Are we responsible for the actions of others?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Postby Maarten » Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:25 pm

I was thinking about this in regard to vegetarianism. I became vegetarian thinking that buying meat equals hiring an assassin to kill someone, but it's not really like this.
The butcher does the killing all on his own, the intention to kill arises in his mind and that's where it can be stopped regardless of what we do. We buy meat when the harm has already been done and we have no intention to bring harm upon any animals.
It is true that not buying meat could lead the butcher to kill less because there is less demand, but this is more like saving a life, than like refraining from killing.
This would make buying meat morally fine and refraining from buying it a virtuous act.

Any thoughts on this?
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:48 pm

I think that is the orthodox Theravada view, yes.
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: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Postby Hanzze » Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:19 am

Maarten,

When there is no buyer there is no seller (at least killer) when there is no seller, there is no buyer.

In a small village the cow of a farmer dies, the familie quickly prepares the meat, store a little, and the rest is given to the wife in the house. She walks to the village and shouts: "Help me, I need to sell the meat". And some take the over and so the cow is used in a good way.

In another small village a farmer heres of this story and thinks: "I have 2 cows with no use, it seems that the people like meat and I could make some money for my new house." He kills his cows and sends his wife to sell them.

Some days later in the first village a man askes his wife: Is there some meat left, if so, it would be good to use it up. But there was no meat left and they eat what they had.

Some days later in the second village a man asked his wife: Oh the meat was good, go and ask if there is more. She walked to the man who sold it, asked for it and he said: No, but come tomorow.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Postby Maarten » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:38 am

This is true, but when we refrain from buying the butchers meat he still has the mind of a killer. He will have no problems becoming a pest exterminator or a soldier, so the problem continues.
What if we have a greengrocer who likes to use the money he earns to go on hunting trips? Should we refrain from buying from him so that he can't afford his hunting trips anymore?

This kind of boycotting mentality brings all kinds of problems because most of the sellers who receive our money will use it for unwholesome activities to some degree. The far majority of the people here drink alcohol which would mean I could not buy from any of them because they may use the cash for their addiction.
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Postby Ben » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:01 am

Maarten wrote:This is true, but when we refrain from buying the butchers meat he still has the mind of a killer. He will have no problems becoming a pest exterminator or a soldier, so the problem continues.
What if we have a greengrocer who likes to use the money he earns to go on hunting trips? Should we refrain from buying from him so that he can't afford his hunting trips anymore?

This kind of boycotting mentality brings all kinds of problems because most of the sellers who receive our money will use it for unwholesome activities to some degree. The far majority of the people here drink alcohol which would mean I could not buy from any of them because they may use the cash for their addiction.


Yes, its an interesting conundrum, Maarten.
The whole boycotting mentality interests me also. Some of my colleagues insist that I purchase products that do not contain palm oil because its production is linked to the destruction of the habitat of orang utangs. Yet, when I suggested we also boycott 'fair trade' chocolate as it is produced using child slave labour - they weren't so interested.

Ultimately, we can only be responsible for ourselves. If we purchase from someone who uses part of the profit to purchase alcohol or indulge in hunting - that is really the kamma of that person - not ours.
kind regards,

Ben
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- Heraclitus


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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Postby Hanzze » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:08 am

Maarten,
if you like to make it that hard, simply don't use money at all. To relay on what makes guilty feelings is sometimes very good, as long as it is not based on to much speculations in advanced. To watch the own intentions is very importand and right intention is threefold. No-greed, no-harming and very importand no-attachment to ideas and views.

If we walk just the way of no-harming we will miss the twin-brother no-greed and overlook our basical intention. If we think that we can find easy frames in matters, we might oversee the the root problem, moha.

So keep it simple where you are and make the joourney step by step as far as there are possibilities. If you are a soldier, and realize that your work is not ok, and you simply quit, it could be that you are executed by the general or that you have no income to support your family (or other responibilities you might have. There is no doubt to change form a soldier to another livelihood, but slowly and never hysterical.

We can work much more on our desires and to minimize them as spend times in judging our enviroment to be responsible for our situation. Also the soldier is maybe able to continue his resbonibility in the army but changes maybe to a cook, washing or serving work which needs to let go of pride in some kind and there he can wait for a good moment to quit his work even finally.

