the great vegetarian debate

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 11876
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, Estados Unidos de América
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by DNS » Tue Aug 15, 2017 2:28 am

I've updated that page to include some more references I found from the Vimanavatthu.
https://dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Diet_of_Buddha

Here is an example of one of the references, showing that the Buddha ate milk-rice porridge and fresh ghee with a link to the reference, available online:
Udana 4.3 wrote:Then the cowherd, understanding the Blessed One's acquiescence, got up from his seat, bowed down to the Blessed One and left, circling him to the right.

Then, after the night had passed, the cowherd — having prepared in his own home a great deal of thick milk-rice porridge & fresh ghee — announced the time of the meal to the Blessed One: "It's time, lord. The meal is ready."

So the Blessed One early in the morning adjusted his under robe and — carrying his bowl & robes — went together with the community of monks to the cowherd's home. On arrival, he sat down on a seat laid out. The cowherd, with his own hand, served & satisfied the community of monks headed by the Blessed One with thick milk-rice porridge & fresh ghee.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Although the references show around 96% vegetarian meals, it should be noted that this finding can give support to both sides on the veggie-omnivore debate:

Veggie: The Buddha ate mostly vegetarian, the First Precept is not to kill or cause to kill and based on the high number of vegetarian meals might show that he preferred and approved of such meals.

Omnivore: The fact that the Buddha even ate one meal (or more) that contained meat, even if it were only one, shows that vegetarianism is not required. Vegetarians consider a person who eats meat even occasionally to be omnivores, not vegetarian.

User avatar
Will
Posts: 1031
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:26 pm
Location: So Cal

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Will » Tue Aug 15, 2017 2:44 am

Surely this has been cited in this long thread...
The Buddha Kassapa: Taking life, beating, wounding, binding, stealing, lying, deceiving, worthless knowledge, adultery; this is stench. Not the eating of meat.
Excerpt From: Saddhatissa, H. The Sutta-Nipata: A New Translation from the Pali Canon.

Since He was an ancient Buddha (not ours) one might quibble about His advice. But since it just prioritizing ethics and inner qualities over diet, that still holds true today.

Yet veggie fanatics have a good point, but it is only a single point, not the heart of the Dhamma.
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- AN 10.1

chownah
Posts: 7575
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by chownah » Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:01 am

David N. Snyder wrote:I've updated that page to include some more references I found from the Vimanavatthu.
https://dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Diet_of_Buddha

Here is an example of one of the references, showing that the Buddha ate milk-rice porridge and fresh ghee with a link to the reference, available online:
Udana 4.3 wrote:Then the cowherd, understanding the Blessed One's acquiescence, got up from his seat, bowed down to the Blessed One and left, circling him to the right.

Then, after the night had passed, the cowherd — having prepared in his own home a great deal of thick milk-rice porridge & fresh ghee — announced the time of the meal to the Blessed One: "It's time, lord. The meal is ready."

So the Blessed One early in the morning adjusted his under robe and — carrying his bowl & robes — went together with the community of monks to the cowherd's home. On arrival, he sat down on a seat laid out. The cowherd, with his own hand, served & satisfied the community of monks headed by the Blessed One with thick milk-rice porridge & fresh ghee.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Thanks for bringing this account of the buddha's meal. I think it is worth noting that this particular meal was had at the home of a cowherd....and that the cowherd's meal satisfied the community of monks. I doubt that a cowherd would have the resources to be able to satisfy a community of monks with a meal containing meat....but maybe I am wrong.

Also, note that the meal contained milk which some vegetarians would not allow as being truly vegetarian.....of course not all vegetarians make that distinction.
chownah

chownah
Posts: 7575
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by chownah » Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:07 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
chownah wrote: Edit: On second thought, I picked one of the items in the link and can't find the reference. The reference is "Choice rice with curry (Majjhima Nikaya II. 7)". I have not been able to find it.....can you help with that?
chownah
When roman numerals are used it is the PTS system of referencing (volume number, page number). Eventually I need to update those to the modern way of Sutta > passage number.

