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Can a Buddhist eat beef?

2

Comments

  • IronRabbitIronRabbit Veteran Veteran
    First precept may be interpreted as an encouragement not to destroy sentient creatures - if they are employed as sustenance - nutrition - to preserve life are they not being used in some noble way - hence not destroyed - not being killed simply to be killed - do not all creatures in nature do the same - even bacteria?image
  • StaticToyboxStaticToybox Veteran Veteran
    we are human being not Buddha. Why he can eat them, but we shoulnt.benefits of vegetarians
    Ugh, sorry, but I've never really been able to abide by this kind of "deification" of the Buddha. Nor of the idea that eating meat is, for some reason, ok for the Buddha or other enlightened beings, but not for anyone else. It smacks of the lawmakers not abiding by the law (not that the Buddha ever made such a rule anyway).
  • fivebellsfivebells Veteran Veteran
    I ate beef the day before yesterday. It was good. Many people have told me I am not a Buddhist, but I do about two hours of Buddhist meditation a day. It works regardless of what you call me.
  • CloudCloud Veteran Veteran
    edited March 2011
    Eating meat as a lay Buddhist is like telling jokes that aren't funny. Think about that for a while. ;) Not judging anyone, just saying what it's like. Probably feel bad later on, IMHO.
  • fivebellsfivebells Veteran Veteran
    My jokes are too funny, you smug bastard. :)
  • CloudCloud Veteran Veteran
    I didn't mean you. Bleh. I mean it's like telling jokes without having a sense of humor developed yet... eating animals before developing a sense of compassion for them (all sentient life as same conditioned mind and form as you are).
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran
    A sense of humor is to avoid suffering, cloud. We learn that from our parents. And siblings the hard way.
  • CloudCloud Veteran Veteran
    Eh? I was using it as a comparison or analogy or something. I'm all for humor!
  • fivebellsfivebells Veteran Veteran
    I was joking, but it seems the joke's on me, because apparently it wasn't funny (to you guys.)
  • CloudCloud Veteran Veteran
    Lol, now that is funny. :D
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran
    Fivebells maybe its because I am having a g.i. problem which is not putting me in a funny mood tonight err this morning.
  • Footiam, this is your second thread on the subject of Buddhism and vegetarianism/meat-eating. Did we not answer your question adequately the first time? Beef, actually, is Tibetans' favorite meat. They're not worried about it. Everyone should eat what they need to stay healthy; if that means eating meat, then so be it.
  • 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
    I'm going to ask Lincoln to create a vegetarian/vegan forum, an enlightenment Forum and a re-birth forum.
    Then people can post on these topics, to their hearts' content, and everybody has been warned. to go there - or not - at their peril.
  • MountainsMountains Veteran Veteran
    edited March 2011
    Of course a Buddhist *can* eat beef. Unless there's some physical deformity or allergy to it, any human being is capable of putting beef into his/her mouth, chewing it up, swallowing it, and digesting it.

    Now, whether he/she chooses to do so based on adherence to some code or other is another matter.

    :)

    PS: Just thought I'd try to lighten things up a little... Everybody (not just here) seems testy today. I think the earthquake and aftermath have everyone a little edgy.
  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran
    Bah this is stupid.

    If anybody can show me a place in the suttas that says that I can not reach nibbana because I buy and eat meat I will eat my shorts, uncooked after wearing them for a month.

    By which time I will probably have to break the first precept in order to do so...

    :wtf:
  • ZaylZayl Veteran Veteran
    I'm eating beef as I write this, so... Yes. The meat is already dead and there to eat, so why shouldn't I be allowed to eat it? Though I do admit when money gets low I resort to killing my own food, but that is a rare occurance.
  • VincenziVincenzi Veteran Veteran
    Dear taiyaki,
    Is there a specific definition for a Buddhist?
    someone who has taken refugee in the three jewels.
  • DaozenDaozen Veteran Veteran
    @Zayl: The meat is only dead and 'there' because you are supporting the industry by buying meat. Beleive me, they're not killing animals for fun, it's purely for profit!

