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Dhamma Wheel • View topic - David's Book : Interesting Questions And Answers

David's Book : Interesting Questions And Answers

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

David's Book : Interesting Questions And Answers

Postby yawares » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:46 am

Dear Members,

David's Book : Interesting Questions And Answers
[By Dr.David N. Snyder]


Q. Buddhist vegetarians are attached to their view of vegetarianism. They get angry when
they see Buddhists and others eating meat. This is creating defilements and anger in their
minds. Is this anger a good Buddhist practice?

A. Vegetarianism is a view as noted by the ―ism at the end of the term. Some Buddhists have
tried vegetarianism and later gave it up, because they felt it was an attachment to a view or
―ism. When they saw people eating meat they became angry. Rather than trying to change their
attitudes, they changed their diet and gave up on vegetarianism.
A meat eater could be equally as angry when they see or hear Buddhists for example,
expounding the ideals of vegetarianism when they believe that meat eating is acceptable to
Buddhism. Anger and attachment can come with any view, those who are vegetarian and to those
who are not.

Although vegetarianism is a view as it is a philosophy of non-violence through the non-eating of
meat at meals, it is also an action. In fact it can be more action and very little view. When we eat
a meal we are not practicing a view, we are performing an action. Right Action is a part of the
Eightfold Middle Path and includes the precept of no killing or causing to kill. When you eat a
vegetarian meal you are not causing the death of an animal. When you eat meat, you are causing
the death of an animal.

If we take the view that we do not want to be angry at seeing other people eat meat, so we join
them, we are taking an extreme view of the principle of ―letting go. If we continue with this
logic then we should also kill humans, because we do not want to be angry when we see
murderers on the news, so we join them. Taking the extreme view of letting go actually backfires
as the person becomes attached to letting go and ignores all precepts.

We must be careful not to be too attached to concepts and views, including Buddhist ones.
Another example is the concept of being in the ―present. Buddhist meditation is aimed at being
in the here and now, in the mindfulness of the moment. There was this Buddhist middle class
person who had a master‘s degree and a high paying job. He met a guru who used Buddhist and
new age principles in an attempt to start a cult or new religion or branch of Buddhism. This
person gave up his high paying job and sold all his possessions. He followed the guru in search
of enlightenment. When asked how he would pay for his housing and meals, this person
responded, ―I do not think about those matters of the future. I am only in the present
moment. This is an example of attachment to a principle, even a Buddhist one can be wrong, if
taken to this extreme.

A common theme among the success and longevity of elderly people is that they do everything
in moderation, including moderation. It is the same with the middle way. If we become too
attached to the concept of middle way, we lose sight of the teachings.
We can avoid feeling angry by taking a middle way position with our attitudes. For example, as
vegetarians we should not call meat eaters ―murderers. We should not get upset at the sight of
people eating meat. Most people were raised in cultures where meat eating is seen as completely
normal.

About half of all Buddhists eat meat and another small percentage drink alcohol. This does not
make them ―bad Buddhists, as there is no sin in Buddhism. There is simply attachment,
aversion, and ignorance that are not realized yet.

We should lead by example and explain to anyone who wants to learn about the reasons we are
vegetarian from the standpoint of how much better we feel in the body and mind with a
vegetarian diet. Since upbringing, culture, and tradition are so powerful, we can not expect meat
eaters to just give up meat with a few valid points thrown at them. Forcing morality on people
has never worked. There are numerous examples of this, including the alcohol prohibition in the
U.S. in the early twentieth century. The best course of action is to balance the principles of nonkilling
and letting go by being a good example and not forcing our views on others. If you are a
vegetarian, explain and show people how much better you feel without forceful or degrading
words. I personally do not advocate the legal prohibition of alcohol, meat eating, or even drugs. I
would like to see people voluntarily choose not to take these substances, but I am realistic and
realize that it will take at least another two hundred years or maybe even a thousand years of
education, learning, and insight.


Q. In first world countries only about 3 to 5% are vegetarian. What good is one person
such as myself in becoming a vegetarian?

