the great vegetarian debate

Where members are free to take ideas from the Theravāda Canon out of the Theravāda framework. Here you can question rebirth, kamma (and other contentious issues) as well as examine Theravāda's connection to other paths
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David N. Snyder
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:06 pm

Annabel wrote:In any case, I can still see how she looked into my eyes,and held my gaze, for a long time. THAT look I will never forget.
Also the sadness she felt. I did have a feeling she was asking me to do something. I sadly caressed her face.
Perhaps I failed. :weep:


I had a similar experience in Ethiopia one time. We stopped by the side of the road to purchase some coffee beans and there close-by was a man holding a goat with a small rope around its neck. He was trying to sell the goat. In Ethiopia, to eat meat, you must buy the whole animal, take him home and kill him/her. For this reason, many foreign diplomats become vegetarian, at least while they are in Ethiopia. :tongue:

While the people with me purchased the coffee beans, I petted the goat. The goat immediately gravitated toward me and wanted more petting and attention. As we went back to our car, the goat struggled to come to me. The man with the goat started whipping the goat and pulling at him to stay with him. But the goat just kept coming toward me with all his might. I thought about purchasing the goat, but knew that eventually he would be found and still made into dinner one day, so just waved good-bye.

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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby Annapurna » Sun Nov 22, 2009 6:07 pm

Oh... :(

I can imagine how you felt. I can also imagine how the goat felt.

Oh dear...

I once took an ill kitten in, and cared for her until it was well.

Hr gratitude was sobeautiful.

Each morning she would crawl next to my ill mother, and constantly gaze into her eyes, and seemed to smile, really. She gave her this confident, cheerful look, paw on lap, and purred away, and the old lady was delighted.

I would find the two next to each other, communicating with each other, each in her own way....

Amazing cat she was.

Her name was Jeannie, after "I dream of Jeannie".

:heart:
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby ChangingMan » Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:47 pm

Just voted in this poll. Yes, I am Veggie and have been now for 17 years (which seems like a long time when I say it like that!). I was veggie before I was buddhist, but of course they now support each other. I am Theravadin, have never really had a drawing to other traditions / lineages. My decision to turn veggie was born out of an undeveloped sense of why ethically I felt it was wrong. As time has gone by, Buddhism has helped me with a moral and ethical core to some of the things I just felt were right to do, but could not articulate, if that makes sense. I suppose I still think of being veggie as independent of Buddhism (that is, I don't abstain because of my faith). My wife is also veggie, and we have brought our two children up veggie from birth, and none of them are Buddhist, so I suppose that helps keep them separate to a degree in my mind. I can't ever see myself eating meat now.

Metta
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Laurens
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby Laurens » Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:06 pm

I am a vegetarian. I tried for ages to give up meat in order to purify my 1st precept as it were, but I couldn't do it, I liked the taste too much. However one time I was eating a rare steak, and I noticed a blood vessel running across the steak and then I started to realise that I was actually eating a lump of flesh off a dead animal, it didn't immediately strike me as being cruel, but more of a weird thing to do - then I started to truely think about how cruel it is to kill a being just for its flesh, just to feed our desires.

I haven't eaten meat since then. I can't see why we need to really, perhaps in an environment where there is no other source of protien, but not while we have so many other means of getting a good amount of protien, without having to kill.
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby Monkey Mind » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:41 pm

I was a vegetarian for 5 years. I was a counselor working with teenagers, and I had an opportunity to chaperon as the youth met His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. In my efforts to educate the youth about who HHDL was, I felt an impulse to be a vegetarian for a month before meeting him, to "purify" myself. Well, the lifestyle stuck. However, as a vegetarian I gained A LOT of weight, because I was eating a lot of bread and pasta, and I always felt hungry. Eventually I talked myself back into being a meat eater. Another few years went by.

Now I am on the verge of going veggie again. I don't buy meat, but eat it if someone serves it to me. But the Goenka retreat changed something "in" me. I've stopped wearing leather or suede, and I am a lot more concerned about what I take into my body, and the whole butcher kamma thing. I will go full veggie as soon as I figure out the whole protein thing, so that I can better manage the whole carb craving thing.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710

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SamKR
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Beef?