To think that "cling together, swing together" is not the case, might be already good reflected through the how ever appearing guilty feeling. If we "cling together, we swing together". There is a high joy out of living a rightous life and this is even possible as layman, which does not mean that it would be a normal live as all people have. It's at least alsways dependend on ones own karmic posibilities which are always and for everybody different.

Ben wrote:Yes, its an interesting conundrum, Maarten.
The whole boycotting mentality interests me also. Some of my colleagues insist that I purchase products that do not contain palm oil because its production is linked to the destruction of the habitat of orang utangs. Yet, when I suggested we also boycott 'fair trade' chocolate as it is produced using child slave labour - they weren't so interested.

Ben,

The boycotting mentality is not a Buddist mentaliy but a "frust and not understanding the way out" mentality which causes only additional troubles as fights always cause. Not supporting does not nessary means to opposite something. I guess this sutta makes it very clear that practicing Buddhist are no judges and boycotter: The Discourse on Effacement

I like your last statement:

Ben wrote:Ultimately, we can only be responsible for ourselves.

"We can" is the most important part, not to think that we should to gain more even absolute freedom from remorse.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Postby Ben » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:13 am

Thanks Hanzze!
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Postby DAWN » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:24 am

The most compassionate think that we can do for us and for others beings is to get free from samsara, reach the and, meditate.
Why?
Because to get energy we have to destruct. Is the law of thermodynamic.
So until we still in samsara, until there is a wish to live, we still harm others to see our body survive.

So the one who is realy endowed of compassion, this one practice well, and try to get free from all attachements.

I boycott Samsara. :meditate:
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:38 am

Maarten wrote:I was thinking about this in regard to vegetarianism. I became vegetarian thinking that buying meat equals hiring an assassin to kill someone, but it's not really like this.
The butcher does the killing all on his own, the intention to kill arises in his mind and that's where it can be stopped regardless of what we do. We buy meat when the harm has already been done and we have no intention to bring harm upon any animals.
It is true that not buying meat could lead the butcher to kill less because there is less demand, but this is more like saving a life, than like refraining from killing.
This would make buying meat morally fine and refraining from buying it a virtuous act.

Any thoughts on this?


Here's a drastic but IMO logically close hypothetical to illustrate a point.

Suppose you are a German jeweler living during the Nazi era. Since millions of Jews are being massacred all over Europe by your government, their gold, including that melted from their teeth is being sold at a discount at the market. You can choose to save money and buy this gold or source it at the regular price through the traditional channels. What is the right choice?
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Postby dhammapal » Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:48 am

My Dad is retired and follows the lady in the supermarket as she marks down the meat approaching use by date. So he often buys meat that would otherwise be thrown away.

I am not a vegetarian but often eat vegetarian when my parents are overseas. My neighbor runs a butcher's shop and invited me to dinner asking if a roast dinner was ok (I posted here about my fear of them finding out I was a Buddhist and got reassurance that I'd be ok because I'm not wearing robes). I reckon the best attitude of a Buddhist is to accept the food that you are offered (the advice to abstain from using money is interesting). I object strongly to vegetarians who reject a meal that only has 5% meat. Rejecting a steak is understandable.

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Postby Maarten » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:51 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Maarten wrote:I was thinking about this in regard to vegetarianism. I became vegetarian thinking that buying meat equals hiring an assassin to kill someone, but it's not really like this.
The butcher does the killing all on his own, the intention to kill arises in his mind and that's where it can be stopped regardless of what we do. We buy meat when the harm has already been done and we have no intention to bring harm upon any animals.
It is true that not buying meat could lead the butcher to kill less because there is less demand, but this is more like saving a life, than like refraining from killing.
This would make buying meat morally fine and refraining from buying it a virtuous act.

Any thoughts on this?


Here's a drastic but IMO logically close hypothetical to illustrate a point.

Suppose you are a German jeweler living during the Nazi era. Since millions of Jews are being massacred all over Europe by your government, their gold, including that melted from their teeth is being sold at a discount at the market. You can choose to save money and buy this gold or source it at the regular price through the traditional channels. What is the right choice?


Killing Jews is wrong, but what is wrong about buying gold?

