Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Do you have to be a vegetarian to be buddhist?

edited November 2010 in Buddhism Basics
I spoke to my boss who is a hindu. He's fairly knowledgeable with buddhism and he spoke of how Buddha said that we should not kill including animals.

I'm into bodybuilding and I could not imagine myself never eating meat again. What are your takes on this? Do you have to be a vegetarian to be a buddhist?
«13

Comments

  • ZaylZayl Veteran
    edited October 2010
    I do not think it is a requirement, but rather an encouraged way of living. I am a vegetarian by choice, mostly because of health concerns and because I can no longer eat meat without falling physically ill.
  • edited October 2010
    Based on what I've read and researched, it seems the general consensus is that you don't have to be a vegetarian to be Buddhist, so long as you aren't killing the animal yourself or it's been killed specifically for you. However, opinions will differ.

    Having said that, there are numerous websites and books about bodybuilding and athletic performance on a vegetarian/vegan diet. Google "vegetarian bodybuilding" or "vegetarian athlete."

    FYI, I know he's not a bodybuilder per se, but Olympic athlete Carl Lewis is a vegan. I've seen a video of him where he said his best performances came after he switched to a vegan diet. Something to think about.
  • edited October 2010
    A lot of buddhists are, but i'd say it's not required. Personally i'm not a vegitarian, so I hope it's not required. Maybe one day i'll take the leap to vegitarianism.
  • pineblossompineblossom Veteran
    edited October 2010
    pain wrote: »
    I'm into bodybuilding and I could not imagine myself never eating meat again. What are your takes on this? Do you have to be a vegetarian to be a buddhist?

    Could I urge you to 'get into' the Dharma rather than body building. Your body is a raft with the object to get you across the ocean of samsara not to build the prettiest looking raft.

    If you concentrate on Dharma practice you will not need to 'get into' body building therefore you will eat less meat therefore you will kill less sentient beings.
  • ThaoThao Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Could I urge you to 'get into' the Dharma rather than body building. Your body is a raft with the object to get you across the ocean of samsara not to build the prettiest looking raft.

    If you concentrate on Dharma practice you will not need to 'get into' body building therefore you will eat less meat therefore you will kill less sentient beings.

    I don't believe that there is anything wrong with body building; it is not against the dharma. A strong body is a vessel; a healthy body can meditate better. Look at how many monks practice Tai Chi. There are body builders who are vegan. From my own understanding the Dalai Lama eats meat. No matter what you eat you are harming something, whether it is insects or mammals. I think each individual has to decide for themselves.
  • edited October 2010
    pain wrote: »
    Do you have to be a vegetarian to be a buddhist?

    No, you don't have to be a vegetarian to be a Buddhist. It's a matter of personal choice.

    The precept is not to kill other beings.



    .
  • MountainsMountains Veteran
    edited October 2010
    And just to tag onto that last post - it seems like some beginners extrapolate this and confuse killing a sentient being like a chicken and eating a vegetable. If Buddhists couldn't kill *anything* for food, we'd starve to death. Plants are not sentient beings. They are not aware of their own existence like animals are. Killing a plant does not cause any karmic consequence.
  • ChrysalidChrysalid Veteran
    edited October 2010
    I usually eat a vegetarian diet (except I eat animal stock as I consider that a by-product). However, I used to be pescatarian (seafood, but no poultry or mammal) and my logic was that animals up to the level of fish have only very basic behaviour. They do what they do to survive, but other then moving they aren't really any different to a plant.

    My understanding is that they lack the cognitive ability to comprehend their situation and feel fear. Cows etc will get scared if they think they are in danger, their eyes go wide and they foam at the mouth. They understand pain, and get scared. I don't think fish or crustaceans have this level of comprehension.

    I get torn whenever I see fish in the supermarket. I chose vegetarianism out of compassion for sentient beings, but I often wonder if my not eating seafood is more out of sentimentality than compassion.
  • ThaoThao Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Here is a book that can change many a view: "The Pig Who Sang to the Moon--the Emotional World of Farm Animals: by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson.

    Cows in line at the slaughter house actually shiver in fear.
  • edited October 2010
    I don't like the attitude of; if you do this, your not a buddhist etc, as being a buddhist is an illusion anyway, I practise much of buddhism as I can clearly see that it is beneficial. If you were to say that I am not a buddhist then that's fine. I would still practise what I know to be of help and not feel any sadness at not being called something that I know is not a solid findable object. As far as some of the texts I know goes, you can still be called a Buddhist as most tibetans eat meat due to the terrain as far as I have heard. I would not get so overly concerned by a simple title as being called a Buddhist though. Do what you believe is right and is of benefit, use reason to justify choices and your heart will tell you if you are doing right or wrong.

