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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Spiny Norman
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:18 am

Durt_Dawg wrote:Sigh... its not about break da rule or Buddha said "no". It's about how much compassion you have or how much you want to cultivate ya compassion!


The spirit of the Buddhist precepts is certainly about non-harm, and I agree that obsession with the rules - the letter of the law - is completely missing the point. It's a bit like the difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance. ;)
Last edited by Spiny Norman on Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:20 am

Cittasanto wrote:
porpoise wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:yes and on that we agree, yet you are twisting a rule out of shape to draw that conclusion.


So it's OK to buy a turkey "off the shelf" at a butchers, but it's not OK to go into the butchers and order a Christmas turkey?


like I said "the best that rule could inform lay practice is"


The intention of the 3-fold rule is that we should not cause another life to be taken. In the example above it seems to me that both options result in another turkey being killed.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby cooran » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:56 am

Hello all,

I seem to post this every year or so in this thread.

These articles present the Theravada understanding of what the Buddha taught regarding vegetarianism.

What the Buddha said about eating Meat ~ Ajahn Brahmavamso
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebsut034.htm

On Vegetarianism ~ Binh Anson
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha022.htm

Buddhism and Vegetarianism - Ajahn Jagaro
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha151.htm

Buddhism and Vegetarianism - The Rationale for the Buddha's Views on the Consumption of Meat by Dr V. A. Gunasekara
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha069.htm

Are You Herbivore or Carnivore?
A Critical Analysis on Issues of Vegetarianism - Breaking Out Among the Buddhists for Centuries
- by Jan Sanjivaputta
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha156.htm

Vegetarianism - Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha189.htm

with metta
Chris
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:48 pm

porpoise wrote:The intention of the 3-fold rule is that we should not cause another life to be taken. In the example above it seems to me that both options result in another turkey being killed.

hI Porpoise,
please read what else I have said on the matter of that rule.

it is not a rule for lay people, and is layed down for mendicants for a reason
“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."

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:03 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Ron,

Ron-The-Elder wrote:If we support butchery then we are in effect supporting wrong livelihood. :buddha2:

If that's your interpretation of the Dhamma, then by all means do what you think best as a layman. No one will stop you being vegetarian.

However, to call the Vinaya laid down for mendicants a "cop out" is over-reaching and disrespectful to the Buddha.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Metta back to you, Retro, and I mean no disrespect to The Buddha. When I see these inconsistencies in supposedly "What the Buddha said" I get this sick feeling that subsequent translators of The Dhamma snuck in their particular biases for whatever their own reasons. On another forum we started a thread entitled "false teachings". Perhaps we need one here which points out such inconsistencies. For example in Saddhammapatirupaka Sutta: A Counterfeit of the True Dhamma Buddha explained that we had to expect this and to be alert for this ourselves:

On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Then Ven. Maha Kassapa went to the Blessed One and on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, "What is the cause, lord, what is the reason, why before there were fewer training rules and yet more monks established in final gnosis, whereas now there are more training rules and yet fewer monks established in final gnosis?"

"That's the way it is, Kassapa. When beings are degenerating and the true Dhamma is disappearing, there are more training rules and yet fewer monks established in final gnosis. There is no disappearance of the true Dhamma as long as a counterfeit of the true Dhamma has not arisen in the world, but there is the disappearance of the true Dhamma when a counterfeit of the true Dhamma has arisen in the world. Just as there is no disappearance of gold as long as a counterfeit of gold has not arisen in the world, but there is the disappearance of gold when a counterfeit of gold has arisen in the world, in the same way there is no disappearance of the true Dhamma as long as a counterfeit of the true Dhamma has not arisen in the world, but there is the disappearance of the true Dhamma when a counterfeit of the true Dhamma has arisen in the world.[1]

"It's not the earth property that makes the true Dhamma disappear. It's not the water property... the fire property... the wind property that makes the true Dhamma disappear.[2] It's worthless people who arise right here [within the Sangha] who make the true Dhamma disappear. The true Dhamma doesn't disappear the way a boat sinks all at once.

"These five downward-leading qualities tend to the confusion and disappearance of the true Dhamma. Which five? There is the case where the monks, nuns, male lay followers, & female lay followers live without respect, without deference, for the Teacher. They live without respect, without deference, for the Dhamma... for the Sangha... for the Training... for concentration. These are the five downward-leading qualities that tend to the confusion and disappearance of the true Dhamma.

