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Non-Vegetarian Buddhists - Lesser Buddhists?

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  • edited February 2010
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  • CittaCitta Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    As it happens I eat a vegetarian diet, notice that I dont say that I am a Vegetarian, it is not my identity, with a capital V, its just what I eat and shit out again.
    However if when I first became interested in Buddhism there had been all this moral blackmail about lunch, I would have been turned off both a vegetarian diet and Buddhism. Fortunately back then it wasnt considered an issue. I went to Tibetan and Thai monasteries and saw monks eating meat, and some lay people choosing to eat a veggie or vegan diet and no one thought to lecture anyone else about the issue.
    I think what has happened is that now people who have already opted for a vegan or vegetarian diet are exploring Buddhism and deciding that it must be just the thing for them, only to find that the majority of Buddhists are not only not vegetarian, but consider any attempt to equate the Buddha Dharma with what one eats to be missing a huge point. At which point they the vegetarians and vegans decide that the Buddhist heathens must be converted to the true veg faith. And it doesnt go down too well.
  • Quiet_witnessQuiet_witness Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    Dear Quiet Witness,

    ...that humanity is going to go extinct if it doesn't go vegan is not quite as obvious as the fact that if I don't put on some clothes when it's -20 I'm going to freeze to death ;)

    I think I'll stand by my view that being vegan is inherently unnatural for most of us, humans. But if it makes one feel better and be better, that is great!

    Thanks for misquoting me. I am not advocating a vegan diet and I did not ever say a vegan diet is the cure to humanity. What I did say is that our species is at risk of extinction as we are killing off the diversity on this planet in large part due to our food production. Now I am going to say this again so you don't misquote me again, If we adopt a more vegan-like diet, we can make more food out of less land giving more land back to other lifeforms.

    As I said earlier, I do eat a little fish here and there, I eat cheese and milk some times. My food consumption and advice for others on it are not directly associated with my practice in Buddism, they are recommendations I am making based on what I am seeing.
  • edited February 2010
    The tone of this thread is taking an unfortunate turn, with phrases like "moral blackmail", and unsubstantiated accusations of proselytizing. I know that I've been careful not to accuse anyone of anything, nor to imply that anyone here is "less of a Buddhist", in fact I can show you posts where I said just the opposite.

    Given that feelings are getting hurt, and I have a desire not to cause suffering, I believe that I will recuse myself from any further discussion of it. I'm really not interested in an argument.

    Good day to all!
  • Quiet_witnessQuiet_witness Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    Actually I can know all the facts and it we will still not die out. There are plenty of other animals people would start eating. Rats, snakes, mice, dogs, cats, and all sorts of others. We are in NO danger of running out of animals.

    Are you serious dude? I can't tell if you are keeping your dog Fido as food backup or just being sarcastic.
  • edited February 2010
    Eating vegetarian isn’t as easy as just eating vegetables. It would be a very good idea to look into what these foods provide, and what they do not provide in order to find a good balance.

    One big problem is getting enough B12, which is quite necessary to your health as it catalyzes many of the operation within the body. This was no problem when you were eating some red meat.

    Another problem that may crop up is getting enough complete proteins, which calls for combinations of certain foods. Vegetarian eating is a chemical jungle (kidding!). But, it does call for some small amount of knowledge.

    Also consider this, vegetables aren’t a cure/all for all that ails our food problems these days.

    There are plenty of chemicals to avoid, which are used by farmers today in order to resist plant diseases, and multiple fungi, not to mention bugs that would have invaded crops. So wash your foods very well, and even add a bit of vinegar to the wash water if your suspect waxes were used on those shiny fruits from the supermarket, as it is hard to remove otherwise.

    You could just peel your vegetables to escape chemical, but unfortunately often the most good in the vegetable is right there under the skins. Nothings easy. ; ^ )

    I’ll stop here, before I scare the living/daylights out of you. But do be MINDFUL of your eating habits, as there are no quick fixes.

    I have found my own solution (as I am prone to anemia) in eating very little red meat 1-2 times a month with more fish (tuna is cheap) to fill in the gaps. Consider your person health problem in your choices as well.

    Q: Gandhi, “Eat like food is medicine.“
    It is.

    Last hint:
    Eggs aren’t nearly as bad as advertised, because it has lecithin right in the whites to neutralize the stuff in the yolks that causes of bad cholesterol. Yogurt is also a very good choice for proteins, because it will neutralize your bodies PH, (most diseases are not helped by the fact that people are generally too acidic for their own good), and you can grow your own yogurt easily, overnight.

    Google is a good friend in these things. : ^ )

    Warm Regards,
    S9
  • CittaCitta Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    MindfulMe wrote: »
    Do you think the human race is THAT intent on eating animals? The solution is right in front of you - a plant-based diet is far more realistic for long-term sustainability.

    The millions of starving kids on this planet are dying BECAUSE a small population of people decided they can't give up meat. This is very sad to say the least.

    Rayfieldneel; Herewith a prime example of moral blackmail about what people have for lunch. An arguement based so clearly on hysterical distortion of key facts to amount to a breach of Right Speech imo.
  • CittaCitta Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    Nini wrote: »
    I definitely agree that it is implied in the precept.

    I doubt that Gautama Buddha's preferred foodstuff was based on meat. It would be no surprise if he were vegetarian. If you look at the history of India, it has always been majority non-meat eating country except when it was influenced by the Muslims and British. Meat has always been a luxury in Asia.

    I was looking at recipes and I remembered the short essay entitled The First Step by Leo Tolstoy at the end of it. This one made an impact again to me:

    ... That is dreadful. Not the suffering and death of the animals, but that that man suppresses in himself, unnecessarily, the highest spiritual capacity -- that of sympathy and pity towards living creatures like himself -- and by violating his own feelings becomes cruel. And how deeply seated in the human heart is the injunction not to take it life!