    My own reasons for being a veggy;

    Well Pigs are more intelligent that Dogs as a whole and form attachments with people just the same way that dogs do. The reason I don't eat meat is for the overall proven health benefits and the fact that we don't need to eat meat to live in almost all cases. The amount of land taken up to raise meat is ridiculous and produces so little in comparison to other crops. I feel guilt for what we do to cows with regard to milk. I think that it is completely unnatural to drink milk and I think the first person who thought to go up to a cow and take the milk was brave. Making cows pregnant whilst they are giving milk from their previous delivery and then sending them to the slaughterhouse is so so so wrong.

    If we had to eat meat to survive on the savanna and killed an animal in proportion to our survival needs, then this is different. Those are the reason I am an octo-vegatarian. I eat organic eggs although I might even go full vegan one day. I get my Vitamin D and B12 in Pure butter and fortified cereal and have never felt so good. Those are my reasons and own opinion right now.
  • ChrysalidChrysalid Veteran
    edited October 2010
    ATLANT3AN wrote: »
    I don't like the attitude of; if you do this, your not a buddhist etc, as being a buddhist is an illusion anyway, I practise much of buddhism as I can clearly see that it is beneficial. If you were to say that I am not a buddhist then that's fine. I would still practise what I know to be of help and not feel any sadness at not being called something that I know is not a solid findable object. As far as some of the texts I know goes, you can still be called a Buddhist as most tibetans eat meat due to the terrain as far as I have heard. I would not get so overly concerned by a simple title as being called a Buddhist though. Do what you believe is right and is of benefit, use reason to justify choices and your heart will tell you if you are doing right or wrong.

    My own reasons for being a veggy;

    Well Pigs are more intelligent that Dogs as a whole and form attachments with people just the same way that dogs do. The reason I don't eat meat is for the overall proven health benefits and the fact that we don't need to eat meat to live in almost all cases. The amount of land taken up to raise meat is ridiculous and produces so little in comparison to other crops. I feel guilt for what we do to cows with regard to milk. I think that it is completely unnatural to drink milk and I think the first person who thought to go up to a cow and take the milk was brave. Making cows pregnant whilst they are giving milk from their previous delivery and then sending them to the slaughterhouse is so so so wrong.

    If we had to eat meat to survive on the savanna and killed an animal in proportion to our survival needs, then this is different. Those are the reason I am an octo-vegatarian. I eat organic eggs although I might even go full vegan one day. I get my Vitamin D and B12 in Pure butter and fortified cereal and have never felt so good. Those are my reasons and own opinion right now.
    What's "Pure butter". Some kind of non-dairy butter?
  • edited October 2010
    What's "Pure butter". Some kind of non-dairy butter?
    http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk/tesco-price-comparison/Butter_Margarine_And_Spreads/Pure_Dairy_Free_Soya_Spread_500g.html

    I was so pleased I liked that, It tasted exactly like normal butter to me. Liking Dreams Rice Milk + Calcium was a lucky find also as I do not like Soy milk/Oat milk. I thought, dammit! What about cereal. I have Cheerios and have had for ages. Been octo-veggy for about 4 months, lost 2 stone and feel strong. I have omega 3 fish oil - liqued too. I feel I am getting everything that I need. Could drop dead tomorrow though, who knows :p.
  • ChrysalidChrysalid Veteran
    edited October 2010
    ATLANT3AN wrote: »
    I have omega 3 fish oil - liqued too. I feel I am getting everything that I need.
    Sorry, I'm confused. Do you mean you take fish oil supplements, or that you get omega 3 from non-fish sources?

    Oh, and I know what you mean about the soy milk. It makes me gag.
  • edited October 2010
    Barleans fish oil, It's sweetened with a natural sweetner so it tastes like a Smoothie. I feel a bit guilty for taking that, but Omega 3 oil has many proven benefits and the lack of it is the cause of a good few preventable deaths. It tastes really nice, I just take it on its own out the bottle or after I have eaten a dinner.
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Do you have to be a Buddhist to be a vegetarian?

