Author Topic: Eating meat  (Read 3171 times)

Dharmic Tui

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Eating meat
« on: August 14, 2015, 10:24:14 AM »
Hey everyone,

I live rurally, and produce a bit of my own food - I have chickens for eggs, a pretty big vege patch, planted over 100 fruit trees, etc. As part of that, we had some sheep (two ewes and their lambs) which we had to homekill (by a contractor) as we had a drought last summer. I got them butchered as it seemed a waste, gave some of the meat to friends and kept some in the freezer. Ive eaten quite a bit of this meet, but it still conflicts me. I eat meat, but as I knew these animals, its still difficult for me to enjoy eating them. I'd like to think that while they were alive, I gave them a relatively peaceful environment, for a sheep.

What's your perspective here, am I hypocritical, am I beating myself up, or is it just not plausible to be an omnivorous Buddhist?

Vivek

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Re: Eating meat
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2015, 03:00:19 PM »
Even though most of the Buddhist retreat centers stick to vegetarian diet, so far as I know, Buddha did not prohibit eating meat even though He did put couple of conditions on it. I first heard about it in a talk given by Bhante Vimalaramsi. I am sorry I am currently unable to refer you to any source which further explains on this topic but I quite distinctly remember him saying that the Buddha did not uphold that all practitioners should adhere to strict vegetarianism.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

Pacific Flow

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Re: Eating meat
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2015, 05:22:26 AM »
I don't see nothing wrong with eating meat, as long as i know the animals lived in a decent way, weren't transported around much to meet their butcher, and in the end were killed in a professional way leading to a quick death and minimized pain.
After all we are homo sapiens, a species that naturally eats other species.

Marc

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Re: Eating meat
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2015, 08:01:43 AM »
I've seen that a lot of people in this forum decide moral issues looking to what Buddha said about it. He was a very wise person, but we know a lot of things that 2500 years ago were not known. I don't really care if the Buddha thought eating meat was ok. Just as we should not believe him if he thought that women need to take care of the house while men work, or anything that we know today is wrong.

We have come a long way. Why not think about moral issues by ourselves, relying on our present knowledge about the world?

I think eating meat is usually wrong. First it has been shown again and again that a plantbased diet leads to optimum human health (ofc you can eat some animal products in moderation and be still healthy). If you want plenty of scientific studies showing this just go to nutritionfacts.org

The major killers of humanity could easily be prevented by eating only plants (heart disease, diabetes, and cancers). It's also way more ecological so that we would have enough clean water and food for the whole planet.

Besides it's impossible to supply free range meat to all, we would need several planets to do that. So factory farming is unavoidable and it causes tremendous amounts of suffering to billions every year (it's basically hell on earth).

Even if you can afford to buy free range, are we justified in killing a baby lamb just for the pleasure of the palate? Are we justified in separating a cow from it's babies as they are born so that we can drink their milk?

If it was for survival it would be unavoidable, but there're plenty of people thriving on vegan diets, and the healthiest civilizations were eating very little meat, so it can not be said that it is for health. I don't care if we ate some meat millions of years ago, that is a naturallistic fallacy. What matters is what we are able to do now. We can go to the supermarket and buy lentils instead of chicken breasts, is that easy.

Lastly if you think that vegan cuisine is limited and boring I have to say that I'm now enjoying my food much more than before, I discovered a lot of new flavours.

Middleway

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Re: Eating meat
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2015, 06:51:33 PM »

What's your perspective here, am I hypocritical, am I beating myself up, or is it just not plausible to be an omnivorous Buddhist?

Too much food is consumed, too much food is wasted, and too much food is stored and sold later at a premium for profit. All these things we do are unethical. If we eat only what we need to survive and go about our daily lives, I think it does not matter whether we are vegetarians or not.

Yes, I think you are beating yourself up as you did not do any of those unethical things I mentioned above.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

VipassanaXYZ

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Re: Eating meat
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2015, 10:28:26 AM »

It is not surprising to have developed this kind of awareness when practising meditation Middleway!

Your heart is open, you are more aware of connections and the threads that weave us.

:)

Ok, I think you phrased the question beautifully too. You remarked it was drought.
Every one rearing animals feels this pain, even if they choose to hide it.

There is a lot that can be said, but eat for nourishment, not for pleasure.
Eat with minimal harm possible in your circumstance.

Eat and reflect pro-life.
Do go too far justifying and rolling in this or that train of thought.

When mind wanders too much, leave the worries and return to the breath.
Watch the sensations and wean off this suffering that floods us, from all around us.

Metta

dhammagirl

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Re: Eating meat
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2015, 05:25:32 PM »
Hi Dharmic Tui
I totally agree with Marc's post.  I'm a longtime vegan, primarily for ethical/environmental reasons.  I eventually came to feel that it's probably better for an animal to live in the wild and be killed by a hunter who is doing it for meat, not for trophies (sickos!), than to have millions of animals being factory farmed.  Hell on Earth, indeed.  This applies to all animal products, eggs, dairy, not just meat.
Since you gave the sheep a good life, try not to feel too bad about it. Don't beat yourself up over it.  But continue to be aware of how eating this flesh makes you feel.  Do not try to enjoy it.  Eat it with awareness, not suppressing how you really feel about it.  It is wonderful that you have such awareness and compassion and empathy.  If you get to where you just can't bring yourself to eat more of this being's flesh, you could donate it, perhaps, or even just give it a proper burial. 

Middleway

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Re: Eating meat
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2015, 02:44:53 AM »

It is not surprising to have developed this kind of awareness when practising meditation Middleway!

Your heart is open, you are more aware of connections and the threads that weave us.

:)
Thanks Pooja. Yes, the last year and half has been a blessing. Meditation practice certainly put me on a path towards contentment.

I agree with you when you say "Do (n't) go too far justifying and rolling in this or that train of thought." When we take the middleway, it will eliminate conflict (in our minds) which leads to stillness of the mind that is lasting. Middleway is the one that sets us free!
« Last Edit: August 18, 2015, 02:50:42 AM by Middleway »
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Billymac629

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Re: Eating meat
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2015, 03:29:04 AM »
In the Buddhas view, eating meat was ok as long as the animal was not killed specificically to feed him..  In other words if the animal was already dead and butchered and was then offered to be Buddha later, h would accept it and eat it.    He taught against killing and having things killed also..

Kind regards
Nothing in this world is to be clung to as I, me, or mine...

Vivek

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Re: Eating meat
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2015, 08:09:49 AM »
Quote
In the Buddhas view, eating meat was ok as long as the animal was not killed specificically to feed him...
Yes that's the passage I was referring to. Thanks for quoting it, Billymac. I think there are some more instructions in addition to that which the Buddha gave. Bhante Vilamalamsi gives a full commentary on Buddha's advice pertaining to eating meat in one of his talks.   
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

 

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