PDA

View Full Version : Your thoughts on Vegetarianism ?



Aloka
19 Feb 14, 08:07
We haven't had a topic about vegetarianism for quite some time, so I thought I'd start a new one.

This is an extract from "Why Buddhists should be vegetarian" in Ajahn Sujato's blog written a couple of years ago:




eating meat requires the killing of animals, and this directly violates the first precept. Eating meat is the direct cause of an immense quantity of suffering for sentient beings. Many people, myself included, struggle with the notion that a religion as categorically opposed to violence as Buddhism can so blithely wave away the suffering inherent in eating meat.

Let’s have a closer look and see if we can discern the roots of this problem. There are a few considerations that I would like to begin with. We live in a very different world today than the Buddha lived in, and Buddhist ethics, whatever else they may be, must always be a pragmatic response to real world conditions.

Animals suffer much more today than they did 2500 years ago. In the Buddha’s time, and indeed everywhere up until the invention of modern farming, animals had a much better life. Chickens would wander round the village, or were kept in a coop. Cows roamed the fields. The invention of the factory farm changed all this. Today, the life of most meat animals is unimaginable suffering. I won’t go into this in detail, but if you are not aware of the conditions in factory farms, you should be. Factory farms get away with it, not because they are actually humane, but because they are so mind-bendingly horrific that most people just don’t want to know. We turn away, and our inattention allows the horror to continue.

The other huge change since the Buddha’s time is the destruction of the environment. We are all aware of the damage caused by energy production and wasteful consumerism. But one of the largest, yet least known, contributors to global warming and environmental destruction generally is eating meat. The basic problem is that meat is higher on the food chain as compared with plants, so more resources are required to produce nutrition in the form of meat. In the past this was not an issue, as food animals typically ate things that were not food for humans, like grass. Today, however, most food animals live on grains and other resource-intensive products. This means that meat requires more energy, water, space, and all other resources. In addition to the general burden on the environment, this creates a range of localised problems, due to the use of fertilisers, the disposal of vast amounts of animal waste, and so on.

One entirely predictable outcome of factory farming is the emergence of virulent new diseases. We have all heard of ‘swine flu’ and ‘bird flu’; but the media rarely raises the question: why are these two new threats derived from the two types of animals that are most used in factory farming? The answer is obvious, and has been predicted by opponents of factory farming for decades. In order to force animals to live together in such overcrowded, unnatural conditions, they must be fed a regular diet of antibiotics, as any disease is immediately spread through the whole facility. The outcome of this, as inevitable as the immutable principles of natural selection, is the emergence of virulent new strains of antibiotic resistant diseases. In coming years, as the limited varieties of antibiotics gradually lose their efficacy, this threat will recur in more and more devastating forms.

So, as compared with the Buddha’s day, eating meat involves far more cruelty, it damages the environment, and it creates diseases. If we approach this question as one of weights and balance, then the scales have tipped drastically to the side of not eating meat.


http://sujato.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/why-buddhists-should-be-vegetarian-with-extra-cute/



:hands:

Aloka
11 Mar 14, 18:01
Any thoughts about Ajahn Sujato's comments ?

Iansdaddy99
11 Mar 14, 18:33
I used to wonder why I would felt somewhat depressed if I went to McDonalds or KFC. Then I wondered if it was related to what Thich Nhat Hanh said; "Don't eat angry chickens." His point I think was that if you eat part of an animal who has suffered, you also have consumed the suffering.

Jacaranda
17 Mar 14, 16:42
My husband used to manage a poultry "farm"many years ago.The chicks are brought in at 6 weeks of age and I think from memory they would be kept on the farm for 3 mths?Fed a diet of pellets which make them grossly overweight (nobody wants to buy a skinny chicken),so fat that many could'nt stand on their own legs for long or sometimes not at all.

I'm not advocating poultry farms,never liked my husband doing that job actually but in all fairness my husband managed his farm properly.He had no control over the weights,his company managed that!If your chickens were'nt up to the expected weight,they'd want to know why.So yes animals do suffer.

We are meat eaters,but are more choosy now where our meat comes from.I could quite easily be a vegetarian myself,but my husband enjoys meat alot,and as I work fulltime I dont have the time to cook two different meals each evening.We do however eat a veggie meal probably once a week.

I think we should all try to eat less meat.We have so many different fruits and vegetables these days that are easily available to the western world anyway,personally I would not miss meat.


What are your thoughts Aloka?

Aloka
17 Mar 14, 17:36
What are your thoughts Aloka?

Hi Jacaranda,

I've been a vegetarian for most of my life. Here are some references connected to Buddhism and vegetarianism......veggiedharma on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/user/veggiedharma


I agree with Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo when she says: "Animals are my friends and I don't eat my friends"

:hands:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LA-jn1sCrUY

Aloka
19 Mar 14, 07:14
The Buddha and his monks lived on alms food and so they had to accept whatever was given to them to eat by lay people, unless it had been killed specifically for their benefit -and then they had to refuse it.



