the great vegetarian debate

Where members are free to take ideas from the Theravāda Canon out of the Theravāda framework. Here you can question rebirth, kamma (and other contentious issues) as well as examine Theravāda's connection to other paths
chownah
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby chownah » Sun Feb 23, 2014 3:44 pm

daverupa wrote:
chownah wrote: I remember the Buddha said something like after you cut up a cow you refer to it as meat and not as cow.


This is from the Mahasatipatthana Sutta, where the Buddha discusses observing elements of the body in the way that a cut-up cow is observed to be meat parts, and not whole cow. I think Buddhaghosa comments further in the Vsm.

Thanks for that! It is the Buddhaghosa comment that I remembered but I didn't remember it as being commentarial. I don't take the commentaries too seriously so I won't be taking this as bolstering my bluster any longer but for those who like commentarial stuff this might give them another perspective.
Thanks again,
chownah

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lyndon taylor
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:10 pm

It seems what the buddha is saying is once you cut a cow up into pieces it becomes cow meat, and is no longer a whole cow, how this relates to the topic of vegetarianism, I am not sure.
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 that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John

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seeker242
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby seeker242 » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:50 pm

chownah wrote:Seeker242 wrote: " A farmer who raises animals and does not kill them, but sells them to a slaughterhouse, is still engaged in wrong livelihood. "

I think this is wrong. I think the Buddha never taught this. Is there a Sutta reference which says this?
chownah


Yes, the sutta I posted before, and the other discussion where Bhikkhu Pesala translated the pali of the sutta and the sutta's commentary.

Maṃsavaṇijjāti sūkaramigādayo posetvā tesaṃ vikkayo.
Trading in meat means, having raised pigs or deer, etc., he sells them.

There is no requirement mentioned that you need to kill the animal yourself in order for it to be a wrong livelihood. If you are looking for a sutta that mentions that this is not mentioned, such a thing does not exist. The commentary on the sutta indicates that this is most definitely wrong livelihood. Although, since only a bhikkhu has the authority to interpret such suttas, only a bhikkhu can say authoritatively say it is or isn't. I have never heard any bhikkhu say it isn't. Out of all the comments I have seen made about this by any bhikkhu, all I have seen them say is that it is. I assume they know what they are talking about. After all, it is the bhikkhu-sangha that has the sole authority in interpreting the suttas.

:anjali:

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Mkoll
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Mkoll » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:56 pm

daverupa wrote:In terms of this thread, it's notable that the Buddha used butchering processes as a simile, instead of as a moral soapbox...


lyndon taylor wrote:It seems what the buddha is saying is once you cut a cow up into pieces it becomes cow meat, and is no longer a whole cow, how this relates to the topic of vegetarianism, I am not sure.


Exactly. The purpose of a simile is to illustrate a point with vivid language.

Drawing conclusions about the Buddha's views on the meat trade from a simile that happens to mention a slaughtered cow is ridiculous. If one took that route, one could make up all sorts of the "Buddha's conclusions" to suit one's opinions based on the plethora of similes in the Canon about lepers, saws, bath powder, turtles, arrows, charcoal pits, blind men, etc.

"Business in meat" is wrong livelihood. That's clear to me: anyone who makes an economic profit in relation to the meat trade is doing wrong livelihood. The closer one is to the actual act of killing, the worse the kamma. Note that this doesn't include the consumer because they aren't making money from it. But the consumer who willingly goes out and buys meat may have a mind of wrong intention as right intention includes "harmlessness".
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:02 pm

seeker242 wrote:Although, since only a bhikkhu has the authority to interpret such suttas, only a bhikkhu can say authoritatively say it is or isn't. I have never heard any bhikkhu say it isn't.

After all, it is the bhikkhu-sangha that has the sole authority in interpreting the suttas.


Reference?

Several bhikkhus disagree over interpretation as much as, if not more so, than lay people. Several lay people have translated the Pali Canon. Several lay people taught the Dhamma during the time of the Buddha. Several lay people write Dhamma books in modern times and provide their interpretations. So I am curious as to this reference for only bhikkhus being allowed to interpret.

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Mkoll » Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:10 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
seeker242 wrote:Although, since only a bhikkhu has the authority to interpret such suttas, only a bhikkhu can say authoritatively say it is or isn't. I have never heard any bhikkhu say it isn't.

