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Can you eat meat and be Buddhist ?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Paranoid Android, May 11, 2015.

  1. von bek

    von bek Well-Known Member

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    Well, the Buddha's position for monks is that it is okay for them to eat meat as long as they know the animal was not specifically slaughtered for them. Being a Buddhism DIR, I find that an acceptable position.
     
  2. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    but we are not living on alms , .....
     
  3. von bek

    von bek Well-Known Member

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    Do you think the Buddha's standards for monks is more strict or less strict than it is for lay followers?

    The Buddha explicitly disallowed the eating of human flesh, regardless of how it was procured. Living on alms does not get you out of that restriction. The Buddha could have outright prohibited all consumption of flesh by monks. Easily. But, he didn't. Instead he said to not eat any animal that you knew was to be slaughtered specifically for you. If you are visiting family and someone serves a dish with meat in it, the only intention you have is to eat. You form no intention in connection with the taking of life.
     
  4. von bek

    von bek Well-Known Member

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    Furthermore, who was providing meat to the monks for alms? Buddhist lay followers! The Buddha could have forbidden them from offering meat. He did not do so.
     
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  5. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Yes, Buddha's way for laymen was more lenient than Jainism or Vaishnavism, where non-vegetarian food is a 'no' even for the laymen.
     
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  6. Osal

    Osal Active Member

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    I love vegitarian discussions. They invariably lead to contention.

    To add to the discussion .....

    If you want to become a vegetarian sort of Buddhist, fine, that all the more meat for me to eat. However if you do so make sure it's out of true compassion, nonreferential compassion, the compassion of a Bohdisattva. If, god forbid, you do so out of a sense of guilt - guilt out of the suffering you've been inflicting on critters - then your practice will be ego-based and bad karma no matter how many critters are spared. But as VB points out, not one less animal will be slaughtered because of what you choose to do. Let your action be for the benefit of beings, not satisfaction of ego.
     
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  7. Vishvavajra

    Vishvavajra Active Member

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    Different branches of Buddhism answer this question differently. The Theravada answer tends to be that monks can eat meat as long as it's somebody else's leftovers, and there's no explicit rule for laymen. The standard Mahayana answer, especially in the Chinese tradition, is that everybody ought to be vegetarian, including laymen. But even then it's more of a strong recommendation than a rule; nobody is actually going around policing what people eat. It's a decision people have to come to on their own.

    All strands of Buddhism agree that intentionally killing sentient beings for food is a bad idea and an obstacle to one's practice, as is participating in that kind of thing by purchasing meat (i.e. paying someone else to do the butchering for you). Where the traditions differ is on whether it's OK for mendicants to accept leftover meat that is donated by someone else. Meat-eating of the sort that is familiar to most people today is strongly discouraged all around as something that interferes with the cultivation of compassion etc.

    Consequently, although not all Buddhists are vegetarians in practice, Buddhism and vegetarianism are practically synonymous in many places, so strong is the correlation. But you don't have to be a vegetarian before you can start practicing Buddhism—quite the contrary! In my experience, people are often not vegetarians when they first start practicing, but steady practice will make them want to give up their carnivorous ways in time as they come to understand the consequences of their actions.
     
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  8. Rick O'Shez

    Rick O'Shez Irishman bouncing off walls

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    If you buy a chicken from a supermarket then the supermarket will order another one to maintain stock levels, so down the line another chicken is killed. Your decision to buy the chicken results in another being killed.
     
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  9. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    namaskaram osal ji

    there need not nececarily be contention it is simply a matter of the depth of ones understanding and comittment , ....
    and a discussion about its merits , ...



    then you are shameless , ....and attatched to sence gratification , if a true buddhist acepts meat it is to sustain the body no more no less , to joke that there will be more meat for you is in poor taste , ....


    even if ones feeling were that of Guilt , ...and that guilt leads to renunciation this does not imply that ones actionis ego based , ......Guilt just implies that one recognises ones actions to have caused harm , ...


    this is a totaly false assumption , ...but one a meat eater will cling to to justify his habbit , .....
     
  10. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    namaskaram Von Bek ji

    at the time of the Buddha only his followers would have been considered Buddhist , the lay comunuty where ever the Buddha and his monks would have gone were following the vedic tradition of offering food to any one who came to your door , this was a common practice as there were many asthetics and renunciates living in the forests before the time of the Buddha , Buddha and his followers having renounced worldly life and all posessions simply followed in this tradition .
     
  11. Makaranda

    Makaranda Active Member

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    Where there is supply there is demand. Without demand for meat, the meat supply will decrease. As Norman has pointed out, buying meat means there will be more meat, which means more suffering down the line. Change has to happen on the personal, individual level, which in turn has a greater effect on the collective society. In my own life, for example, since becoming Vegetarian it has had a knock on effect on my family; they consume far less meat and a greater variety of (healthy) vegetarian meals than ever before, and this in turn has also positively impacted the dietary habits of friends and colleagues associated with the family. I don't think there is really any good excuse to be a meat-eater if you are living in a developed economy with a wide variety of choice regarding food.

    I am puzzled by the Buddhist emphasis on compassion and non-violence in contrast to the eating habits of many Buddhists. Where there is meat, death and suffering are never far away, regardless of who swings the killing blow. Did the Buddha provide justification for meat eating which is applicable for Buddhists today?
     
