the great vegetarian debate

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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:03 am

Peter wrote:No one kills people for the express purpose of creating medical cadavers.


Except in Scotland.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Burke
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby adeh » Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:10 am

Organic farms also use pesticides, it's just that they use organic pesticides. Chilli spray [for example] may be organic, but it still kills insects.
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby adeh » Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:12 am

Peter wrote:
No one kills people for the express purpose of creating medical cadavers.

Except in Scotland.

And in Brazil. :oops: Sorry it was in Columbia 15 years ago.
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Mar 06, 2009 4:05 am

Dhammanando wrote:
Peter wrote:No one kills people for the express purpose of creating medical cadavers.

Except in Scotland.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Burke

Yeah, it's funny you mention that. When I tried to look up how cadavers are normally aquired I came across that very case. Bizarre.
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby PeterB » Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:40 am

That was nearly two hundred years ago, we have moved on a little in Bonny Scotland. Now we just get drunk and crash our cars which provides a steady supply of cadavers. :o
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:56 am

Dhammanando wrote:
Peter wrote:No one kills people for the express purpose of creating medical cadavers.


Except in Scotland.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Burke


I may live in scotland now but where I am from we used scots and Irish folk as cadavers!
one of those out dated laws that never got over turned, but it does mean a scot or irish lad can be lawfully killed on a sunday during church with a bow and arrow if they are getting of a boat on the beach while wearing a kilt! not very specific but I am half scot anyhow so I wouldn't of partaken in half of it anyway :toilet:
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby Jason » Sun Mar 08, 2009 1:33 am

In Theravada, vegetarianism is not a requirement; however, does that mean that purchasing meat is the same as purchasing produce? My answer is no. Essentially, the meat that one purchases from the grocery store must come from an animal that has been deliberately killed; but, the same cannot be said about the fruits and vegetables that one purchases from the grocery store. Fruits and vegetables are not sentient beings, and harvesting them does not automatically entail the intentional killing of any sentient beings. If any sentient beings are killed in the harvesting of a fruit or vegetable, it is conceivable that it was accidental rather than deliberate. In the case of meat, that is not the case. The animal must almost always be deliberately killed by someone. It is true that purchasing meat from the grocery store does not ential the kamma of killing for the purchaser; however, a well-informed practitioner should be aware that an animal has to be deliberately killed for that meat to be available. Abstaining from eating meat does not free one from the web of killing and death, but it is hard to argue against the fact that doing so would at least help by not directly contributing to the meat industry that is built around the raising and killing of animals specifically for their flesh.

The way I see it, no source of food is 100% free from harming sentient beings, but the consumer does have the power to limit the amount of harm done. This can be achieved in many ways, e.g., not buying meat or at least buying meat from farmers and companies who treat their animals more humanely, buying eggs from farmers and companies who allow their hens to roam freely, buying produce from farmers and companies who do not use any pesticides, etc. So the consumer is not powerless. They can have an effect on how many animals are killed, the manner of their deaths or how they are treated in general, as well as the amount of pesticide-free produce that is sold, etc. When going to the super market, for example, that particular store keeps a record of all purchases and uses that information towards influencing store policy. Theoretically, if the the majority of consumers cease buying meat, the demand for meat will go down and less animals will need to be killed in order to meet the demand. In addition, if the majority of consumers who do purchase meat and dairy products purchase them from farmers and companies who treat and kill the animals in a more humane fashion, other companies will naturally follow suit due to the potential profit of such business practices. The same holds true for the kind of produce we buy. In a capitalist society, money is the greatest impetus for change pure and simple.

All of this ties into to the idea of personal responsibility and how far we as individuals wish to be socially active in regard to our Buddhist beliefs and practices. It is a personal choice that we each must make. For some, purchasing meat is perfectly acceptable to them since they know that the animal has been killed by another person; but for others, the purchasing of meat might not seem so acceptable when they consider things such as what meat is and how it gets to the store. Therefore, while I completely agree that in regard to the first precept the Buddha taught about personal responsibility in the form of regulating our own actions of body, speech and mind, that does not mean that we should simply turn a blind eye to where our food comes from. Does that not also fall within the realm of personal responsibility? Hence, while I agree that vegetarianism in not a requirement, I do think that it is at least a compassionate option. That is why even though there is nothing in Theravada that states this lifestyle choice is necessary or even preferred, I generally try to avoid buying meat or anything with meat in it when I go to the grocery store, out to eat at a restaurant, etc.

