the great vegetarian debate

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Meat eating

Postby mirco » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:28 am

Ben wrote:If, for example, you are at a fancy Chinese restaurant and you are invited to pick a fish or lobster from a tank that you want served to you cooked - its a breach of the first precept.
If you order a side of lamb from a farmer/butcher that kills his stock to order - its a breach of the first precept.
If you own a cow and you pay someone to slaughter and butcher the cow - its a breach of the first precept.

If you go to a supermarket and find hundreds of cuts of meat pre-packaged and for sale and you purchase some meat - then no. There is no causal link between your decision to purchase and the death of that animal.

Very well explained.
Thanks, Ben (-:
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Re: Meat eating

Postby SarathW » Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:01 am

Thanks Ben for the summary.
Thanks LY for the link. The great debate is great!
For the rest: Please read the great debate. Remember it requies lot of energy! :juggling:
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Re: Meat eating

Postby Sekha » Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:35 am

Ben wrote:If you go to a supermarket and find hundreds of cuts of meat pre-packaged and for sale and you purchase some meat - then no. There is no causal link between your decision to purchase and the death of that animal.

may I suggest that:
- there is no causal link between the death of the animal the flesh of which one eats
- but there is a causal link with the future death of animals that are to come in the stalls of that supermaket.

does it sound as like acceptable point of view? if not, why so?
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As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: Meat eating

Postby Ben » Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:37 am

Sekha wrote:- but there is a causal link with the future death of animals that are to come in the stalls of that supermaket.

Would you care to demonstrate that, Sekha?
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: Meat eating

Postby Mr Man » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:14 am

SarathW wrote: Does it mean I shold not buy and eat meat?



That is for you to decide. However there is obviously a causality between the eating of meat and the intentional killing of animals.
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Re: Meat eating

Postby Sekha » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:17 am

Ben wrote:
Sekha wrote:- but there is a causal link with the future death of animals that are to come in the stalls of that supermaket.

Would you care to demonstrate that, Sekha?

sure!

In my understanding, if I give money to the retailers for the meat I buy, that will prompt them to buy more meat to replace the meat I have withdrawn from their stall. So they will themselves give money to the butchers (or to the chain that leads to them) so that those will slaughter more animals to provide more fresh meat to fill the stalls. The causality is made obvious by the fact that if no one gave any money for the meat, that would prompt the retailers to stop asking meat from the butchers, which would prompt the butchers to change their business, if everyone were to act in this way, and that would be the end of the slaughter.

The following is a bit of drifting, but it is nevertheless closely related to the matter:

Another argument is at AN 3.164:
Tīhi , bhikkhave, dhammehi samannāgato yathābhataṃ nikkhitto evaṃ niraye. Katamehi tīhi? Attanā ca pāṇātipātī hoti, parañca pāṇātipāte samādapeti, pāṇātipāte ca samanuñño hoti.
Endowed with these three things, as if dragged and dropped there, one is in hell. Which three? One kills oneself, one prompts others to kill, one approves of killing.

To me, desiring to purchase and then purchasing meat in a supermarket is approving of the fact that the meat is on the stalls, which comes down to approving of the causes and conditions that make it possible for this meat to be there, and which therefore includes the slaughter of animals. So although it is the weakest form of panatipata, and there is no particular reason to consider that it will per se result in a bad rebirth, I do not agree with the view according to which there is absolutely nothing unwholesome in buying meat. The kammical result may (perhaps) be negligible compared to other actions of everyday life, but I do think it is existent.

The last thing, which is actually the reason why I personally do not purchase meat as long as there is at least one other reasonable option available (no reason to be rigid about it either) is that in order to feel really true to myself when I set up in my mind the good will "may all beings be happy", I need to wish as well that no animal may be slaughtered by anyone. Now if I buy meat, I have somehow to approve of the slaughter (even if it may be considered to be to a weak extent), and that weakens my good intention. I do think that is one important reason why I have developed a pretty strong vibration of metta around me all the time. I nearly never have to deal with any hostile person, as everyone in meet in real 3D life always feels friendly towards me. I know this is quite personal and subjective, and I don't intend to really convince anyone, and even less to tell others what they should do, but I hope at least that my point of view may be understood.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: Meat eating

