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Buddhist Quote of the Day: Do You Need To Be A Vegetarian To Practice Meditation and Yoga Properly?

posted by Ethan Nichtern

buddhism_compassion_eat_meat_vegetarian.jpgby Ethan Nichtern

Both yoga and Buddhist meditation philosophy ask practitioners to refrain from the act of killing – whether directly or indirectly – as much as possible. In the American yoga communities I am part of, vegetarianism is fairly prevalent. In the Buddhist communities, somehow, not as much (though some Buddhist practitioners are certainly vegetarian). Then I came across this eye opening quote from the Angulimala Sutra (discourse). Read the powerful quote, and then share your thoughts on the following question: do mindful and compassionate people eat meat? Do you eat meat? Why or why not?

(Pig Buddha T-shirt from Zazzle.com)


“There is not a single being, wandering in the chain…of endless and beginningless samarsa [cyclical confusion], that has not been your mother or your sister. An individual, born as a dog, may afterward become your father. Each and every being is like an actor playing on the stage of life. One’s own flesh and the flesh of others is the same flesh. Therefore, the enlightened ones eat no meat.”

-Angulimala Sutra
From Food of Bodhisattvas



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anon.

posted October 13, 2009 at 10:17 am


Yes, maybe. But most Tibetans do eat meat. They would never have survived in their region without meat. I’ve spent a lot of time in Tibetan ex pat communities and eaten their very gristly meat dishes.



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Greg Tarnoff

posted October 13, 2009 at 10:24 am


I am a strict vegan. I became vegetarian for healthy reasons, but went vegan as I became more involved in Buddhism. I think it is a conflict to truly be Buddhist (versus practicing meditation) and yet continue to eat meat. Every time we consumer meat or dairy we are inflicting pain upon another being.



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Gareth

posted October 13, 2009 at 11:04 am


Greg, with all due respect, you couldn’t be further from the truth. In no way shape or form is non-meat-eating a requirement for enlightenment. While it is consistently advised in the most simple and basic understandings of Shakyamuni’s teachings, there are subsequent teachings and traditions based on those that do not emphasize the clearly dualistic asceticism of theravada. I feel that the theravada or hinayana is a first step in a much larger journey, and is not an end to itself. Granted, I’m no arhat even, but I perceive the “narrow path” as a preparation that ultimately serves only to precede the mahayana and then the tantra. From this overhead view, non-meat eating is not ultimately “necessary” for enlightenment, not at all. I simply don’t have a true “overhead view”, so for now, hinayana is somewhat necessary to prepare the mind for the next steps. Again, I don’t exactly feel those teaching are an end to themselves. There will always be more to do in the context of theravada.



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Greg

posted October 13, 2009 at 11:10 am


I was kind of equivocal about meat-eating until I read Food of Bodhisattvas: Buddhist Teachings on Abstaining from Meat by Shabkar.
http://www.amazon.com/Food-Bodhisattvas-Buddhist-Teachings-Abstaining/dp/1590301161/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1255446497&sr=8-1
I had to admit that he does a pretty good job demolishing all of the defenses of meat eating.
That said, I still eat meat myself, mostly because of a combination of health issues and force of habit, but it is mostly limited to chicken and fish.



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Boodiba

posted October 13, 2009 at 12:09 pm


Vegetarianism might be helpful in the path of purifying one’s karma, but it is not a bandaid. I’ve known some judgmental, hugely competitive vegans and Hitler was a vegetarian.



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Greg Tarnoff

posted October 13, 2009 at 12:18 pm


@Boodiba that last tidbit is eye opening, where did you hear/find it?
@Gareth I by no means know anything to be true. I only know what I have experienced. The more I meditate and explore my experience in Buddhism, the deeper I feel the suffering of others. With that, in my experience it is a conflict to be working towards the end of suffering for all and continue to eat meat or consume dairy. It rips at my heart to see any animal treated the way we treat livestock.



