the great vegetarian debate

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
PeterB
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby PeterB » Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:43 am

appicchato wrote:
Clueless Git wrote:It is a demonstrable fact that one harms far less plant life by eating plant life alone than one does by including plant eating animals in their diet.

Bottom line folks... :pig:

I wont argue with that Bhante. i do however feel that after the discussion has taken place, it is a matter of individual choice for those practising the Dhamma. There is not a two tier system of superior Buddhists who eat a vegetarian diet and second class ones who are omnivores. It is simply not of the essence, as it is in Jainadharma.

Clueless Git
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby Clueless Git » Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:12 pm

PeterB wrote:That is your serious and considered reply Clueless Git ? That Ajahn Sumedho has more compassion to himself than to others and your evidence for stating that is because he would not want to be eaten ?

I am sorry Peter but if a person cares more about harm to himself than he cares about harm to others then it cannot be said that he cares equaly about other and self.

Ajahn Sumedho may,for all I know, care no more that he be lunch than he cares that another be lunch.

That is something only Ajahn Sumedho could answer.

Again I am sorry. I am just not clever enough to navigate around self evident facts. Genuinely. That is why I always home in on real 'eejyutt' stuff like how the food chain works, that more and less cannot be the same, and other self evident things that cleverer people seem to find so hard to see.

I know that offends sometimes and I can only ask of people, when it does, that they show kindness to my limitations and forgive me.

Clueless Git
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby Clueless Git » Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:29 pm

appicchato wrote:
Clueless Git wrote:It is a demonstrable fact that one harms far less plant life by eating plant life alone than one does by including plant eating animals in their diet.

Bottom line folks... :pig:

Thank you for that confirmation that I am not alone in my insanity appicchato :anjali:

I do agree with Peter that after the conversation has ended it is a matter of choice for the individual as to wether they choose to do more harm or choose to do less.

How it can be reasoned, with ignorance (in the form of not knowing the facts) removed from the equation, that knowingly choosing to do more harm OR choosing to do less harm are both equaly 'buddhist' is the bit I cannot see ...

Clueless Git
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby Clueless Git » Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:38 pm

PeterB wrote:There is not a two tier system of superior Buddhists who eat a vegetarian diet and second class ones who are omnivores. It is simply not of the essence, as it is in Jainadharma.

Oh help! I'm gonna do it again ...

Peter, I'm not understanding how one can object to others creating a two tier system if the two tier system would not exist if they were not creating that two tier sytem ( a tier of who's life is worth more than that they be lunch, and who's is not) themselves.

It seems that the argument is along the lines of "I approve of two tier systems apart from two tier systems where the upper tier does not include me".

PeterB
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby PeterB » Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:42 pm

You have nothing to apologise for Clueless Git, and if people are offended ( within reason ) by one's arguments then that is their repsonsibity.
My beef with your view is not that it is too simple, but that it is too complex. I dont set my moral compass according to something called the food chain. I set it by the moral code that prevails within Buddhism which recognises both the transient nature of all life and our responsiblity to those transient forms. That view says that if we kill we suffer the karmic consequences, if we allow the killing of specific animals for our food we suffer the karmic consequences. However if we eat meat from creatures killed without our personal knowledge then we do not accrue negative karma. I did not make that up. And it is a bodge job quite clearly. it is not consistant, it is possible to drive a coach and horses through it, and Ajahn Sumedho knows that. The Buddha knew that. The point being that it is expedient. It is not an attempt to create a coherent moral code like that of the Pharisees. Or like that of the Vedic culture that formed the backdrop that the Buddha moved his Dhamma way from. It was saying quite clearly this issue is not of the essence. The precepts are of the essence, the eightfold path is of the essence. And through the ages Buddhist have had no problem in keeping the precepts in their own view, and walking the 8FP with little or no consideration as to what to have for lunch.
It is a matter of individual choice. I am quite happy for you to choose a vegan diet. I am also happy that most of my teachers eat meat. It is not of the essence. If someone decides that for them a veg diet is an essential part of their Dhamma practice I will support and respect that. And if someone decides that their priorities lie elsewhere I will support and respect that also.

PeterB
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby PeterB » Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:48 pm

Clueless Git wrote:
PeterB wrote:There is not a two tier system of superior Buddhists who eat a vegetarian diet and second class ones who are omnivores. It is simply not of the essence, as it is in Jainadharma.

Oh help! I'm gonna do it again ...

