the great vegetarian debate

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:08 am

Kind of like we're kindly being asked to support the American government, even though its killing a lot of innocent civilians in foreign conflicts, I'm not buying that arguement Dhamanando, any host that can't understand someone might want to refrain from killing and eating animals, especially if they're Buddhist, almost deserves to be insulted!!!
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:26 am

lyndon taylor wrote:Kind of like we're kindly being asked to support the American government, even though its killing a lot of innocent civilians in foreign conflicts,


In your analogy, if I understand you right ...

• ‘Dinner host’ = ‘US government’.
• ‘Offering a guest food of a kind that happens not to accord with her dietary preferences’ = ‘killing innocent civillians’.
• ‘The guest’s eating of that food for courtesy’s sake’ = ‘approving of the government in spite of its killing of innocent civillians’.

Don’t these parallels strike you as perhaps just a wee bit contrived?


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    False analogy

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    • The relevance of the known similarities to the similarity inferred in the conclusion.
    • The amount and variety of the examples in the analogy.
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lyndon taylor wrote:any host that can't understand someone might want to refrain from killing and eating animals, especially if they're Buddhist, almost deserves to be insulted!!!


I believe the implied situation here is not one in which the host offers meat to a vegetarian out of sheer bloody-mindedness, but rather one in which she has no prior knowledge of her guest's dietary preferences and simply offers the kind of food she would offer to any guest. And so the question of whether a vegetarian's motivations are intelligible to her isn't really relevant.
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:54 am

Would you offer the same kind advice to Jews and muslims, that they should just swallow their traditions and eat pork if offered them by a host? killing innocent civilians=killing innocent animals, sorry you don't see any connection.

Frankly in addition to being vegetarian for religious reasons, I'm also a vegetarian for my own health, and I'm damned if I'm going to be concerned about a hosts feelings serving me food that is bad for my body and the state of mind I want to cultivate, frankly meat eaters have a long way to go to develop sensitivity on these issues, its the vegetarians that seem to be bending over backwards making allowances for meat eaters.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Ben » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:12 am

Although a vegan, i am with Ajahn Dhammanando on this issue. Some things are more important than maintaining a dogmatic adherence to one's dietary preference t at every single meal - developing gratitude, sympathetic joy at another's meritorious action of offering Dana, and renunciation of one's own wishes and desires are cases in point.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby cooran » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:15 am

Well said, Bhante and Ben. I agree.

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:17 am

lyndon taylor wrote:Would you offer the same kind advice to Jews and muslims, that they should just swallow their traditions and eat pork if offered them by a host?


No, because in this case they are doing as their religion commands them. Theravāda Buddhist vegetarians, on the other hand, by eschewing meat are at best undertaking a sort of supererogatory virtue (assuming that their motivation is to not contribute to the market demand for meat), not one that is actually required by their sīla.

killing innocent civilians=killing innocent animals, sorry you don't see any connection.


It wasn't in fact specified in the earlier post that the host is serving meat from an animal she has killed herself, but merely that she is serving meat.

I'm damned if I'm going to be concerned about a hosts feelings...


You make my point for me: "priggish" and "uncivil".
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:34 am

What part of Not Killing do you not seem to understand. The comparison to the Government killing is the slippery slope we go on when we say some killing is OK where other is not, such as its OK for our host to kill animals, or the government to kill Afghans, but not ourselves, we have no part of it. What you don't seem to comprehend is not all vegetarians are the same and practice vegetarianism for the same reasons, the Buddha's logic as applied to accepting meat from hosts may work for some vegetarians but certainly not all or even most, in my opinion from a debating sense its really a very poor arguement put forward, kind of like saying if you're not doing any killing and you're in the military, you're not contributing to others killing, when in fact you may be feeding the soldiers or healing their wounds so they can kill more.

The precept is to not kill, and come to an understanding of how you can refrain from killing and contributing to killing, not to make petty little excuses to not take responsibility for your actions and blame someone else for all the killing.

PS I'd like a quote from the scriptures, Dhammanando, where the Buddha says offending ones host is a greater crime than killing a living being. Seems like you've got your priorities backwards, Not Killing is the most important precept of all, and the biggest one in terms of proportion, not offending ones hosts doesn't come into the precepts, if it even comes into the vinaya.......
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:48 am

lyndon taylor wrote:
PS I'd like a quote from the scriptures, Dhammanando, where . . .
That is either Ven Dhammanando, or Ajahn Dhammanando.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:04 am

lyndon taylor wrote:The precept is to not kill, and come to an understanding of how you can refrain from killing and contributing to killing,


The diminution in the killing of animals that some vegetarians hope their dietary practice will conduce to could only come about if the said practice were to be undertaken by sufficient numbers. One single person’s undertaking to purchase no meat will not have any discernible (that is to say, measurable) effect on the market or on the animal-slaughter that market demand generates. A vegetarian may nonetheless comfort herself with the thought that although her refusal to purchase meat has no discernible effect on the market, at least she is not personally contributing to it. We can surely agree on this much, right?

But when it comes to a guest’s refusal to eat her host’s meat (which is what the present sub-section of the thread is concerned with), not only will this not have any measurable effect on the market, it will not have even an unmeasurable effect on it; there is no possibility of its having an effect of any kind on the market, for the guest’s refusal will not cause the purchased meat to become unpurchased. That being so, the sole effects of her refusal will be an insulted host and some wasted food.
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:10 am

lyndon taylor wrote:I'd like a quote from the scriptures, Dhammanando, where the Buddha says offending ones host is a greater crime than killing a living being.