    Also in the same recipe book, : please check if this is a correct quote from Dhammapada 130

    All tremble at violence, all fear death. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill or cause another to kill

    Another one from the recipe book, from one of the most original thinkers of our time, George Bernard Shaw

    We pray on Sundays that we may have light
    To guide our footsteps on the path we thread
    We are sick of wars, we dont want to fight
    And yet we gorge ourselves upon the dead


    Maybe I should mention this also, I read somewhere that if we can control the urge of the tongue, everything else will be easier to control.

    Absolutely wrong on a number of points.There is considerable evidence that the Buddha taught the early Sangha to eat what was put into their bowls and that this frequently was meat of various kinds, including the pork that was eventually blamed for bringing about the Buddhas death as it was " off". The Theravada Sangha are still taught to eat what is put into their bowls without discrimination. The model for this attitude is the well known story of the leper who was giving food to one of the Buddhas Sangha when his finger fell into the bowl, and the Bhikkhu received considerable praise for eating the finger uncomplainingly. The moral superiority shown by the vegetarians and vegans on this thread is the very antithesis of Buddhadharma. They are in fact creating thei own religon and projecting on to Buddhism. In reality they would feel far more at home as Vedantists where their lunch choice is shared by a majority. I just cant imagine how you food puritans would react if you actually turned off your pc and went to your local temple Buddhist centre, where with a few exceptions ( like some of one of the Karmapas centres ) you will find monks , nuns and layfolk easting chicken , burgers etc ec.It is the kind of stance that can only be sustained in the rarified atmosphere of cyber world, as opposed to actual Buddhist practice in the real world. Where diet is simply not an issue.
  • shadowleavershadowleaver Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    Thanks for misquoting me. I am not advocating a vegan diet and I did not ever say a vegan diet is the cure to humanity. What I did say is that our species is at risk of extinction as we are killing off the diversity on this planet in large part due to our food production. Now I am going to say this again so you don't misquote me again, If we adopt a more vegan-like diet, we can make more food out of less land giving more land back to other lifeforms.

    As I said earlier, I do eat a little fish here and there, I eat cheese and milk some times. My food consumption and advice for others on it are not directly associated with my practice in Buddism, they are recommendations I am making based on what I am seeing.

    Sorry for having rubbed you the wrong way, totally didn't mean it. I hate when I do that to people.
  • edited February 2010
    It is not healthy to eat for pure sustenance, even if it were possible, because digestion begins in the mouth with a by-produce in our saliva called ptyalin. If we don’t salivate, because of good taste, we will not digest our food properly. This is why people who eat too fast often have digestion problems, because the food isn’t in their mouth long enough to get enough of the ptyalin they need, and the food isn’t chewed well enough to mix it into the food properly.

    Eating well is a science. We have to understand nature and go with it. Ethical action can’t disregard this practical way of living.

    Like Mundus said, it is more about clinging to pleasure than simply enjoying life and your food, IMO.

    Warm Regards,
    S9
  • Quiet_witnessQuiet_witness Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    Sorry for having rubbed you the wrong way, totally didn't mean it. I hate when I do that to people.

    You didn't rub me the wrong way at all. I just think the point I am making was misrepresented so I wanted to reiterate it.

    @S9- I really like what you said about food being medicine. I never put it like that but it is so true. The more ounces I am trying to lose so I can clinge to smaller steeper holds on my climbs have taught me the science of diet. The good news, I am the lightest I have been since I was 17 years old and stronger than I have ever been.
  • CittaCitta Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    It is not healthy to eat for pure sustenance, even if it were possible, because digestion begins in the mouth with a by-produce in our saliva called ptyalin. If we don’t salivate, because of good taste, we will not digest our food properly. This is why people who eat too fast often have digestion problems, because the food isn’t in their mouth long enough to get enough of the ptyalin they need, and the food isn’t chewed well enough to mix it into the food properly.

    Eating well is a science. We have to understand nature and go with it. Ethical action can’t disregard this practical way of living.

    Like Mundus said, it is more about clinging to pleasure than simply enjoying life and your food, IMO.

    Warm Regards,
    S9
    Either you have not read or have chosen to ignore my last post. Theravadin monks and Nuns are taught to eat whatever is put into their bowls with no regard for its pleasurable qualities or lack of them. And with no regard for whether it is " healthy" or not. They do not eat for health. They are not gourmet yogis seeking to prolong their lives. Their aim is to understand the nature of all that arises dependantly in order to transcend the temporary. The Vinaya, the rule that governs the lives of Buddhist nuns and monks states that they must not eat the meat of an animal specifically killed for them. And thats pretty much it. The Buddhadharma is not Hindudharma or Jainadharma. It has an absolutely pragmatic view of diet.
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    Are you serious dude? I can't tell if you are keeping your dog Fido as food backup or just being sarcastic.

    Neither. But yeah I am serious and people in other countries eat those animals all the time. Mindfulme is just spouting nonsense with his humanity will die out if we doesn't go vegan.
  • shadowleavershadowleaver Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    One more reflection on the environmental argument for veganism.
    I think what's really at the root of shortages of resources on this planet is overpopulation-- environmental problems on global scale didn't even exist before 20th century when there got to be too many of us. More specifically, the problem today is overpopulation in poor countries where among (mostly) uneducated people the mentality is to have as many babies as naturally come even though neither the parents nor the local land are in any position to provide for them adequately.