In western countries vegetarianism has recently increased in popularity and this has led to some questioning about bhikkhus and meat-eating. (In less materially developed countries the question is more about 'what, if anything, is there to eat?')

The question of monks' eating meat is an old one that was originally raised by the 'renegade monk' Ven. Devadatta. He asked the Buddha to prohibit bhikkhus from eating fish and flesh in what seems was a ploy to take over the leadership of the Sangha. (The 'stricter ascetic' tactic.) The Buddha had already made a strict rule for both bhikkhus and lay people about not taking life (see Killing.) so He did not agree to Ven. Devadatta's new formulation.

The Buddha did allow bhikkhus to eat meat and fish, except under the following circumstances:

If a bhikkhu sees, hears or suspects that it has been killed for him, he may not eat it.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/ariyesako/layguide.html#meat



There have been changes for some monastics in modern times however:




H.H. Orgyen Trinle Dorje, Karmapa XVII, is vegetarian since a few years. At January 3, 2007, he made a strong statement against eating meat within his monasteries and centers. With immediate effect:

No meat is to be prepared in the kitchen of any Kagyu Monastery or Centre.
No one is to be involved in the business of buying and selling meat – for all of his students this practice must stop.
There is to be no killing of animals on Kagyu premises.
Karmapa is aware of monks in robes going to buy meat and does not want to see this ever again.

His Holiness also quoted spiritual masters from the past who had condemned the practice of using Tsok (offerings during a gathering) as an excuse for eating meat and drinking alcohol. Leaving absolutely no room for interpretation, Karmapa said that anyone who uses meat and alcohol as Tsok is not part of Karmapa’s lineage.

http://www.shabkar.org/teachers/tibetanbuddhism/orgyen_trinle_dorje.htm




http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/dazz/2lsz2ar.jpg

Brizzy
19 Mar 14, 10:22
Hi Guys

I always worry that the issue of vegetarianism can become a distraction for Buddhists. Whatever ones personal thoughts are, the fact that the Buddha allowed the eating of dead flesh tells me as a committed Buddhist that whether I do or don't eat meat has little bearing on my goal and should not take a central role in my relationship with other Buddhists other people or the Eightfold Path.

Best wishes

Brizzy

(Hi everybody)

dhamma explorer
23 Mar 14, 10:00
Very interesting thread indeed. Blessings to you Aloka to have opened up this discussion (again). You did the right thing!

Referring to Ven Ajahn Sujato's presentation, I'm unsure the level of suffering to farm animals then and now. Why? In the past, they (animals) have to work harder to find food whereas it is provided at their door-step now. Imagine, animals have to walk long distances to find drinking water in the past which is no more a problem for the modern animals. Modern days, animals are given medicines and other treatments (even surgery) whereas in the past this was hardly the case.

For the argument sake, how many millions of people are making a living out of animal husbandry? This is the main livelihood not only for them but also tens and thousands of people who provide services, manufacture tools, sheds, labour to put up sheds and the list goes on. If one thinks about this aspect, animal industry supports a substantial number of families including children. I saw in many remote areas where crops farming is risky, sale of animals is the main source of cash to purchase stationery and medicine for children and food for the family. This suggests that akusal created by eating meat may be balanced off by the reduced suffering to families who depend on animal husbandry.

That said, my personal experience is that meat (and fish) eating is not a good habit. I personally feel that meat eating promotes anger and promotes greediness. Also, there are more sicknesses in human beings that are attributable to meat eating. Again based on my own experience, meditation is more focused by a vegetarian diet. I also feel that more unfavorable thoughts in the mind are associated with meat eating. This could be due to absorbing part of the animal's suffering after eating meat. Thank you Iansdaddy99 for your inputs on this subject.
With metta

RADZ
23 Mar 14, 14:46
I always worry that the issue of vegetarianism can become a distraction for Buddhists. Whatever ones personal thoughts are, the fact that the Buddha allowed the eating of dead flesh tells me as a committed Buddhist that whether I do or don't eat meat has little bearing on my goal and should not take a central role in my relationship with other Buddhists other people or the Eightfold Path.
(Hi everybody)
I certainly agree with Brizzy's comment, I share similar opinions with him. The issue of vegetarianism does become a distraction for many buddhists who ponder around that idea. The meat that is produced today is inhumane and unnatural, but if you look at the vinaya, their is no specific rule against meat as a whole. Eating meat is certainly not against the first percept, because their is no 'intention to kill' that is involved. If one feels like eating meat from today is a bad thing, then he should place effort in that, their is no harm in that. But if one has no opinions towards meat and they are able to pactrice the path well, their is no reason for them to stop eating meat because they have no problem with it.

I do support and appreciate all the people who are vegan, but one must always remeber to put more emphasis in the noble path and purifying oneself. As I said, if someone see eating modern meat as a obstacle to one's own path, then they themselves should place effort on not eating it.

