the great vegetarian debate

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
ctcrnitv
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby ctcrnitv » Tue Sep 27, 2016 5:03 am

I used to eat meat, but things changed and I've since cut back on meat dramatically. Like only a few times a year. Not vegetarian, but pretty close to it.

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Spiny Norman
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:04 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Even vegetarians who abstain from eating meat out of compassion cannot prevent animals being slaughtered by people who do not believe in kamma.


But they do prevent the needless slaughter of even more animals by choosing not to buy meat regularly themselves. All our actions have consequences, and if we buy meat regularly then we are expecting others to kill on our behalf, and to carry out wrong livelihood.

And doesn't the harmlessness developed as part of Right Intention extend to animals too?
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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Thu Sep 29, 2016 10:55 am

Spiny: "And doesn't the harmlessness developed as part of Right Intention extend to animals too?"


Yes. Especially since humans are also animals.

Cannibal Warlords in Liberia:


Then we have all those cute bunny rabbits, hampsters, kitty cats, and doggies :tongue:

Shopping for meat in Yulin:

Humans are clearly "omnivores" dining in pure ignorance of the karmic consequences of their intentional actions.
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-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Sep 29, 2016 12:09 pm

Ron-The-Elder wrote:Humans are clearly "omnivores" dining in pure ignorance of the karmic consequences of their intentional actions.

Humans may be omnivores, meat-eaters, vegetarians, or whatever. Whether they are ignorant of the consequences of their intentional actions depends on whether or not they are aware of their intentions.

Is there any evidence at all to show that vegetarians or vegans are more aware of their intentions than anyone else? From many of the replies here, it seems that many vegetarians are confused about the relationship between cause and effect.

What is your intention in posting videos about cannibalism and eating dogs?
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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Thu Sep 29, 2016 5:06 pm

Bhiku Pessala asked: "What is your intention in posting videos about cannibalism and eating dogs?"


My intention is to bring the problem of causing harm to sentient / sapient / living beings due to our dietary choices closer to home. Those chosing animal flesh often forget that beef, turkey, chicken, lamb, etc. are sentient / living beings, and that humans and other animals we call pets were sentient / sapient / living creatures too. As Spiny ( I think) wisely pointed out we not only cause indirect harm to these creatures with our dietary choices, but we also place their butchers and marketers in the unenviable position of taking residence in the hell realms in some subsequent rebirth, pehaps along side with us, by creating a demand for their flesh. :hug:

As a more personal example of this mind-set, my deceased wife's mother cooked a free range goose for dinner for her family that they had been raising from a gossling. My wife, as a child, had fed and played with the goose almost all of her life and had named her as many folks do with pets. When she was told by her brothers that they were eating her pet for dinner, the goose flesh suddenly seemed no where as tasty as she thought it to be before she found out what / who it was.

"Cause no harm", the first precept, is in the estimation of most Buddhists the prime directive of Buddhism. But, of course, you knew that, Bhante' :hug:
Last edited by Ron-The-Elder on Sun Oct 02, 2016 3:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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ryanM
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby ryanM » Thu Sep 29, 2016 5:48 pm

Hi everyone :)

I just thought I'd offer something with my own experience eating a vegetarian diet for ~5 years. Certainly the main motivation for changing my diet was for the welfare of animals. This practice, I believe, was helpful to me at the time in developing a good attitude towards animals and humans alike. So for that, I am thankful. However, towards the end of my vegetarian adventure, I started to contemplate this more deeply.

Coming across a paper entitled The Least Harm Principle May Require That Humans Consume a Diet Containing Large Herbivores, Not a Vegan Diet and the related thread on another site was the seed for inquiry. I've known meat eating monks/nuns, laymen, and laywomen to be the kindest people I've come across. This was the simple observation that lead me to think that there's much more to developing the heart than what sort of diet I follow. Knowing this, I've since let go of being a vegetarian.
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Sep 29, 2016 6:25 pm

Ron-The-Elder wrote:As Spiny ( I think) wisely pointed out we not only cause indirect harm to these creatures with our dietary choices, but we also place their butchers and marketers in the unenviable position of taking residence in the hell realms in some subsequent rebirth, perhaps alongside with us, by creating a demand for their flesh.

That is why I said, Vegetarians often seem to be confused about the relationship between cause and effect.
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freedom
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby freedom » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:20 am

Inspired by this sutta: Son’s Flesh
I am asking myself:

Suppose a man was travelling through a desert. He had with him his only son and a faithful dog. In the middle of the desert, his limited provisions were used up. The son and the dog were too weak to cross the desert. Only the man can, but the man needed food to cross the desert. Should he eat his son's flesh or his dog's meat for the sake of crossing the desert? (Assumed either the son's or the dog's meat is sufficient for him to cross the desert)
(The son's flesh is symbolized for animal's meat, and the dog's meat is for vegetables. Of course, animal is more advance in evolution than vegetable)

When we have a choice, which one should we choose? Are we sure that we have no choice in picking our foods?
One should not be negligent of discernment, should guard the truth, be devoted to relinquishment, and train only for calm - MN 140.

