Author Topic: Vegetarianism - A Buddhist practice?  (Read 29955 times)

RedLantern

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Re: Vegetarianism - A Buddhist practice?
« Reply #30 on: March 17, 2012, 05:56:32 AM »
Not all Buddhiist are vegetarians and the attitudes about vegetarianism vary from sect to sect as well as from
individual to individual.Buddhist refrain from eating meat out of loving kindness for living animals.
I'm a Buddhist and vegetarian too,and being vegetarian makes me aware of the sufferings of these animals.
The Buddha states that "the eating of meat extinguishes the seed of great compassion"thus this shows that the Buddha weigh strongly in favor of vegetarianism.
To refrain from eating meat,lessen our attachment and to practice compassion which is what Buddhism is all about.

Jessie Fong

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Re: Vegetarianism - A Buddhist practice?
« Reply #31 on: March 17, 2012, 07:36:01 AM »
My late maternal grandmother abstained from eating eat on days that she went to the temple to make prayers.  And she never ate beef - she told us it was because when she was small, she came across a cow that was being led to be slaughtered.  The crying sound that came from the cow tugged at her heart strings and she vowed to never eat beef.

She was a very simple lady, uneducated but she was very pious when it came to her ritual of going to the temple to pray.  My parents did not inculcate in us the need to be vegetarian so we all grew up eating that was cooked.

Since not all Buddhists are vegetarians, it becomes a personal choice to be vegetarian but if we truly want to see less sufferings for those animals, then we should slowly cut off meat from our meals, if we cannot switch to be a vegetarian immediately.

Tammy

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Re: Vegetarianism - A Buddhist practice?
« Reply #32 on: March 18, 2012, 10:44:53 AM »
When I visited Nepal sometime back, the tour guide who's a Hindu; explained that for the Hindus , animal sacrifice is to help the animal to collect merits since in its animal form the poor animal can't perform any virtuous action to collect merits.

I had also read in a book - The Spiritual Traveler (if I remember correctly), that some Buddhists claim eating meat is a way to help the animal killed for its meat to end its animal life and thereafter take a more fortunate rebirth.

The above two views sound bizarre to me. What do the rest think ?

Dear Kurava,

Sounds to me like an extremely lean excuse for eating meat !!
There are many ways we as intelligent human beings can do to help animals gain merits for better rebirths, e.g. Chant Mantra and blow onto them, put them on vegetarian diet (possible but very difficult), etc.. But eating them and making them the sacrifices for ritual? I am really sorry I can agree with that..
Down with the BAN!!!

sonamdhargey

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Re: Vegetarianism - A Buddhist practice?
« Reply #33 on: March 18, 2012, 11:05:43 AM »
Being vegetarian is an act of compassion. Being a vegetarian is making a decision of non killing by not being the cause of death of that particular animal directly or indirectly. Some people justify that the animal is already dead so why waste it by not eating them? after all I didn't kill them. I just buy them of the shelf of a supermarket. Then justify if there is no demand, should there be supply? Other people killing and butchering to make a living to put those meat on your table. Eating meat itself creates a negative chain reaction, the industry of meaningless killing to satisfy our taste buds. The human body does not need meat to be healthy however eating meat is harmful to the human body.

Midakpa

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Re: Vegetarianism - A Buddhist practice?
« Reply #34 on: March 25, 2012, 08:04:27 AM »
Devadatta made 5 proposals concerning the bhikkhu's life to the Buddha. All 5 were rejected. One of these was for monks to adhere to a vegetarian diet. Why did the Buddha reject the practice of vegetarianism? It is because vegetarianism is not conducive to the bhikkhu's life which is characterised by the following:

1. Alms-beggar: The bhikkhu is not allowed to ask for anything. He has to accept whatever food is offered (except for human, elephant, horse, dog, snake, lion, tiger, panther, bear, hyena) if the meat is pure in three respects as already mentioned by KG.
2. Homeless life:  The Buddha encouraged his monks to wander "for the blessing of the many folk, for the happiness of the many folk, out of compassion for the world."
3. Seclusion: The Buddha discouraged monastic community life for a monk seeking his own salvation.
4. Eating one meal a day before noon: This meant that the food had to be nourishing and nutritious in order to sustain the bhikkhu for 24 hours, bearing in mind the Buddha taught his disciples to sleep from 10pm to 2am (the 2nd watch of the night). An alms-beggar would not normally expect to get good quality food. To restrict oneself to a vegetarian diet would cause even more problems.
5. Life of poverty: A Bhikkhu is not allowed to possess money, etc. Thus he would not be in a position to buy good food or medicine by himself.
6. Uposatha ceremony: This is a forthnightly recitation of the precepts to ensure that the bhikkhus adhere to the life-style of bhikkhus as taught by the Buddha. (Later, the Chinese bhikkhus broke the practice of alms-begging by planting their own vegetables and could therefore become vegetarians.)