The karmic sequence would look somewhat like this:
1] Intention to buy gold
2] Searching for sellers
3] finding German seller
4] buying his gold
5] German seller could develop any kind of intention
6] …?

There is no way to prevent the German from developing nasty intentions by buying or not buying his gold. In order to do this one would have to be able to predict the future and if this was possible we would not have free will anyway.

If we want to make the seller act in more wholesome ways wouldn't it be better to teach him some morality?
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:55 pm

So there is nothing wrong in your view in profiting from an evil act?

Dhammapal, I am not speaking from a high moral ground - I am a frequently lapsing vegetarian and like most choices I think this is something for each one of us to face rather than something to be preached about. But at the end of the day to me at this time in my life it boils down to compassion - do I really see what meat production entails and do I want to participate in it?

On the other hand, our inner struggles and navel-gazing should not be taken too seriously either - it is nothing else but self-indulgence. Just do what is right, that's all.
Last edited by Dan74 on Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Postby theY » Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:18 am

Hello All,

When I have read this topic, I think "Oh, I just know the Buddha is orthodox theravāda" and "Devadatta is catholic theravāda".

1.Secure living of population, include vegetarianism, are the cause of killing many prisons, so that vegetarianism shouldn't living. Why they are still keep to living ?
2.Vegetarianism didn't intend to kill them is the cause to still living, isn't it ?
3.First sīla is refer to killing intention, it not just refer to physical killing, isn't it ?

Maarten, more than one of thailand tipitaka professor teach like your words, on the top of topic, such as P.A. Payutto --UNESCO Prize for Peace Education, Bhadanta Sumon Nandiko, Bhadanta Santi Uttamapuñño, Bhadanta Sombat Nandiko, Sujin Borihanvannakat.

(I have a little bit worry about my reply. I just try to clearly explain my knowledge. I don't want to satirize anyone. But I'm terrible in english, about how to do a pretty explanation more than what I doing.)

P.S. Why accesstoinsight hasn't Āmagandha Sutta translating while another websites have it.

----------------------------------------------------------
Reference:

Wide View of Vegetarianism.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_vegetarianism

Cammakkhandhaka : Rule of skin using(pali).

Panītabhojana Sikkhapada (pali): Exception to request food such as meat.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... .html#Pc39

Mahavagga Pali - Bhesajjakkhandhaka - Vinaya Pitaka :
The Buddha allowed his monks to eat pork, chicken and beef if the animal was not killed for the purpose of providing food for monks. Theravada also believes that the Buddha allowed the monks to choose a vegetarian diet, but only prohibited against eating human, elephant, horse, dog, snake, lion, tiger, bear, leopard, and hyena flesh.
http://www.tipitaka.org/romn/cscd/vin02m2.mul5.xml

Āmagandha Sutta

The ascetic Tissa addressed the Buddha Kassapa


1. Millet, cingula beans and peas, edible leaves and roots, the fruit of any creeper; the virtuous who eat these, obtained justly, do not tell lies out of sensuous delight.

2. O Kassapa, you who eat any food given by others, which is well-prepared, nicely arranged, pure and appealing; he who enjoys such food made with rice, eats [rotting flesh that emits a] stench.

3. O brahmin, although you say that the charge of stench does not apply to you whilst eating rice with well-prepared fowl, yet I inquire the meaning of this from you: of what kind is your stench?

4. The Buddha Kassapa: Taking life, beating, wounding, binding, stealing, lying, deceiving, worthless knowledge, adultery; this is stench. Not the eating of meat.

5. In this world those individuals who are unrestrained in sensual pleasures, who are greedy for sweet things, who are associated with impure actions, who are of nihilistic views, [which are] crooked and difficult to follow, this is stench. Not the eating of meat.

6. In this world those who are rude, arrogant, backbiting, treacherous, unkind, excessively egoistic, miserly, and do not give anything to anybody; this is stench. Not the eating of meat.

7. Anger, pride, obstinacy, antagonism, deceit, envy, boasting, excessive egoism, association with the immoral; this is stench. Not the eating of meat.

8. Those who are of bad morals, refuse to pay their debts, slanderous, deceitful in their dealings, pretentious, those who in this world, being the vilest of men, commit such wrong things; this is stench. Not the eating of meat.