    Do you have to be a good person to be a Buddhist?
    Do you have to be a Buddhist to be a good person?
  • TheswingisyellowTheswingisyellow Trying to be open to existence Samsara Veteran
    edited October 2010
    I am considering it. It goes to the heart of compassion. I have recently asked myself if I could treat animals the way that are treated when they are industrially farmed and slaughtered. The answer is no. So the question for myself is how I could I contribute to this process if it is something I could not do myself? It would seem to come back to my own desires and the ease at which I am able to eat. So I get to have my sandwich, but something suffered and died so I could have a sandwich. I saw this and it really made me think: http://tsemtulku.com/teachings/contemplations/i-am-scared-and-i-dont-want-to-die/
    I know in the growing and harvesting crops many beings are killed. But that killing is then added to the killing of animals. It's maybe also not just the killing that is the problem, but that they treated as a product. That I find disturbing. If I humanly kept my own animals and then slaughtered them on my own, I would find that more acceptable (If I could slaughter something I raised). I would have more of a relationship with that animal, would have treated it well and knew that it was sustaining my family. We are considering having hens (so we can have eggs) and I am beginning to look at fish (as a start) as a substitute for cattle, pigs and chicken. Do you have to be a vegetarian to be a Buddhist, no I don't think so. But my practice seems to be leading me that way.
    All the best,
    Todd
  • robotrobot Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Chrysalid, as a commercial fisherman who has killed countless fish I can tell you that they suffer and and they are frightened. Their suffering is short compared to the suffering of factory raised livestock. I was involved in the live fish fishery for a while, that while lucrative, involved an unacceptable amount of suffering. Please don't boil crabs and lobsters alive. I feel that killing beings for a living or eating them amounts to the same thing in that the feelings of guilt that a person can have or the obscuring of compassion and empathy for beings that goes along with it can hamper progress. I dont believe it is a moral issue. It is skillful or unskillful depending on your point of view. Who hates or is angry at the chicken that died for them to have dinner? People put their responsibility out of their minds every day when they drive vehicles that burn fuel extracted from the ground at the cost of untold suffering to beings. Will they suffer a lower re-birth for it? I need the fish to support myself and my family. I think that if I was creating negative karma, I would be seeing it in my life and in the lives of my children who's total existence and well being depended on the fish. The effects of fishing mainly come down to lack of progress toward realization (if that makes sense which it probably doesn't). Sport fishing for pleasure requires a deeper level of ignorance and lack of empathy in my biased view. Thats my story and I'm sticking to it. When I retire I will never intentioally kill another being ( I hope), though I doubt that I will ever be a full time vegetarian-P
  • edited October 2010
    My parents are from India though I was raised in the US. I'm always very surprised when I meet American born converts to Buddhism and Hinduism who assume that they have to be vegetarians.

    In Hinduism, this is culturally decided. Some regions of India are vegetarian and some are not. Some forms of Hinduism strive for vegetarianism, and sometimes this involves caste.

    In Buddhism, my mother is from Dharamsala which is a Tibetan Buddhist community in India. Absolutely no one there is vegetarian. They all eat meat, even the Dalai Lama! I've traveled all over Buddhist Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal, Korea) and have never seen an indigenous Buddhist community that was vegetarian. Sometimes the monks are vegetarian, but usually even they eat meat.

    In my experience, the only vegetarian Buddhists out there are American and European Buddhists! :D

    But I am not well-versed in doctrine or the requirements of different schools, so just take my answer for what it is.
  • edited October 2010
    ..... and the Buddha was not a vegetarian as well! ;)
  • edited October 2010
    I want to go vegetarian, or at LEAST pescetarian (sp?) once I get my own place. It's very hard to have a diet like that when you're in a household that shares food. My reason? I guess I feel conflicted when I preach about how people should treat their pets but still eat meat. I feel like it's a personal choice though, and I won't take the extremist 'MEAT IS MURDER' route.
  • edited October 2010
    It is a personal choice, and a cultural choice, and an ethical choice- so many things determines diet that it's no wonder there are so many differing views!

    My personal opinion (being none other than that) is that there is no harm done in eating meat. My grandparents were farmers. It seems natural to me that living things kill one another for food. We see this in many species.

    My vegetarian friends say that this may be true, but it doesn't have to be, at least not for humans living in the US (where I live). They point out, rightfully, that we can survive without killing animals.

    To me, it seems that if you are concerned with living and letting live, then vegetarianism is one way to do that and I don't judge anyone for doing it. But to me, it seems like just a teeny aspect of a larger issue, which is how we live in harmony with nature. There are all sorts of ways that we cause animals to die that have nothing to do with our diet- things like expanding cities, polluting the Gulf, etc. Usually I find that vegetarians are involved in many aspects of environmentalism beyond what they eat.