    49 reasons to be vegetarian:

    http://www.britishmeat.com/49.htm
  • DaozenDaozen Veteran Veteran
    @Victorious: You mention the 1st precept. But the entire meat industry is about breaking the 1st precept, en masse, for profit. Makes you think, doesn't it?
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    @Victorious: You mention the 1st precept. But the entire meat industry is about breaking the 1st precept, en masse, for profit. Makes you think, doesn't it?
    One could argue that you are also enabling others to engage in "wrong livelihood" and giving them money for doing it, thereby supporting them in their endeavors of wrong livelihood.

    "A lay follower should not engage in five types of business. Which five? Business in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poison."
    — AN 5.177


  • DaozenDaozen Veteran Veteran
    @seeker242. Indeed! Really, the reasons for being a vegetarian are overwhelming if you care about a) your health, b) your planet, and c) your fellow sentient beings. I admit i just don't understand why any Buddhist, knowing what we do about the meat industry and the treatment of animals, could continue to support it.
  • KartariKartari Explorer Explorer
    edited March 2011
    Imo, I do agree that vegetarianism makes more sense, especially for a Buddhist. I see it as a goal to strive for, and I see it as implicit in the First Precept (which applies to both lay and ordained Buddhists).

    It is well worth mentioning also, though, that imo it is wiser to refrain from judging those who do eat meat. This is imo kinda like an alcoholic condemning a smoker for ruining their own health, since being critical of others can be a poison in its own right. This is coming from someone who has been a strict vegan for 12 years, and an aspiring vegetarian for three years before that. It is a process one must come to on their own, not something to be guilted or prodded into.

    ___________________________________

    With regards to an official Buddhist position on this issue, the Mahayana sutras and Pali suttas, it seems to me (correct me if I'm wrong... my knowledge is limited in this matter), differ.

    The Pali cannon does not forbid meat eating in general, and in one place to my knowledge, expressly defends meat eating insofar as not being as bad as killing or other wrong acts. At most, the Pali suttas do instruct that monks and nuns should refrain from eating meat except when it is not specially prepared for them, as I posted earlier in this thread.

    At least a few Mahayanist sutras, however, expressly condemn meat eating entirely.

    Again, I am not well enough versed in this to know for certain. Wikipedia seems to confirm this opinion, at least. I hope someone with more knowledge than I can enlighten us.
  • DaozenDaozen Veteran Veteran
    Hi Kartari, great points, especially about not 'guilting' people into it. I became vegetarian by seeing the good example of others, and i agree that this is the best way.

    I apologise to anyone who has found my ant-meat rants a little over the top :) I've tried to exercise restraint but at times i think i failed.

    Namaste
  • I wouldn't call it a rant, Daozen. You're absolutely right; from an environmental and economic perspective, etc., vegetarianism makes a lot more sense. But some people need to eat meat for health reasons. Some people do simply because it's their culture (they're herders, for example, like the Mongols). I think we can manage some tolerance for diversity in the global Buddhist community. :)
  • VincenziVincenzi Veteran Veteran
    the Dharma isn't against survival. If you feel healthier eating some types of food do it, if not stop it.
    what about fishing? don't fish live however they want until fished?

    maybe we should focus on being free from oil, stop polluting so much, recycling, and so on... instead of promoting a vegetarian diet for all.
  • DaozenDaozen Veteran Veteran
    edited March 2011
    maybe we should focus on being free from oil, stop polluting so much, recycling, and so on... instead of promoting a vegetarian diet for all.
    Actually, they are all related issues. Meat production takes much more energy, and causes much more pollution, than vegetable growing.

