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A Mosaic of Traditions - One Virtual Sangha => Buddha Basics - Beginner Zone => Topic started by: allen-uk on April 02, 2018, 02:05:58 pm

Title: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: allen-uk on April 02, 2018, 02:05:58 pm
The Buddha taught us to do no harm to any living being.

When the mendicant monks were going hungry, he told them that if kind people put a little meat in their begging bowls, they could eat it, but ONLY if it had not been killed for them, a sort of accidental eating of meat.

From that simple truth, millions of Buddhists now ignore his first directive - to harm no living thing - and happily buy and eat meat from any butchers.

It is impossible to harm no living being and eat meat.

When a Buddhist renounces his or her attachment to eating flesh, I listen to them.

Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Chaz on April 02, 2018, 02:58:34 pm
The Buddha taught us to do no harm to any living being.

When the mendicant monks were going hungry, he told them that if kind people put a little meat in their begging bowls, they could eat it, but ONLY if it had not been killed for them, a sort of accidental eating of meat.

From that simple truth, millions of Buddhists now ignore his first directive - to harm no living thing - and happily buy and eat meat from any butchers.

It is impossible to harm no living being and eat meat.

When a Buddhist renounces his or her attachment to eating flesh, I listen to them.

Yes, I know that my meat diet will result in rebirth as an intestinal parasite.  I'm ok with that.

So, we begin another stupid, boring, pointless thread about diet. 

Let's make this interesting.  I'll bet you $100 USD that I'll become enlightened before you.  You in?
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: khragthung on April 02, 2018, 04:47:56 pm
I agree that it could be an issue if you look at whether or not affecting supply and demand constitutes having it killed for you.  Pragmatically speaking, the meat in a store is already dead, and was not specifically killed for you.  But if you want to personally not eat meat because you believe that the minascule,  invisible effect you have on supply and demand constitutes killing for you, then you should not eat meat. But if you decide not to, your focus should not be accusing others of eating meat, or of showing off how you do not.  It should be that you let go of meat eating for yourself, and if and when anyone asks why, you can explain your point of view on how you decided for yourself, based on your logic that eating meat was bad for your personal practice.  I think it really was meant for alms rounds, if someone gave you what they were already having, then it causes no harm because its already dead.  The distinction between that, and supply and demand, is in my opinion- not worth worrying about other peoples choices.  Only concern yourself with your own choices and be humble.  I made a compromise, I would take the non meat option as much as possible, unless I felt like I needed  vitamin B, omega 3-6-9  amino acids and protein. Good luck making the conscientious decision that does not hinder your practice.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Lotusmile on April 03, 2018, 01:23:54 am
Being vegetarianism is one of many kind deeds and compassion in buddhism teaching. Thus being vegetarianism alone will not be able to achieve enlightenment. Enlightenment ought to love all beings but not blindly. For instance, if you would to discover that someone harboured evil intention to kill another or a group of people, killing him or reporting him or prevent the materialisation of his evil act is kindness,  to both the evil doer and his targets. If he would to succeed in conduct of killing those people, he would be decenting to very deep hell thus killing the evil doer is also kindness
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: stillpointdancer on April 03, 2018, 02:23:50 am
Plants are living beings too, as are fungi.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Lotusmile on April 03, 2018, 02:49:26 am
Some buddhists may claim that their world recognised masters are meat eater, thus they presumed is nothing improper to rejoice over meaty meals for path towards enlightenment and so followed them as well. But these buddhists failed to realise that their grade are so far away from their masters.
The only evidence of exception for meat eaters, who could be completely out on the cycle of six realms in their current one lifespan, is the pureland tradition
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Chaz on April 03, 2018, 03:12:21 am
The only evidence of exception for meat eaters, who could be completely out on the cycle of six realms in their current one lifespan, is the pureland tradition

Getting a little pushy with the pure land thing, Lotusmile.  You might consider a different approach.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Lotusmile on April 03, 2018, 03:23:20 am
The only evidence of exception for meat eaters, who could be completely out on the cycle of six realms in their current one lifespan, is the pureland tradition

Getting a little pushy with the pure land thing, Lotusmile.  You might consider a different approach.
Not actually. Many meat eaters in their late life really benefited upon death, and also because they have no time or does not want to find time for buddhism exploration and buddhism retreat.
Buddhism is about compassionately wisdom of daily living, but it has to cater for late comers or acquaintances and intellectually less able, the agedly sick, mentally weak aged groups where exploring the buddhism teaching on wisdom is impossible
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: allen-uk on April 03, 2018, 04:03:19 am
Why am I bothered? Not for my own 'enlightenment', although I do work towards that goal. But it's not a race. If you (anyone) gets to 'it' before me, all well and good. And I don't think the discussion is stupid, on any level.

Why am I bothered? For two reasons, I suppose.

One, the animals. Humans in general, and in particular meat-eaters, need to maintain the myth of total superiority over the rest of the animal kingdom - if they weren't superior, they would have no right to kill and eat their fellow beings. Animals might not be able to articulate their fears and sufferings, but this does not mean they do not have fears or sufferings. If by our actions we can lessen the sufferings of others, I think it is our duty (as humans, as Buddhists) to do so.

Two, the twisted logic which says that if the slaughterman doesn't say "Oh, I think I'll kill this cow for Idlechater (chatter?)", it is okay for Idlechater to eat it. The slaughterman DOES kill it for you - he kills it for you and for all the other nameless meat-eaters.

I want to be part of the community of Buddhists because of the Buddha's Four Noble Truths, and the Eightfold Path that follows from the truths. When I hear or read of fellow-Buddhists writhing and twisting to prove that meat can be eaten willy-nilly, that last Tuesday is in fact next Thursday week, that the Truths or the Path can be ignored or trodden just as you please, I do feel lonely.

This is a plea for honesty as much as anything. If you can't give up alcohol or tobacco because you LIKE it too much, fair enough, I feel for you; it is difficult. If you can't give up eating flesh because you LIKE it too much, just say so! You will have the sympathy of others who have made it through the barrier, and be offered help getting there.

But don't pretend there is any justification or logic to your decision. It is just an attachment you can't shake off.

Allen.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: VincentRJ on April 03, 2018, 06:09:07 am
I think some of you are missing the main point about eating meat, or other living creatures such as fish, or eggs or insects.

They are essential for human health, at least in the long term, in the absence of the knowledge of modern dietary science which can identify certain plants, such as sea weed, that might be able to provide at least some of the essential nutrients that are usually obtained only from animal flesh.

The following link lists 7 essential nutrients that are either very difficult to get from a pure vegan diet, or maybe even impossible to get in sufficient quantities.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-nutrients-you-cant-get-from-plants (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-nutrients-you-cant-get-from-plants)
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Lotusmile on April 03, 2018, 06:29:51 am
Why am I bothered? Not for my own 'enlightenment', although I do work towards that goal. But it's not a race. If you (anyone) gets to 'it' before me, all well and good. And I don't think the discussion is stupid, on any level.

Why am I bothered? For two reasons, I suppose.

One, the animals. Humans in general, and in particular meat-eaters, need to maintain the myth of total superiority over the rest of the animal kingdom - if they weren't superior, they would have no right to kill and eat their fellow beings. Animals might not be able to articulate their fears and sufferings, but this does not mean they do not have fears or sufferings. If by our actions we can lessen the sufferings of others, I think it is our duty (as humans, as Buddhists) to do so.

Two, the twisted logic which says that if the slaughterman doesn't say "Oh, I think I'll kill this cow for Idlechater (chatter?)", it is okay for Idlechater to eat it. The slaughterman DOES kill it for you - he kills it for you and for all the other nameless meat-eaters.

I want to be part of the community of Buddhists because of the Buddha's Four Noble Truths, and the Eightfold Path that follows from the truths. When I hear or read of fellow-Buddhists writhing and twisting to prove that meat can be eaten willy-nilly, that last Tuesday is in fact next Thursday week, that the Truths or the Path can be ignored or trodden just as you please, I do feel lonely.

This is a plea for honesty as much as anything. If you can't give up alcohol or tobacco because you LIKE it too much, fair enough, I feel for you; it is difficult. If you can't give up eating flesh because you LIKE it too much, just say so! You will have the sympathy of others who have made it through the barrier, and be offered help getting there.

But don't pretend there is any justification or logic to your decision. It is just an attachment you can't shake off.

Allen.
Simply put it for discussion.

According to buddhism, every beings are naturely buddha and ought to be treated with equal respect and kind. Buddhism also stated that the living beings that one had eaten was actually their own loved ones of past lives, who fell in the cycle realms of reincarnation, and their past forms were not visible by their current loved ones (human). This is because, as human beings, they only recognised form of human as a clan to be treasured due to its humanity value and under law against killing another human being, and animals are form of another clan not generically under law against killing by human. You just could not imagine the deepest degree of unkindness to rejoice in meat of animals such as those goat and cow who are so kind only eats grass
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Chaz on April 03, 2018, 06:39:56 pm
And I don't think the discussion is stupid, on any level.

Not trying to gain-say, but it is, in fact,  stupid, pointless and boring.



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One, the animals. Humans in general, and in particular meat-eaters, need to maintain the myth of total superiority over the rest of the animal kingdom - if they weren't superior, they would have no right to kill and eat their fellow beings.

well, one of the sb&p things is the question of superiorty.  Your attitude about what you eat is all about superiority.  You're opening post read,

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When a Buddhist renounces his or her attachment to eating flesh, I listen to them.

