando:

Dhammanando
Re: the great vegetarian debate
Post Wed Aug 05, 2015 5:30 am
Ron-The-Elder wrote:
Picking up eggs is a violation of the precept: "Take not that, which has not been freely given
."
The precept applies only to the property of humans. The Vinaya rules it to be no offence to take something from an animal or a peta

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