Actually, I've found a few more vegetarian meal references. I need to update the page to include those too.
Can you show me how to find that reference and others in that system?
chownah

Santi253
Posts: 982
Joined: Thu May 11, 2017 4:37 am
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Santi253 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:19 pm

David N. Snyder wrote: Omnivore: The fact that the Buddha even ate one meal (or more) that contained meat, even if it were only one, shows that vegetarianism is not required. Vegetarians consider a person who eats meat even occasionally to be omnivores, not vegetarian.
Is it worth mentioning that the Buddha didn't require vegetarianism because his monk disciples relied on alms for food? In Mahayana Buddhism, monks are usually vegetarian because they don't rely on alms for food.
Non-violence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. - Mahatma Gandhi

http://www.matthewsatori.tumblr.com

Caodemarte
Posts: 831
Joined: Fri May 01, 2015 3:21 pm

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Caodemarte » Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:30 pm

Santi253 wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote: Omnivore: The fact that the Buddha even ate one meal (or more) that contained meat, even if it were only one, shows that vegetarianism is not required. Vegetarians consider a person who eats meat even occasionally to be omnivores, not vegetarian.
Is it worth mentioning that the Buddha didn't require vegetarianism because his monk disciples relied on alms for food? In Mahayana Buddhism, monks are usually vegetarian because they don't rely on alms for food.
in Mahayana Buddhism Tibetan monks eat meat and East Asia monks others eat a primarily vegetarian diet for other reasons, including reasons based on the Vinaya and for humanitarian /moral reasons.

Santi253
Posts: 982
Joined: Thu May 11, 2017 4:37 am
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Santi253 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:36 pm

Caodemarte wrote: in Mahayana Buddhism Tibetan monks eat meat...
In a climate where vegetables weren't readily available, vegetarianism would have been an unfair expectation:
In Tibet, where vegetables have been historically very scarce, and the adopted vinaya was the Nikaya Sarvāstivāda, vegetarianism is very rare, although the Dalai Lama, the Karmapa, and other esteemed lamas invite their audiences to adopt vegetarianism whenever they can. Chatral Rinpoche in particular stated that anyone who wished to be his student must be vegetarian. Contradictory to the compassionate Tibetan Buddhist traditions in which a sanctity of life, both human and animal, is cherished, meat is often consumed as a form of sustenance due to lack of vegetation readily available.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_vegetarianism
Non-violence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. - Mahatma Gandhi

http://www.matthewsatori.tumblr.com

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 11876
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, Estados Unidos de América
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by DNS » Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:46 pm

chownah wrote: Can you show me how to find that reference and others in that system?
chownah
The PTS (Pali Text Society) way of numbering is volume number (Roman numerals) > page number. I prefer the modern way of Nikaya > Sutta name, number > passage number within that sutta. I have the complete PTS hard copy books of the Pali Canon as well as the modern translators, Bhikkhu Bodhi, Walshe, et al. Many of the references are in Sutta passages not found online yet. You can see the PTS and modern equivalents numbering system over at Sutta Central and AccessToInsight.

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 11876
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, Estados Unidos de América
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by DNS » Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:56 pm

Santi253 wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote: Omnivore: The fact that the Buddha even ate one meal (or more) that contained meat, even if it were only one, shows that vegetarianism is not required. Vegetarians consider a person who eats meat even occasionally to be omnivores, not vegetarian.
Is it worth mentioning that the Buddha didn't require vegetarianism because his monk disciples relied on alms for food? In Mahayana Buddhism, monks are usually vegetarian because they don't rely on alms for food.
Yes, that is a good counter-point in favor of the vegetarian position. Buddhists eat meat, but don't do the killing, so then the next question arises from that is what would happen if the whole world were Buddhist? No one would be doing the animal slaughtering, so everyone would at least be de facto vegetarians; lay people and then monks too as they receive alms from the lay people.