What you seem to be saying here is that Meaters are inferior in that unless, like you, they are vegetarians.  You clearly don't harbor enough respect for these people to listen to what they have to say, they are beneath that.   

I think that's kinda stuip and many will agree.  Dispite your recorded protestations to the contray, not better that the rest of us.  It's also boring.  Many vegetarians take a similar course.  We hear it all the time.  It's boring.
 
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Animals might not be able to articulate their fears and sufferings, but this does not mean they do not have fears or sufferings.

No and and that's why I advocate a swift painless death for these animals we use for food.  Bad enough we have to kill them.  There's no point in drawing it out.

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If by our actions we can lessen the sufferings of others, I think it is our duty (as humans, as Buddhists) to do so.

The meat we eat is already dead.  According to law it was a quick end.  Unlike our wilder fellow beings.  Preadators and scavengers will seldom wait for death.  They will eat their prey alive.  At least we Meaters demonstrate a modicum of compassion and respect.

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Two, the twisted logic which says that if the slaughterman doesn't say "Oh, I think I'll kill this cow for Idlechater (chatter?)", it is okay for Idlechater to eat it. The slaughterman DOES kill it for you - he kills it for you and for all the other nameless meat-eaters.

They ALL have names.  Every one of them.  You just don't know what it is, and it would seems that you don't care, either.  Sowething else appears - dehumanizing those who you disagree with.  Even a pet dog has a name, but not those Meaters.  They're nameless.

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I want to be part of the community of Buddhists because of the Buddha's Four Noble Truths, and the Eightfold Path that follows from the truths. When I hear or read of fellow-Buddhists writhing and twisting to prove that meat can be eaten willy-nilly, that last Tuesday is in fact next Thursday week, that the Truths or the Path can be ignored or trodden just as you please, I do feel lonely.

It's not surprising, really.  Considering your attitude about Meaters I would imagine you have a fairly focused circle of friends.

And why even put it that way?  Do you want us to feel sorry for you because you're lonely?

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This is a plea for honesty as much as anything.

Seeing as you're the one who started this thread.  You're the one who needs to be honest here. 

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If you can't give up alcohol or tobacco because you LIKE it too much, fair enough, I feel for you; it is difficult. If you can't give up eating flesh because you LIKE it too much, just say so! You will have the sympathy of others who have made it through the barrier, and be offered help getting there.

And then you and  your buddies will offer sympathy? 

You should fess up to holding meaters in very low esteme.  So low that you don't want to hear a word they might say, anyway.  You seem to want nothing more than to put down Meaters and leave it at that.  Just admit it.

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But don't pretend there is any justification or logic to your decision. It is just an attachment you can't shake off.

I'd like to hear why you can jutify holding people,  like you,  in such low esteem.  They are beneath housepets, deserve no attention and you feel really sorry for them.

What logic makes this a Good Thing?
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: allen-uk on April 04, 2018, 06:17:34 am
I suppose bhikkhus and bhikkhunis were encouraged to dispute points with which they disagreed, so in that spirit, I'll answer Idlechatter.

No, funnily enough it's not meat-eaters that I find most disturbing, but dishonest people. A farmer might say to me "I raise animals, then they are killed, and then they are eaten. So what? They are only animals after all!" And while I might not like the sentiment, as least it is HONEST.

I think that people who eat meat and who claim to have some regard for the lives of animals are fundamentally dishonest. They don't give a flying duck for other beings, and are only interested in satisfying their own hungers.

(And VincentRJ: consider the millions of us who eat no meat, and then ask yourself why are we so darned healthy? We do NOT need meat or its byproducts to maintain healthy lives!)

Allen.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Lotusmile on April 05, 2018, 12:37:50 am
Buddhism teaching is not about demanding, perceiving or arguing against others based upon scripture or personal understanding. But to live compassionately like you are a buddha and to present or share such delights in an impartiality of good or bad like buddha
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Dairy Lama on April 05, 2018, 02:01:11 am
When the mendicant monks were going hungry, he told them that if kind people put a little meat in their begging bowls, they could eat it, but ONLY if it had not been killed for them, a sort of accidental eating of meat.

Yes, the purpose of the 3-fold rule seems to have been to avoid additional slaughter of animals.  This reflects harmlessness, which is an important aspect of Right Intention in the 8-fold path.

In a modern context I think that choosing to buy meat when alternatives are available is ethically dubious from a Buddhist point of view.  When we buy meat we expect somebody else to break the first precept and do wrong livelihood, things we wouldn't want to do ourselves - this seems to me like hypocrisy.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Dairy Lama on April 05, 2018, 02:02:40 am
I think that people who eat meat and who claim to have some regard for the lives of animals are fundamentally dishonest. They don't give a flying duck for other beings, and are only interested in satisfying their own hungers.

I have a problem with Buddhists who claim to be developing compassion but still buy meat - apparently their compassion doesn't extend to cows and pigs.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Lotusmile on April 05, 2018, 02:12:47 am
I think that people who eat meat and who claim to have some regard for the lives of animals are fundamentally dishonest. They don't give a flying duck for other beings, and are only interested in satisfying their own hungers.

I have a problem with Buddhists who claim to be developing compassion but still buy meat - apparently their compassion doesn't extend to cows and pigs.

Well mentioned!
But without the first step to explore buddhism teaching, they will not be able to agree with your kindness and follow it eventually.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: stillpointdancer on April 05, 2018, 02:40:23 am
Linking Buddhism with veganism misses the point really. If you think you have to eat meat or don't have to eat meat to follow the path then you have misunderstood Buddhism. Don't forget that Tibetan Buddhism, in a location where there simply wasn't room for growing enough plants, wasn't vegan.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Lotusmile on April 05, 2018, 02:54:02 am
Need not buddhism to elaborate on compassion towards living beings.
Simple logic is that if you use a knife to cut your hand and feel pain, it means that animals also treasure their life as much as you do
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Lotusmile on April 05, 2018, 02:56:21 am
Linking Buddhism with veganism misses the point really. If you think you have to eat meat or don't have to eat meat to follow the path then you have misunderstood Buddhism. Don't forget that Tibetan Buddhism, in a location where there simply wasn't room for growing enough plants, wasn't vegan.
That was the old day where transportation was not available. Modern day of now, vegetables are transported to location of Tibetan Buddhism
Title: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Lotusmile on April 05, 2018, 03:15:48 am
Linking Buddhism with veganism misses the point really. If you think you have to eat meat or don't have to eat meat to follow the path then you have misunderstood Buddhism. Don't forget that Tibetan Buddhism, in a location where there simply wasn't room for growing enough plants, wasn't vegan.
That was the old day where transportation was not available. Modern day of now, vegetables are transported to location of Tibetan Buddhism
In addition, Tibetan masters in those day were extremely high practitioners, and before the animals were eaten, these masters would meditate for the animals to be liberated to heaven. These masters surely knew animals were like them having buddha nature ought to be compassionately respected, but in those days and circumstances presented that it was also the sacrifice of animals for Tibetan buddhism to flourish
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Lotusmile on April 05, 2018, 03:21:13 am
For vegetarianism and veganism who feel that they will embrace buddhism if buddhists they seen are like them (vegetarian or vegan) then they are not genuinely seeking to be liberated from karmic cycle of suffering but exploiting buddhism compassion for their cause only
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: stillpointdancer on April 05, 2018, 04:01:52 am
For vegetarianism and veganism who feel that they will embrace buddhism if buddhists they seen are like them (vegetarian or vegan) then they are not genuinely seeking to be liberated from karmic cycle of suffering but exploiting buddhism compassion for their cause only
Yes, although I was saying that the reverse also holds, that you don't have to be a vegan to be a Buddhist.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Dairy Lama on April 05, 2018, 06:25:30 am
Linking Buddhism with veganism misses the point really. If you think you have to eat meat or don't have to eat meat to follow the path then you have misunderstood Buddhism. Don't forget that Tibetan Buddhism, in a location where there simply wasn't room for growing enough plants, wasn't vegan.

Hmm.  When I was involved in Tibetan Buddhism there were some people who liked their meat but felt slightly guilty about it.  So they would justify their dietary choice by saying how it was very mountainous in Tibet, and difficult to grow crops.  I would remind them that we were living in England, and that locally there were supermarkets with a wide range of non-meat products. 

I agree that you don't have to be a vegetarian or vegan to practice Buddhism.  But I also think that Buddhist practice increases our awareness of what is skillful and unskillful, in terms of behaviour.  "Unskillful" here includes behaviour that harms ourselves or other beings, including animals killed for food.   
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Dairy Lama on April 05, 2018, 06:28:20 am
In addition, Tibetan masters in those day were extremely high practitioners, and before the animals were eaten, these masters would meditate for the animals to be liberated to heaven. These masters surely knew animals were like them having buddha nature ought to be compassionately respected, but in those days and circumstances presented that it was also the sacrifice of animals for Tibetan buddhism to flourish

I'm afraid I have never found this approach convincing.  If you really think an animal has Buddha nature, then wouldn't it be better not to kill it in the first place?
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Dairy Lama on April 05, 2018, 06:34:59 am
For vegetarianism and veganism who feel that they will embrace buddhism if buddhists they seen are like them (vegetarian or vegan) then they are not genuinely seeking to be liberated from karmic cycle of suffering but exploiting buddhism compassion for their cause only

"Exploiting compassion"?  What an odd concept.   :wink1:
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: stillpointdancer on April 05, 2018, 07:35:04 am
I'm quite happy to be meat free, but it's nothing to do with the Buddhism I practice, it's more about eating low in the food chain for the good of the planet. However, as a Buddhist I don't like the thought of eating plants or fungi either, as they are living things too. If anything has Buddha nature, they do too. If anything suffers, they do too. When I walk into a supermarket I see not only dead animal stuff, for which it is too late, but living plants which could be replanted and carry on living. I don't hear too many Buddhists showing any care for them.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Dharma Flower on April 05, 2018, 11:12:02 pm
While vegetarianism is a noble lifestyle choice, is there a way we can reduce the cruelty and environmental destruction of the livestock industry without insisting for the general population to give up meat entirely?