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby chownah » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:51 am

Eating meat does not harm animals...not directly...not indirectly. Whatever kamma is involved in the killing of an animal for food (or any other reason as well) belongs to the one doing the killing.
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Sep 30, 2016 5:10 am

freedom wrote:(The son's flesh is symbolized for animal's meat, and the dog's meat is for vegetables. Of course, animal is more advance in evolution than vegetable)

The analogy does not apply. Of course, killing an animal, even one's beloved pet, is less serious than killing a child that is not one's own, but meat bought in the supermarket is already dead. One had no part in killing the animal, and no desire or intention to kill animals.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Fri Sep 30, 2016 6:41 am

Bhante, once again your logic fails me.

According to this BBC article, going form regular meat eater to vegetarian or vegan saves as much greenhouse gas emissions as stopping driving your cars, and meat eating industry and animal husbandry contributes as much to greenhouse gas emissions as the entire fossil fuel industry, check it out.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/2016092 ... vegetarian
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

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Spiny Norman
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:10 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
freedom wrote:(The son's flesh is symbolized for animal's meat, and the dog's meat is for vegetables. Of course, animal is more advance in evolution than vegetable)

The analogy does not apply. Of course, killing an animal, even one's beloved pet, is less serious than killing a child that is not one's own, but meat bought in the supermarket is already dead. One had no part in killing the animal, and no desire or intention to kill animals.


But choosing to buy meat regularly increases demand and leads to more animals being killed. It is adding to the harm rather than minimising it, and that is at odds with the harmlessness of Right Intention. It is also expecting somebody else to break the first precept and do wrong livelihood, there is a hypocrisy in that, expecting another to do things we would not.
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:28 am

Spiny Norman wrote:But choosing to buy meat regularly increases demand and leads to more animals being killed.

No it doesn't. See my earlier post..

If you really want to reduce meat consumption you will need to prove to the farmers (who are mostly not Buddhists and have no faith in kamma) that they can make more profit by producing vegetables or other crops. If the supply is reduced, the price will go up, and people will buy less meat. If the demand is reduced by 1% of the population going vegetarian (currently about 7%), the price will drop (slightly), farmers will have to produce more to maintain their profits, selling more meat at the lower price to meat-eaters.

There is almost no profit in milk production now, so what will happen to the surplus cows? Will farmers continue to provide them with free fodder to enjoy their well-deserved happy retirement?

Think about the whole picture, not just your personal contribution to the equation.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:36 am

It appears you didn't read my article.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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Spiny Norman
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Sep 30, 2016 8:03 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:But choosing to buy meat regularly increases demand and leads to more animals being killed.

No it doesn't. See my earlier post..

Think about the whole picture, not just your personal contribution to the equation.


But it is the personal contribution which we have control over. It is about the ethics of the choices we make. Do we choose to minimise harm, or do we choose to add to it?

If for example I order a Christmas turkey from the local butchers, that is one more turkey which will be killed.
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Spiny Norman
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Sep 30, 2016 8:19 am

Ron-The-Elder wrote:"Cause no harm", the first precept, is in the estimation of most Buddhists the prime directive of Buddhism.


I think harmlessness is the underlying principle of Buddhist ethics, that is why it is included in Right Intention.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Sep 30, 2016 8:26 am

Ron-The-Elder wrote:Then we have all those cute bunny rabbits, hampsters, kitty cats, and doggies :tongue:


I know! It seems ironic, the way people dote on their pets and protect them from harm, meanwhile lots of other animals are abused and slaughtered so they can have some meat on their plate.

A while back there was a big fuss here because horse-meat was getting into burgers...like "Those disgusting Frenchies might eat horse meat, but how dare you serve it to us!" English people don't eat nice horsies, but eating nice cows is fine. :rolleye:
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:17 am

Spiny Norman wrote:If for example I order a Christmas turkey from the local butchers, that is one more turkey which will be killed.

No. If you don't order it, he will sell it to someone else. If he cannot sell it, he will give it to a local homeless shelter, or just chuck it in the bin for foxes to eat, or whatever. He will not resuscitate it and send it back to the turkey farm for next year.

Of course, if you go to the Turkey farm, and order a particular bird to be slaughtered for you, then you will make bad kamma, but if you cancel your order, the Turkey will still be slaughtered. Turkey farmers do not raise Turkeys as cute family pets.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby robertk » Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:30 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:[r. He will not resuscitate it and send it back to the turkey farm for next year.

.

:rofl:

This is the key point that vegetarians don't get.

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Sep 30, 2016 11:00 am

robertk wrote:This is the key point that vegetarians don't get.

I think we're flogging a dead horse here.

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