Peter, I'm not understanding how one can object to others creating a two tier system if the two tier system would not exist if they were not creating that two tier sytem ( a tier of who's life is worth more than that they be lunch, and who's is not) themselves.

It seems that the argument is along the lines of "I approve of two tier systems apart from two tier systems where the upper tier does not include me".


Some Buddhists dont eat meat. Some do.The latter almost certainly form the vast majority. Thats the way it is. You see Clueless Git I dont see any indication that you have any wider interest in Buddhism other than what Buddhist eat. I dont see you posing questions on any other aspects of Buddhism or on its practises. Just what Buddhists have for lunch. If I am wrong and you have indicated a wider interest than converting all Buddhists to veganism. I apologise.

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appicchato
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby appicchato » Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:58 pm

The bottom line (referred to above) is the bottom line...unarguable...well, everything's arguable but there's no getting around the validity...it may have pained the Buddha greatly to have to allow the Sangha to consume flesh...we don't know...and while I hold Ajahn Sumedho in the highest of esteem, he is still a fallible human, which I think he would be the first to agree...and Git's case is a good one on this issue...to produce a pound of cow kills more life than producing a pound of vegies... :pig:

PeterB
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby PeterB » Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:13 pm

No, we certainly dont know that it "pained the Buddha greatly " Bhante. And given that the Buddha was in the habit of speaking his mind to the extent of describing certain actions as " foolish " and the holders of certain views as " fools" I think that given the nature of Vedic Indian he would have dropped a hint or two. Ajahn Sumedho is indeed a fallible human being, as am I, as are you, as is Clueless Git. But I am not telling Clueless Git that he should not be a vegan. I have no interest or opinion at all in what Cluess Git has for breakfast, lunch, or even high tea. If someone elects to eat bananas for the rest of their life thats ok with me. I am interested to learn about his view of the 8FP. I am interested in his meditation practice. I am interested in learning from that practice and sharing insights about that practice.
One of most impressive and advanced Vipassana practitioners I have met was an man who, because he was indifferent about what he ate and they were convenient, appeared to subsist on pork pies and strong tea. he lived to be 85 or 6.And showed clear fruits of his meditation practice.

Clueless Git
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby Clueless Git » Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:34 pm

PeterB wrote:Some Buddhists dont eat meat. Some do.

Happily accepted Peter.

Similarly some buddhists may drink alcohol, some may lie some may steal ... Some may (although I seriously think not) may murder and rape.

That makes no difference to any debate as to whether indulging in drinking, lying, stealing, murder and rape, or refraint from the same, are neutral/beneficial/detrimental to buddhist practice so far as I can see
The latter almost certainly form the vast majority. Thats the way it is.

Dangerously close to Argumentum ad populum
You see Clueless Git I dont see any indication that you have any wider interest in Buddhism other than what Buddhist eat. I dont see you posing questions on any other aspects of Buddhism or on its practises. Just what Buddhists have for lunch. If I am wrong and you have indicated a wider interest than converting all Buddhists to veganism. I apologise.

Skipping the arguments and attacking the man? Ad Hominem.

You are correct though Peter I do indeed post almost exclusively on vegetarian topics.

Again, how whether I post 1% or 100% on the topic adds or detracts from anything I say is something I simply don't see.

PeterB
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby PeterB » Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:54 pm

If a Buddhist murders or rapes or steals or lies Clueless Git, there is an overwhelming consensus that he/she has broken the precepts. If someone eats a steak in a restuarant or bought from the supermarket, there is an overwhelming consensus among teachers of the Theravada and the Vajrayana and mainstream Mahayana that they have not by that action broken any precept. They may have offended you. They may even have gone against their own ethical system, but they will not have broken the first precept. The exception to this are the teachers from certain Chinese schools who are traditionally vegan.

My pointing out that you do not interact with this forum except to argue for veganism is not an Ad Hom, it is part of a response to indicate that there are enormous problems in accepting your critique of Buddhism. I am not saying that you joined this forum merely to run your own mission to the Buddhists re what they put in their fry ups. I am saying that if that WAS your only agenda your interactions would not look any different to the way they look now. If a poster ( and it happens occasionally ) said that they were only interested in Samatha, but had no interest in Sila, it would be pointed out to them that one cant meaningfully divorce the two. Just so, as you do not interact on this forum in other capacity than to deliver homiliies of a semi humorous nature concerning what other people eat, there is no context for this discussion to take place. It is not possible to respond other than in the narrow context in which you have chosen to interact in order to exercise control. Therefore a more subtle or nuanced debate is not possible. Even actual AGREEMENT in terms of the wider Buddhadhamma is not possible.

