Vegetarianism in Tibetan Buddhism

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Spelare
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Vegetarianism in Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Spelare » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:10 pm

Many have doubtless heard of Shabkar's vegetarianism, but who knew that Dölpopa, Jigme Lingpa, Nyala Pema Dündul, Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen, and Patrul Rinpoche also adhered to a meatless diet?

I know this topic has been discussed a few times in other connections, but Geoffrey Barstow has just published this article:

https://tricycle.org/magazine/tibetan-vegetarians/

While acknowledging that premodern Tibet was largely a meat-eating society, Barstow questions the assumption that the contemporary trend towards vegetarianism among some lamas is without precedent or must be ascribed solely to outside influences (i.e. Chinese & Western Buddhists). He points out that there had long been a minority current of compassionate vegetarianism in pre-1950 Tibet.

Among other things, the article addresses the view of Tibetan Medicine that meat is important to health, and points out that some lamas and yogis persisted anyway as an expression of bodhicitta.

Addressing the teachings on threefold purity of meat, Barstow cites Sakya Pandita's Distinguishing the Three Vows:
Sakya Pandita wrote:Shravakas may eat meat that has threefold purity. . . . In the Mahayana, meat is forbidden. Eating meat, it is taught, causes rebirth in the lower realms.
Also addressed is the tantric perspective. I was struck by this citation from Jigme Lingpa's Engaging the Path to Enlightenment:
Jigme Lingpa wrote:You should think like this: In a tantric context, it’s great if someone has given rise to the power of concentration, so that he is not tainted by obscurations and is able to benefit beings through a connection with their meat and blood. But I do not have this confidence.
While not all vegetarian lamas required their own disciples to practice strict vegetarianism, their example might give us pause if we are tempted to dismiss the issue out of hand as irrelevant to us. Vegetarianism has always been a legitimate and recognized option, and the past concerns about health or hardship have been effectively dispelled by capitalist globalization. It's shouldn't be surprising that some well-known lamas are working with circumstances and becoming vegetarian.

Here is Barstow's booklength treatment, currently in hardback and available in paperback early next year:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0231179960/
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Re: Vegetarianism in Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Aryjna » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:29 pm

There is nothing really surprising in that. Beyond actually being responsible for the death of an animal (which is usually not the case when someone eats meat), it is said that rejoicing in a deed committed by another gets you the same result. So enjoying meat knowing that an animal was killed for it, is essentially rejoicing in the killing, and you receive the result of that. Similarly, according to Words of my Perfect Teacher any sort of traditional occupation, such as shepherd, or farmer, is guaranteed to send you to hell eventually. If you come across meat though, and eat it with the compassionate motivation (though the quote by Jigme Lingpa above is against this) it is not the same.

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Re: Vegetarianism in Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Spelare » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:32 pm

Additionally, here is a review of Barstow's book by Holly Gayley of the University of Colorado Boulder:

https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/vegetar ... -buddhism/

As she notes, the practical implementation of vegetarianism in Tibet varied according to the particular health and samaya concerns of the practitioner:
Holly Gayley wrote:Barstow deftly illuminates a range of positions: from advocacy for vegetarianism that nonetheless requires the consumption of a token amount of meat during tantric feasts (by the 18th-century Nyingma visionary Jigme Lingpa and 17th-century Kagyu master Karma Chakme) to allowing meat-eating as medicine when ill (most famously, the19th-century Nyingma hermit Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol) to strict vegetarianism in all contexts (for example, Norchen Kunga Zangpo, the 15th-century founder of the Ngor branch of the Sakya tradition, and the Eighth Karmapa Mikyo Dorje, the 16th-century head of the Karma Kagyu lineage).
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I take refuge therein.

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Re: Vegetarianism in Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Virgo » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:55 pm

Perhaps it has escaped your attention, but this has been discussed ad nauseum.

viewtopic.php?f=66&t=213&hilit=vegetarian

Virgo

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Re: Vegetarianism in Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Spelare » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:26 pm

Virgo wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:55 pm
Perhaps it has escaped your attention, but this has been discussed ad nauseum.

viewtopic.php?f=66&t=213&hilit=vegetarian

Virgo
Many topics have been discussed as much or significantly more. Sex, for example. What I am highlighting here is a more extensive and scholarly treatment than has previously been made. Also, it is more specific to the Tibetan context, whereas the thread you've linked to is a pan-Buddhist discussion. Previous discussions in this subforum focused on this or that master's stance, whereas this study considers the overall place of Dharma-motivated vegetarianism in Tibet.
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I take refuge therein.

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Re: Vegetarianism in Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Virgo » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:41 pm

Spelare wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:26 pm
Virgo wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:55 pm
Perhaps it has escaped your attention, but this has been discussed ad nauseum.

viewtopic.php?f=66&t=213&hilit=vegetarian

Virgo
Many topics have been discussed as much or significantly more. Sex, for example. What I am highlighting here is a more extensive and scholarly treatment than has previously been made. Also, it is more specific to the Tibetan context, whereas the thread you've linked to is a pan-Buddhist discussion. Previous discussions in this subforum focused on this or that master's stance, whereas this study considers the overall place of Dharma-motivated vegetarianism in Tibet.
Actually, the thread I linked contains many arguments including very well put together ones from a Tibetan perspective. It's actually a compilation. Many threads have been moved there because the same arguments have been hashed out over and over again, but since your perspective is more important than those put forth by others in the past..

Kevin...

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Re: Vegetarianism in Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Spelare » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:59 pm

I don't know why you're suggesting I think my perspective is more important than anyone else's. This is a topical post about someone else's newly-published article linked to a booklength treatment of the topic recently put out by an academic press. I found the article interesting and wanted to bring this body of work to the attention of the forum without necroposting in the other vegetarianism threads (which I have perused in the past).
Neither person nor skandhas
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I take refuge therein.

