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the great vegetarian debate - Page 143 - Dhamma Wheel

the great vegetarian debate

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Freelance ExBuddhist » Mon Apr 07, 2014 12:28 pm

The single most-debated source from the Pali canon on this subject relies on some suspicious text inserted in square brackets.

QUOTE
“[Many people] claim that he said it was OK to eat flesh as long as you yourself have not seen, heard, or suspected that the animal was killed especially for you…
On the second point, if one reads the relevant Pali scripture carefully, one sees that the phrase ‘killed especially for oneself’ is not used by the Buddha. It is interpolated (in parentheses) by later commentators.”[...]

The crucial step here (from ignorance toward knowing something meaningful) is the willingness to recognize the difference between the original source text and “later interpolations”. This is a blindingly obvious point that was missed (or intentionally ignored?) in many works by supposed experts.
CLOSE QUOTE

[url]SOURCE: https://medium.com/p/c636fa4f37dd[/url]

That's a link to a long article with much worth knowing in it, for anyone sincerely engaged with the issue from a Theravada perspective.

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Apr 08, 2014 4:19 pm

Interesting article. It looks like you have appreciation for the Buddha's teachings and that your beef (pardon the pun) is with Buddhists.

So is it your opinion that meat-eating is not fitting with the Buddha's path and that Buddhists have made excuses? Or is there some translation issue with some of the texts that seem to allow it?
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Tue Apr 08, 2014 4:25 pm

:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, may be why....

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daverupa
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby daverupa » Tue Apr 08, 2014 4:40 pm


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Anagarika
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Anagarika » Tue Apr 08, 2014 11:14 pm


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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Freelance ExBuddhist » Wed Apr 09, 2014 3:35 am

(1) Re: "How can we, with any authority state for certain precisely how the texts read?"

In the specific instance mentioned (with the link to the article provided) we know precisely what the ancient text does not say. In this case, modern "interpreters" have added a whole phrase (with a concept not stated in the text), so we are not debating the significance of the canon in the abstract, but looking at a case of modern people intentionally mis-representing (if not re-writing) what the text plainly does say.

(2.1) Those are flattering words from Anagarika: sadly, however, my career in Pali has been over for several years now, and I will never again attempt the type of heavy lifting you describe.

You can read an interview about the final chapter of that career, here:

I no longer have any possibility of returning to work on Pali (nor any other form of Buddhist text).

(2.2) I agree, that this is the general situation: a majority of people depend on a small number who do (as Anagarika says) the heavy lifting. This is another reason why fraud and intellectual dishonesty (amongst that small number of people) can be so harmful (in the 21st century); the relationship is indeed one of dependency. Even amongst scholars, a relatively large number of researchers need to turn to a tiny number of Pali scholars to answer questions about what the texts do (and do not) say.

On this issue (vegetarianism) good luck getting an honest answer out of anyone (layman or monk); instead, we have a thousand years of people saying, "Don't worry, my butcher is muslim", and (the laziest excuse at all!), "There's no bad karma if you don't think about it, because karma only arises from mindful intention" --a doctrine that does, in fact, endorse mindless killing (!) as superior to mindfulness of the consequences of what you're doing, buying etc.

(3) I do not sympathize with the tendency to offer contrived cynicism about the possibility of knowing anything from the study of ancient texts. If you're looking for a religion based on pious ignorance, Theravada Buddhism is the wrong choice. I find that people only offer this cynical disclaimer when it suits them (e.g., in this case, as an excuse for eating meat, "Well, how can we really know what the ancient texts were supposed to say?") and then allow themselves to uncritically adopt other material without any skepticism.

The generalized lament of, "How can we know anything about ancient authors at all?" is certainly a strange contrast to the active, engaged attitude of scholars in establishing (e.g.) what we can (and cannot) know about an ancient author like Plato. I have a separate youtube video addressing this: we can and do know a great deal about the ancient philosophy of the Buddha, in exactly the same way that we know as much as we do about the philosophy of Aristotle --and it is, indeed, hard work (and heavy lifting).


I think it is very sad when people pretend that any of this is "unknowable"; I think that is simply an abdication of responsibility for one's own ignorance (and, BTW, the Buddha has a lot to say against ignorance).

Returning to this specific example (vegetarianism): as I argued in that article, the reality is that most people don't know what the canon says about it, precisely because there is so much dishonesty and discomfort for Buddhists themselves in confronting what those ancient texts say --and what the ancient philosophy really is (and isn't). I say that with some degree of sympathy for the people involved: for most people, it is very difficult to accept that their own grandparents were wrong, and that the opinions about Buddhism passed down in their own family may be deeply flawed (even if it is relative to the writ of the Pali canon).

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Wed Apr 09, 2014 4:16 am

I must admit I have long had a suspicion that the strength of the buddha's anti meat eating sentiment has been much diluted in scripture and commentary, I am interested to hear more about this.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby panang » Sun Apr 13, 2014 3:46 am

I realize this has been discussed in a great amount already, but I thought I'd just give my thoughts. Sorry in advance is I sound preachy.

I am a strict vegan. I do not eat meat, fish, dairy, eggs, honey, or any animal products or by products. I know what even minute animal products are, and try to avoid them by reading labels, and such. The products I use are vegan to the greatest extent I can find. I don't wear leather, wool, cashmere. And, all of my other products I try to buy vegan. At home, I do not expect my family to prepare two meals, so I make my own food, and no one is bothered.

In my opinion, if you eat meat, you are inadvertently increasing the demand for meat. And, you are indirectly contributing to the death of animals. Even if you eat dairy, you are still contributing to the suffering of female dairy cows, and the killing of male calves for veal. You may not think so, but even if meat is offered to you, or it is already "dead", you still are perpetuating the demand for meat. And, in my opinion any of that is breaking the 1st precept.

Not many people would be offended if you denied an offer of meat. I do it all the time, and so far no one has been bothered. But, would you rather innocent beings die for you, or take the risk of someone maybe not liking you being vegetarian or vegan.

However, I try as well not to let it become a distraction. Most of the things I mentioned are second nature to me. So, none of it bothers my day to day life. If anything would be causing you harm, or causing you to become unmindful, do not partake. Taking things in small steps is best. :heart:

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:04 am

:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, may be why....

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:17 am

I have for a long while, taken this instruction to be accurate;

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... .html#meat

Is this correct of me, or should i seek further input?
I'm certain it exists as is evident by comments in this thread - would pointing me in a different direction, reveal different instruction?
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, may be why....

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:33 am

Pretty biased link; laments that "vegetarians want to impose their choice upon others" but its perfectly OK for meat eaters to impose their choices on others.....
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:39 am

:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, may be why....

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:52 am

rubbish, obviously you've never put yourself in the position of the vegetarian in these arguments....
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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TheNoBSBuddhist
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun Apr 13, 2014 12:01 pm

I AM a vegetarian, and have been for 30 years.

To date, I have never, ever been approached by a meat-eater and either been told my stance/opinion is wrong, or has a meat-eater tried to impose their views on me.
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, may be why....

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby seeker242 » Sun Apr 13, 2014 12:15 pm


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TheNoBSBuddhist
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun Apr 13, 2014 12:20 pm

:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, may be why....

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Apr 13, 2014 1:06 pm

"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
Dairy Lama

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TheNoBSBuddhist
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun Apr 13, 2014 1:18 pm

:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, may be why....

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Spiny Norman
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Apr 13, 2014 1:20 pm

"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
Dairy Lama

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TheNoBSBuddhist
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun Apr 13, 2014 1:29 pm

:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, may be why....


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