Just to be clear, however, I am not trying to demonize meat eating or the meat industry because that is a pointless crusade. As I said, abstaining from eating meat does not free one from the web of killing and death. Killing and death are awful facts of samsara that have the potential to arise because there are sentient beings whose minds are defiled by greed, hatred, and delusion. Besides removing oneself from the cycle of birth and death altogether, there are worldly solutions to these problems, but these solutions can merely limit the potential harm to other sentient being. In essence, besides escaping samsara, there are no perfect solutions. On top of that, condemning or demonizing another for their complicity means that we should also condemn and demonize ourselves as well. If we want to, we can find reasons to demonize internet usage. I doubt that most people are aware of how many birds are killed each year by microwave towers, but one could reason that every person who surfs the web or sends out an e-mail contributes to those deaths. Shall we cease to use the internet then?

My point is that choosing to be more socially active in our respective practices is an admirable thing to do; nevertheless, we should never forget the very nature of samsara. In his introduction to The Four Nutriments of Life: An Anthology of Buddhist Texts, Nyanaponika Thera echoes, "If we wish to eat and live, we have to kill or tacitly accept that others do the killing for us. When speaking of the latter, we do not refer merely to the butcher or the fisherman. Also for the strict vegetarian's sake, living beings have to die under the farmer's plowshare, and his lettuce and other vegetables have to be kept free of snails and other "pests," at the expense of these living beings who, like ourselves, are in search of food. A growing population's need for more arable land deprives animals of their living space and, in the course of history, has eliminated many a species. It is a world of killing in which we live and have a part. We should face this horrible fact and remain aware of it in our Reflection on Edible Food. It will stir us to effort for getting out of this murderous world by the ending of craving for the four nutriments."
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby Jechbi » Sun Mar 08, 2009 1:58 am

Elohim wrote:... we should never forget the very nature of samsara.
Nyanaponika Thera wrote:Also for the strict vegetarian's sake, living beings have to die under the farmer's plowshare, and his lettuce and other vegetables have to be kept free of snails and other "pests," at the expense of these living beings who, like ourselves, are in search of food. A growing population's need for more arable land deprives animals of their living space and, in the course of history, has eliminated many a species. It is a world of killing in which we live and have a part. We should face this horrible fact ...
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But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Eating Meat...check out the stats...

Postby appicchato » Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:04 am

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would save: :pig:

● 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months;

● 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year;

● 70 million gallons of gas--enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare;

● 3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware;

● 33 tons of antibiotics.

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would prevent:

● Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France;

● 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages;

● 4.5 million tons of animal excrement;

● Almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant.

My favorite statistic is this: According to Environmental Defense, if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads. See how easy it is to make an impact?

Other points:

Globally, we feed 756 million tons of grain to farmed animals. As Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer notes in his new book, if we fed that grain to the 1.4 billion people who are living in abject poverty, each of them would be provided more than half a ton of grain, or about 3 pounds of grain/day--that's twice the grain they would need to survive. And that doesn't even include the 225 million tons of soy that are produced every year, almost all of which is fed to farmed animals. He writes, "The world is not running out of food. The problem is that we--the relatively affluent--have found a way to consume four or five times as much food as would be possible, if we were to eat the crops we grow directly."

A recent United Nations report titled Livestock's Long Shadow concluded that the meat industry causes almost 40% more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world's transportation systems--that's all the cars, trucks, SUVs, planes and ships in the world combined. The report also concluded that factory farming is one of the biggest contributors to the most serious environmental problems at every level--local and global.

Researchers at the University of Chicago concluded that switching from standard American diet to a vegan diet is more effective in the fight against global warming than switching from a standard American car to a hybrid.

In its report, the U.N. found that the meat industry causes local and global environmental problems even beyond global warming. It said that the meat industry should be a main focus in every discussion of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortages and pollution, and loss of biodiversity.

Unattributed statistics were calculated from scientific reports by Noam Mohr, a physicist with the New York University Polytechnic Institute.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathy-fre ... 81716.html
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Re: Eating Meat...check out the stats...

Postby Ben » Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:26 am

That is incredible Bhante!

i wonder how difficult it is to make the US go vegetarian for a day?
We've got 'Earth Hour', why not a global 'veg day'?
Thank you for sharing!
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but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

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Re: Eating Meat...check out the stats...

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:32 pm

where do the animals go for these statistics to be realised?
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Re: Eating Meat...check out the stats...

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Apr 02, 2009 6:59 pm

Ben wrote:That is incredible Bhante!

i wonder how difficult it is to make the US go vegetarian for a day?

:jumping: In Texas, where I went for my university degrees, it will be very difficult. Many Americans love their steaks, burgers, etc. In other places, in general near water, such as the East and West coasts, they will be more receptive to the idea.
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Re: Eating Meat...check out the stats...

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:01 pm

Manapa wrote:where do the animals go for these statistics to be realised?