"But these five qualities tend to the stability, the non-confusion, the non-disappearance of the true Dhamma. Which five? There is the case where the monks, nuns, male lay followers, & female lay followers live with respect, with deference, for the Teacher. They live with respect, with deference, for the Dhamma... for the Sangha... for the Training... for concentration. These are the five qualities that tend to the stability, the non-confusion, the non-disappearance of the true Dhamma."

source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


True respect for The Buddha's words is to follow his teachings not defending one's personal views. :anjali: Ron
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A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:12 pm

cooran wrote:Hello all,

I seem to post this every year or so in this thread.

These articles present the Theravada understanding of what the Buddha taught regarding vegetarianism.

with metta
Chris


Thanks, Chris. I enjoy reading these every year. :anjali: Ron
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby marc108 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 5:49 pm

Bhante Sujato's blog post on why Buddhists should be vegetarian is very convincing imo. He brings up some interesting points, especially re: the Suttas not being the end all be all of ethics, ex: the Suttas lack of commentary on things like slavery.


http://sujato.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/ ... xtra-cute/

The Buddha clearly didnt ban eating meat directly, probably because his monks would have starved to death or placed undue burden on their lay supporters, but his basic 'code of conduct', re: the precept & the 8 fold path doesn't allow for animals to be traded or slaughtered for food.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:36 pm

Cittasanto wrote:hI Porpoise,
please read what else I have said on the matter of that rule.

it is not a rule for lay people, and is layed down for mendicants for a reason

We all know that this is true. Placing dead flesh in your mouth is definitely allowable in Buddhism. But what you have failed to answer is the larger question: If the practice of eating meat causes suffering in both humans and animals, and we as Buddhists know that this is the case, can we have omnivorous diets while still maintaining our compassion and good will towards all beings?

Everyone agrees you can eat meat; I'm asking whether or not you should.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:14 pm

Hi Marc
marc108 wrote:The Buddha clearly didnt ban eating meat directly, probably because his monks would have starved to death or placed undue burden on their lay supporters, but his basic 'code of conduct', re: the precept & the 8 fold path doesn't allow for animals to be traded or slaughtered for food.

Yes there are legitimate reasons without taking rules designed for mendicants out of context

[conduct changed to context]
Last edited by Cittasanto on Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“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."

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby marc108 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:28 pm

Cittasanto wrote:Hi Marc
marc108 wrote:The Buddha clearly didnt ban eating meat directly, probably because his monks would have starved to death or placed undue burden on their lay supporters, but his basic 'code of conduct', re: the precept & the 8 fold path doesn't allow for animals to be traded or slaughtered for food.

Yes there are legitimate reasons without taking rules designed for mendicants out of conduct.


i dont understand what you mean?
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:49 pm

marc108 wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:Hi Marc
marc108 wrote:The Buddha clearly didnt ban eating meat directly, probably because his monks would have starved to death or placed undue burden on their lay supporters, but his basic 'code of conduct', re: the precept & the 8 fold path doesn't allow for animals to be traded or slaughtered for food.

Yes there are legitimate reasons without taking rules designed for mendicants out of conduct.


i dont understand what you mean?

I marc,
if you read the last three pages monastic rules are being used out of context, and unfortunately this actually twists and distorts the rule, even though as you point out there are perfectly sound reasons and arguments without relying upon monastic specific rules.

and just noticed my spelling error :)
conduct should be context and has been changed above
“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."

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:57 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:We all know that this is true. Placing dead flesh in your mouth is definitely allowable in Buddhism.

I wasn't talking about eating meat there thanks

LonesomeYogurt wrote:But what you have failed to answer is the larger question: If the practice of eating meat causes suffering in both humans and animals, and we as Buddhists know that this is the case, can we have omnivorous diets while still maintaining our compassion and good will towards all beings?

you have obviously replied to something without reading it fully.
the only actual argument that could be supported within Buddhism is for a flexitarian type diet. eating vegetarian food when of your own design (bought/sought and made oneself) and eating meat when the food is offered such as as a guest at someone's home, so you are not inconveniencing them with special dietary needs not medically needed. this neither adopts the monastic rules nor goes against wrong livelihood; but then again eating a meat based diet does not specifically go against wrong livelihood as you are not making your living through that means, although if one is basing their argument on ahimsa - harmlessness (put down the stick and sword) the supply and demand argument is a valid one to make so long as it doesn't dictate onto others which would render the effacement regarding views (only this is correct) useless.


