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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Sekha
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Sekha » Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:01 pm

Nicro wrote:If you don't want to eat cabbages because the farmer kills rabbits and insects, then you can't eat anything. All vegetables and fruit entail tilling the soil, killing many creatures, and protecting the crops from small animals and insects via killing them.

I'm vegetarian, but it has nothing to do with Dhamma.

read my post in full. I give the solution to this problem, which also occured to me:

If there is any other reasonable option, that option should be chosen. If there is no other reasonable option, one would truly purchase food without approving the killing of animals, even though killing is performed in the process independently from his will.

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:27 pm

Hi David,

Good post by Bhikkhu Pesala - I have read the forum rules - there is nothing there preventing a vegetarian entering and posting on this forum. But I have a suggestion - please consider changing the name of this form to something other than 'Dhammic' free-for all' ...because if dhammic as well as a-dhammic views are equally valid on this forum we shouldn't promote confusion- it is having an argument on apples and oranges.

:anjali:

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby morning mist » Thu Aug 04, 2011 3:26 pm

As I see it , Buddhist teaching is not against non-vegetarians nor is it against vegetarians. Vegetarians are not un-Buddhist and vice-versa. There are cases that vegetarians put down other's spiritual practices or judge their progress on the spiritual path based on what they eat. In the Maha-sihanada Sutta, the Buddha listed the unnecessary practices he picked up from other practitioners around the region during that time which includes being quite specific about what they eat. He said " by such conduct, by such practice, by such performance of austerities, I did not attain any superhuman states, any distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones." Therefore, he left out all these practices from the formula when teaching disciples and establishing his sangha:


"I thought: 'Suppose I were to practice going altogether without food.' ........."

"I thought: 'Suppose I were to take only a little food at a time, only a handful at a time of bean soup, lentil soup, vetch soup, or pea soup.' So I took only a little food at a time, only a handful at a time of bean soup, lentil soup, vetch soup, or pea soup. ....."

" I did not accept food brought or food specially made or an invitation to a meal; I received nothing from a pot, from a bowl, across a threshold, across a stick, across a pestle, from two eating together, from a pregnant woman, from a woman giving suck, from a woman lying with a man, from where food was advertised to be distributed, from where a dog was waiting, from where flies were buzzing; I accepted no fish or meat, I drank no liquor, wine or fermented brew. I kept to one house, to one morsel; I kept to two houses, to two morsels;... I kept to seven houses, to seven morsels. I lived on one saucerful a day, on two saucerfuls a day... on seven saucerfuls a day; I took food once a day, once every two days... once every seven days, and so on up to once every fortnight; I dwelt pursuing the practice of taking food at stated intervals. ........"Such was my scrupulousness, Sariputta, that I was always mindful in stepping forwards and stepping backwards. I was full of pity even for (the beings in) a drop of water thus: 'Let me not hurt the tiny creatures in the crevices of the ground.' Such was my scrupulousness.
........ "Sariputta, there are certain recluses and brahmans whose doctrine and view is this: 'Purification comes about through food.' They say: 'Let us live on beans'... 'Let us live on sesamum'... 'Let us live on rice,' and they eat rice, they eat rice powder, they drink rice water, and they make various kinds of rice concoctions. Now I recall having eaten a single rice grain a day........."Yet, Sariputta, by such conduct, by such practice, by such performance of austerities, I did not attain any superhuman states, any distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones. Why was that? Because I did not attain that noble wisdom which when attained is noble and emancipating and leads the one who practices in accordance with it to the complete destruction of suffering." ( Maha Sihanada Sutta)

What people eat doesn't help or hinder their progress on the path to Enlightenment.

When it comes to the practice of compassion there are many outlets to put compassion into practice, eating vegetarian is just one of these outlets. Some might choose this as an outlet, but then there are numerous other outlets to practice compassion. There are people who are vegetarian due to being raised that way or because it is a rule instead of because they are practicing compassion. For this reason, you do see people eat vegetarian but encourage others to practice animal sacrifice, and no sign of compassion although being a vegetarian. This defeat the purpose of developing compassion and it does not help people develop compassion when it is made a rule or forced on people. If they choose to become vegetarian even when they are not required or criticized by authorities , then their eating vegetarian is more likely to be an expression of compassion. When you forbid people from being non-vegetarian , even if everyone in the country eat only vegetarian it still doesn't mean that these people are compassionate.

I would encourage people to eat less meat but for it to actually be an outlet to practice compassion , it should remain a free choice.
with metta,

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby morning mist » Thu Aug 04, 2011 4:31 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
morning mist wrote:For example, Hitler was a vegetarian.


By most accounts, Hitler just reduced meat from his diet for health reasons (no care for the animals). By some other accounts he ate meat all his life. Just google "hitler vegetarian myth" and you will see numerous references from his personal chef and other sources that he loved to eat Bavarian sausages and game pie ("game" meaning wild meat from birds and other creatures).

Otherwise, good post, good balanced points.


