Mig

Vegan or vegetarian in Daoism

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I was wondering if someone can help me to understand where the idea of vegan or vegetarian started in Daoism. It seems the same idea is in Buddhism. If it is about compassion and feelings, don't plants have also compassion and feelings?

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The Daoists I've come across haven't been vegetarian and haven't talked much about compassion either.

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3 hours ago, Mig said:

I was wondering if someone can help me to understand where the idea of vegan or vegetarian started in Daoism. It seems the same idea is in Buddhism. If it is about compassion and feelings, don't plants have also compassion and feelings?

Saw a great cooking show that featured a Buddhist nun cook.  The gourmet who produced the show considered her one of the greatest chefs in the world, though mainly she cooked for her convent.  One of her soups was simply water run down a large vegetable repeatedly.  That was it.  Yet the man said the taste was sublime.

 

The show had her in the garden, taking her time, picking vegetables and herbs.  She went by experience and instinct.  All vegetables spoke to her, none were bad or ugly, each had its place.  To provide nourishment, strength and life to her family, the nuns.  Her sect was vegetarian.  The convent was very hard work, but religious and very well fed. 

 

Her reverence towards the plants and process made it holy.  Hard work and things prepared, just so, with care and compassion.  That's the highest aim, even if one is cooking meat.   Honor the environment, don't waste, eat with the seasons.. 

 

Not that I keep to those standards, but many deep practitioners do. 

Personally without a brain or nervous system I don't think plants have compassion or feelings, and eating animals that eat plants is just side stepping the issue anyway.  I have huge respect for vegetarians, though not one myself. 

 

Here's an interview with the Zen nun cook, it may have some insights on spirituality and food:

 

 

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thelerner, recently I saw a doc regarding mushrooms and trees. Based on their study they claim they have a very sophisticated way of communication to live together and mushrooms to develop and live in their environment. There is some kind of processing information like we humans do, so shall we say they don't have brains. I have met humans they have brains but for whatever reason they cannot use it for basic purposes, i am not talking about handicapped or mental ill individuals, just normal dudes. The reason of my question is because you see in some monasteries many vegetarian followers and in their religion one of the precepts is not to kill so it made me think, don't we kill plants before we eat them?

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As far as I know, daoism doesn't advocate vegetarianism or veganism. Or the development of extreme compassion.

 

That's buddhism.

 

However, there are several mixed practices that include both Buddhism and Daoism. On these, vegetarianism is the basys.

 

Now, my personal view on the subject is - be compassionate, but do not believe sentimentalism is compassion. Usually a buddhist is instructed not to lie, have sex, eat meats and etc.


But that is with a purpose, a practice and method with a goal in mind. It is perfectly possible to kill and eat with the greatest possible compassion. It just isn't taught, since it usually leads people to not practice at all.

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9 hours ago, Mig said:

I was wondering if someone can help me to understand where the idea of vegan or vegetarian started in Daoism. It seems the same idea is in Buddhism. If it is about compassion and feelings, don't plants have also compassion and feelings?

 

My Good Mig-

 

here at last I can offer something.

Whilst I cannot speak for Daoism, I can offer a bit of what I have learned from a very few of the many variations of Buddhism.

(sorry for the wall of text)

 

As is the case in so many complex things "It Depends"

 

quoted from
https://www.quora.com/If-eating-meat-is-so-cruel-why-does-the-Dalai-Lama-eat-meat
snip----------------------------------------------
Q: If eating meat is so cruel, why does the Dalai Lama eat meat?

Tom Kent
 Studied Eighty+ World's Greatest Teachers for 53yr (1968-2019)
Updated February 5, 2020 · Author has 1.1K answers and 288K answer views

This question of whether Buddhists should be vegetarians is a very contentious one, and has at times led to a lot of rifts and disunity among Buddhists. So the very first thing we should realise is that, in Buddhism, causing a rift or disunity among Buddhists is one of the worst and heaviest bad karmas you can possibly get.

The Dalai Lama is a very highly realised being, a great practitioner and bodhisattva and someone who saved the lives of at least tens of thousands of people, who has always acted with the greatest ethics, and who has inspired the whole world. For humble practitioners like us to try to run him down or hurt people’s faith in him, would also be a very heavy negative karma.

