Vegetarian Food

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby Buddha's Dancer » Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:05 am

so what is the difference between a carrot and a chicken to a non-speciesist? who decided one species had more worth than the other species here?
a living being is a living being!


I hope you don't think what I think you think, that a carrot is a living being. A carrot is a living thing, but there is no well-known or established or reputable school of thought anywhere in the world that establishes a carrot as a living being. Little children can readily and correctly identify the difference between an animal and a vegetable.
But to summarise, the difference betweena carrot and a chicken is:

Chicken is a sentient being
Sentient = having senses, namely eyes, nose, tongue, ears, body, and thought.
With these senses the living thing becomes sentient and experiences cold, heat, light, dark, fear, contentment, confusion, nonconfusion, hunger, repletion, and other things.

Carrot is a nonsentient thing.
Nonsentient = not having senses, namely eyes, nose, tongue, ears, body and thought.
Without these things, the living thing does not become sentient and does not experience cold, heat, light, dark, fear, contentment, confusion, nonconfusion, hunger, repletion, and other things.

Some say carrots can in fact sense light and dark. But even such people never say carrots sense confusion and fear; and if they do, such people have to establish how the carrot senses these feeings in the lack of sentience, and how they can recognise and identify the manifestation of them.
Little children can easily see fear in a sqwuaking chicken, and complete absence of any emotion in a carrot.
Others may say the carrot has the emotions, but they need to explain what they see that everyone can't see.

If someone says there is no distinction between something sentient as a chicken and something nonsentient as a carrot, then far less distinction is possibloe to recognise between a something sentient as chicken and something sentient as a human being; and since such little distinction can be seen between the chicken and the human being, and one has already decided that chicken and carrot are equal, it follows in their view that human being and carrot are also mostly equal; a view which would be disturbing to most people when considering what is good and proper or wrong and improper to be eaten.
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby appicchato » Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:34 am

:thumbsup:
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:36 pm

Hi Buddha Dancer,
Where did I use sentient? sentience involves more than having sense organs BTW.

Being can refer to any living thing see the dictionary. and even the definition of what constitutes a life form is up for change.

That comment was addressing another comment about speciesists, and assigning worth to one more than another so on about assigning worth to something because we can relate to it more than another living being.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby Buddha's Dancer » Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:29 pm

Manapa wrote:That comment was addressing another comment about speciesists, and assigning worth to one more than another so on about assigning worth to something because we can relate to it more than another living being.


So why should we assign more worth to a Manapa or a Buddha's Dancer than to a carrot. Living matter is living matter!
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby seanpdx » Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:08 pm

Buddha's Dancer wrote:I hope you don't think what I think you think, that a carrot is a living being. A carrot is a living thing, but there is no well-known or established or reputable school of thought anywhere in the world that establishes a carrot as a living being.


Jainism teaches that all things have a jīva, and that harm is harm, be it harm to a human, a chicken, or even a carrot. So, is jainism not well-known, not established, or not reputable?

Chicken is a sentient being
Sentient = having senses, namely eyes, nose, tongue, ears, body, and thought.
With these senses the living thing becomes sentient and experiences cold, heat, light, dark, fear, contentment, confusion, nonconfusion, hunger, repletion, and other things.

Carrot is a nonsentient thing.
Nonsentient = not having senses, namely eyes, nose, tongue, ears, body and thought.
Without these things, the living thing does not become sentient and does not experience cold, heat, light, dark, fear, contentment, confusion, nonconfusion, hunger, repletion, and other things.


So what defines sentience exactly? Is an amoeba sentient? Work your way up through various levels of multicellular organisms and let us all know at what exact point a thing is considered sentient. Do squid experience fear or contentment? Do ants experience confusion? What about gnats? Oysters? Snails? How or how not? Don't forget links to primary research, if available...
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby Buddha's Dancer » Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:49 pm

seanpdx wrote:Jainism teaches that all things have a jīva, and that harm is harm, be it harm to a human, a chicken, or even a carrot.

Please provide examples from Jain scripture that absolutely equate harming a carrot with a harming a human being or that absolutely establish no distiction between the realms of animal and vegetable.

So what defines sentience exactly? Is an amoeba sentient? Work your way up through various levels of multicellular organisms and let us all know at what exact point a thing is considered sentient. Do squid experience fear or contentment? Do ants experience confusion? What about gnats? Oysters? Snails?