    It is in places like South Asia, Middle East and Subsakharan Africa where resources are truly strained. Look at Bangladesh-- smaller than many Western European countries it has over 160 million people and growing at a vigorous pace! Or look at Niger, a country mostly in the desert and semi-desert where producing food is inherently difficult-- more than 7 children born to a woman on average. On the other hand, a country like the US has no trouble feeding its own population and, as a matter of fact, feeds a good portion of people in other countries-- and that is despite our ridiculously carnivorous diet. Or consider the Argentinians who eat much more meat than anyone else in the world and yet manage to export large amounts of food.

    Really, vegan or not, certain parts of the world are doomed if people keep reproducing without giving any thought to the future. If we cull all domestic animals and plant soy, even that isn't going to be enough at some point. Ironically, no one or almost no one who is actually reading and writing here comes from those certain parts of the world. If you wanna save the world, the surest thing to do that is fight for family planning and eductation in the Third and Fourth worlds. Having more than 2 kids is much more unsastainable than eating meat. A Catholic priest advocating his Church's irresponsible view on contraception is doing much more damage than someone eating a Chicken drumstick.

    ...While seemingly a bit of a diversion, my point here is this: vegetarianism and veganism are nowhere as important as some of us here make them out to be. In this thread, I've made a few arguments from social, moral, practical and environmental prespectives to show that in the grand scheme of things, the benefits of animal-free diet are not overwhelming. I'm afraid that for some people, being vegetarian or vegan is somewhat like belonging to a political party and stems from the need to wave some kind of a banner. It is the desire to belong and the desire for firm self-identity that's the driving force-- precisely the kind of things Buddhists are supposed to overcome.

    PS. Personally, I have sympathy for reducing the amount of meat in one's diet (but not dairy or eggs). That we eat others' flesh is nothing to be proud of. When I eat too much meat, I feel disgust, that's why I don't eat it more than once a day and when practical, go without it for days at a time. And I don't eat red meat at all because mammals are just too much like us. If not for who I am culturally, I would probably go vegetarian altogether. My objection is to messianic vegetarianism and veganism found among some Westerners. Like anything messianic, I believe it to be a delusion. I seek the Middle Way. Peace!
  • edited February 2010
    Citta,

    C: The well known story of the leper who was giving food to one of the Buddhas Sangha when his finger fell into the bowl, and the Bhikkhu received considerable praise for eating the finger uncomplainingly.

    S9: I am sorry, but that is just pure silliness. : ^ (

    What if it had been a big rock put into his bowl, too hard to chew, and too big to swallow? Would he have taken it into his mouth anyway and left it there for years until it dissolved?

    And:

    How about a little compassion for our physical body? Putting aside being hard headed and the consequence of hard heartedness.

    I believe that Buddhism should be more sensible than that, and Accept natural intelligence. Why make up nonsensical rules, and thereby WAR with our physical environment?

    Not buying it,
    S9
  • Quiet_witnessQuiet_witness Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    Shadowleaver,

    The threats I am alluding to are not whether or not western countries can sustain themselves on our current diets because clearly we can and true, overpopulation is a completely different threat that I agree with you (sort of) on. The point I made is that our food production relies almost entirely on a few plants and animals and needs diversification. What do most pigs and cows (which feed most westerners) eat? Corn. I believe and advocate a more vegan-like diet because to do it correctly and healthily one needs to diversify their diet. Also, in countries like Brazil, they are reducing their rain forests for what....the beef market for Mcdonalds and and other fastfood restaurants.
  • shadowleavershadowleaver Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    Shadowleaver,

    The threats I am alluding to are not whether or not western countries can sustain themselves on our current diets because clearly we can and true, overpopulation is a completely different threat that I agree with you (sort of) on. The point I made is that our food production relies almost entirely on a few plants and animals and needs diversification. What do most pigs and cows (which feed most westerners) eat? Corn. I believe and advocate a more vegan-like diet because to do it correctly and healthily one needs to diversify their diet. Also, in countries like Brazil, they are reducing their rain forests for what....the beef market for Mcdonalds and and other fastfood restaurants.

    We are in violent agreement :)

    Especially that neither of us is a fan of eating mountains of meat every day :)
  • Quiet_witnessQuiet_witness Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    Cool, I have never heard of violent agreement, interesting term.

    Please excuse my :rant: . I am tired, just got a new dog and he has kept me up for over a week, so I am somewhat less diplomatic than I would like to be.
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    Bring your dog over to my house. LOL
  • Quiet_witnessQuiet_witness Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    He could probably feed your family for a week. He is kind of big.
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    HAHA!
  • CittaCitta Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    Citta,

    C: The well known story of the leper who was giving food to one of the Buddhas Sangha when his finger fell into the bowl, and the Bhikkhu received considerable praise for eating the finger uncomplainingly.

    S9: I am sorry, but that is just pure silliness. : ^ (

    What if it had been a big rock put into his bowl, too hard to chew, and too big to swallow? Would he have taken it into his mouth anyway and left it there for years until it dissolved?

    And:

    How about a little compassion for our physical body? Putting aside being hard headed and the consequence of hard heartedness.

    I believe that Buddhism should be more sensible than that, and Accept natural intelligence. Why make up nonsensical rules, and thereby WAR with our physical environment?

    Not buying it,
    S9
    The story of the monk and the leper, Subjectivity, concerns a monk called Kassapa, known as Maha ( Great ) Kassapa because of his closeness to the Buddha and his degree of Awakening.
    You can google it for yourself under Maha Kassapa. There is a good translation from the Pali by the well known translator Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
    Buddhists are not expected to emulate Maha Kassapa's behaviour. They are encouraged to take heed of his attitude in the matter of food. Which is one of Upekkha.( detachment, equanimity.)
    I am not sure what nonsensical rules you refer to. If you mean the Vinaya, then I suspect that it will be around long after your body and mine are dissolved. After all it has stood the monastic community in good stead for 2500 years. The whole point of the Vinaya is that we cant just make up our own Buddhism. Or at least we can, but the Sangha cant.
  • skydancerskydancer Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    I eat meat. It seems my body requires some. Even the Dalai Lama has eaten meat--he was required by his doctors when he developed jaundice back in the sixties and has done so ever since.
  • edited February 2010
    Citta,

    I think eating a leper’s finger, to prove you don’t notice what you are eating is sheer foolishness.

