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Greed and karma

Hi guys,

Most people (maybe) will recommend a vegetarian or a vegan diet, but the question is:

Which one is more unwholesome, greed over meat that comes from farmed factory animal (generally more suffering) or greed over meat that comes from animal that lives in the wild (less suffering)? One greedy person eats meat from different sources. Thank you.

Snakeskin

Comments

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I think it really comes down to, most of all, how you think, believe and feel about it. It doesn't matter if someone else thinks X or Y is worse if you don't agree. If you are going to hunt, you have to be willing to accept the karma of taking the lives of animals. But for myself I don't buy the whole "I'm off the hook if I buy it at the store" and I think supporting factory farming is far worse than hunting and fishing yourself if you are able to do so. To me, there is karma in both and I'd rather full-on accept what still results in a loss of life but overall fewer lives. It prevents others from getting rich off the lives of animals. And prevents the extreme suffering that most farms cause animals in their "care." Plus, wild game is nutritionally superior, by far.

    But in the end, the only thing that matters is what you believe, and you have to come to terms with it in your own way. Knowing that no matter how you swing it, your being alive is the result of other beings dying. Whatever ways you can find to reduce that is ideal, in whatever way works for the multitude of factors in our individual lives.

    Snakeskinperson
  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Texas, USA Veteran
    edited December 2017

    @NB1100 said:
    Most people (maybe) will recommend a vegetarian or a vegan diet….

    Not in my neck of the woods. I know and am related to ranchers, farmers and hunters. All would say of a vegetarian diet, "to each their own", but none would recommend it.

    Which one is more unwholesome, greed over meat that comes from farmed factory animal (generally more suffering) or greed over meat that comes from animal that lives in the wild (less suffering)?

    Right intention/resolve minimally includes renunciation, goodwill and harmlessness. Any aspiration to minimize harmfulness out of goodwill and renunciation would therefore be wholesome, skillful, kusala. So, choosing, out of the same aspirations, free range chickens and eggs over caged, grass fed cows over corn fed and wild over farmed would seem to be skillful too.

    CarameltailBunksperson
  • @karasti said:
    I think it really comes down to, most of all, how you think, believe and feel about it. It doesn't matter if someone else thinks X or Y is worse if you don't agree. If you are going to hunt, you have to be willing to accept the karma of taking the lives of animals. But for myself I don't buy the whole "I'm off the hook if I buy it at the store" and I think supporting factory farming is far worse than hunting and fishing yourself if you are able to do so. To me, there is karma in both and I'd rather full-on accept what still results in a loss of life but overall fewer lives. It prevents others from getting rich off the lives of animals. And prevents the extreme suffering that most farms cause animals in their "care." Plus, wild game is nutritionally superior, by far.

    But in the end, the only thing that matters is what you believe, and you have to come to terms with it in your own way. Knowing that no matter how you swing it, your being alive is the result of other beings dying. Whatever ways you can find to reduce that is ideal, in whatever way works for the multitude of factors in our individual lives.

    Thanks for your answer.
    I believe we all have different perception and different standard of ethics. Buddhist teaching is what bring us together. Kamma is intention, that's it. Buddhist ethics is not personal value, fashion, trend, etc.. Buddhist ethics is what saves us from samsara, helps us developing samadhi and then panna/wisdom. It's middle way, one can only save oneself, no one can save others. Our enemies are greed, hatred and delusion.
    Just because an ethic seems to be perfect doesn't mean it is the teaching of the enlightened one. Extreme goodness will not bring us closer to the end of birth and death.

    We all have our own karma, even animals have their own karma. Caged, beaten, inhumane treatment are all the result of their own karma. If all animals live happily and free from suffering, that means the law of karma is not working. There is reason why it's called animal realm.

    I am just sharing my thought. Appreciate your reply. Happy new year 2018!!

