the great vegetarian debate

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
D1W1
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Re: The "three rules" of eating meat

Post by D1W1 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:00 am

Dhammanando wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:38 am
Volo wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 2:41 am
Buddha says to Jīvaka (lay person):
MN 55 wrote:Jīvaka, I say that there are three instances in which meat should not be eaten: when it is seen, heard, or suspected [that the living being has been slaughtered for oneself]. I say that meat should not be eaten in these three instances. I say that there are three instances in which meat may be eaten: when it is not seen, not heard, and not suspected [that the living being has been slaughtered for oneself]. I say that meat may be eaten in these three instances.
He doesn't specify that this apples only for monks.
Nor does the text of the sutta specify the words in brackets: that the living being has been slaughtered for oneself.

It just says "when it is seen, heard or suspected," but without specifying what it is that one might see, hear or suspect. So when translators add some explanation in brackets they are either basing this on the commentary or just giving their own opinion. The commentary to the sutta does in fact limit the case to bhikkhus:
Diṭṭhādīsu 'diṭṭhaṃ' nāma bhikkhūnaṃ atthāya migamacche vadhitvā gayhamānaṃ diṭṭhaṃ.
I.B. Horner translates in accordance with the commentary:
I, Jīvaka, say that in three cases meat may not be used: if it is seen, heard, suspected (to have been killed on purpose for a monk).
The translator that you quote above (Bhikkhu Bodhi) half follows the commentary but has either intentionally or inadvertently left out the stipulation that limits the case to bhikkhus.
Without the commentary, do you think it applies to lay people as well? If yes, how it can be considered the violation of the first precept when in fact in order to break the first precept, there has to be a living being, awareness it's a living being, intention to kill, method to kill and the death of a living being?

D1W1
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Re: The "three rules" of eating meat

Post by D1W1 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:09 am

chownah wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:04 am

The entire sutta (mn55) is about the buddha and monks eating meat. The buddha is talking to jivaka about jivaka's question:
“Sir, I have heard this: ‘They slaughter living creatures specially for the ascetic Gotama. The ascetic Gotama knowingly eats meat prepared on purpose for him: this is a deed he caused.’ I trust that those who say this repeat what the Buddha has said, and do not misrepresent him with an untruth? Is their explanation in line with the teaching? Are there any legitimate grounds for rebuke and criticism?”
.....and the buddha goes on to explain about monks eating meat.....it is all about mendicant's and disciple's and the buddha's eating of meat.

Anyone can go and read it here:https://suttacentral.net/mn55/en/sujato
chownah
There should be a reason of the controversy, if lay followers are told to follow the "three fules" what is the base of the advice?

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Dhammanando
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Re: The "three rules" of eating meat

Post by Dhammanando » Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:35 am

D1W1 wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:00 am
Without the commentary, do you think it applies to lay people as well?
No. In the Vinaya Piṭaka the prohibition against accepting unallowable meat is a rule for monastics, not householders. As for the Jīvaka Sutta, the context also implies that it is concerned with the practice of monastics; it has to do with those whose nutrition depends on accepting others' offerings.
D1W1 wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:00 am
If yes, how it can be considered the violation of the first precept
It's not considered to be a violation of the first precept. In the Vinaya the consumption of unallowable meat was only made a misdemeanour (dukkaṭa). If it amounted to intentionally killing living beings then it would have been included in the class of offences entailing expiation (pācittiya) along with the prohibitions against killing animals, throwing away water containing living beings, etc.
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

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Dhammanando
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Re: The "three rules" of eating meat

Post by Dhammanando » Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:39 am

Volo wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:23 am
My post was more for the people who do not accept commentaries.
Your post is dependent on a translation that is dependent on a commentary. The quoted translation differs from the earlier translation of Horner only in that the translator has followed the commentary partly rather than entirely.

