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Thread: Your thoughts on Vegetarianism ?

  1. #31
    Forums Member daverupa's Avatar
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    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    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.

  2. #32
    Forums Member ancientbuddhism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daverupa View Post
    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?

  3. #33
    Forums Member daverupa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ancientbuddhism View Post
    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.

  4. #34
    Forums Member Polar Bear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daverupa View Post
    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.

  5. #35
    Forums Member srivijaya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daverupa View Post
    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.

  6. #36
    Forums Member daverupa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polar Bear View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by srivijaya View Post
    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.)

  7. #37
    Forums Member srivijaya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daverupa View Post
    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.

  8. #38
    Forums Member daverupa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by srivijaya View Post
    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.

  9. #39
    Forums Member srivijaya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daverupa View Post
    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?

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