Some Buddhists argue that vegetarianism is not connected with the holy life which is concerned with the eradication of defilements. Some sects practice a very strict vegetarian diet, not allowing even  foods like dairy products, nuts and fruits. If  one's spiritual attainments were connected to the food we eat, then these practitioners would have surpassed the Buddhists. But according to the Buddha, it is only in Buddhism that the first, second, third and fourth stage Arahats are found.

Various sects tried to ridicule the Buddha for his non-vegetarian practice. The Buddha defended himself by quoting the Amagandha Sutra spoken by the previous Buddha Kasyapa. Buddha Kasyapa was a Brahmin by birth and was thus a vegetarian but upon attaining Buddhahood, he stopped his vegetarian habit. He replied to criticisms by saying that the "dirt" was in the defilements of our mind, not in the food we eat.

(N.B. Most of the above information is taken from Bhikkhu Hye Dhammavuddho"s "Return to the Original Buddha Teachings" (1988).

sonamdhargey

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Re: Vegetarianism - A Buddhist practice?
« Reply #35 on: March 25, 2012, 09:31:52 AM »
When I visited Nepal sometime back, the tour guide who's a Hindu; explained that for the Hindus , animal sacrifice is to help the animal to collect merits since in its animal form the poor animal can't perform any virtuous action to collect merits.

I had also read in a book - The Spiritual Traveler (if I remember correctly), that some Buddhists claim eating meat is a way to help the animal killed for its meat to end its animal life and thereafter take a more fortunate rebirth.

The above two views sound bizarre to me. What do the rest think ?


Dear Kurava,

This is not bizarre, I think it is a very arrogant to think that we have the attainments of a Buddha to be able to benefit the animal by eating it. I certainly do not think we have that power as our spiritual practice is bare minimum, we don't even hold our vows properly, which reflects on our lukewarm motivation. Since our motivation is like that, how do we even bless the poor dead animal?

Some people overcome their guilt of eating meat by reciting Medicine Buddha mantra or the other mantra - Om Abhira Te Zara Soha. However, I think it is like cutting an animal up, then we stitch and nurse the animal back to health again so we can repeat the same process. There's no doubt the mantras do benefit the animals but doing that to the animals doesn't help our karma of eating the animal.

Dear Big Uncle,

Agreed. It is just like fishing game. People go fishing and to overcome their guilt, when the fish are caught they unhook the fish and let it go. All this in the name of leisure and further enforcing their actions to participate in this game. What they didn't realized is that the fish do suffer. But at least it is not killed. However when they have lunch or dinner they order fish to eat and it is really contradicting. So what is the point of compassion fishing and after that eat fish in the restaurant? An act of compassion is compassion. There are no 2 ways about it.

buddhalovely

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Re: Vegetarianism - A Buddhist practice?
« Reply #36 on: March 26, 2012, 07:18:38 AM »
Being a vegetarian when your a buddhist is not mandatory but it is highly encouraged. It helps motivate our undying love for all sentient beings especially animals as they do not have a choice on how they should live their lives. It is an act of compassion though it depends on ones requirements. For example, pregnant women and children are not recommended to take vegetarian meals as it can cause damage to the body system. Sometimes, being a vegetarian could leas a person to have less nutrients than what they have existing because of health issues since birth.

bambi

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Re: Vegetarianism - A Buddhist practice?
« Reply #37 on: March 29, 2012, 05:55:22 AM »
In Buddhism point of view, I think majority of us choose vegetarianism because of love and compassion of not killing animals. I can imagine how painful and scary to be slit and hung up for the blood to be drained. Struggling to breath and looking at your innards hanging out of your body!

I have friends who are vegetarians because it is healthier for their body and they feel 'lighter' not eating meat.

And not to forget the damage of global warming. How can we be selfish knowing the threat it will post for future generations? What about the children? The people who will still be here after we are gone?

rossoneri

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Re: Vegetarianism - A Buddhist practice?
« Reply #38 on: March 30, 2012, 08:14:03 AM »
In Buddhism it is not compulsory one have to be a vegetarian but buddhism encourage one to be a vegetarian. Especially now we have so much options and choices of food available conveniently almost everywhere. We do not kill and we also practices compassion. So why are we telling the world about how profoundly we hold our vows and yet we still consume meat/ life?