Not as many would be bred. If the world went vegetarian, it would not happen all at once. There would be a gradual decline in meat consumption. As this happens, the number of animals bred for slaughter would decrease. As the numbers decrease, you will see the statistics shown above. If everyone abstained for meat just one day per week, the number of animals being bred would also decrease and you would see the numbers Bhante posted.
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Re: Eating Meat...check out the stats...

Postby nathan » Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:16 am

Any farmer, hunter or fisherman living 150 years ago would have seen all this coming. They were the one's who actually wept. All of us, us with our many comforts and amusements, we all think everything has never been better than since we began driving the whole earth ahead of us straight into hell. What could possibly slow us down as we continue to accelerate now?

Yes it's a house of cards but I'm not laughing.

Escape now.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Eating Meat...check out the stats...

Postby pink_trike » Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:41 am

nathan wrote:Any farmer, hunter or fisherman living 150 years ago would have seen all this coming. They were the one's who actually wept. All of us, us with our many comforts and amusements, we all think everything has never been better than since we began driving the whole earth ahead of us straight into hell. What could possibly slow us down as we continue to accelerate now?

Yes it's a house of cards but I'm not laughing.

Escape now.

Not even 150 years. I'm only one generation off the land. My extended family in northern Minnesota engaged in farming, fishing, lumberjacking...and they saw what was coming 50ish years ago. There used to be widespread understanding of local sustainability, and a inviolate ethic of restraint in "respect for the land" ("the land" actually meaning "ecosystem" in what would have been distrustfully regarded as fancy "Harvard" talk). When life was lived for the most part locally, people tended not to pooh in their own bed, not to take more than their own share, made sure everyone had enough, and made sure shares were used carefully and made to last - not so far removed from "sila".

"A day without meat" is, imo, not a good idea...a short-term, "feel good" bandaid. In lickity-split time, "A day without meat" will become something like Christmas...one day a year when a lot of people are "generous" - this is what happens in our mediatized culture. For the previous 50ish years there has been a full-blown corporate war going on for "maximized mind-share" - fancy "Harvard" talk for brainwashing as many minds as possible to discard common sense and instead buy whatever is placed in front of them, regardless of effect on mind/body/ecosystem.

I think the only solution is for everyone to sit down, shut up, and take a close look at the ecosystem that is the mind/body - it is no different from the ecosystem within which this body lives. Then maybe the external ecosystem will get some attention as we begin to see that one person's poison is everyone's sickness. As it is, we are caught in a runaway system that our mind has calibrated with...because that's what minds do. We need to break that calibration and return to "the land" in the mind, or as we say in Buddhism, "the ground of being". Only then will we be able to make real, informed, even wise decisions about how to live integrally within the boundaries of the natural world, instead of dis-eased, dis-integrated, and dis-connected from the fullness of reality. It isn't "escape" we need...it is re-integration at all levels of our being. We have the tools to do that, if we choose to use them.
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Re: Eating Meat...check out the stats...

Postby appicchato » Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:27 am

pink_trike wrote:"A day without meat" is, imo, not a good idea...a short-term, "feel good" bandaid. In lickity-split time, "A day without meat" will become something like Christmas...one day a year when a lot of people are "generous" - this is what happens in our mediatized culture.

Looked at in this light, I wouldn't (completely) disagree...also, looked at in a different light it could be a good thing...human nature being what it is (having to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to 'change'), we've got to start somewhere...even 'A meal without meat' would be a plus...

My intention here wasn't to plug this idea, only to highlight the numbers involved...

Vegi, or not, we're all on our way out... :pig:

Be well...
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Re: Eating Meat...check out the stats...

Postby nathan » Fri Apr 03, 2009 5:35 am

pink_trike wrote: As it is, we are caught in a runaway system that our mind has calibrated with...because that's what minds do. We need to break that calibration and return to "the land" in the mind, or as we say in Buddhism, "the ground of being". Only then will we be able to make real, informed, even wise decisions about how to live integrally within the boundaries of the natural world, instead of dis-eased, dis-integrated, and dis-connected from the fullness of reality. It isn't "escape" we need...it is re-integration at all levels of our being. We have the tools to do that, if we choose to use them.
"We" don't have any kind of common basis for anything like that at all. There is no "we". We are more deeply divided one from the next every day even as we become the indistinct machine-like cogs of an incomprehensible device that serves something entirely alien to life, perhaps Death itself. Note that. Planets die too. Maybe prepare for that also. Note that the children are already getting ready for it anyways. Note that the old are resigned to it. Note that the powerful and wealthy really couldn't care less about it or about the rest of us. Note that none of this is new in any way. Just note that every chess game has an end game. Still want to be king for the day?

