the great vegetarian debate

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Sep 17, 2009 5:25 pm

I thought I would bump this poll up in case there are some who have not 'voted' yet in this poll.

On another site, with Buddhists from all traditions, the voting is about 50-50 but here where it is predominantly Theravadins, the vegetarian percentage is higher. This goes against much conventional thinking that Mahayana = vegetarian, Theravada = non-veg. But of course the reality is that there are a high percentage of vegetarians and non-vegetarians in both Mahayana and Theravada.
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby nomad » Sat Sep 19, 2009 1:55 am

I am a straight meat-eater, but hope that one day I can make a change and possibly go vegetarian. I’ve considered it on several occasions and even tried to abstain for a short amount of time, but it seems like too much of a change at this point in my life. I feel like I am too busy sorting out the many other details of my existence that I feel are more important to my spiritual path. However, I always leave my options open.

~nomad

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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby kannada » Sat Sep 19, 2009 2:05 am

Tex wrote:DISCLAIMER: Voting intended for Theravadins only please; discussion is of course welcomed from all traditions.

With respect to Tex's wishes I did not vote, however I have been a vegetarian for the last 36 years...

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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby adamposey » Sun Oct 11, 2009 1:53 pm

I've chosen to go with a middle way on this matter. I do not want to take a hardline "yes" or "no" answer. During my admittedly limited research into Buddhism and Theravada specifically this topic has come up and I've found this to be the best answer without going to an extreme: "Yes, but..."

What I mean by that is that the bhikkus, who are supposed to be an example for us, are not necessarily strict vegetarians. They are supposed to accept the generosity of others, and should that include meat, then so be it. What that says to me is that it is best to minimize one's footprint of death in the world to the greatest extent possible and becoming a vegetarian is a means to that end. But that said there are cultural traditions in my country, etc., that meat plays a very important part in. Would I be a good buddhist to refuse the generosity of my family when they spend hours preparing a meat based food for holidays? Should I burden them with my special diet? In my case I've decided the answer is "no," and so I'll be a vegetarian when it comes to my personal decisions of what to buy for myself, but when it comes to others offering me food—all bets are off.

That said.. I'm Theravada but I don't know how I should answer this poll.
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby Jechbi » Sun Oct 11, 2009 4:17 pm

Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby André » Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:14 am

I'm not a vegetarian, but I'm considering it. If I do become one, then I would still eat meat if I were offered it. That much am I certain of.
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby Potato » Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:39 am

I voted before I saw the disclaimer. :(

I have been vegetarian for five years.
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby BudSas » Sat Oct 31, 2009 5:07 am

I don't vote because to me, it's a non-issue! :smile:

I consider myself as a sensible eater, I eat sensibly to keep my body healthy enough to practice the Dhamma, and the diet varies according to my own daily activities. Normally, I east mostly vegetables, fruits, and a bit of meat (read & white meats, seafood). However, for periods of intensive meditation retreat without heavy physical workloads, I eat less, and mostly on a vegetarian diet.

My main priority when eating is related to how to eat mindfully, one bit at a time, chewing slowly and carefully, noting the sensation at the tongue, the reaction of the mind to different taste, etc. To me, that's more important than to argue on the issue whether one should be a vegetarian or not.

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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby Clueless Git » Sat Oct 31, 2009 11:19 am

'Lo all :)

I'm not Theravedan, nor strictly any other tradition in particular, so I haven't voted.

I am vegan and was already vegan before becoming interested in buddhism.

I suffer a peculiar mental disorder that prevents me from seeing meat without simultaneoulsy seeing the cycle of suffering it causes and gives me a strong desire for all sentient beings to be free of it.

My initial attraction to buddhism, was by my interpretation, that being able to see dependant arisings of suffering and wishing all sentient beings to be free of them is not a peculiar mental disorder.
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby Dugu » Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:25 am

I am trying to become Vegetarian. I have decided to cut down my meat consumption so that my body and habit can slowly adapt to a full vegetarian way of life. And if I do become a vegetarian, I won't try and impose my preference on anyone who offer me food. I would just eat what they give, except meat that was specifically killed for me.
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby PeterB » Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:03 am

Clueless Git wrote:'Lo all :)

I'm not Theravedan, nor strictly any other tradition in particular, so I haven't voted.

I am vegan and was already vegan before becoming interested in buddhism.

I suffer a peculiar mental disorder that prevents me from seeing meat without simultaneoulsy seeing the cycle of suffering it causes and gives me a strong desire for all sentient beings to be free of it.

My initial attraction to buddhism, was by my interpretation, that being able to see dependant arisings of suffering and wishing all sentient beings to be free of them is not a peculiar mental disorder.

That wish is not evidence of a mental disorder. However that wish like all phenomena arises dependantly. Suffering is prior to the killing of animals for meat and that would be the case even if everyone on the planet ate a vegetarian or vegan diet. The first link in the chain of suffering is Ignorance, ignorance not simply of the effects of dukkha , but existentially. It arises with our arising, with our consciousness of our selves and our identity , whether that identity is that of burger eater or vegan. To wish the good of all creatures is commendable, to wish them free from suffering is evidence of compassion. There is something though which in terms of Buddhism is primary, and that is available to all what ever diet they choose. That is the Jhanas and/or Insight.
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby kannada » Tue Nov 03, 2009 1:20 am

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want
He makes me down to lie
Through pastures green He leadeth me the silent waters by.
With bright knives He releaseth my soul.
He maketh me to hang on hooks in high places.
He converteth me to lamb cutlets,
For lo, He hath great power, and great hunger.
When cometh the day we lowly ones,
Through quiet reflection, and great dedication
Master the art of karate,
Lo, we shall rise up,
And then we'll make the bugger's eyes water.