A. Every person can make a difference. In a typical first world country, the average person eats
about 50 animals per year. This is from cows, pigs, chicken, fish, and others. One person
becoming a vegetarian saves all 50 of those highly sentient beings per year. Over a 20 year
period that is a savings of 1,000 animals from being sent to slaughter, from grain being fed to
animals purposely bred for slaughter, and prevents or slows the pace of the depletion of species
in the oceans. This also saves the depletion of rain forests and other deforestation to the
environment for the purpose of growing grain for animals to be slaughtered. The deforestation
not only hurts the environment to make more room for land to grow grain for slaughtered
animals, but this also depletes the supplies of grains and other foods that could have been
produced and fed to humans in famine areas. Every small step and every person can and does
make a difference.

The Buddha said, ―One should not think little of merit, thinking ‗That will not come to me.‘
Even a waterpot is filled by the falling of drops of water. A wise man is filled with merit, even
practicing it little by little.‖ Dh. Ch. 9 In this quote from the Buddha, we can apply it to a
vegetarian diet and say that every person does make a difference. Or in another way, if you still
eat meat, even a cut-back is a start and an improvement, for example, if you eat meat only on
weekends or socially and vegetarian at other times. This can still make a difference and you may
gradually decide to eliminate more meat from your diet as time goes by.


Q. What about the health of the human. Don’t humans need protein to sustain the body?

A. These are some of the myths about the vegetarian diet. Objective studies have repeatedly
shown that diets high in fruits, vegetables, and grains are the most healthy and have the lowest
rates of heart disease and cancer.
Studies have shown that both vegetarians and non-vegetarians consume too much protein. On
average, vegetarians consume about twice as much protein per day as they should. Nonvegetarians
consume about three times as much protein as they should. Green leafy vegetables,
legumes such as lentils and soybeans are loaded with protein and iron.

Cholesterol is a leading culprit to heart disease and is found in meat and animal products, such as
eggs and cheese. There is no bad cholesterol in any vegan whole (un-processed) foods.
Another leading cause of heart disease and also many cancers is trans fat foods. These are
saturated fats which clog the arteries and do severe damage to our health. Trans fats include
hydrogenated oils which are in some packaged foods, including vegetarian ones. But there is no
need to add hydrogenated oils to vegetarian foods and many countries have banned its use. Meat
and animal products naturally have trans fats in them. While we could voluntarily remove trans
fats from vegan (pronounced vee-gun for vegetarian without animal products) foods, it is
impossible to not have trans fats in meat and animal products, because they are naturally there.
Antioxidants such as, vitamins A, C, and E have been shown to prevent heart disease and cancers
and have even helped reverse the effects of these diseases once they have started. For the best
absorption, it is best to eat foods which are high in these antioxidants, rather than hoping
for absorption through supplements. Healthy vegetarian foods are loaded with antioxidants,
especially fruits and vegetables. Meat and animal products do not contain any antioxidants.
Many vegetables, like green leafy vegetables have as many vitamins or more than a multivitamin
supplement, which has no guarantee of absorption.


Q. What about the health benefits of fish which contains Omega 3 oils?

A. Omega 3 oils found in fish have been shown to be quite healthy for the heart. But you do not
need to eat fish to receive this beneficial nutrient. Flax seeds, hazel-nuts, and walnuts have
omega 3 oils as well and are just as healthy. Flax seeds and their products can be found in cereals
and other foods found at natural foods stores. Although fish contains this valuable nutrient, the
negatives of fish consumption outweigh the benefits. Fish still have fatty tissue, even though it is
less than the fat found in red meat, it can still be dangerous. Fish also contains mercury which
has been shown to be very damaging to people‘s health. For the environment, fish consumption
has been much too high. The oceans are being depleted of fish to a point where many species
have gone extinct.

Some people incorrectly believe that eating fish is not meat-eating. Fish are not mammals, like
us, but they are members of the Animal Kingdom. Mammals like cats, dogs, pigs, and humans
produce milk for their babies. Other animals such as birds, reptiles and fish, do not produce milk.
But this does not make them any less of an animal. The Animal Kingdom includes mammals,
reptiles, birds, fish, and insects. Fish are animals and their flesh is meat.