    If that is the example on how we are supposed to be, then it is a foolish example.

    I am guessing that this is one of the stories that get passed around, and maybe even written down by someone who was way gullible, and it never even happened.

    Buddha was a very bright boy. I don’t think much got by, without his noticing it.

    Maha Kassapa was also noted for seeing things that many others missed out on. No way either one of them would eat a leper’s finger.

    I don't believe that people who join a sangha leave their common sense at the door, or all is lost. : ^ (

    Sorry,
    S9
  • CittaCitta Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    I think that you are being over literal and by so being missing the point.
    Its not that we should be prepared to eat the fingers of lepers. Or that the story should be seen as historical. (Although it comes from the same canonical source that tells us about the Buddha himself.) Its that what we eat should be subject to the same quality of Upekkha as all other of our functions. With equanimity, with a degree of detachment.
    Buddhism talks about Four Brahma Viharas, ( "Divine Abodes ", again that should not be taken literally ) Metta ( loving kindness ) Mudita ( taking joy in the joy of others ) Karuna ( compassion )and Upekkha ( equanimity ). Metta without Upekkha becomes sentimentality. Mudita without Upekkha becomes over identification with others. Karuna without Upekkha results in emotional meltdown. Upekkha then, underpins the other qualities.
    The story of Maha Kassapa is to demonstrate a remarkable degree of Upekkha. We might think that it represents an extreme. But the underlying lesson is a degree of equanimity, of detachment from our day to day preoccupations, including our biological processes. It means that we should take reasonable care of our health, but not obsess. That we should decide for ourselves whether to include or exclude meat from our diet. But that we should above all cultivate Upekkha around this and all other activities. Upekkha is not indifference, Upekkha is being aware of that which arises without forcing a particular outcome.
  • shadowleavershadowleaver Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    Alrighty, forgetting for a moment that this issue has been beaten to death already... ;)

    ...An interesting thought experiment: what would I eat if I had to get my food myself, rather than just buying it. For a moment, let's forget about modern farming industry and consider more traditional ways of getting food. So we've got 6 categories of animal-based foods:

    1. Red Meat
    2. Poultry
    3. Seafood (fish, shrimp, oysters etc).
    4. Dairy
    5. Eggs
    6. Honey

    4,5,6-- no problem with milking cows, stealing eggs or climbing a tree to get to a beehive whatsoever. "No problem" as in wouldn't blink an eye, it's just like picking an apple.

    3-- call me heartless, but so far I haven't developed empathy for fishes. I look into a fish's eyes and see nothing there that I could identify with. I fished myself when I was a kid and never felt any negative emotions. My compassion for sea creatures is purely theoretical.

    2-- birds are warm-blooded and eerly resemble us in many respects. If I had to kill them, I'd quickly exclude them from my diet. Yet I do eat poultry, so this is one department where I don't pass the "what if you have to kill it yourself" test.

    1-- No way, that's gruesome! I don't eat mammals anyhow, so I pass the test.
  • edited February 2010
    Citta,

    C: Upekkha is not indifference. Upekkha is being aware of that which arises without forcing a particular outcome.

    S9: If we should not be indifferent, or have the attitude of indifference, why did your metaphorical story try to relay that it didn’t matter WHAT showed up in our bowl. We should go right ahead and eat it, anyway.

    That would make it seem like Equanimity was the same thing as being out of touch, and not so much the ability or Clarity to see that we are not the ego self. I think you must agree that we can't just go ahead and eat rat poison if someone mistakenly drops it into our alms bowl.

    I thought eating a leper’s finger was pretty darn literal. Call me crazy. ; ^ )

    I don’t believe being Mindful of what you put into your body, in a practical sense, is synonymous with being overly attached, or even obsessive. I believe even the Buddha would put that under the heading of wisdom.

    Peace,
    S9
  • Quiet_witnessQuiet_witness Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    Alrighty, forgetting for a moment that this issue has been beaten to death already... ;)

    ...An interesting thought experiment: what would I eat if I had to get my food myself, rather than just buying it. For a moment, let's forget about modern farming industry and consider more traditional ways of getting food. So we've got 6 categories of animal-based foods:

    1. Red Meat
    2. Poultry
    3. Seafood (fish, shrimp, oysters etc).
    4. Dairy
    5. Eggs
    6. Honey
    You forgot to put berries, grasses, bulbs, and fruits. All grow in the wild. Also snakes, insects, and lizards.
    Do you distinguish a fertilzed egg from a non-fertilized? (I do but would eat either before an animal.)
  • CittaCitta Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    Citta,

    C: Upekkha is not indifference. Upekkha is being aware of that which arises without forcing a particular outcome.

    S9: If we should not be indifferent, or have the attitude of indifference, why did your metaphorical story try to relay that it didn’t matter WHAT showed up in our bowl. We should go right ahead and eat it, anyway.

    That would make it seem like Equanimity was the same thing as being out of touch, and not so much the ability or Clarity to see that we are not the ego self. I think you must agree that we can't just go ahead and eat rat poison if someone mistakenly drops it into our alms bowl.

    I thought eating a leper’s finger was pretty darn literal. Call me crazy. ; ^ )

    I don’t believe being Mindful of what you put into your body, in a practical sense, is synonymous with being overly attached, or even obsessive. I believe even the Buddha would put that under the heading of wisdom.