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  12. psychoslice

    psychoslice Veteran Member

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    As a Buddha, I see nothing wrong in eating meat, also as a Buddha I see no death and no life, nothing is born, and nothing dies, if you kill an animal for its food, then you are doing what id right, everything is food for everything else, this is truth.
     
  13. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    namaskaram vishvavajra ji

    jai jai , ....by this explanation it can be plainly seen that as Buddhism developed and gained strength where it went into new comunities it actively taught on the principle of non harming , Mahayana traditions also set up monastaries , therefore a need to provide for resident monks , in which case a standard would have been set prohibiting meat in the diet in all places except where there is simply not enough food to live in a meat free diet , (this happens in some areas like mongolia and tibet) once established monastaries became more prevailant there was more possibility to influence the local comunities .

    personaly I dont think we should even see it as an obstacal to ones own practice , more we should regard it as an offence to cause suffering , ....true yes it is an obstacal but only where that obstacal is attatchment , ...there by one might say that such an attatchment will certainly result in an interferance with ones cultivation of compassion , as one canot have selective compassion , ....except at the begining of ones life where one naturaly in a child like manner feels compassion for a dog otr a cat , but will happily eat a Calf or a Goat when one matures one realises that a dog and a goat have the same sentient nature , when one comes to this realisation one can no more eat a goat than one can ones pet dog , ....

    although the cultivation of compassion is seen as a worthy practice , ....it is more a practice of overcoming the tendancy of the mind to see the self in one light and others in another , ...thus by the practice of equalising self and other compassion naturaly arrises , ...

    this is very true of the mahayana traditions where the empasiss on compassion is more prominent , but sadly many more theravadins continue in the diet of their culture they may prehaps lesen their intake , .... but from observation the question of meat eating is not given so much consideration .[
     
  14. Rick O'Shez

    Rick O'Shez Irishman bouncing off walls

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    It puzzles me too sometimes. I think the explanation is simply that a lot of people are attached to eating meat and don't want to give it up.
     
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  15. Vishvavajra

    Vishvavajra Active Member

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    Yes, it's true. That is why it is said that compassion is the natural result of wisdom—i.e. seeing things for how they really are. It is the practical result of the realization of selflessness, that practitioners no longer see themselves as the default reference point that is separate and different from everyone else. Buddhist wisdom teaches that the dog and the goat are not ultimately different, but neither is oneself and the goat. The practitioner should cultivate concern for all beings and not wish harm on any of them.

    It is also useful, what you said about focusing on the needs of others. While it's true that meat-eating poses an obstacle to one's practice, that can sound self-centered if heard in the wrong way. The real obstacle is being apathetic towards the pain of others, or thinking that it matters less than one's own desires. For this reason compassion is the way of the bodhisattva, who practices to save all beings.

    It is unfortunate, probably a result of the comparatively little emphasis on lay practice among Theravadins. It is changing somewhat, as Western lay Theravadins are unwilling to let monks have all the fun, and some Theravada lineages have begun outreach to lay communities, teaching meditation etc. Encouraging the keeping of precepts is part of that. The Mahayana tradition, by contrast, has a long history of giving laymen something to do beyond just supporting monastics, and the keeping of precepts among laymen is considered very important. Vegetarianism is based on the very first precept, after all.

    Even in the Mahayana tradition it has deteriorated in some places, like Japan for example, where state persecution in the 19th century led to the forced breaking of precepts and a general breakdown of monastic culture and thus the tradition of Buddhist vegetarianism, which used to be a much bigger deal there.
     
  16. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    *** Thread moved to Religious Debates ***
     
  17. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    Being a vegetarian is a personal choice. It's not my job to go about telling others what they should eat of not eat. I don't see it as my job to "fix" everyone else's kharma. They have to make the choice out of their own sense of compassion, not because it is what someone else is telling them they should do.

    I'm a vegetarian because it is the right thing for me. Being a Buddhist or not has nothing to do with it.

    I don't think you are going to make brownie points with anyone so act in accordance with your own compassion.
    Well maybe you will make brownie points with some groups of folks, but that is a ridicules reason to be doing it.
     
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  18. Rick O'Shez

    Rick O'Shez Irishman bouncing off walls

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    I agree, and I think that applies generally to ethical decisions in Buddhism as we become more aware of the consequences of our behaviour.
     
  19. von bek

    von bek Well-Known Member

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    Believe it or not, I try to eat vegetarian most of the time. I cannot remember the last time I bought meat from the store to bring home to cook. In fact, I cook very little at home and when I do it usually involves pasta. I try to eat as little as I can get away with without feeling nauseated. But, I am flexible and will eat meat if that is what is being served. I was a strict vegetarian for about three years. I broke my meat fast after having some dental work and realizing that my body was in desperate need of protein...

    Today, I had tomato soup and sweet potato chips for lunch. For dinner, I just finished eating a veggie fajita taco with some corn chips.
     
  20. Levite

    Levite Higher and Higher

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    A Buddhist goes up to a hot dog cart and says, "Make me one with everything."

    ***

    The hot dog vendor hands him a dog, and asks for three bucks. The Buddhist hands him a five, and waits. Nothing happens, then the Buddhist says, "Hey! What about my change?"

    The hot dog vendor replies, "Change comes from within."
     
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