the great vegetarian debate

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6625
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Cittasanto » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:49 pm

marc108 wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:Hi Marc
marc108 wrote:The Buddha clearly didnt ban eating meat directly, probably because his monks would have starved to death or placed undue burden on their lay supporters, but his basic 'code of conduct', re: the precept & the 8 fold path doesn't allow for animals to be traded or slaughtered for food.
Yes there are legitimate reasons without taking rules designed for mendicants out of conduct.
i dont understand what you mean?
I marc,
if you read the last three pages monastic rules are being used out of context, and unfortunately this actually twists and distorts the rule, even though as you point out there are perfectly sound reasons and arguments without relying upon monastic specific rules.

and just noticed my spelling error :)
conduct should be context and has been changed above
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

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6625
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Cittasanto » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:57 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:We all know that this is true. Placing dead flesh in your mouth is definitely allowable in Buddhism.
I wasn't talking about eating meat there thanks
LonesomeYogurt wrote:But what you have failed to answer is the larger question: If the practice of eating meat causes suffering in both humans and animals, and we as Buddhists know that this is the case, can we have omnivorous diets while still maintaining our compassion and good will towards all beings?
you have obviously replied to something without reading it fully.
the only actual argument that could be supported within Buddhism is for a flexitarian type diet. eating vegetarian food when of your own design (bought/sought and made oneself) and eating meat when the food is offered such as as a guest at someone's home, so you are not inconveniencing them with special dietary needs not medically needed. this neither adopts the monastic rules nor goes against wrong livelihood; but then again eating a meat based diet does not specifically go against wrong livelihood as you are not making your living through that means, although if one is basing their argument on ahimsa - harmlessness (put down the stick and sword) the supply and demand argument is a valid one to make so long as it doesn't dictate onto others which would render the effacement regarding views (only this is correct) useless.
The maintaining of compassion is not dictated by diet and is not compromised by eating meat, if someone offers another food, and they are grateful for the work and sacrifice & reflective of the suffering of all beings involved that made the meal and for them to allay their hunger possible, then it is fine, there are other sources of meat than the abattoir BTW.
LonesomeYogurt wrote:Everyone agrees you can eat meat; I'm asking whether or not you should.
[/quote][/quote]
You don't actually know my eating habits, so best not guess!
I am pointing out it is best not to use rules of which there is only a cursory knowledge of because there are several thing which should be bore in mind regarding the rules which obviously are not being considered, such as the actual reasons for laying down rules, so what some have failed to notice is that the rules are not only a rule line as found in the patimokkha matika!
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

User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by LonesomeYogurt » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:46 pm

Cittasanto wrote:you have obviously replied to something without reading it fully.
I'm not asking, "Is it neat and nice to be a vegetarian?" I'm asking if you even can continue to eat meat while developing compassion and mindfulness! The discussion we're having here is whether or not vegetarianism is just nice, or whether it's an important and necessary step for the modern Buddhist.
The maintaining of compassion is not dictated by diet and is not compromised by eating meat, if someone offers another food, and they are grateful for the work and sacrifice & reflective of the suffering of all beings involved that made the meal and for them to allay their hunger possible, then it is fine, there are other sources of meat than the abattoir BTW.
Would it be appropriate to purchase fruits picked by slaves or diamonds harvested by children? Clearly such behaviors are permissible under a basic Buddhist ethical system, but can you really claim to be cultivating a limitless heart for all beings while making a basic choice that leads invariably to suffering, especially when an easy alternative with essentially no drawbacks exists?
You don't actually know my eating habits, so best not guess!
I don't mean you personally, just the general you.
I am pointing out it is best not to use rules of which there is only a cursory knowledge of because there are several thing which should be bore in mind regarding the rules which obviously are not being considered, such as the actual reasons for laying down rules, so what some have failed to notice is that the rules are not only a rule line as found in the patimokkha matika!
I agree there.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6625
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Cittasanto » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:04 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:you have obviously replied to something without reading it fully.
I'm not asking, "Is it neat and nice to be a vegetarian?" I'm asking if you even can continue to eat meat while developing compassion and mindfulness! The discussion we're having here is whether or not vegetarianism is just nice, or whether it's an important and necessary step for the modern Buddhist.
and this was answered there, and further clarified - as you quote next - although don't forget equipoise!
The maintaining of compassion is not dictated by diet and is not compromised by eating meat, if someone offers another food, and they are grateful for the work and sacrifice & reflective of the suffering of all beings involved that made the meal and for them to allay their hunger possible, then it is fine, there are other sources of meat than the abattoir BTW.
Would it be appropriate to purchase fruits picked by slaves or diamonds harvested by children? Clearly such behaviors are permissible under a basic Buddhist ethical system, but can you really claim to be cultivating a limitless heart for all beings while making a basic choice that leads invariably to suffering, especially when an easy alternative with essentially no drawbacks exists?
The basic Buddhist Ethical system is timeless, any more is a luxury not affordable at all times & places, for all people, there is the ideal and then the reality of situations!
take the case of the Inuit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inuit_diet" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
or the "manic depressive" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0NjS-_i ... ure=relmfu" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; from 33 mins.
famine and lack of resources on an individual scale can still happen today, and there are those who scavenge bins for food and other resources (sometimes as a lifestyle choice sometimes not) and an individuals resources are needed to be considered on an individual basis, otherwise there is the risk of moralizing.
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