The maintaining of compassion is not dictated by diet and is not compromised by eating meat, if someone offers another food, and they are grateful for the work and sacrifice & reflective of the suffering of all beings involved that made the meal and for them to allay their hunger possible, then it is fine, there are other sources of meat than the abattoir BTW.

LonesomeYogurt wrote:Everyone agrees you can eat meat; I'm asking whether or not you should.
[/quote][/quote]
You don't actually know my eating habits, so best not guess!
I am pointing out it is best not to use rules of which there is only a cursory knowledge of because there are several thing which should be bore in mind regarding the rules which obviously are not being considered, such as the actual reasons for laying down rules, so what some have failed to notice is that the rules are not only a rule line as found in the patimokkha matika!
“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."

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:46 pm

Cittasanto wrote:you have obviously replied to something without reading it fully.

I'm not asking, "Is it neat and nice to be a vegetarian?" I'm asking if you even can continue to eat meat while developing compassion and mindfulness! The discussion we're having here is whether or not vegetarianism is just nice, or whether it's an important and necessary step for the modern Buddhist.

The maintaining of compassion is not dictated by diet and is not compromised by eating meat, if someone offers another food, and they are grateful for the work and sacrifice & reflective of the suffering of all beings involved that made the meal and for them to allay their hunger possible, then it is fine, there are other sources of meat than the abattoir BTW.

Would it be appropriate to purchase fruits picked by slaves or diamonds harvested by children? Clearly such behaviors are permissible under a basic Buddhist ethical system, but can you really claim to be cultivating a limitless heart for all beings while making a basic choice that leads invariably to suffering, especially when an easy alternative with essentially no drawbacks exists?

You don't actually know my eating habits, so best not guess!

I don't mean you personally, just the general you.

I am pointing out it is best not to use rules of which there is only a cursory knowledge of because there are several thing which should be bore in mind regarding the rules which obviously are not being considered, such as the actual reasons for laying down rules, so what some have failed to notice is that the rules are not only a rule line as found in the patimokkha matika!

I agree there.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:04 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:you have obviously replied to something without reading it fully.

I'm not asking, "Is it neat and nice to be a vegetarian?" I'm asking if you even can continue to eat meat while developing compassion and mindfulness! The discussion we're having here is whether or not vegetarianism is just nice, or whether it's an important and necessary step for the modern Buddhist.

and this was answered there, and further clarified - as you quote next - although don't forget equipoise!

The maintaining of compassion is not dictated by diet and is not compromised by eating meat, if someone offers another food, and they are grateful for the work and sacrifice & reflective of the suffering of all beings involved that made the meal and for them to allay their hunger possible, then it is fine, there are other sources of meat than the abattoir BTW.

Would it be appropriate to purchase fruits picked by slaves or diamonds harvested by children? Clearly such behaviors are permissible under a basic Buddhist ethical system, but can you really claim to be cultivating a limitless heart for all beings while making a basic choice that leads invariably to suffering, especially when an easy alternative with essentially no drawbacks exists?

The basic Buddhist Ethical system is timeless, any more is a luxury not affordable at all times & places, for all people, there is the ideal and then the reality of situations!
take the case of the Inuit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inuit_diet
or the "manic depressive" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0NjS-_i ... ure=relmfu from 33 mins.
famine and lack of resources on an individual scale can still happen today, and there are those who scavenge bins for food and other resources (sometimes as a lifestyle choice sometimes not) and an individuals resources are needed to be considered on an individual basis, otherwise there is the risk of moralizing.
“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."

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:28 am

Cittasanto wrote:
porpoise wrote:The intention of the 3-fold rule is that we should not cause another life to be taken. In the example above it seems to me that both options result in another turkey being killed.

hI Porpoise,
please read what else I have said on the matter of that rule.

it is not a rule for lay people, and is layed down for mendicants for a reason


OK, so would these verses from the Dhammapada have more general application? Note the section about not causing another to kill.

129. All tremble at violence; all fear death. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.
130. All tremble at violence; life is dear to all. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby marc108 » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:36 pm

Cittasanto wrote:if you read the last three pages monastic rules are being used out of context, and unfortunately this actually twists and distorts the rule, even though as you point out there are perfectly sound reasons and arguments without relying upon monastic specific rules.

and just noticed my spelling error :)
conduct should be context and has been changed above


ah I see. thanks for clarifying :)
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:27 pm

porpoise wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
porpoise wrote:The intention of the 3-fold rule is that we should not cause another life to be taken. In the example above it seems to me that both options result in another turkey being killed.

hI Porpoise,
please read what else I have said on the matter of that rule.

it is not a rule for lay people, and is layed down for mendicants for a reason


OK, so would these verses from the Dhammapada have more general application? Note the section about not causing another to kill.

