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Meat Eating and Mahayana

seeker242seeker242 ZenFlorida, USA Veteran
edited April 2013 in Diet & Habits
Interesting essay I came across about meat eating and Mayahana! Courtesy of Alan Gregory Wonderwheel I think he is the one who wrote it anyway. :)

Eating meat is a question of karma, which by its nature entails the question of identity.

The position of the Buddha Dharma has always been that killing animals for food is productive of karma that leads to rebirth in the lower realms, that is, rebirth as an animal, hungry ghost, or hell being. This is "Buddhism 101" and can not be denied. But eating meat, is not karma producing unless there is a direct connection between the act of eating and the killing. Therefore, the rules of mendicancy are that (1) a follower of the Buddha can not kill an animal, including for a meal (e.g. even if out in the forest or while traveling), (2) one can not accept meat that has been killed "for" oneself as it is by the intention of the killer that the meat is for the mendicant that the mendicant thereby shares the karma of killing (this is why all Buddhist feasts, banquets, or meals prepared especially for the sangha have to be vegetarian meals), but (3) if the mendicant is begging and the donor puts meat in the bowl that is leftovers from the donor’s meal, and therefore the meat was not killed with the mendicant in mind, then the mendicant must eat what is in the bowl and there is no karma of the killing attached to it. This is the pre-Mahayana view of meat eating.


*******
Now in what I call "Buddhism 201", the nuanced questions can be teased out some, and the Mahayana view of meat-eating is developed. Karma doesn’t appear to be so linear. Additionally, the modern world needs to be taken into account. In the modern world we have to ask what is the karmic connection between eating meat bought at a supermarket and the eater? Though the animal is not killed with the intent of being for any particular person, supermarket meat is killed with the intent of being for the buyer, so anyone who buys the meat is participating in the karma of the intentional killing and additionally if the meat is bought specifically for another to eat then the eater still shares in the karma of the killing through the purchase.

However, if dropped into the arctic circle and there was no way to survive except to hunt or fish until being able to return to the agricultural realm, the person has to deal with a pre-agricultural karmic relationship, and so killing the animal to survive may be done without karmic detriment if the killing is done with the appropriate reverence in knowing that the being that is killed is one’s own intimate relation so that the eating is done with full recognition that it is the flesh of a relative and necessary for survival. The karmic result is then entirely dependent on the truth of the matter of necessity and sincerity, so that the animal’s death becomes a bodhisattva sacrifice rather than a victimization of a lesser being.

On the other hand, in our modern world, since we do not live in the arctic or where the fruits of agriculture are not available, there is virtually no practical way to eat meat without direct karmic consequence from the killing of it being connected to the eating of it. In other words, the slaughterhouse is present and manifest on the plate.

This Mahayana level of understanding--that meat-eating is to be avoided altogether--is presented in the precepts of the Brahma Net Sutra and in the meat-eating chapter of the Lankavatara Sutra.

In the Brahma Net Sutra, the third of the 48 secondary precepts is a prohibition of eating meat. Here the question of karma is not connected to whether the meat was deliberately killed for the eater, but whether the eater is deliberately eating the meat.

3. On Eating Meat
A disciple of the Buddha must not deliberately eat meat. He should not eat the flesh of any sentient being. The meat-eater forfeits the seed of Great Compassion, severs the seed of the Buddha Nature, and causes [animals and transcendental] beings to avoid him. Those who do so are guilty of countless offenses. Therefore, Bodhisattvas should not eat the flesh of any sentient beings whatsoever. If instead, he deliberately eats meat, he commits a secondary offense.


Likewise the Lankavatara Sutra presents the question with greater emphasis.

DT Suzuki translation wrote: The Blessed One said this to him: For innumerable reasons, Mahamati, the Bodhisattva, whose nature is compassion, is not to eat any meat; I will explain them: Mahamati, in this long course of transmigration here, there is not one living being that, having assumed the form of a living being, has not been your mother, or father, or brother, or sister, or son, or daughter, or the one or the other, in various degrees of kinship; and when acquiring another form of life may live as a beast, as a domestic animal, as a bird, or as a womb-born, or as something standing in some relationship to you; [this being so] how can the Bodhisattva-Mahasattva who desires to approach all living beings as if they were himself and to practise the Buddha-truths, eat the flesh of any living being that is of the same nature as himself? Even, Mahamati, the Rakshasa, listening to the Tathagata's discourse on the highest essence of the Dharma, attained the notion of protecting [Buddhism], and, feeling pity, refrains from eating flesh; how much more those who love the Dharma! Thus, Mahamati, wherever there is the evolution of living beings, let people cherish the thought of kinship with them, and, thinking that all beings are [to be loved as if they were] an only child, let them refrain from eating meat. So with Bodhisattvas whose nature is compassion, [the eating of] meat is to be avoided by him. Even in exceptional cases, it is not [compassionate] of a Bodhisattva of good standing to eat meat. The flesh of a dog, an ass, a buffalo, a horse, a bull, or man, or any other [being], Mahamati, that is not generally eaten by people, is sold on the roadside as mutton for the sake of money; and therefore, Mahamati, the Bodhisattva should not eat meat.

For the sake of love of purity, Mahamati, the Bodhisattva should refrain from eating flesh which is born of semen, blood, etc. For fear of causing terror to living beings, Mahamati, let the Bodhisattva who is disciplining himself to attain compassion, refrain from eating flesh. To illustrate, Mahamati: When a dog sees, even from a distance, a hunter, a pariah, a fisherman, etc., whose desires are for meat-eating, he is terrified with fear, thinking, "They are death-dealers, they will even kill me." In the same way, Mahamati, even those minute animals that are living in the air, on earth, and in water, seeing meat-eaters at a distance, will perceive in them, by their keen sense of smell, the odour of the Rakshasa and will run away from such people as quickly as possible; for they are to them the threat of death. For this reason, Mahamati, let the Bodhisattva, who is disciplining himself, to abide in great compassion, because of its terrifying living beings, refrain from eating meat. Mahamati, meat which is liked by unwise people is full of bad smell and its eating gives one a bad reputation which turns wise people away; let the Bodhisattva refrain from eating meat. The food of the wise, Mahamati, is what is eaten by the Rishis; it does not consist of meat and blood. Therefore, Mahamati, let the Bodhisattva refrain from eating meat.