9. Those persons who, in this world, are uncontrolled towards living beings, who are bent on injuring others, having taken their belongings; immoral, cruel, harsh, disrespectful; this is stench. Not the eating of meat.

10. Those who attack these living beings either out of greed or of hostility and are always bent upon evil, go to darkness after death, and fall headlong into woeful states; this is stench. Not the eating of meat.

11. Abstaining from fish and meat, nakedness, shaving of the head, matted hair, smearing with ashes, wearing rough deerskins, attending the sacrificial fire; none of the various penances in the world performed for unhealthy ends, neither incantations, oblations, sacrifices nor seasonal observances, purify a person who has not overcome his doubts.

12. He who lives with his senses guarded and conquered and is established in the Dhamma, delights in uprightness and gentleness; who has gone beyond attachments and has overcome all sorrows; that wise man does not cling to what is seen and heard.

13. Thus the Buddha Kassapa preached this again and again. That ascetic who was well-versed in the [Vedic] hymns understood it. The sage who is free from defilements, non-attached and difficult to follow, uttered this [discourse] in beautiful stanzas.

14. Thus having listened to the well-spoken words of the Buddha who is free from defilements, which end all misery, he worshipped the Tathāgāta with humble mind and requested to be admitted into the Order at that very place.

(Sutta Nipāta, Hammalawa Saddhātissa, Curzon Press)
Commentary to the Āmagandha Sutta

Where was the Āmagandha Sutta taught? By whom was it taught, and to whom? The commentary to a Sutta often adds important information about the context in which the teaching was given. Out of context, some discourses can easily be misunderstood.

The commentary traces the origin of this sutta to a period before the appearance of Buddha Gotama. A Brahmin named Āmagandha led the life of a hermit along with five hundred disciples. They lived in the Himalayan foot hills where they had a hermitage and lived on forest fruits and roots. They abstained completely from fish and meat. Due to a deficiency of salt in their diet, all of the hermits suffered from jaundice. For this reason they went to a border village to beg for salt and vinegar. Being warmly invited by the villagers who respectfully provided them with almsfood, they spent four months a year in dwellings built by the villagers.

Then the Buddha arose in the world and after setting in motion the Wheel of the Dhamma, he arrived at Sāvatthi after some years. While residing there, the Buddha saw these hermits in his divine eye and realised that they had the necessary perfections for the attainment of Arahantship. Accordingly, the Buddha went to the village where they stayed for four months of the year, and taught the Dhamma to the villagers. The villagers became Stream-winners, Once-returners, and Non-returners, while a few of them entered the Sangha and became Arahants.

When the hermits led by Āmagandha came to the village to seek salt as usual, they noticed a conspicuous change in the behaviour of the villagers. The villagers no longer greeted them with the great excitement that they had shown previously. Amāgandha asked whether there was a famine, or if they had been punished by the king, or whether there was some fault in the conduct of the hermits to explain the transformation of the village. The villagers told him about the arrival of the Buddha, whose teaching of the Dhamma they had heard, and from which they had all benefited immensely. When the hermit Āmagandha heard the word “Buddha,” he asked, “Did you say ‘Buddha,’ householder? Even this sound is rare to hear in this world.” When the householder confirmed it he was pleased and asked further, “Does the Buddha eat stench?” The householder asked, “What is this stench?” Āmagandha replied, “Fish and meat is called stench.” The householder replied, “Venerable sir, the Buddha does eat fish and meat.” Disappointed at this, Āmagandha resolved to go and see the Buddha and ask him about it himself.

Having asked where the Buddha stayed, Āmagandha set off hastily towards the Jetavana grove at Sāvatthī, accompanied by the five hundred hermits. When the hermits arrived, the Buddha was seated in the fourfold assembly to teach the Dhamma. After mutual exchange of friendly greetings, the hermit Āmagandha asked the Buddha if he avoided eating fish and meat, which he considered to be stench. The Buddha replied that fish and meat should not be considered as stench. On the other hand, all kinds of mental defilements and unwholesome deeds should be regarded as stench. To convince Āmagandha completely, the Buddha recollected the same dialogue between himself and the Buddha Kassapa.

At that time the Bodhisatta had been a Brahmin by the name of Tissa who had asked the same question. Āmagandha’s pride was humbled, and he entered the Sangha along with his five hundred disciples, who all attained Arahantship.