    I'm not opposed, personally, to the killing of animals. I think we have to acknowledge that many of these animals would not be around if we had not domesticated them for the purpose of their meat. I think there are problems with the various food industries and I disagree wholly with how animals are treated on factory farms and slaughter houses. I try to eat only local meat, and usually that means chicken and turkey where I live.

    But as for the killing of animals, it seems natural to me. My grandparents kept and killed chickens. My uncle was a shepherd (also ran a shop) and had cullings at times. These goats, sheep and chickens wouldn't be around if we hadn't domesticated them. My husband and his father hunt deer. The deer populations here are huge otherwise. It seems like part of a cycle to me. The problem is when it becomes wasteful or when it becomes an industry and affects food prices or land or when the really horrible things that happen in factory farms are allowed to happen.

    That is my take on vegetarianism. I guess that means that I'm a conscientious consumer, but certainly not a vegetarian. I'm also perfectly capable of killing a chicken myself, have done it many times, as well as fish. If I were to become a nun, I'd have to stop doing these things myself, but I've never met a Buddhist anywhere who told me I was breaking rules by killing and consuming an animal. As far as I know, monks and nuns even can eat meat so long as it was not slaughtered for them specifically. And from the bit of reading I've done about the Buddha himself, his major opposition was to sacrificial killing of animals as it is a pointless waste and also does not help believers learn anything. I didn't know he ate meat himself though.
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited October 2010
    One should not kill any living being,
    nor cause it to be killed,
    nor should one incite any other to kill.
    Do never injure any being, whether strong
    or weak, in this entire universe!
    Sutta Nipāta 2.396

    Whoever harms the harmless & innocent beings,
    upon such very fool, pain of evil promptly return
    as dust thrown against the wind.
    Dhammapada 125

    Whoever injures, with weapon or stick, beings
    searching for their happiness - when after death -
    seeking same happiness, such fool never finds it!
    Dhammapada 131

    Whoever never injures, with weapon nor stick, beings
    searching for their happiness - when after death -
    seeking same happiness, such clever & kind one
    always gain it!
    Dhammapada 132

    The one who has left violence,
    who never harm any being,
    whether moving are stationary,
    who never kill nor causes to kill,
    such one, harmless, is a Holy One.
    Dhammapada 405


    The Buddha himself disapproved of the killing of any living - breathing being without exception.
    It seems natural to me that living things kill one another for food.

    It is. However, if you live according to nature, then there are consequences in doing so.
  • edited October 2010
    ... .... .... .... And from the bit of reading I've done about the Buddha himself, his major opposition was to sacrificial killing of animals as it is a pointless waste and also does not help believers learn anything. I didn't know he ate meat himself though.

    There are references in the suttas about monks consuming meat. :)
  • edited October 2010
    First off let me say that I'm not a Buddhist and didn't claim to be. My mother is a Buddhist and I am learning from Buddhism. So like I said, it is only my opinion and experience- not informed by doctrine.

    But I have lived and traveled extensively in Buddhist cultures and in every single one of them, people killed and ate animals. Including the Dalai Lama himself. So this can't be something that Buddhists are in complete agreement about! I've seen plenty of devout Buddhist women snapping the necks of their yard chickens, and the only place I've heard this debated so much is in the US and Europe.

    That makes me conclude the following. First there is a debate about what is acceptable and what is not and this changes across cultures. Quoting doctrine doesn't solve the debate in Buddhism any more than it does in Christianity - you know when people quote about homosexuality being a sin or whatever. Second is that most lay followers in all religions probably don't strictly adhere to the doctrines but that doesn't change their faith. Third, unique to Buddhism, is the last thing you stated- that there are consequences for everything. I think that is true. Certainly there are consequences to killing and eating meat just like there are consequences to getting married and developing family attachments and seeking career success and all the other things that will keep us inside the karmic cycle of rebirth, but unless we are to renounce the world and become monks and nuns, then that is not going to change.

    It is fun to talk about this. I just jumped into the discussion because I feel that many times Americans don't realize how much of the rest of the Buddhist world eats meat without any problem. THis is really a cultural debate, and I think it is because the suffering of animals in slaughterhouses and factory farms here in the US is so horrific. Compare that to shooting and eating a deer that was living a nice life out in the woods. The cows and pigs and chickens on factory farms are literally being tortured every second of their existence. It's the waste and the suffering that I oppose to, not the killing.

