the great vegetarian debate

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
TRobinson465
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Re: Does been a vegetarian mean gods are with you?

Post by TRobinson465 » Sun Aug 28, 2016 5:12 am

David N. Snyder wrote:I believe a vegetarian diet can be either unwholesome, neutral, or wholesome.

If the intention is for self-aggrandizement, to belittle and ridicule omnivores, then that would be unwholesome.

If the intention is only for eating healthy and nutritious diet, then perhaps neutral kamma, neither good nor bad.

If the intention is to contribute to less killing and harm to animals; then that would be wholesome. (Referring to lay people, not monks who receive what is placed in alms bowls.)
This summarizes my opinion on the great vegetarian debate perfectly lol. But also, i think it really isnt something that important in the overall practice.
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Re: Does been a vegetarian mean gods are with you?

Post by Luca123 » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:57 am

David N. Snyder wrote:I believe a vegetarian diet can be either unwholesome, neutral, or wholesome.

If the intention is for self-aggrandizement, to belittle and ridicule omnivores, then that would be unwholesome.

If the intention is only for eating healthy and nutritious diet, then perhaps neutral kamma, neither good nor bad.

If the intention is to contribute to less killing and harm to animals; then that would be wholesome. (Referring to lay people, not monks who receive what is placed in alms bowls.)
mature Buddhists think not just of the effects their actions have on themselves but the effects they have on others also, and whether one kills an animal with one's own hands or buys meat from a supermarket, in both cases a sentient being is dead as a result. Consequently, there are Buddhists who feel that by not eating meat they are helping to lessen some of the cruelty in the world, and to this degree vegetarianism is more consistent with the general spirit of the first Precept.
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I think your comment expresses a point of view based only on the desires of human beings without taking into consideration the even more stringent desire and will to life of animals unnecessarily and brutally killed to appeal the stomach of human beings

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by lyndon taylor » Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:22 am

Yeah, if you do a good thing for bad reasons, you're still doing a good thing.
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/

dhammarelax
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by dhammarelax » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:38 pm

Dear Friends

If we consider that animals are killed because we are eating meat hence a vegetarian diet would produce a better Karma, would it be also true for example that if we consider the wars in the middle east waged for oil then using electricity generated using it or driving a car or riding a car would generate unwholesome kamma? it seems that many articles that we consume every day can have an origin that involves unwholesome action, even eating vegetables means that insects have to be killed and if insects are killed then the animals that feed on them are also killed, it seems that the Buddha does not take in account this long consequences but he rather focuses on the immediate action/intention.

If the Buddha would have thought that a vegetarian diet is better then why did not instruct the lay people to follow one?

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by DNS » Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:01 pm

dhammarelax wrote: If we consider that animals are killed because we are eating meat hence a vegetarian diet would produce a better Karma, would it be also true for example that if we consider the wars in the middle east waged for oil then using electricity generated using it or driving a car or riding a car would generate unwholesome kamma?
No, because it is not the direct intent. However, it might produce wholesome kamma if the intent is to have less wars, less of a carbon footprint, etc. It is always a good idea to consume less fossil fuel, energy, etc for the sake of the environment. This does not mean those who consume are doing something unwholesome, but it is still a good idea to conserve and if that is the intent, then yes, there could be wholesome kamma generated.

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:36 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:Yeah, if you do a good thing for bad reasons, you're still doing a good thing.
Up to a point, yes, but not in every case.

In the case of being a vegetarian merely for self-aggrandisement, to make yourself appear superior to others, then where is the wholesome kamma? It's not done out of compassion for animals, but only for a sense of superiority, which is pride (māna), an unwholesome mental state.