------to be continued----------
yawares :thumbsup:
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Re: David's Book : Interesting Questions And Answers

Postby yawares » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:11 pm

Dear David,

Talk about vegetarian people's anger...once I wore my long mink coat that looks so genuine to the temple in Houston on freezing cold NEW YEAR'S EVE at 10:00 PM to listen to monks' chantings, some women there asked me how could I buy mink coat knowing that many minks had to be killed to make long mink coat like mine....I had to tell them politely that my mink coat was a super-quality-fake fur...I let them touch it/wear it...how warm it was. Oh..they loved it!! and asked me where I bought it!!..they wanted to buy too
. :thumbsup: Then 1 of the vegan ladies gave me a small book of Phra-Gathas :smile:

At midnight..after the chantings..the abbot started to springle holy water...I had to take off my mink coat and put it far away from the holy water...fake mink never likes water!!!

Close encounter with angry Thai vegetarians!! :jumping: :shrug:
yawares
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Re: David's Book : Interesting Questions And Answers

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:53 pm

Hi yawares,

Yes, too true. Sometimes vegetarians and especially vegans do more harm to their cause, with their judgments and criticism of omnivores. It can be a turn off for those considering the vegetarian or vegan diets for whatever reasons they were thinking about. And for those not even considering it, they get the feeling they are being judged or worse -- being called evil.

I have been vegetarian and mostly vegan (for over 28 years) but understand it is a personal choice and even if it could be proved beyond all shadow of a doubt to be the best for nutrition, the environment, etc., the power of tradition and culture is very strong that people would not easily change the diet. And it is no use to impose our values on others. It is not useful or wholesome. My own thinking and writings have been more tolerant and more accepting as time has moved on from the first time I became vegetarian and even since writing that book. :smile:
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Re: David's Book : Interesting Questions And Answers

Postby DAWN » Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:14 pm

:namaste:
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english
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Re: David's Book : Interesting Questions And Answers

Postby yawares » Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:56 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:Hi yawares,

Yes, too true. Sometimes vegetarians and especially vegans do more harm to their cause, with their judgments and criticism of omnivores. It can be a turn off for those considering the vegetarian or vegan diets for whatever reasons they were thinking about. And for those not even considering it, they get the feeling they are being judged or worse -- being called evil.

I have been vegetarian and mostly vegan (for over 28 years) but understand it is a personal choice and even if it could be proved beyond all shadow of a doubt to be the best for nutrition, the environment, etc., the power of tradition and culture is very strong that people would not easily change the diet. And it is no use to impose our values on others. It is not useful or wholesome. My own thinking and writings have been more tolerant and more accepting as time has moved on from the first time I became vegetarian and even since writing that book. :smile:

Dear David,
I truly like your book...I agree that power of tradition/culture is very strong...Thai vegetarians are minority here at the temple..they stick with their group eating their own foods/desserts...since I let them wear my coat, the next time I went to the temple they were nicer to me, let me taste their yummy foods/desserts...I love MOONCAKEs with lotus seeds inside...a vegan lady gave me recipe...so easy to do!!
:thumbsup:

*****please tell me what is in the big bowl in front of the big Buddha statue(in your picture)?? At Wat Bhuddhavas in Houston...there are 1 huge silver alms-bowl and 1 huge gold alms-bowl for people to give donation(money/checks).
yawares
:anjali:
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Re: David's Book : Interesting Questions And Answers

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:46 pm

yawares wrote:*****please tell me what is in the big bowl in front of the big Buddha statue(in your picture)?? At Wat Bhuddhavas in Houston...there are 1 huge silver alms-bowl and 1 huge gold alms-bowl for people to give donation(money/checks).
yawares
:anjali:


Hi yawares,

I think it was a large incense bowl. I was there when it was still under construction. Here is a current photo of the statue:

Image
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Re: David's Book : Interesting Questions And Answers

Postby yawares » Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:20 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
yawares wrote:*****please tell me what is in the big bowl in front of the big Buddha statue(in your picture)?? At Wat Bhuddhavas in Houston...there are 1 huge silver alms-bowl and 1 huge gold alms-bowl for people to give donation(money/checks).
yawares
:anjali:


Hi yawares,

I think it was a large incense bowl. I was there when it was still under construction. Here is a current photo of the statue:

Image


Yawares : Oh look completely different...very beautiful :thumbsup: :anjali:
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Re: David's Book : Interesting Questions And Answers

Postby Hanzze » Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:48 am

the power of tradition and culture is very strong that people would not easily change the diet

Sometimes tradition has even a cause from the tradition of the wise. We would get it wrong anyway sooner or later if we do not encounter the origin. Sometimes we think to be smarter then the old and then tradition change faster as in the past.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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