Dinsdale
Posts: 5859
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Andromeda looks nice

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Dinsdale » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:28 am

Cittasanto wrote:
porpoise wrote: The intention of the 3-fold rule is that we should not cause another life to be taken. In the example above it seems to me that both options result in another turkey being killed.
hI Porpoise,
please read what else I have said on the matter of that rule.

it is not a rule for lay people, and is layed down for mendicants for a reason
OK, so would these verses from the Dhammapada have more general application? Note the section about not causing another to kill.

129. All tremble at violence; all fear death. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.
130. All tremble at violence; life is dear to all. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

User avatar
marc108
Posts: 464
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:10 pm

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by marc108 » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:36 pm

Cittasanto wrote: if you read the last three pages monastic rules are being used out of context, and unfortunately this actually twists and distorts the rule, even though as you point out there are perfectly sound reasons and arguments without relying upon monastic specific rules.

and just noticed my spelling error :)
conduct should be context and has been changed above
ah I see. thanks for clarifying :)
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6625
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Cittasanto » Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:27 pm

porpoise wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
porpoise wrote: The intention of the 3-fold rule is that we should not cause another life to be taken. In the example above it seems to me that both options result in another turkey being killed.
hI Porpoise,
please read what else I have said on the matter of that rule.

it is not a rule for lay people, and is layed down for mendicants for a reason
OK, so would these verses from the Dhammapada have more general application? Note the section about not causing another to kill.

129. All tremble at violence; all fear death. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.
130. All tremble at violence; life is dear to all. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.
yes these would, However, please understand the rule you are trying to use is saying something else to these verses; and what these verses are talking about are within the pārājika 3 & pācittiyā 61 not the Mahavagga passage or context you are trying to put it into.
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

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6625
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Cittasanto » Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:32 pm

marc108 wrote:
Cittasanto wrote: if you read the last three pages monastic rules are being used out of context, and unfortunately this actually twists and distorts the rule, even though as you point out there are perfectly sound reasons and arguments without relying upon monastic specific rules.

and just noticed my spelling error :)
conduct should be context and has been changed above
ah I see. thanks for clarifying :)
no problem :)
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

Dinsdale
Posts: 5859
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Andromeda looks nice

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Dinsdale » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:17 am

Cittasanto wrote:
porpoise wrote: OK, so would these verses from the Dhammapada have more general application? Note the section about not causing another to kill.

129. All tremble at violence; all fear death. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.
130. All tremble at violence; life is dear to all. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.

yes these would, However, please understand the rule you are trying to use is saying something else to these verses; and what these verses are talking about are within the pārājika 3 & pācittiyā 61 not the Mahavagga passage or context you are trying to put it into.
Sorry but you've lost me - are you saying these Dhammapada verses don't have general application?
Buddha save me from new-agers!

User avatar
Ron-The-Elder
Posts: 1887
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:42 pm
Location: Concord, New Hampshire, U.S.A.

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:33 pm

porpoise wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
porpoise wrote: The intention of the 3-fold rule is that we should not cause another life to be taken. In the example above it seems to me that both options result in another turkey being killed.
hI Porpoise,
please read what else I have said on the matter of that rule.

it is not a rule for lay people, and is layed down for mendicants for a reason
OK, so would these verses from the Dhammapada have more general application? Note the section about not causing another to kill.

