the great vegetarian debate

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Re: Former US President Bill Clinton turns to Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:30 pm

Yudron wrote:
Jikan wrote:I'm writing my dissertation right now (well not right NOW exactly... ) on instrumental uses of "mindfulness": in the workplace, as therapy, in schools, and so on. I agree, it's really interesting. It does pose some tricky questions though: if this expertise in this practice becomes a professional qualification (cue Trungpa's Myth of Freedom on the topic of accumulating credentials), then how does one demonstrate competence? and so on. It's a remarkable thing.


Well, you certainly know a lot more than I do about the topic. My yawn button is pushed by the whole mindfulness thing, big time.

I don't think Trungpa Rinpoche's warnings apply here because they do not consider themselves to be on a path to enlightenment.

The chair of Ford Motor Company called the Wisdom 2.0 conference wanting to be added to the program because he is a meditator. This movement is certainly unique in history.


OK, off to track down that source on the boss at Ford...

...but before I do, it seems to me that some in the "mindfulness" or "conscious capitalist" or "contemplative pedagogy" or "consciousness and leadership" set do indeed believe themselves to be committed to a path of enlightenment. Or that they're already there, or are close, because their life coaches are. All this opens onto some wild territory claiming and defending: our consciousness-enhancement is the best and brightest, much better and brighter than yours. For instance...

http://www.indiegogo.com/kenwilberbio

We will produce a documentary series that illustrates Integral thought and establishes Ken Wilber as the most important and best known philosopher of our times.


A group called Buddhafest based here in DC just sent out an announcement on this very topic; it suggests to me that there is a point of contact between Buddhist communities in the US at least and this new phenomenon of secularized meditation performance-enhancement optimization therapeutics for leaders if you will.

http://dc.shambhala.org/program-details/?id=121193

We live in interesting times.
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Re: Former US President Bill Clinton turns to Buddhism

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:46 pm

I think It is spiritual materialism..but hey, that's better than just personal materialism.

Really there are plenty of people who recoil at anything they perceive as mystical or "spiritual", this kind of thing gets those people sitting, can't be a bad thing.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Former US President Bill Clinton turns to Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:53 pm

Sure. It gets some of them sitting regularly, and some of those start reading Thich Nhat Hanh and Kabat-Zinn, and some of those go on to read the Dalai Lama, and so on.

Some of it is genuinely helpful, too. mindfulness-based dialectical behavior therapy (m linehan) is one of the few things that helps borderline personalities, for instance.

as a cultural phenomenon (I'm in cultural studies), it's a wild ride though.
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Re: Former US President Bill Clinton turns to Buddhism

Postby Yudron » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:53 pm

And a lot of people want to keep going to church or synagog and do a meditation that does not require changing religions.
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Re: Former US President Bill Clinton turns to Buddhism

Postby Sara H » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:54 am

plwk wrote:Image

According to thebuddhism.net news site, in an article dated January 10th, 2013, former US President Bill Clinton has hired his own personal Buddhist monk to teach him how to properly meditate.

Bill is learning to meditate and has reportedly turned to a vegan diet as well. All this change has apparently been influenced by his recent heart scare where in February 2004 when he was rushed to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City because he started experiencing some awful chest pains.
More here


Good for him.

That's really wonderful news.
*smiles*

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Sara H.
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Pure land & vegetarianism

Postby shaunc » Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:54 am

Lately, because of some advice I recieved on this board I've been trying to practise pureland. The subject of vegetarianism comes up with a bit of frequency. I'm not a vegetarian & never have been, does this admission nullify my pureland practise. Also, I can see why vegetarianism may be quite beneficial purely from a health point of view but from a buddhist perspective is there any benefit in being vegetarian occasionally (i.e. on full moon & new moon days) or one day/week or something along those lines. Good-luck & best-wishes. Shaun.
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Re: Pure land & vegetarianism

Postby jeeprs » Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:59 pm

Mahayana Buddhism often recommends vegetarianism. There are East Asian Mahayana texts which proclaim that eating meat is bad. It is different to Theravada in that Theravada monks eat whatever is provided to them, with the caveat that no animal is to be killed for them. But there is not much about vegetarianism in the Pali texts.

My sangha includes both vegetarians and non-vegetarians, but we don't say that Buddhism prohibits meat-eating, and say it is a matter of personal choice.