In order to guard the minds of all people, Mahamati, let the Bodhisattva whose nature is holy and who is desirous of avoiding censure on the teaching of the Buddha, refrain from eating meat. For instance, Mahamati, there are some in the world who speak ill of the teaching of the Buddha; [they would say,] "Why are those who are living the life of a Sramana or a Brahmin reject such food as was enjoyed by the ancient Rishis, and like the carnivorous animals, living in the air, on earth, or in the water? Why do they go wandering about in the world thoroughly terrifying living beings, disregarding the life of a Sramana and destroying the vow of a Brahmin? There is no Dharma, no discipline in them." There are many such adverse-minded people who thus speak ill of the teaching of the Buddha. For this reason, Mahamati, in order to guard the minds of all people, let the Bodhisattva whose nature is full of pity and who is desirous of avoiding censure on the teaching of the Buddha, refrain from eating meat.

cont.
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Comments

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    This question of flesh verses plant products is often raised to confuse the eating of plants with the eating of flesh as if the karma of eating the two is the same. The Lankavatara addresses the issue in the karmic context of eating the flesh and blood of a living being that is of the same nature as ourselves. Some people who want to rationalize their meat eating will not differentiate between animals and plant products claiming that there is no distinction between a living being that is a carrot or a cabbage and a living being that is a cow or a lamb. The analysis at the level of “Buddhism 201” includes the nuance of the five skandhas as they appear in living beings. The carrot and the cow both are composed of the five skandhas, as are all living beings. But the manifestation of the skandhas between animals and plants is qualitatively distinguishable and not just quantitative. For example, plants have a minimally generic consciousness as it relates to light and water, and they will bend themselves to seek it out. But that consciousness is at the primal level of the unconscious in the sense that it remains un-self-conscious and does not rise to the level of the reflective consciousness of animals which is evolutionary in relation to the organism’s degree of systemic organization of the senses. That is, the systemic organization of the circulatory, muscular, neuro-sensory, etc. systems, is what makes the qualitative difference in the functioning of the skandhas between plants and animals, while the difference between animals of different kinds is essentially quantitative or a matter of degree and not qualitative, as regards the skandhas, specifically the fifth skandha of consciousness.

    This is what the Lankavatara is alluding to in the reference to eating the "flesh of any living being that is of the same nature as" ourselves. Here, "same nature" does not mean our fundamental nature of sunyata or Dharmakaya, but our distinguishable nature of the transformation body that is relatively the "same" for purposes of our identity as animal beings.


    *******
    In “Buddhism 301,” the nature of killing itself is to be scrutinized, as is the nature of self-identity in the understanding of who is the killer and who is the killed, who is the eater and who is the eaten? This is not a matter of rationalization in which Buddhism 101 and 201 can be ignored by someone who wants to justify killing, but is the level of awareness in which Buddhism 101 and 201 are examined from the perspective of the non-dual wisdom of prajna. I hesitate to even discuss this level of the question, because people who have not understood at the level of Buddhism 101 and 201 usually want to jump to this level of discussion in order to justify their meat-eating as if there is no karmic consequence to meat eating. That is a grave error in my view.

    At this level, the Bodhisattva does not dwell in the opposition of killing or not killing, and in addition has no concept of not dwelling therein, and so the Bodhisattva’s activity is autonomously consistent with “the precept of not killing” without having to think discriminatively about killing or not killing, and the Bodhisattva autonomously does not eat meat without having to think discriminatively about meat or meatless. While it may be labeled by words, the true meaning of this is not able to be comprehended by people of ordinary consciousness who can only understand the words and the discrimination of the opposites of killing and non-killing, meat and meatless.
    person
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    I liked this. I'm a follower of Tibetan Buddhism and the Tibetans have historically been meat eaters largely out of necessity but also followers of the Mahayana. I don't ever remember hearing this point of view on meat eating the one that has been presented to me has been the '101' version where its ok if you didn't kill it or it wasn't killed for you.

    I was also struck and convinced by the argument that since meat in the modern market is killed specifically for the buyer by buying it you are incurring some karmic debt.

    I do still eat a little bit of meat, maybe like the equivalent of one chicken every 2-3 weeks. I'm not sure how thinking of buying meat as negative karma will effect my behavior.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    It is an incorrect assumption that everyone in today's world has equal access to a proper variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. That is not the case, even in today's world, and that is part of the reason I still eat meat.

    We don't live in the arctic, but we're about as far north in the lower 48 states as you can get and we are very, very rural. We actually live in what is classified as wilderness. That makes it very difficult and very costly to get edible fresh fruits and vegetables for several months of the year. The store often has them, yes, but the variety is extremely limited because our ruralness is not conducive to how much it costs to transport such foods in the middle of the winter. And when they do, those foods often arrive to the store in almost inedible condition. So, yes, technically I could pay $6 for a pound of asparagus, that was frozen because of the winter temps and thawed and basically is a pile of mush tied with a rubber band, but I'm not going to do that. To be able to remain truly healthy on a vegetarian diet, there needs to be a good variety and that is just not always available. While the majority of Americans live in a place where large supermarkets can supply a larger variety for more affordable prices, not everyone does. So don't assume that just because someone doesn't live in the arctic circle, they have the same availability of year-round produce as someone who lives in, say, Denver.

    Also, we have a diabetic child and we follow the dietary guidelines given to him by his pediatric endocrinologist and a whole team of diabetic dietary specialists. That includes eating meat because in order to fulfill the # of calories his body needs to perform normal functions, we have to limit his carb intake on a regular basis.

    Just offer different perspectives that don't fit in so neatly with the assumptions that are made, in part, in the article. Not everything fits so neatly into the box in normal life, lol.
    lobster
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    @karasti They say that frozen fruits and vegetables are often as nutritious if not more so at times, like in your case, than fresh ones.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    They are still vastly more expensive, and most of the ones that are frozen are lacking in nutrition. Corn, beans, peas are all nutritionally mostly useless, and things like frozen collards and spinach are just inedible, lol. I have a sensory integration disorder and some things with certain textures I just cannot eat, like most legumes. I have to swallow them whole when I do eat them because I cannot chew them and when you cannot chew it, you lose a lot of the nutrition because the body does not digest it properly.

    Because of our distance from transportation centers, anything that requires refrigeration in route is rather expensive here, and with only one income we have to budget our groceries. I've used this example more than once here, but we pay $5.79 for a gallon of normal milk. A bag of frozen raviolis is about $7. Bags of frozen veggies are about $3 a bag (and we have 5 people in our family including a teenager, so a bag of veggies doesn't go very far). It would be extraordinarly difficult to be vegetarian taking all factors into consideration. Add into that that my husband will never be vegetarian, so then we would be paying for 2 different meal plans. It's just not feasible.