    But like I said, it's just my opinion based on experience.
  • pineblossompineblossom Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Mountains wrote: »
    Killing a plant does not cause any karmic consequence.

    Perhaps the karmic footprint of killing off the native vegetation and creating carbon pollution might say something different.
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited October 2010
    First off let me say that I'm not a Buddhist and didn't claim to be. My mother is a Buddhist and I am learning from Buddhism. So like I said, it is only my opinion and experience- not informed by doctrine.

    No problems. :) The doctrine is to never kill any living being. However, there is, for many people, a VERY HUGE difference between eating meat from an animal that is already dead (which was killed by someone else), as opposed to killing an animal to get it's meat.
    But I have lived and traveled extensively in Buddhist cultures and in every single one of them, people killed and ate animals. Including the Dalai Lama himself.
    He may eat meat but he certainly does not kill animals. That would be a direct violation of his vows as a monk. He tries not to kill even mosquitoes. I have read that he tried to become a vegetarian out of compassion for animals, but he had no idea how to eat properly as a vegetarian and became sick. Then his doctors told him that he should start eating meat again, so he did. At least, that is what I have read.
    So this can't be something that Buddhists are in complete agreement about!
    Not by a long shot! However, there is a consensus that it is proper practice to never kill any living being. But obviously, not all Buddhists adhere to that doctrine. Some simply can't because of circumstances, etc. If they did, they might starve to death, which would not be proper practice either.
    That makes me conclude the following. First there is a debate about what is acceptable and what is not and this changes across cultures. Quoting doctrine doesn't solve the debate in Buddhism any more than it does in Christianity -
    Agreed, it does not solve the debate about eating meat, not by a long shot! However, there is no debate about killing itself.

    you know when people quote about homosexuality being a sin or whatever. Second is that most lay followers in all religions probably don't strictly adhere to the doctrines but that doesn't change their faith.
    Very true. :)

    Third, unique to Buddhism, is the last thing you stated- that there are consequences for everything. I think that is true. Certainly there are consequences to killing and eating meat just like there are consequences to getting married and developing family attachments and seeking career success and all the other things that will keep us inside the karmic cycle of rebirth, but unless we are to renounce the world and become monks and nuns, then that is not going to change.
    I personally don't think it is necessary to become a monk in order for it to change. Many lay people have attained enlightenment.


    It is fun to talk about this. I just jumped into the discussion because I feel that many times Americans don't realize how much of the rest of the Buddhist world eats meat without any problem. THis is really a cultural debate, and I think it is because the suffering of animals in slaughterhouses and factory farms here in the US is so horrific. Compare that to shooting and eating a deer that was living a nice life out in the woods. The cows and pigs and chickens on factory farms are literally being tortured every second of their existence. It's the waste and the suffering that I oppose to, not the killing.

    But like I said, it's just my opinion based on experience.
    No problems. :)
  • edited October 2010
    for me this all goes back to the question of at what point on the evolutionary ladder to do living things become sentient or have a soul. i have no objection to the idea of all living things being sentient. however i do object to the idea that only "some" living things are sentient. the general theory of vegies is that plants are not sentient. but they are alive. i dont know what their out look on insects is but i bet its similar to animals. what about the pesticides sprayed over the crops? and if you say you only eat organic then you are deluding yourself. organic gardening still requries the killing of pest insects. its simply done with helpful insects or the use of helpful animals. i know bc i have an organic garden, and i purposefully place toads, spiders, and praying mantis in my garden.

    but still a vegy is still saying that plants arent sentient, so where is the line drawn. are amoebas? ants?

    you can make the argument of least amount of harm, but you are still causing harm.

    you cant really make the argument of healthy when you're diet REQUIRES you to seek supplements because you ARE NOT eating meat.
  • edited October 2010
    I've always thought there was no problem with eating meat because I haven't personally killed for food. Plus, the meat we have is already dead. If it's not eaten, it will go bad and be thrown away, with the animal having died in vain.
  • ThaoThao Veteran
    edited October 2010
    ATLANT3AN wrote: »
    Barleans fish oil, It's sweetened with a natural sweetner so it tastes like a Smoothie. I feel a bit guilty for taking that, but Omega 3 oil has many proven benefits and the lack of it is the cause of a good few preventable deaths. It tastes really nice, I just take it on its own out the bottle or after I have eaten a dinner.