Maybe Hitler was a bad example, because it can be controversial. There are sources telling that during a meal with his subjects, some people ate chicken and he was said to say oh you're eating dead corpses , or something like that. But maybe you're right that his diet is not completely without animal product.

"The April 14, 1996, Sunday magazine edition of The New York Times, includes this description of Hitler's diet in an article first published on May 30, 1937, 'At Home With The Führer.' "'It is well known that Hitler is a vegetarian and does not drink or smoke. His lunch and dinner consist, therefore, for the most part of soup, eggs, vegetables and mineral water, although he occasionally relishes a slice of ham and relieves the tediousness of his diet with such delicacies as caviar ..."[18]

Traudl Junge, who became Hitler's secretary in 1942, reported that he "always avoided meat" but that his Austrian cook Kruemel sometimes added a little animal broth or fat to his meals. "Mostly the Fuehrer would notice the attempt at deception, would get very annoyed and then get tummy ache," Junge said. "At the end he would only let Kruemel cook him clear soup and mashed potato."[20]

In 1943, Marlene von Exner became Hitler's dietician and reportedly added bone marrow to his soups without his knowledge because she "despised" his vegetarian diet.[8]
with metta,

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Aug 04, 2011 4:50 pm

rowyourboat wrote:Good post by Bhikkhu Pesala - I have read the forum rules - there is nothing there preventing a vegetarian entering and posting on this forum. But I have a suggestion - please consider changing the name of this form to something other than 'Dhammic' free-for all' ...because if dhammic as well as a-dhammic views are equally valid on this forum we shouldn't promote confusion- it is having an argument on apples and oranges.


Hi Matheesha,

a-dhammic according to who? It is a-dhammic according to you, which again is a view. So, no we are not going to censor or delete any posts which you don't agree to, nor are we going to change the name of the forum.

There are sutta references that can be used to support either view on this highly controversial subject. Bhikkhu Pesala has done an excellent job at providing sutta references and support for one position and Dukkhanirodha has done an excellent job at providing sutta references and support for the other position. As well as some other posters who have made use of sutta references and dhammic teachings.

So all opinions and views are allowed here. In the end, we each must decide; but I suspect this will not be the end of this debate no matter how many of us repeat this point. :tongue:

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby morning mist » Thu Aug 04, 2011 5:57 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
morning mist wrote:I agree that Buddhism isn't vegetarianism, but it is also not against vegetarianism either.


That depends on a person's reasons for being a vegetarian, and how it affects the way that they relate to others..........
Its this over-scrupulous attitude and wrong understanding of what kamma is that makes some vegetarians so intolerant.


I think it is great that vegetarians motivate others to eat other types of food and we shouldn't put them down or think that it is un-buddhist. I think we should join in and eat less meat. Being vegetarian is compatible with Buddhism rather than going against it in any way . The Buddha would accept food from a vegetarian just as he would accept food from a non-vegetarian, without any preference. Ideally, if everyone follow "Right Livelihood" of the Eightfold Path then there would be no butcher selling meat, no one would kill an animal for meat if everyone follow the first precept, and there is no meat to buy. The result is a society of vegetarians, or at least something similar because there are animals who die naturally and people could eat that. So vegetarian is quite compatible with Buddhism and we should definitely support that.

However I see what you mean , I have seen cases of vegetarian put down other's spiritual practice simply because they eat meat as if a person who eat meat can't become enlightened or somehow failed in their practice or a person who is a vegetarian is more developed spiritually. This is clearly a misconception. There are also vegetarians asking the restaurant if their food was cooked with the same frying pan used for cooking non-veg food after they brought the food out. As if non-veg food is polluted. There are vegetarians who need eggs in their diet to recover from illnesses and made a great fuss with the doctor when they were given eggs. Some say, I rather die then to pollute my body with these substances. There are vegetarians that are very mean and rude to flight attendants and gave her a very hard time because the airline does not have enough kinds of vegetarian food. Some people are very strict about what they eat yet does not put any effort in wholesome moral conduct such as keeping the moral precepts at all. This is even worst than a meat eater who practice the 5 precept. There are vegetarians who doesn't eat meat but burn a poor person over an argument about a dog. There are vegetarians who treat "lower class " people like an animal. The reason for such person being a vegetarian is not out of compassion but as an attachment to rules and rituals. It does not make them more spiritually advanced in any way. In this case being a vegetarian does not help a person develop compassion in anyway.
with metta,

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:32 pm

rowyourboat wrote:... please consider changing the name of this form to something other than 'Dhammic' free-for all' ...because if dhammic as well as a-dhammic views are equally valid on this forum we shouldn't promote confusion- it is having an argument on apples and oranges.

The DFFA is a place where essentially all views of some relevance to the Dhamma can be discussed. In particular, it is the appropriate place to compare different Buddhist schools, or Buddhist paths with other paths (ancient or modern). Since some Buddhist schools do promote vegetarianism, it seems appropriate to discuss it here, just as it is appropriate to discuss Theravada vs Mahayana interpretations of Bodhisatt(v)as, etc.