129. All tremble at violence; all fear death. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.
130. All tremble at violence; life is dear to all. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.

yes these would, However, please understand the rule you are trying to use is saying something else to these verses; and what these verses are talking about are within the pārājika 3 & pācittiyā 61 not the Mahavagga passage or context you are trying to put it into.
“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."

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:32 pm

marc108 wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:if you read the last three pages monastic rules are being used out of context, and unfortunately this actually twists and distorts the rule, even though as you point out there are perfectly sound reasons and arguments without relying upon monastic specific rules.

and just noticed my spelling error :)
conduct should be context and has been changed above


ah I see. thanks for clarifying :)

no problem :)
“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."

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:17 am

Cittasanto wrote:
porpoise wrote:OK, so would these verses from the Dhammapada have more general application? Note the section about not causing another to kill.

129. All tremble at violence; all fear death. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.
130. All tremble at violence; life is dear to all. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.



yes these would, However, please understand the rule you are trying to use is saying something else to these verses; and what these verses are talking about are within the pārājika 3 & pācittiyā 61 not the Mahavagga passage or context you are trying to put it into.


Sorry but you've lost me - are you saying these Dhammapada verses don't have general application?
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:33 pm

porpoise wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
porpoise wrote:The intention of the 3-fold rule is that we should not cause another life to be taken. In the example above it seems to me that both options result in another turkey being killed.

hI Porpoise,
please read what else I have said on the matter of that rule.

it is not a rule for lay people, and is layed down for mendicants for a reason


OK, so would these verses from the Dhammapada have more general application? Note the section about not causing another to kill.

129. All tremble at violence; all fear death. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.
130. All tremble at violence; life is dear to all. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.


This is an another example of how in some Suttas all are instructed not to kill, but for the sake of some reasoning, but in the Vinaya the act of killing for food not prepared for the monks specifically, so as to not offend the feelings of hosts during the alms rounds, or when in the company of supporters during various events to which a monk is invited it is OK to eat meat. Inconsistent and just a little suspicious to say the least. One has to ask the question: " Did Buddha teach non-violence in all things, or did he not?" Did he mean what he said, when he stated that "..acts of violence lead only to more violence or did he not?"

Another example of Buddha's reported position regarding non-violence, one most memorable to me, is found in The Simile of The Saw, where Buddha states that it is better to have one's limbs removed than to commit an act of violence in retribution.

"Monks, even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled saw, he among you who let his heart get angered even at that would not be doing my bidding. Even then you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading these people with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with them, we will keep pervading the all-encompassing world with an awareness imbued with good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.' That's how you should train yourselves.


Then we must ask ourselves would Buddha approve of what goes on in the slaughter houses of the world?,when he spoke ? source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Still another seeming confusion can be found in a Jataka Tales story for children, where Buddha, in a previous life as a hare or rabbit came upon a mother tiger and her cubs. The mother was apparently injured according to one version I have heard, and because of loss of vigor could not feed her cubs. Understanding the plight of the tiger family this rabbit, through compassion and loving-kindness, donated his body in the ultimate sacrifice to provide the starving family with a meal. Now, does this mean that Buddha is advising us to cut off an arm, cook it and feed the starving masses? No! What it means (to me) is that the general principle being taught by Buddha is to treat others (all others) with compassion and loving-kindness, no matter what it takes if we have the resources that would be helpful to others in need of our services, and to never "intentionally"cause harm to other living creatures where and when we have a choice. Monks eating what is offered by village families out of the kindness and compassion of their hearts to monks does not constitute an intentional harmful act on the parts of the monk. However, should a monk realize that the family is cooking extra meat "just for him", then it is his obligation to politely explain that he is not allowed to do so and why.

This is the message that I take from these stories and my understanding of The Vinaya rule.

By logical reasoning, Lay persons must think along the same lines to avoid the consequences of their kamma ( intentional actions) when they make food choices before purchasing, understanding that what they choose to buy supports the actions of the supplier. Illegal Drug buyers are part of the causal chain of events, which in turn leads drug suppliers to kill each other to compete for illegal drug user business. Just so, meat buyers are a part of the causal chain which leads to butchery of living beings, and just so, vegetarian buyers are part of the causal chain which leads to mass planting and harvesting in agriculture. Question is: Which route causes "less suffering" and "least harm"? :anjali: Ron
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.


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