Small children know that when you touch the feeler of a snail it recoils from the sensation, and that when you touch the sprout of a carrot, the sprout doesn't recoil from the sensation. Never in the course of determining the ethics of eating has anyone ever cared whether ants get confused.
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby seanpdx » Fri Feb 19, 2010 6:05 pm

Buddha's Dancer wrote:
seanpdx wrote:Jainism teaches that all things have a jīva, and that harm is harm, be it harm to a human, a chicken, or even a carrot.

Please provide examples from Jain scripture that absolutely equate harming a carrot with a harming a human being or that absolutely establish no distiction between the realms of animal and vegetable.


I'm still waiting for an answer from you.

So what defines sentience exactly? Is an amoeba sentient? Work your way up through various levels of multicellular organisms and let us all know at what exact point a thing is considered sentient. Do squid experience fear or contentment? Do ants experience confusion? What about gnats? Oysters? Snails?


Small children know that when you touch the feeler of a snail it recoils from the sensation, and that when you touch the sprout of a carrot, the sprout doesn't recoil from the sensation. Never in the course of determining the ethics of eating has anyone ever cared whether ants get confused.


Your understanding of science and philosophy comes from what small children know?
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby Buddha's Dancer » Fri Feb 19, 2010 6:12 pm

seanpdx wrote:I'm still waiting for an answer from you.

It seems like you feel that I owe you the answer to something.
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby martinfrank » Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:49 pm

I apologize for being obstinate and thank all contributors for their replies.

I know what Lord Buddha taught about allowed food and I don't question it or disagree with it.

But...

Lord Buddha lived in a time and different culture, where vegetarianism was connected with Brahmins and Jains, and many of Lord Buddha's supporters were Kshatrias and non-vegetarians.

At Lord Buddha's time, the allowed food for the monks was (at least in theory) part of the food cooked in the houses for the (vegetarian or non-vegetarian) householders regular lunch.

What disturbs me is not that monks eat what they are given when they stand for food in a village. I find disturbing when with full knowledge of the monks large quantities of meat, chicken, fish and crabs get bought and specially prepared for the monks. Even more disturbing when the meat is bought by the lay helpers of the monastery and prepared in the monastery kitchen. And still more when the quality of the meat gets discussed by monks and lay helpers at the table etc... (I have been a novice.)

I belief we all know what I am talking about. It is not about the finer points of "allowed food" and "not allowed food"; it is about how things are today. We all know that if a monastery lets it be known that they prefer vegetarian food, the inflow of meat, chicken, fish, crabs etc. stops, and with it the slaughtering of animals for choice dishes to be brought to the monastery on Buddha Days.

While it is not allowed for the monks to say, "please cook crabs for me", I believe it is perfectly right and allowed for monks to preach not-killing.

My two points are still the same:

- Bad nutrition (lots of meats and sweets, no vegetables, at least some fruits).

- It would be wonderful if more monks would OUT OF PITY (with the animals and with the laypeople who could go to hell) teach the laypeople not to kill animals.

I know that to be a monk is a tough. To be a good monk is very tough; I never tried that. Laymen should generally not criticize monks or nuns quickly, but if the lay community is not puttting constant gentle pressure on the Sangha to reform... laypeople's children will get run over by monks in orange Lexus' talking with their bookies on the phone while driving... (just joking, of course).

Let all rules be followed so well as the "allowed meat" rule!

I apologize once more for bringing up this subject.

Let all beings (including crabs) become happy!

PS: Where is the "allowed money" rule? (just joking, of course)
The Noble Eightfold Path: Proposed to all, imposed on none.
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby Clueless Git » Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:56 am

seanpdx wrote:So what defines sentience exactly?

Dunno ...

BUT!

I do know that is absolutely essential to deny that anything is exactly sentient if we want to eat it.
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:03 am

Greetings Martin,

Yes, there does seem to be a disconnect that exists between what the Buddha proclaimed and what occurs in practice.

I think the solution is not to come up with new methods and process, but to actually reconnect with what the Buddha did proclaim.

The fault is not with the rules but with those who flagrantly disregard them.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby Guy » Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:10 am

Most of the time I have a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet which is abhorrent to both the meat eaters and the vegans.

