the great vegetarian debate

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Sanghamitta
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the great vegetarian debate

Post by Sanghamitta » Sat Jul 02, 2011 3:32 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
Sanghamitta wrote:If you meet with Luang Por Sumedho in his rural retreat,( unlikely ) or with various Forest Sangha Abbotts like Ajahn Munindo you might want to run that view past them. Its possible that they may be tucking into a chicken leg or even a Big Mac at the time.
Are you suggesting that senior monks eating meat somehow validates it? Surely it's up to each of us to make our own decision on this issue.
And of course there's a lot of variation in attitudes towards meat-eating across the Buddhist traditions.

Spiny
No I am not. The OP equated meat eating with hypocracy. In his/her second post.
The fact that Luang Por Sumedho, and indeed for that matter the Dalai Lama, eats meat as do several of the most dedicated lay Buddhists I know does not validate eating meat.
Neither does it make them hypocrites. None of those people are barbarians or insensitive. They have made their choice and they have made informed choices after due consideration and I for one do not feel inclined to judge that.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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DNS
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the great vegetarian debate

Post by DNS » Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:06 pm

chownah wrote:
Is there some kind of kammic switch that can be turned on and off at such short notice and as a result of such a worldly circumstance....
chownah
Yes, sort of. It is about intention. According to the vegetarian position, there is 'intention' to purchase and consume meat when you go and purchase it, which thereby causes the death of animals, simple supply and demand, cause and effect. A monk relying on alms food does not have that intention and graciously accepts what is offered.

The non-vegetarian position is that one must actually do the killing.

Sanghamitta
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the great vegetarian debate

Post by Sanghamitta » Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:18 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
chownah wrote:
Is there some kind of kammic switch that can be turned on and off at such short notice and as a result of such a worldly circumstance....
chownah
Yes, sort of. It is about intention. According to the vegetarian position, there is 'intention' to purchase and consume meat when you go and purchase it, which thereby causes the death of animals, simple supply and demand, cause and effect. A monk relying on alms food does not have that intention and graciously accepts what is offered.

The non-vegetarian position is that one must actually do the killing.
Its not that simple David. For a start there are a number of situations where ones intention is secondary, having neither killed nor bought meat but is offered meat based food. I have written before about the time that my husband and myself were invited to share the Dana meal at Chithurst to find that on the day in question the Dana meal for 14 monks and four nuns plus three anagarikas and four lay guests consisted of 90 Big Macs donated "as a treat " by Lao lay people !
We declined, but I dont see how any kamma-vipaka could have attached to our intentions had we accepted. Or to those lay people who did accept
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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the great vegetarian debate

Post by DNS » Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:32 pm

The example I used was for when one purchases the meat directly.

But, yes, it may not be that simple if one does not purchase but is invited to some function, such as the one in your example. Then it is more of a 'gray' area and always, people can make their own decisions.

Usually at those type of functions there is plenty of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food to choose from, buffet-style, so vegetarians can usually find plenty to eat.

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the great vegetarian debate

Post by Sanghamitta » Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:36 pm

Yes, and of the course the occasion I described was unusual. The Dana meal did not usually consist entirely of a choice of Big Macs with or without cheese. :smile: And of course P. and myself weren't staying so we could and did buy a veggie pasty from the Chithurst Spa shop on the way home. But the lay guests who WERE staying had only that choice for the one meal of the day.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Spiny O'Norman
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the great vegetarian debate

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:26 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Yes, sort of. It is about intention. According to the vegetarian position, there is 'intention' to purchase and consume meat when you go and purchase it, which thereby causes the death of animals, simple supply and demand, cause and effect. A monk relying on alms food does not have that intention and graciously accepts what is offered. The non-vegetarian position is that one must actually do the killing.
I think there is a more general question about how we view the precepts and sila generally. For me the precepts aren't just legalistic training principles, but are placed in a wider context and related to metta-bahavana. Or to put it another way, we strive to do what is good, not just to avoid what is evil.

This extract from the Karaniya Metta Sutta seems relevant:

"As a mother would risk her life
to protect her child, her only child,
even so should one cultivate a limitless heart
with regard to all beings.
With good will for the entire cosmos.."

Spiny

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Spiny O'Norman
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the great vegetarian debate

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:29 am

Sanghamitta wrote:They have made their choice and they have made informed choices after due consideration and I for one do not feel inclined to judge that.
I do agree that judging others in this way is unhelpful.