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lisa

posted October 13, 2009 at 12:20 pm


I think we do what we can, and as a practitioner, I try to do what promotes the most peace of mind. I’m a vegan but I despise waste. So faced with throwing away food that I might otherwise not consume or purchase, I weigh all options and try to remain clear-thinking about it. Dogma is limiting and veganism and vegetarianism can often turn into that. I believe that there is always a core, a kernel, a potential for love in every action. We must uncover what that love is in each moment. Love in one moment could be abstaining from leather, especially given how mindlessly people buy it. But love in another instant could be eating a meal of fish or meat offered to you by someone who did their best to make you happy.
By the way, the Dalai Lama eats meat for health reasons. I’m sure he had to weigh the benefits vs karmic liabilities. His health means inspiring millions. His illness would be an obstacle to his work.
Love



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Jaime McLeod

posted October 13, 2009 at 12:25 pm


Gareth: I don’t see how anti-Therevada sectarianism furthers this discussion at all, especially since you have your facts all wrong. Therevada monks survive by begging, and will eat whatever is put into their bowls, including meat. The only rules about meat-eating in the Therevada version of the vinaya are that the monks shouldn’t see or know that the animal was killed specifically for him. Vegetariansm became more prevalent with the growth of the Mahayana, particularly in China.
Ethan: I wish you had chosen to link to a vegetarian page that wasn’t managed by PETA. They are an extremist group whose strident, sophomoric “awareness campaigns” do more harm than good, in my opinion. Their messages often have racist or sexist undertones, and they promote poor conceptions of body image and the ridiculing of people with weight problems. Also, they disrespectfully celebrated the death of “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin and the mauling of Roy Horn. In addition to all of that, the organization is guilty of euthanizing perfectly healthy, adoptable juvenile animals in their “shelter program,” while denying doing so, and for advocating the euthanization of all Pit Bull dogs. PETA does nothing to further the cause of animals.
For my part, I’m a vegetarian, and have been for much longer than I’ve been a Buddhist. While I think my diet fits in well with my Buddhist understanding of the interconnectedness of all beings and my practice of non-killing, I am also aware that even plant-eating causes suffering and death for living creatures, too. To live is to kill. Our bodies constantly kill microorganisms. Every carrot or head of lettuce I eat costs the blood of countless insects, worms, burrowing mammals, etc., to harvest. Every time I drive my car, dozens of creatures die on my windshield. I believe that vegetarianism is a kinder, gentler way to live, but I refuse to draw a line in the sand and say that people who do eat meat cannot be good Buddhists. I have too much blood on my own hands to be able to say something like that.



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Abby

posted October 13, 2009 at 12:29 pm


Love this line:
“Each and every being is like an actor playing on the stage of life.”
Gorgeous.
I’m a pescatarian. Isn’t the most important thing just to think about what you eat?



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Ethan Nichtern

posted October 13, 2009 at 12:33 pm


@Gareth:
Yes, there is not one theravadan perspective on the matter.
@Jaime: Point taken, I did not mean to link to PETA, actually, and mis-pasted vegetarian times link after a google search for it. Fixed now.
I agree about PETA’s unskillful tactics.
What do you all think about eating “less” meat as a mindful goal, rather than eating zero meat?



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Jaime McLeod

posted October 13, 2009 at 12:52 pm


Eating less meat is a great idea – for your health, for being mindful of what goes into your mouth, and for the environment (since beef production is as bad as, or worse than, driving for greenhouse gas production). I would also recommend that meat-eaters who have a hard time quitting – and lets face it, we have millions of years of evolution and culture telling us that no eating meat is crazy – at least begin to buy their meat from a local family farm, rather than from the grocery store. There is a better chance that the animal actually had a decent quality of life before it was killed, which is also better for you. Free-range meat also tastes better, I’m told. I do eat eggs, and I know that local, farm fresh eggs taste a lot better than grocery store eggs. And I can see the chickens when I visit, so I know they’re not living in cramped, abusive conditions.
I do have to say one add. While I don’t believe in judging people for eating meat, I also don’t buy the “health reasons” argument, at least not from affluent people in the West. We have access to a wide range of food in this country, and any middle class person in the United States is perfectly capable of constructing complex proteins, and getting healthy fats and vitamins, from a purely plant-based diet. Read “Diet for a Small Planet.” Maybe people in the mountains of Tibet need meat for their health, but I don’t, and most readers on this blog don’t. There may be other perfectly compelling reasons to continue eating meat, but “for my health” just doesn’t hold water.