RADZ

dhammachick
10 Apr 14, 11:34
I used to wonder why I would felt somewhat depressed if I went to McDonalds or KFC. Then I wondered if it was related to what Thich Nhat Hanh said; "Don't eat angry chickens." His point I think was that if you eat part of an animal who has suffered, you also have consumed the suffering.

*thumbs up*

David29412
20 Apr 14, 02:37
Hi Guys

I always worry that the issue of vegetarianism can become a distraction for Buddhists. Whatever ones personal thoughts are, the fact that the Buddha allowed the eating of dead flesh tells me as a committed Buddhist that whether I do or don't eat meat has little bearing on my goal and should not take a central role in my relationship with other Buddhists other people or the Eightfold Path.

Best wishes

Brizzy

(Hi everybody)

It is definitely a distraction. The Buddha never stated eating meat was unwholesome or negative karma. He never stated refraining from meat was a requirement for enlightenment. The Buddha was quite clear that killing was unwholesome karma, but eating meat is NOT the act of killing, it is a byproduct of the act of killing. When someone goes to the grocer and purchases meat, he has no intention to kill, he has not killed the animal, he has not seen it killed, he has not requested it be killed for him. He has had absolutely no involvement in the animal's killing. He is simply purchasing it's corpse. Those are the simple, unemotional, non philosophical facts.

What is far more important than what we eat is WHY we are eating it. If we consume meat simply to nurture our bodies for the sake of continuing our practice, there is no error. If we refrain from meat thinking we are somehow more compassionate than meat eaters and causing less suffering, we are deluding ourselves and are very much in error. If we think "meat is murder", we have a fundamental lack of understanding of karma.

Aloka
20 Apr 14, 04:35
It is definitely a distraction.

I'll spare you some shocking photos and videos showing how live meat animals are treated before they're killed.

This essay might be of interest.

Excerpt:




"The question of “What did the Buddha say about Vegetarianism?” should be straightforward, but (for a long list of reasons discussed in this article) it isn’t. I would emphasize that the problem is not the ambiguity of the source texts themselves. As with the salience of Santa Claus to Christmas, the ambiguities have arisen from many successive centuries of new stories and new excuses arising.

Unlike Christianity, however, the vast majority of people who are now offering new excuses (i.e., in the current generation) do not have the ability to read the Buddhist equivalent of the Old Testament. The blind are indeed leading the blind (both in robes, and without them."

https://medium.com/p/c636fa4f37dd



Also, this is info about a Buddhist vegetarian website called Shabkar which I mentioned briefly earlier in the thread, with many resources and names of vegetarian Buddhist teachers past and present .



Shabkar.org is a non-sectarian website dedicated to vegetarianism as a way of life for Buddhists of all schools.

The site takes its name from Shabkar Tsodruk Rangdrol (1781-1851), the great Tibetan yogi who espoused the ideals of vegetarianism accompanied by bodhicitta.

http://www.shabkar.org/





eating meat is NOT the act of killing, it is a byproduct of the act of killing. When someone goes to the grocer and purchases meat, he has no intention to kill, he has not killed the animal, he has not seen it killed, he has not requested it be killed for him. He has had absolutely no involvement in the animal's killing. He is simply purchasing it's corpse. Those are the simple, unemotional, non philosophical facts.

.

Meat animals are killed for the benefit of people who go into shops to buy meat because they have a desire for the flavour of the blood and flesh of cooked corpses in their mouths.

;)

dharmamom
20 Apr 14, 17:24
"Meat animals are killed for the benefit of people who go into shops to buy meat because they have a desire for the flavour of the blood and flesh of cooked corpses in their mouths."



Isn't that a bit too strong, Aloka? I feel vegetarianism adds to my practice of compassion, but I accept some people don't agree on this point. Like you, I have also watched awful videos and photographs on how animals are treated before they are prepared for consumption. And yet, meat is still a staple in all Buddhist countries.
This is a sticky point in all Buddhist sites and I have seen people getting very angry over their differences. I wonder why the subject is treated over and over again if we can't agree to disagree.

Aloka
20 Apr 14, 18:10
"Meat animals are killed for the benefit of people who go into shops to buy meat because they have a desire for the flavour of the blood and flesh of cooked corpses in their mouths."



Isn't that a bit too strong, Aloka? I feel vegetarianism adds to my practice of compassion, but I accept some people don't agree on this point. Like you, I have also watched awful videos and photographs on how animals are treated before they are prepared for consumption. And yet, meat is still a staple in all Buddhist countries.

This is a sticky point in all Buddhist sites and I have seen people getting very angry over their differences. I wonder why the subject is treated over and over again if we can't agree to disagree.


No, I don't consider it's too strong.. and I didn't say it with anger.