And if Buddha did had some meat, it is not for Himself. With the correct motivation, it's for Him to continue his journey to turn the wheel of Dharma. Not like most of us, mainly for self pleasured. I think the meat will collect so much merits or whatever it is before being slaughtered just to be taken by Buddha Himself. It'll be blessed tremendously. Moreover, those days Buddha do not have the luxury of convenient stores everywhere.

Put spiritual aside I think being a vegetarian is healthier. Plus we have convenient stores everywhere at anytime.

pgdharma

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Re: Vegetarianism - A Buddhist practice?
« Reply #39 on: March 30, 2012, 03:07:56 PM »
I think it is better to recite mantras on the animals and  set them free instead of killing them with the excuse of helping them take a better rebirth.  For lay people, if we do not hold our vows well or our motivation is not strong, I don't think our mantras will be strong enough to help the animals of a better rebirth.
 
All animals are living beings irrespective of whether they are bred as food or kept as pet. If we say we are animal lovers, that we keep dogs and cats as pets than we should not be eating animals at all. When we reflect on how the animals are killed for our consumption, it will definitely make us think twice before we gobble up the meat.

ilikeshugden

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Re: Vegetarianism - A Buddhist practice?
« Reply #40 on: March 31, 2012, 12:02:24 AM »
Me being vegetarian was purely not because of religious views. I just cannot bear to imagine animals suffering so much just to feed my unworthy stomach. I think that there are various reasons why should one not eat meat. For example, as said in the the Lankavatara Sutra, the Buddha says that, present-day animals may have been one's kin in the past ,one's own parents and relatives may in a future life be born as an animal, there is no logic in exempting the meat of some animals on customary grounds while not exempting all meat, meat is impure as it is always contaminated by body wastes, the prospect of being killed spreads terror amongst animals, all meat is nothing other than decaying flesh, meat eating makes the consumer to be cruel and sensual. I think that these reasons alone should be able to at least produce a shift in a person's mind stream when it comes to eating meat.

Carpenter

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Re: Vegetarianism - A Buddhist practice?
« Reply #41 on: March 31, 2012, 03:52:44 PM »
I think it is better to recite mantras on the animals and  set them free instead of killing them with the excuse of helping them take a better rebirth.  For lay people, if we do not hold our vows well or our motivation is not strong, I don't think our mantras will be strong enough to help the animals of a better rebirth.
 
All animals are living beings irrespective of whether they are bred as food or kept as pet. If we say we are animal lovers, that we keep dogs and cats as pets than we should not be eating animals at all. When we reflect on how the animals are killed for our consumption, it will definitely make us think twice before we gobble up the meat.

I agree, who are we to bless the animal? Even we hold vows strongly, are they good enough to give blessing to them by eating them? I think even monks are not confident enough to do so, more over us as lay people?

I do heard before that someone chant a few prayer, dedicate to the animal and eat it, what they told me is this animal already dead, it make no different whether we eat or not, instead of wasting it, it will be better for me to eat than other people eating it, at least i say a prayer for his better rebirth. The words sound good, but to me, this is just a covering that they wanted to eat meat.

On the non-buddhism aspect, I have found out that having meat heavily will also cause several disease, such as Heart disease, Insufficient Fiber Intake, etc. the research shown that Heavy reliance on meat as a food source can lower your overall fiber intake. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is found in plant-based foods but not meat. This nutrient is necessary for proper digestion and might help prevent constipation, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Fiber also might help lower serum cholesterol, triglyceride and glucose levels in diabetics. It also might reduce your risk of breast, prostate and cancer.

so not only spiritual side encourages, even non-spiritual side that is also no good for eating meat.

Rihanna

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Re: Vegetarianism - A Buddhist practice?
« Reply #42 on: July 15, 2012, 01:56:52 PM »
Vegetarianism is not necessarily a Buddhist practice. Buddha himself was not a vegetarian. I do not think it is documented in any sutras that one has to be vegetarian to be a Buddhist.