129. All tremble at violence; all fear death. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.
130. All tremble at violence; life is dear to all. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.
This is an another example of how in some Suttas all are instructed not to kill, but for the sake of some reasoning, but in the Vinaya the act of killing for food not prepared for the monks specifically, so as to not offend the feelings of hosts during the alms rounds, or when in the company of supporters during various events to which a monk is invited it is OK to eat meat. Inconsistent and just a little suspicious to say the least. One has to ask the question: " Did Buddha teach non-violence in all things, or did he not?" Did he mean what he said, when he stated that "..acts of violence lead only to more violence or did he not?"

Another example of Buddha's reported position regarding non-violence, one most memorable to me, is found in The Simile of The Saw, where Buddha states that it is better to have one's limbs removed than to commit an act of violence in retribution.
"Monks, even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled saw, he among you who let his heart get angered even at that would not be doing my bidding. Even then you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading these people with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with them, we will keep pervading the all-encompassing world with an awareness imbued with good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.' That's how you should train yourselves.
Then we must ask ourselves would Buddha approve of what goes on in the slaughter houses of the world?,when he spoke ? source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Still another seeming confusion can be found in a Jataka Tales story for children, where Buddha, in a previous life as a hare or rabbit came upon a mother tiger and her cubs. The mother was apparently injured according to one version I have heard, and because of loss of vigor could not feed her cubs. Understanding the plight of the tiger family this rabbit, through compassion and loving-kindness, donated his body in the ultimate sacrifice to provide the starving family with a meal. Now, does this mean that Buddha is advising us to cut off an arm, cook it and feed the starving masses? No! What it means (to me) is that the general principle being taught by Buddha is to treat others (all others) with compassion and loving-kindness, no matter what it takes if we have the resources that would be helpful to others in need of our services, and to never "intentionally"cause harm to other living creatures where and when we have a choice. Monks eating what is offered by village families out of the kindness and compassion of their hearts to monks does not constitute an intentional harmful act on the parts of the monk. However, should a monk realize that the family is cooking extra meat "just for him", then it is his obligation to politely explain that he is not allowed to do so and why.

This is the message that I take from these stories and my understanding of The Vinaya rule.

By logical reasoning, Lay persons must think along the same lines to avoid the consequences of their kamma ( intentional actions) when they make food choices before purchasing, understanding that what they choose to buy supports the actions of the supplier. Illegal Drug buyers are part of the causal chain of events, which in turn leads drug suppliers to kill each other to compete for illegal drug user business. Just so, meat buyers are a part of the causal chain which leads to butchery of living beings, and just so, vegetarian buyers are part of the causal chain which leads to mass planting and harvesting in agriculture. Question is: Which route causes "less suffering" and "least harm"? :anjali: Ron
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.

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6625
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Cittasanto » Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:34 pm

porpoise wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
porpoise wrote: OK, so would these verses from the Dhammapada have more general application? Note the section about not causing another to kill.

129. All tremble at violence; all fear death. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.
130. All tremble at violence; life is dear to all. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.

yes these would, However, please understand the rule you are trying to use is saying something else to these verses; and what these verses are talking about are within the pārājika 3 & pācittiyā 61 not the Mahavagga passage or context you are trying to put it into.
Sorry but you've lost me - are you saying these Dhammapada verses don't have general application?
I am not saying that at all!
I agree these have general application, however, I move on to point out that that is not what the rule is saying.
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

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6625
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Cittasanto » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:57 pm

Hi Ron,
you do know the first precept of the five; eight; & ten precepts does not include harmlessness, only the deliberate removal of the life faculty from a living being is included?
harmlessness is not a precept for lay people, nor is it 100% binding and all encompassing, such as the example of the allowance for even mendicants, who do have precepts related to harmlessness, to defend themselves in order to escape violence.

The simile of the saw is not referring to physical forms of violence which may be necessary to defend oneself, rather to the mind state one has, which is clearly being described.
'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate.
the problem is the actual taking of life as a physical expression, not the use of violence when it is necessary, as in self defence, or demolishing a dwelling (found in another rule)! as the Buddha didn't say anywhere that eating was wrong, only the actual act of deliberately killing was.

here is part of the background story from the Mahavaga with the relevant lines highlighted
VinMv.6.31.12/13 Translated from the pali by T.W. Rhys Davids & Hermann Oldenberg wrote:12. And the Blessed One preached to Sîha, the general, in due course; that is to say, he talked about the merits obtained by almsgiving, about the duties of morality (&c., in the usual way; see, for instance, I, 8, 2, 3, down to:) dependent on nobody else for knowledge of the doctrine of the Teacher, he said to the Blessed One; 'Lord, may the Blessed One consent to take his meal with me to-morrow, together with the fraternity of Bhikkhus.'

The Blessed One expressed his consent by remaining silent. Then Sîha, the general, when he understood that the Blessed One had accepted his invitation, rose from his seat, respectfully saluted the Blessed One, and, passing round him with his right side towards him, went away.

And Sîha, the general, gave order to a certain man (among his subalterns, saying), 'Go, my friend, and see if there is any meat to be had 1: And when that night had elapsed, Sîha, the general, ordered excellent food (&c., as in chap. 23. 5, down to the end).

13. At that time a great number of Niganthas (running) through Vesâlî, from road to road and from cross-way to cross-way, with outstretched arms, cried: 'To-day Sîha, the general, has killed a great ox and has made a meal for the Samana Gotama; the Samana Gotama knowingly eats this meat of an animal killed for this very purpose, and has thus become virtually the author of that deed (of killing the animal)!' [my note here - this is a false accusation]

Then a certain man went to the place where Sîha, the general, was. Having approached him he said to Sîha, the general, into his ear: 'Please, Lord, have you noticed that a great number of Niganthas (running) through Vesâlî, &c.?'

'Do not mind it, my good Sir. Long since those venerable brethren are trying to discredit the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Samgha; and those venerable brethren do not become tired of telling false, idle, vain lies of the Blessed One. Not for our life would we ever intentionally kill a living being.'
Note
1 - Pavattamamsa, which Buddhaghosa explains, 'matassa mamsam.' Pavatta means 'already existing,' opposed to what is brought into existence for a special purpose, and pavattamamsa is said here, therefore, in order to exclude uddissa-kata-mamsa (meat of animals killed especially for them), which Bhikkhus were not allowed to partake of (see chap. 3,1. 14). Compare also pavattaphala-bhogana at Gâtaka I, p. 6.
You and anyone else can make out that eating & buying meat is wrong due to the supply & demand argument, or because of your own interpretation but it is pretty clear that the Buddha differentiated between harmlessness & violence; murder etc. just by looking at the effacements alone in MN8
MN8 wrote:(1) Others will be harmful; we shall not be harmful here — thus effacement can be done.
(2) Others will kill living beings; we shall abstain from killing living beings here — thus effacement can be done.
and these still place emphasis on what one intentionally does!
buying meat that has not been specifically killed for oneself is the same as getting road kill from the textual point of view, non-violence is ones own actions not those of another's, hence, the rule being laid down the way it was.

the jataka tales are not necessarily early or comparative, the ones in KN are considered early and do in some cases give an example using extremes, like the recluse who practised patience to the extent that he had his body cut up by a prince who thought he was a fake recluse trying to have his way with the princesses (who was born and became anna Kondanya in his last life), which goes against the Buddhas advice to look after ones body, remember these stories are not about an enlightened Buddha but previous unenlightened births, and sometimes are pointing something out which is not the only thing one can get from the story, and stories of this type can also be seen in the vinaya!

The one you mention comes in many forms and is sometimes attributed to a famous Tibetan monk, and is obviously of a later date, not being part of the KN stories. you can not view the vinaya in comparison to every piece of Buddhist Literature, particularly when its origin is doubtful.
http://www.ignca.nic.in/jatak025.htm wrote:Vyaghri-Jataka, Mathura
Once, the Bodhisatta was born in a respectable family of the scholars; and mastered several Shastras. Soon he was disillusioned with the worldly life and renounced the same for the spiritual uplift. In course of time, he proved his excellence in his pursuit and became the guru of several ascetics.

One day, when wandering in a forest along with his disciple Ajita, he saw from the top of a hill that a tigress was lurking to kill and eat her own cubs out of hunger. Moved by compassion he thought of sacrificing his own body to feed the tigress and save the cubs. So, he sent away his disciple in search of some food for the tigress lest he might prevent him from his sacrifice. No sooner than Ajita left the site, the Bodhisatta jumped from the precipice in front of the tigress and offered his body. The noise of the fall caught the attention of the hungry tigress, who in no time scooped over him and tore him off in pieces and feasted upon them with her cubs.