My personal approach is that I have reduced meat consumption and have been able to mostly avoid many meat products for the last five years, especially lamb and beef. I still eat chicken, which really is also meat, as well as seafood, but have learned, and often cook, vegetarian meals. I don't think it has to be an 'all or nothing' choice. You can considerably reduce meat consumption without being strictly vegetarian. Even that has many benefits, not least because factory farming of animals is both cruel and detrimental to the environment. And just lately there have been some news articles about the benefits of reduced meat consumption. But again, I think it is good to do so for its own reasons, not because of Buddhism.
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Re: Pure land & vegetarianism

Postby plwk » Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:25 pm

If the below if of any use...
I'm not a vegetarian & never have been, does this admission nullify my pureland practise.

Firstly, strictly speaking, if one reads through all of the standard Threefold Pure Land Sutras, there is no explicit order nor mandate for practitioners of this Dharma door to adopt vegetarianism. What would 'nullify' your practice however is engaging in self defeating attitudes & actions towards the Buddha Dharma in general and Amitabha Buddha/Sukhavati specifically.

Secondly, the 'but' factor. Since Pure Land teaching & discipline has its roots in the Mahayana, which generally speaking, has a ton load of scriptural and commentarial literature exhorting on vegetarianism, hence, it is not surprising to find that vegetarianism becomes a naturally adopted and adapted practice for Pure Landers as well, especially those who follow its East Asian streams. But in places like Japan, not all of the Pure Landers there adopt this but neither can I say with total certainty that adherents from other East Asian streams around the world are dedicated vegetarians but it does not diminish their practice either.

Thirdly, the East Asian Mahayana monastics and laity community (with the exception of Japan).
a. There are historical (& some say political) reasons for the adoption of vegetarianism amongst the monastics, especially in Chinese Mahayana history who have since made vegetarianism (in this case, monastic version of vegetarianism which goes further to exclude the intake of the pungent plants) as one hallmark of their monastic practice (although strictly speaking this isn't a feature from the Vinaya).
b. The laity however have a choice. Most would be spurred on to adopt similarly, depending on who they are associating with.
There are factions who take a literal and direct or what some would describe as a 'fatwa-like' approach who mandate it on even their lay followers to adopt this upon taking Refuge & Lay Precepts &/or Bodhisattva Vows as a Pure Lander. Then there are those who take a more gradual approach, encouraging more investigation, understanding and gradual practice, so whilst one is encouraged to take it up, there is no obligation to adopt vegetarianism to be tied up with taking of Refuge/Lay Precepts/Bodhisattva Vows or Pure Land practice.
c. So at the end of the day, one should choose carefully as to which is the more befitting option because the adoption of vegetarianism should be taken up with the clarity of wisdom and imbued with compassion to avoid causing duhkha, both for oneself and others. If one can do it immediately, fine. If one cannot, then there's always the gradual method.
...but from a buddhist perspective is there any benefit in being vegetarian occasionally (i.e. on full moon & new moon days) or one day/week or something along those lines.
Like any other Dharma based training, the goal of observing the New and Full Moon Days or for that matter any other day, is ultimately focused on duhkha and its cessation, what other 'benefit' is one looking for? The inclusion of vegetarianism to this observance is just another complementing facet of that observance. One can also look at other factors like reducing and transforming one's own klesas, dietary and daily habituations and attachments, developing and increasing one's Bodhicitta aspiration for all sentient beings and to other more mundane ones like health and greater awareness and respect for life and so forth.
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‎"And catching sight of others, think
That it will be through them
That you will come to Buddhahood.
So look on them with open, loving hearts."

Śāntideva, Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra, Chapter on Vigilance/Mindfulness, Verse 80
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Re: Pure land & vegetarianism

Postby LastLegend » Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:55 pm

In my view, being a vegetarian is ideal for practice. It also goes with compassion such as not consuming meats of sentient beings.
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Re: Pure land & vegetarianism

Postby black_tea » Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:21 pm

I ate a low meat diet (just had it a couple of times a week) for several years, but didn't completely give it up until reading the Pure Land sutras. Reading about Amida's compassion made it impossible for me to feel ok about eating (and therefore consigning to slaughter) other beings. However, that is my personal experience. I also realize that individuals have different dietary needs and living situations that may make being a vegetarian more difficult.

I don't think not being a vegetarian should preclude someone from practing Pure Land. I do think our eating habits are something we should all consider, however. What we eat, where we get our food, how it was produced effects not only our individual bodies, but also other people and animals through environmental and animal welfare concerns. There are ways of eating in a more sustainable and humane fashion that does not go so far as to completely give up meat. Issues like factory farming, and the mass environmental destruction we see today were not issues in the Buddha's time, but I think there are things that Buddhist ethics can and should be applied to (are we creating more suffering for others? are we acting in a compassionate way to other beings?).
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Re: Pure land & vegetarianism

Postby Son of Buddha » Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:36 am

Try being a vegetarian,if you cant do it then try having some days out of the week where you eat a vegitarian diet (50/50)
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Re: Pure land & vegetarianism