David29412
20 Apr 14, 20:22
I grew up on a farm. I know why the animals were raised. I've been to the slaughter house. None of this addresses what the Buddha said about eating meat. And none of this addresses the fact that eating meat SIMPLY IS NOT THE KARMA OF KILLING. It really is that simple. And for the record, I do not eat meat, so no, the animals were NOT slaughtered to satisfy my wanton blood lust. And if the animals had not been slaughtered, they would still suffer the pains of birth, sickness, old age, loss, and death, just like any other sentient being. So not eating their corpse saves them from nothing. All beings have karma as their own. All beings suffer, whether they are the consumed or the consumer. That's the reality of samsaric existence. And no one escapes samsaric existence by not eating meat.

Aloka
20 Apr 14, 20:38
. None of this addresses what the Buddha said about eating meat.

Then can you give references to specific Pali Canon suttas if you're talking about what the Buddha said, please David.(and not references to monks and nuns having to eat whatever was placed in their bowls by lay people, thanks )

I'd also be really grateful if you didn't reply in capital letters, because it's rather like shouting.


And no one escapes samsaric existence by not eating meat.


I haven't noticed anyone saying that they did.

:hands:

David29412
20 Apr 14, 22:35
Then can you give references to specific Pali Canon suttas if you're talking about what the Buddha said, please David.(and not references to monks and nuns having to eat whatever was placed in their bowls by lay people, thanks )

I'd also be really grateful if you didn't reply in capital letters, because it's rather like shouting.



I haven't noticed anyone saying that they did.

:hands:

The Buddha addressed the eating of meat for monks in the Vinaya. Specifically, Vin III,197 and III, 172. This was in response to Devadatta's attempt to create a schism in the sangha over the issue of eating meat. From what I understand, things didn't work out so well for Devadatta over this. Now, perhaps you'd care to show me in the Pali canon where the Buddha said meat should not be consumed.

Aloka
20 Apr 14, 22:50
The Buddha addressed the eating of meat for monks in the Vinaya. Specifically, Vin III,197 and III, 172. This was in response to Devadatta's attempt to create a schism in the sangha over the issue of eating meat. From what I understand, things didn't work out so well for Devadatta over this. Now, perhaps you'd care to show me in the Pali canon where the Buddha said meat should not be consumed.

Hello again David,

The Vinaya is for monks and nuns and so its not relevant to lay people.

I'm not meaning to be rude, but where did I mention anything myself about the Buddha saying meat shouldn't be consumed ? I was a vegetarian before I was a Buddhist, and the decision wasn't connected to any religious beliefs.

I started this thread with a quote from Ajahn Sujato and asked for opinions about it.

Devadatta was also mentioned in post #6.


:hands:

Sea Turtle
21 Apr 14, 18:41
I started this thread with a quote from Ajahn Sujato and asked for opinions about it.

I agree with Ajahn Sujato's comments about factory farming, including the cruelty and environmental stress it entails.

As a young person, I began to eat a vegetarian diet and did so for many years--not in connection with any particular spiritual tradition--but out of feelings of compassion for the animals. For a time I was strictly vegan.

At one point I happened to develop a chronic illness that left me house-bound for a good length of time, and also developed rather severe hypoglycemia. I tweaked my diet to allow for more dairy and vegetable-based protein. Shortly thereafter, I developed sensitivities to many of the foods I was consuming (soy, dairy, etc). (I now seem sensitive to grains as well, except for small amounts of rice.)

It's taken many years of balancing, but I have found a formula that supports my particular body type and constitution, my health, and my practice: Whenever possible, I eat mostly organic vegetables; some fruits (those not too sugary); local eggs from pasture-roaming chickens; and organic meat procured from humanely raised and handled pasture-grazing animals from a local farm. This formula seems to address several of the concerns that Ajahn Sujato raises in his essay.

Although not necessarily ideal from a personal, ethical standpoint, this balance has proven ideal for the functioning of my body.

Kind wishes,
Sea Turtle
:hands:

Lotus421
24 Apr 14, 12:31
After reading this thread over a month ago, I decided to change to a vegetarian diet. Not because I feel like I have to as a buddhist.. But because I feel that if I am to truly have compassion for all living things, I must be willing to make such sacrifices.

I have to admit, it has been difficult even over just 5 weeks. My energy has dropped dramatically, I have been very irritable and just generally not feeling well. It is so difficult to find the right balance in my diet. I think I am making progress though!

What has shocked me, is the number of people who have reacted to my change. I can understand my close family and partner not reacting well, because they feel meat is essential to a healthy diet and are just looking out for me... However, many acquaintances feel as though its almost offensive that I no longer want to eat meat. I have come to know what it is like to be judged for something that is completely my own personal choice and really affects no one else.... and it is not a very nice feeling! Has anyone had similar experiences changing to a vegetarian/vegan diet?

Aloka
24 Apr 14, 13:57
What has shocked me, is the number of people who have reacted to my change. I can understand my close family and partner not reacting well, because they feel meat is essential to a healthy diet and are just looking out for me... However, many acquaintances feel as though its almost offensive that I no longer want to eat meat. I have come to know what it is like to be judged for something that is completely my own personal choice and really affects no one else.... and it is not a very nice feeling! Has anyone had similar experiences changing to a vegetarian/vegan diet?