Translated with commentary :
http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Suttas/Ama ... andha.html
Pali :
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... html#v.241

Devadatta eating meat prohibition requestion

Still trying to be the leader of the Sangha, Devadatta tried yet another plan — a deceitful one. With the help of five hundred misled monks, he planned to split the Sangha community.

He requested the Buddha to make it compulsory for monks to follow five extra rules:

(i) Dwell all their lives in the forest
(ii) Live only on alms obtained by begging
(iii) Wear robes made from rags collected from the dust heaps and cemeteries
(iv) Live at the foot of trees
(v) Refrain from eating fish or meat throughout their lives.
Devadatta made this request, knowing full well that the Buddha would refuse it. Devadatta was happy that the Buddha did not approve of the five rules, and he used these issues to gain supporters and followers. Newly ordained monks who did not know the Dharma well left the Buddha and accepted Devadatta as their leader. Eventually, after Venerable Sariputta and Venerable Moggallana had explained the Dharma to them, they went back to the Buddha.

source : http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/bud ... _5lbud.htm
pali : http://www.tipitaka.org/romn/cscd/vin01 ... ml#para408
Lesson Relationship of Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha (10/31/2012)
http://tipitakanews.org/en/node/61
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Postby Hanzze » Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:42 am

Well TheY,

we also need to think on, that not all teacher have the best intentions even they receit correct. There are many who would be not able to live a week without meat especialy in Thailand. Intentions find always tricky ways: One way is to teach the devoted and donors that it is ok to eat meat. Another is to change the place is the food is not so nice. A further is to give the helper layman some money and tell them: "Please buy food what ever is allowed for us"...

So I guess we need to be a little careful to understand it all well. I guess you will find a great depate in many vegi discussion to get a little overview how the opinon and ethical understanding in the world is today outside of well used teaching in a religious but with times naturally discoloured Thailand main broadcasting.

In Thailand for not so long time there was no such thing as market. If you like to have meat you would need to kill. And even today the most markets store living being and they will be just killed on order of the buyer.
The new way of providing needs to think a little bit more. SEAsian Monks and Buddhists are regarded as uncompsssionated all over the world, because they do not understand the different times today.

I could tell you stories about SEAsien Monks who would nearly have been beaten because they had ordered meat in a restaurant as they are used to do (mostly indirect).
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Postby theY » Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:20 am

^

Well Hanzze,

I'm sorry that I couldn't understand all sentence of your reply even though I try to read it until I headache, my English skill is terrible.

I suppose that you think buddha had taught disciple to be a vegetarian.

Is that right ?

---------------------------------

edit : I'm sorry that I can... --> I'm sorry that I couldn't...
Last edited by theY on Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
Lesson Relationship of Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha (10/31/2012)
http://tipitakanews.org/en/node/61
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Postby Hanzze » Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:31 am

Dear theY, no, that is my bad skill you are doing perfect.

Not at all, neither this nor that, but to use food only to maintain the body without taking what is not given, no use to talk about killing or harming that is for everybody logical and also to do not tell others to make it ones use.
I just wanted to tell you that the Asian teachers (monks) attached to food often teach some loophole aside of simply going for alms at least. So you will do good if you read some hard discussions of the other extrem of the vegis and vagans. Thsi vegan and vegitarian ways are simply helpless tries to make samsara a better place but missing the point if not taken only as addition to Buddhas way.
A layman has enought and maybe endless work to think on simply trying to abstain from killing, odering to kill and not being involved in such business and observe his intentions in this regard.

If you are interested, here some words about it: Buddha Dharma and Food - consider food as path to liberation
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Postby Maarten » Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:12 pm

Dan74 wrote:So there is nothing wrong in your view in profiting from an evil act?


There is, but it is the German who is doing so.

If buying the gold makes you feel horrible and guilty it's better to refrain from buying it. I still don't see any evil intentions in the buyer, aside from the greed for gold which in unrelated to the killing. If the buyer would encourage the seller to kill some more Jews for him, this would be an intention to rob people of their lives but it is possible to buy the gold without having this intention.
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Postby theY » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:59 am

Hanzze wrote:Dear theY, no, that is my bad skill you are doing perfect.

