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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Sekha
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Re: Meat eating

Post by Sekha » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:19 am

tiltbillings wrote:Life is predicated upon death.
True, at least in the case of humans and animals. But the real questions are: do we approve of this fact? Do we use it as an open license to inflict additional suffering on others (directly or indirectly), as Hitler used to ["Nature is cruel; therefore we are also entitled to be cruel."]? Are we really doing what we can reasonably do to minimize their suffering?
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Re: Meat eating

Post by Sekha » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:24 am

Ben wrote:No where, in the Tipitaka did the Buddha advocate for vegetarianism for the sangha nor the laity.
Exact. But he advocated to be "friendly and compassionate towards all living beings". Everyone uses one's own wisdom to apply this guideline. Some may find it relevant not to buy meat, others might find it irrelevant. I think the Buddha wanted us to discuss the issue, and he wanted everyone of us to follow what he sees fit for himself:
'I am the owner of my actions, heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir.'
Last edited by Sekha on Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Meat eating

Post by beeblebrox » Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:09 pm

Cittasanto wrote: Reading section 12 - also quoted previously - shows it was bought for, not killed for the Buddha. if the animals had been killed specifically for the group General Siha would not of be able to say "Not for our life would we ever intentionally kill a living being".
To me, the entry talks more about Nigantha's behavior towards others, or their mistaken perception of the killing, than to show that there's no relationship at all in between the meat and the death of an animal. I think that this would have to be based on a mistaken perception, also.

I agree that it's wrong to accuse someone who bought the meat of killing... but it's also wrong to say that this has no relationship at all to the killing of the animals (if there was)... which if you read your selection carefully, it said nothing about. (Quite rightly, I think.) To get the kind of interpretation that you did from the selection, I think there has to be some underlying motivation.

I know that you mentioned somewhere before that you don't buy or eat meat? (Maybe I remembered wrong.) So maybe your motivation has something more to do with defending the person who taught you that interpretation, or maybe it's to do with the (well-intentioned) defending of the people who still eat meat... but it seems to me like there is some overreaching that is happening here (i.e., trying to deny that there's no relationship at all, in between one action and the other).
We can not control what others do with the information they have, I used to go to my local pub every day for lunch and ordered the same thing at the same time every day except thursdays and sundays. One day I had a late lunch and the land lady had still prepared my food and drink for me, I couldn't control her decision even though I had said that I would not always be there at the same time everyday a number of times. We have to know what we can and can not control otherwise we are running around trying to control things we have no control over, and not doing what needs to be done, which happens to be sorting ourselves out.
How long will this woman continue to make you lunch if you stopped going to her pub? The kamma isn't just speech or thought (like for example, telling her not to make you lunch, or hoping that she will not make you one)... it's also action.

I think that you maybe see the woman as a self-functioning entity, existing apart from the conditions around her... much in the same way that you viewed the Business, where you said that people have no control over it. That is a wrong view of kamma.

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Re: Meat eating

Post by Cittasanto » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:34 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
Cittasanto wrote: Reading section 12 - also quoted previously - shows it was bought for, not killed for the Buddha. if the animals had been killed specifically for the group General Siha would not of be able to say "Not for our life would we ever intentionally kill a living being".
To me, the entry talks more about Nigantha's behavior towards others, or their mistaken perception of the killing, than to show that there's no relationship at all in between the meat and the death of an animal. I think that this would have to be based on a mistaken perception, also.
Certainly the rules came about as a response, although it still does not say that the animal was killed specifically for anyone. However, there being a lack of Kammic responsibility and there being no relation are two different things. we are at the end of the day responsible for our own actions, not those of others, and as a result this lack of kammic responsibility is clearly shown in the passage.
Upajjhatthana Sutta AN5.57 wrote:"'I am the owner of my actions, heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir.' ...
I agree that it's wrong to accuse someone who bought the meat of killing... but it's also wrong to say that this has no relationship at all to the killing of the animals (if there was)... which if you read your selection carefully, it said nothing about. (Quite rightly, I think.) To get the kind of interpretation that you did from the selection, I think there has to be some underlying motivation.
Do note I am not arguing there is no relationship at all, and have clearly said there is. but on the Kammic level the responsibility is not ours. or following the logic that a relationship = kammic responsibility means eating a vegetarian or vegan diet has a far share of death to account for (as tilt noted earlier).
I know that you mentioned somewhere before that you don't buy or eat meat? (Maybe I remembered wrong.) So maybe your motivation has something more to do with defending the person who taught you that interpretation, or maybe it's to do with the (well-intentioned) defending of the people who still eat meat... but it seems to me like there is some overreaching that is happening here (i.e., trying to deny that there's no relationship at all, in between one action and the other).
approximately correct, but my motivation is not up for debate.
and I have addressed the rest above.
We can not control what others do with the information they have, I used to go to my local pub every day for lunch and ordered the same thing at the same time every day except thursdays and sundays. One day I had a late lunch and the land lady had still prepared my food and drink for me, I couldn't control her decision even though I had said that I would not always be there at the same time everyday a number of times. We have to know what we can and can not control otherwise we are running around trying to control things we have no control over, and not doing what needs to be done, which happens to be sorting ourselves out.
How long will this woman continue to make you lunch if you stopped going to her pub? The kamma isn't just speech or thought (like for example, telling her not to make you lunch, or hoping that she will not make you one)... it's also action.
That was up to her, my responsibility was fulfilled to the best of my ability (do note the past tense).
I think that you maybe see the woman as a self-functioning entity, existing apart from the conditions around her... much in the same way that you viewed the Business, where you said that people have no control over it. That is a wrong view of kamma.
it is funny how you are twisting the example of being responsible of our own actions, not the actions of others!
do you personally tell the shop you use to order X,Y, & Z so you can buy it next time you go in? or do they predict they will need a certain amount and buy what they believe will sell and last until the next order?
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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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beeblebrox
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Re: Meat eating

