the great vegetarian debate

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
chownah
Posts: 4358
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby chownah » Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:51 pm

Thanks Aloka!
Seems like a pretty clear statement.......and I might add that the Buddha does not backpedal from this statement in other parts of the Sutta if I remember correctly.....for those who think he might have backed off from this statement I suggest going to the Sutta and reading it in full.....if this is news to someone it is probably good to read the entire Sutta anyway.
chownah

User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
Posts: 9647
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:03 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:In other words there is this one case where the Buddha did not scold the General for buying meat at the market, but in other cases he does scold or stop lay members from buying meat at the market, or do I have this wrong David????


Yes, you have this wrong. Here is what I posted after that:

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=9229&start=2500#p281512

No, that is the only incident that I know of either way (scolding or not scolding) where it comes up where a lay person purchases meat. And in that one instance, the Buddha did not stop him, as I mentioned.

The only other incident that comes close is a Brahmin who was planning a large sacrifice which consisted of 3,500 animals of cattle and goats. Typically the meat of sacrificed animals are ate by the participants of the festival. The Buddha explains to him that a bloodless sacrifice is much better, such as giving gifts of generosity and practicing the precepts. He explains about a king who practices sacrifices of generosity for his people and how "in this sacrifice, Brahmin, no bulls were slain, no goats, or sheep, no cocks and pigs, nor were various living beings subject to slaughter."
(Digha Nikaya 5.18)

Babadhari
Posts: 459
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:23 pm
Location: lalita ghat

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Babadhari » Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:34 pm

was the Buddha instrumental in India becoming predominantly vegetarian???
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28

User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
Posts: 2995
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:52 pm

kitztack wrote:was the Buddha instrumental in India becoming predominantly vegetarian???
Though India has one of the highest rates of vegetarianism, and those who do eat meat, do so irregularly, only about 30-40% of Indians are vegetarians.

Jainism and Hinduism probably had more to do with it than Buddhism, which is now a minority religion. In countries that are predominantly Buddhist, vegetarianism is quite low. From my experience, Sri Lankan Buddhists eat less meat than Thais or Burmese, though they still usually eat fish. Western or Indian Buddhists are the most likely to be vegetarian.
AIM WebsitePāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4537
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:30 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:The buddha always taught that intention was closely linked to action, in fact when he mentions intention, it is often assumed that intention results in an action, the idea that intention without any action equals kamma is a stretch at best.

Kamma is also cause and effect, the intention might be a cause, and the effect can be an action.



The ethical content of an action is defined by the intent

Thats a world away from your argument that buying meat in a supermarket = negative kamma because it results in animals being killed


If something results in the killing of animals that doesnt mean its unwholesome, its the intent that defines it
The dogmatists have claimed to have found the truth, others say that it cannot be apprehended; the Sceptics continue the search.
Sextus Empiricus

User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4537
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:42 pm

Perhaps, but even if there is no intention to cause harm, what if the action is simply a product of ignorance or a product of denial? Perhaps one can say that if a person is completely oblivious to the harm being caused, then one can say it's not unwholesome because they are oblivious to the whole situation. However, if a person becomes fully aware of the harm being caused, actually does have a choice in the matter, but chooses to ignore the fact that this harm is being caused and just does whatever, I don't think it can be called completely blameless anymore because the person is now fully aware of the fact that their choice equates with causing more harm.

If you are fully aware that one choice causes more harm than another, but choose the more harmful one because of some other reason, you could say the intent is not to cause harm but rather simply to enjoy whatever the more harmful choice brings. However, full knowledge and awareness of one choice being more harmful than the other, and choosing the more harmful one for some unrelated reason, still seems to me to bring an element of blamefulness into the picture. Because in order to do that, you have to essentially ignore the fact that you are choosing a more harmful option when you could be choosing a less harmful option. Now if choosing the more harmful option is a matter of real necessity, AKA you actually don't have a choice in the matter, then all of that would not apply.




I agree however there could be a situation where someone is aware, yet still buys the meat because its all they can afford to feed their family. In that case is that unwholesome or wholesome intent (Kamma)?
The dogmatists have claimed to have found the truth, others say that it cannot be apprehended; the Sceptics continue the search.
Sextus Empiricus

User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4537
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:52 pm

Maybe buying meat from a supermarket could be seen as "mixed" Kamma?