Hi Lotus,

I'm so sorry to hear that you're having problems.

I live in a UK city and have never had any opposition from others about my choices. There were also some friends who changed their diet too after they understood why I chose to be a vegetarian -and they remain healthy.

Apart from dairy products, there are also lots of alternatives to meat available for vegetarians/ vegans in the shops here. Meat replacements range from blocks of Tofu (toasted with sesame seeds is nice), soya weiners & sausages and a variety of products containing soya protein or soy beans, soya milk & desserts, 'Quorn' - which is the name for manufactured vegetable protein products and a range of ready meals containing chickpeas & other peas & beans as well as vegetables...and one can make or buy nut roasts too.

My doctor has always known that I'm a vegetarian and didn't even comment because it's quite common for some people to be veggies over here.

Maybe people will get used to your decision eventually. I hope so.

:hug:

Sea Turtle
24 Apr 14, 17:55
What has shocked me, is the number of people who have reacted to my change. I can understand my close family and partner not reacting well, because they feel meat is essential to a healthy diet and are just looking out for me... However, many acquaintances feel as though its almost offensive that I no longer want to eat meat. I have come to know what it is like to be judged for something that is completely my own personal choice and really affects no one else.... and it is not a very nice feeling! Has anyone had similar experiences changing to a vegetarian/vegan diet?

Hi Lotus,

I'm also sorry you are experiencing such reactions.

Let's see....when I made a switch to a vegetarian diet, I was quite young, so it did cause a couple ripples in the home. But once my mom saw that I was willing to purchase and prepare my own meals, we got along sharing the kitchen space just fine. I really learned a lot about cooking!

Later when I lived on my own, it was a non-issue. And for some reason, I mostly ended up in relationships with other vegetarians.

The only thing I can say is hang in there until the dust settles. Perhaps being low-key about your decision (for instance, not trying to convince or debate about it) may work in your favor.

About the health angle, a balanced diet in any form takes consideration and planning. I'm not convinced that relying on a lot of veggie convenience foods is best for the body or the environment. But I am sure you will find what works best for you. Do your research, be well, and be confident in your admirable decision!

Best wishes,
Sea Turtle (a very sympathetic [now] non-vegetarian)
:hands:

The Brink
25 Apr 14, 06:12
I wrote a very long article about this, i.e., the tenuous and tortuous connection between Theravada Buddhism and vegetarianism:

https://medium.com/p/c636fa4f37dd

Conversely, the brutally honest truth is that nobody makes the decision to become vegetarian as a result of studying texts that are over 2,000 years old (or, in the case of Mahayana, over 100 years old, shall we say?). People form their own opinions, and then seek out justifications in religion, one way or the other.

Youtube is full of (extremely boring) lectures from Buddhist monks offering you convoluted excuses for meat-eating (both Theravada and Mahayana). The excuses all come along "after the fact"; if you're indifferent to watching a cow have its throat slit, and bleed to death, kicking in agony on a concrete floor, I don't really think you're going to be moved by the discussion of primary-source texts (as in my article, above), nor by seeing a man sitting on a cushion, in robes, offering you one set of reasons or another.

http://37.media.tumblr.com/f1e064a79bfa521c7c8fe6edeed9111c/tumblr_mrf6yrWPN11s0b18to1_1280.jpg

In terms of the experience of Lotus421: yeah, it's a struggle. Everywhere you go, it's a struggle. People will demean you and treat you like crap for being vegan, partly because they have their own sense of "moral insecurity" about eating meat on a daily basis, killing animals for no particularly good reason, and the easiest (stupidest) way to respond to that feeling of insecurity is to lash out at whoever is a challenge to your own (familiar) assumptions.

You get to see a great deal of that pattern of human nature in the religious sphere. It's sad and saddening, and human nature doesn't change.

You don't get to decide whether or not your life is going to be a struggle; you get to choose to make it a meaningful struggle, rather than a meaningless one, to some extent. Being vegan is meaningful, for reasons that have nothing to do with Buddhism. So, struggle; play to win.

http://24.media.tumblr.com/60dc4d00554ef58e7669a6f59e12f591/tumblr_msr71howei1s0b18to1_1280.png

Ecology of meat production vs. water scarcity:
http://vegan-mind-tricks.tumblr.com/post/53187399429/the-abundance-of-meat-causes-the-scarcity-of

Ecology of meat production vs. land scarcity:
http://vegan-mind-tricks.tumblr.com/post/53036565553/rubicon-crossed-anonymized-i-dont-really

http://37.media.tumblr.com/7ceede0f8dfda48f4ca8543f27796f9f/tumblr_mruoxtY40W1s0b18to1_1280.png

Aloka
22 Dec 17, 06:34
I've revived this old topic because we haven't discussed meat eating here for quite a long time .