Postby SamKR » Thu Dec 24, 2009 2:43 am

Followers of Hinduism are prohibited to eat beef (they may eat chicken or lamb etc.). But is it forbidden to eat beef in Buddhism, especially Theravada? Is there any source that talks about this issue?
Thanks.

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Re: Beef?

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Dec 24, 2009 2:59 am

don't think that beef is prohibited but there are rules regarding meat consumption!

BMC1 wrote:The following types of meat are unallowable: that of human beings, elephants,
horses, dogs, snakes, lions, tigers, leopards, bears, and hyenas.
Last edited by Cittasanto on Thu Dec 24, 2009 3:09 am, 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.”
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Re: Beef?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Dec 24, 2009 3:04 am

A slightly peripheral observation to add to Manapa's excellent post is that in my experience many Thai people simply don't like red meat, and I guess that may also be the case in other countries such as Sri Lanka...

Mike

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Re: Beef?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Dec 24, 2009 3:27 am

This question naturally leads into the debate over vegetarianism vs. non-vegetarian diets, discussed here:

viewtopic.php?f=22&t=805

The prohibition on certain meats are in regard to what a monastic cannot accept as alms food. Otherwise they abide by the 3 fold rule, accepting what is offered to them. Lay people must choose what to eat.

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Re: Beef?

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Dec 24, 2009 3:31 am

good point David
:anjali:
“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: Beef?

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Dec 24, 2009 3:40 am

mikenz66 wrote:A slightly peripheral observation to add to Manapa's excellent post is that in my experience many Thai people simply don't like red meat, and I guess that may also be the case in other countries such as Sri Lanka...

Mike

also mae kwan im (kwan yin) plays a part in why a lot of thai people dont eat beef.
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: Beef?

Postby suanck » Thu Dec 24, 2009 3:53 am

jcsuperstar wrote:also mae kwan im (kwan yin) plays a part in why a lot of thai people dont eat beef.


I agree. I've met some Thais who don't eat beef (cow, buffalo meat), and I believe they're originally from the Chinese ethnic group, and are influenced by the Kwan-Yin sect.

You may like to read an interesting article on the Wikipedia "Taboo food and drink", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taboo_food_and_drink

Extract:
"... Some ethnic Chinese may also refrain from eating cow meat, because many of them feel that it is wrong to eat an animal that was so useful in agriculture. Some Chinese Buddhists discourage the consumption of beef, although it is not considered taboo. A similar taboo can be seen among Sinhalese Buddhists, who consider it to be ungrateful to kill the animal whose milk and labour provides livelihoods to many Sinhalese people."

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Re: Beef?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Thu Dec 24, 2009 4:57 am

suanck wrote:
jcsuperstar wrote:also mae kwan im (kwan yin) plays a part in why a lot of thai people dont eat beef.


I agree. I've met some Thais who don't eat beef (cow, buffalo meat), and I believe they're originally from the Chinese ethnic group, and are influenced by the Kwan-Yin sect.


Thanks for the info on Avalokitesvara in Thailand, many often overlook all these sorts of teachings and beliefs in SE asia, on a text book assumption that they are "Theravada countries". Things are seldom so simple.

You may like to read an interesting article on the Wikipedia "Taboo food and drink", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taboo_food_and_drink

Extract:
"... Some ethnic Chinese may also refrain from eating cow meat, because many of them feel that it is wrong to eat an animal that was so useful in agriculture. Some Chinese Buddhists discourage the consumption of beef, although it is not considered taboo. A similar taboo can be seen among Sinhalese Buddhists, who consider it to be ungrateful to kill the animal whose milk and labour provides livelihoods to many Sinhalese people."

