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Non-Vegetarian Buddhists - Lesser Buddhists?

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Comments

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited January 2010
    Aldrisang wrote: »
    I tend to disagree. I don't think if you accidentally step on and kill an ant that it's the same thing as if you just accidentally killed a cow. All lifeforms have their purpose, but it is in my opinion wrong view to think of the world in such simplistic terms.

    I agree that it's not the same thing, but my understanding is that if it's accidental (i.e., unintentional), there's no kammic consequence, which is what matters from a Buddhist perspective.

    In Pali, the word "kamma" itself means action. Therefore, the kamma of killing would be the action of killing. And as the Buddha makes clear in AN 6.63, "Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, and intellect."

    There might be other consequences of varying degrees, of course, but that's a separate issue.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited January 2010
    pinkxlotus wrote: »
    Okay. I'm just going to agree to disagree on this topic. I feel like we're just saying the same things again and again.

    Fair enough. :)
  • edited January 2010
    Let's just think "What Would Buddha Do?" in these situations. ;)
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited January 2010
    Aldrisang wrote: »
    Let's just think "What Would Buddha Do?" in these situations. ;)

    I like the way you think. :D
  • ValtielValtiel Veteran
    edited January 2010
    Aldrisang wrote: »
    Think I read somewhere that the negative kamma of killing life is greater with larger animals, i.e. killing a cow is worse than killing a turkey. That would also apply to insects, I believe. Are we really going to try comparing the raising and slaughtering of livestock for the sole purpose of consumption to the insects that are incidentally killed by pesticides? We do have to survive somehow, and if it's between animals and fruits/vegetables, the choice is pretty obvious.

    Honestly I really don't buy that the Buddha would say something like that. All beings are equal. What does size matter? Is killing a turkey worse than killing a baby? An elephant worse than killing you? Mindset and intent is crucial. Greed, aversion, and delusion don't see size.

    Incidentally the Dalai Lama made an excellent point that eating larger animals is preferable as less beings have to die to feed the same number of people.
  • edited January 2010
    Something about various things that affect how negative... so hard to remember exactly... the qualities of the life-form? Pff, I dunno. Not interested anymore. It's a no-brainer that eating fruits/veggies is more skillful than the slaughter of animals bred for consumption. Pointless to argue technicalities anymore.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited January 2010
    Honestly I really don't buy that the Buddha would say something like that. All beings are equal. What does size matter? Is killing a turkey worse than killing a baby? An elephant worse than killing you? Mindset and intent is crucial. Greed, aversion, and delusion don't see size.

    I don't recall the Buddha ever saying anything like this in the suttas either. But from what I remember, the way it's explained in the commentaries is that it basically has to do with the degree in effort involved in the act—the larger the animal, the more effort one has to put into the act; and the more effort one puts in, the heavier the kammic consequences.

    This only seems to apply to the killing of animals, however. The Vinaya treats the killing of human beings more seriously than that of animals, i.e., the former is considered a parajika offense (a rule entailing defeat) and the latter a pacittiya offense (a rule entailing confession).
  • ValtielValtiel Veteran
    edited January 2010
    I wasn't claiming to speak on behalf of the Buddha. ;)
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited January 2010
    I wasn't claiming to speak on behalf of the Buddha. ;)

    I wasn't suggesting you were. I was simply trying to be informative.
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited January 2010
    Aldrisang wrote: »
    I tend to disagree. I don't think if you accidentally step on and kill an ant that it's the same thing as if you just accidentally killed a cow. All lifeforms have their purpose, but it is in my opinion wrong view to think of the world in such simplistic terms.

    Is the buddhanature of an insect different than that of a cow?

    Palzang
  • edited January 2010
    Buddha-nature requires rebirth to function as a concept, and the issue of rebirth is up in the air for most.
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited January 2010
    Buddha nature means that you are not missing something that you need to become enlightened. You have what you need. You just have to apply a method. Like a mustard seed has the mustard oil in it. It just needs to be extracted from the seed.