After all, it is the bhikkhu-sangha that has the sole authority in interpreting the suttas.


Reference?

Several bhikkhus disagree over interpretation as much as, if not more so, than lay people. Several lay people have translated the Pali Canon. Several lay people taught the Dhamma during the time of the Buddha. Several lay people write Dhamma books in modern times and provide their interpretations. So I am curious as to this reference for only bhikkhus being allowed to interpret.


I doubt there's a reference in the Canon. But the history of Theravada Buddhism makes it clear that what we have today is an interpretation of the Buddha's words by the monastic order. The teachings were passed down orally for hundreds of years by the monastic Sangha before they were written down. They had to be modified in such a way that they could be easliy remembered which is the reason for all the repetition and stock phrases in the suttas. Ven. Bodhi often talks about this in his talks. There are also many suttas that scholars doubt the authenticity of. And I think many of us who read the Canon may find suttas that seem corrupted, embellished, or added on to. Finally, the Pali Canon is only one version of the Buddha's teachings and there are other versions in Sanskrit and Chinese that may be different. Therefore, I conclude that much of the Buddha's teachings in the Canon are an interpretation of the monastic Sangha.

I'm not agreeing with seeker242 because in the end each person has to come to their own conclusion of the Dhamma via practice. That's why a stock phrase of the stream-enterer is "one who has become independent of others" in his understanding of Dhamma.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby culaavuso » Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:18 pm

Mkoll wrote:That's why a stock phrase of the stream-enterer is "one who has become independent of others" in his understanding of Dhamma.


This stock phrase seems to suggest that interpretations of the Dhamma by the Ariya Sangha are best to take as authoritative. Of course, this leaves the identification of Ariya Sangha as an exercise in discernment.

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby cooran » Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:24 pm

Great care was taken during the time of the Buddha and right down to the present day to ensure the Teachings were accurately passed down and not altered or corrupted - by the chanting together of the Banakas:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=211#p10529

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:29 pm

Yes of course the 500 arahants (all monastics) recited the five Nikayas and Vinaya at the First Council, but they are not here now. I am referring to modern times and how both monastic and lay interpret the Suttas.

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Mkoll » Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:35 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:Yes of course the 500 arahants (all monastics) recited the five Nikayas and Vinaya at the First Council, but they are not here now. I am referring to modern times and how both monastic and lay interpret the Suttas.

Right. And I agree that there are many contemporary and historical interpretations.

culaavuso wrote:
Mkoll wrote:That's why a stock phrase of the stream-enterer is "one who has become independent of others" in his understanding of Dhamma.


This stock phrase seems to suggest that interpretations of the Dhamma by the Ariya Sangha are best to take as authoritative. Of course, this leaves the identification of Ariya Sangha as an exercise in discernment.


Right. But the middleman is one's own interpretation of their words. And that middleman must always be there to learn. In the end, it's up to each individual's discernment as you said.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:42 pm

Mkoll wrote:"Business in meat" is wrong livelihood. That's clear to me: anyone who makes an economic profit in relation to the meat trade is doing wrong livelihood. The closer one is to the actual act of killing, the worse the kamma. Note that this doesn't include the consumer because they aren't making money from it. But the consumer who willingly goes out and buys meat may have a mind of wrong intention as right intention includes "harmlessness".


Who can possibly be closer to the actual killing than the person who actually creates the demand and pays in full for the slaughter and killing, not to mention the raising of the animal, which would be you, the consumer.
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 that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby culaavuso » Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:10 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:Who can possibly be closer to the actual killing than the person who pays in full for the slaughter and killing, not to mention the raising of the animal, which would be you, the consumer.


From Ven. Bhikkhu Pesala's post in another thread:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:A householder who purchases meat from the shops is not guilty of breaking the first precept unless buying from a market stall that kills live poultry, sea-food, etc., to order. The same applies to a restaurateur who purchases meat for resale in his restaurant.

This topic is an emotive one, and the crux of the debate between vegetarians/vegans and meat-eaters. The fact is that no one can eat meat or fish unless killing is done by someone. However, unless one instigates that killing in some way, there is no kamma of killing living-beings.


This appears to distinguish two cases based on causality. In one case a purchase directly instigates a slaughter. In the other case the slaughter happens independently, meaning the act of purchase does not directly instigate that killing.

