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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Ceisiwr
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Ceisiwr »

Unfortunately what you believe about kamma and what kamma actually is are two completely different things, kamma happens, your belief about it isn't going to change how kamma actually works.

I agree with the Buddhas teaching of Kamma, that kamma is intention. What you are putting forward is a Jain theory of Kamma, one that looks at the actions themselves and not the intent.


As I said your posts are good Jainism but not good Buddhism
“His deliverance, being founded upon truth, is unshakeable. For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.

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lyndon taylor
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by lyndon taylor »

The buddha always taught that intention was closely linked to action, in fact when he mentions intention, it is often assumed that intention results in an action, the idea that intention without any action equals kamma is a stretch at best.

Kamma is also cause and effect, the intention might be a cause, and the effect can be an action.
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chownah
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by chownah »

The Buddha taught quite clearly that intention is kamma.....how clearly did he say this?......he is reported to have said, "kamma is intention."......or was it, "intention is kamma."?......I forget which......
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seeker242
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by seeker242 »

clw_uk wrote:
I don't think that is really the argument coming from most vegetarians. It's more like "intentionally choosing the most harmful option is unwholesome kamma, when you have a choice to choose lesser harm".


Wouldn't that depend on the intention behind it?
Perhaps, but even if there is no intention to cause harm, what if the action is simply a product of ignorance or a product of denial? Perhaps one can say that if a person is completely oblivious to the harm being caused, then one can say it's not unwholesome because they are oblivious to the whole situation. However, if a person becomes fully aware of the harm being caused, actually does have a choice in the matter, but chooses to ignore the fact that this harm is being caused and just does whatever, I don't think it can be called completely blameless anymore because the person is now fully aware of the fact that their choice equates with causing more harm.

If you are fully aware that one choice causes more harm than another, but choose the more harmful one because of some other reason, you could say the intent is not to cause harm but rather simply to enjoy whatever the more harmful choice brings. However, full knowledge and awareness of one choice being more harmful than the other, and choosing the more harmful one for some unrelated reason, still seems to me to bring an element of blamefulness into the picture. Because in order to do that, you have to essentially ignore the fact that you are choosing a more harmful option when you could be choosing a less harmful option. Now if choosing the more harmful option is a matter of real necessity, AKA you actually don't have a choice in the matter, then all of that would not apply.

:anjali:
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Aloka
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Aloka »

chownah wrote:The Buddha taught quite clearly that intention is kamma.....how clearly did he say this?......he is reported to have said, "kamma is intention."......or was it, "intention is kamma."?......I forget which......
chownah
The Buddha said :

"Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect."

— AN 6.63
Vipaka = the result of kamma


:anjali:
chownah
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by chownah »

Thanks Aloka!
Seems like a pretty clear statement.......and I might add that the Buddha does not backpedal from this statement in other parts of the Sutta if I remember correctly.....for those who think he might have backed off from this statement I suggest going to the Sutta and reading it in full.....if this is news to someone it is probably good to read the entire Sutta anyway.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by DNS »

lyndon taylor wrote: In other words there is this one case where the Buddha did not scold the General for buying meat at the market, but in other cases he does scold or stop lay members from buying meat at the market, or do I have this wrong David????
Yes, you have this wrong. Here is what I posted after that:

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 00#p281512

No, that is the only incident that I know of either way (scolding or not scolding) where it comes up where a lay person purchases meat. And in that one instance, the Buddha did not stop him, as I mentioned.

The only other incident that comes close is a Brahmin who was planning a large sacrifice which consisted of 3,500 animals of cattle and goats. Typically the meat of sacrificed animals are ate by the participants of the festival. The Buddha explains to him that a bloodless sacrifice is much better, such as giving gifts of generosity and practicing the precepts. He explains about a king who practices sacrifices of generosity for his people and how "in this sacrifice, Brahmin, no bulls were slain, no goats, or sheep, no cocks and pigs, nor were various living beings subject to slaughter."
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Babadhari »

was the Buddha instrumental in India becoming predominantly vegetarian???
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

kitztack wrote:was the Buddha instrumental in India becoming predominantly vegetarian???
Though India has one of the highest rates of vegetarianism, and those who do eat meat, do so irregularly, only about 30-40% of Indians are vegetarians.

Jainism and Hinduism probably had more to do with it than Buddhism, which is now a minority religion. In countries that are predominantly Buddhist, vegetarianism is quite low. From my experience, Sri Lankan Buddhists eat less meat than Thais or Burmese, though they still usually eat fish. Western or Indian Buddhists are the most likely to be vegetarian.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Ceisiwr »

lyndon taylor wrote:The buddha always taught that intention was closely linked to action, in fact when he mentions intention, it is often assumed that intention results in an action, the idea that intention without any action equals kamma is a stretch at best.

Kamma is also cause and effect, the intention might be a cause, and the effect can be an action.