Any thoughts about a vegetarian or vegan diet ?

Olderon
22 Dec 17, 13:30
Hi, Aloka. Thanks for reviving this topic.

My personal experience:

After discovering that two of my primary cardiac arteries were blocked and passing-out during a morning jog, major diagnostics and a double bypass, I chose to follow Dr. Dean Ornish's version of veganism, which included no oils or fats, other than those which were plant based. I also went on over-the-counter low dose aspirin, and prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs, and other cardiovascular drugs to reverse my atherosclerosis issues.

This health recovery and life preserving regimen started in 1998 after my cardiovascular event and has continued on and occasionally off for twenty years to date. My only reason for following this was my selfish attachment to life. The environmental and moral reasons were not in my mind until I discovered Buddhism as a personal practice a few months after my medical recovery.

What I learned from Buddhist studies and practice:

The first precept essentially prescribes avoiding all practices which cause harm, either to other living beings, or to ourselves.

Considering this, I concluded that killing other living animals causes them harm, and eating their meat caused me harm.

End of story.

What I learned regarding Environmental Issues:

Animal farming uses up vast nutritional plant resources, which if consumed directly during the practice of veganism or vegetarianism is way more nutritionally efficient. I could do the calculations for you, but I have discussed and debated this issue so many times I am simply sick of doing it. It is better for the doubter to do the math themselves, because it will stick in their heads better and longer that way.

Animals, especially ruminants, discharge carbon-dioxide, and methane from their guts and colons, which add enormously to the atmospheric green-house gases load. Many folks laugh at this, but it is true. Again, do the math yourself. Everything you need to do so is on the internet.

Animals must be transported to slaughter houses, killed and their dissected parts must be transported to stores. Unusable bones and hides are ground into meal, and processed into leather, skin, and fur goods, all of which required energy resources, materials, and contributes more green-house gases to the atmosphere.

Consumers must drive to the markets, and then transport the "meat" from the stores to their homes. Left-overs , scraps, and garbage are disposed and transported to landfills, where they decompose and are reabsorbed into the soil.

All of this transporting requires energy, which, when consumed produces green-house gases.

Uncooked animal flesh in production, storage and home must be refrigerated, or frozen, which requires energy, which production results in additional green-house gases being emitted into the atmosphere.

Toxicology (disease) and Health Effects

Animal flesh and fats are well known to cause cardiovascular disease. I can personally attest to that.

Animal fats when cooked produce many human carcinogens, which increase the rate of human cancers and deaths.

Uncooked animal flesh bears a wide variety of bacterias, viruses, prions and parasites, all of which cause a wide variety of diseases and if undetected, and/or left untreated result in death.

On the Other Hand:

If it wasn't for meat being introduced into the human diet, the primate and then human brain would not have evolved to its current size, and perhaps humans would have either become extinct, less dominant in the eco-system, and/or possibly replaced by meat-eating birds or some other faster evolving creatures on our planet.

srivijaya
22 Dec 17, 16:57
I've been veggie for over 25 years now, so I figure that's a lot of dead sentient beings I've not buried in my digestive tract. I don't make a big deal of it, in fact people who I don't regularly eat with don't know at all, as I'm not 'preachy' or issue-driven about it.

My family all eat meat and there's no problem. I have had the odd aggressive reaction over the years from non-family members but not too much, as I treat it as a personal matter and don't discuss it unless pressed, then I tend to be evasive and as unforthcoming as possible about it. In my experience, the kind of people who can't deal with vegetarians tend to be the kind of people who can't deal with Buddhists either.

Esho
31 Dec 17, 00:46
Some cook books have a guide of the food we have to intake. The old ones have meat and eggs and milk included. This was for the past. There was a time when science thought a good balance of food would have these nutriments in our daily diet but nowadays we have to acknowledge our mistake in this . There is no need to include meat and other animal products in our modern diets. It has been demonstrated that cancer is associated -highly- with the presence of meat and other derivatives of animal food, along with diseases like obesity, diabetes, gastroenteritis, high blood pressure, etc... Modern cook books and nutritional guides will be healthier without the inclusion of meat, eggs, cheese, or milk .

jongdaeri
05 Jan 18, 11:28
Hi,
I am a vegetarian and have been since even before I started following Buddhism. I would go vegan because I'm aware of the harm to animals, but being in a French-English family, we eat a LOT of dairy and eggs. Also, I have coeliac disease, so it would be even harder to maintain a good diet without any gluten products or contaminated foods. My dad is a vegetarian too though, so in a four person household we manage to influence every meal to have a vegetarian option, and as a result, my mother doesn't buy much meat these days :) It is good for my health too, I see a lot of my non-veggie friends having health issues I don't have, like bad headaches, slowed metabolism, low energy and stomach aches. But for the most part, it's for ethical reasons and always has been.

jongdaeri
05 Jan 18, 11:31
Meat animals are killed for the benefit of people who go into shops to buy meat because they have a desire for the flavour of the blood and flesh of cooked corpses in their mouths.

