Response (4) to "The Invisible Conveyor Belt of Meat & Murder"
Response to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheDailyEnlightenment/message/547
Response (4) to "The Invisible Conveyor Belt of Meat & Murder"This is an informal dialogue between a TDE-Reader and the TDEditor -
Beginning of Part 4:
TR: Thank you, I'll watch the video before commenting on vegetarianism. The issue I raised was really about religion. This statement of yours is sufficient to answer my original comment: "There is no teaching that one must be a strict vegetarian to be a proper Buddhist..." I wish that you would publish this statement, because one could get a different impression from your article. That was the reason for my writing in the first place.
SS: The statement "There is no teaching that one must be a strict vegetarian to be a proper Buddhist..." is misleadingly incomplete. Th original followed thus - "..., only that one should be one [vegetarian] in the practice of the Bodhisattva path of helping, not harming any being, directly or indirectly. [in the Mahayana]" I can't give one-sided information - which is why I didn't give any; but based the article on common sense instead. The idea was to activiate our common sense, not to write a wholly religious article - because I want the outreach to be as wide as possible - not only to Buddhists. If the vegetarian cause cannot get through individuals through common sense of undeniable economics of suppy and demand, chances are slimmer that it can get through via religion. What's more, the Buddha DID teach about thr importance of vegetarianism in the Mahayana, but these teachings are still ignored by many Buddhists, while they cannot deny the economics of meat and murder. The article had to be short - another reason to focus on common sense.
TR: I understand you may make arguments separately from religion. My comment is about the religious issue, which is resolved if you would acknowledge the above in blue when making your arguments separately from religion, so that one is not confused, thinking that you are making a statement about Buddhism. If it appears that you are making a statement about Buddhism, then I think you are promoting a schism which actually deters people from Buddhism.
SS: Promoting a schism? To say that Buddhism does not teach vegetarianism at all to me furthers the gap between Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism - that to me, is creating a schism within the Buddhist traditions. It creates a schism between Buddhists who are for vegetarianism and those who don't bother too. And those who suffer the most are the animals. Buddhism does speak about vegetarianism. And it speaks of choice - this is what the article said - we can make a better choice of diet for ourselves and the animals and the environment by being vegetarian. At no point did the article say vegetariansim is a must. It was a sincere plea, not a affirmation of what must be done. It is not of arbitrary importance - it involves millions of animal lives in a single day alone. It is interesting to note that I have only feedback positive about this article, other than yours.
TR: If however, you simply make it clear, "I am making an argument based on logic not religion, which I believe is also consistent with Buddhism," and make the above statement in blue, that is fine, and truly consistent with Buddhism because no one contends that Buddhism requires meat eating. That is the extent to which I wished to comment. The distinction may seem subtle, but that is why I wrote, not to debate vegetarianism. Your statement ["There is no teaching that one must be a strict vegetarian to be a proper Buddhist..."] above responds to my religious issue.
SS: The disclaimer is clear in the article - "And we havn't even touched on any religious reasons for vegetarianism yet! Common sense is already enough." The article started by asking consumers how they can not suspect the meat the consume was prepared for consumers. The rest is common sense of economics.
As a vegetarian, I have encountered, all these years, many people with selective listening to reasons to go vegetarian, while they continually rationalise that the chocie of diet is arbitrary, being blind to animal suffering. I hope they will listen more - not just to the Buddha's words and subjective interpretation of them - but listen to the piteous screams of animals about to go under the knife.
Let us put ourselves in the position of the Buddha. If the Buddha, for some reason, just like us, had money and needed to buy food regularly. Will he voluntarily choose to buy even one morsel of meat, when he has a wide variety of vegetarian choices of food? Will he support a trade (butchery) that he condemned? The answer is obvious. No need to talk about Theravada or Mahayana, or whether he really did speak for vegetarianism. The Buddha is one with perfect compassion and wisdom. What is the most compassionate and wisest choice of food to buy? To exaggerate the scenerio, will the Buddha buy fried chicken everyday, while preaching against the ills of butchery? Never. If the buying stops, the killing can. If even the Buddha couldn't disagree with this simple economics, why should anyone?
The systematic breeding and murdering of animals is demanded by the consumers, knowingly or unknowingly. It might be a system taken for granted, out of sight and out of mind. But they are still part of the system, just as one who is not deluded that one is deluded is still deluded.
:End of Part 4