Post by beeblebrox » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:57 pm

Cittasanto wrote:
I think that you maybe see the woman as a self-functioning entity, existing apart from the conditions around her... much in the same way that you viewed the Business, where you said that people have no control over it. That is a wrong view of kamma.
it is funny how you are twisting the example of being responsible of our own actions, not the actions of others!
do you personally tell the shop you use to order X,Y, & Z so you can buy it next time you go in? or do they predict they will need a certain amount and buy what they believe will sell and last until the next order?
I think it's more to do with the kamma and its fruits, not that it's my/your kamma vs. others' kamma... look at this quote from the Udana for example:
Ud 6.6

People are intent on the idea of
'made by me'
and attached to the idea of
'made by another.'
Some do not realize this,
nor do they see it as a thorn.
But to one who sees,
having extracted this thorn,
(the thought) 'I am doing,' doesn't occur;
'Another is doing,' doesn't occur.
This human race is possessed by conceit,
bound by conceit,
tied down by conceit.
Speaking hurtfully because of their views
they do not go beyond wandering-on.

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Re: Meat eating

Post by Cittasanto » Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:56 pm

I have not said we are isolated. particularly when I answered the same question earlier.
beeblebrox wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
I think that you maybe see the woman as a self-functioning entity, existing apart from the conditions around her... much in the same way that you viewed the Business, where you said that people have no control over it. That is a wrong view of kamma.
it is funny how you are twisting the example of being responsible of our own actions, not the actions of others!
do you personally tell the shop you use to order X,Y, & Z so you can buy it next time you go in? or do they predict they will need a certain amount and buy what they believe will sell and last until the next order?
I think it's more to do with the kamma and its fruits, not that it's my/your kamma vs. others' kamma... look at this quote from the Udana for example:
Ud 6.6

People are intent on the idea of
'made by me'
and attached to the idea of
'made by another.'
Some do not realize this,
nor do they see it as a thorn.
But to one who sees,
having extracted this thorn,
(the thought) 'I am doing,' doesn't occur;
'Another is doing,' doesn't occur.
This human race is possessed by conceit,
bound by conceit,
tied down by conceit.
Speaking hurtfully because of their views
they do not go beyond wandering-on.
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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Mr Man
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Re: Meat eating

Post by Mr Man » Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:35 am

Freind Cittasanto, so back to my original comment:
Mr Man wrote:To imagine the the eating of meat is not inextricably interlinked with the killing of animals is denial on the most giant of scales.
You do agree with this then?

With regard to Kamma - It is said to be an imponderable. The exact ins and outs of cause and effect are something that we can't get our head around. We can abdicate responsibility but this in itself is another act, which will have an outcome. The idea of using the Buddha's teaching to justify our action is, in my opinion, unfair (even if we have gone for refuge/keep precepts).

That there is killing involved in the production of a vegetarian diet is really just an irrelevance.