"And what is kamma that is dark & bright with dark & bright result? There is the case where a certain person fabricates a bodily fabrication that is injurious & non-injurious ... a verbal fabrication that is injurious & non-injurious ... a mental fabrication that is injurious & non-injurious ... He rearises in an injurious & non-injurious world ... There he is touched by injurious & non-injurious contacts ... He experiences injurious & non-injurious feelings, pleasure mingled with pain, like those of human beings, some devas, and some beings in the lower realms. This is called kamma that is dark & bright with dark & bright result.




http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
The dogmatists have claimed to have found the truth, others say that it cannot be apprehended; the Sceptics continue the search.
Sextus Empiricus

User avatar
seeker242
Posts: 556
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:01 am

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby seeker242 » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:17 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Perhaps, but even if there is no intention to cause harm, what if the action is simply a product of ignorance or a product of denial? Perhaps one can say that if a person is completely oblivious to the harm being caused, then one can say it's not unwholesome because they are oblivious to the whole situation. However, if a person becomes fully aware of the harm being caused, actually does have a choice in the matter, but chooses to ignore the fact that this harm is being caused and just does whatever, I don't think it can be called completely blameless anymore because the person is now fully aware of the fact that their choice equates with causing more harm.

If you are fully aware that one choice causes more harm than another, but choose the more harmful one because of some other reason, you could say the intent is not to cause harm but rather simply to enjoy whatever the more harmful choice brings. However, full knowledge and awareness of one choice being more harmful than the other, and choosing the more harmful one for some unrelated reason, still seems to me to bring an element of blamefulness into the picture. Because in order to do that, you have to essentially ignore the fact that you are choosing a more harmful option when you could be choosing a less harmful option. Now if choosing the more harmful option is a matter of real necessity, AKA you actually don't have a choice in the matter, then all of that would not apply.


I agree however there could be a situation where someone is aware, yet still buys the meat because its all they can afford to feed their family. In that case is that unwholesome or wholesome intent (Kamma)?


I don't think it would be unwholesome if there really is no choice in the matter. Even in Mahayana, eating meat is blameless if it really is a matter of necessity.

:anjali:

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: Western or Indian Buddhists are the most likely to be vegetarian.


I would say that is probably true of Theravada Buddhists. But out of all of Buddhism, I would say east asian Mahayana are the most likely out of everyone. Monks of many of these traditions are required by vows to be vegetarian, with Japanese being the exception. Of course not all laypeople follow that prohibition on the eating of meat, but many do.

:anjali:

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6259
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:18 pm

chownah wrote:Cittasanto,
Nothing is necessary for Buddhists.
chownah

care to elaborate?
Are you keeping with the specific context of this thread or a more general statement?

Regards
Cittasanto
“Mendicants, these two [types of persons] defame the Tathāgata.
(The mendicants asked) What are the two [types of persons]?
(The Lord Buddha responded) The malicious, or the inwardly angry, and the one with (blind) faith or the one who holds things incorrectly.
Mendicants, these two [types of persons] defame the Tathāgata.”
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.
"Others will misconstrue reality based on personal perspectives, firmly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our personal perspectives, nor firmly holding them, but easily discarded."

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6259
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:32 pm

Hi Lyndon,
Who are you addressing this too?
lyndon taylor wrote:I would say vegetarianism is reccomended for anyone, not only by the buddha, but by reasoning of reducing beings suffering as much as possible, its obvious the Buddha was realistic enough to not try to enforce a complete ban on meat eating, but to say there is no difference between meat eating and vegetarianism, and that it doesn't matter what you eat, is not supported by the Buddha in the scripture, its obvious that the Buddha was an animal lover that wanted to reduce suffering for all creatures, vegetarianism just does a lot better job of that than meat eating, a reduction of suffering, not an elimination of such.
“Mendicants, these two [types of persons] defame the Tathāgata.
(The mendicants asked) What are the two [types of persons]?
(The Lord Buddha responded) The malicious, or the inwardly angry, and the one with (blind) faith or the one who holds things incorrectly.
Mendicants, these two [types of persons] defame the Tathāgata.”
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.
"Others will misconstrue reality based on personal perspectives, firmly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our personal perspectives, nor firmly holding them, but easily discarded."

chownah
Posts: 4358
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby chownah » Thu Feb 27, 2014 3:17 am

Cittasanto wrote:
chownah wrote:Cittasanto,
Nothing is necessary for Buddhists.
chownah

care to elaborate?
Are you keeping with the specific context of this thread or a more general statement?