    Peace,
    S9
    Its not my story, Its from the Pali Canon.
    Mindfulness is not to do with what we put into our body. Although mindfulness might be. Mindfulness in the Samatha or Vipassana sense is about awareness of the putting. We could eat a hamburger Mindfully. We could eat a soyburger unmindfully. We could eat a hambuger mindful of its fat content, source of origin etc. The Mindful eating of a hamburger would be to eat in complete awareness of our actions, holding, lifting, chewing, swallowing etc. It would be theoretically possible to eat rat poison Mindfully. But is unlikely because of the inevitable clouding of consciousness that would follow, which would rather defeat the purpose. In short Mindfulness in the Buddhist sense is less about what we eat and more about our awareness of our actions while doing it.
  • edited February 2010
    I truly want to understand, so this question goes out to those who have a CHOICE to become vegetarian or vegan, but choose not to.

    Knowing that eating meat causes suffering in more ways than we can imagine, what motivates you to continue doing it?

    I truly want to understand where you are coming from.
  • CittaCitta Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    In my own case Mindful Me. I eat a vegetarian diet exclusively. The omnivores on the forum are free to answer or not. My own view is that it is none of your business. Your business as a human being who takes an interest ( I assume) in the Dharma of the Buddha is to become Enlightened in the Buddhist sense. Which involves the not judging of others. As a wise man said, be aware and take responsibility. It is not your role to be aware for others or to take responsibility for others. If you Wake Up you will raise awareness around you. Including awareness of the needs of other sentient beings. THAT is your business.
  • edited February 2010
    An aside:

    I believe we have two truths going on here; side by side, like everything in duality. : ^ )

    One being a more ethical truth, "Should I eat meat," and the other being a more Ultimate Truth, "How can I become Realized." These two dilemmas seem to be living side by side in our lives.

    Maybe the question really should be, "Where should I put (ALL? of) my attention?"


    Or as Zen might shout, “Eat meat/don’t eat meat/40 whacks.” : ^ (

    I must admit to struggling with this whole idea of living a more one-pointedness, and of (somewhat) ignoring what takes place in my more conventional life. Perhaps this is not a lack so much of my understanding Wu Wei (AKA accepting and allowing) as a concept, but rather a failure on my part to implement it correctly.

    But then, the human animal does make these ethical decisions, daily, within his conventional life, and lives within their consequences. But now, I'm talking in circles, ; ^ ) and unable to straighten out the truth in this issue.

    "Is it really black or white?"

    I think you can see my dilemma (above) and I believe this quandry is shared by many Buddhists.

    That being:

    Where does ethics come in, and why?

    Also:

    I wonder if what happened in Tibet, in the recent past, didn't teach us something about isolating ourselves on a mountain top and living a high life surrounded by a world that could simply invade us at any time, if we continually ignored its presence? Here I think the Dalai Lama might agree that the world requires SOME attention.

    Warm Regards,
    S9
  • edited February 2010
    Citta wrote: »
    My own view is that it is none of your business.

    When one takes a vow to protect all sentient beings, it becomes their business to understand WHY people decide to harm animals and how those decisions be changed.

    Perhaps that is not your path, and I can respect that, but to ignore suffering without trying to change the situation in my opinion is as harmful as being the cause of that suffering.

    I have a feeling that nobody will step up to the plate to explain their decisions to eat meat. And it is unfortunate, because if I don't know their reasons, I can't help them to see the many alternatives.
  • edited February 2010
    MindfulMe,

    Eating meat may go back to health reasons.

    I learned, somewhere, that certain blood types (developing later in our evolution) have a real problem (genetically) with eating grains. Obviously that isn't everyone though. : ^ )

    I can say that the stories about why I can't eat eggs and dairy anymore, only adds to my dilemma. : ^ (

    If they develop protein sources that are really tasty, fortified with vitamins, and let’s throw in that they give you a little buzz (just to be sure), perhaps that will be a real solution of some kind. Let’s hope.

    Because as a general rule, many people want what they want, and can’t think much beyond that.

    I too love animals.

    Warm regards,
    S9
  • edited February 2010
    MindfulMe wrote: »
    .........
    I have a feeling that nobody will step up to the plate to explain their decisions to eat meat. And it is unfortunate, because if I don't know their reasons, I can't help them to see the many alternatives.

    Ok M'Me, maybe you can help. In my quest to adopt a eating habit that will cause the least suffering, with the occasional consumption of fish, I can say I'm a vegan. My decision to eat some fish is to ensure I get all the nutrients - especially vitamin B12 which is not found adequately in non-meat food. I know vitamin B12 can be gotten from supplements... but I prefer to eat natural foods, not supplements. I don't want to consume supplements! Any suggestions?

    BTW, I have another problem too... this is serious! Everytime I work in the vegetable garden, large numbers of sentient beings are harmed and killed. The mass destruction here, is in fact, greater than the killing if a few fish. I thought of stopping gardening altogether, but this would seem to be a selfish idea as I will be passing on the "bad kamma" to others. Any suggestions, please? :)

    Bye for now, going to have early supper. Fish (mackrel :eek: ), rice and some vegs.
  • edited February 2010
    sukhita wrote: »
    Ok M'Me, maybe you can help. In my quest to adopt a eating habit that will cause the least suffering, with the occasional consumption of fish, I can say I'm a vegan. My decision to eat some fish is to ensure I get all the nutrients - especially vitamin B12 which is not found adequately in non-meat food. I know vitamin B12 can be gotten from supplements... but I prefer to eat natural foods, not supplements. I don't want to consume supplements! Any suggestions?

    BTW, I have another problem too... this is serious! Everytime I work in the vegetable garden, large numbers of sentient beings are harmed and killed. The mass destruction here, is in fact, greater than the killing if a few fish. I thought of stopping gardening altogether, but this would seem to be a selfish idea as I will be passing on the "bad kamma" to others. Any suggestions, please? :)

    Bye for now, going to have early supper. Fish (mackrel :eek: ), rice and some vegs.