If we were to entirely reject what the commentary has to say on this matter then we should be wholly in the dark as to what “seen, heard or suspected” might mean. You wouldn't be able to claim any more authority for your view than: “My personal hunch is that the phrase ‘seen, heard or suspected’ probably means ‘blah, blah, blah...’”
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

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Dhammanando
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Re: The "three rules" of eating meat

Post by Dhammanando » Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:04 am

Volo wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:23 am
If you accept commentaries and Abhidhamma, I think you would agree that doing actions which inevitably case an animal to be killed is a bad kamma, and should be avoided by both lay and monastics.
If we accept the commentaries then we will accept the Vinaya Atthakathā's account of what intention means in relation to killing living beings. This will mean making a distinction between (1) the performance of an act that one knows is likely to lead to a being's death, and where this death is the desired outcome, and (2) the performance of the same act and with the same foresight, but where the being's death is not desired or intended.

To quote from Ajahn Thanissaro's Buddhist Monastic Code:
Intention, in the Vibhaṅga, is described as “having willed, having made the decision knowingly and consciously”—the same phrase used to define intention under Pr 3. The Commentary to this rule refers back to the Commentary to that rule, where having willed means having willed, having planned, with a murderous intention. Having made the decision means “having summoned up a reckless mind-state, ‘crushing’ through the power of an attack.” Knowingly means knowing that, “This is a living being.” Consciously means being aware that one’s action is depriving the animal of life.

All of this indicates that this factor is fulfilled only when one acts on a clear and consciously made decision to deprive the animal of life. Thus, for example, if one is sweeping a walk, trying carefully not to kill any insects, and yet some ants happen to die, one does not commit an offense even if one knew that there was the possibility that some might die, because one’s purpose in acting was not to cause their death.
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

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Volo
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Re: The "three rules" of eating meat

Post by Volo » Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:28 am

Dhammanando wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:04 am
If we accept the commentaries then we will accept the Vinaya Atthakathā's account of what intention means in relation to killing living beings.
I haven't said it is kamma of killing, I said it is a bad kamma and should be avoided.

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Dhammanando
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Re: The "three rules" of eating meat

Post by Dhammanando » Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:43 am

Volo wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:28 am
I haven't said it is kamma of killing, I said it is a bad kamma and should be avoided.
What kind of bad kamma would it be?
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

budo
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Re: The "three rules" of eating meat

Post by budo » Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:04 am

D1W1 wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 6:38 am
budo wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:28 am
Even for a wedding party it's not specifically slaughtered for you, unless you're living in a 2nd world country.

Fyi, the average beef you eat has already been dry or wet aged for months otherwise it would be extremely hard to eat.

The freshest animal life is usually seafood as it starts to stink fast, but even that is kept on ice.

So unless you're living in a 2nd world country, odds are nothing is killed for you specifically.
I think it's irrelevant to think whether you live in 4th or 5th country, as long as the demand is spiking high the supply needs to be adjusted as well.
budo wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:04 pm


The purpose of Buddhism isn't to make the world a better place (that's impossible), it's to escape it. I remember reading a sutta about views, something along the lines of if everyone was perfect there would be no Buddha nor Dhamma, but such a view is wrong view because it's not possible. The very existence of samsara rests on imperfection and ignorance, so trying to make the world a better place is a useless endeavour.

The rise of a Buddha is basically a fire emergency escape for those who are desperate enough to seek it. Those animals being slaughtered currently do not have the window of opportunity to escape, and one could argue that their slaughtering can result in a human rebirth that would allow them to escape (but not for the slaughterer of course).
It's much easier to make this (human) world a worse place to live, it's much more possible. Btw, is the nuclear disaster in Japan has already been overcome?
If the Buddha cared about economic implications he wouldn't have eaten meat. Also I wrote 2nd world, do you know what that means?

The world will always be a bad place, there's literally young adults being kidnapped in china for their organs, and it's no conspiracy. There's venezualans starving to death and murdering people in neighbhoring countries because they're desperate for survival and money. Average brazilians being murdered on the street because someone wants their cellphone.

If you want to see how terrible the world is, just spend an hour on liveleak everyday. Focusing on the economic implications of eating meat is laughable in comparison.