    Anyhow, I'm not trying to justify anything to anyone. We make the best decisions we can within everything we have to consider, and not everything fits so neatly in the box presented in the article. I try to imagine what Buddha would say about our world. If he would visit a factory farm what would he think? I don't think he could have fathomed the world we currently live in, and we have to try to work within that. It is basically impossible to any longer stay alive as a person and not have an indirect impact that harms beings. So all we can do is minimize it the best we can with what we have to work with. If I'm reborn as a hell being because I have a diabetic kid with special dietary needs and live in a climate that isn't conducive to being vegetarian, then I guess that's how it goes.
    MaryAnneJeffreylobster
  • Lazy_eyeLazy_eye Veteran
    edited April 2013
    Hi Black Tea,

    I'm not sure we entirely disagree. I didn't compare meat-eating to eating vegetable matter, or suggest that killing an animal is no different from killing a plant.

    What I said was that the practice of agriculture destroys habitats and biodiversity. Clearing space for farmland is one of the reasons we are losing tropical rainforests, for example. And with that destruction comes a great deal of harm to life.

    Say we contrast a traditional hunting culture -- say in Greenland or Tibet -- with industrial agriculture. Which destroys fewer lives? We can't say that meat/no-meat is always the deciding factor. If I buy meat from an independent small farm, I might actually be contributing less to environmental problems than my non-meat-eating friend who buys from a big corporate outfit that mass-produces vegetarian cuisine.

    I agree that we can't ignore the role of the buyer in the production-consumption cycle. That would be absurd. It doesn't seem to me, though, that when the Buddha gave his instruction -- i.e. we cannot eat meat if the animal was killed specifically for us -- that he meant "us" in the abstract sense of being consumers. He meant us as individual people, Mark or Mary or whoever.

    Otherwise he would he been contradicting himself, because he states directly in the Pali suttas that fowl and fish are not prohibited, and he even debates another spiritual teacher who was a vegetarian.







    Jeffrey
  • I am not familiar with Mahayana texts and have a couple of questions. First, I noticed that the Brahma Net Suttra refers to "Parajika offences". In the Theravada tradition, such types of offences are limited to Vinyana rules applicable to monks only. But is the Brahma Net Suttra applicable to both monks and laypeople? Second, in the section of the Lankavatara Suttra quoted here, Buddha seems to be speaking about meat eating with reference to what is the proper conduct of a "Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas" and "Bodhisattva". So is this section of the Lankayatara Suttra also applicable to laypeople in general who are not Bodhisattvas?

    Now, if the texts referred to above are meant to be applied by monks and Bodhisattvas only, are there any Mahayana texts that talk about meat eating in relation to conduct of laypeople in general?
    person
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited April 2013
    Lazy_eye said:

    All going too far, in my view. If by buying meat one is participating in the karma of the meat industry, then by the same principle we must say that buying grains and vegetables is participating in the karma of agriculture, which destroys habitats and biodiversity -- causing loss of life, both directly and indirectly.


    Yes, it sounds similar doesn't it? But it isn't if you look further into it. Eating plants is a necessity to not die. If you did not eat plants or animals, you would effectively be committing suicide. For many people in the modern world, eating animals is not necessary. This is a huge difference. It is the difference between causing necessary suffering and causing unnecessary suffering. As the author pointed out "The karmic result is then entirely dependent on the truth of the matter of necessity". If you contribute to suffering, when doing so is unnecessary, there is bad karma made. There is a world of difference between the two.

    But is the Brahma Net Suttra applicable to both monks and laypeople? Second, in the section of the Lankavatara Suttra quoted here, Buddha seems to be speaking about meat eating with reference to what is the proper conduct of a "Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas" and "Bodhisattva". So is this section of the Lankayatara Suttra also applicable to laypeople in general who are not Bodhisattvas?

    Now, if the texts referred to above are meant to be applied by monks and Bodhisattvas only, are there any Mahayana texts that talk about meat eating in relation to conduct of laypeople in general?

    As to whether or not it applies to layperson or monks, It applies to all monks whose traditions adhere to the whole sutra and it applies to all laypersons who wish to take the vows. Laypersons in those traditions can often choose to take 5, 10, 16, up to 60 something I think. When it says "Bodhisattva" it's talking to all people who wish to follow this Mahayana path, regardless if they are a monk or if they are wise or not, etc. Traditionally, a bodhisattva is anyone who, motivated by great compassion, has generated bodhicitta, which is a spontaneous wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings.
    Lazy_eye said:

    It doesn't seem to me, though, that when the Buddha gave his instruction -- i.e. we cannot eat meat if the animal was killed specifically for us -- that he meant "us" in the abstract sense of being consumers. He meant us as individual people, Mark or Mary or whoever.

    Otherwise he would he been contradicting himself, because he states directly in the Pali suttas that fowl and fish are not prohibited, and he even debates another spiritual teacher who was a vegetarian.

    That is the difference between Theravada and Mahayana. Mahayana sutras says differently than the pali canon does. From the Mahayana view, the pali canon is now wrong.



  • SillyPuttySillyPutty Veteran
    edited April 2013
    I'm going to respond to this thread, but in a roundabout manner.... I try very hard not to let my ego get sucked into this topic, for I am very passionate about it.

    I'm a borderline vegan (i.e. a vegetarian that eats local, humanely raised farm eggs once in a while) so I'm biased, but, I believe that we can all get our nutrients without having to eat animals. It's as simple as that. There is no need to kill animals for consumption, or even torture them in factory farms in order to consume dairy and eggs. We get protein from plant-based foods very easily, it's just that we've been brain-washed into believing that meat is the only source of protein and milk is the only source of calcium. It's big business lying to you, plain and simple. Even B12 and K2 can be obtained through other means, especially if you're a vegetarian. If you're a vegan, supplementation needs to happen unless you eat organic, local produce that still has dirt on it. (We get B12 and K2 not from the animals themselves, but rather from the plants and soil they ingest! Also, our bodies produce B12 and K2 naturally... but sometimes we need a boost with supplements. As a matter of fact, many non-vegetarians are B12 deficient anyway!)