No. I think escape now is a much better bet than dig in deeper. I've integrated with my inner granola and yogurt and it is the same beautiful nightmare on that side of it. As they say, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Third time on that one is not necessary. Even an edenic earth is as full of worms as this one. What, really, is the difference between a gilded cage and one that isn't?
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Eating Meat...check out the stats...

Postby Ben » Fri Apr 03, 2009 5:53 am

For what its worth, I'm going to put my family on a vegetarian diet 'by stealth'. I'll just cook vegie meals for as long as i can without saying anything and see what happens...
Its about time. While i enjoy meat, i don't feel good about purchasing it which does support an industry,in my mind, that is unwholesome. Let's see how it goes...
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Eating Meat...check out the stats...

Postby fijiNut » Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:08 am

Ben,
I admire your covert intentions. :stirthepot:
It isn't too hard to make breakfast vegetarian - wheat bix, fruits, milk, toast & tahini/peanut butter, oatmeal, toasted cheese and onion sandwiches.
If you do it for 7 days, at least 2 full days of meals are vegetarian. And that itself has a lot of benefits for the body and mind long term.

metta,
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Re: Eating Meat...check out the stats...

Postby pink_trike » Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:36 am

pink_trike wrote: As it is, we are caught in a runaway system that our mind has calibrated with...because that's what minds do. We need to break that calibration and return to "the land" in the mind, or as we say in Buddhism, "the ground of being". Only then will we be able to make real, informed, even wise decisions about how to live integrally within the boundaries of the natural world, instead of dis-eased, dis-integrated, and dis-connected from the fullness of reality. It isn't "escape" we need...it is re-integration at all levels of our being. We have the tools to do that, if we choose to use them.

nathan wrote:What, really, is the difference between a gilded cage and one that isn't?


We're not talking about "gilded" here. We're talking about an ignorant, hungry, oft unconscious participation in the creation of wholesale suffering and murder. Yes, I mean you - whoever is reading.

Are we really to believe that we (no one is exempt from the current human-caused eco-holocaust that threatens the life of all higher living beings) can despoil everything and get away scott free? As they say on Southpark..."reeeeaaallly?". Can we greedily maim, poison, and destroy countless species for generations to come without karmic accumulation? Can we hack at the tapestry of life with our media-inspired and fueled cravings with impunity, with no thought of the forces that we support while we feed our personal hungry void? Can we unconsciously and actively participate in processes that cause widespread illness and suffering to all living beings for vast generations to come with no negative conditioning or karmic consequences?

Are we really exempt from the terrestrially-located ramifications of our cravings, ignorance, and inaction? Wow...lucky us, huh? Fundamentalist Christians also believe that we can destroy and rape the earth because "the end is near" anyway (based on an inaccurate belief that the Earth is dying) - you see, it doesn't matter to them what happens here, they've done what it takes to "escape". Is this what we are to believe? The worst sort of arrogant, material-phobic nihilism?

Our Dharma practice let's us do all that??

What I'm talking about (or perhaps rambling nonsensically about) is the externalization of our practice. When the delusional boundaries between "me" and the so called "filthy" messy natural world and all its so called "foul" inhabitants are dissolved, then we begin to realize, imo, the full extent of our madness...a madness that will follow "us", whether we believe in post mortum rebirth, rebirth moment to moment in this life, or rebirth in the form of a continuation of the singular human organism for generations to come. A madness that deeply clouds our awareness and fuels our sense of separateness and uniqueness. Is there really "escape"? Is this path to be an egocentric one...for "me" alone? Is the whole purpose of this exquisitely sophisticated path just to benefit the hungry "me"? "I wanna escape!!! :tantrum: "me, me, me". I don't think so...each of us in this very life participates in the creation of suffering, disease, and murder (sorry, there is no softer word) right here, right now, through our ignorance, mindless participation, denial, and self-serving inaction - that conditions the mind towards the lower realms, no matter where these realms may appear, and no matter how much we believe ourselves to be exempt.

I confess...I'm an "engaged" Dharma practitioner. Imo, the dualistic separation of material and "trace aggregates" is delusional. Imo, working with circumstances right here and now is a valuable, indeed a _necessary_ part of the path. Imo, com.passion is really the senses (passions) that have been harnessed for the good of the commun.ity...and the Whole. Com.passion. Communal.senses. Imo, the rejection of circumstances is an abject folly of delusion - part of the exact problem that we attempt to address through Dharma practice, and a view that has far-reaching negative ramifications for all of "we" and "me", that no amount of belief in other realms or escape destinations erases.

[ This is why I post mostly in "The Lounge" here. :jumping: For clarification, I don't "believe" anything I say. If you have a better view, lay it on me...I'm open to it ].
Last edited by pink_trike on Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:43 am, edited 3 times in total.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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