Postby shaunc » Sat Feb 23, 2013 2:47 am

Thanks for the replys everyone. I'm going to try observing vegetarianism occasionally. I do understand the cruelty involved in highly intensive animal farming which is one of the reasons I keep my own chickens for egg production. Because I live in a family enviroment it's unfair to my wife & kids to take this upon themselves because of me, but I don't think that every now & again is too much to ask.
Good-luck & best-wishes. Shaun.
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Re: Pure land & vegetarianism

Postby Kaji » Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:50 pm

A few quick points:

If all humans are vegetarians, no animal will ever be slaughtered for human consumption. Any Buddhist would say that's a good thing, no? You cannot force the whole humankind to become vegetarians, but many of us have the choice to become one ourselves. (However, I myself don't have that choice yet.)

I have read that many Dharma protectors much prefer to help out vegetarian Buddhists (or any vegetarian human for that matter). Many have preference not only towards those who do not eat meat, but also animal products and pungent vegetables.

It has been taught that certain Dharma practices are effective if the practitioners follow certain conditions - and in some cases being vegetarian is one of them (others include not eating pungent vegetables, observing the Five Precepts, etc.) The Shurangama Mantra is one such practice. Others are explicit more lenient, e.g. the Cundi Mantra.

Animal farming contributes a terrible lot to carbon emission and therefore global warming.
Namas triya-dhvikānāṃ sarva tathāgatānām!
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Re: Pure land & vegetarianism

Postby jmlee369 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:50 am

plwk wrote:Thirdly, the East Asian Mahayana monastics and laity community (with the exception of Japan).
a. There are historical (& some say political) reasons for the adoption of vegetarianism amongst the monastics, especially in Chinese Mahayana history who have since made vegetarianism (in this case, monastic version of vegetarianism which goes further to exclude the intake of the pungent plants) as one hallmark of their monastic practice (although strictly speaking this isn't a feature from the Vinaya).


While vegetarianism is not part of the Vinaya, all East Asian monastics are ordained with the Triple Platform Oridnation, thereby receiving bodhisattvas precepts as well, which are most often the precepts from the Brahma Net Sutra. The Brahma Net Sutra has vegetarianism as a secondary precept, and the abstention from pungent plants as another. Interestingly enough, the Vinaya does have a rule against the consumption of garlic.

plwk wrote:b. The laity however have a choice. Most would be spurred on to adopt similarly, depending on who they are associating with.
There are factions who take a literal and direct or what some would describe as a 'fatwa-like' approach who mandate it on even their lay followers to adopt this upon taking Refuge & Lay Precepts &/or Bodhisattva Vows as a Pure Lander. Then there are those who take a more gradual approach, encouraging more investigation, understanding and gradual practice, so whilst one is encouraged to take it up, there is no obligation to adopt vegetarianism to be tied up with taking of Refuge/Lay Precepts/Bodhisattva Vows or Pure Land practice.


With the taking of the bodhisattva vows, and lay bodhisattva precepts are also almost always, but less than the monastics, from the Brahma Net Sutra, even laity are expected to maintain vegetarian diets and to abstain from the five pungent plants. If you take the precept, you are expected to keep it.
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Re: Pure land & vegetarianism

Postby plwk » Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:04 am

Thirdly, the East Asian Mahayana monastics and laity community (with the exception of Japan).
a. There are historical (& some say political) reasons for the adoption of vegetarianism amongst the monastics, especially in Chinese Mahayana history who have since made vegetarianism (in this case, monastic version of vegetarianism which goes further to exclude the intake of the pungent plants) as one hallmark of their monastic practice (although strictly speaking this isn't a feature from the Vinaya).


While vegetarianism is not part of the Vinaya, all East Asian monastics are ordained with the Triple Platform Oridnation, thereby receiving bodhisattvas precepts as well, which are most often the precepts from the Brahma Net Sutra. The Brahma Net Sutra has vegetarianism as a secondary precept, and the abstention from pungent plants as another. Interestingly enough, the Vinaya does have a rule against the consumption of garlic.

b. The laity however have a choice. Most would be spurred on to adopt similarly, depending on who they are associating with.
There are factions who take a literal and direct or what some would describe as a 'fatwa-like' approach who mandate it on even their lay followers to adopt this upon taking Refuge & Lay Precepts &/or Bodhisattva Vows as a Pure Lander. Then there are those who take a more gradual approach, encouraging more investigation, understanding and gradual practice, so whilst one is encouraged to take it up, there is no obligation to adopt vegetarianism to be tied up with taking of Refuge/Lay Precepts/Bodhisattva Vows or Pure Land practice.