If humans are natural omnivores, would we lack compassion for our fellow human beings by insisting for others to give up meat entirely? These are honest questions without easy answers.

How Humans Evolved To Be Natural Omnivores
https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2016/12/23/how-humans-evolved-to-be-natural-omnivores/#57025d847af5 (https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2016/12/23/how-humans-evolved-to-be-natural-omnivores/#57025d847af5)
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Dairy Lama on April 06, 2018, 01:16:40 am
I'm quite happy to be meat free, but it's nothing to do with the Buddhism I practice, it's more about eating low in the food chain for the good of the planet. However, as a Buddhist I don't like the thought of eating plants or fungi either, as they are living things too. If anything has Buddha nature, they do too. If anything suffers, they do too. When I walk into a supermarket I see not only dead animal stuff, for which it is too late, but living plants which could be replanted and carry on living. I don't hear too many Buddhists showing any care for them.

To experience pain an organism needs a central nervous system, and pain receptors.  Cows and pigs have these, while plants do not.  So not buying meat seems like an effective way of minimising the pain and harm we cause with our dietary choices. 
Also most livestock is fed on grain, and growing these crops kills lots of small creatures - many more than if you just fed people with the grain, since it's a very inefficient food chain.

The plant argument is a familiar straw-man in these discussions.   I think the basic issue here is that some people like their meat, they are quite attached to it and don't want to give it up.  So they try to rationalise their choice to buy meat with hollow arguments, conveniently ignoring Buddhist practices like developing compassion and harmlessness, practising Right Intention, the implications of the first precept, Right Livelihood, etc.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Lotusmile on April 06, 2018, 01:41:35 am
While vegetarianism is a noble lifestyle choice, is there a way we can reduce the cruelty and environmental destruction of the livestock industry without insisting for the general population to give up meat entirely?

If humans are natural omnivores, would we lack compassion for our fellow human beings by insisting for others to give up meat entirely? These are honest questions without easy answers.

How Humans Evolved To Be Natural Omnivores
https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2016/12/23/how-humans-evolved-to-be-natural-omnivores/#57025d847af5 (https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2016/12/23/how-humans-evolved-to-be-natural-omnivores/#57025d847af5)
Human is born to be a vegetarianism. Baby will suffer or die if they were to be fed with meat. The teeth and intestines of human is not meant for meat. According to buddhism, the living being labelled as human has cruelly intruded the common space of another living beings labelled as animals. This cruel attack from ignorance over thousands of years caused and aggravated personal issues and world issues. The only way is through proper education of ones’ love or living beings’ love is equal
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Chaz on April 06, 2018, 02:43:37 am
To experience pain an organism needs a central nervous system, and pain receptors. 

As far as we know, anyway.  There may be other ways of experiencing pain we are unaware of.

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Cows and pigs have these, while plants do not.  So not buying meat seems like an effective way of minimising the pain and harm we cause with our dietary choices. 

True, but I also think that refraining from calling others hypocrites would also go a long way as well.

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Also most livestock is fed on grain, and growing these crops kills lots of small creatures - many more than if you just fed people with the grain, since it's a very inefficient food chain.

Then there's gardening, lawn mowing, walking, driving, and so on.  Do you own leather.  Wool?  Even been to a sheep shearing?  The screams some of them make in the processing of shearing will curdle your blood.

Or is there a circmstance of pain we can accept without karmic burden?


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The plant argument is a familiar straw-man in these discussions. 

How is it a straw man argument?  I don't see anyone misrepresenting your position.  The "plant argument"  may be invalid, but that doesn't make it a strawman

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I think the basic issue here is that some people like their meat, and want to justify it, ignoring Buddhist practices like developing compassion and harmlessness, practising Right Intention, the implications of the first precept, Right Livelihood, etc.

I don't think that adopting a vegetarian diet can or will make you more compassionate.  Compassion is something all of possess to some degree or another via our level of realization of Buddha Nature.  In fact it's demonstrable being a vegetarian can make you less compassionate.  The OP shows it clearly.  I also think words like hypocrite applied to others are seriously lacking compassion.

So, I think rather than calling those without the same level of compassion as you, hypocrites, or refusing to speak to them,  you should contemplate Right Speech.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Dairy Lama on April 06, 2018, 02:55:07 am
I also think words like hypocrite applied to others are seriously lacking compassion.

Nonsense, I am just pointing out some uncomfortable truths. 

If we choose to buy meat at Buddhists, then we are expecting somebody else to do things which are unskillful and harmful in Buddhism terms ( killing and butchery ), and things we wouldn't be prepared to do ourselves.  That is hypocrisy.  Like my old headmaster used to say, "If the cap fits, wear it." 

In any case, my compassion is primarily for the countless animals that suffer and die to meet a dietary preference, an attachment to meat. 
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: stillpointdancer on April 06, 2018, 03:22:14 am
I'm quite happy to be meat free, but it's nothing to do with the Buddhism I practice, it's more about eating low in the food chain for the good of the planet. However, as a Buddhist I don't like the thought of eating plants or fungi either, as they are living things too. If anything has Buddha nature, they do too. If anything suffers, they do too. When I walk into a supermarket I see not only dead animal stuff, for which it is too late, but living plants which could be replanted and carry on living. I don't hear too many Buddhists showing any care for them.

To experience pain an organism needs a central nervous system, and pain receptors.  Cows and pigs have these, while plants do not.  So not buying meat seems like an effective way of minimising the pain and harm we cause with our dietary choices. 
Also most livestock is fed on grain, and growing these crops kills lots of small creatures - many more than if you just fed people with the grain, since it's a very inefficient food chain.

The plant argument is a familiar straw-man in these discussions.   I think the basic issue here is that some people like their meat, they are quite attached to it and don't want to give it up.  So they try to rationalise their choice to buy meat with hollow arguments, conveniently ignoring Buddhist practices like developing compassion and harmlessness, practising Right Intention, the implications of the first precept, Right Livelihood, etc.
Actually plants do feel pain. They respond to the environment and even respond to the pain of nearby plants. I was a trained Biologist and, although teaching for 30 odd years at a somewhat lower level, have always kept in touch with latest research and findings. They have their own ways to feel pain, although not quite like ours, they are still living things. The similarities between plants and animals far outweigh their differences, and in many cases it's hard to tell the difference.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: allen-uk on April 06, 2018, 08:15:04 am
Thank you for your (mostly) considered and considerate replies.

I am disturbed by the way modern self-styled Buddhists seem to think that, like Flower Power, Buddhism is a 'pick 'n' mix' system of ethics, i.e. you take what you like, you ignore what you don't like, but hey, anything goes, man, so we're all Buddhists aren't we?

No, we're not. The Buddha laid down a simple system of ethical actions which could help lead adherents to a release from suffering. Maybe ancient Tibetans had valid reasons for deviating from the path (in respect of their diets); modern-day humans have no such reasons. They LIKE eating meat, simple as that, and my plea to them all (Buddhists or not) is to consider the implications of killing to eat. Maybe the essential difference is that I don't consider animals my inferiors.

Allen.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Chaz on April 06, 2018, 09:31:48 am
Thank you for your (mostly) considered and considerate replies.

I am disturbed by the way modern self-styled Buddhists seem to think that, like Flower Power, Buddhism is a 'pick 'n' mix' system of ethics, i.e. you take what you like, you ignore what you don't like, but hey, anything goes, man, so we're all Buddhists aren't we?

No, we're not. The Buddha laid down a simple system of ethical actions which could help lead adherents to a release from suffering. Maybe ancient Tibetans had valid reasons for deviating from the path (in respect of their diets); modern-day humans have no such reasons. They LIKE eating meat, simple as that, and my plea to them all (Buddhists or not) is to consider the implications of killing to eat. Maybe the essential difference is that I don't consider animals my inferiors.

Allen.

No, you just seem to consider your fellow humans/Buddhists your inferior and treat them accordingly.  You pull your pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us, as they say, so you really don't have any ground to condemn others in such a blanketing fashion.

In my case, I understand the implications of killing animals for food, from both a mundane and a Buddhist POV.  I grew up in a "sporting" family where hunting and fishing put food on the table.  I know exactly what happens, in intimate detail, just what happens when a bullet passes through the skull of an animal.  When my wife and I first married, we were poor and supplemented our meat diet by raising rabbits.  Getting the blood of your food on your own hands is a grizzly business.  And educational.  I doubt it's an experience you and I share.  Although I gave up hunting, largely out of laziness and age  and have no regret.  I understand the Buddhist teachings well enough, but can't find enough compassion to stop eating meat.  It's karma I'll bear into future births no doubt and I'm ok with that.