Now what we don't know, because kamma is an imponderable, is how positive/negative the impact of eating meat is and that is possibly why Sekha "wants to put all the odds on his side". Sekha's reasoning leads him to suspect that it is negative or inappropriate. If your reasoning tells you otherwise so be it.

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Re: Meat eating

Post by Cittasanto » Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:30 pm

Mr Man wrote:Freind Cittasanto, so back to my original comment:
Mr Man wrote:To imagine the the eating of meat is not inextricably interlinked with the killing of animals is denial on the most giant of scales.
You do agree with this then?
already answered.
With regard to Kamma - It is said to be an imponderable. The exact ins and outs of cause and effect are something that we can't get our head around. We can abdicate responsibility but this in itself is another act, which will have an outcome. The idea of using the Buddha's teaching to justify our action is, in my opinion, unfair (even if we have gone for refuge/keep precepts).
the working of Kamma yes, but we do know our intentions. how these pan out is another matter.
That there is killing involved in the production of a vegetarian diet is really just an irrelevance.
so vegetarians can have it both ways?
Now what we don't know, because kamma is an imponderable, is how positive/negative the impact of eating meat is and that is possibly why Sekha "wants to put all the odds on his side". Sekha's reasoning leads him to suspect that it is negative or inappropriate. If your reasoning tells you otherwise so be it.
and if you read what I have previously said on the matter, "it is a personal choice." However if you try to say something is only one way when it is clearly not black and white.
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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Mr Man
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Re: Meat eating

Post by Mr Man » Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:20 pm

Cittasanto wrote:
That there is killing involved in the production of a vegetarian diet is really just an irrelevance.
so vegetarians can have it both ways?
tilts point was facetious. It really isn't worth trying to uphold.

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Re: Meat eating

Post by Cittasanto » Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:36 pm

Mr Man wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
That there is killing involved in the production of a vegetarian diet is really just an irrelevance.
so vegetarians can have it both ways?
tilts point was facetious. It really isn't worth trying to uphold.
so you say, but that doesn't mean it is any less relevant that trying to place kammic blame on someone for eating meat when they are only utilising what is available.
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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Mr Man
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Re: Meat eating

Post by Mr Man » Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:52 am

Cittasanto wrote:
so you say, but that doesn't mean it is any less relevant that trying to place kammic blame on someone for eating meat when they are only utilising what is available.
Cittasanto, I don't think I have been guilty of trying to place "karmic blame" - reminds me of your "accusing people of murder" comment.

For most of us "eating meat" or "not" is a choice we make it is not just a case of "utilizing what is available". "Utilizing what is available" sounds like doublespeak to me.
Last edited by Mr Man on Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Meat eating

Post by Cittasanto » Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:06 pm

Mr Man wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
so you say, but that doesn't mean it is any less relevant that trying to place kammic blame on someone for eating meat when they are only utilising what is available.
Cittasanto, I don't think I have been guilty of trying to palce "karmic blame" - reminds me of your "accusing people of murder" comment.

For most of us "eating meat" or "not" is a choice we make it is not just a case of "utilizing what is available". "Utilizing what is available" sounds like doublespeak to me.
it is single speech. but are things often used without a decision process?
but in regard to eating that decision process does not go as far as whether or not to take a life.
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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Mr Man
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Re: Meat eating

Post by Mr Man » Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:49 pm

Cittasanto wrote: but in regard to eating that decision process does not go as far as whether or not to take a life.
And I don't think anyone had suggested that it does (in the pre-merged thread).

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Re: Meat eating

Post by Cittasanto » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:34 pm

Mr Man wrote:
Cittasanto wrote: but in regard to eating that decision process does not go as far as whether or not to take a life.
And I don't think anyone had suggested that it does (in the pre-merged thread).
Mr Man wrote:To imagine the the eating of meat is not inextricably interlinked with the killing of animals is denial on the most giant of scales.
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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Mr Man
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Re: Meat eating

Post by Mr Man » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:52 pm

Cittasanto wrote:
Mr Man wrote:
Cittasanto wrote: but in regard to eating that decision process does not go as far as whether or not to take a life.
And I don't think anyone had suggested that it does (in the pre-merged thread).
Mr Man wrote:To imagine the the eating of meat is not inextricably interlinked with the killing of animals is denial on the most giant of scales.

Do you think my statement "To imagine the the eating of meat is not inextricably interlinked with the killing of animals is denial on the most giant of scales" implies that the act of "eating meat" is the same as the act of "taking a life".

It seems to me like you are just trying to distort everything that is said.

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