    I take it because my eye doctor thought it could help prevent me from going blind.
  • Invincible_summerInvincible_summer Heavy Metal Dhamma We(s)t coast, Canada Veteran
    edited October 2010
    To all the people who use the justification: "Well, I didn't kill it myself, so eating meat is okay."

    How is it any different that you paid someone else to kill for you?
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited October 2010
    To all the people who use the justification: "Well, I didn't kill it myself, so eating meat is okay."

    How is it any different that you paid someone else to kill for you?

    Well, it depends on how you approach the issue. For example, even though vegetarianism is a more compassionate option that's in line with the Buddha's teachings on ahimsa or harmlessness, one doesn't have to be a vegetarian in order to be a Buddhist. The Buddha himself rejected Devadatta's demand to institute vegetarianism as a requirement.

    Moreover, if you're buying a piece of meat from the grocery store, you're not paying someone to kill the animal for you if it's already dead. More often than not, it was killed well before you even stepped into the store. That doesn't mean purchasing meat is the same as purchasing produce, of course, but it's certainly not equivalent to paying a person to kill the animal for you (such as is the case when you pick a live lobster out of the tank at a seafood restaurant).
  • ChrysalidChrysalid Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Jason wrote: »
    The Buddha himself rejected Devadatta's demand to institute vegetarianism as a requirement.
    Does anyone know why he rejected that idea? The obvious explanation seems to be that monks who beg should be grateful for whatever is freely offered. But isn't there a deeper explanation?
    Jason wrote: »
    Moreover, if you're buying a piece of meat from the grocery store, you're not paying someone to kill the animal for you if it's already dead. More often than not, it was killed well before you even stepped into the store. That doesn't mean purchasing meat is the same as purchasing produce, of course, but it's certainly not equivalent to paying a person to kill the animal for you (such as is the case when you pick a live lobster out of the tank at a seafood restaurant).
    Eh, that's a bit of a superficial way of looking out it, in my opinion. Sure you don't ask the butcher to kill the cow specifically for your rump steak, but by buying rump steak you contribute to the death of future animals by creating a demand that others kill to supply.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited October 2010
    Chrysalid wrote: »
    Does anyone know why he rejected that idea? The obvious explanation seems to be that monks who beg should be grateful for whatever is freely offered. But isn't there a deeper explanation?

    Well, if you're interested, you can read some of my ideas about it here and here.
    Eh, that's a bit of a superficial way of looking out it, in my opinion. Sure you don't ask the butcher to kill the cow specifically for your rump steak, but by buying rump steak you contribute to the death of future animals by creating a demand that others kill to supply.

    Perhaps, but I think it was a pretty superficial question to begin with. In my opinion, there are no perfect solutions, and at the end of the day, it's all about intention.
  • edited October 2010
    Chrysalid wrote: »
    Eh, that's a bit of a superficial way of looking out it, in my opinion. Sure you don't ask the butcher to kill the cow specifically for your rump steak, but by buying rump steak you contribute to the death of future animals by creating a demand that others kill to supply.

    It's not as it would make any difference or not as far as their killing of animals whether you buy it or not.
  • pineblossompineblossom Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Jason wrote: »
    Perhaps, but I think it was a pretty superficial question to begin with. In my opinion, there are no perfect solutions, and at the end of the day, it's all about intention.

    I would tend to agree. As Buddhist we are advise to AVOID killing.
  • edited October 2010
    In LA in 1989 HHDL described the issue in relative terms. It may say above that he was required by his doctors to eat meat for a period of time, and he stated this at that time. He went on to state that at least if a cow were killed for meat to eat, it would feed more people than a pig. He then betrayed his obvious disgust for popcorn shrimp by calling them "insects", and went on to state that this was obviously taking many lives just for one person's meal.

    Then again, and this may be written above, I have at least read that monks are not allowed to refuse to eat meat if they are given meat during their morning rounds. I just read that somewhere but it makes sense.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited October 2010
    I would tend to agree. As Buddhist we are advise to AVOID killing.

    Exactly, and buying prepackaged meat at the grocery store ≠ the act of killing no matter how many people try to spin it that way. I say this because the act of killing requires the intention to kill just as much as it does the actual taking of life. In my opinion, buying prepackaged meat is as much 'killing' as using the internet is.

    I doubt that most people are aware of how many birds are killed each year by microwave towers, but one could reason that every person who surfs the web or sends out an e-mail contributes to those deaths. In both cases, animals die; however, they're not actively killed by the person buying the meat/surfing the web, nor is there generally any intention to take a life when engaging in such activities.

    But as I said before, that doesn't mean I think purchasing meat is the same as purchasing produce, and I strongly agree that vegetarianism is a more compassionate option that's in line with the Buddha's teachings on harmlessness. I simply disagree that buying a hot dog = killing.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited October 2010
    Then again, and this may be written above, I have at least read that monks are not allowed to refuse to eat meat if they are given meat during their morning rounds. I just read that somewhere but it makes sense.

    They are if the meat is seen, heard or suspected to have been killed specifically for them, or if it's one of the few types of forbidden meats (e.g., human, elephant, etc.)
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Here we go beating this dead horse again. There have been umpteen threads on this subject already. Suggest everybody go and read them. Also, have you ever considered how many sentient beings are killed when, say, a field of rice or corn is harvested?

    Palzang
  • edited October 2010
    Sheesh, Palzang. Lighten up.:D
  • edited October 2010
    Palzang wrote: »
    Here we go beating this dead horse again. There have been umpteen threads on this subject already. Suggest everybody go and read them. Also, have you ever considered how many sentient beings are killed when, say, a field of rice or corn is harvested?

    Palzang

    I don't think it's a big deal to discuss things that have been discussed before, but I do agree on your point about how sentient beings are killed even in the process by which vegetarians get their food.
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited October 2010
    TheJourney wrote: »
    I don't think it's a big deal to discuss things that have been discussed before, but I do agree on your point about how sentient beings are killed even in the process by which vegetarians get their food.

    For many people it is really not that beings are killed or that harm is caused, because any sane, intelligent person knows that killing no beings and causing no harm, is simply unavoidable and unrealistic while living in this world as a human being. The issue is rather, how many beings are killed and how much harm is caused. With that in mind, it is obvious that some foods are much more harmful than others, to oneself and to others, especially in the US because of the way some foods are produced and processed. It is very sad to see someone's father or husband, all of a sudden, drop dead of a heart attack at the age of 48, knowing full well that that sort of thing can easily be prevented.
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Yes indeed. To me that is the only real valid argument for eating a vegetarian or vegan diet, the health benefits. If you switch to a vegetarian diet to feel holier than those who eat meat, all you're really doing is increasing your ego-clinging.

    Palzang
  • edited October 2010
    Yes indeed. To me that is the only real valid argument for eating a vegetarian or vegan diet, the health benefits. If you switch to a vegetarian diet to feel holier than those who eat meat, all you're really doing is increasing your ego-clinging.
    That is very true, you get attached to being called a Vegan as if the word meant something more than it possible could since its only a word, just like people cling to the word Buddhist. It is very easy to start thinking you are better than others who eat meat, this was the case with myself to begin with. I don't do it so I can say in front of others, by the way I am a Vegan :D, aren't I great? I don't take too much notice of labels any more as it detracts from the actual reason you are doing something.

    I simply do it because I don't think we NEED to kill all those cows/pigs to survive and I feel we are causing so much harm when we need not be doing so. The health benefits of being a veggie, if you do it right, are well substantiated. I simply take annoyance at the factory farming and the pure amount of killing that is unnecessary and is not doing the planet any good. The killing of an animal in the wild to keep alive is however not the same. It is clearly obvious that killing other supposedly sentient beings is natural amongst so many species on the planet, People seem to forget that point too. You saw what happens when a lion is taught to eat tofu in 'The Simpsons or Futurama' ^^.

    2yns55h-500x375.png

    Chris
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Just the methane produced by the cows is killing us. And you're right, the meat industry is just plain cruelty.

    Palzang
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Palzang wrote: »
    Yes indeed. To me that is the only real valid argument for eating a vegetarian or vegan diet, the health benefits. If you switch to a vegetarian diet to feel holier than those who eat meat, all you're really doing is increasing your ego-clinging.