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DMC

posted October 13, 2009 at 1:12 pm


I’m an omnivore, and I don’t see myself changing that anytime soon, but I HAVE made some changes since starting my practice that apply to meat & dairy, but also fruit, & veggies.
I do try to eat less meat and fish. I’m aware of the strain that increased demand has placed on our resources, so while I do enjoy it, I don’t need to enjoy it every day of the week.
I make more of an effort to source as locally as I can.
I try to research and support purveyors who are more mindful in their production methods.
I try my best to be respectful of the sacrifice of life and not to waste what I have taken.
I still mess up. Sometimes I forget about a chicken breast in the back of the fridge and it goes bad before I eat it. I don’t check the sourcing practices of EVERY restaurant I go to, and I still eat fruit and veg that is not seasonably available on the local market.
I try more than I did in the past. I am more mindful. If that isn’t good enough to still consider yourself Buddhist, I’m not sure how much better I can do right now.
Has anyone ever read any of Temple Grandin’s books? In addition to her books on animal behavior, she has written a book and several articles on better practices for raising and slaughtering livestock. I was encouraged by a friend to check out ‘Humane Livestock Handling’, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.



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Take It & Go

posted October 13, 2009 at 1:14 pm


I eat nothing that casts a shadow, and I try to avoid anything that does not. I filter my water very carefully so no micro organisms are ingested.
You meat-eaters will spend a long long time in the birth-extinction cycle.



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Evelyn

posted October 13, 2009 at 1:29 pm


I’ve been thinking about this question quite a bit lately and had actually been considering a post on it but I wasn’t sure how to approach a subject that really boils down to a personal choice. I’ve been transitioning to a vegetarian diet over the past few months for various reasons, both spiritual and health-related. I’ve finally reached the point where my diet is primarily plant-based but I’m not a “strict” vegetarian… at least not yet anyway.
Humans have definitely evolved to eat meat but the some of the ways we treat livestock in this country are disgusting and I just personally don’t want to invest my money into that system anymore. As I see it, we just don’t know where the majority of the meat in our grocery stores comes from anymore and when I choose to buy the cheapest ground beef (or chicken or salmon, take your pick) I’m basically contributing to negative karma.
So, my “mindful goal” is to eat less meat and – when I do eat meat – to do my best to make responsible and humane choices, as Jaime pointed out in the comment above. It can be difficult to be a responsible consumer in a system that’s set up for cheap food fast but there are options out there if you look for them. I think the most any of us can do is try our best to shop and eat mindfully. I’m certainly far from perfect but I am trying and to me, that’s what the practice is all about.
btw — CNN ran a story today asking “Should American’s Banish the Burger?”
http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/10/13/lkl.meat.infection/index.html
Basically a debate weighing the pros and cons of eating less meat, it’s an interesting piece that highlights some of the public health risks caused by our current system of industrial farming. It also touches on some of the health benefits and trade-offs of a plant-based diet.
Also, the FX show “30 Days” (one of my favorites, too bad it was canceled) did an episode on animal rights in which a hunter goes to live with a family of vegans for 30 days and sees first hand how industrial farming is practiced in the US. It’s on Hulu if anyone is curious:
http://www.hulu.com/watch/24012/30-days-animal-rights



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Evelyn

posted October 13, 2009 at 1:48 pm


Oh and the “Hitler was a vegetarian” line reminded me of the infamous “Nazi defense” so I did a quick Google search. Apparently, the question of Hitler’s diet is disputed by some.
A Slate article on Rynn Berry’s book, refuting the claim that Hitler was a vegetarian:
http://www.slate.com/id/2096259/
Wikipedia has an article on the subject as well:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler%27s_vegetarianism



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Francois

posted October 13, 2009 at 2:33 pm


I’m a vegetarian since I visited my lama’s monastery in a small village lost in the mountains of Eastern Tibet five years ago. I met monks there who have been vegetarian for most of their life. If they can do it there, we (in the west) have no excuse for not excluding meat from our diet as we have many other sources of protein available.
I must also say that my lama and most of his sangha are not vegetarian but thing are changing a lot and fast since His Holiness’ Karmapa very strong statements promoting a vegetarian diet.