;)

Why was somebody upset about you saying this? It's true...:dontknow:

daverupa
05 Jan 18, 15:48
Some cook books have a guide of the food we have to intake. The old ones have meat and eggs and milk included. This was for the past. There was a time when science thought a good balance of food would have these nutriments in our daily diet...

Actually, consider the following (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_USDA_nutrition_guides#Food_Guide_Pyrami d):


The first chart suggested to the USDA by nutritional experts in 1992 featured fruits and vegetables as the biggest group, not breads. This chart was overturned at the hand of special interests in the grain, meat, and dairy industries, all of which are heavily subsidized by the USDA.

So, please don't blame nutrition scientists for this. It generates distrust in actual science, a distrust based on misunderstandings and bad heuristics.

---

P.S.

Consistency demands that, if one has ethical motives for vegetarianism, one is committed to anti-natalism (the idea that choosing to have children is immoral). Most vegetarians seem to stop short of this conclusion, however, which I find puzzling.

daverupa
05 Jan 18, 21:47
Basically, the vegetarian ethic involves the idea that animal suffering is to be avoided, and that there is no non-suffering way to produce meat. So, producing & choosing to eat meat are immoral acts.

Now, having a child means generating a need for additional food while being unable to guarantee that a vegetarian diet will be chosen by that child, so having a child probably means facilitating meat production. This means facilitating animal suffering, and so the conclusion is reached: having a child is likely to facilitate animal suffering, and is thus immoral.


realistically...

Of course not... eventually that's going to hit home in a solid and lasting way, and I'll give up talking. In the meantime, I care about individual consistency of thought, and want to see people acting in cohesive, integrous ways.

ancientbuddhism
05 Jan 18, 21:58
Consistency demands that, if one has ethical motives for vegetarianism, one is committed to anti-natalism (the idea that choosing to have children is immoral). Most vegetarians seem to stop short of this conclusion, however, which I find puzzling.

A bold claim which I am interested to unpack. A decision to be vegetarian covers a broader range than petty morality. And are the aims of the Dhamma really including an anti-natal position? Can we find sources where the Tathāgata is instructing a suitable audience, that is of the laity, not to conceive?

daverupa
08 Jan 18, 19:20
A decision to be vegetarian covers a broader range than petty morality.

Then, call it 'sublime' morality. But it's an ethical position and it thereby generates a concomitant morality, which is to say, a call for the avoidance & performance of various behaviors relevant to the values defined in that ethical stance.

I have, thus far, only ever heard ethical arguments for vegetarianism.


And are the aims of the Dhamma really including an anti-natal position?

Probably. Just as a thought experiment, consider:

The Biological Imperative = Dukkha


Can we find sources where the Tathāgata is instructing a suitable audience, that is of the laity, not to conceive?

Nope, afaik.

Polar Bear
09 Jan 18, 09:00
Basically, the vegetarian ethic involves the idea that animal suffering is to be avoided, and that there is no non-suffering way to produce meat. So, producing & choosing to eat meat are immoral acts.

Now, having a child means generating a need for additional food while being unable to guarantee that a vegetarian diet will be chosen by that child, so having a child probably - [more like maybe here] means facilitating meat production. This means facilitating animal suffering, and so the conclusion is reached: having a child is likely - [maybe going to] to facilitate animal suffering, and is thus immoral.



Of course not... eventually that's going to hit home in a solid and lasting way, and I'll give up talking. In the meantime, I care about individual consistency of thought, and want to see people acting in cohesive, integrous ways.

If we take complete harm elimination as the standard, then we recognize that we are all moral failures. Failing to donate all not-completely-necessary income to the global poor would be an example of a moral failure that most of us will always have. However, we can donate whatever we are able and willing to the global poor, ideally with a mind open to donating progressively more and more of our income. While we may never be total saints in this regard, to whatever extent we tend in the direction towards donating our surplus income then to that extent we are living up to the ideal.

So a vegan or vegetarian who decides to have kids knowing that it may contribute to further animal suffering, can do so accepting that they are not necessarily living up to an ideal perfect standard. But they can also understand that to whatever extent they feed and raise up their children to be vegan, then to that extent they are living up to the ideal of not contributing at all to meat production.

Expecting perfect consistency in an individual's actions is generally going to lead to disappointment, whether that is one's own actions or the actions of others. Not that you're expecting that, I don't know what your expectations are.

srivijaya
09 Jan 18, 09:48
The Biological Imperative = Dukkha

It certainly does and one could argue that not having kids saves them the sufferings of a cruel world. I even know a few non-Buddhists who have chosen to not have kids for this reason. The only caveat would be that until a sentient being attains liberation, then Bhava still ensues in some form, somewhere. As death does not equate to Nibbana, the continuance is inevitable until it is ceased.