    Palzang

    I would say that the ego clinging superiority complex is most often an unfortunate byproduct of the lifestyle and not necessarily the intent of living that lifestyle to begin with, most of the time. I have met and been friends with many very radical animal rights/vegetarian activists. Many of them, especially the younger people, do have a superiority complex. There is an old saying "How do you know someone is a vegan? Don't worry, they will tell you". :lol: Certainly true with some people. :)

    But even with that, their lifestyle choice is ultimately born of compassion for those beings that are suffering. Many of their actions are very misguided because they see "meat eaters" as the "enemy". They think "meat-eaters are the cause of all this suffering." and because they feel that something needs to be done about it, but they really don't know what to do, they end up "attacking the enemy" not realizing that this is simply counterproductive and does nothing to further the cause. All it does is bolster their own ego and make themselves feel better about themselves. However, all of this arises from the deep sadness they feel in seeing these innocent creatures having to endure such tremendous suffering.
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Maybe. We all want to be happy. The problem is we don't know how to accomplish it. People look at animals and think they could never eat them, but they'll feel good about eating vegetarian food without even considering for a millisecond that sentient beings have died to produce that food as well. The excuse is that there's no comparison between a cow and a sow bug, but that is not in accord with what the Buddha taught. So pure sentiment is about as useless as any other emotion. It's just not dealing with reality.

    Palzang
  • ChrysalidChrysalid Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Jason wrote: »
    Exactly, and buying prepackaged meat at the grocery store ≠ the act of killing no matter how many people try to spin it that way. I say this because the act of killing requires the intention to kill just as much as it does the actual taking of life. In my opinion, buying prepackaged meat is as much 'killing' as using the internet is.

    I doubt that most people are aware of how many birds are killed each year by microwave towers, but one could reason that every person who surfs the web or sends out an e-mail contributes to those deaths. In both cases, animals die; however, they're not actively killed by the person buying the meat/surfing the web, nor is there generally any intention to take a life when engaging in such activities.

    But as I said before, that doesn't mean I think purchasing meat is the same as purchasing produce, and I strongly agree that vegetarianism is a more compassionate option that's in line with the Buddha's teachings on harmlessness. I simply disagree that buying a hot dog = killing.
    You've said yourself that it boils down to intention.

    Noone uses the internet to kill birds, and statistically 99.99999% of the time you send an e-mail a bird won't die because of the radiation generated.

    But you can't walk into a butchers and buy spare ribs from a pig that's still alive.

    That's the difference. Animals = meat. Meat = animals. It doesn't matter if someone else has shot it in the head, skinned, gutted and chopped it up before wrapping it in plastic for you. When you pay for meat you trade your money for the death of an animal, and by giving money to people who kill animals as their livelihood, you encourage them to continue.

    I'm not judging people for eating meat, but equally I don't think it's right to pretend that meat ≠ animals dying. Just because you didn't see it happen, doesn't negate simple cause and effect.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited October 2010
    Chrysalid wrote: »
    You've said yourself that it boils down to intention.

    Noone uses the internet to kill birds, and statistically 99.99999% of the time you send an e-mail a bird won't die because of the radiation generated.

    But you can't walk into a butchers and buy spare ribs from a pig that's still alive.

    That's the difference. Animals = meat. Meat = animals. It doesn't matter if someone else has shot it in the head, skinned, gutted and chopped it up before wrapping it in plastic for you. When you pay for meat you trade your money for the death of an animal, and by giving money to people who kill animals as their livelihood, you encourage them to continue.

    I'm not judging people for eating meat, but equally I don't think it's right to pretend that meat ≠ animals dying. Just because you didn't see it happen, doesn't negate simple cause and effect.

    Nobody's pretending meat ≠ animals dying, especially not me. (Did you happen to read either of the blog posts I linked to above?).

    What I'm saying is that meat ≠ killing on the part of the purchaser as there's no intention to, or the actually taking of, a life on the part of the puchaser. I agree that not contributing the the meat industry is best, but in my opinion, buying meat doesn't violate the first precept, nor is it necessarily equivalent to killing going by what the suttas themselves say.
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Palzang wrote: »
    Maybe. We all want to be happy. The problem is we don't know how to accomplish it. People look at animals and think they could never eat them, but they'll feel good about eating vegetarian food without even considering for a millisecond that sentient beings have died to produce that food as well. The excuse is that there's no comparison between a cow and a sow bug, but that is not in accord with what the Buddha taught. So pure sentiment is about as useless as any other emotion. It's just not dealing with reality.

    Palzang

    I don't know, perhaps that is true with some people, but certainly not all people. I know plenty of people who see no difference at all between a cow, human or sow bug and they eat corn anyway, which kill many bugs, because to only other option is to not eat anything and starve to death. Starving yourself to death because you don't want to contribute to killing any bugs, is just plain stupid. However, wanting your food choices to contribute as little harm as possible, is compassion.
This discussion has been closed.