    Therefore I really don't like to get into the whole "to eat meat or not to eat meat" debate with anyone. I did before, and all it does is frustrate everyone involved. I usually come off sounding pretentious and angry, and they come off sounding offended and end up going out to eat a steak to spite me. :D I will take time to educate others with the facts of nutrition, but I've learned that going on and on about the pain these sentient beings experience seems to turn a lot of people off. So I try to focus on the nutrition aspect and briefly comment on the "compassion" side of it. I find that those who really want to change their health for the better and make the world more ecologically friendly and happy will do their own research and come to the same conclusion I have. I love animals and hate to see them -- or any sentient being for that matter -- suffer. However, some human beings feel that we cannot avoid suffering anyway (i.e "Oh, you're killing bugs and plants when you're a vegetarian!"), so pass the cheeseburger. People are gonna do what they're gonna do. All we can do is put the information out there and let everyone decide for themselves.
    Invincible_summerlobster
  • EnigmaEnigma Explorer
    I am low-income but vegetarian for ethical reasons. At least where I live, meat is by far more expensive than non-meat products. It is entirely possible to eat a healthy, inexpensive vegetarian diet. Personally, I find that it causes the least amount of harm. That is just my take on it. Everyone is entitled to their own choices.
    Invincible_summer
  • SillyPuttySillyPutty Veteran
    edited April 2013
    Also, I just wanted to add here (since my post edit time ran out) that setting an example is the best way to illustrate the "pro" side to being a vegetarian/vegan.

    One of the reasons I went vegetarian was because I met so many nice, peace-filled, loving people who told me, "I'm a vegetarian/vegan." I saw how everything seemed to connect for them. They practiced yoga (something I wanted to do), they meditated (something I wanted to try), they were full of peace (something I yearned to feel), they had fabulous intuition (something I was working on), they had many people who felt good in their company and were a beacon of light (something I still strive to achieve), etc. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to emulate their beauty, both inner and outer. I saw how loving and caring they were, and how selfless they seemed to be. They did not preach to me or scold me for eating a hot dog with cheese on it. They just... taught by example. By being themselves.

    And I'm not saying there aren't meat-eaters like that! Please don't think that's what I am trying to say here. But rather, I'm just trying to say that I found the best way to educate others is not be preaching or judging, but rather by showing how living a particular lifestyle creates who you are at the moment. It just so happens that most of the people whom I've met who are vegetarian/vegan seem to have these qualities... qualities that I wanted to create in my own person.

    So it's not just about being a vegetarian or vegan. It's about finding someone you admire, whether it be a monk or a nun or a friend or a lover or whatever, and saying to yourself, "What are they doing to create such a beautiful aura about themselves? Why do animals flock to them and are not scared? Why does their skin glow so radiantly? Why are they so patient? What makes them so likeable by people? How come I feel such a sense of peace while around them? Why do they care so much about the environment and their health?" These were all the questions I seemed to ask myself while in the company of many (not all) healthy vegetarians/vegans. So just thought I'd throw that out there and let everyone contemplate my ramblings a bit. :) (And I'm not saying that all vegetarians/vegans are like this, either. There are those junk food vegetarians/vegans who eat Oreos all day and kick puppy dogs when we're not looking. I'm just trying to say that those whom I've met in life and have inspired me to change for the better? All of them have had one main thing in common: they are all vegetarian or vegan. And that's just my personal experience, and nothing more.)
    Invincible_summer
  • I used to be vegetarian for a few years, until on a pray and meditation retreat in Switzerland, I was amazed when it came to dinner time at the Tibetan Buddhist temple, they were serving up meat Momos (Steamed Dumplings) which really puzzled me.

    So I ask the monk in the kitchen why this was so, I added that I though that all monks where vegetarian and took the vow about not eating meat because of the negative Karma that may or could be produced and caused through the act of Killing.

    I was quite amazed by his reply ~ he said You have to remember that it's very difficult to grow any vegetables up in the Tibet as it's so cold so the main stable diet of Tibetans is meat"


    I have found your post extremely helpful and insightful.

    Thank you for such a great post
  • SillyPuttySillyPutty Veteran
    edited April 2013


    I was quite amazed by his reply ~ he said You have to remember that it's very difficult to grow any vegetables up in the Tibet as it's so cold so the main stable diet of Tibetans is meat"

    (Here I go, posting again... told you I was passionate about this topic.)

    I realize I have neglected to add that, yes, in situations where finances play a large role, or locally all you have at your disposal are animal products for nourishment, of course this is obviously acceptable. I imagine the respect and gratitude for the meat is great, and people have a lot more thought put into their meals than those who simply cruise through the drive thru and scarf down a hamburger.

    So in my previous posts, I was mainly speaking from a culture where animal protein is everywhere and the animals are factory farmed and severely abused. I'm coming from the "worst case scenario" when it comes to lack of awareness and compassion for our food. I just wanted to say this, because once again, I didn't mean to imply that everyone fit into a certain category/label. There are no labels. But this was the best way I could get my point across.

    In the end, it's always about intention and gratitude.
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    retreat in Switzerland, I was amazed when it came to dinner time at the Tibetan Buddhist temple.

    I was quite amazed by his reply ~ he said You have to remember that it's very difficult to grow any vegetables up in the Tibet as it's so cold so the main stable diet of Tibetans is meat"


    I have found your post extremely helpful and insightful.

    Thank you for such a great post

    No problem! Thanks. :) I do find his comments interesting too, what struck me was that the temple he was at, is no longer in Tibet but Switzerland! I wonder what he would have said if someone said "But were not in Tibet anymore, we're in Switzerland!" :p
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    Tibetan monasteries are increasingly moving to a vegetarian diet now that they have greater access to non meat foods.
    Invincible_summer
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    So, I'm imagining a scenario where Buddha and a few of his followers are walking along a path, and some local people begin harassing Buddha. One of Buddha's followers says, "Lord, I will stop them from harassing you by killing them." And Buddha says nothing and simply watches the action.

    A ways further on, Buddha says that he needs some new clothes. So one of his followers says, "Don't worry Lord, I will steal some from that shop for you." Buddha says nothing and simply watches the action and then puts on the clothes his disciple brings back.

    Further along, one of Buddha's followers says, "Wait just a minute. I want to go rape that young woman over there." Buddha says nothing and it happens.

    A ways further, several of the disciples say, "Hey, let's get drunk! I have found some wine." Buddha says nothing and they all get drunk.

    And then, a drunk disciple says, "I will kill this chicken for you, Lord, and cook it for your dinner." Buddha says nothing, and eats a nice chicken dinner.