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GA

posted October 13, 2009 at 3:35 pm


I love crabcakes, but become queasy if I even observe someone else pounding the on the crab like Fred Flintstone and prying back the carapace, eww!



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Scoob

posted October 13, 2009 at 3:54 pm


Sadie Nardini wrote a interesting, and mildly confrontational essay on this topic in HUFFPO on July 22.
http://tiny.cc/Mvmiv
Also:
Earlier this year, Paul McCartney “lashed out” at the Dalai Lama for not being a vegetarian.
McCartney Lashes Out at ‘Meat-Eating’ Dalai Lama
http://tinyurl.com/ygteb9o
When HH wrote him back, explaining that his doctors strongly requested that he incorporate meat
into his diet for serious health reasons, McCartney wrote back that “his doctors were wrong”. Jeez!
BTW, Tibet has always been a meat eating culture. On this high altitude plateau, cultivation of crops
(aside from grains) is nearly impossible, and the Yak has always played a similar role to Tibetans
as the Buffalo did to Native Americans (food, clothing, skins for tents & shelter, and Yak dung as
a primary fuel source for cooking and heating). This has always been a conscious and thought-through
practice.for Tibetan Buddhists. I recall that while in Tibet, I asked if Tibetans also ate rabbit and other
similar animals. The answer was “absolutely not”. The reasoning being that taking the life of a
small creature can only feed one person, where a yak can feed (and clothe) a family for quite
a while. A Nepalese Sherpa also confided in me that while it’s against their beliefs, they
will also eat yak….as long as a non-Buddhist pushed the animal over a cliff.



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Hal W. Lanse

posted October 13, 2009 at 6:27 pm


Spiritualism is a powerful thing. It can change our lives for the better, but not when we follow ancient teachings without question. Knowledge, especially scientific knowledge, has advanced since the Buddha’s day. We know, for example, that we humans developed the craving for animal protein to fortify our exceptionally large brains. We know too that for some people vegetarianism can be healthy—promoting weight loss and lowering cholesterol. But vegetarianism has its risks. Many vegetarians, and strict vegans even more so, develop neurological disorders from a deficiency in vitamin B12. Vegetarians sometimes develop rickets. And here’s another point: If you’re eating a plant-based diet you’re still consuming life. Are we saying that plants are of a lower order of life than animals? Yes, that venison pie might contain the flesh of your future mother; but mightn’t that Brussels sprout become your maiden aunt? When considering vegetarianism, consulting an ancient sutra might not be the best move. Consult your doctor instead.



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GA

posted October 13, 2009 at 7:05 pm


@Hal: Good point. Just look at the 9+2 cylindrical array pattern of microtubules in both cilia (animals) and flagella (plants).



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Scoob

posted October 13, 2009 at 7:08 pm


@Hal: Kudos! A very humorous line within this serious topic.
“…but mightn’t that Brussels sprout become your maiden aunt?”



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Ian

posted October 13, 2009 at 7:15 pm


“do mindful and compassionate people eat meat?”
Mindful and compassionate people are mindful and compassionate. You can discern them by deepening your own mindfulness and capacity for compassion.
“Do you eat meat? Why or why not?”
Apparently, I eat meat because my ancestors did so for a few million years before I showed up on the scene, landing me with a big, fatty, pattern-finding, resource-chewing brain that vegetable protein alone cannot support and an upright posture designed to outrun prey in an endurance contest for food and survival. Hunting and gathering vegetables doesn’t require the brain or stamina that is capable in our bodies. Are these aspects of ourselves actually defects worth forfeiting?
“Each and every being is like an actor playing on the stage of life. One’s own flesh and the flesh of others is the same flesh. Therefore, the enlightened ones eat no meat.”
How is this a prescription for vegetarianism? Is the sutra for reflecting on the preciousness of one’s parents a prescription for abstaining from becoming a parent oneself?