Santi253
Posts: 982
Joined: Thu May 11, 2017 4:37 am
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Santi253 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:01 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
Santi253 wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote: Omnivore: The fact that the Buddha even ate one meal (or more) that contained meat, even if it were only one, shows that vegetarianism is not required. Vegetarians consider a person who eats meat even occasionally to be omnivores, not vegetarian.
Is it worth mentioning that the Buddha didn't require vegetarianism because his monk disciples relied on alms for food? In Mahayana Buddhism, monks are usually vegetarian because they don't rely on alms for food.
Yes, that is a good counter-point in favor of the vegetarian position. Buddhists eat meat, but don't do the killing, so then the next question arises from that is what would happen if the whole world were Buddhist? No one would be doing the animal slaughtering, so everyone would at least be de facto vegetarians; lay people and then monks too as they receive alms from the lay people.
At least in the United States, people often get really defensive when meat-eating is questioned. I think it's partly because of how judgmental vegans and vegetarians can seem sometimes. I used to be very defensive about my meat-eating habits.
Non-violence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. - Mahatma Gandhi

http://www.matthewsatori.tumblr.com

Disciple
Posts: 365
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:13 pm

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Disciple » Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:33 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
Santi253 wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote: Omnivore: The fact that the Buddha even ate one meal (or more) that contained meat, even if it were only one, shows that vegetarianism is not required. Vegetarians consider a person who eats meat even occasionally to be omnivores, not vegetarian.
Is it worth mentioning that the Buddha didn't require vegetarianism because his monk disciples relied on alms for food? In Mahayana Buddhism, monks are usually vegetarian because they don't rely on alms for food.
Yes, that is a good counter-point in favor of the vegetarian position. Buddhists eat meat, but don't do the killing, so then the next question arises from that is what would happen if the whole world were Buddhist? No one would be doing the animal slaughtering, so everyone would at least be de facto vegetarians; lay people and then monks too as they receive alms from the lay people.
Japanese Buddhists probably wouldn't stop slaughtering.

Santi253
Posts: 982
Joined: Thu May 11, 2017 4:37 am
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Santi253 » Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:36 am

Disciple wrote: Japanese Buddhists probably wouldn't stop slaughtering.
That depends on which sect:
Shojin ryori is the traditional dining style of Buddhist monks in Japan, and grew widespread in popularity with the spread of Zen Buddhism in the 13th century. As the cuisine is made without meat, fish or other animal products, it can be enjoyed by vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
https://savorjapan.com/column/cuisine/s ... t-cuisine/
Also, the Okinawans, who have one of the highest life expediencies in the world, are almost vegetarian in their traditional diet.
Non-violence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. - Mahatma Gandhi

http://www.matthewsatori.tumblr.com

Disciple
Posts: 365
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:13 pm

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Disciple » Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:42 am

Santi253 wrote:
Disciple wrote: Japanese Buddhists probably wouldn't stop slaughtering.
That depends on which sect. Also, the Okinawans, who have one of the highest life expediencies in the world, are almost vegetarian in their traditional diet.
keyword "almost"

Which sects are you talking about that follow a vegetarian diet?

Santi253
Posts: 982
Joined: Thu May 11, 2017 4:37 am
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Santi253 » Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:44 am

Disciple wrote: Which sects are you talking about that follow a vegetarian diet?
Santi253 wrote:
Shojin ryori is the traditional dining style of Buddhist monks in Japan, and grew widespread in popularity with the spread of Zen Buddhism in the 13th century. As the cuisine is made without meat, fish or other animal products, it can be enjoyed by vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
https://savorjapan.com/column/cuisine/s ... t-cuisine/
Non-violence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. - Mahatma Gandhi

http://www.matthewsatori.tumblr.com

Disciple
Posts: 365
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:13 pm

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Disciple » Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:48 am

Santi253 wrote:
Disciple wrote: Which sects are you talking about that follow a vegetarian diet?
Santi253 wrote:
Shojin ryori is the traditional dining style of Buddhist monks in Japan, and grew widespread in popularity with the spread of Zen Buddhism in the 13th century. As the cuisine is made without meat, fish or other animal products, it can be enjoyed by vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
https://savorjapan.com/column/cuisine/s ... t-cuisine/
Looks delicious but nobody follows a strict vegetarian diet except for a few zennies.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 67 guests