    The lesson is that Buddha is such a wimp, such a weakling, such a pansy that he hasn't the courage to say, "Murdering a person is wrong." "Stealing is wrong." "Rape is wrong." "Getting heedlessly drunk is wrong."

    He must be that weak, because he had no courage to say, "My dear friends, I do not eat an animal because it is wrong to kill them for our personal gain."

    The monks in the local Buddhist temple here -- Theravada -- do not say to those bringing them food: "I am so thankful for your kindness in bringing me food so that I may live, but I can't eat that neua nam tok because it is wrong to kill animals."

    The entire Supreme Sangha governing body in Thailand does not have the courage to say to the Thai people: "We, the monks, are thankful for all the days that you bring us food to eat. You are being wonderfully generous. But we know it is wrong to kill animals for food, so from this point forward, please bring us fruits and vegetables...which -- by the way -- will be much less expensive for you to buy than chicken, beef, pork, and shrimp."
    SillyPuttyInvincible_summer
  • BhanteLuckyBhanteLucky Monk since 2014 A Forest Monastery Veteran
    vinlyn said:


    The monks in the local Buddhist temple here -- Theravada -- do not say to those bringing them food: "I am so thankful for your kindness in bringing me food so that I may live, but I can't eat that neua nam tok because it is wrong to kill animals."

    The entire Supreme Sangha governing body in Thailand does not have the courage to say to the Thai people: "We, the monks, are thankful for all the days that you bring us food to eat. You are being wonderfully generous. But we know it is wrong to kill animals for food, so from this point forward, please bring us fruits and vegetables...which -- by the way -- will be much less expensive for you to buy than chicken, beef, pork, and shrimp."

    Wat Pah Nanachat in Thailand tried to go vegetarian, and the laypeople didn't like it.
    The laypeople brought food to the monastery that they themselves liked, that they were familiar with, and this included a lot of meat.
    When they were told by the WPN monks to please only bring vegetarian meals, they saw it as a lot of fuss, and said that the monks shouldn't be so picky.
    After a few weeks of complaining from the laypeople, WPN abandoned the experiment as good in principle, but bad in practise.
    Invincible_summerlobster
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    vinlyn said:


    The monks in the local Buddhist temple here -- Theravada -- do not say to those bringing them food: "I am so thankful for your kindness in bringing me food so that I may live, but I can't eat that neua nam tok because it is wrong to kill animals."

    The entire Supreme Sangha governing body in Thailand does not have the courage to say to the Thai people: "We, the monks, are thankful for all the days that you bring us food to eat. You are being wonderfully generous. But we know it is wrong to kill animals for food, so from this point forward, please bring us fruits and vegetables...which -- by the way -- will be much less expensive for you to buy than chicken, beef, pork, and shrimp."

    Wat Pah Nanachat in Thailand tried to go vegetarian, and the laypeople didn't like it.
    The laypeople brought food to the monastery that they themselves liked, that they were familiar with, and this included a lot of meat.
    When they were told by the WPN monks to please only bring vegetarian meals, they saw it as a lot of fuss, and said that the monks shouldn't be so picky.
    After a few weeks of complaining from the laypeople, WPN abandoned the experiment as good in principle, but bad in practise.
    The monks did not have to eat the meat.

  • misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a Hindu India Veteran
    @seeker242: thanks for this insightful post.
  • Lazy_eyeLazy_eye Veteran
    edited April 2013
    If the Thai sangha imposed a requirement of vegetarianism, it would actually be contravening the Buddha's own teachings. The monks would in effect be followers of Devadatta, who created a schism over the issue.

    It seems to me that the Buddha refused imposing such a rule because it violates one of the basic principles behind alms-giving, which is to provide an opportunity for anyone to make merit (puñña), no matter whether they're a saint or a scumbag. The laypeople offering alms could be from all walks of life. Some, for all we know, could be involved with livelihoods that bring bad kamma. They could be soldiers, for example, who have committed acts of killing. As far as I know, the monks don't refuse alms from anyone (though perhaps someone who has lived in Thailand could clarify if this is the case).

    But anyway, it seems that the alms offering is not meant to be conditional on the moral virtues of the giver. I'm no expert, and don't want to deliver snap judgements, but it looks to me as though the laypeople in the WPN case were correct from the point of view of the Pali Canon.

    Also, the Buddha generally did not proselytize. In the suttas, he is often presented as not offering a teaching unless asked. If a butcher asked for guidance, the Buddha would probably have warned him about the ethical perils of his profession and the bad kammic results likely to follow. But only if asked. Theravada just doesn't have the messianic impulse that we see in some other religions and secular ideologies.

    I don't think buying meat or offering meat as alms can be construed as a breach of the first precept. According to the traditional definition, the first precept is broken when five factors come together:

    1. There is a living being
    2. The person (about to carry out an action of killing) knows there is a living being
    3. The person forms an intention to kill
    4. The person undertakes an action deliberately aimed at killing
    5. The living being is killed.

    The purchaser of meat is clearly not meeting all of these criteria.

    It's also not "bad kamma", because kamma involves a volitional action by an individual person.

    I'm not criticizing vegetarians (I was one for several years, and may become one again), but things can become problematic when we try to shoehorn our beliefs into the Buddha's teachings -- as though he must have taught what we wish he had taught. And while I respect the Mahayana perspective, I must point out that Mahayana views on vegetarianism are found in the Nirvana Sutra, an unusual scripture which also contains justifications for holy warfare and slaughtering infidels.
    ”When I recall the past, I remember that I was the king of a great state…My name was Senyo, and I loved and venerated the Mahayana sutras…When I heard the Brahmins slandering the vaipulya sutras, I put them to death on the spot. Good men, as a result of that action, I never thereafter fell into hell. O good man! When we accept and defend the Mahayana sutras, we possess innumerable virtues.”
    In my view personally, notions of "collective kamma", whether for meat eating or anything else, raise more ethical problems than they solve.
    Invincible_summerdhammachick
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    @Lazy_eye That is the Theravada view yes. No one is denying that. :) However, this is about Mahayana views. According to Mahayana, just eating the meat, is itself, making bad karma. Many Mahayana temples have temple rules that prohibit the bringing of meat onto the temple grounds. All the laypersons already know this so they really don't turn anything away because it's not brought there to begin with. But if they they did, the monks are required to turn it away.

    But the Nirnava sutra is not the only sutra that mentions this. The Shurangama Sutra, the Brahmajala Sutra, the Angulimaliya Sutra, the Mahamegha Sutra, the Lankavatara Sutra, Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, as well as the Buddha's comments on the negative karmic effects of meat consumption in the Karma Sutra. All of these condemn simply the act of eating meat as bad karma making.