With the taking of the bodhisattva vows, and lay bodhisattva precepts are also almost always, but less than the monastics, from the Brahma Net Sutra, even laity are expected to maintain vegetarian diets and to abstain from the five pungent plants. If you take the precept, you are expected to keep it.
Just my own musings...

You are aware right, if I may presume, that there are other versions of the Bodhisattva Sila that do not have the same provisions as the Mahayana Brahma Net Sutra version? And hence, one version's contents should not be made to sound like it should superimpose or supercede another version? That's why I kept my little analysis open ended as there are other considerations at play and even then I was told and have read that on this forum that even those who receive the Brahma Net Sutra version, most likely the laity, are given in gradual stages instead of a one go thing, though I am not sure which portions are given out first, middle and last.

And another factor is not all students or Bodhisattva Sila aspirants have teachers that follow a literal interpretation or 'mandating' vegetarianism on them, and I would reckon that these teachers would have also considered their aspirants'/students' mundane life situations of when and where it can be practicable, not about giving excuses at every turn and the trying / exceptional circumstances where proper motivation of the overall situation outweighs the actual observance? Look at the famed case of the self immolated Ven Thich Quang Duc back in 1963? Was his self immolation justified if I took a literal approach to the first precept of the Brahma Net Bodhisattva Sila? Or look at the many self immolations of the Tibetan monastics? Perhaps, a case by case basis consideration would be useful here?

And yes, I have heard of the thing on abstaining from garlic but did not the same Buddha allowed the three kinds of 'pure meat' as a gradual teaching and elsewhere also mentions on the monastic prohibition on 10 kinds of animals and humans not to be eaten, on usage of leather and so forth?

In Japan for instance, as I have read and been told, many of them receive the Brahma Net version of the Bodhisattva Sila yet they are not vegetarians or at the very least partial/gradual ones, does that make them a lesser Bodhisattva? Who am I to decide on their behalf when it comes to observance and 'non observance'? Do I know what life dynamics they face? Honen and Shinran, both with a Tendai past, surely they have received the Bodhisattva Vows back then yet do not have a reputation of being vegetarians yet look at their lives and dedication to the Pure Land path? Yes, they do practice an observance of shojin-bi on memorial days & every 16th Day of the month commemorating Shinran but for the rest of the year, they do not. How is this any different from the common East Asian Mahayana observance of the bi-monthly vegetarian Upavasatha and special annual liturgical days of observance? Besides, being a secondary precept, in the case of a violation, it's not a self defeating offense or parajika level and can be confessed & purified. See below as one example of 'exceptional cases'...

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Re: Pure land & vegetarianism

Postby shaunc » Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:52 am

[quote="plwk"]

And yes, I have heard of the thing on abstaining from garlic but did not the same Buddha allowed the three kinds of 'pure meat' as a gradual teaching and elsewhere also mentions on the monastic prohibition on 10 kinds of animals and humans not to be eaten, on usage of leather and so forth?



Could you please tell me about the 3 types of "pure meat" & the usage of leather. I am familiar with the 10 forbidden meats. Incidentally, I'm trying to go vegetarian today just for one day if anyone is interested.
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Re: Pure land & vegetarianism

Postby sinweiy » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:03 am

i know if one take up the vegetarianism as a form of precept on full moon & new moon days, it's very beneficial, especially if that person fall into "lower realms", and everytime, it cames to full moon & new moon, they will experience somewhat libarated due to the merit of remembering that they had taken up the precepts in those dates.
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Re: Pure land & vegetarianism

Postby Nighthawk » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:43 am

Vegetarianism is completely unnecessary in the path of pure land as it won't hinder or better your chances at attaining birth.
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Re: Pure land & vegetarianism

Postby plwk » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:33 am

And yes, I have heard of the thing on abstaining from garlic but did not the same Buddha allowed the three kinds of 'pure meat' as a gradual teaching and elsewhere also mentions on the monastic prohibition on 10 kinds of animals and humans not to be eaten, on usage of leather and so forth?

Could you please tell me about the 3 types of "pure meat" & the usage of leather. I am familiar with the 10 forbidden meats. Incidentally, I'm trying to go vegetarian today just for one day if anyone is interested.
Jivaka Sutta & The Buddha's Threefold Rule and this curious passage from the Mahaparinirvana Sutra with regards to the above...

On leather usage...
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Re: Pure land & vegetarianism

Postby LastLegend » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:58 am

I still eat meats myself, but I do think being a vegetarian is ideal. No need to feel guilty or justify why you eat meats. My parents also Pure Land practitioners still eat meats, but they eat mostly vegetarian diet.
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