Then I suggest you direct your question to the proper quarters, which is to say, to some Buddhist who actually holds such a view.
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:15 am

Perhaps, if you eat three cows a year, 50 chickens and a few pigs, perhaps becoming a vegetarian would lower demand by about that much, so the farmer would cut back on how many animals they breed etc. However the point is some of this is also about the vegetarian, who doesn't want to be eating animal hormones or antibiotics fed to animals for their own health, so refusing meat from hosts is the best option to them. Part of the whole reason there are so many meat eating Buddhists, is meat eating Buddhist monks recommending meat to their followers, so their karmic footprint of animal killing is much greater than the amount of meat they actually eat. Likewise a Monk that makes compassionate pleas for vegetarianism is likewise having a greater positive karmic footprint against killing more than just the animals he is not eating.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:16 am

Dhammanando wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:I'd like a quote from the scriptures, Dhammanando, where the Buddha says offending ones host is a greater crime than killing a living being.


Then I suggest you direct your question to the proper quarters, which is to say, to some Buddhist who actually holds such a view.


You're actually the one that made the arguement, I thought perhaps you might be able to defend it, but I see no......
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:21 am

One of the problems here is a double standard applied to animals vs humans, not by the Buddha but by his followers, If you were to hire someone to kill a rival, we would consider you just as guilty as the one who actually did the killing, but for some strange very illogical reason, when we pay someone at the supermarket to kill animals for us to eat, "we're completely innocent" of any killing, complete rubbish, like I said you could never win debate with logic like that, it just doesn't make sense, If no one buys the meat, the animals don't get bred and killed, at least to the same extent, its simple supply and demand economics.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby cooran » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:37 am

Hello Lyndon,

Most things we have in our first world economy involve "killing by proxy".

And Devadata was the one who criticised the Buddha for not enforcing vegetarianism on his disciples.

See articles here:
http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma3/vegi.html

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:23 am

Its pretty clear from scripture that the Buddha didn't force vegetarianism, but rather encouraged vegetarianism without making it a rule, a feature sorely missed by many of the pro meat eating camp, who are basically encouraging meat eating, and belittleing vegetarianism, something the Buddha never did. Not to mention twisting around the Buddha's admonitions against killing by proxy.

Everytime you buy a steak, a certain percentage of your cost actually goes to pay the person who killed the cow, and the business that aims to profit off killing and selling the meat from the cow, that may not be killing to you, but it is to me, so I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree......
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Ben » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:43 am

Perhaps, Lyndon, it is you who is twisting the Dhamma to your own fundy vegetatrian agenda. The Dhamma is far more subtle and nuanced when it comes to the ethics of food than you are suggesting.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:51 am

lyndon taylor wrote:Its pretty clear from scripture that the Buddha didn't force vegetarianism, but rather encouraged vegetarianism without making it a rule, a feature sorely missed by many of the pro meat eating camp, who are basically encouraging meat eating, and belittleing vegetarianism, something the Buddha never did. Not to mention twisting around the Buddha's admonitions against killing by proxy.

Everytime you buy a steak, a certain percentage of your cost actually goes to pay the person who killed the cow, and the business that aims to profit off killing and selling the meat from the cow, that may not be killing to you, but it is to me, so I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree......



So when I worked in KFC, and there was spare chicken at the end of the shift that would go in the bin, I was wrong to take it home to my family to eat (and so save on money in general)


Was meat eating wrong then?
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:50 am

if you don't want to eat a lot of chicken hormones and antibiotics fed to chickens, then yes it was wrong, since when does every right or wrong answer have to be decided by buddhist scripture, sometimes you have to make your own decisions......

The whole problem in this debate started when a monk told us, not that its OK (optional)to eat meat when offered to us by a host, but rather we should eat the meat offered as not eating it would be considered rude, which is a greater crime than eating it. I don't agree, its a personal decision for each vegetarian to make themselves, not be dictated to them by some ones interpretation of 2500 year old customs.
Last edited by lyndon taylor on Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Mkoll » Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:52 am

Dear Lyndon,

Remember that being a vegetarian entails killing pests (insects, mammals, etc.) that would otherwise eat the crops and deaths from harvesters/machinery. So it's not like being a vegetarian makes you free from the chain of death. This is samsara. Beings take advantage and kill each other even if they don't want to; it's the way nature is set up. By the way, I'm a vegetarian myself and am so because of health and moral reasons among others. It causes less suffering overall than supporting the flesh trade.

In terms of a host offering you food, it depends on the context as to whether it's inoffensive to refuse to eat or not. I wouldn't make blanket statements for either case.

:anjali:
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby binocular » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:04 am

Mkoll wrote:In terms of a host offering you food, it depends on the context as to whether it's inoffensive to refuse to eat or not. I wouldn't make blanket statements for either case.

Yes. And it's not like one always has no choice as to whom to visit and what to do on that visit.

If one already knows that a person is an avid meat-eater and anti-vegetarian, then why go there for a meal, unless it is really necessary and inavoidable?
Often enough, there are ways to associate with other people that don't involve eating at all. So if one has to associate with an avid meat-eater, there may be ways to arrange that on one's own terms.


As an additional concern: Should we eat food that has been offered to us by another person, when this food has not been properly blessed, offered to the Buddha first?
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