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BubbaBuddhist
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:01 pm

Peter, I think you ferreted out the root of the matter.

I'm going to lay out a few facts, then retire, as even though I've been a diligent practitioner of the dhamma for over 27 years( and even studied for the robe for two years at one point) I've sensed my input isn't particularly welcome here, especially by administrators. I can take a hint. However, I was the sole Moderator of the e-sangha Vegetarian Forum for two years, then one of two Mods for the remainder of e-sangha's existence, so let me weigh in here, then I'll retreat back into my cave. :lol:

Discussions on the place of vegetarianism in dhamma practice always devolve into emotional arguments which inevitably lack logical cohesion, lack support from the dhamma, and end in chaotic ruins. We always had to shut them down. ESPECIALLY when Mr. Clueless Git was concerned. He always turned any discussion on any forum, into a shambles. I can honestly say we received more complaints about the Veg Forum than any other on e-sangha. Don't fall for this "I'm' not smart enough to follow complex arguments" persona. This man is a master manipulator. He can keep these arguments going for weeks, and tie you in knots of frustration, and turn your own words against you. In my opinion, he is not a follow of the Buddha. He uses the dhamma to support his vegetarian agenda, rather than the abstention from eating meat as a pillar of his Buddhist practice. We had several people like this on e-sangha, and they kept the place up in arms all the time. Some say this is the practice of "tough love" to wake people up to the cruelty of eating meat. I say nonsense. It's bullying and manipulation. I discuss vegetarianism too. I also discuss all aspects of Dhamma. Get me started on Abhidhamma and I won't shut up.

If you Admins want my advice (totally unsolicited of course) I would shut this thread down and not encourage another one like it. If you let it run its course it will only get worse. This is my prediction, and I am no Nostradamus. Just a battle-scarred veteran of too many Vegetarian Wars from e-sangha.

With much respect,

John R
Author of Redneck Buddhism: or Will You Reincarnate as Your Own Cousin?

PeterB
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby PeterB » Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:36 pm

The irony is Bubba, that despite my heavy handed joke of a few weeks back I am a veggie. But its threads like this that makes me want to break the habit of a the last 15 or so years. I am reminded of the late Johm Mortimer the Brit author of the Rumple Of The Bailey novels. Because of his distaste for the anti smoking lobby in the UK he, who had never smoked in his life, took it up in his 80's . He confessed to a friend that he didnt enjoy it much but felt it had to be done. :smile:
I saw recently that another of the vegans who would tie up all and every thread on E Sangha ( a name which I have no doubt would ring all sorts of Spiny bells for you ) with their sole topic of interest is now a mod on another Buddhist website. A while back I was asked to join that website, but when I saw that particular name I decided against. Buddha save us from what the late Bernard Levin dubbed SIFS. Single Issue Fanatics.
Faced with vegan intolerance and self righteousness I am tempted to order a Big Mac.
All joking apart I think vegan militancy is pretty much self defeating.

Clueless Git
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby Clueless Git » Sat Feb 27, 2010 6:04 pm

Bubbabuddhist wrote:Peter, I think you ferreted out the root of the matter.

I'm going to lay out a few facts, then retire, as even though I've been a diligent practitioner of the dhamma for over 27 years( and even studied for the robe for two years at one point) I've sensed my input isn't particularly welcome here, especially by administrators. I can take a hint. However, I was the sole Moderator of the e-sangha Vegetarian Forum for two years, then one of two Mods for the remainder of e-sangha's existence, so let me weigh in here, then I'll retreat back into my cave. :lol:

Discussions on the place of vegetarianism in dhamma practice always devolve into emotional arguments which inevitably lack logical cohesion, lack support from the dhamma, and end in chaotic ruins. We always had to shut them down. ESPECIALLY when Mr. Clueless Git was concerned. He always turned any discussion on any forum, into a shambles. I can honestly say we received more complaints about the Veg Forum than any other on e-sangha. Don't fall for this "I'm' not smart enough to follow complex arguments" persona. This man is a master manipulator. He can keep these arguments going for weeks, and tie you in knots of frustration, and turn your own words against you. In my opinion, he is not a follow of the Buddha. He uses the dhamma to support his vegetarian agenda, rather than the abstention from eating meat as a pillar of his Buddhist practice. We had several people like this on e-sangha, and they kept the place up in arms all the time. Some say this is the practice of "tough love" to wake people up to the cruelty of eating meat. I say nonsense. It's bullying and manipulation. I discuss vegetarianism too. I also discuss all aspects of Dhamma. Get me started on Abhidhamma and I won't shut up.