  • jwredeljwredel Albuquerque Veteran
    edited December 2017

    @NB1100 said:
    Thanks for your answer.
    I believe we all have different perception and different standard of ethics. Buddhist teaching is what bring us together. Kamma is intention, that's it. Buddhist ethics is not personal value, fashion, trend, etc.. Buddhist ethics is what saves us from samsara, helps us developing samadhi and then panna/wisdom. It's middle way, one can only save oneself, no one can save others. Our enemies are greed, hatred and delusion.
    Just because an ethic seems to be perfect doesn't mean it is the teaching of the enlightened one. Extreme goodness will not bring us closer to the end of birth and death.

    We all have our own karma, even animals have their own karma. Caged, beaten, inhumane treatment are all the result of their own karma. If all animals live happily and free from suffering, that means the law of karma is not working. There is reason why it's called animal realm.

    I am just sharing my thought. Appreciate your reply. Happy new year 2018!!

    A lot going on here, where to begin?

    Maybe just to start with trying to clarify the notion of karma (action). It is important to thoroughly understand why the Buddha would really concern himself with karma. (And it's not about trying to understand why some chickens end up in factories and others end up in barns.) Two main reasons:

    First, the fact is that karma is the basis for the concept of causality - that one action becomes the cause of a subsequent action (that necessarily arises) ... and another and another, each action arising and inevitably ending. (Dependent origination.) So, the notion of karma in giving rise to the notion of causality, naturally gives rise to the notion of impermanence ... and enter the Buddha with the 4NT, connecting impermanence, attachment and suffering.

    But the discussion of karma has a second important component. If karma (and causality) is like billiard balls that have previously been set in motion, then how do we ever realistically make changes in our lives. And to that end, Buddhism teaches that karma is less like billiard balls and more like planted seeds - that previous actions don't automatically dictate future actions, but merely present some probability - a probability that we can influence through current choices. Enter the 8FP. Essentially, we water the good seeds and abandon the bad ones. And through this line of argument, the Buddha assures us that we are not automatically destined to suffer.

    Snakeskin
  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Texas, USA Veteran

    @jwredel, I appreciate the pragmatism in your reply, but have some philosophical hairs to split with some of the finer points.

    It is important to thoroughly understand why the Buddha would really concern himself with karma. (And it's not about trying to understand why some chickens end up in factories and others end up in barns.)

    The lot of chickens (and why my back ironically hurts right now) points to the import of karma. (I hurt my perfectly fine back doing push ups to avoid these kinds of stupid pains.)

    karma is the basis for the concept of causality

    As your second reason describes, karma is the basis for non-futility, within the state of existence. Causality, a part of conditioned existence, is the basis for karma.

    The Buddha asserts conditioned existence; intentional action (karma) can shape it. It’s why some beings are chickens and some chickens are crammed into cages while others roam free in a reasonably safe environment. The Buddha claims a first cause of conditioned existence is indiscernible. Karma is just an aspect. As a part it renders the whole neither fatalistic nor nihilistic. Conditioned existence just is; karma, both a trap and an escape, can shape it.

    None want pure pain, physical or nonphysical; some additionally want pleasure; others, nothing at all; some want beyond, to peace. Karma is the actions arising from these desires. It’s that aspect of conditioned existence that makes these scenarios possible through effort, unless you are, for now, a caged chicken.

    Going beyond, when it’s possible, eliminates desire from actions by eliminating the conditions of desire. But that doesn’t eliminate actions or conditioned existence, because neither actions nor desire cause it. Beyond, conditioned existence shaped by past karma continues, but no new karma influences its shape or shapes its perpetuation. Conditioned existence and action within it doesn’t end when karma ends; ensnarement ends. With the understanding that intentional action shapes conditioned existence, the sight of a chicken crammed with others in a cage, her whole life, atrophied, tumorous, is an impetus for wholesome actions, especially those leading out of the cage.

  • jwredeljwredel Albuquerque Veteran
    edited January 3

    @Snakeskin, thanks. You are exactly right. My hope was to present a distinction between a notion of karma as pure action and a notion of the law of karma as an action with intention that produces a consequence.

    One of my teachers, in downplaying some of the emotional aspects of the word, would always say "karma just means action" - and so in my own mind, I had come to separate karma from intention - placing the notion of intention into the law of karma. It's clear that it is unrealistic to try to separate the accepted meaning of karma from the notion of intention.

    Again thanks.

    Snakeskin
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