Regards
Cittasanto

This was a comment which was meant to accompany your query about what is wrong with the argument that vegetarianism is not necessary for Buddhists.......or something like that. My thoughts were that conjectures concerning things which might or might not be necessary for Buddhists arise they tend to obscure the (in my view) much more important idea that really nothing is necessary for Buddhists. At the time I posted it seemed to fit in with the discussion but I see now that I just sort of threw out the sound bite and there really wasn't any obvious place for it to land.
chownah

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6259
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:20 am

chownah wrote:This was a comment which was meant to accompany your query about what is wrong with the argument that vegetarianism is not necessary for Buddhists.......or something like that. My thoughts were that conjectures concerning things which might or might not be necessary for Buddhists arise they tend to obscure the (in my view) much more important idea that really nothing is necessary for Buddhists. At the time I posted it seemed to fit in with the discussion but I see now that I just sort of threw out the sound bite and there really wasn't any obvious place for it to land.
chownah

Hi Chownah,
Thank-you for the clarification, I Thought that is what you were saying :)
“Mendicants, these two [types of persons] defame the Tathāgata.
(The mendicants asked) What are the two [types of persons]?
(The Lord Buddha responded) The malicious, or the inwardly angry, and the one with (blind) faith or the one who holds things incorrectly.
Mendicants, these two [types of persons] defame the Tathāgata.”
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.
"Others will misconstrue reality based on personal perspectives, firmly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our personal perspectives, nor firmly holding them, but easily discarded."

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6259
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:41 am

clw_uk wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:The buddha always taught that intention was closely linked to action, in fact when he mentions intention, it is often assumed that intention results in an action, the idea that intention without any action equals kamma is a stretch at best.

Kamma is also cause and effect, the intention might be a cause, and the effect can be an action.



The ethical content of an action is defined by the intent

Thats a world away from your argument that buying meat in a supermarket = negative kamma because it results in animals being killed


If something results in the killing of animals that doesnt mean its unwholesome, its the intent that defines it

May be relevant to point out that action can be via Body, speech, or mind. the act does not need to be externalised for it to have a kammic effect. However, the intent is still defining force.
“Mendicants, these two [types of persons] defame the Tathāgata.
(The mendicants asked) What are the two [types of persons]?
(The Lord Buddha responded) The malicious, or the inwardly angry, and the one with (blind) faith or the one who holds things incorrectly.
Mendicants, these two [types of persons] defame the Tathāgata.”
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.
"Others will misconstrue reality based on personal perspectives, firmly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our personal perspectives, nor firmly holding them, but easily discarded."

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6259
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:22 am

Cittasanto wrote:I have asked this earlier in the thread, but as I recently seen it come up again, I will ask again.

How is the argument that vegetarianism is not necessary for Buddhists faulty?
Not a trick question Go through the points and point out the flaws in the logic and show how it is loopy (as the one who re-raised this question called it).

Just to help people along here are four arguments from http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/dha ... /fdd21.htm. I will put any addition I make in square brackets[], or if I reword it in {}

(1) If the Buddha had felt that a meatless diet was in accordance with the Precepts he would have said so and in the Pali Tipitaka at least, he did not.[Devadatta's rule not being taken up at the first schism being an example]


(2) Unless one {intentionally} kills an animal oneself {through body speech or mind} (which seldom happens today) by eating meat one is not directly responsible for the animal's death and in this sense the non-vegetarian is no different from the vegetarian. The latter can only eat his vegetables because the farmer has ploughed his fields (thus killing many creatures) and sprayed the crop (again killing many creatures).


(3) While the vegetarian will not eat meat he does use numerous other products that lead to animals being killed (soap, leather, serum, silk[, medicine] etc.) Why abstain from one while using the others? [This is not an argument I have seen in a Buddhist context, but valid when addressing hardline animal rights proponents to point out a double standard. And in my opinion, quite useless as an argument in opposition as it stands.]


(4) Good qualities like understanding, patience, generosity and honesty and bad qualities like ignorance, pride, hypocrisy, jealousy and indifference do not depend on what one eats and therefore diet is not a significant factor in spiritual development.[An example from the suttas can be found in the Amagandha sutta - "When men are rough and harsh, backbiting, treacherous, without compassion, haughty, ungenerous and do not give anything to anybody; this is uncleanness and not the eating of flesh."


so where is the faulty logic
“Mendicants, these two [types of persons] defame the Tathāgata.
(The mendicants asked) What are the two [types of persons]?
(The Lord Buddha responded) The malicious, or the inwardly angry, and the one with (blind) faith or the one who holds things incorrectly.
Mendicants, these two [types of persons] defame the Tathāgata.”
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.
"Others will misconstrue reality based on personal perspectives, firmly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our personal perspectives, nor firmly holding them, but easily discarded."