    Another purpose of the buddha nature teachings is not to become arrogant. To think you are the only smart one. That all the people who you think are stupid or idiots or jerks could also become buddhas.
  • edited January 2010
    "Vegetarians believe that we either eat the animals or that these animals stay alive. But that's not how it works. These animals either live for a while and we eat them, or those animals will never be born... I eat meat because I believe these animals deserve to live." - Theo Maassen, Dutch comedian

    It's meant to be funny, but there's also truth to this statement.
    Jason wrote: »
    I agree that it's not the same thing, but my understanding is that if it's accidental (i.e., unintentional), there's no kammic consequence, which is what matters from a Buddhist perspective.
    You can accidentally kill an animal, but that doesn't mean that you couldn't have prevented it. I guess it depends on whether you believe kamma to be internal or external.
    Honestly I really don't buy that the Buddha would say something like that. All beings are equal. What does size matter? Is killing a turkey worse than killing a baby? An elephant worse than killing you? Mindset and intent is crucial. Greed, aversion, and delusion don't see size.
    And how about plants? I thought beings were believed to be equal because they are all part of the evolutionary chain (or cycle of rebirth, if you will). Plants are also considered part of organic beings, and could in theory evolve into a living being (even a humanoid) if you believe the evolution theory to be true.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited January 2010
    Applepie wrote: »
    You can accidentally kill an animal, but that doesn't mean that you couldn't have prevented it. I guess it depends on whether you believe kamma to be internal or external.

    The Buddha was pretty specific that kamma = intention (AN 6.63). How can an intention be something external?
  • edited January 2010
    Jason wrote: »
    The Buddha was pretty specific that kamma = intention (AN 6.63). How can an intention be something external?
    Preventing something is an intention, just like choosing not to prevent something is. I guess internal/external wasn't the right way to say this.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited January 2010
    Applepie wrote: »
    Preventing something is an intention, just like choosing not to prevent something is. I guess internal/external wasn't the right way to say this.

    Yes, but accidents are just that, accidents. You can't choose to accidentally do something; if you make a choice it's not accidental. Kamma itself is limited to that which we do intentionally.
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited January 2010
    Buddhism is not concerned with killing biological life such as plants. It is concerned with causing suffering. As far as we know plants are not sentient, and thus cannot suffer.
  • edited January 2010
    Jeffrey wrote: »
    Buddhism is not concerned with killing biological life such as plants. It is concerned with causing suffering. As far as we know plants are not sentient, and thus cannot suffer.
    Eating plants is hard to compare with eating animals, but with the knowledge we now have (and which the Buddha perhaps did not have), there is also value to the life of plants. When we have to choose, the choice is quite obvious, but I do believe that because plants have the ability to evolve in sentient beings that there is value to their existence. This does add value to not craving for food, whether it concerns animals or plants, in my opinion.
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited January 2010
    Aldrisang wrote: »
    If it's all the same to you, I'd rather use excellent! than sadhu! then. Meaningful to more people that way. We can talk about dukkha and metta and tanha and such all we like, but you have to have a certain amount of experience with those words for them to have the same kind of meaning as terms in your native tongue. ;)

    Or belong as I do to a Sangha that uses Sadhu! frequently.

    But its no biggie. Nios asked what the Buddhist version is. I obliged.
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran
    edited February 2010
    Hank777 wrote: »
    Seems that many people think that at one point or another Buddhist should be vegetarians or that otherwise you are not really living in accordance to the Buddhist philosophy?

    Personally, I don't like the "needless" killing of animals, but do eat meat, and think that's how it was meant to be in nature. Humans being omnivores etc.

    I do like to select "biological" meat, io words products that are not factory-line-food-machines, but allow animals to have more "humanistic" lives before. It's always a bit sad anyhow. Finding biological products is tough at times, and near impossible when you go to resaturants...