Suan


The general point about Chinese is basically correct. In trad Chinese culture, the ox if for plowing the fields, you don't around killing and eating your only tractor! The consumption of dairy produce and red meats, which are becoming more and more popular in modern PRoC, are strongly influenced from the west. It is "food affluence". McD and KFC being classic examples - they are regarded as kind of high class eating! :blink:

However, in that Wiki quote, I quite disagree that "Some Chinese Buddhists discourage the consumption of beef, although it is not considered taboo." Chinese Buddhists place a very high value on vegetarianism. Although not all lay buddhists eat meat, all the monastics do, and thus almost all Chinese lay Buddhists consider that being vegetarian is definitely what should be done. It has kind of become de facto as important as the five precepts for maybe half the Chinese buddhist population. So, yes, they basically "forbid the consumption of beef, and any other animal flesh, and also consider it a kind of taboo".

Regards the Thais and Sri Lankans, I wonder if also, despite the fact that they are Buddhist and not Hindu, the sheer force and influence of general Indian culture on the entirety of SE Asia (from Afghanistan all the way down to Indonesia) plays a major factor here? Not to mention the situation as per the Chinese - the ox is the traditional family farm tractor, not a produce animal.
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Re: Beef?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Dec 24, 2009 6:36 am

Although the vast majority of Burmese are not vegetarians, in general they do not eat beef. The reasons are that cattle are used in agriculture for ploughing, for transporting goods, and for threshing grain. It is regarded as despicable ingratitude to kill and eat your own benefactor.

See Cow Dhamma by the late Venerable Ledi Sayādaw.
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Re: Beef?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Thu Dec 24, 2009 6:45 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Although the vast majority of Burmese are not vegetarians, in general they do not eat beef. The reasons are that cattle are used in agriculture for ploughing, for transporting goods, and for threshing grain. It is regarded as despicable ingratitude to kill and eat your own benefactor.

See Cow Dhamma by the late Venerable Ledi Sayādaw.


Great link, Bhante!, much appreciated. :)
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.

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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Fri Dec 25, 2009 4:32 pm

If I have the arrogance to dare call myself a worthy follower of the Buddhadhamma (which these days I hesitate to do) I would say I follow Theravada teachings. I will not eat animals. I don't agonize over the ethics of it or think about why or why not. I just prefer not to do it.

But I do like this:

Image

J
PS: As a former moderator of the Vegetarian Forum of e-sangha, I have a word of advice for the Admins of Dhamma Wheel: Don't give in to temptation to create a vegetarian forum unless you want a foretaste of what Avici Hell is like. :tongue:

J
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby alan » Fri Dec 25, 2009 5:12 pm

I went pure Veg in the 80's, when all available science pointed towards it as healthy.
But my experience with exercise later on proved that I needed protein--soy is not good enough--and had to admit I had been wrong.
Exercise is not a topic that thrills the hearts of many, so I'll refrain from that. But there is a lot of science out now suggesting good fats (some from animal protein) are essential for optimum health. I'm convinced now, and yes, after "years of research", have concluded it is best to eat meat (although I advise avoiding processed stuff and garbage from fast food joints), and keep your simple carbs down to a minimum.
More can be found at westonaprice.org.
Worth your time!

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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:53 pm

Eh? I'm a weightlifter and have been for a long time. Lots of vegetarian and even vegan athletes, including bodybuilders. Of course, this is one of those topics hotly debated. Seems as though some individual thrive and some do not.

J
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby EricJ » Sat Dec 26, 2009 12:44 am

Indeed, I am. Lacto-ovo vegetarian. Lately, I haven't been eating cheeses (because so many of the cheeses you find in les supermarches contain calf-based rennets), and I actually like the taste of soy milk more than cow's milk. I avoid meat to remove myself from the consumer demand that informs the meat industry's acts of environmental damage, animal abuse and social injustice.
I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.- Gandhi

With persistence aroused for the highest goal's attainment, with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action, firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Not neglecting seclusion, absorption, constantly living the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, comprehending the danger in states of becoming, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
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Re: Poll: Are you vegetarian/vegan?

Postby PeterB » Sat Dec 26, 2009 9:45 am

I was a vegetarian for a long time. Now I am not. partly on medical advice. Yesterday for Christmas dinner I enjoyed the roast beef of old England from a herd of organically certified and humanely reared cattle.


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