    OK i'm done now. Promise.
  • TheswingisyellowTheswingisyellow Trying to be open to existence Samsara Veteran
    "Not everyone believes that we evolve from monkeys. Only Charles Darwin and his kind do"
    We didn't actually evolve from monkeys though we do share a whopping 98% of their DNA.
  • TheswingisyellowTheswingisyellow Trying to be open to existence Samsara Veteran
    "One could argue that you are also enabling others to engage in "wrong livelihood" and giving them money for doing it, thereby supporting them in their endeavors of wrong livelihood.

    "A lay follower should not engage in five types of business. Which five? Business in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poison."
    — AN 5.177

    Very good point.
    :thumbsup:
  • I continue to attempt to eat beef; however it miraculously disappears at the end of my fork before it reaches the mouth. It must be because Buddhists can't eat beef! :D

    Humor aside, I feel most of the other posts sum it up well. Be conscious of the industries / suffering you can be creating. Money is a very very powerful tool and it influences the outcome of many areas of life. By buying/consuming meat, be aware of what it's supporting.
  • 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
    The bottom line is that we cannot be responsible for what others do.

    That goes right from the top of the Diet Industry, right down to each other here and our own preferences.

    All we can do is weigh the decision in our own minds and go from there.
  • DaozenDaozen Veteran Veteran
    When we spend dollars, we are encouraging behaviour.

    We are saying "yes, this is good, please continue making this product at this price".
  • DakiniDakini Veteran Veteran
    Dear taiyaki,
    Is there a specific definition for a Buddhist?
    someone who has taken refugee in the three jewels.
    I don't agree that to be a Buddhist, one has to have taken refuge in the three jewels. Many practitioners don't live anywhere near a sangha, but their practice is devoted and sincere. I wouldn't want to rule them out.
    maybe we should focus on being free from oil, stop polluting so much, recycling, and so on... instead of promoting a vegetarian diet for all.
    Hear hear! But Daozen also has a point: agribusiness causes pollution and consumes natural resources, and dedicating pastureland to plant food can feed much more people than raising livestock on the same land. But still--reducing our dependence on fossil fuels is an urgent need. but that's a subject for another thread.
  • 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
    @Dakini, you don't have to go to a temple to Take Refuge in the Three jewels....
  • DakiniDakini Veteran Veteran
    @Dakini, you don't have to go to a temple to Take Refuge in the Three jewels....
    Well, if you're taking refuge in "the sangha" along with the Buddha and the Dharma, how would that work, then, if there's no sangha? (I'm open to suggestions.)
  • 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
    The Sangha is the community in which you involve yourself, and to which you belong.
    At the time, it was for me, a purely virtual sangha, but it provided much teaching, encouragement and support.
    That was a suitable, appropriate and accurate thing for me to do. and I am certain was just as valid as actually sitting/kneeling in a temple and doing it.

    AFAIK, there is nothing written anywhere that states refuge can only be taken in or at a temple.

    Incidentally, I have also Taken Refuge in a temple. The Monks there told me that either way is completely acceptable and appropriate.
  • DakiniDakini Veteran Veteran
    edited March 2011
    So you just said your vows to yourself? Thx for sharing. This will probably be helpful to a number of members. In fact, I might start a separate thread on it. If I do, I hope you'll join. :)
  • edited March 2011
    There are no Buddhist temples where I live. As a matter of fact, I have never met even a lay buddhist (off-line) let alone a bhikkhu. So, for me, taking refuge in the Sangha means taking refuge in the monastic order who have fulfilled an indespensable role in the preservation and perpetuation of the Buddha-dhamma. Maybe, we can look at the monastic order as the "custodian" of the Dhamma. Without the monastic order, the Buddha-dhamma might have been long forgotten. Anyway, this is how I fit the Sangha into my practice. Wrong?-right?, I dunno!
  • DakiniDakini Veteran Veteran
    edited March 2011
    . So, for me, taking refuge in the Sangha means taking refuge in the monastic order who have fulfilled an indespensable role in the preservation and perpetuation of the Buddha-dhamma.
    Thank you, Sukhita. Hold that thought--I'd like to know more, but I'm going to start a new thread on this topic right now. See you there?