But at least I'm that honest, something else you and I don't seem to share.  If you expect honesty to have to give it first and I think your stance is as dishonest and hypocritcal as people eating meat in denial.  You use the Dharma as a weapon against those who don't share the same zeal as you do, and you won't admit it.  You follow the course of the self-righteous - whose first defense is to hide behind what they call the truth.

 
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Dairy Lama on April 07, 2018, 01:37:48 am
But at least I'm that honest, something else you and I don't seem to share.   

This looks like an ad hom attack to me.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Dairy Lama on April 07, 2018, 01:42:58 am
To experience pain an organism needs a central nervous system, and pain receptors.  Cows and pigs have these, while plants do not.  S

Actually plants do feel pain. They respond to the environment and even respond to the pain of nearby plants. I was a trained Biologist and, although teaching for 30 odd years at a somewhat lower level, have always kept in touch with latest research and findings. They have their own ways to feel pain, although not quite like ours, they are still living things. The similarities between plants and animals far outweigh their differences, and in many cases it's hard to tell the difference.

So exactly how do plants feel pain without a nervous system and pain receptors?  What is the biological mechanism?  And how would you know if a plant was feeling pain?
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: stillpointdancer on April 07, 2018, 03:13:58 am
To experience pain an organism needs a central nervous system, and pain receptors.  Cows and pigs have these, while plants do not.  S

Actually plants do feel pain. They respond to the environment and even respond to the pain of nearby plants. I was a trained Biologist and, although teaching for 30 odd years at a somewhat lower level, have always kept in touch with latest research and findings. They have their own ways to feel pain, although not quite like ours, they are still living things. The similarities between plants and animals far outweigh their differences, and in many cases it's hard to tell the difference.

So exactly how do plants feel pain without a nervous system and pain receptors?  What is the biological mechanism?  And how would you know if a plant was feeling pain?
There are lots of scientific papers, but here's a good non-specialist article : https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/botany/plants-feel-pain.htm (https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/botany/plants-feel-pain.htm) Of course you could argue that it's not exactly the same, but that is just being rather too fond of our own particular structures. There are even lots of people who deny that animals feel pain as we do.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Chaz on April 07, 2018, 05:26:35 am
But at least I'm that honest, something else you and I don't seem to share.   

This looks like an ad hom attack to me.

Well, you're wrong.  It's an uncomfortable truth.

I don't mind a little display of self-deprecation.  I'm a flawed being and I'm not ashamed of that.  I'm honest about it.  Eating meat, drinking, drugs, killing are all a part of my karmic arsenal.  I'm ok with that for this life.  Some of those things may change and some won't.  One thing I am not, is a hypocrite.  I do not pretend to be something I am not.

Our friend Allan argues from a position of purity and righteousness. but he is niether.  He demands honesty but won't be it himself.
 That's bad enough, but he won't admit to these things.

But then maybe it's not an uncomfortable truth.  A Straw Man?  Slippery Slope? Red Herring (are they even in season)?
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Chaz on April 07, 2018, 06:09:42 am
To experience pain an organism needs a central nervous system, and pain receptors.  Cows and pigs have these, while plants do not.  S

Actually plants do feel pain. They respond to the environment and even respond to the pain of nearby plants. I was a trained Biologist and, although teaching for 30 odd years at a somewhat lower level, have always kept in touch with latest research and findings. They have their own ways to feel pain, although not quite like ours, they are still living things. The similarities between plants and animals far outweigh their differences, and in many cases it's hard to tell the difference.

So exactly how do plants feel pain without a nervous system and pain receptors?  What is the biological mechanism?  And how would you know if a plant was feeling pain?
There are lots of scientific papers, but here's a good non-specialist article : https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/botany/plants-feel-pain.htm (https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/botany/plants-feel-pain.htm) Of course you could argue that it's not exactly the same, but that is just being rather too fond of our own particular structures. There are even lots of people who deny that animals feel pain as we do.

I think that's largely true.  In debates over catch-and-release fishing, there are those that make the argument that a fish doesn't experience pain and fear as humans do.  I'm of the belief that while they may not experience pain the same way that humans do, they still experience it.

I think the vegetarian argument that plants don't have a central nevrvous system and so can't feel pain displays a kind of specieism.  You can't eat something because it's too much like us - we have a certain organic system that they do not.  It's an argument I don't buy.  It's quite possible that plants feel something akin to pain, but I have niether the facilities or skills to prove it.  Regardless, they are alive, but that isn't enough reason to not eat them.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Ron-the-Elder on April 07, 2018, 06:45:03 am
Philosophical vegans and other herbivores, who condemn meat eaters (carnivores) invariably overlook the fact that plants have many more senses than those for which we give them credit.  They are in fact sentient.  Do they feel pain?  Who knows?  But what all life has in common is that we die when eaten and are absorbed / adsorbed into the metabolism of those that devour us.  Plants consume our components and decompose them when we die and corrupt, thanks to bacteria and mold.  Mushrooms take a part, plants take a part, insects, and worms take parts, larger carnivores take parts including human cannibals.  In the end, none of us is exempt from the need for life to consume other life, with two exceptions:  1- scavengers, who only eat plants and animals which die either from accidents, intolerable environmental conditions, or old age.  2 - Fruit-a-tarians, which eat only fruit provided to them by plants which provide them so that you can deficate out their seeds as a part of their reproductive strategy.  Oh and if you can survive on nectar, then there are numerous plants that will provide you with that stuff as an enticement to spread their pollen to females of their species.

So, if you think yourself superior in some way in the Buddhist context with regard to diet, check to see if you are a fruit-a-tarian, a nectar collector, or a scavenger.

Otherwise, you are no better than the rest of us.  Life consumes life in onder to live.  This is the nature of the samsaric universe in which we live.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: stillpointdancer on April 07, 2018, 08:06:13 am
The point I was trying to make is that there are no easy interpretations of the 'what can I eat to be a good Buddhist?' variety. You have to make your own decisions, not cling to those that others offer up to you. As Ron said, better to look at being alive for what it is, not what you would like it to be, and then make your decisions. Personally, I dislike it when people are put off Buddhism by those insisting on rules such as having to be a vegan.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Chaz on April 07, 2018, 12:05:30 pm
The point I was trying to make is that there are no easy interpretations of the 'what can I eat to be a good Buddhist?' variety. You have to make your own decisions, not cling to those that others offer up to you. As Ron said, better to look at being alive for what it is, not what you would like it to be, and then make your decisions. Personally, I dislike it when people are put off Buddhism by those insisting on rules such as having to be a vegan.

Well said!

I don't like when people insist on "rules" that are largely of their own devising.  Nowhere in the Buddha's teachings are there any requirements saying that lay people, such as us, have to be vegetarians.  Also absent are any requirements for anyone to run around putting people down for not being vegetarians.  So, it would seem that our friends Allen and Norman have no direction or sanction in the dharma to do or say what they do.

Diet does not define the Buddhist.  Neither is following "rules" found in the Buddha's teaching.  In the tradition and lineage I follow, it is refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha that is the defineing condtion, not what you chew on.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Chaz on April 07, 2018, 12:17:06 pm
If doing no harm is what is really the issue here, even our vegetarian friends here and falling well short.  Agriculture, regardless of it's purpose, harms countless sentient being far beyond the fields.  If they are serious they might consider abandoning any and all cultivated foods and live on renewable, wild vegetables - nuts, seeds, berries, wild grains, leaves, legumes, roots and so on.  Consume no food gathered in a way that harms a living thing. Plants included.

If they could do that, and I seriously doubt that our friends could do that, I would be very impressed.

Read the book "Into the Wild"  by Jon Krakauer.  True story.  It will give you an idea of just what that sort of life can lead to.  Spoiler alert:  the guy wanders into the Alaskan wilderness, to live off the land, and proceeds to starve to death.  Sadly for him there was no one around for him to preach the purity of his lifestyle.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Amanaki on April 08, 2018, 04:32:37 am
To eat meat in it self does not create karma in my understanding, But if you kill an animal on purpose to eat it you will do an evil deed in my understanding. If someone kill the animal directly for you ( so you dont need to kill) it will still create karma for both you self and the one who did the killing.

But the meat in it self is not wrong to eat since the animal is already dead. It is the killing that is wrong doing. This come down to the attachments and how much of the attachments we have been able to let go of.

Is the meat in the supermarked killed directly for you? No it is killed yes but it is killed for those who are not following rules of no killing. Normal people who do not cultivate does not understand that killing is wrong, they see it as a way of getting protains.

And when we go shopping, it is our free will or morality that kicks in if we do pick up meat. We can do without it yes, But  in my understanding it is more about our attachments to it.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Chaz on April 08, 2018, 07:06:18 am
To eat meat in it self does not create karma in my understanding,

Any volitional action gives rise to karma.

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But if you kill an animal on purpose to eat it you will do an evil deed in my understanding.

Not realy evil in a judeo/christian way of thinking.  Killing something is a volitonal act and therefore generates karma of a negative sort.

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But the meat in it self is not wrong to eat since the animal is already dead. It is the killing that is wrong doing. This come down to the attachments and how much of the attachments we have been able to let go of.