Postby Ben » Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:11 am

Hi Sekha,

i've actually given this issue some considerable thought and with respect I think you are drawing a long bow.
if the meat was killed specifically for the particular purchaser who then buys the meat, or if the purchaser entices the butcher to kill an animal to satisfy a desire for meat - then it would be a breach of the first precept. The fact that butchers and farmers are making commercial decisions based on projected consumer behaviour is something that is going on in the heads of the butchers and farmers. The purchase of meat that was provided for not any one in particular from a supermarket is not meat that can be categorically said to be 'seen' or 'heard' by a consumer.
Consider this also - supermarkets regularly under or over order perishable products, the excess which end up in the dumpster.
kind regards,

Ben
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


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
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Re: Meat eating

Postby Sekha » Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:35 am

Ben wrote:i've actually given this issue some considerable thought and with respect I think you are drawing a long bow.

I know. But this is what's relevant for me. I don't intend to say that everyone should practice that way.

Ben wrote:if the meat was killed specifically for the particular purchaser who then buys the meat, or if the purchaser entices the butcher to kill an animal to satisfy a desire for meat - then it would be a breach of the first precept. The fact that butchers and farmers are making commercial decisions based on projected consumer behaviour is something that is going on in the heads of the butchers and farmers.

Sure. For myself, I nevertheless consider that my attitude has an impact, however small it may be. I am quite eager to obtain the 'fruit' so I want to put all odds on my side.

Ben wrote:The purchase of meat that was provided for not any one in particular from a supermarket is not meat that can be categorically said to be 'seen' or 'heard' by a consumer.

Well, my stand on this issue is that this rule is relevant for monks only. Taking it as a guide for lay people's behavior in my understanding is applying it out of context. There is no guarantee that the causes and conditions that prompted the Buddha to utter this rule would be the same in the case of lay people. And obviously they are not, otherwise he would have also instructed lay people to behave in the same way. Rather, in describing the undertaking of panatipata veramani, he instructed the people to dwell "friendly and compassionate towards all living beings".

Ben wrote:Consider this also - supermarkets regularly under or over order perishable products, the excess which end up in the dumpster.

Indeed, this is clearly the supermarkets' business, not ours.

:anjali:
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: Meat eating

Postby Mr Man » Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:56 am

To imagine the the eating of meat is not inextricably interlinked with the killing of animals is denial on the most giant of scales.
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Re: Meat eating

Postby DAWN » Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:18 am

The question is not about if Buddha was or not accept it, the question is if YOU accept any killing or slavery.
Sabbe dhamma anatta
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Re: Meat eating

Postby Sam Vara » Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:42 am

Sekha:

Sure. For myself, I nevertheless consider that my attitude has an impact, however small it may be. I am quite eager to obtain the 'fruit' so I want to put all odds on my side.


For me, this is one of the best quotes in this whole massive debate. It is as humble as it is intelligent, and I thank you for it.
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Re: Meat eating

Postby equilibrium » Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:53 am

We all have meat on our own body.....why don't we cut our own meat and eat it?.....why should it come from an animal?.....supermarkets are an illusion.....the demand is the self.....the problem is the self.
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Re: Meat eating

Postby robertk » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:35 pm

Mr Man wrote:To imagine the the eating of meat is not inextricably interlinked with the killing of animals is denial on the most giant of scales.

Was general siha involved in killing animals
when he fed meat to the monks?
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Re: Meat eating

Postby robertk » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:37 pm

Sam Vara wrote:Sekha:

Sure. For myself, I nevertheless consider that my attitude has an impact, however small it may be. I am quite eager to obtain the 'fruit' so I want to put all odds on my side.


For me, this is one of the best quotes in this whole massive debate. It is as humble as it is intelligent, and I thank you for it.

Yes wrong view is the main obstacle to obtaining any fruits
Devadatta, the vegetarian monk, had such.
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Re: Meat eating

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:32 pm

robertk wrote:
Mr Man wrote:To imagine the the eating of meat is not inextricably interlinked with the killing of animals is denial on the most giant of scales.

