chicka-Dee wrote:[I]don't really understand the difference between killing an animal for self-nourishment, and digging up a potatoe (which kills the plant, doesn't it?) and eating it.
Peter wrote:chicka-Dee wrote:[I]don't really understand the difference between killing an animal for self-nourishment, and digging up a potatoe (which kills the plant, doesn't it?) and eating it.
The difference is that one the Buddha teaches to be inherently unwholesome and the other not. A plant is not a living being. It is alive, but it does not have consciousness, does not act with intention, does not make karma, does not have taints, cannot be liberated from the taints, there is no "plant realm" for beings to be born into, etc. Whatever your personal opinion on the matter, the Buddha's teachings on this are clear.
As you said, waste and greed are unwholesome as well, regardless whether it concerns meat or plants or rocks.
Sentient beings is a technical term in Buddhist discourse. Broadly speaking, it denotes beings with consciousness or sentience or, in some contexts, life itself. Specifically, it denotes the presence of the five aggregates, or skandhas. While distinctions in usage and potential subdivisions or classes of sentient beings vary from one school, teacher, or thinker to another—and there is debate within some Buddhist schools as to what exactly constitutes sentience and how it is to be recognized—it principally refers to beings in contrast with buddhahood. That is, sentient beings are characteristically not enlightened, and are thus confined to the death, rebirth, and suffering characteristic of Saṃsāra. However, Mahayana Buddhism simultaneously teaches (in the Tathagatagarbha doctrine particularly) that sentient beings also contain Buddha-nature—the intrinsic potential to transcend the conditions of samsara and attain enlightenment, thereby becoming a Buddha.
"Those who greatly enlighten illusion are Buddhas; those who are greatly deluded about enlightenment are sentient beings."
In Mahayana Buddhism, it is to sentient beings that the Bodhisattva vow of compassion is pledged. Furthermore, and particularly in Tibetan Buddhism and Japanese Buddhism, all beings (including plant life and even inanimate objects or entities considered "spiritual" or "metaphysical" by conventional Western thought) are or may be considered sentient beings
I did find this on wikipedia, though, and it seems not all would agree that plants are not sentient beings:
chicka-Dee wrote:I appreciate that Theravadin (and I'm sure many other) Buddhists do not consider plants as sentient.
chicka-Dee wrote:I didn't realize this forum was so narrow-focused as to only include 'Theravadin Buddhist' thoughts and ideas, and exclude all others.
uniformsquare wrote:"A lay follower should not engage in five types of business. Which five? Business in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poison."
— AN 5.177
P.S. I hate my job T_T