I think we sometimes get a bit too attached to "attachment".  The thing is we are "attached" to everything, even if only for a moment.  A solid meditation practice reveals this in dramatic fashion.  We can only let go of the moment's attachment.  For example, I quit smoking tobacco about 10 years ago.  I haven't had any since.  I'm pretty comfortable with that most of the time, but there are still moments when a craving for tobacco arises.  The attachment remains.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Dairy Lama on April 13, 2018, 01:22:40 am
I understand the Buddhist teachings well enough, but can't find enough compassion to stop eating meat. 

Fair enough, but you really need to stop attacking those who can "find" sufficient compassion.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Dairy Lama on April 13, 2018, 01:51:41 am
Is the meat in the supermarket killed directly for you?

It is killed directly for customers, and we are customers.  If we buy meat regularly then more animals will suffer and die to satisfy our demand.  If we buy meat regularly then we expect somebody else to break the first precept ( killing ) and do wrong livelihood ( butchery ), behaviour which is ethically problematic for us as Buddhists.  If we buy meat regularly when alternatives are available, it suggests that our attachment to meat is more important to us than developing compassion, metta, harmlessness, and Right Intention.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Dairy Lama on April 13, 2018, 01:53:27 am
But at least I'm that honest, something else you and I don't seem to share.   

This looks like an ad hom attack to me.

Well, you're wrong.  It's an uncomfortable truth.

No, it's an ad hom attack.  Shame on you.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Chaz on April 13, 2018, 02:46:16 am
But at least I'm that honest, something else you and I don't seem to share.   

This looks like an ad hom attack to me.

Well, you're wrong.  It's an uncomfortable truth.

No, it's an ad hom attack.  Shame on you.

It would be an ad hom if I was trying to use the statement to refute Allan's argument.  I wasn't.  I was making an observation.  It's simply a inconvenientes verum - an uncomfortable truth.

Neener neener, neener!

As long as we're on the subject of informal logical falacies, I'd still like to know why you think the plant argument as it was presented here, to be a straw man. 
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Chaz on April 13, 2018, 02:54:45 am
I understand the Buddhist teachings well enough, but can't find enough compassion to stop eating meat. 

Fair enough, but you really need to stop attacking those who can "find" sufficient compassion.

When you have an itch, you scratch it right?

I have no problem with the guy who has more compassion than me.  I applaud it.  But when that someone finds cause in that compared compassion to call others hypcrites, even if it's an "comfortable truth",  it gives me pause to reflect on that oafishness ....... and dig a little.  When someone uses that level of compassion to dehumanize others less compassionate, well, I have a bit of a problem with that and I don't mind saying so.

Sorry.

Sort of.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Chaz on April 13, 2018, 07:11:40 am
Is the meat in the supermarket killed directly for you?

It is killed directly for customers, and we are customers. 


Well doesn't that make you culpable then?  The butcher kills for you, too, even if you don't eat the meat.  The butcher doesn't know your a vegetarian.  He kills the cow for you anyway.  So you're not off the hook karma-wise.

Sorry.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: allen-uk on April 13, 2018, 07:54:47 am
To try and summarise, and to reach some sort of amicable disagreement.

Most of the people I know are eaters of meat. Most aren't Buddhists. Some I like, some I don't like so much.

Example: our immediate neighbours are a Polish couple and their children. They are probably the best neighbours we have ever had - nothing is too much trouble. Chores which are hard for us (old, disabled) are done without us even asking, just because they are good, kind people. They eat a normal British diet including meat. They are probably Catholics, although I have never asked them.

The point is, of course, that my opinion of them is based on the way they live their lives in the community, not in their habits, beliefs, or what they eat. And that's how I form opinions of anyone I come into contact with - how they behave to each other, how they behave to me - and while it is a source of regret that they behave to animals in a way I find abhorrent, I don't reject, or 'hate' them. They are people.

I do raise an eyebrow, and sometimes an objection, when people claim to be animal lovers, when their main love of animals is dead ones on their plates.

And if I came across a Buddhist who drank, smoked, took drugs, worked in an abattoir, etc., I would remonstrate with them, and remind them of the 8-fold path. Not from a 'holier-than-thou' position, merely because I would say that they weren't Buddhists, and shouldn't sully the term with their way of life.

I don't understand, Idlechater, why you don't just take part in the questioning and answering of friendly debate. Instead, you seem to respond like a lawyer, bent on winning an argument:

I don't see the road to enlightenment as a race (to quote from an earlier comment of yours, "I'll bet you $100 USD that I'll become enlightened before you.  You in?")

And directing your hostility firmly towards me, not my arguments ("Do you want us to feel sorry for you because you're lonely?")

And trying to put words into my mouth ("You should fess up to holding meaters in very low esteme.  So low that you don't want to hear a word they might say, anyway.  You seem to want nothing more than to put down Meaters and leave it at that.  Just admit it.")

Similarly: ("... you just seem to consider your fellow humans/Buddhists your inferior and treat them accordingly.  You pull your pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us, as they say, so you really don't have any ground to condemn others in such a blanketing fashion.")

I have stated my position, and apologise to you if it has caused you offence. I am afraid that your original comment about "we begin another stupid, boring, pointless thread about diet" has been made a self-fulfilling prophesy. By you.

When I sign off 'with metta', it is not an affectation. I feel loving-kindness to all my fellow creatures, even those with whom I do not agree.

With metta,

Allen.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Chaz on April 13, 2018, 10:06:16 am

I do raise an eyebrow, and sometimes an objection, when people claim to be animal lovers, when their main love of animals is dead ones on their plates.

Well that's not an argument.  If anything it's a display of self-righteousness that is undeserved.  So I don't attack the argument because there isn't one.  All you're doing is passing judgement you have no right to do.  I object to that.

Declaring that you have a problem is NOT an argument.

Quote
And if I came across a Buddhist who drank, smoked, took drugs, worked in an abattoir, etc., I would remonstrate with them, and remind them of the 8-fold path. Not from a 'holier-than-thou' position, merely because I would say that they weren't Buddhists, and shouldn't sully the term with their way of life.

But it IS a holier-than-thou position.  That's the problem.  Yes, working in a butcher shop isn't right livelihood.  Is it your place to point that out to someone, no.  You are taking an intolerable, selfrighteous stand.  It doen't matter what sort of livelihood that  person has.  That's none of your buisness.

Quote
I don't understand, Idlechater, why you don't just take part in the questioning and answering of friendly debate. Instead, you seem to respond like a lawyer, bent on winning an argument:

You didn't start a debate, you started a discussion beginning with an admission of your own self-righteousness.

Quote
I don't see the road to enlightenment as a race (to quote from an earlier comment of yours, "I'll bet you $100 USD that I'll become enlightened before you.  You in?")

It's not a race, it's a bet.  You obviously see yourself in a far more realized state than I and others, so how about you put your money where your mouth is.  Put up or ... ;-).

Quote
And directing your hostility firmly towards me, not my arguments ("Do you want us to feel sorry for you because you're lonely?")

Well that's not a component of your argument.  Just a statement that you're lonely.  Well, no !@#$ sherlock.  With an attitude like your's I don't suppose you have any friends at all, but I don't know why you brought it up except to perhaps generate a little sympathy.


Quote
And trying to put words into my mouth ("You should fess up to holding meaters in very low esteme.  So low that you don't want to hear a word they might say, anyway.  You seem to want nothing more than to put down Meaters and leave it at that.  Just admit it.")

You don't meaters in any sort of esteem.  You don't listen to what they have to say.  You you dehumanize them by referring to them as "nameless".  Even here you desire to tell them how to live their lives as if they care what you think and you deserve that authority.  My own mother never told me how to live, what makes you think I care how you feel about it.


Quote
Similarly: ("... you just seem to consider your fellow humans/Buddhists your inferior and treat them accordingly.  You pull your pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us, as they say, so you really don't have any ground to condemn others in such a blanketing fashion.")

But it's true!  Your self-righteousness is beyond appalling

Quote
I have stated my position, and apologise to you if it has caused you offence.

It's not your position, it's your attitude.

Quote
When I sign off 'with metta', it is not an affectation. I feel loving-kindness to all my fellow creatures, even those with whom I do not agree.

I don't think so.

But don't worry, you're not alone.  The world is full of self-righteous vegetarians.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: meez on April 13, 2018, 11:22:00 am
Eating meat is something I participate in, and I even do BBQ competitions periodically with a few buddies.  I'd encourage each of you to try a delicious pork booty, maybe some ribs, or perhaps a brisket that's been slow smoked over cherry or apple wood.  Usually, we will smoke some thick cut bacon, chop it up, and put it in my beans while they cook with the other items on the smoker.  If anyone needs recipes or recommendations, I'm happy to provide any info I can.

Diet is a personal choice, so if eating meat isn't your thing, that's cool.  If it is, that's fine, too.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Karatos on April 13, 2018, 02:45:31 pm
Plenty of good reasons to stop eating meat in the U.S.  Compared to plant-based farming, the meat industry relies on less efficient processes to produce goods.  As a result, it tends to tax the environment more.  Also, as most people know, the meat industry uses brutal and inhumane methods to deal with its animals.  Pigs and chickens kept in highly restrictive environments, etc.

I'm still a meat-eater myself, but vegetarianism seems like a rational option if you can find alternative sources of protein for your diet.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: VincentRJ on April 13, 2018, 07:30:38 pm
I still see a lot of confusion on this topic.