Trying to fix the world is a useless endeavour unless you are a king or a president or a person of influence, then maybe you can delay some genocides for a little bit, but rest assured there will be more nuclear attacks in the future, or at least chemical attacks which happened a few months ago.

People are delusional, how can you make the world permanently a better place if the reason for birth is ignorance?

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Volo
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Re: The "three rules" of eating meat

Post by Volo » Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:32 am

Dhammanando wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:43 am
What kind of bad kamma would it be?
I'm not sure. If we adopt Vinaya approach of Pr3, then:
1) Object: a living being
2) Intention: knowingly, consciously, deliberately, and purposefully wanting to cause that being’s death.
3) Perception: perceiving it is a living being.
4) Effort: whatever one does with the purpose of causing that being to die.
5) Result: The life-faculty of the being is cut as the result of one’s act.
I would say it is close to killing, but not all factors are fulfilled, or the factor of intention is fulfilled partly. It would be something similar to killing motivated by greed. Depending on impact of each factor (as well as some other) the kamma would be different. But it is still a bad kamma, may be not strong enough to cause rebirth in a bad destination (as real killing can), but in my opinion it still be quite severe one.

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Re: The "three rules" of eating meat

Post by budo » Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:00 am

Volo wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:32 am
Dhammanando wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:43 am
What kind of bad kamma would it be?
I'm not sure. If we adopt Vinaya approach of Pr3, then:
1) Object: a living being
2) Intention: knowingly, consciously, deliberately, and purposefully wanting to cause that being’s death.
3) Perception: perceiving it is a living being.
4) Effort: whatever one does with the purpose of causing that being to die.
5) Result: The life-faculty of the being is cut as the result of one’s act.
I would say it is close to killing, but not all factors are fulfilled, or the factor of intention is fulfilled partly. It would be something similar to killing motivated by greed. Depending on impact of each factor (as well as some other) the kamma would be different. But it is still a bad kamma, may be not strong enough to cause rebirth in a bad destination (as real killing can), but in my opinion it still be quite severe one.
Not all living beings are the same. Giving to a noble one generates more merit than giving to a wordling, and giving to a wordling generates more merit than giving to an animal.

You are ignoring the hierarchy. Otherwise a mosquito is no different than a person.

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robertk
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Re: The "three rules" of eating meat

Post by robertk » Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:40 am

Volo wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:28 am
Dhammanando wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:04 am
If we accept the commentaries then we will accept the Vinaya Atthakathā's account of what intention means in relation to killing living beings.
I haven't said it is kamma of killing, I said it is a bad kamma and should be avoided.
What are we discussing now. Is it giving meat at a wedding ?

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Volo
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Re: The "three rules" of eating meat

Post by Volo » Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:46 am

robertk wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:40 am
What are we discussing now. Is it giving meat at a wedding ?
I think so. I was referring to a situation, when somebody orders a meat dish knowing that in order to prepare this particular dish an animal will be slaughtered.

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Volo
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Re: The "three rules" of eating meat

Post by Volo » Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:48 am

budo wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:00 am
Not all living beings are the same. Giving to a noble one generates more merit than giving to a wordling, and giving to a wordling generates more merit than giving to an animal.

You are ignoring the hierarchy. Otherwise a mosquito is no different than a person.
I said, that some other factors play role as well. Although I'm not aware of any dish made from mosquito.

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robertk
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Re: The "three rules" of eating meat

Post by robertk » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:01 am

Volo wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:46 am
robertk wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:40 am
What are we discussing now. Is it giving meat at a wedding ?
I think so. I was referring to a situation, when somebody orders a meat dish knowing that in order to prepare this particular dish an animal will be slaughtered.
At most weddings the meat would be bought at a supermarket and thus no question of any animal being slaughtered for it.

The case where it could be bad kamma is if the purchaser asks for freshly slaughtered meat and somehow arranges for the farmer to make a kill for him: I think this could occur if the buyer is "health conscious" and prepared to pay the high costs associated with this special meat.