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Re: Vegetarianism in Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Virgo » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:06 pm

Spelare wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:59 pm
I don't know why you're suggesting I think my perspective is more important than anyone else's. This is a topical post about someone else's newly-published article linked to a booklength treatment of the topic recently put out by an academic press. I found the article interesting and wanted to bring this body of work to the attention of the forum without necroposting in the other vegetarianism threads (which I have perused in the past).
You don't have to peruse in any other threads. All the vegetarian threads have been moved there because the topic has been continually re-hashed. You can post it there out of respect, so that moderators don't have to move it. Or you can reply to some of the well-put points put forth by others on the topic there with your new information quoting them so they don't have to restate their points over again in this thread.

Kevin...

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Re: Vegetarianism in Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Mantrik » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:10 pm

Virgo wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:41 pm
Spelare wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:26 pm
Virgo wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:55 pm
Perhaps it has escaped your attention, but this has been discussed ad nauseum.

viewtopic.php?f=66&t=213&hilit=vegetarian
.
Virgo
Many topics have been discussed as much or significantly more. Sex, for example. What I am highlighting here is a more extensive and scholarly treatment than has previously been made. Also, it is more specific to the Tibetan context, whereas the thread you've linked to is a pan-Buddhist discussion. Previous discussions in this subforum focused on this or that master's stance, whereas this study considers the overall place of Dharma-motivated vegetarianism in Tibet.
Actually, the thread I linked contains many arguments including very well put together ones from a Tibetan perspective. It's actually a compilation. Many threads have been moved there because the same arguments have been hashed out over and over again, but since your perspective is more important than those put forth by others in the past..

Kevin...
This is a link to an article and not a rehash or repeat of the views of DW members so a new thread untainted by the general one is most welcome. Methinks some may protest as a reflex action, especially if they find it uncomfortable.
http://www.khyung.com

Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

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Re: Vegetarianism in Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Virgo » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:15 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:10 pm
This is a link to an article and not a rehash or repeat of the views of DW members so a new thread untainted by the general one is most welcome. Methinks some may protest as a reflex action, especially if they find it uncomfortable.
We have discussed it all before -- all the points about medicine, all the points about what sutra says, all the points about what tantra says, all the points about various famous lamas that promoted vegetarianism, what they said and so forth. The right thing to do, so people don't have to go through it all again is quote those posts and respond to them with this article and information, or at the least, post it in that thread.

Kevin...

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Re: Vegetarianism in Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Miroku » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:31 am

Aryjna wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:29 pm
There is nothing really surprising in that. Beyond actually being responsible for the death of an animal (which is usually not the case when someone eats meat), it is said that rejoicing in a deed committed by another gets you the same result. So enjoying meat knowing that an animal was killed for it, is essentially rejoicing in the killing, and you receive the result of that. Similarly, according to Words of my Perfect Teacher any sort of traditional occupation, such as shepherd, or farmer, is guaranteed to send you to hell eventually. If you come across meat though, and eat it with the compassionate motivation (though the quote by Jigme Lingpa above is against this) it is not the same.
I really do not know how you were/are eating meat, but when I eat it I do enjoy it and when I remember it has been killed for me I feel sorry for the being. Really I do not think that enjoying something equals rejoicing in it. I enjoy my phone I do not rejoice in the enviromental damage it has done. I enjoy a nice kup of rice I do not rejoice in the thousands and milions of beings that died for it. Etc. But as Virgo said this has been discussed ad nauseum.
Child, if you are not hypocritical and out of control, that is conduct.
~ Padampa Sangye

You say such clever things to people, but you do not apply them to yourself.
The faults within you are the ones to be exposed.
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Re: Vegetarianism in Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Aryjna » Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:15 am

Miroku wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:31 am
Aryjna wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:29 pm
There is nothing really surprising in that. Beyond actually being responsible for the death of an animal (which is usually not the case when someone eats meat), it is said that rejoicing in a deed committed by another gets you the same result. So enjoying meat knowing that an animal was killed for it, is essentially rejoicing in the killing, and you receive the result of that. Similarly, according to Words of my Perfect Teacher any sort of traditional occupation, such as shepherd, or farmer, is guaranteed to send you to hell eventually. If you come across meat though, and eat it with the compassionate motivation (though the quote by Jigme Lingpa above is against this) it is not the same.
I really do not know how you were/are eating meat, but when I eat it I do enjoy it and when I remember it has been killed for me I feel sorry for the being. Really I do not think that enjoying something equals rejoicing in it. I enjoy my phone I do not rejoice in the enviromental damage it has done. I enjoy a nice kup of rice I do not rejoice in the thousands and milions of beings that died for it. Etc. But as Virgo said this has been discussed ad nauseum.
I don't think there is any completely definitive answer, as long as one is still in samsara anyway nothing is done perfectly.

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Re: Vegetarianism in Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Mantrik » Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:35 am

I think there is room for debate in general re. Buddhism, but the real crux of the issue is whether a person eats meat in Tsog/Ganapuja.

In general terms you are not a vegetarian if you do, except in the same light as the Indian who is Vegetarian except on a Wednesday,etc.

But in Vajrayana terms you have a perspective on what is eaten during that puja which may lead you to consider you are still purely vegetarian.

As in the example of eating and making the connection with the animal (see quote given above), in your own Tsog do you have confidence that the meat is transformed through your ritual?

That is a matter between the individual and their Guru, but it is at the core for Vajrayana practitioners who have taken vows etc. and who wish to claim to be pure vegans or vegetarians, whether in intention or in action.

The rest is just the usual debate on vegetarianism people have in a general way, so I found this article useful as a resource.
http://www.khyung.com

Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

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