I've mentioned in a previous post that a purely vegan diet (no meat, fish or any dairy or animal products whatsoever) is not healthy in the long run, unless one understands the nutritional problems with a vegan diet and takes appropriate measures, such as eating specialized foods such as sea weed, ground flax seed, walnuts, canola oil, soy products, hemp seed, and foods fortified with calcium and certain vitamins.

In modern societies, the average, normal diet that most people eat is simply not healthy. Without the intervention of modern medicine and medical practices, the average life span would be significantly lower.

Those who are seriously concerned about their diet and its effect on their health, perhaps because certain medical tests have shown some emerging problems, and who decide to switch to a vegan diet, should experience greater health because of the increased proportions of fruit, vegetables and fibre in their diet, which are seriously lacking in the normal, modern diet.

However, this experience of greater health is in relation to the clearly unhealthy diet of hamburgers and chips, excessive consumption of grain-fed beef (as opposed to natural, but more expensive, grass-fed beef), consumption of excessive amounts of fructose derived from corn syrup, and all sorts of artificial ingredients to enhance taste, preservatives to enhance storage longevity, and other harmful chemicals resulting from the processing of the foods.

During the times of the Buddha, such detailed knowledge of dietary matters did not exist. This fact highlights the problem with most religions. The fundamentalist adherents to such religions too often tend to ignore the fact that our general knowledge and understanding of many issues in general has increased, as a result of modern science.

Buddhism is unique amongst religions in the sense that it allows people to make a rational decision about issues based upon their own understanding after examining or thinking about the issue. I'm referring of course to the Kalama Sutta.

The moral issue, or Karmic aspect, about eating meat, must relate to one's awareness of any cruelty involved in the killing of the animal. Just as a Buddhist monk should not accept meat if he is aware that the animal was killed specifically to feed him, a lay person should not accept or buy any animal product if he/she is aware of any cruel conditions in the slaughter house, or as often happens in exports of live animals from Australia, such as cruelty in the transport of animals by ship, overseas.

An obvious example of this principle is the difference between 'Cage eggs' and 'Free-range' eggs. One assumes that free-range chickens are happier than caged chickens. I always choose free-range eggs, even though caged eggs are cheaper.

Another aspect which springs to mind, is the apparent, extreme cruelty, of animals killed by predators in the natural environment. If I were a cow, or buffalo, or bison, would I prefer to be shot dead instantaneously in an abattoir, or attacked by a lion who chased me for a hundred metres, then gradually tore me to shreds after biting my jugular?

If I were a male spider, would I prefer to be gradually eaten alive by the female, after copulating with the female, or would I prefer to be stomped on by the hard heel of a Homo Sapiens Sapiens, causing instant death?

Let's get 'real' about this issue.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: stillpointdancer on April 14, 2018, 02:56:35 am
I have an interesting dilemma I haven't sorted out yet. What if you could give a cow a choice before it is born: never to be born or to have a short life? Presupposing that the cow will not be treated badly and will get the chance to run about in a field under the sky before it is killed for its meat, what choice would you make if you were that cow?
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: VincentRJ on April 14, 2018, 04:13:26 am
I have an interesting dilemma I haven't sorted out yet. What if you could give a cow a choice before it is born: never to be born or to have a short life? Presupposing that the cow will not be treated badly and will get the chance to run about in a field under the sky before it is killed for its meat, what choice would you make if you were that cow?

There are many creatures that have a very short lifespan compared with the average lifespan of a human, and a number of creatures that have a significantly longer lifespan than humans, such as the Aldabra Giant Tortoise, Bowhead Whales, and a variety of Mollusks, to name just a few.

The lifespan is not the issue. It's the degree of suffering whilst the creature is alive that's the issue.

Without the imagination and conceptual language of humans, animals tend to live in the present. I presume that a cow following the herd to the slaughter house would have no reason to feel alarmed if the killing is done silently, quickly, humanely and out of sight of the other cows.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: stillpointdancer on April 14, 2018, 02:13:17 pm
I have an interesting dilemma I haven't sorted out yet. What if you could give a cow a choice before it is born: never to be born or to have a short life? Presupposing that the cow will not be treated badly and will get the chance to run about in a field under the sky before it is killed for its meat, what choice would you make if you were that cow?

There are many creatures that have a very short lifespan compared with the average lifespan of a human, and a number of creatures that have a significantly longer lifespan than humans, such as the Aldabra Giant Tortoise, Bowhead Whales, and a variety of Mollusks, to name just a few.

The lifespan is not the issue. It's the degree of suffering whilst the creature is alive that's the issue.

Without the imagination and conceptual language of humans, animals tend to live in the present. I presume that a cow following the herd to the slaughter house would have no reason to feel alarmed if the killing is done silently, quickly, humanely and out of sight of the other cows.

I wasn't commenting on the lifespan, just on whether the cow, given the choice of never having been alive at all and being given a short life, would choose life or would choose to never to have lived at all. It's just an idea that popped into my head once during meditation.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: VincentRJ on April 14, 2018, 05:17:42 pm
I have an interesting dilemma I haven't sorted out yet. What if you could give a cow a choice before it is born: never to be born or to have a short life? Presupposing that the cow will not be treated badly and will get the chance to run about in a field under the sky before it is killed for its meat, what choice would you make if you were that cow?

There are many creatures that have a very short lifespan compared with the average lifespan of a human, and a number of creatures that have a significantly longer lifespan than humans, such as the Aldabra Giant Tortoise, Bowhead Whales, and a variety of Mollusks, to name just a few.

The lifespan is not the issue. It's the degree of suffering whilst the creature is alive that's the issue.

Without the imagination and conceptual language of humans, animals tend to live in the present. I presume that a cow following the herd to the slaughter house would have no reason to feel alarmed if the killing is done silently, quickly, humanely and out of sight of the other cows.

I wasn't commenting on the lifespan, just on whether the cow, given the choice of never having been alive at all and being given a short life, would choose life or would choose to never to have lived at all. It's just an idea that popped into my head once during meditation.

I don't see any distinction between a 'short life' and a 'short lifespan', especially for a creature that has never been alive at all.

In any case, such questions can only be answered from a human perspective in terms of human empathy, and only make sense in relation to an acceptance of a physical reality of reincarnation.

I think it's reasonable to presume that cows are not able to comprehend such choices and concepts, so the question should be asked in a human context, perhaps as follows.

"If I were a cow, would I prefer to have a peaceful and short life in a natural but protected environment, able to munch grass whenever I felt like it, laze in the shade of a tree whenever I felt too hot, experience the wonders of other friendly creatures like birds, picking lice off my skin, and other two-legged creatures tugging on my nipples now and again to get milk....or would I prefer to live in an unprotected, wild environment, with the potential of a longer life but with the ever-present risk of being chased and slowly killed by predators, and with the risk of all sorts of accidents occurring which could result in a slow and agonizing death?"
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: stillpointdancer on April 15, 2018, 04:18:05 am
Hi VincentRJ. I know what you are saying, I was just trying to describe a position wondering whether a bit of life was better, in some way, that never having life. Like reflecting whether, if everyone went vegan, there would be no more cattle, sheep, chickens and so on. It might be a good thing, but those lives will never have been lived.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Dharma Flower on April 15, 2018, 04:56:16 am
The Buddha taught us to do no harm to any living being.

When the mendicant monks were going hungry, he told them that if kind people put a little meat in their begging bowls, they could eat it, but ONLY if it had not been killed for them, a sort of accidental eating of meat.

From that simple truth, millions of Buddhists now ignore his first directive - to harm no living thing - and happily buy and eat meat from any butchers.

It is impossible to harm no living being and eat meat.

When a Buddhist renounces his or her attachment to eating flesh, I listen to them.

Are all Buddhist vegetarians? The Buddha explicitly rejected vegetarianism as a requirement for his followers.
https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/beggars-cant-be-choosers/
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: VincentRJ on April 15, 2018, 05:49:09 am
Hi VincentRJ. I know what you are saying, I was just trying to describe a position wondering whether a bit of life was better, in some way, that never having life. Like reflecting whether, if everyone went vegan, there would be no more cattle, sheep, chickens and so on. It might be a good thing, but those lives will never have been lived.

Okay! Thanks for the clarification, Stillpointdancer. The chicken is a good example here. I get the impression there are far more chickens in the world than people, as a result of our farming chickens for their meat and eggs.

The following link provides some amusing data.
https://visual.ly/community/infographic/animals/there-are-more-chickens-people-world

Also, true vegans should be interested in the fact that the female chicken will produce eggs continuously (about one every 27 hours) whether or not there is a rooster present to ensure the egg is fertile.

Most eggs sold in supermarkets are infertile, so eating them has no effect in preventing the birth of a new life. The main issue from a Buddhist perspective would be the way the egg-laying chickens are treated during their lifetime, which is quite awful for caged hens, and there might also be the deception that some eggs labelled as free-range are not really free-range.

However, if one raises chickens lovingly in one's back yard, without a rooster present, I see no rational or ethical reason why a vegan should not benefit from the extra nutrition provided by the eggs, such as the Vitamin B complex which is often lacking in vegetables.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Pixie on April 15, 2018, 08:03:05 am
.