If you Admins want my advice (totally unsolicited of course) I would shut this thread down and not encourage another one like it. If you let it run its course it will only get worse. This is my prediction, and I am no Nostradamus. Just a battle-scarred veteran of too many Vegetarian Wars from e-sangha.

With much respect,

John R

Well ... !!!

You will have to forgive me if I sniff a little of the old "if you can't attack the argument then attack the man" going on here!

I'm not hurt though, nor offended (much ... :cry: ) and once more I am going to apologise for not skirting around inconvenient facts that I know full well, if not skirted around, very often cause offence.

Oh, and thank you for at least suggesting that I may be a master of something Bubba, btw ...

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Paul Davy
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby Paul Davy » Sat Feb 27, 2010 9:27 pm

Greetings,

Due to this topic being massively rail-roaded and no longer in any way reflecting "General Theravada discussion", it is going to be closed.

Arguments aligning meat-eating with a lack of compassion completely ignore the (as accepted by Theravada) facts that:

1. The Buddha and his Sangha ate meat
2. The Buddha was far more compassionate than any putthujana vegetarian
3. The Buddha explicitly rejected Devadatta's (a putthujana) demands that the Sangha become vegetarian

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

Mukunda
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby Mukunda » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:21 pm

I am vegan, and it was practice of the dhamma that led me to that choice. While at a sesshin in a Zen center, I heard the meal gatha that begins "72 labors brought us this food, we should know how it comes to us." That idea has stuck with me ever since, not just in regards to food, but concerning all things I use/consume. I am not one that believes that merely eating meat is unwholesome kamma, nor do I think that eliminating animal products will end dukkha, but if I can make a difference in lessening environmental damage, improving my own health, and decreasing the suffering and killing of sentient beings by something as simple as my diet, why wouldn't I? I have been blessed with human birth in a place where such options are available. To not take advantage of them would be silly.

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appicchato
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby appicchato » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:56 pm

:thumbsup:

PeterB
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby PeterB » Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:45 am

Good points well made Mukunda.

Mukunda
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby Mukunda » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:46 pm

Dan74 wrote:Luckily the kids are not too keen on meat either, except they like sausages. I have to say it's hard to get them to eat protein-rich food other than fish and meat, but we are trying.


I'm not sure where you and your family live, but even with the elimination of all animal products from the diet, it is almost impossible for anyone living in the developed world to NOT get enough protein in the diet. As a matter of fact, most people in the industrialized world get too much protein, which can cause health problems such as osteoporosis and kidney disease/failure. Grains, legumes and seeds are excellent sources of protein. Even green vegetables have protein. A single peanut butter sandwich can provide 25-30% of an adult's recommended daily protein intake. And course, there are meatless sausages, frankfurters, burgers, and other meat replacements. I frequently make a "chicken" salad of TVP that even my die hard carnivore friends can't believe isn't real chicken. It's not really as hard to get enough protein as ranchers, dairy farmers, egg/chicken producers and their marketers would like us to believe.

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Dan74
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:57 am

Thank you for writing that Mukunda. That was just a poorly-informed view of mine. I've checked some info and you are of course correct. Another claim I will check out is that meat is the best (if not only) source of certain necessary amino-acids and iron.

I haven't been missing meat but last night at some friends' place I was served a meat dish fried in butter (I am allergic to dairy). They worked hard on it and it would've upset them had I made a fuss. So I ate it and loaded up on anti-histamines when I got home. Not feeling too great today and I think I will miss it even less now :jumping: (if that's possible).
_/|\_

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Cittasanto
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:13 am

if you can watch '30 days,' it is by the suppersize me fella.

one of the episodes is about living in a commune, I think the 1st, which may interest you in this regard.
“Mendicants, these two [types of persons] defame the Tathāgata.
(The mendicants asked) What are the two [types of persons]?
(The Lord Buddha responded) The malicious, or the inwardly angry, and the one with (blind) faith or the one who holds things incorrectly.
Mendicants, these two [types of persons] defame the Tathāgata.”
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.
"Others will misconstrue reality based on personal perspectives, firmly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our personal perspectives, nor firmly holding them, but easily discarded."


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