Bleating and babbling I fell on his neck with a scream.
Wave upon wave of demented avengers
March cheerfully out of obscurity into the dream.


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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby A Medic » Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:52 pm

Potato wrote:I voted before I saw the disclaimer. :(

I have been vegetarian for five years.



Same here I voted before I read the disclaimer. :oops: I voted the thinking about it. I've been going back and forth for years between being a vegetarian and not being one. I do personally think it its the best thing to do.
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby Northernbuck » Sun Nov 22, 2009 1:08 am

I am considering becoming a full vegetarian. Currently I avoid beef, but for health reasons. I do eat chicken and fish right now. I have to do some more research and then decide. Even though it has been a couple of months, I do consider myself a Theravada Buddhist.
But if this neutral feeling that has arisen is conditioned by the body which is impermanent, compounded and dependently arisen, how could such a neutral feeling be permanent? - SN 36.7
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby Annapurna » Sun Nov 22, 2009 12:22 pm

I ignored only Theravadins may vote. What am I? :tongue:

I eat very little meat. I've had times where I went without for a year.

I often notice I'm healthier when I don't eat meat.

The suffering of animals has made me cry oftentimes.

One of the worst experiences was to look into the eyes of a cow that was chained too shortly , so she couldn't lie down her head, and was lying in her shit on naked cement.

I asked the farmer: Shouldn't there be more straw underneath her? And isn't the chain too short?" and he apologized, saying, usually, yes, or that she is able to lie down.

So, what can I do. Call the cops? I considered it.

I haven't bought veal since then and that should be over 10 years now. .

In any case, I can still see how she looked into my eyes,and held my gaze, for a long time. THAT look I will never forget.

Also the sadness she felt. I did have a feeling she was asking me to do something. I sadly caressed her face.

Perhaps I failed. :weep:
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:06 pm

Annabel wrote:In any case, I can still see how she looked into my eyes,and held my gaze, for a long time. THAT look I will never forget.
Also the sadness she felt. I did have a feeling she was asking me to do something. I sadly caressed her face.
Perhaps I failed. :weep:


I had a similar experience in Ethiopia one time. We stopped by the side of the road to purchase some coffee beans and there close-by was a man holding a goat with a small rope around its neck. He was trying to sell the goat. In Ethiopia, to eat meat, you must buy the whole animal, take him home and kill him/her. For this reason, many foreign diplomats become vegetarian, at least while they are in Ethiopia. :tongue:

While the people with me purchased the coffee beans, I petted the goat. The goat immediately gravitated toward me and wanted more petting and attention. As we went back to our car, the goat struggled to come to me. The man with the goat started whipping the goat and pulling at him to stay with him. But the goat just kept coming toward me with all his might. I thought about purchasing the goat, but knew that eventually he would be found and still made into dinner one day, so just waved good-bye.
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby Annapurna » Sun Nov 22, 2009 6:07 pm

Oh... :(

I can imagine how you felt. I can also imagine how the goat felt.

Oh dear...

I once took an ill kitten in, and cared for her until it was well.

Hr gratitude was sobeautiful.

Each morning she would crawl next to my ill mother, and constantly gaze into her eyes, and seemed to smile, really. She gave her this confident, cheerful look, paw on lap, and purred away, and the old lady was delighted.

I would find the two next to each other, communicating with each other, each in her own way....

Amazing cat she was.

Her name was Jeannie, after "I dream of Jeannie".

:heart:
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby ChangingMan » Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:47 pm

Just voted in this poll. Yes, I am Veggie and have been now for 17 years (which seems like a long time when I say it like that!). I was veggie before I was buddhist, but of course they now support each other. I am Theravadin, have never really had a drawing to other traditions / lineages. My decision to turn veggie was born out of an undeveloped sense of why ethically I felt it was wrong. As time has gone by, Buddhism has helped me with a moral and ethical core to some of the things I just felt were right to do, but could not articulate, if that makes sense. I suppose I still think of being veggie as independent of Buddhism (that is, I don't abstain because of my faith). My wife is also veggie, and we have brought our two children up veggie from birth, and none of them are Buddhist, so I suppose that helps keep them separate to a degree in my mind. I can't ever see myself eating meat now.

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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby Laurens » Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:06 pm

I am a vegetarian. I tried for ages to give up meat in order to purify my 1st precept as it were, but I couldn't do it, I liked the taste too much. However one time I was eating a rare steak, and I noticed a blood vessel running across the steak and then I started to realise that I was actually eating a lump of flesh off a dead animal, it didn't immediately strike me as being cruel, but more of a weird thing to do - then I started to truely think about how cruel it is to kill a being just for its flesh, just to feed our desires.

I haven't eaten meat since then. I can't see why we need to really, perhaps in an environment where there is no other source of protien, but not while we have so many other means of getting a good amount of protien, without having to kill.
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Carl Sagan
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby Monkey Mind » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:41 pm

I was a vegetarian for 5 years. I was a counselor working with teenagers, and I had an opportunity to chaperon as the youth met His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. In my efforts to educate the youth about who HHDL was, I felt an impulse to be a vegetarian for a month before meeting him, to "purify" myself. Well, the lifestyle stuck. However, as a vegetarian I gained A LOT of weight, because I was eating a lot of bread and pasta, and I always felt hungry. Eventually I talked myself back into being a meat eater. Another few years went by.

Now I am on the verge of going veggie again. I don't buy meat, but eat it if someone serves it to me. But the Goenka retreat changed something "in" me. I've stopped wearing leather or suede, and I am a lot more concerned about what I take into my body, and the whole butcher kamma thing. I will go full veggie as soon as I figure out the whole protein thing, so that I can better manage the whole carb craving thing.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710
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