Reputable scientific studies show that more animals die harvesting cereals than killing meat. For every acre that is harvested, thousands of mice are killed. When we are killing a cow, one cow feeds six people for two weeks. Mice are at least as intelligent as cows. They sing love songs to one another. So the lamas who have taught me say that vegetarians are fooling themselves. To be a human being is to acknowledge that for us to live requires the death of other beings. If we want to be like a strict Jain and to wear no clothes and to eat only fruit and nuts that have dropped from naturally-growing trees, then we won’t harm anything. But we will also be in bad health all of the time, and live short lives, wasting this human birth in which we have the opportunity to gain true spiritual understanding to benefit beings. If we eat our meat mindfully, wishing well to that animal, and we have spiritual development, it is possible for us to create a connection with that animal which will help it.

What is truly terrible is for us to have farms that treat animals as machines, and working places that treat humans as machines. It is terrible for us to have abattoirs that are killing factories where animals die in indignity and pain, in which animals that are not fit for human consumption come into the food chain, and in which the workers are forced to work at speeds that create severe injury to them, and which degrade and dehumanise those workers. It is terrible for us to be destroying dozens of species of animals forever every single day to create food and clothing land. It is terrible for us to be supporting working places in the third world in which human beings have shortened lives in which there is no time or space for them to do spiritual practice. It is terrible that we are within twenty years of making this planet uninhabitable for human and most animal life and producing the greatest extinction in Earth’s history.

 

The Dalai Lama tried to be vegetarian but found after a while that he became ill. His doctors told him that he had to eat meat. There are some people who can cope well on a vegetarian diet, but I think the majority must eat some meat. Humans are designed to be omnivores.

 

I think a more powerful argument is that cattle farms are very bad for the environment. I’d like us to use different animals, and ones that were free and happy for most of their lives and killed ethically. I’d like us to eat less meat, so that we don’t have to farm intensively. I’d like us to choose a different method of farming and to use different crops as well.

The lamas having been telling me for thirty years that things are very urgent. We don’t have much time.

 

 

Tenzin Chogyal
Answered August 28, 2020 · Author has 131 answers and 9.2K answer views

I answered similar questions on this plate form but this question contains Dalai Lama’s name. Let’s dissect this question. Cruel? Most meat eaters don’t think themselves being cruel to the animals because they never witness animals being slaughtered. Most vegetarians or vegans do not think themselves being cruel to anyone because they never witness growing process of food they eat. All we know is meat come from animals and grains come from seed. Let’s assume rice and apples are not living things but in the process of growing them we end up killing countless insects. Isn’t this cruel? Every time we dig in the ground number of life has been lost. Honest arguments should be life vs life not small animals vs big animals. If the cruel is defined as harming animals or living beings, vegetarians or vegans are nothing less of a cruel. Meat eaters harm larger animals and vegetarian or vegans harm smaller animals. Cruelty happens with living things. We can never do cruel to the rocks. So we need to define what is living and what is not. We need to define who feels pain and who is not. We need to define who wants to live and who does not care. After such understanding we can talk about cruelty with real sense. Having said that we always should live with consideration, respect, compassion to others. Never cause harm to anyone for no reasons or just for fun.


endsnip----------------------------------------------

 

 


Now, alternatively, from actual practioners, please go here ( much to long to snip) and read both the translated statements and the interpretations.

"Udamwara: Statements from Sutra"
http://teachingsfromtibet.com/2017/06/01/udamwara-statements-from-sutra/

 

if you read the text you will see that even in the Sutras "It Depends".

 

snip-----------------
This text Geshe Thubten Soepa presents a detailed discussion in support of vegetarianism and animal welfare. Geshe Soepa composed the first of these two texts on animal rights, The Udamwara Lotus Flower in 1995, and the second, Compassion is the Root of the Teachings in 2005. They were published together in a book in 2007 by Sera Je Monastery in India.