User avatar
lyndon taylor
Posts: 1257
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:41 pm
Location: Redlands, Southern California, USA
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:53 am

The faulty logic is you are thinking with your mind, intellectually and not with your heart, with feeling, you know full well you have something to do with animals death if you eat meat and yet you insist on these vain rationalisations.
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

User avatar
Anagarika
Posts: 903
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:25 pm

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Anagarika » Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:39 pm

This is why the issue of meat eating is an interesting one for Buddhists. The argument develops into a moral or ethical argument, vs. a Dhammic debate. It seems clear that the Dhamma does not proscribe the eating of certain kinds of meat. While the Buddha's admonitions were most often directed at his monks, and there may have been dana reasons why the monks were not required to refuse offered meat, it seems fairly clear that the Dhamma does not absolutely prescribe vegetarianism. The question then becomes one of personal ethics, and it's really hard to have a calm debate over personal ethics, as the issues are personal.

So, much as the Buddha tried to suggest, we need to use this Dhamma as a lamp to light our own path. I choose to be 99 percent vegetarian, as I have said before, because we torture and abuse our feedstock animals in my country. Many animals are highly sentient, and I'd not eat cow or pig just as I'd not eat my dogs, whom I rather love. I don't want to be part of that chain of commerce, so I object by not buying and eating meat. The 1 percent is that one time a month when I eat some fish for the sake of nutrients, or when I am visiting family and need to eat something.

To argue vegetarianism along strict Dhamma lines is a losing argument. To argue it along ethical lines is an ethics argument, and as we all know, reasonable and ethical men and women can differ on these points.

User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4537
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby clw_uk » Thu Feb 27, 2014 3:21 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:The faulty logic is you are thinking with your mind, intellectually and not with your heart, with feeling, you know full well you have something to do with animals death if you eat meat and yet you insist on these vain rationalisations.



And so do you with your diet
The dogmatists have claimed to have found the truth, others say that it cannot be apprehended; the Sceptics continue the search.
Sextus Empiricus

User avatar
lyndon taylor
Posts: 1257
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:41 pm
Location: Redlands, Southern California, USA
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Thu Feb 27, 2014 3:41 pm

Dhamma is Truth in the absolute sense, and not all Dhamma is represented in the scripture, and presumably not all teachings in the scripture are actually Dhamma, though we can hope most of them are.

The truth is the meat industry today causes untold suffering for animals, which isn't necessary from a health perspective, The Buddha taught the dhamma is about reducing suffering and to apply that to animals as well as humans seems quite logical, though open for debate.

As to whether the buddha encouraged meat eating or vegetarianism, I think its quite clear that he discouraged meat eating by making it more difficult to acquire meat in a skillful way, but taught that vegetarianism was a good option without making it a rule. From the scripture it appears the Buddha had very little meat in his diet, roughly only 5 recorded meat dinners out of 100 vegetarian ones, so this obviously doesn't fit the model of a big carnivore.

This is where you have to use your own judgement, if you feel your eating meat is causing suffering for animals, then perhaps you need to think about significantly reducing or eliminating your meat eating. That is if you are truly trying to reduce suffering for all beings. If you just love the taste of meat and can't live without it, be honest about it instead of coming up with bogus anti vegetarian arguments to try and justify your desires. Meat eating and vegetarianism are not morally equivalent from a logical or even environmental perspective, just like coal burning fuel and nuclear power are not morally equivalent to solar and wind power in terms of their effect on the environment.
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

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6259
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:48 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:The faulty logic is you are thinking with your mind, intellectually and not with your heart, with feeling, you know full well you have something to do with animals death if you eat meat and yet you insist on these vain rationalisations.

Do not tell me what I do and do not know, it is an arrogant idiocy when there was a question unaddressed. And you do not know my diet.

If you can not address the points or other points you know of (while stating what that point is) you are only showing your own fallaciousness.
“Mendicants, these two [types of persons] defame the Tathāgata.
(The mendicants asked) What are the two [types of persons]?
(The Lord Buddha responded) The malicious, or the inwardly angry, and the one with (blind) faith or the one who holds things incorrectly.
Mendicants, these two [types of persons] defame the Tathāgata.”
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.
"Others will misconstrue reality based on personal perspectives, firmly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our personal perspectives, nor firmly holding them, but easily discarded."

User avatar
lyndon taylor
Posts: 1257
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:41 pm
Location: Redlands, Southern California, USA
Contact:

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:59 pm

Well like it or not people respond to what you post in your comments, if your comments are not representative of your views then you are just trolling.
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


Return to “Connections to Other Paths”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 31 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine