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Not being a vegetarian

Darren351Darren351 California New
edited September 24 in Diet & Habits

I have read that the original Buddha did not teach one had to be a vegetarian. I also read in a beginners guide to Buddhism that one should not eat meat that was killed just for them. I would like to hear peoples thoughts on this. I know one of the principles is to not kill, but I'm not sure I can give up meat 100%. I do not eat seafood because of the over fishing and damage to the oceans.

Comments

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    I'm pretty pacifist, I brush or blow mosquitos away rather than swatting them and feel bad when I'm forced to kill wasps... and I eat meat, I just try to eat less of it. Being single I usually cook a meal for the week and divide the portions up. I have several vegetarian recipes and it occasionally happens that I'll, without noticing, make vegetarian fare a couple weeks or more in a row and so go without meat for a while. I don't notice missing it at the time but the craving for meat does seem to build. Most of the meals I cook that include meat, the meat is just another ingredient rather than the main focus of the dish so I don't use as much.

    Anyway there are lots of good reasons to give up meat, but adherence to Buddhist doctrine isn't one of them. Because there is no Buddhist doctrine telling us we need to give it up.

    Bunkskando
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I largely agree with @person, I try not to kill insects as well although I do make exceptions sometimes, I very occasionally eat meat and I eat fish a bit more often. Among my other vices I count dairy, i would find it difficult to give up milk and cheese.

    From a Buddhist perspective i was aware of not eating meat that is killed especially for you. I don’t think eating a steak or a hamburger in a restaurant (pretty much the only times I still eat meat) violates that, but I have such a dislike for the industrial killing process that Ive long had my meat intake at a minimum, also for environmental reasons.

    This has been a recurring topic on this forum over the years, the search function may throw up some other interesting discussions.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Kerome said: .... This has been a recurring topic on this forum over the years, the search function may throw up some other interesting discussions.

    Yes indeed, and if you decide to peruse those threads, be advised. There are one or two topics guaranteed to be contentious and apt to bring out the foo-fighter in a lot of people. Vegetarianism in Buddhism is one; abortion is another... so while it's probably best for you to confine your enquiry to suitable searches using the above search-box, @Darren351 , this thread is fine by me, providing everything within remains respectful and polite....

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited September 22

    Not being a vegetarian

    Buddha have mercy on your non-soul ...You're gonna burn in hell ;) :lol:

    Jokes aside...

    From what I gather there are valid reasons (on both sides) as to why some Buddhist eat the flesh of animals and some choose not to....

    Some reasons for doing so, being, health (doctor's orders) , family ties ( living at home and under parents rules), or plain & simple liking/addicted to the taste...However it would seem that the last one, is not really plain & simple...yes one may like the taste but even with the animal flesh alternatives available ( that taste more or less the same as the real thing) some still prefer the real thing and can feel repulsed by the thought of eating mock meats ....

    Some reasons for not doing so, being, health (again doctor's orders) family ties ( growing up in a vegetarian and or vegan family...all my four children were born into a vegetarian family, three now eat animal flesh, my daughter's still a vegetarian-one out of four aint bad ;) )...Religious grounds (where one's religion dictates... Jains for example).. Non religious Ethical reasons ( where one weighs up the odds AKA reasoning and on compassionate grounds abandons the flesh)...

    Different strokes of the paddle for different folks on the raft

    In the long run it's each to their own mind...( "One sentient being's meal is another sentient being's squeal!"

    I should also point out ...Some animal flesh eaters also for 'ethical reason' will not eat certain animals due to the cruel practice of factory farming....

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    I was just doing some work on a small hobby farm. The individual who owned it was wealthy enough to do it for the enjoyment of raising animals and because she wanted to control her food supply. She raised chickens, pigs and cows for the eggs and meat. These animals lived very happy, free and comfortable lives that they wouldn't have except for the fact that they are there to be consumed at some point. Of course the vast majority of animals raised for consumption live miserable lives in atrocious conditions but in the case of these animals I think it could be argued that on the whole it is better for them to have lived the life they do, even if it ends (to their total ignorance) in slaughter, than to not have lived at all.




    ShoshinlobsterBunksDakini
  • but I'm not sure I can give up meat 100%.

    You may change your mind. It happens. In fact mind change is part of Dharma ... :)

    I do not eat seafood because of the over fishing and damage to the oceans.

    Bravo. My relatives will be pleased. ;)

    I eat meat, fish and am increasingly convinced that we may be eating insects in the future. I might be on a Jain diet by then.

    Focus on what you can. Be kind to cabbages. So many innocent insects lives are lost through ploughing, spraying and ensuring wild bunnies and birds do not steal our resources ...

    Existence is dukkha ... life a struggle ...

    Here is an earlier discussion ...
    http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/4474/non-vegetarian-buddhists-lesser-buddhists

    person
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    I forgot all about the beating a dead horse meme that used to go around here, maybe its time to bring it back.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    When these kind of topics appear ….a simple response should be...

    "To each to their own"...

    After all.... thus have I heard the Buddha mentioning something about "Ehipassiko" See for yourself and make up your own mind :)

    person
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited September 24

    I haz evil plan when hungry ... >:)

    :3 Must be good ... o:)

    How can anyone eat those two cute little piggies @person posted? Maybe with the right cure (so to speak) ... Happy animals seems kinder but feasible for the mass market? It costs more to be kind ... Money well spent?

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran
    edited September 24

    @lobster said:

    How can anyone eat those two cute little piggies @person posted? Maybe with the right cure (so to speak) ... Happy animals seems kinder but feasible for the mass market? It costs more to be kind ... Money well spent?

    Almost certainly it wouldn't work for a mass market. Meat would be very expensive and considered a luxury item for the most part. On a large scale level though, free range, grass fed cows live happy lives and if you look you can find meat from animals raised in more ethical ways.

    Regarding eating the animals. From another point of view, and not to pick on you personally, your post is just a jumping off point. Giving an animal a happy life is a positive thing and to get all extreme and hyperbolic, "what type of cruel person would deny an animal the chance to live a happy life, saying it would be better and cheaper for me if that animal didn't exist at all". For the record I don't think like that, I'm just saying that sometimes these ethical questions are complicated and can be seen from more than one justifiable point of view.

    Not to mention this scourge that JP is trying to raise awareness for and fight the good fight. :p

    lobsterShoshin
  • Enjoyed the video @person :lol:

    I am keen on happy eggs (woodland easy for me to get) and ethical food standards for all foods. I really feel it is worth the effort ... will keep moving towards more vegetarian food ...

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Just to play Devil's advocate here, @Darren351, not eating fish or seafoods because of over-fishing, is actually a poor reason.

    Fish are basically the only animal left on our planet, we actively have to go out and hunt, in order to gather them in sufficient numbers to feed people.
    You either have a good catch or you don't, and as things stand, the job is one of the most dangerous and hazard-fraught going. It's perilous and fickle, and fishermen are at the mercy of the elements, and of being able to locate shoals which would make the journey worthwhile. They are often away from their homes for days, maybe even more than a week at a time, and there are no guarantees of a netful.

    Animals on land, have no such 'luxury'. And the conditions they are all-too-often kept in, defy description. Inhumane doesn't even begin to describe it.
    Top it all with the amount of food we waste and throw away, and actually, you'd be "better" just eating fish and refusing land-meat, as an alternative.

    lobster
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    there is no Buddhist doctrine telling us we need to give it up.

    But there is! The bodhisattva precepts of the Brama Net Sutra, which is why the majority of east asian Buddhism has a vegetarian doctrine.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    @seeker242 said:

    there is no Buddhist doctrine telling us we need to give it up.

    But there is! The bodhisattva precepts of the Brama Net Sutra, which is why the majority of east asian Buddhism has a vegetarian doctrine.

    Kind of, there is a doctrine in Buddhism that says not to eat meat but it doesn't compel us (tell us we need ) to . The doctrine is one of 48 minor bodhisattva vows, so voluntary and advanced. And exists as part of the Mahayana tradition and not universally shared among Buddhists.

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @person said:
    Kind of, there is a doctrine in Buddhism that says not to eat meat but it doesn't compel us (tell us we need ) to .

    There is no doctrine in any Buddhist tradition that compels laypeople to do anything. For a layperson, anything and everything, even the first 5 precepts are voluntary.

    The doctrine is one of 48 minor bodhisattva vows, so voluntary and advanced. And exists as part of the Mahayana tradition and not universally shared among Buddhists.

    Right! Not drinking alcohol is also one of 48 minor vows, so they aren't just limited to advanced.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran
    edited September 25

    @seeker242 said:

    @person said:
    The doctrine is one of 48 minor bodhisattva vows, so voluntary and advanced. And exists as part of the Mahayana tradition and not universally shared among Buddhists.

    Right! Not drinking alcohol is also one of 48 minor vows, so they aren't just limited to advanced.

    Not drinking is also one of the 5 basic precepts, far fewer people take the bodhisattva vows.

    Also, because of this and now having looked into it further. There are differences between the Chinese bodhisattva vows and the Tibetan. TB has 18 root vows vs 10 in CB, 46 secondary vows in TB and 48 in CB. Most notably though in TB there is no vow to refrain from eating meat. Moreover breaking the secondary vows one isn't considered to have violated and lost your bodhisattva vows, they are there to help purify one's mind and to help develop the qualities of a bodhisattva. Also, considering that there are many realized, deeply compassionate practitioners of the bodhisattva path in TB, I have to wonder just how required it is.

    For many of the 46, we are not at fault if we have the intention eventually to eliminate them from our behavior, but our disturbing emotions and attitudes are still too strong to exercise sufficient self-control.

    https://studybuddhism.com/en/advanced-studies/prayers-rituals/vows/secondary-bodhisattva-vows

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @person said:

    @seeker242 said:

    @person said:
    The doctrine is one of 48 minor bodhisattva vows, so voluntary and advanced. And exists as part of the Mahayana tradition and not universally shared among Buddhists.

    Right! Not drinking alcohol is also one of 48 minor vows, so they aren't just limited to advanced.

    Not drinking is also one of the 5 basic precepts, far fewer people take the bodhisattva vows.

    There is no rulebook that says laypeople have to do anything. The point being that it doesn't really matter, it's still a Buddhist doctrine. Even if it's not accepted universally, it's still a Buddhist doctrine. It's not just kinda a doctrine. It is very much a bonafide doctrine in east asian Buddhism. Something does not need to be universally accepted in order to be a Buddhist doctrine. There are plenty of varying doctrines throughout various Buddhist traditions, some are even contradictory. Even with that being the case, they are all still Buddhist doctrines.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited September 25

    Not being a vegetarian

    ...Is one's choice...just as become one is :)

    ...And when it comes to ...."Should all Buddhists become vegetarians or vegan ???"...…

    "It's better to wear shoes 'ON YOUR OWN' feet than to try to cover the entire path with carpet and underlay"

    Blissful mind or Blistered feet ?
    One can do more with a Blissful mind than with Blistered feet....
    Well something along those lines :)

    federicaKundo
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Shoshin said:

    Not being a vegetarian

    ...Is one's choice...just as become one is :)

    ...And when it comes to ...."Should all Buddhists become vegetarians or vegan ???"...…

    "It's better to wear shoes 'ON YOUR OWN' feet than to try to cover the entire path with carpet and underlay"

    Blissful mind or Blistered feet ?
    One can do more with a Blissful mind than with Blistered feet....
    Well something along those lines :)

    Walking the Path may be blister-free, but it's still not a stroll in the park...

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    @seeker242 said:

    @person said:

    @seeker242 said:

    @person said:
    The doctrine is one of 48 minor bodhisattva vows, so voluntary and advanced. And exists as part of the Mahayana tradition and not universally shared among Buddhists.

    Right! Not drinking alcohol is also one of 48 minor vows, so they aren't just limited to advanced.

    Not drinking is also one of the 5 basic precepts, far fewer people take the bodhisattva vows.

    There is no rulebook that says laypeople have to do anything. The point being that it doesn't really matter, it's still a Buddhist doctrine. Even if it's not accepted universally, it's still a Buddhist doctrine. It's not just kinda a doctrine. It is very much a bonafide doctrine in east asian Buddhism. Something does not need to be universally accepted in order to be a Buddhist doctrine. There are plenty of varying doctrines throughout various Buddhist traditions, some are even contradictory. Even with that being the case, they are all still Buddhist doctrines.

    Alright, I will concede that there is a line of code in Buddhism that talks about not eating meat if you will concede that it doesn't require or even compel anyone who isn't practicing the Chinese Buddhist bodhisattva path to refrain from eating meat.

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    I don't think requirement is relevant because no Buddhist tradition anywhere requires anything of laypeople.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    When I was younger I worked as a postman for a while (you know, delivering mail), and my round would take me past this slaughterhouse... you’d hear the screaming of cattle being killed as you walked past there, it was awful. That was a pivotal moment in my appreciation of vegetarianism, although I had been brought up vegetarian since I was 7.

    lobsterDavid
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    ^^ @Kerome. I can understand that. ^^

    When my Mother lived in Italy, she befriended a Rumanian family, the mother of which would come in and clean.. The whole family was wonderful, and they became firm friends... the three children were all brilliant, academically, and achieved great things in their studies. The eldest son, in order to fund his studies and ease the financial burden on his parents, was offered, and took, a job in an abattoir.

    He lasted 3 days, and became a vegetarian based solely on that experience.

    I pretty much think that a stack more people would become vegetarians at a stroke, if subjected to "the real experience"....

    Hozanlobster
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    I remember Ajahn Brahm telling a story about meeting a big, tough Aussie guy once who told him he worked at an abattoir for a while.
    But he said one day he met the eyes of a cow that was about to die and he swears the cow was crying and knew what it's fate was to be!
    He said he left the job right then and there....

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    I'm not a strict vegetarian as I'll eat chicken and some fish if it is prepared for me. I know I'll have to stop allowing that as well one day soon much to the chagrin of my wife.

    I still see suffering in the butchering of a chicken or fish but when I look into the eyes I dont see anyone there. That isn't to say I believe nobody is there, I just cant see them. The same isn't true for a cow or a pig however. I look into their eyes and yes, somebody is there looking at me right back.

    Shoshin
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @seeker242 said:

    there is no Buddhist doctrine telling us we need to give it up.

    But there is! The bodhisattva precepts of the Brama Net Sutra, which is why the majority of east asian Buddhism has a vegetarian doctrine.

    And do you follow all 58 of those precepts faithfully and completely?

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @vinlyn said:

    @seeker242 said:

    there is no Buddhist doctrine telling us we need to give it up.

    But there is! The bodhisattva precepts of the Brama Net Sutra, which is why the majority of east asian Buddhism has a vegetarian doctrine.

    And do you follow all 58 of those precepts faithfully and completely?

    Most of them but not all. I eat onions and garlic. However, even with that being the case, that doesn't make it not a Buddhist doctrine. It's a Buddhist doctrine regardless.

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