    Thank you for your reply. Let me address B12 (or supplements in general) first.

    B12 isn't a vitamin, but a by-product of bacteria. You can find B12 almost anywhere: on plants and fruits in your garden, in animals, feces and in our own bodies. Where there is bacteria, there is likely B12. Humans also need a VERY SMALL amount of B12. The supplement I take are once a week and my B12 levels are double what "normal" is and I don't eat any other fortified foods.

    The fact is, we may have B12 problems for many reasons, not just that we aren't eating enough of it (again, we need a VERY tiny amount), but perhaps that our bodies aren't processing it very well. The latter point is often the result of living an overall unhealthy lifestyle.

    Ok, so you eat fish to avoid B12 supplements. Do you also avoid breakfast cereal, bread or drinks (other than water)? These foods often always contain added vitamins (supplements). In fact, pet foods (those that contain a lot of animal products) are also supplemented with B12 and Vitamin D - vitamins that are suppose to be in animal products! Also, fish is considered to be a very dirty food source as you are eating the toxins collected in the water they live in.

    For many vegans, they would get adequate B12 just from eating and drinking foods like: fortified soy/rice/almond milks, fake meats, cereals, etc.

    FYI: I lived on a raw food diet for close to a year, living entirely on fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds with no supplementation and my blood results were very favorable - I lacked nothing and felt my mind and body were completely open and renewed.

    Now in regards to gardening causing harm, I'm assuming you are referring to harming insects. I agree that in many cases, there is no avoiding this. Simply walking on grass causes the harm to insects, but is your intention to purposely hurt and kill animals when you do your gardening? I'm sure it's not. When I garden, I try very hard not to cause harm, but accept that there is no perfect way to do this. It saddens me to accidentally kill a worm, but I know that mindfully returning it to the soil will mean that it can continue to benefit other beings by offering nutrients to the plants.

    Please let me know if you have other questions. I may not have all the answers, but I can certainly share my experience and knowledge. :)
  • ValtielValtiel Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    I have a feeling that nobody will step up to the plate to explain their decisions to eat meat. And it is unfortunate, because if I don't know their reasons, I can't help them to see the many alternatives.
    All right. At the moment, I am on an extremely limited budget and pregnant. I have $180 CND to spare a month and this goes towards two other people as well. Financially, I cannot afford a near adequate vegetarian or vegan diet, and the others in my family are not at all interested any way.

    At the same time, it's freezing here. Most fruits and vegetables and such are imported. I don't blind myself to the fact that billions of creatures suffer and die as a result of a vegetarian/vegan diet, that organic alternatives mean less crop yield, and that there're plenty of environmental effects as a result of such a diet as well.
    Simply walking on grass causes the harm to insects, but is your intention to purposely hurt and kill animals when you do your gardening? I'm sure it's not.

    My intention isn't to kill or hurt an animal when I eat meat, either. It's to eat.

    There is death and suffering no matter what we eat. So I eat mindful of that.

    There's nothing to "step up" to. People make decisions and choices to the best of their understanding and ability. Your choice is not superior, it's just different. :)
  • edited February 2010
    All right. At the moment, I am on an extremely limited budget and pregnant. I have $180 CND to spare a month and this goes towards two other people as well. Financially, I cannot afford a near adequate vegetarian or vegan diet, and the others in my family are not at all interested any way.

    At the same time, it's freezing here. Most fruits and vegetables and such are imported.

    I'm from Canada also, so I can understand your position - we are certainly living in an environment that is less than optimal. I'm also on a tight budget as well, but that doesn't prevent me from eating a healthy, vegan diet. In fact, it's saving me money to be on a vegan diet.

    In terms of economics, it's very short-sighted to only consider our personal finances, while ignoring the global financial impact of eating meat. I don't have to elaborate further as there are far too many online resources that can illustrate this just fine.

    From a parental standpoint, it would make no sense to sacrifice the health of my family by choosing poor quality or low nutrient foods. This should be a priority, especially since paying for "sick-care" will end up costing a lot more than eating a healthy diet.

    Let me know what your specific concerns are and I'll help you to find adequate alternatives (i.e replacing chicken with something healthier and less expensive, etc.).

    Take care :)
  • ValtielValtiel Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    I've been on a vegetarian diet. It was absolutely more expensive. Since you live in Canada, you know how far $180/month for groceries goes either way. :lol: I actually eat little meat to begin with, but I could not afford to compensate financially to replace all of those nutrients. Especially when pregnant, a vegan diet is highly specialized.

    Still, my other points remain. I don't try to hide from the death that comes with eating vegan, either. Personally, I feel more harm comes from this. But there are sources supporting both sides. It's up to each individual to make their own choices in the end.
    In terms of economics, it's very short-sighted to only consider our personal finances, while ignoring the global financial impact of eating meat. I don't have to elaborate further as there are far too many online resources that can illustrate this just fine.

    It's not about being short-sighted; it's about reality. I have a baby on the way, have so many things to buy before he comes, which that money also has to go towards. I'm not getting into my financial situation, but I have no other options. If you would like to pay for a proper vegan diet for me, I will send you my PayPal address. :lol:
    From a parental standpoint, it would make no sense to sacrifice the health of my family by choosing poor quality or low nutrient foods. This should be a priority, especially since paying for "sick-care" will end up costing a lot more than eating a healthy diet.

    I agree. That is part of why I continue to eat meat.
  • edited February 2010
    I have a baby on the way, have so many things to buy before he comes, which that money also has to go towards. I'm not getting into my financial situation, but I have no other options. If you would like to pay for a proper vegan diet for me, I will send you my PayPal address. :lol:

    PM me your PayPal address and I would be more than happy to assist you. It's the least I can do as I've been in your situation and had very few options myself.