Was general siha involved in killing animals
when he fed meat to the monks?


I think you misread Mr Man's statement.
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Re: Meat eating

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:55 pm

robertk wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:Sekha:

Sure. For myself, I nevertheless consider that my attitude has an impact, however small it may be. I am quite eager to obtain the 'fruit' so I want to put all odds on my side.


For me, this is one of the best quotes in this whole massive debate. It is as humble as it is intelligent, and I thank you for it.

Yes wrong view is the main obstacle to obtaining any fruits
Devadatta, the vegetarian monk, had such.


Sekha's intention might be different from Devadatta's. If I understand correctly, Devadatta was trying to show others that he was better.
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Re: Meat eating

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:56 pm

An important point made twice in Sujato Bhikkhu's article on Buddhist Vegetarianism:

"Indeed, there are several Vinaya rules that were laid down in response to the actions of arahants. An arahant cannot act in an intentionally harmful manner, so these rules cannot be taken to imply that the motivation behind the acts was wrong. The acts have unintended harmful consequences, and this is why they are prohibited."

"The notion that actions should not be done, even when they involve no harmful intention, is found constantly in the Vinaya. For example, a monk is criticised for baking bricks that have small creatures in them, even though he was unaware of them and did not intend any harm. The Buddha laid down a rule forbidding this."

To frame the debate around the consumption of meat in purely kammic terms is to, in my mind, miss the point. An action that leads to the suffering of living beings should be avoided (as per the Buddha's instructions to Rahula) regardless of whether or not the intention behind it is pure; as quoted above, many Vinaya rules address behaviors that were performed without even the possibility of malice or ill-will. If it is truly intention and only intention that matters in regards to the worth of an action, then why did the Buddha stop the monk from killing creatures he did not know existed? If intention is the sole determiner of an action's moral worth, then why did the Buddha prohibit an action that, while destructive, had no intentional harm behind it?

I believe a far more realistic approach to morality would dictate that we, as Buddhists, should not only cleanse ourselves of any malice or ill-will but also attempt to investigate our habitual behaviors and see if they fit the rubric provided by the Lord Buddha to Rahula:

"Whenever you want to do a bodily action, you should reflect on it: 'This bodily action I want to do — would it lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Would it be an unskillful bodily action, with painful consequences, painful results?' If, on reflection, you know that it would lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it would be an unskillful bodily action with painful consequences, painful results, then any bodily action of that sort is absolutely unfit for you to do. But if on reflection you know that it would not cause affliction... it would be a skillful bodily action with pleasant consequences, pleasant results, then any bodily action of that sort is fit for you to do.


I don't think that a Western Buddhist, having available to him or her mountains of data illustrating the affliction that the meat industry brings upon living beings, can honestly look at their purchasing power and see it as completely devoid of complicity. The question is not what we can get away with, or what the precepts do and don't allow, but what does or doesn't lead to suffering; I would at least humbly suggest that those who consume meat really examine the nature of the industry and see if they come to the same conclusions.
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: Meat eating

Postby DAWN » Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:09 pm

Thanks you Dear LonesomeYogurt :namaste:
Hope you will not be punish by Moderation Team.

Only that i want to say, it's just that i prefere have no any fruition for my self, but let living beings live.
What is that fruition that is talking about, when this fruition will be full of blood?

The only Noble Fruit is freedom. Freedom from body attachement and taste attachement too.

Metta for all living beings who suffer because of egoism and ignorance. For all who seek for freedom by slavering others. :meditate:
I wish you all get free. Because it's horrible what ignorance can do... It's realy horrible.
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english
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Re: Meat eating

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:17 pm

DAWN wrote:Thanks you Dear LonesomeYogurt :namaste:
Hope you will not be punish by Moderation Team..
You will notice that there is no punidshment by moderation team. There was no violation of the TOS.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Meat eating

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:20 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:I don't think that a Western Buddhist, having available to him or her mountains of data illustrating the affliction that the meat industry brings upon living beings, can honestly look at their purchasing power and see it as completely devoid of complicity.
Yes. Well, there are mountains of data that illustrate that the production of food in general involves the mass destruction of living beings.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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