    Are you "not" a "real" Buddhist if you think this way?
    Thanks4your take!


    I have "oral allergy syndrome". It is a food allergy where my body thinks fruits and vegetables are bee pollen causing me all sorts of problems. I also have diverticulitis and gout. I can only eat certain things. I've never felt like a lesser Buddhist. Never forget when they harvest fields they use big machines that kill all sorts of small animals while it scoops up all that non meat. :)
  • edited February 2010
    This thread has been a bit of a surprise for me. After decades of being the only vegetarian in the room, I was sure that I'd find some veggie compatriots on a Buddhist forum. :tonguec:
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited February 2010
    In world wide terms vegetarians are in the minority in Buddhism. Among westerners they are a larger proportion of the whole.
  • edited February 2010
    Amongst us rednecks of the southeastern U.S., vegetarians are quite uncommon.
    But I understand the point of your post. :)
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran
    edited February 2010
    Amongst us rednecks of the southeastern U.S., vegetarians are quite uncommon.
    But I understand the point of your post. :)



    Isn't free thinking uncommon there also?:eek:
  • edited February 2010
    Not sure I'm following the question, or if it's just a jest. "Free thinking", as in non-Christian thinking? Honestly, I don't know. We actually have several zen centers in several different cities here in NC, but I have no way to gauge how that compares to other places. Obviously we're not the nexus for Buddhism that places like California, Colorado, or New York seem to be.

    I was born and raised here in the south, so there is hope for us. :P
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran
    edited February 2010
    It was a joke.
  • edited February 2010
    Ha ha, I suppose.
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited February 2010
    Citta wrote: »
    In world wide terms vegetarians are in the minority in Buddhism. Among westerners they are a larger proportion of the whole.

    I wasnt clear. What i was trying to say was that among western BUDDHISTS vegetarians form a larger part of the Buddhist population than they do in terms of World Buddhism .
    Most Thai, Lao,Vietnamese, Sri Lankan, Burmese, Japanese and Tibetan Buddhists are not vegetarian. Although many Chinese Buddhists are.

    Westerners who approach Buddhism through an interest in Eastern thought in general are often suprised that Buddhism does not have overt teachings on diet.In contrast to Hinduism for example. In Buddhism diet has always been a matter of individual choice.
    There is good evidence that the Buddha ate meat.
  • edited February 2010
    Citta wrote: »
    There is good evidence that the Buddha ate meat.

    This has been repeated many times in this thread, and I am at peace with it...though I will be honest and say that intellectually I maintain doubts about it.

    My diet change happened in 1986, at age 19, long before I entertained beginning a Buddhist practice, or even understood much about what the practice entails.
    I've read what's been said here, and respect the overwhelming pro-carnivorous opinions (I've never attempted to "convert" anyone to vegetarianism, that falls neatly into the "none of my business" category), but I have to say that I could never now go back to eating meat. Planned or no, it is now a part of my practice. I know the details about what goes on in the production of meat, and my life would feel far less "blameless", and my meditation more difficult, if I ate it.

    It's my path, and I don't expect others to walk it. I wish you all well. :)
  • edited February 2010
    who cares if Buddha at meat?
    So what, he begged for food. He didnt go to the supermarket and make decisions about his next meal. Whether or not Buddha at meat is pretty irrelevant to our current ethical situation.
  • ZenBadgerZenBadger Derbyshire, UK Veteran
    edited February 2010
    I apologise for coming into this at such a late stage but...