What makes some action wholesome or unwholesome is the intention behind it. If done for the sake of one's own health, or to be easily contented, or out of compassion for animals, these are all wholesome: loving-kindness for oneself, non-greed, and compassion.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by lyndon taylor » Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:22 pm

Most of the vegetarians I know do it because they love animals, that and the health benefits, I hardly think self aggrandizement comes into it.....
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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Coëmgenu
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Sep 21, 2016 3:00 am

lyndon taylor wrote:Most of the vegetarians I know do it because they love animals, that and the health benefits, I hardly think self aggrandizement comes into it.....
In my experience, vegetarians who get judgemental and holier-than-thou about their newfound meatlessness frequently are only in it for that, and don't stick with vegetarianism once the novelty of it has worn off for them. They are an extreme minority.
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by davidbrainerd » Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:04 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:Most of the vegetarians I know do it because they love animals, that and the health benefits, I hardly think self aggrandizement comes into it.....
In my experience, vegetarians who get judgemental and holier-than-thou about their newfound meatlessness frequently are only in it for that, and don't stick with vegetarianism once the novelty of it has worn off for them. They are an extreme minority.
Vegans are really bad with the holier-than-thou. And I've noticed some of the loudest mouthed vegans on youtube support abortion. So its wrong to eat some cheese or honey, but Ok to kill a human baby. That's total nonsense.

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Faelig » Wed Sep 21, 2016 8:48 am

dhammarelax wrote: If we consider that animals are killed because we are eating meat hence a vegetarian diet would produce a better Karma, would it be also true for example that if we consider the wars in the middle east waged for oil then using electricity generated using it or driving a car or riding a car would generate unwholesome kamma? it seems that many articles that we consume every day can have an origin that involves unwholesome action, even eating vegetables means that insects have to be killed and if insects are killed then the animals that feed on them are also killed, it seems that the Buddha does not take in account this long consequences but he rather focuses on the immediate action/intention.
It's true. If one stops eating meat because he sees the relationship between his consumption and deaths of animals, why stop there? As you mention, eating vegetables leads to the killing of insects. And everything we do is linked in one way or another to the pain and deaths of some living beings.

Rather than concluding that we should not look into these long-term consequences why not conclude that living is always associated with harming other living beings, and therefore for their welfare we need to get out of samsara.
Maybe these lines of thoughts should actually be cultivated: they could promote 'saṃvega' and a healthy desire to reduce our harmfulness to other living beings by minimizing our footprint in this world as much as possible.

And the holy life revealed by the Buddha (forest-dwelling rags-wearing mendicants with strong sila etc) is doing, in my opinion, exactly that: it is the life that is probably the least harmful while still in samsara.

Even abstaining from injuring seeds and plants is part of the 'gradual training', a central teaching found many times in the suttas:
MN51 (B. Bodhi transl): "Having thus gone forth and possessing the bhikkhu’s training and way of life, abandoning the killing of living beings, he abstains from killing living beings; with rod and weapon laid aside, conscientious, merciful, he abides compassionate to all living beings. [...] He abstains from injuring seeds and plants. [...] He abstains from wounding, murdering, binding, brigandage, plunder, and violence."
.
The simile of the desert and the parents eating their child is as well a powerful image of how even the simple act of eating to survive should be seen as harmful.

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by samseva » Thu Sep 22, 2016 2:59 am

lyndon taylor wrote:Yeah, if you do a good thing for bad reasons, you're still doing a good thing.
Actually, it's rather the opposite. It's not black and white, and externally the result might be positive, but if you "do a good thing" for bad reasons, then ultimately it is still unwholesome kamma.

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by lyndon taylor » Thu Sep 22, 2016 3:13 am

samseva wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:Yeah, if you do a good thing for bad reasons, you're still doing a good thing.
Actually, it's rather the opposite. It's not black and white, and externally the result might be positive, but if you "do a good thing" for bad reasons, then ultimately it is still unwholesome kamma.
You don't get it, if I do a good thing like feed starving children for bad reasons, It is still a good thing for the starving children, likewise with not eating animals, it is still a good thing for the animals you're not eating.
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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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Sep 22, 2016 3:21 am

lyndon taylor wrote:You don't get it, if I do a good thing like feed starving children for bad reasons, It is still a good thing for the starving children, likewise with not eating animals, it is still a good thing for the animals you're not eating.
There are plenty of peodophiles in Asia who entice poor children by buying them food etc. Is it a good thing that they're doing?
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Coëmgenu
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Coëmgenu » Thu Sep 22, 2016 3:28 am