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heidy

posted October 14, 2009 at 2:38 am


Here is a good video on the subject of meat: http://meat.org



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clasqm

posted October 14, 2009 at 6:12 am


To those who maintain that humans evolved to eat meat: do you sport four-inch canine teeth? There is a species of primate that does: the baboon. A fully-grown male baboon actually has larger canines than a lion. And indeed, baboons are largely carnivorous, though they will drop down to insectivory when the locusts are plentiful, and are not above gorging themselves on fruit when they encounter it. Baboons are primates halfway down the road to becoming full-on hunters. Their social organization closely resembles that of a wolf pack.
By comparison, humans have maintained the generalised equipment typical of primates. Humans are omnivores. If meat is around, we can live on it, If plants are plentiful, we can live on those as well. Humans have a choice. To this add culture: If the apples are out of season, we fly them in from New Zealand. Now humans have an even greater ability to choose. The “we couldn’t be vegetarian in Tibet” argument always amuses me when it is made by a second-generation expat Tibetan whose parents haven’t seen the place for over 50 years. If meat-eating is important as a cultural reminder, OK, say so, but let’s not pretend that the choice is not there.
Compulsory Buddhist content coming up: to the left stretches the line of pure herbivores, constrained by their dental and alimentary equipment to dine on grass alone. To the right stretches the line of pure carnivores, similarly constrained to kill to survive. It is not the herbivore’s fault that he is a herbivore, nor the carnivores’s for being a carnivore. This is what they are, that’s all.
In the centre is a small cluster of omnivores: Rattus Norvegicus, a few pigs,the raccoon family and a whole bunch of monkeys. These will eat anything they encounter, but they remain constrained by the environment in which they find themselves A monkey in the Amazon Forest cannot decide to live only on twigs of Arctic Birch. They don’t grow there. And then there is one species that truly can make the choice, one species that can decide whether to turn left towards the grass-eaters or right towards the killers. It is singularly rare and fortunate to be born into this species, which for the sake of argument we shall call Human. (does any of this start to sound familiar, grasshopper?)
It is quite correct to say that plants also have life of a sort. We cannot continue to live without committing murder. But leaving aside all questions of whether a being with a central nervous system suffers more than those without, just how many of these murders do you want to be responsible for? When you eat meat you take on not only the death of the cow, but also that of all the plants that fed the cow. Vegetarianism cuts out the middle-being: it minimizes the murders that have to take place for me to continue existing.
I read this in a novel once, so I can’t vouch for the exact numbers. Still the principle bears keeping in mind:
A given piece of land will yield one hundred pounds of beef in a year. Or it can yield twelve hundred pounds of grain. Or EIGHT TONS of potatoes.
So, even allowing that beef is a more densely protein-packed kind of food, that still leaves a lot of grain or potatoes to make whiskey or vodka with … Oops, sorry, wrong thread.



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Ethan

posted October 14, 2009 at 8:22 am


@clasqm: For me, the point on the conversion ration between grain/plant sustenance and meat sustenance is a huge one. I think this is often overlooked by everyone – that action is not only between eater and eaten, but action takes place in a much larger web of choices. From this perspective, meat eaters (a former total vegetarian, I am an occasional poultry eater now) should contemplate the larger web of our consumption. It’s not just about taking that one life – it’s also about human starvation due to overproduction of meat.



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Ian

posted October 14, 2009 at 9:37 am


clasqm writes: “To those who maintain that humans evolved to eat meat: do you sport four-inch canine teeth?”
Not so much evolved “to eat meat..” evolved because of eating meat– the muscles, organs, marrow, etc. of prey animals. What examples are there of human civilization that survived and thrived only on vegetables sources?
“A given piece of land will yield one hundred pounds of beef in a year. Or it can yield twelve hundred pounds of grain. Or EIGHT TONS of potatoes.”
This gets into the issue of food production practices, which is slightly different than how diet affects our health. John Robbins talks about this in his books.. Meat animals can graze on non-arable land, or land not ideal for cultivating plant food sources. There does not have to be an either-or. What are your thoughts on using arable land to cultivate plant sources for ethanol..?
“And then there is one species that truly can make the choice, one species that can decide whether to turn left towards the grass-eaters or right towards the killers. It is singularly rare and fortunate to be born into this species, which for the sake of argument we shall call Human.”
Yes. The choice is yours to support your life systems– which actually consist of a rich ecosystem inside and outside of you– or to let them fail. Call it “killing” too, if you so choose. From my perspective, this kind labeling confuses a natural drive for sustenance with the purposeful taking of another being’s life out of misguided pleasure, vindictiveness or mere sport. Again, the choice is yours.
p.s. one of your herbivores in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9vxHN8_jSE



