Peter wrote:Monks cannot handle money and so cannot buy anything. My question, as I have said perhaps a half-dozen times already, has to do with a lay person purchasing meat. If your contention is that this teaching does not apply to lay people I would be interested in hearing your reasoning. It is quite possible that while both lay and monastics are advised to abstain from killing, only monastics need to abstain from urging another to kill. I don't know; my initial assumption was this teaching applies to both monastic and lay.
Yes, of course that's true that a monk cannot buy anything. And I'm sorry if you feel that you are needlessly repeating yourself again and again, but if you wish to drill down to this very specific teaching and define the discussion in a very focused way, then I want to be sure that I'm being responsive, because obviously this topic has broader ramifications than just those you are asking about.
In order to have the discussion within the parameters you have defined, I think an underlying issue is the degree to which Vinaya rules are a basis for determining what is kusula conduct for householders. I would say that broadly, teachings about killing and kusala and so on are applicable to both monks and lay, but I think there is danger in taking the specific Vinaya requirements and trying to extract from them any broad generalizations about what is kusala or akusala for lay followers. My reasoning is as follows: The Vinaya was intended to help the bikkhu community know how to remain in communion. The Vinaya was not intended to instruct householders in how to distinguish kusala from akusala. I understand and accept that my reasoning may be flawed, and I welcome feedback.
Is it your assumption that Vinaya codes are intended to instruct householders in how to conduct themselves? If so, can you provide your reasoning?
Peter wrote:Then please be so kind as to present a case wherein:
a] a person buying meat is urging the seller to kill
b] a person buying meat is not urging the seller to kill
I'm not sure I really want to be drawn into endless hypotheticals, but:
a] you go to an organic chicken farm and select your live chicken to be butchered.
b] you go to the neighborhood retail grocery store and purchase a pre-killed, CAFO-bred chicken from a grocery employee who earns minimum wage.
Frankly, for the householder, I believe an argument could be made that [a] is more kusula than [b] if choosing between these two hypothetical scenarios, all other things being equal.
Peter wrote:In other words, if you claim it depends on the circumstances, then you should be able to illustrate exactly what sort of circumstance you are talking about.
I do not wish to make claims that are unsupportable, so thank you for challenging me. But please remember that anyone can build any hypothetical to support any kind of strange argument. Just because I can illustrate what sort of circumstances I'm talking about doesn't mean that my hypotheticals will be better teachers than real-life situations that you confront in the present moment.