lyndon taylor wrote:
samseva wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:Yeah, if you do a good thing for bad reasons, you're still doing a good thing.
Actually, it's rather the opposite. It's not black and white, and externally the result might be positive, but if you "do a good thing" for bad reasons, then ultimately it is still unwholesome kamma.
You don't get it, if I do a good thing like feed starving children for bad reasons, It is still a good thing for the starving children, likewise with not eating animals, it is still a good thing for the animals you're not eating.
I don't claim to be an expert in Buddhadharma. But if one were you rhetorically feed starving children for the selfish purposes of gaining fame and reputation (lets say you were being filmed while doing so), the positive karma of feeding the children doesn't "cancel out" the negative mindset generated by indulging in egoistic fame-seeking. Similarly, the negative mindset generated by indulging in egoistic fame-seeking does not negate the positive karma of feeding the children. They are both generated and the result will be either positive or negative, depending on the needs of the children being fed and how self-absorbed one is in regard to one's social standing/fame. Does this seem reasonable?
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by lyndon taylor » Thu Sep 22, 2016 4:28 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:You don't get it, if I do a good thing like feed starving children for bad reasons, It is still a good thing for the starving children, likewise with not eating animals, it is still a good thing for the animals you're not eating.
There are plenty of peodophiles in Asia who entice poor children by buying them food etc. Is it a good thing that they're doing?
That's kind of an extreme example, no ones claiming people are being vegetarian in order to molest children, are they. The point is they are doing it for their own ego, that may not be good kamma for them, but its still good kamma for the animals they don't eat.
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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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:16 am

lyndon taylor wrote:The point is they are doing it for their own ego, that may not be good kamma for them, but its still good kamma for the animals they don't eat.
I think you don't understand what kamma is. That animals get slaughtered for their meat is the resultant (vipāka) of their own previous kamma.

Even vegetarians who abstain from eating meat out of compassion cannot prevent animals being slaughtered by people who do not believe in kamma.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by samseva » Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:33 am

lyndon taylor wrote:You don't get it, if I do a good thing like feed starving children for bad reasons, It is still a good thing for the starving children, likewise with not eating animals, it is still a good thing for the animals you're not eating.
For the action to be good, it must first be acted upon by a wholesome intention. Yes, with a third-person perspective, having fed starving children can be considered "good", and the children will be happy to eat some food. However, if the person did this with intentions based on greed, hate or delusion, the action is unwholesome.

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by lyndon taylor » Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:49 am

samseva wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:You don't get it, if I do a good thing like feed starving children for bad reasons, It is still a good thing for the starving children, likewise with not eating animals, it is still a good thing for the animals you're not eating.
For the action to be good, it must first be acted upon by a wholesome intention. Yes, with a third-person perspective, having fed starving children can be considered "good", and the children will be happy to eat some food. However, if the person did this with intentions based on greed, hate or delusion, the action is unwholesome.
You don't get it either, the action is still good for the starving children irrespective of the intention of the giver.
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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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by davidbrainerd » Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:21 am

samseva wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:You don't get it, if I do a good thing like feed starving children for bad reasons, It is still a good thing for the starving children, likewise with not eating animals, it is still a good thing for the animals you're not eating.
For the action to be good, it must first be acted upon by a wholesome intention. Yes, with a third-person perspective, having fed starving children can be considered "good", and the children will be happy to eat some food. However, if the person did this with intentions based on greed, hate or delusion, the action is unwholesome.
This reminds me too much of Calvinists saying that if you rescue a baby from a burning building without faith in Jesus then its a sin. Especially since you included "delusion" in your list.

Ok, so a rich guy takes a kid in for the publicity, I can see why he gets no merit out of that (compare with Jesus saying those who pray on the street corner to be seen of men have their reward in full). But delusion? So if the guy isn't an arhant perfectly free of delusion then he cannot earn merit by any good deed? Sounds fishy.
However, if the person did this with intentions based on greed, hate or delusion, the action is unwholesome.
For himself only though. Its not unwholesome in the absolute. Its 'unwholesome' only in that he cheated himself out of merit he could have made if his intentions had been right.

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Cittasanto » Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:06 pm

(i) dark with a dark result,
(ii) bright with a bright result,
(iii) dark and bright with a dark and bright result,
(iv) neither dark nor bright with a neither dark nor bright result.
MN 57
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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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