Spiny

Bankei
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the great vegetarian debate

Post by Bankei » Mon Jul 04, 2011 4:40 am

Hi

I have come across an interesting article which considers vegetarianism of Theravada monastics in Burma and other places:

Rozenberg, Guillaume
2005 "Anthropology and the Buddhological Imagination: Reconstructing the Invisible Life of Texts"
in Aséanie, Vol 16
available for free download at http://www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/pr ... 5_num_16_1" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Rozenberg is an Anthropologist who had studied Buddhism in Burma. He was always puzzled by the number of vegetarian monks such as the Thamanya Sayadaw so he went back to the texts (or some of them) to see what they said about vegetarianism. He found that while they did not specifically recommend the practice many of the famous monks and arahats of the past did not eat meat (or there was no record of them eating meat). So the texts seemed to advocate vegtarianism by default.

It is a short article and worth a read if you are interested.

Bankei
-----------------------
Bankei

Jhana4
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the great vegetarian debate

Post by Jhana4 » Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:26 pm

"Monks, a lay follower should not engage in five types of business. Which five? Business in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poison.

"These are the five types of business that a lay follower should not engage in."
Vanijja Sutta: Business (Wrong Livelihood)

So, the "business in meat" the Buddha put in the same group as arms dealers, slave traders and pimps. There is no business without customers.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

chownah
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the great vegetarian debate

Post by chownah » Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:18 pm

Jhana4 wrote:
"Monks, a lay follower should not engage in five types of business. Which five? Business in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poison.

"These are the five types of business that a lay follower should not engage in."
Vanijja Sutta: Business (Wrong Livelihood)

So, the "business in meat" the Buddha put in the same group as arms dealers, slave traders and pimps. There is no business without customers.
Is there a difference between a "business" and a "hobby"?
chownah

Jhana4
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the great vegetarian debate

Post by Jhana4 » Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:27 pm

Earning significant amounts of money?
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

anton
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the great vegetarian debate

Post by anton » Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:47 am

im sorry if people see my writing as judgemental...
it probably is :)


i suspect that when an issue is resolved in oneself (whatever that is :)
,it will cease to register
ie there is so much 'stuff happening',
the fact that one is holding a particular object in mind
suggests some sort of attraction or relevance

ill look at the quotes- thanks

forgive me if i sound cynical but
i cant help but suspect that if people knew that monks genuinely wished that no animals be killed for them
the monks would find less meat and more veggies in their bowl :)

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Ben
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the great vegetarian debate

Post by Ben » Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:55 am

anton wrote:im sorry if people see my writing as judgemental...
it probably is :)


i suspect that when an issue is resolved in oneself (whatever that is :)
,it will cease to register
ie there is so much 'stuff happening',
the fact that one is holding a particular object in mind
suggests some sort of attraction or relevance

ill look at the quotes- thanks

forgive me if i sound cynical but
i cant help but suspect that if people knew that monks genuinely wished that no animals be killed for them
the monks would find less meat and more veggies in their bowl :)
Do you actually know anything about the Theravada?
Have you spent any time with a monk?
I suggest you do at least a modicum of research before you launch your ill-informed opinions on the world.
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

chownah
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the great vegetarian debate

Post by chownah » Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:32 am

Jhana4 wrote:Earning significant amounts of money?
Then does the precept for doing business apply to how we make our significant amounts of money and does not apply to our hobbies?....i.e. if someone produces meat for consumption at a personal level the this is not "business in meat"? I guess what I'm trying to say is that....is it the actually cutting up of the meat that is the transgression of is it the making of the money that is the transgression?....or both?....or neither?...or neither both nor neither?
chownah

chownah
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the great vegetarian debate

Post by chownah » Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:44 am

anton wrote: forgive me if i sound cynical but
i cant help but suspect that if people knew that monks genuinely wished that no animals be killed for them
the monks would find less meat and more veggies in their bowl :)
I agree with you on this....if monks taught the Dhamma and then explained their views on the connection with eating meat and killing in the proper way then at least some people would pick up on this and start providing more meatless food for the monks.....in Thailand it seems that monks do not have any aversion to eating meat (in general although I'm sure that some monks prefer to be vegetarian) and probably hope to get some nicely prepared flesh in their bowl...but do remember that the Buddha taught that eating meat is NOT a defilement so if monks have a particular aversion to eating meat then perhaps it is the Buddha's wisdom that causes meat to appear in the bowl.....
chownah

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