Discussion in 'Eastern Religions and Philosophies' started by seattlegal, Nov 6, 2011.
well said, Nick... well said indeed...
ACOT: Material life, escape, bliss, suffering -- none of these things exist, as things, as themselves. They're just... words... empty... impute them with the significance you want to impute them with, that's what buddhism says. There's nothing wrong with being happy. There's nothing wrong with earning money or living life -- buddhism wants that, for you. It wants you to be happy and help you dodge misery. It wants to make you... cleverer and more insightful. There is no escaping anywhere -- what does that mean? Death? Nothingness?
Balls to that. You're alive, you have to live. Being happy isn't a sin. Neither is being a human being. Yeah, we can pretend we're "perfecting" ourselves, as buddhists, but really, we're just getting caught up in a game. So, the game doesn't suit you. That's okay. It doesn't suit me, either. And I'm a buddhist.
Steady on. The Buddha ate meat.
Bhikkhus and bhikkhunis of Shakyamuni accepted all alms offered with gratitude as did the Buddha. Hence the meat-eating.
Alms were consumed with mindfulness, not discrimination. No bad or good java.
Instructions To The Tenzo is a fascicle on mindfulness. The position of Tenzo (cook) is a senior position, as it was in China, in Ch'an monasteries.
I eat steak because it tastes good. (It's also an excellent source of protein.) But I would be okay if I never ate steak again, meaning that I am not attached to eating steak.
But I have to eat, hamburger is food and protein, I need protein, and I'm not ready to go vegetarian just yet. I regret eating a hamburger every time I eat one knowing that an animal had to die for my meal, and I plan to become vegetarian someday, but I'm not in a good position to do that right now. (And I live in China which makes it all the more difficult.)
Yes, he did occasionally eat meat. And refused to make his monastaries vegetarian. But he also taught against not eating meat, among his other contradictory teachings. My understanding is that he was against "killing" for meat; that one could eat "leftovers" but shouldn't kill an animal for its meat. But how else does meat end up on the table (and therefore is available for leftover alms) if it isn't killed? This reinforces my earlier point about the disconnect that many people have between eating meat and the death it entails.
Chapter 7 of Nirvana Sutra:
"One who eats meat kills the seed of great compassion... O Kasyapa! I, from now on, tell my disciples to refrain from eating any kind of meat... It is the same with one who eats meat. It is a similar situation with all people who, on smelling the meat, become afraid and entertain the thought of death. All living things in the water, on land and in the sky desert such a person and run away. They say that this person is their enemy. Hence the Bodhisattva does not eat meat."
Mañjuśrī asked, “Do Buddhas not eat meat because of the tathāgata-garbha ?” The Blessed One replied, “Mañjuśrī, that is so. There are no beings who have not been one’s mother, who have not been one’s sister through generations of wandering in beginningless and endless saṃsāra. Even one who is a dog has been one’s father, for the world of living beings is like a dancer. Therefore, one’s own flesh and the flesh of another are a single flesh, so Buddhas do not eat meat.
“Moreover, Mañjuśrī, the dhātu of all beings is the dharmadhātu, so Buddhas do not eameat because they would be eating the flesh of one single dhātu.”
So, like other holy books, I guess one can pick and choose whether they think eating meat is acceptable Buddhist practice. I'm not trying to be the morality police (I'm a hunter), just trying to raise awareness of the connection between meat and death of a sentient being.
What do you think eating meat does to a Buddhist's karma? Good karma or bad karma?
Indeed, from a schools POV it is complex. I think you are more likely to find Mahayana Sutras explicitly promote not eating meat than the Suttas of the Theravada. I could be wrong of course! – I’ve not made an in-depth study of it.
Are you meaning the results (vipaka)? (Kamma is considered an impersonal law of action, nothing good or bad about it). Bright, dark, neither dark nor bright kamma… Trying to work out the fruits may cause madness and vexation, as sg will confirm (it is complex and non-linear; Indra’s Net). And so I don’t. I focus on the present.