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Jenji

posted October 15, 2009 at 1:55 pm


I feel you all are not looking at the smaller picture. Good to look at the big picture of food but lets look at what a small 5 acre farm can produce? Can you live self sustaining in that space. Can you do it Vegi or do you need those animals to live. To plow that potato patch? To plow the field for fuel? It is all well and good to say meat take energy to grow but to say ethenal can be grown without the support of oil. How much oil does it take for a loaf of bread. To say I can be a vegi because I can go to the store and buy food from Mexico and support my vegi lifestyle is the Right choice for non violence doesn’t look at the oil it takes to ship that avacado/ banana/ tomato in winter from Mexico. Look at the small picture what can you grow and eat locally? Can you support your food choice? I know I can….it may take a chicken, goat, cow, horse, oh and my Turkeys are gobbling and almost 30lbs just in time for November. And I am not driving to go get my food.



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Sama

posted October 16, 2009 at 3:31 pm


The Dalai Lama eats meat. That’s good enough for me. And I think it’s more important not to be judgmental about what people eat, not everyone can be a vegetarian.
I am a yoga teacher and this debate continues in that arena also. In fact, I had this same conversation with my teacher, a Theravadan monk. He said live as mindfully and compassionately as you can and only do what YOU can do, stop judging what other people do! By the way, he eats eggs!



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Your Name

posted October 16, 2009 at 6:29 pm


I don’t think you have to be a vegetarian to be a good buddhist or yogi, but I can’t imagine how you could justify to yourself if you truly accept the basic precepts of either system. I can’t, but I’m not saying it can’t be done and I’m judging those who do. it’s all up to you.



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Jamie Roberts

posted October 17, 2009 at 12:05 pm


The Buddha said that no one should follow his teaching just because he made certain pronouncements or followed a certain path. With this in mind, I don’t think it matters whether the Dalai Lama eats meat or not. We all have to follow our own consciences.
I am a vegetarian less because animals are killed to create food, but because of how they are treated prior to their deaths. Factory farming results in lifetimes of severe suffering for animals, especially egg-laying chickens, but also cows and pigs. I would assume true believers in compassion, like the Dalai Lama (who, by the way, has said he would like to be a vegetarian, but was advised otherwise by his doctor) would be mindful of where their meat comes from. If you buy the remains of a free-roaming chicken in India, it’s much less karmically toxic than buying them from a supermarket in Philadelphia.
World hunger and global warming are gravely impacted by the meat industry. Rainforests are cut down by the acre for grazing land. More grain is consumed by cattle than by people on a daily basis. These are things to consider.
A lot of vegetarians say they never liked meat anyway. I love the taste of meat and still feel longing when I smell a summer barbecue, but would never consider crossing my own personal line and consuming animal flesh again. Doing what’s right (as defined by one’s own standards) is not always easy.
People SHOULD do only what they can, but they should not confuse not being able to do something with electing not to exercise a little self-discipline.