    I have a lot of experience with crunching numbers for food to get the best bang for my buck. Believe me, a little bit of money can go a long way.

    I hope this blog can inspire you to the possibilities of eating well on a very tight budget: http://onedollardietproject.wordpress.com/ (see the food cost index and recipe section for ideas).

    Good luck with your baby. Be well. :)
  • ValtielValtiel Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    If you sincerely believe that I can eat a pre- and post-natal vegan diet on that much money, then I would be more than happy to hear your advice. I will PM you, because when I was eating veg. before, it got way too expensive trying to ensure I got everything I needed. :confused:
  • edited February 2010
    When I first moved to my farm in TN, where I presently live, we had a big problem with grasshoppers, lots and lots of them. I didn’t want to do anything to them that might get into my ground water as we have a well.

    Fortunately, or unfortunately, (depending upon how you look at it), I love to put out bird feeders, and watch the little guys fly about, sing, and eat. But, one other thing they really enjoy doing is to eat every grasshopper they can get their little beaks on, the little demons. ; ^ )

    I don’t see how we can do anything that doesn’t cause some harm. That’s just the way it is. I wish this wasn't the case, too.

    The best we can hope for is to minimize the harm that we do. : ^ (

    Every time I garden, I cause harm, known and unknown to me. I pull weeds out by their little roots. I love plants and animals. I like to think that, maybe the fact that I recycle, and do everything as naturally as possible, decreases my harmful-foot print. But I’m stuck nourishing some plants and killing others according to my needs.

    I have to make life and death decisions all of the time, kill Japanese Beetles, or let them kill my plants. I think people who live in the city can be unrealistic about such matters.

    I'm thinking that we can seek a balance within this world, if we really try, and should. Sometimes we can even find compassionate solutions. But, I doubt that we can live without causing any harm at/all, much as Joseph Campbell (the myth guy) confessed in his later years, not without some sadness. : ^ (

    Respectfully,
    S9
  • edited February 2010
    MindfulMe wrote: »
    .......
    B12 isn't a vitamin, but a by-product of bacteria. You can find B12 almost anywhere: on plants and fruits in your garden, in animals, feces and in our own bodies. Where there is bacteria, there is likely B12.

    You are just nitpicking here... :) Just about everyone calls it a vitamin for convenience sake... even if they know it is a by-product of bacteria. BTW, why mention 'feces?' How is that going to be helpful in planning our 'vegan' diet?
    Humans also need a VERY SMALL amount of B12. The supplement I take are once a week and my B12 levels are double what "normal" is and I don't eat any other fortified foods.

    Why are you taking B12 supplements if you need a VERY LITTLE amount of B12 and B12, as you say, is found in plants and fruit?
    Ok, so you eat fish to avoid B12 supplements. Do you also avoid breakfast cereal, bread or drinks (other than water)? These foods often always contain added vitamins (supplements).

    I meant buying supplements separately... know I didn't make that clear.
    In fact, pet foods (those that contain a lot of animal products) are also supplemented with B12 and Vitamin D - vitamins that are suppose to be in animal products!

    Maybe thay are using a lot of rubbish in the pet foods and lacing it with supplements to meet legal requirements... I don't really know :confused:
    Also, fish is considered to be a very dirty food source as you are eating the toxins collected in the water they live in.

    Toxins make fish "dirty?' ... unhealthy or health risk would sound nicer.
    And you're saying... vegetables are free of toxins/poisons etc... ?
    For many vegans, they would get adequate B12 just from eating and drinking foods like: fortified soy/rice/almond milks, fake meats, cereals, etc.

    Some professionals say just meat or supplements for B12. But then you are talking of "many vegans" and not all vegans. You take B12 supplements yourself.
    Now in regards to gardening causing harm, I'm assuming you are referring to harming insects. I agree that in many cases, there is no avoiding this. Simply walking on grass causes the harm to insects, but is your intention to purposely hurt and kill animals when you do your gardening? I'm sure it's not. When I garden, I try very hard not to cause harm, but accept that there is no perfect way to do this. It saddens me to accidentally kill a worm, but I know that mindfully returning it to the soil will mean that it can continue to benefit other beings by offering nutrients to the plants.

    My intention is not to kill the fish... it's to get nutrients so I can live a healthy life. When I do gardening my intention is also not to kill the insects either, BUT I know beforehand many insects will die as a result of my deliberate actions in the garden. I don't dismiss it lightly as "accidentally killing" a worm or whatever... it's more like "collateral damage"...

    It seems that the only way not to contribute to the death of another sentient being, one way or another, is to sit still in one place and slowly die of thirst and starvation. We don't want to do this....
  • ValtielValtiel Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    Also, fish is considered to be a very dirty food source as you are eating the toxins collected in the water they live in.

    I completely missed this. Considering everything is made up of water, including plants which absorb water as well, it's all "dirty." Really depends on the water source being used, no?
    I don’t see how we can do anything that doesn’t cause some harm. That’s just the way it is. I wish this wasn't the case, too.

    The best we can hope for is to minimize the harm that we do. : ^ (

    :thumbsup: Agreed.
  • edited February 2010
    sukhita wrote: »
    Why are you taking B12 supplements if you need a VERY LITTLE amount of B12 and B12, as you say, is found in plants and fruit?

    ...

    Toxins make fish "dirty?' ... unhealthy or health risk would sound nicer.
    And you're saying... vegetables are free of toxins/poisons etc... ?

    ...

    Some professionals say just meat or supplements for B12. But then you are talking of "many vegans" and not all vegans. You take B12 supplements yourself.