    This is a very oft-visited topic in Druid/Pagan circles as well and after much heated debate the group I frequent came to the conclusion that even the most careful vegan life will cause suffering to something somewhere. Even if it is only the choice of non-leather material used for a belt, something will be harmed by the manufacture of that material, directly or indirectly. The only way to not cause suffering to some other creature is to not exist and so the whole thing becomes a compromise. Different people have different thresholds in relation to that compromise, for me it is eating meat on the odd occasion, for others it is never eating meat. If I reduce my impact by abstaining from meat am I increasing my impact in another way? In the end it seems to be a balancing act rather than an either/or situation.
  • edited February 2010
    I have "oral allergy syndrome". It is a food allergy where my body thinks fruits and vegetables are bee pollen causing me all sorts of problems. I also have diverticulitis and gout. I can only eat certain things. I've never felt like a lesser Buddhist. Never forget when they harvest fields they use big machines that kill all sorts of small animals while it scoops up all that non meat. :)
    Wow, that does sound like a tough thing to deal with. Thanks for sharing though. I have doubted myself a little bit because there's something to be said for vegetarians and Buddhists. Still I want to know the "official word".

    Good point on the machines, although it's practical fact of course (I mean the bigger issue is obviously the ideological one) but still, food for though ;)
    This thread has been a bit of a surprise for me. After decades of being the only vegetarian in the room, I was sure that I'd find some veggie compatriots on a Buddhist forum. :tonguec:
    I am happy for you, I do admire vegetarians. This thread has been a bit of a surprise to me too, I never expected it would evoke so many reactions! Good discussions though, and yes I have changed because of it, I am even more focused on the biological meats. It's not being vegetarian, but it's more humanistic/animalistic, and I feel it's always a worthy cause.
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran
    edited February 2010
    You have to remember one thing about Buddhism. There isn't an "official word".
  • edited February 2010
    Quote:
    <table width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0"> <tbody><tr> <td style="border: 1px inset ;" class="alt2"> Originally Posted by Hank777 viewpost.gif
    VERY appalling video this, but I did see it (with great disgust I must say), It's a horrible sight, period.

    I think it's IMPORTANT to state though that BIOLOGICAL MEAT-PRODUCTS are understated here. This is the worst meat-grinding-scenario if you ask me. I know for fact this is not how they treat animals on BIOLOGICAL farms. It's at least more humanistic, as opposed to this at times, sadistic looking process, some of these methods should simply be PROHIBITED.

    I think if all of us chose to at least eat biological food when "not-vegetarian" (and thus not going for the cheapest meat), things would at least improve.

    I will look into this more though, that's for sure.

    </td> </tr> </tbody></table>

    I agree with you that your way is, at least, a whole lot better than supporting those big, meat industry, factory farms. Unfortunately most of the meat in popular restaurants and big grocery stores is from the bad source. :(
    Absolutely true, restaurants are tricky deal, fast food chains especially I am sure ... but to never eat in a restaurant is not very practical, still I won't do it needlessly.
    You have to remember one thing about Buddhism. There isn't an "official word".
    Well depends on how you view it, I meant as in what does the 8-fold path say. I mean if it had said, you should not eat meat or similar, that would have been the "official word" to me you know. But with so many readings available, many opinions are formed.
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran
    edited February 2010
    The thing about Buddhism is that you have to get rid of all the old rules you are used to.
  • edited February 2010
    You have to remember one thing about Buddhism. There isn't an "official word".

    You're correct. We, the lay practitioners of Buddhism, should be guided by the Kalama-sutta when doubt and confusion arises. One of the reasons for our bewilderment is that we tend to look to others to give us the answers; but if we look into our own hearts, we will find that we indeed know what is wholesome and what is not. The Buddha said "When you know in yourselves that these things are wholesome (kusala) and those unwholesome (akusala), then you should practice this ethic and stick to it, whatever anybody else tells you."

    Remember, in the Kalama-sutta, the Buddha used the question-and-answer technique which, being a conceptual methodology, can be easily applied by even beginners. The Buddha is not here to ask the questions: So... we start by asking the questions ourselves and finding our own answers.

    Go ahead... ask your questions about the topic under discussion: (1) in relation to the first precept (2) in relation to loving-kindness (3) in relation to compassion (4) in relation to "intention" (5) in relation to the real "owner" of the kamma or action, and so forth..... and find your own answers. May we arrive at answers that we know from our heart are wholesome.... :)
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited February 2010
    My heart says that what we eat is not important. That what we eat should be eaten with awareness and a sense of responsibility.
  • ValtielValtiel Veteran
    edited February 2010
    I agree that it's not the same thing, but my understanding is that if it's accidental (i.e., unintentional), there's no kammic consequence, which is what matters from a Buddhist perspective.

    In Pali, the word "kamma" itself means action. Therefore, the kamma of killing would be the action of killing. And as the Buddha makes clear in AN 6.63, "Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, and intellect."

    the same can be argued of eating meat. The intent isn't to kill. It's to eat. Death is an inevitable consequence of me eating, period.
  • ValtielValtiel Veteran
    edited February 2010
    And how about plants? I thought beings were believed to be equal because they are all part of the evolutionary chain (or cycle of rebirth, if you will). Plants are also considered part of organic beings, and could in theory evolve into a living being (even a humanoid) if you believe the evolution theory to be true.

    what is your point? I eat meat. And plants. I don't go around stomping insects or cutting down trees or shooting people. Now I would sooner eat a plant that, as far as I know (...), cannot feel pain, but I'm not going to pretend that sentient death goes along with that as well or try to tell myself that killing little things isn't as bad as killing something larger. Plants are not sentient and killing them or smashing an inanimate object cannot be compared to killing something that is sentient. All things should be respected and valued though. To Buddhist practice it's the arising of greed/aversion/delusion in one's mind that leads to clinging and thus dukkha that us the issue.

    Again I don't see what your point was or what it had to do with what I said.
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited February 2010
    the same can be argued of eating meat. The intent isn't to kill. It's to eat. Death is an inevitable consequence of me eating, period.
    Exactly so, kamma-vipaka is the result of INTENDED action. When your aunty sits down to her sunday lunch she has no intention of killing anything, therefore no vipaka ensues for her.
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited February 2010
    who cares if Buddha at meat?
    So what, he begged for food. He didnt go to the supermarket and make decisions about his next meal. Whether or not Buddha at meat is pretty irrelevant to our current ethical situation.
    The main thrust of my post was the bit about diet in Buddhism ( outside of some Chinese schools ) always having been a matter of personal choice.
    Recently one of the two rival Karmapas has asked his followers to adopt a vegetarian diet. I have it on reliable authority that his request is being widely ignored. I see that as evidence of good sturdy Buddhist independence of mind.
  • edited February 2010
    Citta wrote: »
    The main thrust of my post was the bit about diet in Buddhism ( outside of some Chinese schools ) always having been a matter of personal choice.
    Recently one of the two rival Karmapas has asked his followers to adopt a vegetarian diet. I have it on reliable authority that his request is being widely ignored. I see that as evidence of good sturdy Buddhist independence of mind.

    The Karmapa asked that all Karma Kagyu "centers, monasteries, and nunneries" stop serving meat. He didnt say that all Karma Kagyu practitioners stop eating meat although its clear that he advises them to do so.
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited February 2010
    One of the Karmapas did.
  • edited February 2010
    Citta wrote: »
    One of the Karmapas did.
    no comment.
  • edited February 2010
    ""When you eat meat, you are eating the flesh of all those children who have starved to death, because there wasn't enough food, grain to feed them."
    Thich Nhat Hanh

    As a long time vegan (vegan well before coming Buddhist), my question to those who cling to eating meat is when you have other options is: Why?

    If you are forced to eat meat because there is no other food available, then I support your decision. Many of us in that situation would eat the bark off of trees if it would save our lives.

    If you chose to eat meat because of the way it tastes, because of tradition or because of social pressure, then those are not skillful reasons in my opinion.

    It's quite possible for the entire planet to life happily on a plant-based diet. In fact, doing so would make our planet a healthier place to live and would end the suffering of billions of sentient beings each year. This would be a noble goal.

    For those who simply do not have access to plant-based foods, my thoughts go out to you. You are a victim of corporations and governments that would rather feed farm animals than human beings.
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran
    edited February 2010
    MindfulMe wrote: »
    ""When you eat meat, you are eating the flesh of all those children who have starved to death, because there wasn't enough food, grain to feed them."
    Thich Nhat Hanh

    As a long time vegan (vegan well before coming Buddhist), my question to those who cling to eating meat is when you have other options is: Why?

    If you are forced to eat meat because there is no other food available, then I support your decision. Many of us in that situation would eat the bark off of trees if it would save our lives.

    If you chose to eat meat because of the way it tastes, because of tradition or because of social pressure, then those are not skillful reasons in my opinion.

    It's quite possible for the entire planet to life happily on a plant-based diet. In fact, doing so would make our planet a healthier place to live and would end the suffering of billions of sentient beings each year. This would be a noble goal.

    For those who simply do not have access to plant-based foods, my thoughts go out to you. You are a victim of corporations and governments that would rather feed farm animals than human beings.


    I don't really care about missing out on organic foods. I don't know what I'm missing. I could find some substitutes but they are expensive. I don't have a lot of money. It's cheaper to just eat a hamburger. I still say more animals die through harvesting food and pesticides than eating animals. Of course a lot of animals eat harvested food. The best thing to do is grow your own food and eat free range animals.
  • edited February 2010
    I could find some substitutes but they are expensive. I don't have a lot of money. It's cheaper to just eat a hamburger.

    I sympathize for you. I've been in the same situation, but consider this:

    Is it more expensive to live when you are sick or healthy? Most bankruptcies in the United States are a result of having to pay for "sick care".

    For instance, there are many diabetics who pay a lot for medication and still eat poorly without realizing that cleaning up their diet will get them off the expensive medication in the first place.

    Practically speaking, I'm not sure how much your hamburgers cost where you live (I have no idea how much they are here as I don't eat burgers, veggie or otherwise), but I can purchase a can of Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) for about $0.79 and it provides more nutrition, less fat and didn't require the death of an animal compared to a burger.

    From my own experience, it's actually less expensive to eat on a vegan diet (there are many people who will agree) and the fact that you are improving your health makes it even more beneficial.

    Let me know if I can help you in any way.

    (Sometimes it's helpful to be mindful of the TRUE cost of our food. The environmental, health and sustainability problems that come along with "cheap food" is much more costly than we realize.)
  • edited February 2010
    I've sat across a thousand tables from my meat-eating friends; my meal is the cheapest 90% of the time.
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran
    edited February 2010
    I can't eat organic foods.
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited February 2010
    MindfulMe wrote: »
    ""When you eat meat, you are eating the flesh of all those children who have starved to death, because there wasn't enough food, grain to feed them."
    Thich Nhat Hanh

    As a long time vegan (vegan well before coming Buddhist), my question to those who cling to eating meat is when you have other options is: Why?

    If you are forced to eat meat because there is no other food available, then I support your decision. Many of us in that situation would eat the bark off of trees if it would save our lives.

    If you chose to eat meat because of the way it tastes, because of tradition or because of social pressure, then those are not skillful reasons in my opinion.

    It's quite possible for the entire planet to life happily on a plant-based diet. In fact, doing so would make our planet a healthier place to live and would end the suffering of billions of sentient beings each year. This would be a noble goal.

    For those who simply do not have access to plant-based foods, my thoughts go out to you. You are a victim of corporations and governments that would rather feed farm animals than human beings.

    I dont care what you think about what other people eat.
    As it happens and without any plan to do so, in the last few months I have been present when the Dalai Lama and Ajahn Sumedho ate chicken..on two seperate occasions. What we eat is not important beyond basic need. We will all be dead in a hundred years anyway. The point is mindulness in actions. Not being macrobiotic superiorists.
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