When Ajita returned and did not find his guru in the same place, he looked around and was surprised to see that the tigress was no longer looked hungry. Her cubs were also frolicking. But soon, he was shocked to detect the blood stained rags of his guru’s dress scattered there. So, he knew that his guru had offered his body to feed a hungry tigress and protected her young ones as an act of great charity. Now, he also knew why was he sent away by his guru.
do note in this rendering and the Tibetan one I am familiar with (where it is a famous (?) Tibetan monk not a previous birth) the tigress does not kill yet eats the meat.

The Buddha advocated a Middle Path, and using what is available and within ones means, not the nigantha attitude to Kamma, however The Buddha did see a fault in accepting what was deliberately sacrificed for them and thus prohibited the acceptance of such meat, not the acceptance of meat entirely, as it could be the only source of food someone has available to them, or someone who simply wants to give a gift who is not a follower of the Buddhas teachings.
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

Dinsdale
Posts: 5859
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Andromeda looks nice

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:15 am

Cittasanto wrote:
MN8 wrote:(1) Others will be harmful; we shall not be harmful here — thus effacement can be done.
(2) Others will kill living beings; we shall abstain from killing living beings here — thus effacement can be done.
Which demonstrates that the Buddha taught not harming as well as not killing.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

User avatar
robertk
Posts: 2821
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by robertk » Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:29 pm

Very clear again cittasanto, thanks.

User avatar
Ron-The-Elder
Posts: 1887
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:42 pm
Location: Concord, New Hampshire, U.S.A.

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:31 pm

Cittasanto wrote:Hi Ron,
you do know the first precept of the five; eight; & ten precepts does not include harmlessness, only the deliberate removal of the life faculty from a living being is included?
harmlessness is not a precept for lay people, nor is it 100% binding and all encompassing, such as the example of the allowance for even mendicants, who do have precepts related to harmlessness, to defend themselves in order to escape violence.

The simile of the saw is not referring to physical forms of violence which may be necessary to defend oneself, rather to the mind state one has, which is clearly being described.
'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate.
the problem is the actual taking of life as a physical expression, not the use of violence when it is necessary, as in self defence, or demolishing a dwelling (found in another rule)! as the Buddha didn't say anywhere that eating was wrong, only the actual act of deliberately killing was.

here is part of the background story from the Mahavaga with the relevant lines highlighted
VinMv.6.31.12/13 Translated from the pali by T.W. Rhys Davids & Hermann Oldenberg wrote:12. And the Blessed One preached to Sîha, the general, in due course; that is to say, he talked about the merits obtained by almsgiving, about the duties of morality (&c., in the usual way; see, for instance, I, 8, 2, 3, down to:) dependent on nobody else for knowledge of the doctrine of the Teacher, he said to the Blessed One; 'Lord, may the Blessed One consent to take his meal with me to-morrow, together with the fraternity of Bhikkhus.'

The Blessed One expressed his consent by remaining silent. Then Sîha, the general, when he understood that the Blessed One had accepted his invitation, rose from his seat, respectfully saluted the Blessed One, and, passing round him with his right side towards him, went away.

And Sîha, the general, gave order to a certain man (among his subalterns, saying), 'Go, my friend, and see if there is any meat to be had 1: And when that night had elapsed, Sîha, the general, ordered excellent food (&c., as in chap. 23. 5, down to the end).

13. At that time a great number of Niganthas (running) through Vesâlî, from road to road and from cross-way to cross-way, with outstretched arms, cried: 'To-day Sîha, the general, has killed a great ox and has made a meal for the Samana Gotama; the Samana Gotama knowingly eats this meat of an animal killed for this very purpose, and has thus become virtually the author of that deed (of killing the animal)!' [my note here - this is a false accusation]

Then a certain man went to the place where Sîha, the general, was. Having approached him he said to Sîha, the general, into his ear: 'Please, Lord, have you noticed that a great number of Niganthas (running) through Vesâlî, &c.?'