    If you are only interested in the Theravada view, perhaps this thread is not something that can be of use to you. :)
  • BhanteLuckyBhanteLucky Monk since 2014 A Forest Monastery Veteran
    @seeker242, thanks for guiding us back on topic, I'm really interested in the Mahayana approach to this.
  • Lazy_eyeLazy_eye Veteran
    edited April 2013
    seeker242 said:

    @Lazy_eye That is the Theravada view yes. No one is denying that. :) However, this is about Mahayana views. According to Mahayana, just eating the meat, is itself, making bad karma. Many Mahayana temples have temple rules that prohibit the bringing of meat onto the temple grounds. All the laypersons already know this so they really don't turn anything away because it's not brought there to begin with. But if they they did, the monks are required to turn it away...

    If you are only interested in the Theravada view, perhaps this thread is not something that can be of use to you. :)

    My bad...coffee was a bit on the strong side this morning. Thanks for getting the train back on the rails. :)

    John_Spencer
  • zenffzenff Veteran
    The flexibility is the real “mahayana” about this. The precepts are applications of bigger principles like kindness, compassion, not-harming.

    You can’t base your moral decisions on ancient texts. Society has changed. One new element is the bio industry and the abundance of nourishment in large parts of the world. Eating meat is a consumer’s decision now; and the sum of these consumer’s decisions are causally linked to the industrial killing of livestock. In that (indirect) sense meat eaters do kill animals for their food simply because they prefer eating meat.

    In the same way we can’t simply say the Buddha allowed (defensive) warfare. If that’s what he did he was thinking of soldiers with swords and arrows and bows fighting each other. Warfare could in our world take the shape of flattening a city with a nuclear bomb, or ethnic cleansing of a country, or sending a drone to a remote village where you think the people hate you.

    The Buddha didn’t tell us what to think of all that. It is up to us.

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    Not only do Mahayana scriptures promote vegetarianism, I just noticed that the Śūraṅgama Sūtra promotes not only vegetarianism, but veganism in chapter 6.
    ”You should know that these people who eat meat may gain some awareness and may seem to be in samadhi, but they are all great rakshasas. When their retribution ends, they are bound to sink into the bitter sea of birth and death. They are not disciples of the Buddha. Such people as these kill and eat one another in a never-ending cycle. How can such people transcend the Triple Realm? 6:24

    ”Bodhisattvas and bhikshus who practice purity will not even step on grass in the pathway; even less will they pull it up with their hand. How can one with great compassion pick up the flesh and blood of living beings and proceed to eat his fill? 6:26

    ”Bhikshus who do not wear silk, leather boots, furs, or down from this country or consume milk, cream, or butter can truly transcend this world. When they have paid back their past debts, they will not have to re-enter the Triple Realm. 6:27

    ”Why? It is because when one wears something taken from a living creature, one creates conditions with it, just as when people eat the hundred grains, their feet cannot leave the earth. Both physically and mentally one must avoid the bodies and the by-products of living beings, by neither wearing them nor eating them. I say that such people have true liberation. 6:28
    I was not aware that any Buddhist scriptures actually promoted veganism!
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    The Vajrayana is part of the Mahayana, as is Zen. In both some of the most highly regarded teachers fall into both camps...meat eaters and vegetarians. Veganism is a recent invention that has not impacted Asian Buddhism to any degree except in China.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    seeker242 said:

    Not only do Mahayana scriptures promote vegetarianism, I just noticed that the Śūraṅgama Sūtra promotes not only vegetarianism, but veganism in chapter 6.

    *Snip*

    I was not aware that any Buddhist scriptures actually promoted veganism!

    I doubt they do.

    Well....."Buddhist" scriptures, maybe.
    Buddha's scriptures?
    I somehow doubt it myself.

    But that's just me.
    Invincible_summerdhammachick
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited June 2013
    Citta said:

    The Vajrayana is part of the Mahayana, as is Zen. In both some of the most highly regarded teachers fall into both camps...meat eaters and vegetarians. Veganism is a recent invention that has not impacted Asian Buddhism to any degree except in China.

    Yes, and this scripture is from China! Although I would probably not call it recent. The first one who gave an account of the Śūraṅgama Sūtra is said to be Zhi-sheng, a monk of the Tang Dynasty. The Tang Dynasty is ancient! Apparently it was first translated around 713 CE by a monk named Huai-Di with an unnamed Indian monk.

    And zen of course originated in China with Bodhidharma. Dogen himself has commented on this sutra. It's also cited in case 94 of the Blue Cliff Record. It is said that it's been especially influential in the Chán school of Chinese Buddhism, which of course is where Japanese, and all other zen, originated from. Contemporary Chan Master Hsuan Hua says this of it "In Buddhism all the sutras are very important, but the Śūraṅgama Sūtra is most important."

    But obviously, not everyone in all of Buddhism follows it!
    federica said:


    I doubt they do.

    Well....."Buddhist" scriptures, maybe.
    Buddha's scriptures?
    I somehow doubt it myself.

    But that's just me.

    I don't know! I think it's obvious that this particular one does! It says "Both physically and mentally one must avoid the bodies and the by-products of living beings, by neither wearing them nor eating them."

    Sounds like veganism to me! I'm just surprised to find an ancient text that mentions it!

  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited June 2013
    Ok we can demonstrate that an ancient text which would not be recognised as authentic Dharma by all Buddhist schools advocates a vegan diet.
    It doesn't address the fact that many well known Buddhist teachers are carnivores.
    Which rather suggests that it is an individual choice.
    vinlynInvincible_summer
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited June 2013
    Citta said:

    Ok if we can demonstrate that an ancient text which woud not be recognised as authentic Dharma by all Buddhist schools

    I don't think such a text exist anywhere! All Buddhist schools have their different texts that they hold higher or lower than texts of other schools.

    It doesn't address the fact that many well known Buddhist teachers are carnivores.
    Nor is it intended to!

    edit: Actually it does address those people. it says "they are all great rakshasas. When their retribution ends, they are bound to sink into the bitter sea of birth and death. They are not disciples of the Buddha."