Hi Snoopy, I focus on the present as well. But surely you consider the cause & effect of your actions?
What do you think is the cause and effect, of your eating meat vs. not eating meat, on the rest of the earth? Does eating meat cause more suffering to other sentient beings and to the earth's ecosystem than not eating meat? How would the earth be different if meat was not commercially raised?
Yes of course I try to; but much beyond the immediate may be impossible to discern. If I flap my arms, I cannot say what contribution that makes to the next hurricane on the other side of the world. The relationships between events (causality) is of course complex and non-linear.
Ah, mindful eating! If I don't eat meat then the demand and hence killing of these creatures is reduced by however many I would otherwise consume in my lifetime. Beyond that, speculation. I do not consider myself as separate from 'the rest of the earth', so add that to the mix! But I am the only consumer that I have direct control over.
I think so.
Back to the complexities of causality! It seems to me the global industrialisation of meat production, including the use of land for grazing rather than crop production, is a significant factor in biosphere denigration, poverty and famine. As a crude point, in a rapidly rising world population it is not sustainable (aside from any ethical issues) to use Africa for the production of burgers for the relatively affluent.
So I think the Earth would perhaps be in 'better shape'. However I suspect we've already gone past some sort of tipping point. We're pushing our home out of kilter. We think we are God, but we're just some bald apes.
OK, then why do you think "eating meat" is consistent with Buddhist principles as you implied in post # 23 ?
From the Access to Insight article on Nibbana as Living Experience:
An arahant is such a perfect being that it is simply impossible for him to commit an immoral act. He is incapable of wilfully destroying the life of a living creature.
Do you think one can eat commercially-raised meat (therefore wilfully destroying the life of a living creature), and still attain Nibbana?
You have drawn that conclusion from my post; however it was not my intention to imply what you have taken from it. I simply stated a fact.
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Perhaps you and I have different understandings of Nibbana, or different understandings of morality. I personally understand the "living experience" of Nibbana to be a journey towards happiness, moral perfection, realization, and freedom (to quote the aforementioned Nibbana article).
I don't see how anyone can attain "moral perfection" while eating commercial meat. All other things being equal; if one can choose from two paths, one of higher morality than the other, which path should one choose?
Now to really get on my soapbox: eating commercial meat is a form of greed. Most humans do not want to give up their enjoyment of eating meat, even though they generally admit (as you do) that it would benefit other sentient beings and the environment as a whole to do so (in addition to benefiting their own human health). In general, the motivation for eating meat is not nutrition but pleasure.
If you refuse to give up eating meat for whatever reason you give, my guess is that you are attached to it. But here's a challenge: if you're not attached to the pleasure of eating meat, can you give up eating it for a week? for a month? for a year? for 10 years? for the rest of this lifetime?
Meat Morality Policeman
Methinks Snoopy is already vegetarian, or mostly so.
If Snoopy is mostly vegetarian then he's almost there But my comments aren't meant as a personal attack towards Snoopy, just general commentary towards our pervasive meat-eating world culture. (Sorry Snoop if they come across too personal, I enjoy a good debate)
I pondered these same questions of attachment to the pleasure of meat eating 10 years ago when I moved into a liberal community where I was surrounded by several vegans. I had never given much thought to eating meat beforehand.
Now, after not having eaten commercial meat for 10 years, I have developed my own strain of vegetarianism (which, Nick the Pilot, I can assure you is more difficult in rural Iowa than in China). And I feel a much deeper connection to Mother Nature by being mindful of what I eat and why. As Wendel Berry says: "how we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is used." Which seems to run parallel to Buddhist concepts such as interdependence and non-violence.
"...Buddhist concepts such as interdependence and non-violence."
...which is one of the reasons I like Buddhism more than any other religion (even if many Buddhists refuse to say it is a religion!)
Someone also made the comment that Buddha was not a vegetarian. He may have grown up in a meat-eating family. If so, it is very difficult for such people (myself included) to give up meat.
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