'Do not mind it, my good Sir. Long since those venerable brethren are trying to discredit the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Samgha; and those venerable brethren do not become tired of telling false, idle, vain lies of the Blessed One. Not for our life would we ever intentionally kill a living being.'
Note
1 - Pavattamamsa, which Buddhaghosa explains, 'matassa mamsam.' Pavatta means 'already existing,' opposed to what is brought into existence for a special purpose, and pavattamamsa is said here, therefore, in order to exclude uddissa-kata-mamsa (meat of animals killed especially for them), which Bhikkhus were not allowed to partake of (see chap. 3,1. 14). Compare also pavattaphala-bhogana at Gâtaka I, p. 6.
You and anyone else can make out that eating & buying meat is wrong due to the supply & demand argument, or because of your own interpretation but it is pretty clear that the Buddha differentiated between harmlessness & violence; murder etc. just by looking at the effacements alone in MN8
MN8 wrote:(1) Others will be harmful; we shall not be harmful here — thus effacement can be done.
(2) Others will kill living beings; we shall abstain from killing living beings here — thus effacement can be done.
and these still place emphasis on what one intentionally does!
buying meat that has not been specifically killed for oneself is the same as getting road kill from the textual point of view, non-violence is ones own actions not those of another's, hence, the rule being laid down the way it was.

the jataka tales are not necessarily early or comparative, the ones in KN are considered early and do in some cases give an example using extremes, like the recluse who practised patience to the extent that he had his body cut up by a prince who thought he was a fake recluse trying to have his way with the princesses (who was born and became anna Kondanya in his last life), which goes against the Buddhas advice to look after ones body, remember these stories are not about an enlightened Buddha but previous unenlightened births, and sometimes are pointing something out which is not the only thing one can get from the story, and stories of this type can also be seen in the vinaya!

The one you mention comes in many forms and is sometimes attributed to a famous Tibetan monk, and is obviously of a later date, not being part of the KN stories. you can not view the vinaya in comparison to every piece of Buddhist Literature, particularly when its origin is doubtful.
http://www.ignca.nic.in/jatak025.htm wrote:Vyaghri-Jataka, Mathura
Once, the Bodhisatta was born in a respectable family of the scholars; and mastered several Shastras. Soon he was disillusioned with the worldly life and renounced the same for the spiritual uplift. In course of time, he proved his excellence in his pursuit and became the guru of several ascetics.

One day, when wandering in a forest along with his disciple Ajita, he saw from the top of a hill that a tigress was lurking to kill and eat her own cubs out of hunger. Moved by compassion he thought of sacrificing his own body to feed the tigress and save the cubs. So, he sent away his disciple in search of some food for the tigress lest he might prevent him from his sacrifice. No sooner than Ajita left the site, the Bodhisatta jumped from the precipice in front of the tigress and offered his body. The noise of the fall caught the attention of the hungry tigress, who in no time scooped over him and tore him off in pieces and feasted upon them with her cubs.

When Ajita returned and did not find his guru in the same place, he looked around and was surprised to see that the tigress was no longer looked hungry. Her cubs were also frolicking. But soon, he was shocked to detect the blood stained rags of his guru’s dress scattered there. So, he knew that his guru had offered his body to feed a hungry tigress and protected her young ones as an act of great charity. Now, he also knew why was he sent away by his guru.
do note in this rendering and the Tibetan one I am familiar with (where it is a famous (?) Tibetan monk not a previous birth) the tigress does not kill yet eats the meat.

The Buddha advocated a Middle Path, and using what is available and within ones means, not the nigantha attitude to Kamma, however The Buddha did see a fault in accepting what was deliberately sacrificed for them and thus prohibited the acceptance of such meat, not the acceptance of meat entirely, as it could be the only source of food someone has available to them, or someone who simply wants to give a gift who is not a follower of the Buddhas teachings.
I Guess how precepts are worded depends upon which school of monks/tradition we each follow: Following are the precepts as written and found in "What The Blessed Buddha Actually Said in Plain English, Bhikkhu Samahita et al:
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Killing.
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Stealing.
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Sexual Abuse.
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Dishonesty.
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Alcohol & Drugs.

Then one keeps and protects these sacred vows better than one's own
eyes & children, since they protects you & all other beings much better
than any army! They are the highest offer one can give in & to this world!
This is the very start on the path towards Nibbāna -the Deathless Element-
This is the Noble Way to Peace, to Freedom, to Bliss, initiated by Morality,
developed further by Dhamma-Study and fulfilled by training Meditation...

source: http://what-buddha-said.net/drops/Fullm ... ce_Day.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Bhikkhu Samahita is of The Theravadin Forest MInistry, Sri Lanka
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.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 65 guests