However, when you eat meat, you are indirectly responsible for killing a being. The same goes when you eat vegetables as the farmer has to spray insecticides so that the vegetables are not destroyed by pests. And then you have things like leather bags, leather belts, soap, shoes that are made from animals killed for that purpose. It is impossible to live in some ways without being responsible for indirect killing. That is why even by our sheer existence itself is suffering (The First Noble Truth) and each day we are collecting negative karma, directly and indirectly no matter how morally you live your life.

But as a being who strives to develop compassion, at the least, adopt as much indirect killing as possible. Animals can not verbally express their fear of being killed or the suffering conditions of modern industrial farming. So it is good that practitioners move towards vegetarianism and incorporate that into their spiritual quest.

diamond girl

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Re: Vegetarianism - A Buddhist practice?
« Reply #43 on: July 15, 2012, 03:18:17 PM »
Without diversion from the spiritual aspect, I heard about this Blood Type Diet a while back and this thread reminded me of that. It seems that our blood type tells us what we should eat for our nutritional well being. For knowledge you can read about it here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_type_diet

My personal take on vegetarianism is compassionate eating. After watching Earthlings and the immense cruelty to animals to meet demand is when I viewed being vegetarian as an economical decision. I figured that if people reduced demand, the natural supply chain could cope and animals did not need to be killed in masses and also bred in such unnatural ways. The supply could be free roaming. This is when I started being vegetarian day by day. I did not go cold turkey but increasing days as weeks went by.

And when I shared my perspective on a supply/demand angle many friends followed me to my vegetarian dinners. One step at a time concept. 

Positive Change

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Re: Vegetarianism - A Buddhist practice?
« Reply #44 on: January 19, 2013, 07:09:15 AM »
It was said that Hitler was vegetarian... Whether or not this can be proved or disproved is irrelevant at the moment. But let us for one moment assume he was, imagine how warped his whole perception was? He would refuse to kill animals but did not bat an eyelid when it came to other humans...

Here is an interesting read on this matter. It is an anylysis or a hypothesis even:

Food writer Bee Wilson is of the opinion that: "His distaste for meat knew no pity of animals." She went on to note that: "At mealtimes he often boasted - in graphic detail - of a slaughterhouse he had visited in Ukraine. It amused him to spoil carnivorous guests' appetites." This idea, however, is not supported by the BBC series The Nazis: a Warning from History. In this series an eyewitness account tells of Hitler watching movies (which he did very often). If ever a scene showed (even fictional) cruelty to or death of an animal, Hitler would cover his eyes and look away until someone alerted him the scene was over. The documentary also commented on the German animal welfare laws that the Nazis introduced, which were unparalleled at the time. The German psychoanalyst, Erich Fromm, believed that Hitler's vegetarianism was actually a means of atoning for the death of his half-niece Geli Raubal, as well as a means of proving to himself and others that he was incapable of killing.

On the other hand, author Rynn Berry, a vegetarian and animal rights advocate, maintains that although Hitler reduced the amount of meat in his diet, he never stopped eating meat completely for any significant length of time. Berry argues that many historians mistakenly use the term "vegetarian" to describe a "flexitarian" i.e. someone who simply reduces their meat consumption. This view is consistent with the actions of Hitler's physician, Theodor Morell, who from 1936 almost until Hitler's death by suicide in 1945, gave him "quack supplements" which contained animal components. Other injected preparations contained placenta, bovine testosterone and extracts containing seminal vesicles and prostate to combat depression. At the time, extracts from animal glands were popularly believed to be "elixirs of youth". Traudl Junge, who became Hitler's secretary in 1942, reported that he "always avoided meat" but that his Austrian cook Kruemel sometimes added a little animal broth or fat to his meals. "Mostly the Fuehrer would notice the attempt at deception, would get very annoyed and then get tummy ache," Junge said. "At the end he would only let Kruemel cook him clear soup and mashed potato." In addition, Marlene von Exner who became Hitler's dietician in 1943, reportedly added bone marrow to his soups without his knowledge because she "despised" his vegetarian diet.

Biographer Robert Payne, in his biography of Hitler, The Life and Death of Adolph Hitler (Praeger, 1973) theorizes that the image of Hitler as a vegetarian ascetic was deliberately fostered by propaganda minster Joseph Goebbels. In the book, The Mind of Adolf Hitler, it is said:

"If he (Hitler) does not eat meat, drink alcoholic beverages, or smoke, it is not due to the fact that he has some kind of inhibition or does it because he believes it will improve his health. He abstains from these because he is following the example of the great German, Richard Wagner, or because he has discovered that it increases his energy and endurance to such a degree that he can give much more of himself to the creation of the new German Reich."