    ...

    It seems that the only way not to contribute to the death of another sentient being, one way or another, is to sit still in one place and slowly die of thirst and starvation. We don't want to do this....

    Why do I supplement? Several reasons, but the question should be why AREN'T you supplementing. Let me explain:

    B12 - personally, since my levels are so high, I doubt I need to supplement. My diet has been so clean (no processed foods, organic as much as possible, etc.) that my digestion is very good, so I'm likely creating/absorbing enough B12 myself, so supplementation for B12 FOR ME may not be required.

    Vitamin D - I supplement with this as well, since I don't get any exposure to sun in the winter time. Recent scientific studies have shown that almost everyone is vitamin D deficient - vegans and meat eaters alike. We should ALL be on Vitamin D supplements (unless we live in the tropics and have enough sun exposure).

    I don't supplement with anything thing else. I personally supplement because it's a reliable source of these two nutrients. By reliable, I mean that I know when I take one, I'm getting the value listed on the package. If you are cooking meat, you've destroyed many nutrients as well as created many toxins.

    If I were eating fortified foods, I would likely not need any supplementation.

    About fish being "dirty", yes, I could have used another word, but the reality is they are like sponges in the ocean - the pollutants they swim in end up in your body. Do fruits and veggies have toxins, yes - but only because HUMANS put them there. Organic produce is the best if you can afford it.

    I agree that there is no way to prevent ALL deaths in our daily lives, but we can always strive to do the least harm. If you ever have a chance to volunteer or visit a local animal sanctuary, do so - make a bond with those animals and see how happy they are when they aren't living in fear. I think it will change your life. :)
  • edited February 2010
    MindfulMe,

    Thank you for your responses... and take care. :)

    With kind regards,
    Sukhita.
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    I think it might be a good time to repost this, and I would hope that everyone will read and take it to heart.

    <link rel="File-List" href="file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5COwner%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_filelist.xml"><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:UseFELayout/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><style> <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:SimSun; panose-1:2 1 6 0 3 1 1 1 1 1; mso-font-alt:宋体; mso-font-charset:134; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 135135232 16 0 262145 0;} @font-face {font-family:"\@SimSun";; panose-1:2 1 6 0 3 1 1 1 1 1; mso-font-charset:134; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 135135232 16 0 262145 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Arial; mso-fareast-font-family:SimSun; mso-bidi-font-weight:bold;} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.0in 1.0in 1.0in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </style><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--> From The Owl Precepts<o></o>
    <o></o>
    The First Precept
    <o></o>
    ‘Tantrikas refrain from killing the efflorescence of Rigpa as it sparkles through the fabric of duality.’<o></o>
    <o></o>
    Commentary: Tantrikas [practitioners of tantric Buddhism] realize that to refrain from killing the efflorescence of their enlightened nature is simultaneously possible and impossible. It is possible because they are enlightened from beginninglessness; but it is impossible because they may lack confidence in the non-dual state. Because of this ambivalence, they develop confidence in the non-dual state through sustaining awareness of the pain caused by killing in all its manifestations. Their understanding of this is always present. Tantrikas understand that it is impossible to disconnect from killing. They understand that it is so simply because they have human bodies. They recognize that to have a body, and to exist, is to cause death. From this knowledge they establish compassionate connections with everyone and everything everywhere. Tantrikas recognize that to walk across fields is to kill insects. They recognize that to light a fire to keep warm is to kill beings, and that eating bread makes them responsible, in part, for the death of field mice. They understand that to use medicines is to kill organisms and bacteria. They recognize that plant life has sentience, and that sentience may exist within phenomena in which sentience cannot be perceived. Through this knowledge they know that is impossible to be ‘pure’ or disconnected from killing. They realize that it is impossible to ‘transcend’ their situation as potential killers, merely by enacting purist physical regimes or purist dietary policies. They understand that to live is to cause death, and that this fact cannot be avoided. They recognize that there is no external method for disconnecting themselves from the causes of death; and that the only possibility of practice is to generate compassion when awareness arises of any cause of death. They know that because it is impossible to be pure that it is also impossible to judge others from the standpoint of purity. They know that if they cannot judge others according to purity and impurity then all trace of religious bigotry is abandoned. They delight in the knowledge that the avoidance of bigotry restores the joy of practice. Knowing they cannot be ‘pure’ according to ‘relative purist rationale’ dissolves all boundaries with regard to compassion. The knowledge that one’s physical existence is in itself the act of killing imbues tantrikas with the pervasive motivation to avoid harming other beings wherever possible. This knowledge also encourages the dynamic of alleviating suffering wherever it is found according to capacity, circumstances, and appropriate juncture. Tantrikas extend themselves to others to the extent of their ability, and without abuse to the continuity of their own worthwhile existence. Tantrikas attempt to commit themselves to experiencing bodhicitta at every opportunity, in order to create connections with whatever they eat, drink, or wear. They commit themselves to a non-aggressive way of life. Whether their style of taking sustenance is carnivorous, vegetarian, vegan, or fruitarian; they commit themselves to refraining from aggression by way of act, word, or attitude to those who derive sustenance according to contrasting considerations. Each style of deriving nourishment is linked with a form of expressing chang-chub sem (byang chub sems – bodhicitta) active-compassion according to the different vehicles, and so they commit themselves to adopting whatever style accords with the integrity of their perception as tantrikas.


    Maitri,


    Palzang
  • CittaCitta Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    Excellent Palzang.....Sadhu!
  • edited February 2010
    Thanks Palzang, this would be a nice conclusion to this thread... :)

    Sukhita
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2010
    sukhita wrote: »
    Thanks Palzang, this would be a nice conclusion to this thread... :)

    Sukhita

    EH MA HO!

    Palzang
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