The ethical content of an action is defined by the intent

Thats a world away from your argument that buying meat in a supermarket = negative kamma because it results in animals being killed


If something results in the killing of animals that doesnt mean its unwholesome, its the intent that defines it
“His deliverance, being founded upon truth, is unshakeable. For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.

Dhātuvibhaṅga Sutta
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Ceisiwr
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Ceisiwr »

Perhaps, but even if there is no intention to cause harm, what if the action is simply a product of ignorance or a product of denial? Perhaps one can say that if a person is completely oblivious to the harm being caused, then one can say it's not unwholesome because they are oblivious to the whole situation. However, if a person becomes fully aware of the harm being caused, actually does have a choice in the matter, but chooses to ignore the fact that this harm is being caused and just does whatever, I don't think it can be called completely blameless anymore because the person is now fully aware of the fact that their choice equates with causing more harm.

If you are fully aware that one choice causes more harm than another, but choose the more harmful one because of some other reason, you could say the intent is not to cause harm but rather simply to enjoy whatever the more harmful choice brings. However, full knowledge and awareness of one choice being more harmful than the other, and choosing the more harmful one for some unrelated reason, still seems to me to bring an element of blamefulness into the picture. Because in order to do that, you have to essentially ignore the fact that you are choosing a more harmful option when you could be choosing a less harmful option. Now if choosing the more harmful option is a matter of real necessity, AKA you actually don't have a choice in the matter, then all of that would not apply.


I agree however there could be a situation where someone is aware, yet still buys the meat because its all they can afford to feed their family. In that case is that unwholesome or wholesome intent (Kamma)?
“His deliverance, being founded upon truth, is unshakeable. For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.

Dhātuvibhaṅga Sutta
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Ceisiwr
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Ceisiwr »

Maybe buying meat from a supermarket could be seen as "mixed" Kamma?

"And what is kamma that is dark & bright with dark & bright result? There is the case where a certain person fabricates a bodily fabrication that is injurious & non-injurious ... a verbal fabrication that is injurious & non-injurious ... a mental fabrication that is injurious & non-injurious ... He rearises in an injurious & non-injurious world ... There he is touched by injurious & non-injurious contacts ... He experiences injurious & non-injurious feelings, pleasure mingled with pain, like those of human beings, some devas, and some beings in the lower realms. This is called kamma that is dark & bright with dark & bright result.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
“His deliverance, being founded upon truth, is unshakeable. For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.

Dhātuvibhaṅga Sutta
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seeker242
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by seeker242 »

clw_uk wrote:
Perhaps, but even if there is no intention to cause harm, what if the action is simply a product of ignorance or a product of denial? Perhaps one can say that if a person is completely oblivious to the harm being caused, then one can say it's not unwholesome because they are oblivious to the whole situation. However, if a person becomes fully aware of the harm being caused, actually does have a choice in the matter, but chooses to ignore the fact that this harm is being caused and just does whatever, I don't think it can be called completely blameless anymore because the person is now fully aware of the fact that their choice equates with causing more harm.

If you are fully aware that one choice causes more harm than another, but choose the more harmful one because of some other reason, you could say the intent is not to cause harm but rather simply to enjoy whatever the more harmful choice brings. However, full knowledge and awareness of one choice being more harmful than the other, and choosing the more harmful one for some unrelated reason, still seems to me to bring an element of blamefulness into the picture. Because in order to do that, you have to essentially ignore the fact that you are choosing a more harmful option when you could be choosing a less harmful option. Now if choosing the more harmful option is a matter of real necessity, AKA you actually don't have a choice in the matter, then all of that would not apply.
I agree however there could be a situation where someone is aware, yet still buys the meat because its all they can afford to feed their family. In that case is that unwholesome or wholesome intent (Kamma)?
I don't think it would be unwholesome if there really is no choice in the matter. Even in Mahayana, eating meat is blameless if it really is a matter of necessity.

:anjali:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: Western or Indian Buddhists are the most likely to be vegetarian.
I would say that is probably true of Theravada Buddhists. But out of all of Buddhism, I would say east asian Mahayana are the most likely out of everyone. Monks of many of these traditions are required by vows to be vegetarian, with Japanese being the exception. Of course not all laypeople follow that prohibition on the eating of meat, but many do.

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

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chownah wrote:Cittasanto,
Nothing is necessary for Buddhists.
chownah
care to elaborate?
Are you keeping with the specific context of this thread or a more general statement?

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Cittasanto »

Hi Lyndon,
Who are you addressing this too?
lyndon taylor wrote:I would say vegetarianism is reccomended for anyone, not only by the buddha, but by reasoning of reducing beings suffering as much as possible, its obvious the Buddha was realistic enough to not try to enforce a complete ban on meat eating, but to say there is no difference between meat eating and vegetarianism, and that it doesn't matter what you eat, is not supported by the Buddha in the scripture, its obvious that the Buddha was an animal lover that wanted to reduce suffering for all creatures, vegetarianism just does a lot better job of that than meat eating, a reduction of suffering, not an elimination of such.
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill
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