Not at all, neither this nor that, but to use food only to maintain the body without taking what is not given, no use to talk about killing or harming that is for everybody logical and also to do not tell others to make it ones use.
I just wanted to tell you that the Asian teachers (monks) attached to food often teach some loophole aside of simply going for alms at least. So you will do good if you read some hard discussions of the other extrem of the vegis and vagans. Thsi vegan and vegitarian ways are simply helpless tries to make samsara a better place but missing the point if not taken only as addition to Buddhas way.
A layman has enought and maybe endless work to think on simply trying to abstain from killing, odering to kill and not being involved in such business and observe his intentions in this regard.

If you are interested, here some words about it: Buddha Dharma and Food - consider food as path to liberation


I think, we have the similar idea in this topic. :smile:
Lesson Relationship of Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha (10/31/2012)
http://tipitakanews.org/en/node/61
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Postby Dan74 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:06 am

There is, but it is the German who is doing so.

If buying the gold makes you feel horrible and guilty it's better to refrain from buying it. I still don't see any evil intentions in the buyer, aside from the greed for gold which in unrelated to the killing. If the buyer would encourage the seller to kill some more Jews for him, this would be an intention to rob people of their lives but it is possible to buy the gold without having this intention.


By participating in the supply-demand chain which is founded on killing, I contribute to its continuation, I am in some sense complicit. By desiring flesh of a slaughtered animal I am putting my desires above the life of a sentient being. It is an uncomfortable realization and of course it does not apply to monks receiving alms or people surviving in a habitat where choices are severely limited, and also not as much to someone who needs to consume meat or fish for medical reasons. Nor does it mean that I am a bad person or incapable of compassion. it is what it is. And of course this is just my view and others may see differently. In any case Ajahn Jagaro said it much more sensitively here:

http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha151.htm

And of course this issue has been done to death here:

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=9229

The thing to do, in my view, is to drop the defensiveness and the clinging to views and pay careful attention to what arises as we desire food and as we consume it. To investigate how our food is produced and the multitude of effects its production has on the environment and the people. To observe the effect the desiring and consumption has on us. To cultivate equanimity towards the kind of food consumed, a careful mindfulness to the sensations of consuming, a sense of appreciation deep gratitude for the many hands that had worked to bring it to us and for being so lucky to have food at all while cultivating compassion for the majority on this planet who go without adequate nourishment. And finally to cultivate a deep commitment to use the nourishment for the betterment of myself and all. If done gently and sensitively, I think this make very useful practice.

BTW, it is interesting how quick we are to project all sorts of mental states on others. So me pointing out what I see as ethical and logical deficiencies in "eating meat is nothing to do with the first precept or compassion" position is equated as passing judgment and even hating meat-eaters. This could not be further from the truth - I feel we are all work in progress and these issues are for each one of us to face and deal with. My view is at best provisional and may change. I hope your are not cast in stone either.
_/|\_
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Postby Maarten » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:43 pm

Dear Dan,

I can understand your line of reasoning and I share and admire your compassion for animals but I still don't think there is anything inherently immoral about buying meat.

As I said before, to me being a vegetarian is more like saving lives than like refraining from taking them.
Take the animal rights activists who try to stop the whale hunters from killing whales. What they are doing is saving lives. This is a virtuous act, but does that make everyone who is not out there saving the whales immoral? I think not.

It is interesting that you exclude monks from the supply and demand chain. When they are asking for alms don't they participate in a supply and demand chain? Why shouldn't the monk refrain from accepting meat to try and stop the layperson from buying it?
I think the reason is that there is no bad karma in accepting the meat. You can't change someones unwholesome mind by not participating in in a supply and demand chain in which they are part. Neither can you avoid being part of such a chain because you do have needs. Somewhere along the endless chain of cause and effect originating from your actions, someone will commit an unwholesome act. This is their problem, not yours. You can't control the intentions of another anyway.

Thank you for your advice, it is good advice. I know I may come across as a struggling vegetarian who is trying to come up with excuses, but I think this is not the case.
This idea or feeling actually came up in a meditation of mine, a metta meditation. To hear that this is actually the orthodox Theravadan view only confirms this idea for me.

On a side note, I will continue to be a vegetarian because I find it more enjoyable to save animals than to eat them, but I no longer consider non vegetarians to be immoral.

With metta
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