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Vixen

posted October 18, 2009 at 6:38 pm


It has always been my understanding that we should be far more concerned with what comes out of our mouths than what goes in. Some people get very caught up in ‘the rules’, especially in regard to observable spiritual practice, and some people are rather passionate about the effect meat consumption has on our spiritual and/or moral health.
Some mainstream religions discourage it entirely while others give it no consideration at all.
If I’m not mistaken, the Buddha wouldn’t accept meat from animals killed for him specifically, would not ask for it, but would accept it if offered. I’ve heard about monks of various orders going out to beg for their food who simply ate whatever was given them, even if it was meat. The Dalai Lama says he eats meat for health reasons three times a week, though I don’t belive he encourages people to eat meat thoughtlessly. Thich Naht Hanh discourages meat consumption entirely on the grounds of peaceful living.
Obviously, there are mixed feelings and teachings on this subject. So, why do people eat meat? I think it tastes pretty darn good for one thing, but I know some people can’t stand it. Some have eaten meat all their lives because it was traditional and cultural to do so. Historically, there were tribes of people known for their capabilities as gatherers and growers, and others known for their great ability to hunt and store meats. Some obviously did both.
That brings us to why people choose to be vegetarians. Again, it is often cultural, and that is all they have ever known, depending on where they live and how they were brought up. I certainly understand why many people are vegetarians… compassion for animals, religious teachings, ecological reasons, the belief that it’s healthier to be vegetarians, because they are better gatherers than hunters, or even because it’s ‘cool’ to be a vegetarian at any given time in one’s life. Every one of these reasons is valid.
My own personal thoughts are these … I don’t think very many people would eat red meat if they had to kill and dress the animal they wanted to eat. The separation of the animal from the butchered product is made easy by packaging. The plastic and the styrofoam make it so easy to forget that our nice steak was a steer a few days back. It makes makes sure we never see the face, the swishing tail, hear the moo, or the crowing. We would certainly never think of it as a package of the flesh of a dead animal, but that’s what it is. That is the reality.
Some of us can live with this. I don’t take eating meat lightly. I grew up on a small farm, and we surely did eat what we grew. We had large gardens, beef cattle, chickens, and horses…no, we didn’t eat the horses! But we never took it lightly either. I can’t say we were happy to take the steers to market. I always knew in the back of my mind that the cute little calf would one day be a big ole steer. But, there was no waste, and we shared with neighbors less fortunate. There was no moral dilemna for us. If you want to judge us based on whether we ate meat, I guess it’s your time…do what you want with it. I don’t think it diminished our morality or our compassion for others as a family to eat meat,and I don’t think it has made me less of a loving person to have steak or chicken now and then. SOme would say, what about that chicken? What about that cow?
Well, every time you boil water for tea, you are also killing hundreds of small organisms. Every time you pull a plant from the ground you kill it. Every tree you cut down for firewood is a dead tree. It’s what becomes of it after that that is really important… use that food energy to do good on the earth.
Peace



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Sama

posted October 22, 2009 at 6:28 pm


“If you buy the remains of a free-roaming chicken in India, it’s much less karmically toxic than buying them from a supermarket in Philadelphia.”
Have you ever seen what a free-roaming chicken eats off the street in India? I have. and no thanks.



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Mixing technology and practice
There were many more good sessions at the Wisdom 2.0 conference this weekend. The intention of the organizers is to post videos. I'll let you know when. Here are some of my notes from a second panel. How do we use modern, social media technologies — such as this blog — to both further o

posted 3:54:40pm May. 02, 2010 | read full post »

Wisdom 2.0
If a zen master were sitting next to the chief technical officer of Twitter, what would they talk about? That sounds like a hypothetical overheared at a bar in San Francisco. But this weekend I saw the very thing at Soren Gordhamer's Wisdom 2.0 conference — named after his book of the same nam

posted 1:43:19pm May. 01, 2010 | read full post »

The Buddha at Work - "All we are is dust in the wind, dude."
"The only true wisdom consists of knowing that you know nothing." - Alex Winter, as Bill S. Preston, Esq. in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure"That's us, dude!" - Keanu Reeves, as Ted "Theodore" LoganWhoa! Excellent! I've had impermanence on my mind recently. I've talked about it her

posted 2:20:00pm Jan. 28, 2010 | read full post »

Sometimes You Find Enlightenment by Punching People in the Face
This week I'm curating a guest post from Jonathan Mead, a friend who inspires by living life on his own terms and sharing what he can with others.  To quote from Jonathan's own site, Illuminated Mind: "The reason for everything: To create a revolution based on authentic action. A social movemen

posted 12:32:23pm Jan. 27, 2010 | read full post »




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