  • CittaCitta Veteran
    Well ! Thats ! All right then !
  • I'm reluctant to add to this so as not to cause a train wreck, as the subject often does. But "what the hey" as my mother always said:

    I would very much like to be vegetarian, for ethical and religious reasons, and I have tried a number of times. But the staples of a vegetarian diet are carb-heavy: legumes, rice, corn, wheat, potatoes. None of which I can physically tolerate, being insulin resistant and not to mention having a downright non-celiac gluten intolerance. Green salads, vegetables of any kind in any quantity will not cut it alone.

    So I'm limited to dairy products: milk (lactose free :rolleyes: ), yogurt, cheese; eggs, which I don't consider living if unfertilized. I have a moral problem with battery farmed hens, and will buy only cage free eggs. But one can't control where the eggs come from in a diner omelette. This doesn't sound so bad in theory but it's hell in practice. As an aside, there's a bill pending in the US Congress to give more room to each hen in the caged farms; meh, it's a start.

    I don't know if this is a cop-out, but it may be my karma in this life to struggle with this. I do better physically on a hunter-gatherer type diet of meat, vegs, eggs, fish, dairy. However, I do not eat beef, though it is not gomata, Mother Cow that is being eaten, but young castrated males (ouch!). Another cop-out to eat a burger? Maybe, but I'm not ready to make that leap. Nor would I hunt.

    I always say "swim at your own karmic risk".
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    seeker242 said:

    Citta said:

    Ok if we can demonstrate that an ancient text which woud not be recognised as authentic Dharma by all Buddhist schools

    I don't think such a text exist anywhere! All Buddhist schools have their different texts that they hold higher or lower than texts of other schools.

    It doesn't address the fact that many well known Buddhist teachers are carnivores.
    Nor is it intended to!

    edit: Actually it does address those people. it says "they are all great rakshasas. When their retribution ends, they are bound to sink into the bitter sea of birth and death. They are not disciples of the Buddha."





    Ok . You do realise I assume that includes HHDL, the 16th Karmapa, Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Sumedho, Chogyal Namkhai Norbu, Sakya Trizin, etc etc All of whom eat meat.
    Are they all rakshasas ( demons ) ?
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited June 2013
    Yes! But these are not my words. It's just what the scripture says!
  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran
    Citta said:


    Ok . You do realise I assume that includes HHDL, the 16th Karmapa, Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Sumedho, Chogyal Namkhai Norbu, Sakya Trizin, etc etc All of whom eat meat.
    Are they all rakshasas ( demons ) ?

    Of course not.

    There always seems to be (to me anyway) an element of orthodoxy enforcement inherent in these kinds of discussions. I notice posturing on the issue that seems to include an underlying sentiment that we must all be vegetarians. People won't come out and say it, but will hammer on textual references framed to support a vegetarian orthodoxy for Buddhists.

    As you say, it boils down to choice. It's a personal thing. There may a dozen sutras supporting a vegetarian diet but if I don't want that kind of diet that's my business. That's my karma. If I'm willing to accept the karmic consequences of my life choices, what's left to be said?
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited June 2013



    I would very much like to be vegetarian, for ethical and religious reasons, and I have tried a number of times. But the staples of a vegetarian diet are carb-heavy: legumes, rice, corn, wheat, potatoes. None of which I can physically tolerate, being insulin resistant and not to mention having a downright non-celiac gluten intolerance. Green salads, vegetables of any kind in any quantity will not cut it alone.


    Do you actually have diabetes? Dr. Neal Barnard, one of the more popular vegetarian/vegan doctors, has a special program that includes treating type II diabetes with a specialized vegan diet. Of course it's not a typical vegan diet, it's heavily controlled to regulate glycemic response, etc, etc. Even if you don't actually have diabetes, it may be something worth looking into. There are diets out there formulated by doctors that are designed to be low carb, high protein diets while still being composed of plant products. I'm not very familiar with them though, but I know they are out there! Gluten free vegan food has also become quite popular in the past couple years. It seems everywhere I go these days people are touting "gluten free" much more than they used to!

    Jainarayan
  • @seeker242


    Do you actually have diabetes? Dr. Neal Barnard, one of the more popular vegetarian/vegan doctors, has a special program that includes treating type II diabetes with a specialized vegan diet. Of course it's not a typical vegan diet, it's heavily controlled to regulate glycemic response, etc, etc. Even if you don't actually have diabetes, it may be something worth looking into. There are diets out there formulated by doctors that are designed to be low carb, high protein diets while still being composed of plant products. I'm not very familiar with them though, but I know they are out there! Gluten free vegan food has also become quite popular in the past couple years. It seems everywhere I go these days people are touting "gluten free" much more than they used to!

    No, not diabetic but impaired glucose tolerance. I want to keep it from going into pre-diabetes, which is the next step, then full diabetes. Hence staying away from a carb-heavy diet. Another effect is that once I start eating them, I binge and can't stop. I can devour a pot of rice or pasta to death in a short time, even though I am full.

    I've been searching for low(er) carb, higher protein and fat diets... basically a vegetarian Atkins. I'll check the Dr. Barnard link too, I appreciate that. :) Btw, I've had gluten-free bread. It's not bad, more like cornbread. Well, it's made with corn flour. :D
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    I find it interesting that the one passage that was latched onto was the one that appears to be pro-Vegan. Interesting how we automatically look for things that match our views and dismiss things more quickly, such as the :
    Bodhisattvas and bhikshus who practice purity will not even step on grass in the pathway; even less will they pull it up with their hand.
    line.

    Funny how the same people who would relate (I'm not talking about anyone in particular) to the Vegan portion and say "yes! see! I'm right in being Vegan, it says so right here!" will then proceed to go outside and cut their grass and weed their garden without giving it a thought.
    vinlynJainarayandhammachick
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited June 2013
    karasti said:

    I find it interesting that the one passage that was latched onto was the one that appears to be pro-Vegan. Interesting how we automatically look for things that match our views and dismiss things more quickly, such as the :
    Bodhisattvas and bhikshus who practice purity will not even step on grass in the pathway; even less will they pull it up with their hand.
    line.

    Funny how the same people who would relate (I'm not talking about anyone in particular) to the Vegan portion and say "yes! see! I'm right in being Vegan, it says so right here!" will then proceed to go outside and cut their grass and weed their garden without giving it a thought.