:anjali:
Mike

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Paul Davy
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Paul Davy » Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:38 pm

Greetings,

mikenz66 wrote:The DFFA is a place where essentially all views of some relevance to the Dhamma can be discussed.

Yes... views need not dismissed as adhammic, merely for being heterodox.

Taking it upon ourselves to define what's dhammic vs what's adhammic? I think we know where that leads... :spy:

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

"Whether I were to preach in brief, Sāriputta, or whether I were to preach in detail, Sāriputta, or whether I were to preach both in brief or in detail, Sāriputta, rare are those who understand." (A I 333, Sāriputtasutta)

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:02 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Yes... views need not dismissed as adhammic, merely for being heterodox.

Taking it upon ourselves to define what's dhammic vs what's adhammic? I think we know where that leads... :spy:


Also, determining what is heterodox and not heterodox, like dhammic and a-dhammic, is also an opinion and view.

From one of Ashoka's edicts:

"Formerly, in the kitchen of Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadas [Ashoka], hundreds of
thousands of animals were killed every day to make curry. But now with the writing of this
Dhamma edict only three creatures, two peacocks and a deer are killed, and the deer not
always. And in time, not even these three creatures will be killed
."
(Gujarat, India)

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el386.html

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Ben
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Ben » Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:33 pm

Lets consider for a moment, that right now in the Horn of Africa, millions of people are facing starvation.
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Lazy_eye
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:24 am

Ben wrote:Lets consider for a moment, that right now in the Horn of Africa, millions of people are facing starvation.


And I can help them by frying up some steaks? How does meat consumption in affluent Western countries relieve global poverty? :thinking:

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby daverupa » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:34 am

Lazy_eye wrote:
Ben wrote:Lets consider for a moment, that right now in the Horn of Africa, millions of people are facing starvation.


And I can help them by frying up some steaks? How does meat consumption in affluent Western countries relieve global poverty? :thinking:


Thusly.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Ben
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Ben » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:40 am

It doesn't.
It was to give some people pause for thought to stop thinking about themselves and their preoccupation with what they put in their mouths (and those of others) and perhaps avert their attention to those who have nothing are fleeing famine, disease, lions and militia and are starving.

73577336_f51d0f7df8_o.jpg
73577336_f51d0f7df8_o.jpg (69.52 KiB) Viewed 951 times
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

alan
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the great vegetarian debate

Postby alan » Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:34 am

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, friends, but I must inform you that Soy is not healthful. Along with all the chemicals included in the ingredients of a typical veggie burger we find the insidious "yeast extract." Also known as MSG, a neurotoxin. Those "natural flavors" may be "non--meat", but what are they? Do you trust them to tell you the truth?
I get the veggie impulse. I respect it. But please be aware that food corporations exist to make money, and they will make it anyway they can. Exploiting the feelings of vegetarians is one way they do it. It is up to you to know these things. Don't be fooled!

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the great vegetarian debate

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:42 am

alan wrote:I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, friends, but I must inform you that Soy is not healthful. Along with all the chemicals included in the ingredients of a typical veggie burger we find the insidious "yeast extract." Also known as MSG, a neurotoxin. Those "natural flavors" may be "non--meat", but what are they? Do you trust them to tell you the truth?
I get the veggie impulse. I respect it. But please be aware that food corporations exist to make money, and they will make it anyway they can. Exploiting the feelings of vegetarians is one way they do it. It is up to you to know these things. Don't be fooled!
Probably still a lot safer than eating the usually raised and slaughtered cow.
    >> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<<
    -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

alan
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the great vegetarian debate

Postby alan » Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:49 am

Organic, free range animal meat is probably more healthful.

alan
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the great vegetarian debate

Postby alan » Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:57 am

I'm also concerned with the lack of healthy fats in the vegetarian diet.

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tiltbillings
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the great vegetarian debate

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 05, 2011 5:05 am

alan wrote:I'm also concerned with the lack of healthy fats in the vegetarian diet.
I am not.

alan wrote:Organic, free range animal meat is probably more healthful.
One of my co-workers raises cattle, free range, grass fed, etc., so when the round of slaughtering is due, you can come here and kill one. I am sure they give you a discount for doing that work..
    >> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<<
    -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

Reductor
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the great vegetarian debate

Postby Reductor » Fri Aug 05, 2011 5:21 am

Hey alan. I used to work in a feed mill. I haven't looked at steak the same way since. But being in the far north all cows here spend months eating man made feed, otherwise they die. The feed is heavy of husks from wheat and barley, and many many kilos of medication. We would put hundreds of pounds into their feed. Much of it was to prevent swelling of their digestive tracks from their rich diets, which would normally cause death.

And they were the least drugged of tye bunch. Don't get me started on pork. Gawd.

None of those drugs are listed on the animal product I have ever seen.

Sneaky food corporations indeed.

alan
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the great vegetarian debate

Postby alan » Fri Aug 05, 2011 5:33 am

No doubt that cattle are raised in horrible conditions. That is one reason why I don't consume beef.


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