Here are some teachings about the importance of not eating meat given few years ago by HH 17 Karmapa, the head of the Tibetan Buddhist Kagyu school.



http://www.rinpoche.com/teachings/nomeat.htm (http://www.rinpoche.com/teachings/nomeat.htm)



_/|\_


.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: VincentRJ on April 15, 2018, 06:41:17 pm
Here are some teachings about the importance of not eating meat given few years ago by HH 17 Karmapa, the head of the Tibetan Buddhist Kagyu school.
[url]http://www.rinpoche.com/teachings/nomeat.htm[/url] ([url]http://www.rinpoche.com/teachings/nomeat.htm[/url])



I don't find these teachings you've linked to at all useful. They don't seem to address the main issues.
As I see it, there are two basic Buddhist principles that are relevant here; one should not harm other sentient beings; and one should eat in order to sustain the body, rather than for the pure pleasure of eating.

These are the issues that should be unraveled, in my opinion.
For example, is it really possible for animals, including humans, to exist without causing harm or killing other creatures?

We didn't evolve from primitive, ape-like creatures by sticking to a vegetarian diet. The following site provides a scientific explanation for the role of meat in our evolution.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120420105539.htm (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120420105539.htm)

"Carnivory is behind the evolutionary success of humankind. When early humans started to eat meat and eventually hunt, their new, higher-quality diet meant that women could wean their children earlier. Women could then give birth to more children during their reproductive life, which is a possible contribution to the population gradually spreading over the world. The connection between eating meat and a faster weaning process is shown by a research group from Lund University in Sweden, which compared close to 70 mammalian species and found clear patterns.

Learning to hunt was a decisive step in human evolution. Hunting necessitated communication, planning and the use of tools, all of which demanded a larger brain. At the same time, adding meat to the diet made it possible to develop this larger brain."


However, I think a rational case can be made, now that we have reached this stage of having a large brain which allows the use of language and conceptual thought, that the next stage is to organize our affairs so that we do not intentionally and unnecessarily cause suffering to other creatures, including our own species.

Of course, we have failed miserably in this regard, which is why Buddhism is such a relevant religion to encourage us to change our ways.

At the same time, we have to be practical if we want to survive. Within the Buddhist context, the people who do the least harm to other living creatures are the Buddhist monks. But even they, unintentionally and indirectly cause some degree of harm to other living creatures.

Buddhist monks are not allowed to till the ground and grow their own vegetables because it would be virtually impossible to avoid killing or injuring living creatures in the soil, such as worms and beetles. Yet the monks have to eat to survive.

Whilst the food placed into their alms bowls, whether meat or vegetables, may not specifically be harvested for an individual monk, personally, by name, it is reasonable to presume that those Buddhist lay persons who regularly donate food, harvest the food or kill the chickens, or buy the food, do so with the monks in general, in mind. They donate food for a purpose, to make merit.

As Ron mentioned in post #40, if you want to be really honest and truthful about not causing any harm to other sentient creatures, you would need to live in a forest and be a fructarian, eating only naturally grown fruit without the use of pesticides and modern agricultural techniques. That's not practical for most of us, and perhaps not ideally healthy for any of us, which brings me to the second Buddhist principle about eating in order to sustain the body.

It is not sensible to assume that all foods sustain the body equally well. We know that's not the case. What does 'sustain' mean in this context? Do you want a long and healthy life, or a short and unhealthy life, or a long and troublesome life dependent upon modern medication?

I prefer the first option, and I find it encouraging that Gautama lived to 80 without the benefits of modern medicine. The food that the locals ate in those days would have been natural and wholesome and would have included meat and fish and eggs and milk, which, presumably, the Buddha ate.

Have I put all your minds at ease?  :wink1:

Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: allen-uk on April 17, 2018, 01:58:57 am

I can look a pig or chicken in the eye and call it ‘brother’, or ‘sister’.

I took up Buddhism because it seemed a way of relating to the world and all creatures in it with kindness, with gentleness, with caring.

Perhaps I was wrong.

You win, Idlechater. You win.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Chaz on April 17, 2018, 11:43:06 pm

I can look a pig or chicken in the eye and call it ‘brother’, or ‘sister’.

I took up Buddhism because it seemed a way of relating to the world and all creatures in it with kindness, with gentleness, with caring.

Perhaps I was wrong.

You win, Idlechater. You win.

That's fine to look at all creatures as your bothers and sisters.  This isn't really a Buddhist way of looking at it, but it is very close to how Native American peoples view things.  However, they make no qualms about killing and eating those animals.  As a means of dealing with the conflicts involved they developed an intricate system of practices to thank and honor those creatures whose lives were taken so that the People could live.

While Buddhism promotes a vegetarian diet it does not strickly require it.  Pixie posted an article about the 17th Karmapa's take on vegetarianism for himself his monks, and students.  This doesn't extend to the entire Kagyu lineage.  My own Guru is a good example.  His father was personal secretary to the 16th Karmapa.  He was the Karmapa's attendant as a boy.  His brother was secretary to the 17th Karmapa and the family has supported the recognition of the 17th's recognition.  In spite of the Karmapa's declarations, my Guru hasn't said a single word to his students about becoming vegetarian.  Not a word.  That leaves it up to us.  Even though he's in a position to require all of us to take up a meat free diet, he doesn't.

He also doesn't call us hypocrites  or demand that we be "honest" or belittle us about things like that.




Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: allen-uk on April 19, 2018, 06:34:39 am
Yes. But there again, perhaps I wasn't wrong. After all, idlechater, you are not my Guru, or possibly anybody else's Guru. Perhaps you are just an American who likes to win arguments.

I don't much care if you are enlightened, or will ever gain enlightenment. I would like to think you will, but I as it happens I'm not that bothered as to whether I gain enlightenment or not.

I'm bothered about how I treat all my fellow creatures, however many legs (or none) they walk on.

That's how I will live my life, what there is left of it, and if certain Buddhist ethics help me do this, so be it.

And you can take my 'sign-off' any way you choose.

With metta,

Allen.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Chaz on April 19, 2018, 12:31:19 pm
Yes. But there again, perhaps I wasn't wrong. After all, idlechater, you are not my Guru, or possibly anybody else's Guru. Perhaps you are just an American who likes to win arguments.

I don't much care if you are enlightened, or will ever gain enlightenment. I would like to think you will, but I as it happens I'm not that bothered as to whether I gain enlightenment or not.

I'm bothered about how I treat all my fellow creatures, however many legs (or none) they walk on.

That's how I will live my life, what there is left of it, and if certain Buddhist ethics help me do this, so be it.

And you can take my 'sign-off' any way you choose.

With metta,

Allen.

There's no argument to be won.  There is only your patently egregious attitude towards your fellow humans.

And what does being American have to do with anything here?    No one has brought your nationality into it.  Why do you insist on such boorish behavior?
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: mattmcco on May 21, 2018, 09:39:54 pm
The Buddha taught us to do no harm to any living being.

When the mendicant monks were going hungry, he told them that if kind people put a little meat in their begging bowls, they could eat it, but ONLY if it had not been killed for them, a sort of accidental eating of meat.

From that simple truth, millions of Buddhists now ignore his first directive - to harm no living thing - and happily buy and eat meat from any butchers.

It is impossible to harm no living being and eat meat.

When a Buddhist renounces his or her attachment to eating flesh, I listen to them.

Yes, I know that my meat diet will result in rebirth as an intestinal parasite.  I'm ok with that.

So, we begin another stupid, boring, pointless thread about diet. 

Let's make this interesting.  I'll bet you $100 USD that I'll become enlightened before you.  You in?
How unkind. What is your issue with discussion about diet?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Chaz on May 21, 2018, 11:08:17 pm
The Buddha taught us to do no harm to any living being.

When the mendicant monks were going hungry, he told them that if kind people put a little meat in their begging bowls, they could eat it, but ONLY if it had not been killed for them, a sort of accidental eating of meat.

From that simple truth, millions of Buddhists now ignore his first directive - to harm no living thing - and happily buy and eat meat from any butchers.

It is impossible to harm no living being and eat meat.

When a Buddhist renounces his or her attachment to eating flesh, I listen to them.

Yes, I know that my meat diet will result in rebirth as an intestinal parasite.  I'm ok with that.

So, we begin another stupid, boring, pointless thread about diet. 

Let's make this interesting.  I'll bet you $100 USD that I'll become enlightened before you.  You in?
How unkind. What is your issue with discussion about diet?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Read the whole thread and you'll see.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: VisuddhiRaptor on May 22, 2018, 08:51:03 pm
Yes, the purpose of the 3-fold rule seems to have been to avoid additional slaughter of animals. 

Since relatively few additional animals would be required to feed the relatively few monks, this rationale sounds illogical. The purpose of the rule is probably a win-win for the monks, namely, they get fed and it protects the public reputation of the Sangha.

Nonsense, I am just pointing out some uncomfortable truths. 

My impressions of Internet Buddhists is those engaged in "virtue signalling" in respect to trifling acts of killing are often the same Internet Buddhists with pornography addiction &/or wrong views about sexual liberalism (derived from misinterpretation of the teachings).  :curtain:

Here are some teachings about the importance of not eating meat given few years ago by HH 17 Karmapa, the head of the Tibetan Buddhist Kagyu school.

[url]http://www.rinpoche.com/teachings/nomeat.htm[/url] ([url]http://www.rinpoche.com/teachings/nomeat.htm[/url])

Tibetan ideas. These Lamas preach about not using animals for food but they often don't hesitate to sexually exploit their disciples.

From that simple truth, millions of Buddhists now ignore his first directive - to harm no living thing - and happily buy and eat meat from any butchers. It is impossible to harm no living being and eat meat. When a Buddhist renounces his or her attachment to eating flesh, I listen to them.