    I think it's a mistake to assume that people would not give it a second thought. Personally, I pray for the grass before I go out and cut it! And the insects that may be killed in the process. I really don't have the luxury of not cutting the grass, the city will give me a code violation which is like a $200 fine! It's 98 deg F outside right now! Believe me, I would prefer to not cut the grass! :D

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    I think that if Mahayana Buddhists want to avoid eating meat as part of their practice, fine. It's inappropriate for them to try to push that on others with long suttric analyses and arguments. People do what they need to do. The Tibetans and Mongols don't care. The DL's entire family was raised eating their own livestock that the parents slaughtered routinely. His eldest brother (a tulku in their regional monastery) hired hunters to shoot game when he organized an expedition to Lhasa. People do what they need to do to survive, or maintain health. Let each practitioner see after his own karmic seeds as s/he sees fit.
    CittavinlynMaryAnnedhammachick
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited June 2013
    Dakini said:

    I think that if Mahayana Buddhists want to avoid eating meat as part of their practice, fine. It's inappropriate for them to try to push that on others with long suttric analyses and arguments. People do what they need to do. The Tibetans and Mongols don't care. The DL's entire family was raised eating their own livestock that the parents slaughtered routinely. His eldest brother (a tulku in their regional monastery) hired hunters to shoot game when he organized an expedition to Lhasa. People do what they need to do to survive, or maintain health. Let each practitioner see after his own karmic seeds as s/he sees fit.

    I would be willing to bet a cow would completely disagree with that, if they could speak! Some people chose to speak for them, from a Mahayana perspective, nothing wrong with that. It's really not just about a practitioners karmic seeds as they see fit, it's also about horribly abused animals who suffer. I don't think it's inappropriate for people to speak on their behalf.

    rivercane
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    edited June 2013
    seeker242 said:

    ...Some people chose to speak for them, from a Mahayana perspective, nothing wrong with that. ... I don't think it's inappropriate for people to speak on their behalf.

    I agree. It's not the speaking out the rest of us mind. It's the constant nagging that we disparage.

    CittaChazdhammachick
  • Dakini said:

    I think that if Mahayana Buddhists want to avoid eating meat as part of their practice, fine. It's inappropriate for them to try to push that on others with long suttric analyses and arguments.

    I would say trying to push Mahayana dietary practices on others through citing Mahayana texts is not just possibly inappropriate but could also be considered as lacking in compassion.

    According to core Mahayana teachings, disbelieving and discrediting Mahayana Sutras is considered one of the greatest evils and will cause you to be reborn in Avici hell (the worst hell realm).

    eg. Nirvana Sutra:
    The Brahmin fell into Avichi Hell after his death. He gained three thoughts. The first thought was: "Where have I come from to be born here in this way?" And the realisation dawned on him to the effect that he had been born there from the world of men. His second thought was: "What is this place where I have now been born?" The realisation dawned that this was Avichi Hell. The third thought [then] arose: "Through what causal concatenations have I been born here?" He then came to realise that things had taken this turn because of his slandering of the [lengthy] Mahayana sutras and by his not believing, and by his being killed by the king - thus had he been born there.

    I've already seen some responses in this thread which suggest disbelief and disparage of the Sutra. Therefore, the approach of persuading other people to adopt Mahayanist ideas such as vegetarianism and veganism based on scriptural authority must be done with very special care lest people be put in danger of being reborn in Avici hell!! Or does it not matter so much since those meat-eaters are just rakshasas (demons) in the first place anyhows?

    I have to say though that I do admire vegetarians and vegans who abstain for the sake of animals. Nonetheless, my thinking is close to Citta's in the sense that there are a lot of highly accomplished Buddhist teachers who were/are meat eaters so it's difficult to swallow the idea that they are in fact rakshasas (demons) and also not to be considered as disciples of the Buddha simply because they ate meat.
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    vinlyn said:

    seeker242 said:

    ...Some people chose to speak for them, from a Mahayana perspective, nothing wrong with that. ... I don't think it's inappropriate for people to speak on their behalf.

    I agree. It's not the speaking out the rest of us mind. It's the constant nagging that we disparage.

    I agree! But at the same time, nobody forces anyone to come read the vegetarian threads! Do people think they will not encounter a promotion of vegetarianism in a thread titled "Meat Eating and Mahayana", when the OP is of scriptures themselves promoting it? It's almost like saying "I find the neighbors music down the street nagging, I think I will go stand in front of his house!" I don't get it!
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    seeker242 said:



    I agree! But at the same time, nobody forces anyone to come read the vegetarian threads! Do people think they will not encounter a promotion of vegetarianism in a thread titled "Meat Eating and Mahayana", when the OP is of scriptures themselves promoting it? It's almost like saying "I find the neighbors music down the street nagging, I think I will go stand in front of his house!" I don't get it!

    The reason I read these threads is to see if -- and I would probably have a heart attack if this ever occurred :D -- somebody actually said something new on the topic after our approximately once-monthly threads on vegetarianism. I will say, at least this time around there's a different slant to it...which didn't cause a heart attack...just a few palpitations and a little mild tachycardia!
    Citta
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    Touche! :lol: HOWEVER, according the the American Heart Association, when a person becomes a vegetarian they reduce their risk from heart attack by almost 97%! So, you should become a vegetarian and then you won't have to worry about heart attacks! :lol:

    And of course I can see you are just joking!

    But to be serious for a moment, If I may, actual heart attacks are pretty serious business. It's sad to see so many people dying of diseases that can largely be prevented. One of my family's friends recently had a stroke, luckily she did not get permanent brain damage. Other people are not so lucky as her. Her and her family suffered so much because of that. It was sad to watch all that suffering knowing that most likely it could have been prevented. At first they thought she might die. They cried and I cried with them and for them and for her.

    I remember I wrote an article once for the college newspaper about vegetarianism when I was in college and someone wrote a letter in response saying that I should stop being so concerned about animals and be more concerned about people. I found this very confusing because it's not just about animals, it's about people too. Like my father who dropped dead of a heart attack about 5 months ago. If he had eaten a more vegetarian diet, he would probably still be here today. Sorry to get so serious on you! And of course I can see you are just joking but just the words "heart attack" spark a more serious mood here these days! Sorry! :)
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    I heard that every time someone becomes a vegetarian a little meat fairy drops dead.
    wrathfuldeityChrysaliddhammachick
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    seeker242 said:

    ...according the the American Heart Association, when a person becomes a vegetarian they reduce their risk from heart attack by almost 97%! So, you should become a vegetarian and then you won't have to worry about heart attacks! :lol: ...

    ..

    Actually, I do have mild tachycardia. And when it was confirmed, I said to the doctor, "Well I guess all those Krispy Kream donuts finally caught up with me." He responded: "No, this was a genetic problem passed on by your mother."

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