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Mkoll » Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:12 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:
Mkoll wrote:"Business in meat" is wrong livelihood. That's clear to me: anyone who makes an economic profit in relation to the meat trade is doing wrong livelihood. The closer one is to the actual act of killing, the worse the kamma. Note that this doesn't include the consumer because they aren't making money from it. But the consumer who willingly goes out and buys meat may have a mind of wrong intention as right intention includes "harmlessness".


Who can possibly be closer to the actual killing than the person who actually creates the demand and pays in full for the slaughter and killing, not to mention the raising of the animal, which would be you, the consumer.

I don't buy meat.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:54 pm

culaavuso wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:Who can possibly be closer to the actual killing than the person who pays in full for the slaughter and killing, not to mention the raising of the animal, which would be you, the consumer.


From Ven. Bhikkhu Pesala's post in another thread:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:A householder who purchases meat from the shops is not guilty of breaking the first precept unless buying from a market stall that kills live poultry, sea-food, etc., to order. The same applies to a restaurateur who purchases meat for resale in his restaurant.

This topic is an emotive one, and the crux of the debate between vegetarians/vegans and meat-eaters. The fact is that no one can eat meat or fish unless killing is done by someone. However, unless one instigates that killing in some way, there is no kamma of killing living-beings.


This appears to distinguish two cases based on causality. In one case a purchase directly instigates a slaughter. In the other case the slaughter happens independently, meaning the act of purchase does not directly instigate that killing.


So hypothetically, if I hire someone to kill you, and they do, its all their fault and I have nothing to do with it??? Sorry I don't buy that, its just not logical, neither is Bhikku Pesalas arguement on meat eating(on his website), IMHO. its a simple case of the killers, blaming the hired killers that do the actual killing and claiming innocence even though they payed for the killing......

Obviously the person who buys the meat, pays the butcher, pays the animal raising farmer, pays the meat distributor's profit etc etc has more than a little to do with the killing, and if the consumers stopped buying and paying for it all, the killing would stop too.
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 that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby culaavuso » Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:35 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:
culaavuso wrote:From Ven. Bhikkhu Pesala's post in another thread:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:A householder who purchases meat from the shops is not guilty of breaking the first precept unless buying from a market stall that kills live poultry, sea-food, etc., to order. The same applies to a restaurateur who purchases meat for resale in his restaurant.

This topic is an emotive one, and the crux of the debate between vegetarians/vegans and meat-eaters. The fact is that no one can eat meat or fish unless killing is done by someone. However, unless one instigates that killing in some way, there is no kamma of killing living-beings.


This appears to distinguish two cases based on causality. In one case a purchase directly instigates a slaughter. In the other case the slaughter happens independently, meaning the act of purchase does not directly instigate that killing.


So hypothetically, if I hire someone to kill you, and they do, its all their fault and I have nothing to do with it???


That would be the first case mentioned above, where the purchase directly instigates the killing. Thus by the logic quoted above hiring a killer in that way would be a violation of the first precept.

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:04 am

If you truly think the animals you are eating were killed completely independent of your eating them and paying for them to be killed, then you do not seem to understand the laws of cause and effect. Your eating animals is causing animals to be killed, pure and simple.

Kind of like if you are driving a very smoky polluting car, are you polluting the environment, or is it all the fault of the cars manufacturer, when you could easily junk your car and purchase a less polluting car, or ride a bicycle. Its about taking responsibility for your actions, the traditional Therevada position sanctioning meat eating, but not killing, is not taking responsibility, but playing the blame game.

Anyway a lot of misinformation is being spread on the Buddha's position, how about some scriptural evidence that the buddha ever said buying meat at the market that had been killed for consumption was permissible?????
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 that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:33 am

lyndon taylor wrote:Anyway a lot of misinformation is being spread on the Buddha's position, how about some scriptural evidence that the buddha ever said buying meat at the market that had been killed for consumption was permissible?????


Anguttara Nikaya 8.2 (summary of the relevant passage):

After hearing a Dhamma talk by the Buddha, (the military commander) General Siha addresses one of his staff and tells them to go to the market to purchase some meat for the Sangha. The Niganthas (Jains) complain that the Buddha and his monks will be eating meat from an animal killed for them. But the Buddha explains that no animal was killed specifically for the meat according to the 3 fold rule. The passage does not specifically state whether the Buddha ate the meat or not. Later it is reported that the "pure stainless eye of the Teaching appeared to the general Siha seated there itself; Whatever arisen thing has the nature of ceasing" (Anguttara Nikaya 8.2) which implies that he attained stream entry (sotapanna). This suggests that lay people can purchase meat without violating the First Precept since it is an indirect connection and no specific animal ordered to be killed.