  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran
    edited March 2011
    @Zayl: The meat is only dead and 'there' because you are supporting the industry by buying meat.

    Thats total hippocracy.

    So I guess by using that same logic you do not eat carrots either?.

    Because by buying carrots you encourage the farmers to kill millions of living beings when they farm the land. From field mice and worms down to bacteria. Not to mention millions of habitats destroyed and living creatures driven out of their homes, starved to death or plain killed in making the carrot field.

    No way I am going to buy that. There is meat in the store because people are making an unskillfull living in the meat industry. Not because I buy dead meat.


    @Victorious: You mention the 1st precept. But the entire meat industry is about breaking the 1st precept, en masse, for profit. Makes you think, doesn't it?
    Yes and when they stop I will buy some other food. But what says I can not reach nibbana because I by meat? point me to the sutta please?
    @Victorious: You mention the 1st precept. But the entire meat industry is about breaking the 1st precept, en masse, for profit. Makes you think, doesn't it?
    One could argue that you are also enabling others to engage in "wrong livelihood" and giving them money for doing it, thereby supporting them in their endeavors of wrong livelihood.

    "A lay follower should not engage in five types of business. Which five? Business in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poison."
    — AN 5.177

    But again where does it say that I can not reach nibbana because I buy and eat meat?

    As I said before this is Stupid.

    @seeker242. Indeed! Really, the reasons for being a vegetarian are overwhelming if you care about a) your health, b) your planet, and c) your fellow sentient beings. I admit i just don't understand why any Buddhist, knowing what we do about the meat industry and the treatment of animals, could continue to support it.

    I do not care about the planet I want to reach Nibbana. Samsara continues on and on without my help. It has no beginning and no end. What do you think the Buddhas Dhamma is all about?

    And if you are so concerned about how the meat industry treats animals you should bring it up with them and not buddhist intent on leaving the mess behind. Dont you think?

    Regards
    Victor

  • CloudCloud Veteran Veteran
    @Dakini, Yeah taking refuge is just your internal commitment, your faith in the Buddha as the teacher of men (and gods... and you), his Dharma or teachings, and the Sangha of monks who keep it alive (and monk and lay followers that realize the Dharma on any level). You could call it "faith" in the Triple Gem if you like, but I prefer "confidence". :)
  • DakiniDakini Veteran Veteran
    @Dakini, Yeah taking refuge is just your internal commitment, your faith in the Buddha as the teacher of men (and gods... and you), his Dharma or teachings, and the Sangha of monks who keep it alive (and monk and lay followers that realize the Dharma on any level). You could call it "faith" in the Triple Gem if you like, but I prefer "confidence". :)

    Oh, thanks Cloud. So the vow doesn't mean literally that you rely on sangha members for support and guidance. It's more a vow of committment to the path.
    (I wish you'd posted this on my new Taking Refuge thread. oh well. Thx anyway. :) )
  • CloudCloud Veteran Veteran
    edited March 2011
    I just did. Of course it's a good idea to rely on a real Sangha and its members (who know what they're talking about) if you can, and if you feel you need to, as they are the reason Buddhism is still alive; but yeah basically taking refuge doesn't mean you literally have to go find a Sangha. It's your commitment to the path as a whole. I've never even been to a Buddhist temple yet in my life, but that hasn't stopped me from practicing. Well actually I don't call myself a Buddhist even, but I do follow the path and the precepts and everything; it's a path to liberation to me, as well as a way of eventually being able to help others awaken, not a religion. ;)
  • DakiniDakini Veteran Veteran
    Well actually I don't call myself a Buddhist even, but I do follow the path and the precepts and everything; it's a path to liberation to me, as well as a way of eventually being able to help others awaken, not a religion. ;)
    Yeah. Well, the question that kicked off this "taking refuge" discussion was Vincenzi's statement that a Buddhist is someone who's taken refuge. I think a Buddhist is someone who practices the precepts, etc., like you. (I know there was a thread on this, months ago.) But thanks a lot for your input. :)
    Is taking refuge a requirement for being a Buddhist, or is it about one's internal commitment?
  • 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
    I hate to put a damper on this, but we've really veered off-topic. @Dakini, as you've now posted a thread specifically to discuss this - could you re-post that question there?
  • DakiniDakini Veteran Veteran
    Actually, I was thinking of making that question it's own thread. But OK--it's now on the Taking Refuge thread. Sorry for going off-topic.
  • VincenziVincenzi Veteran Veteran
    Dear taiyaki,
    Is there a specific definition for a Buddhist?
    someone who has taken refugee in the three jewels.
    I don't agree that to be a Buddhist, one has to have taken refuge in the three jewels. Many practitioners don't live anywhere near a sangha, but their practice is devoted and sincere. I wouldn't want to rule them out.(...)
    I took refugee with no witness...
  • DakiniDakini Veteran Veteran
    I took refugee with no witness...
    Right, I only just now found out that one could do that.