The ethical argument for vegetarianism is always an easy target to shoot holes in. Many people have said to me over the years, 'what about the poor insects which die on the crops you eat?' They have a point but the suffering of Samsara is integral to it. We can only ever draw lines in the sand. I don't consider that I have ethical reasons for not eating meat but I don't see a reason why my stomach should digest the dismembered remains of creatures slaughtered for the purpose of consumption.

I have an immediate and visceral disgust towards that proposition and feel it antithetical to the cultivation which has naturally occurred within my spiritual journey. I realise that's a deeply personal thing and I never impose it on my meat-eating family, or anyone else for that matter.

daverupa
09 Jan 18, 15:13
If we take complete harm elimination as the standard, then we recognize that we are all moral failures.

Instead, we should simply recognize that there is yet work to be done by us.


...to whatever extent we tend in the direction...

Exactly so, this is the way to assess it, not a binary yes/no with respect to accomplishing the ideal.


So a vegan or vegetarian who decides to have kids knowing that it may contribute to further animal suffering...

...has come up against cognitive dissonance, and that dilemma is a call to action for them, a call for them to discover their actual priorities, and not the ones they like to think of themselves as exemplifying. Then, progress towards consistency can begin again, or remain ongoing. The point remains that since vegetarian ethics have a necessary anti-natalist facet, a vegetarian has taken it upon themselves to either strive for consistency - and thus embrace anti-natalism - or else treat ethical choices like a buffet, a selection of personal preferences continually rationalized after the fact.


The only caveat would be that until a sentient being attains liberation, then Bhava still ensues in some form, somewhere.

Whether or not we accept the claim that the "gandhabba" mechanic exists, the point I am making remains unchallenged. Your approach here might be heading towards the idea that having children is a boon to them because of the mere chance to hear Dhamma. I think this sort of approach puts speculative metaphysics above empirical facts about suffering here and now, and I think this structure of thinking generates evil behavior. (But that's maybe another thread, something about metaphysics being the work of Satan, etc.)

srivijaya
09 Jan 18, 22:16
Whether or not we accept the claim that the "gandhabba" mechanic exists,
Is there anywhere in the scripture where death equates to cessation? I ask as some here are way more versed in the Pali than I. If it does, then who ever claimed that the "gandhabba" mechanic exists?


Your approach here might be heading towards the idea that having children is a boon to them because of the mere chance to hear Dhamma.
The variables of life mean that such an assumption is rather conceited; who knows what life holds. That said, my kids are rather partial to Buddhism, so...? Which wasn't the reason we chose to have them mind you. Just saying.


I think this sort of approach puts speculative metaphysics above empirical facts about suffering here and now, and I think this structure of thinking generates evil behavior. (But that's maybe another thread, something about metaphysics being the work of Satan, etc.)
When it comes to combating evil Satanic metaphysics, we stand shoulder to shoulder. The only question is, whose crucifix is the more blessed brother, yours or mine.;)

daverupa
09 Jan 18, 22:54
Is there anywhere in the scripture where death equates to cessation?

Of course not; the texts are wrapped around rebirth such that death only means cessation for an arahant, and no one else. The mechanic for how rebirth takes place involves the gandhabba, a spirit being of sorts, and its this thing that an arahant prevents from happening in their own case.

srivijaya
10 Jan 18, 09:22
Of course not; the texts are wrapped around rebirth such that death only means cessation for an arahant, and no one else. The mechanic for how rebirth takes place involves the gandhabba, a spirit being of sorts, and its this thing that an arahant prevents from happening in their own case.

Perhaps there is the possibility that the process has no need of a spirit being. As far as I know Buddha never taught that any such 'thing' transmigrated. He seemed to be quite against that scenario.

Anyway, I seem to have drifted off topic.

I've recently been debating whether Quorn is truly vegetarian or not. A veggie mate of mine refuses to touch it. He claims that the production process does involve the use of some animal extracts, although the completed product can be legally designated 'meat-free', as indeed it is. I guess similar to the new bank notes.

Anyone else know about this?

Aloka
15 Nov 21, 17:47
I thought I'd revive this topic in view of climate change and environmental issues.

Its also worth looking at this Buddhist vegetarian website:

http://shabkar.org/vegetarianism/index.htm


:hands:

KathyLauren
19 Nov 21, 18:01
I thought I'd revive this topic in view of climate change and environmental issues.

Its also worth looking at this Buddhist vegetarian website:

http://shabkar.org/vegetarianism/index.htm


:hands:

A bold move, since, in my experience, threads on vegetarianism tend to be the most acrimonious, and the longest, of any on Buddhist forums! :lol:

I have been vegetarian (vegan, actually) for decades, as a way of incorporating my Buddhist values in my daily life. I don't inflict that lifestyle on anyone else, although any guests in our house will eat vegan food, since that is all that we have to offer.

All environmental organizations recognize that a large-scale switch to a plant-based diet is the single most effective thing we can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Om mani padme hum
Kathy