However, in spite of the above, I still choose vegetarian for myself, since I find it in the spirit of the First Precept and ahimsa, even if it is not specially commanded or recommended. But you got to admit, the above passage is probably the most convincing statement on the issue that meat eaters may not be violating the First Precept. Of course on the vegetarian side, there are plenty of other statements by the Buddha against killing or causing to kill, but in this instance General Siha actually goes to the market to purchase meat and the Buddha does not stop him nor scold him.

Full passage here: http://obo.genaud.net/dhamma-vinaya/pts ... re.pts.htm

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby seeker242 » Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:29 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
seeker242 wrote:Although, since only a bhikkhu has the authority to interpret such suttas, only a bhikkhu can say authoritatively say it is or isn't. I have never heard any bhikkhu say it isn't.

After all, it is the bhikkhu-sangha that has the sole authority in interpreting the suttas.


Reference?

Several bhikkhus disagree over interpretation as much as, if not more so, than lay people. Several lay people have translated the Pali Canon. Several lay people taught the Dhamma during the time of the Buddha. Several lay people write Dhamma books in modern times and provide their interpretations. So I am curious as to this reference for only bhikkhus being allowed to interpret.


Good question. I thought it was just a given according to tradition! But anyway, I would say what the others have already said. Don't have any sutta references. :) Although, I think it's quite reasonable to think if a person interprets them in a manner that significantly differs from the opinion of many, most, if not all, bhikkhus, then it's highly unlikely that the bhikkhus are the ones who are misinterpreting it. For example, some people try to interpret the suttas to support a belief in some kind of soul entity, etc. because they personally believe in such an entity. Or that rebirth is just and only a metaphor, etc. But I think when you look at the opinion of the bhikkhu-sangha as a whole, I think it's safe to say that these interpretations are misinterpretations.

:anjali:

lyndon taylor wrote:
Who can possibly be closer to the actual killing than the person who actually creates the demand and pays in full for the slaughter and killing, not to mention the raising of the animal, which would be you, the consumer.


I think it's clear that the person who actually wields the sword to slit the animals neck is the one closest to the killing, since they are doing it by their own actual hands. But do think it's a mistake to think that the purchaser is entirely unconnected. The intentional act of the purchase I would say creates a connection. But not nearly as bad of a connection as the person who wields the sword or saw with their own hand though.

:anjali:

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby chownah » Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:40 am

seeker242 wrote:
chownah wrote:Seeker242 wrote: " A farmer who raises animals and does not kill them, but sells them to a slaughterhouse, is still engaged in wrong livelihood. "

I think this is wrong. I think the Buddha never taught this. Is there a Sutta reference which says this?
chownah


Yes, the sutta I posted before, and the other discussion where Bhikkhu Pesala translated the pali of the sutta and the sutta's commentary.

:anjali:

The Sutta you posted before most certainly does not speak of raising animals at all....it only talks about a business in meat......on that Sutta the Buddha dies not say that raising animals is part of the business in meat....there is no mention made at all of the raising of the animal. It is only some people's interpretations of the Sutta which include anything about the raising of the animal....and what you don't mention is that there are a lot of people who interpret it differently.

All animals are born and so they must die.......you seem to be saying that if someone raises an animal then that person in some way becomes responsible for the animal's death......if this was true I really think that the Buddha would have mentioned it as one of the very important laws of kamma.....it would have been very easy for the Buddha to have made explicit statements about this issue but he did not as far as I know...........maybe it is a matter of intent....maybe it is a matter of intent....maybe it is a matter of intent....maybe it is a matter of intent....maybe it is a matter of intent....when someone asked the Buddha what kamma was, what dido he say?.........intent....
chownah

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Mkoll » Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:08 am

chownah wrote:All animals are born and so they must die.......you seem to be saying that if someone raises an animal then that person in some way becomes responsible for the animal's death


You're right in that the actual raising of the animal is not evidence of responsibility in the animal's death. But the moment that person who has raised the animal sells or gives it to someone who they know will slaughter it, there is responsibility.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa


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