  • KartariKartari Explorer Explorer
    Hi Daozen,
    Hi Kartari, great points, especially about not 'guilting' people into it. I became vegetarian by seeing the good example of others, and i agree that this is the best way.

    I apologise to anyone who has found my ant-meat rants a little over the top :) I've tried to exercise restraint but at times i think i failed.

    Namaste
    Sure. Just to mention, I didn't have you or anyone else in mind specifically. I know I myself tended to be very judgmental in the past, to be honest, so I thought I'd share.

    I came to find a lot more understanding for meat eaters once I really recognized and admitted that some people really do need to eat meat for health reasons (e.g. whether due to disease, general health, multiple food allergies, or simply their heredity). I still regard vegetarianism as an ideal to be approached, though, to whatever degree one is able and willing to, and I am glad my body can handle it completely without consequence.
  • KartariKartari Explorer Explorer
    Hey Victorious,
    @Zayl: The meat is only dead and 'there' because you are supporting the industry by buying meat.

    Thats total hippocracy.

    So I guess by using that same logic you do not eat carrots either?.

    Because by buying carrots you encourage the farmers to kill millions of living beings when they farm the land. From field mice and worms down to bacteria. Not to mention millions of habitats destroyed and living creatures driven out of their homes, starved to death or plain killed in making the carrot field.
    There is truth in what you're saying here. I don't think the two can be compared as equals, however.

    First, there is a distinction between ecologically friendly (e.g. organic) farming and conventional farming. The former is more considerate of animal populations while the latter is not. For example, an organic farmer might dedicate a small patch of land to planting certain flowers that attract insects away from the crops, whereas a conventional farm typically resorts to spraying harmful insecticides to kill all insects.

    Second, there is imo a difference between killing an animal and eating its meat and developing land that animals were using to hunt, gather, or live on. In the latter case, the animals still have a chance at survival (e.g. by moving elsewhere), and the intent is not to harm the animals but to plant crops.

    You are right though in that even farming certainly causes suffering and death for animals, though in both intent and in the degree of that suffering there is a significant distinction.
    No way I am going to buy that. There is meat in the store because people are making an unskillfull living in the meat industry. Not because I buy dead meat.
    Of course, if you decided today to stop eating meat, the meat industry would not be phased. But it would cause a very minor decrease in the number of animal deaths per year since that's one less person creating a demand for meat.
  • VincenziVincenzi Veteran Veteran
    (...)

    I came to find a lot more understanding for meat eaters once I really recognized and admitted that some people really do need to eat meat for health reasons (e.g. whether due to disease, general health, multiple food allergies, or simply their heredity). I still regard vegetarianism as an ideal to be approached, though, to whatever degree one is able and willing to, and I am glad my body can handle it completely without consequence.
    as an example: lactose intolerance will make it really difficult to get enough proteins.
This discussion has been closed.