Meat eater: Whhaaaaat??! You don't eat delicious beef, chicken, pork, fish, etc? That's crazy!

Vegan: Whhaaaaat??! You eat eggs and drink milk! Barbarian!
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby appicchato » Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:36 am

Clueless Git wrote:
seanpdx wrote:So what defines sentience exactly?

Dunno ...


1 : responsive to, or conscious of, sense impressions <sentient beings>
2 : aware
3 : finely sensitive in perception or feeling
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby Clueless Git » Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:45 am

Buddha's Dancer wrote: Carrot is a nonsentient thing.

Best not to rule out plant sentience ...

The possibility of plant sentience is one of the strongest possible arguments, for those flying the flags of 'less harm' philosophies, in favour of an entirely vegetarian diet, or higher.

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.

Reason being that, due to the way the food chain works, to get a pound of flesh off of an animal one first has to shovel that animal full of many many pounds of 'carrots'.
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby Clueless Git » Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:52 am

appicchato wrote:
Clueless Git wrote:
seanpdx wrote:So what defines sentience exactly?

Dunno ...


1 : responsive to, or conscious of, sense impressions <sentient beings>
2 : aware
3 : finely sensitive in perception or feeling

That is a good definition of sentience for things we don't want to eat appichato :bow:
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby appicchato » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:17 am

Clueless Git wrote:That is a good definition of sentience for things we don't want to eat appichato :bow:


My sentiments as well Git... :pig:
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:48 am

My concern with most vegetarians who worry too much about it (not me of course LOL) is while we're so focused on trying to save the animals from this particular form of suffering (and by the way, it doesn't work--think about it) we may tend to lose sight of all the other gruesome forms of suffering in Samsara. I hardly ever hear of these being discussed.

Personally, I just don't find meat appetizing. This is someone's flesh after all--how freakin barbaric. :rofl: What are we--cavemen?

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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby Clueless Git » Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:01 pm

Bubbabuddhist wrote:My concern with most vegetarians who worry too much about it (not me of course LOL) is while we're so focused on trying to save the animals from this particular form of suffering (and by the way, it doesn't work--think about it) we may tend to lose sight of all the other gruesome forms of suffering in Samsara. I hardly ever hear of these being discussed.

Personally, I just don't find meat appetizing. This is someone's flesh after all--how freakin barbaric. :rofl: What are we--cavemen?

J

'Lo Bubbha :)

By "it doesn't work" do you mean that vegetarianism does not spare those who have already been born from the suffering of life and the inevitablitity that, one way or t'other, they will die anyway?

If so I agree with you totaly!

Thing is this tho', and this requires the simplicity of thinking that only the truly dense of head seem to be able to master ...

The ultimate effect of vegetarianism is NOT to stop those who have already been born into the unnatural flocks and herds from dying. The ultimate effect of vegetarianism is to stop the unnatural herds and flocks from being born in the first place.

That which is not unnaturally born will not unnaturally suffer.
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby PeterB » Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:44 pm

Dukkha is neither natural nor unnatural. It is Dukkha. The Vinnana-sotam of a herd animal undergoing purnabhava will be in accord with the arising conditions that pertain at that moment. This is neither to advocate or reject a particular dietary choice. It is saying that a dietary choice will not affect the reality of any given existence in any realm. Its processes and characteristics will be the same. The alternative would be that if we did not breed baa lambs, those un- baa lambs would be free to gambol in the Purelands eternally.
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Re: Vegetarian Food

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:45 pm

What I'm saying is vegetarianism will not stop Samsara--it's a much bigger picture. Any consciousness born into Samsara is in for suffering, be it at the butcher's knife or any of a number of unpleasant ways, according to its kamma.

The cure for suffering was taught by the Buddha: striking at the roots of greed, delusion, and aversion.
The Buddha also taught animal rebirth is a subsequent consequence of the results of relentless cause-and effect conditions. So we reduce the number of animals eaten. Those consciousnesses destined for unfortunate rebirth pop up under different unfortunate conditions. We saved nobody. If we want to save somebody, we can't do it our own ignorant way-- we have to do it the way Buddha taught us: by spreading the Dhamma.

Still I won't eat anyone. It's impolite.

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