The simple truth is your mind appears very attached to a wrong understanding of morality, which the Buddha called sīlabbata-parāmāsa. The simple truth is practicing Buddhists eat meat and attain jhana &/or Nibbana. This shows there is no correlation between eating meat or buying meat from a butchers and spiritual attainment.

I'm bothered about how I treat all my fellow creatures, however many legs (or none) they walk on. That's how I will live my life, what there is left of it, and if certain Buddhist ethics help me do this, so be it.

Share with us your views about "sex" to prove my theory wrong. Do you believe "free sex" is OK? Do you pretend to love animals so you can seduce naive impressionable hypersensitive wounded lost women? Thanks  :namaste:
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Chaz on May 23, 2018, 06:55:53 am
My impressions of Internet Buddhists is those engaged in "virtue signalling" in respect to trifling acts of killing are often the same Internet Buddhists with pornography addiction

You seem to do a lot of virtue signalling yourself.  Does this mean you have a porn addiction, too?

I suppose I do my share of virtue signalling, but I just talked to my therapist and she said  that while I do virtue signal on occassion,  I'm not addicted to porn.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Shogun on May 28, 2018, 09:33:28 am
The Buddha taught us to do no harm to any living being.

When the mendicant monks were going hungry, he told them that if kind people put a little meat in their begging bowls, they could eat it, but ONLY if it had not been killed for them, a sort of accidental eating of meat.

From that simple truth, millions of Buddhists now ignore his first directive - to harm no living thing - and happily buy and eat meat from any butchers.

It is impossible to harm no living being and eat meat.

When a Buddhist renounces his or her attachment to eating flesh, I listen to them.
Theres no rule in Buddhism that you cant eat meat.  The distinction is that you are not to do harm to any sentient being.  If you go to a store and buy meat and you dont pick out the animal that you want to be butchered for you, all you are doing is buying meat so there is no bad karma incurred. 
Some Buddhists take it to mean that you shouldnt eat meat but that simply isnt true, even the Buddha himself ate meat.  Now, it is certainly true that some Buddhist sects have adopted vegetarianism or veganism but thats them and there is absolutely no rule that you cant eat meat, as long as you dont kill it yourself or specify that you want it killed for you.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: VincentRJ on May 28, 2018, 06:10:03 pm
The Buddha taught us to do no harm to any living being.

When the mendicant monks were going hungry, he told them that if kind people put a little meat in their begging bowls, they could eat it, but ONLY if it had not been killed for them, a sort of accidental eating of meat.

From that simple truth, millions of Buddhists now ignore his first directive - to harm no living thing - and happily buy and eat meat from any butchers.

It is impossible to harm no living being and eat meat.

When a Buddhist renounces his or her attachment to eating flesh, I listen to them.
Theres no rule in Buddhism that you cant eat meat.  The distinction is that you are not to do harm to any sentient being.  If you go to a store and buy meat and you dont pick out the animal that you want to be butchered for you, all you are doing is buying meat so there is no bad karma incurred. 
Some Buddhists take it to mean that you shouldnt eat meat but that simply isnt true, even the Buddha himself ate meat.  Now, it is certainly true that some Buddhist sects have adopted vegetarianism or veganism but thats them and there is absolutely no rule that you cant eat meat, as long as you dont kill it yourself or specify that you want it killed for you.

We know this is the rule, that a Buddhist monk, even at a higher level of spiritual development than the average person, is allowed to eat meat as long as he doesn't kill the animal, and as long as he has no reason to think the animal was killed specifically to feed him.

However, the issue under discussion relates to the ethics, rationality and logic of these Buddhist conditions about eating meat. In other words, it seems like a compromise. The issue is perhaps too difficult to address because eating meat has been such a fundamental part of the human diet for tens of thousands of years.
I imagine the Buddha realized this, and realized that it would not be practical to attempt to carry forward that basic principle of 'not harming other living creatures', to a recommendation of a strict vegan diet for everyone.

There is also another Buddhist principle to consider; everything in moderation; avoid extremes. This is one of the main differences between Jainism and Buddhism, which were both contemporary religions, although Jainism preceded Buddhism.

The Jains are extreme in the sense that they are strict vegans. They also fast regularly.

"Some Jain monks fast for months at a time, following the example of Mahavira, who is said to have fasted for over 6 months. Even today there are Jains who fast for over six months like Hira Ratan Manek. Others have fasted for an year like Sri Sahaj Muni Maharaj who completed his record-breaking 365-day fast on May 1, 1998."

The Buddha appears to have been influenced by these extreme ascetic practices during his own search for enlightenment, hence the story of his fasting for such a long period that he became so gaunt that he realized he might die before reaching enlightenment, which would be pointless. As a result, he began eating again and realized that it was sensible to avoid extremes.

Strict veganism is an extreme, so in this respect, the Buddha's allowing the eating of meat under certain conditions, is consistent with his principle of 'everything in moderation', although I still see a degree of logical inconsistency. It doesn't quite seem right that the Buddhist layperson should be allowed to kill animals for himself and others, in contradiction to that fundamental principle of 'do no harm to other living creatures'.

The way around this problem is to either adopt the Jainism principle of strict veganism, or treat the animals we use for food in the most humane manner possible. Look after them well; give them a good life; then kill them humanely in a manner similar to the processes of euthanasia that are applied to people with terminal illnesses, in countries where it's legal.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Shogun on May 28, 2018, 11:53:34 pm
Even a Buddhist layperson isnt allowed to kill any sentient being, be that for meat or otherwise.  Like I said though, the distinction lies in who does the killing.  As long as you dont kill it yourself or the animal is killed specifically for you, there is no bad karma incurred.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: VincentRJ on May 29, 2018, 07:41:44 am
Even a Buddhist layperson isnt allowed to kill any sentient being, be that for meat or otherwise.  Like I said though, the distinction lies in who does the killing.  As long as you dont kill it yourself or the animal is killed specifically for you, there is no bad karma incurred.

If this is true then it is not possible for a farmer or a fisherman to be a Buddhist. Even if the farmer grows vegetables, the plowing of the fields and the harvesting of the crops kills worms and other insects in the soil.

In the cities, in the modern world, people who place food in the monks' alms bowls, will have often bought the meat in a supermarket, so there's no connection between the slaughter of the animal and the name of a particular monk who might eventually eat the meat.

However, in the countryside, this is less likely to be the case, and during the times of the Buddha, I imagine that most people donating food to the monks would have produced the food themselves, whether vegetables or meat.

I see a major problem of ethical consistency here which I can only resolve with the concept of 'everything in moderation'.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: Shogun on May 29, 2018, 10:55:21 am
If this is true then it is not possible for a farmer or a fisherman to be a Buddhist. Even if the farmer grows vegetables, the plowing of the fields and the harvesting of the crops kills worms and other insects in the soil.
In some Buddhist sects, yes.  There are those who will wear surgical masks as not to breathe in any microscopic organisms, thus killing them.  However, most teachers would tell you that the key factor thats missing is intent.  When a farmer tills the ground, they are just tilling the ground.  They are not INTENDING to kill insects in order to eat them.  Thats the key distinction.  Theres a karmic different between intent to cause suffering and causing suffering accidentally.
Title: Re: On the impossibility of eating meat
Post by: VincentRJ on May 29, 2018, 06:16:23 pm
If this is true then it is not possible for a farmer or a fisherman to be a Buddhist. Even if the farmer grows vegetables, the plowing of the fields and the harvesting of the crops kills worms and other insects in the soil.
In some Buddhist sects, yes.  There are those who will wear surgical masks as not to breathe in any microscopic organisms, thus killing them.  However, most teachers would tell you that the key factor thats missing is intent.  When a farmer tills the ground, they are just tilling the ground.  They are not INTENDING to kill insects in order to eat them.  Thats the key distinction.  Theres a karmic different between intent to cause suffering and causing suffering accidentally.

I recall a few years ago visiting a Santi Asoke communitiy in Thailand. This is a revolutionary Buddhist group that has attempted to address the major flaws in some of the traditional practices of Theravada Buddhism in Thailand, which include discrimination against women, the eating of meat, the wasting  of resources on the construction of massive Buddha statues and elaborate, glittering temples, and the discouragement of monks to engage in useful work, apart from sweeping the temple grounds.

These Santi Asoke communities are self-supporting. They grow organic vegetables, do not accept monetary donations but raise funds by selling their vegetables to the local market. The entire community lives on a strict vegan diet, except pregnant women and young children. Women are allowed to be ordained, and have a similar status to the monks.

When I visited one of the communities, with my camera, I was hoping to photograph both monks and nuns working together in the fields, harvesting vegetables.

I was disappointed. The monks and nuns worked as teachers in the school, attended to some of the machinery on the site and did some office work, but were not allowed to do any farming because of the risk of killing insects and worms.

Despite all the revolutionary reforms, which are even considered to be heretical by some, the possibility of killing insects, without intent, remains an obstacle to monks engaging in farm work.

I see a major flaw in the rationality of Buddhism here, as it is practiced. It's equivalent to a monk saying, 'It's all right for you to unintentionally kill worms and insects as you farm to support everyone, but it's not all right for me to unintentionally kill worms, because I am special.'

The logical conclusion of such an attitude suggests that the only way an entire community could be true Buddhists of equal status is if everyone were to live on fruit, berries and natural plants in the forests, as our distant ancestors used to do before they developed hunting tools.
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