It would also be somewhat bad kamma - the type with wrong view- if someone promtes the idea that buddhists should be vegetarian etc, and aasks people to avoid meat at a wedding with this view I think.

budo
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Re: The "three rules" of eating meat

Post by budo » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:09 am

Volo wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:48 am
budo wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:00 am
Not all living beings are the same. Giving to a noble one generates more merit than giving to a wordling, and giving to a wordling generates more merit than giving to an animal.

You are ignoring the hierarchy. Otherwise a mosquito is no different than a person.
I said, that some other factors play role as well. Although I'm not aware of any dish made from mosquito.
You wrote
"But it is still a bad kamma, may be not strong enough to cause rebirth in a bad destination (as real killing can), but in my opinion it still be quite severe one"
but this is false, because you left out 2 very important variables, the being committing the action and the being receiving the action. The point of the mosquito was to show you that killing a mosquito (for eating or whatever purpose) is not "a quite severe" bad kamma as you claimed, and not all beings are the same.

Two suttas you should read:
"Now, a trifling evil deed done by what sort of individual takes him to hell? There is the case where a certain individual is undeveloped in [contemplating] the body, undeveloped in virtue, undeveloped in mind, undeveloped in discernment: restricted, small-hearted, dwelling with suffering. A trifling evil deed done by this sort of individual takes him to hell.

"Now, a trifling evil deed done by what sort of individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment? There is the case where a certain individual is developed in [contemplating] the body, developed in virtue, developed in mind, developed in discernment: unrestricted, large-hearted, dwelling with the immeasurable.[1] A trifling evil deed done by this sort of individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment.

"Suppose that a man were to drop a salt crystal into a small amount of water in a cup. What do you think? Would the water in the cup become salty because of the salt crystal, and unfit to drink?"

"Yes, lord. Why is that? There being only a small amount of water in the cup, it would become salty because of the salt crystal, and unfit to drink."

"Now suppose that a man were to drop a salt crystal into the River Ganges. What do you think? Would the water in the River Ganges become salty because of the salt crystal, and unfit to drink?"

"No, lord. Why is that? There being a great mass of water in the River Ganges, it would not become salty because of the salt crystal or unfit to drink."

"In the same way, there is the case where a trifling evil deed done by one individual [the first] takes him to hell; and there is the case where the very same sort of trifling deed done by the other individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment.
- AN 3.99

"Once, householder, there was a brahman named Velāma. And this was the nature of the gift, the great gift, he gave: He gave 84,000 gold trays filled with silver, 84,000 silver trays filled with gold, 84,000 copper trays filled with gems. He gave 84,000 elephants with gold ornaments, gold banners, covered with nets of gold thread. He gave 84,000 chariots spread with lion skins, tiger skins, leopard skins, saffron-colored blankets, with gold ornaments, gold banners, covered with nets of gold thread. He gave 84,000 milk cows with tethers of fine jute and copper milk pails. He gave 84,000 maidens adorned with jeweled earrings. He gave 84,000 couches spread with long-fleeced coverlets, white wool coverlets, embroidered coverlets, rugs of kadali-deer hide, each with a canopy above & red cushions on either side. He gave 84,000 lengths of cloth — of finest linen, of finest cotton, of finest silk.[2] To say nothing of the food & drink, staple & non-staple food, lotions & beddings: They flowed, as it were, like rivers.

"Now, householder, if the thought should occur to you, 'Perhaps it was someone else who at that time was Velāma the brahman, who gave that gift, that great gift,' that's not how it should be seen. I was Velāma the brahman at that time. I gave that gift, that great gift. But in that gift there was no one worthy of offerings; no one purified that gift.

"If one were to feed one person consummate in view, that would be more fruitful than the gift, the great gift, that Velāma the brahman gave.

"If one were to feed one once-returner, that would be more fruitful than the gift, the great gift, that Velāma the brahman gave, and if [in addition to that] one were to feed one person consummate in view, and to feed 100 people consummate in view.

"If one were to feed one non-returner, that would be more fruitful than... if one were to feed 100 once-returners.

"If one were to feed one arahant, that would be more fruitful than... if one were to feed 100 non-returners.
-AN 9.20

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