This publication is available in ebook formatOpens in a new window from the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive and can be freely downloaded as a pdf file.
endsnip------------------

 

 

 


then this at the end of a transcript of an interview with the Dalai Lama

http://www.phayul.com/2010/07/07/27688/

 

snip-----------------

(a prior question involved watches)
The Dalai Lama: No, this watch came recntly in a parcel from America. Then about taking meat, there are some contardictions but in vinaya no prohibition in eating meat, so monks in Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, they take both veg and non veg food. One time I asked, discussed this subject with a monk from Sri Lanka about 40 years ago, he said Buddhist monks are neither veg nor non veg… he should accept whatever he gets, so that’s the principle. But vinaya clearly mentions that meat which was purposely killed for you was not to be eaten but in general was not prohibited, some books like langaavatarasutra prohibited any kind of meat, including fish etc but some other texts not prohibiting, so different case, I think practically in northern part of Tibet, no vegetables. Very difficult. So that’s practical reason. However, my age, about 13, 14, all Tibetan official festival, offered a lot of meat – I changed all to vegetarian food. Then, in 59 come to India. Around 65, I became a vegetarian.

 

NDTV: Why?

The Dalai Lama: Better. Philosophical reason. 20 months I remained strict vegetarian. At that time I took advice from some of my Indian friends about the substitutes of meat. Lot of milk, cream and …then in 67 I developed gall bladder, hepatitis. So my wole body became yellow. So at that time I become like living Buddha. Whole body yellow. Nails also yellow. It remained I think for about 3 weeks. So Tibetan physician, as well as alopathic physician advised me to take meat. So back to origianl diet. Meantime, all our monasteries in south India, also Namying monastery, common kitchen, serve only vegetarian food. In south India monasteris, population 300-400, all vegetarian food. Also in foreign countries when I visit Buddhist centers I always ask them. Now it is up to the individual. But as a society, as a institution, when they give some sort of a festival,it must be vegetarian. That business started the gall bladder trouble. Finally, surgery. So that’s the background. So my own case, meat once or twice a week, otherwise vegeteranian. So I tried to become a vegetarian but still difficult. I think it’s useful to know the whole background.

end snip------------------------------

 

 

walk in beauty

shunka

Edited by shunka
re-order
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Meat in early age is fine and decrease it as you get older. From what I saw, these kung fu kids in China are genetically so different anyway. Rice and veg gives them more arse-kicking ability than anything, so meat isn't a huge part of the bowl.

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I think, but cannot prove, that the needed amount of meat in ones diet depends on a number of factors, such as

-climate -- one generally needs more fuel in the Siberian Winter than in Hawaii

 

-genetic makeup - Northern Europeans and Siberians seem to have a genetic inclination adapted to dark cold winters, and their diet follows accordingly.

 

-amount of physical exertion - an intuitively obvious issue - and yet, high exertion is often better fueled by more carbohydrates ( ie bread, pasta, potatoes, rice) rather than protein.

 

-age - not necessarily obvious. some elders do better on more meat, possibly due to metabolic changes

 

-individual metabolism - our bodies are not all the same and do not all work identically, and further our metabolism changes with age and climate.

 

- Medical Conditions - these are numerous, including Diabetes and Celiac. as well as allergies/intolerance  to any given food or food group

 

- the availabilty of "complete proteins" - it is possible to have a completely balance vegetarian diet if the foods complement each other to form "a complete protein" such as the famous "Three Sisters" of Corn, Squash, and Beans of the American "Native Americans". When properly prepared and consumed "correctly" they provide almost all nutrition required, especially forming complete complex proteins. Unfortunately

some folks don't do well on such a diet. Those with allergies to any one of the foods are.... boned.

 

 

 

I am intrigued that the Dalai Lama ( who I admire greatly) alternates between "vegan" and "meat".

To these old eyes, that looks like "balance".

 

I personally feel that an individual's diet should be determined by that individual, after due consideration,

rather than some Dogma. But that is my own opinion, and I don't expect anyone else to follow it.

 

walk in beauty

shunka

Edited by shunka
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On 9/16/2020 at 8:06 PM, shunka said:

 

My Good Mig-

 

here at last I can offer something.

Whilst I cannot speak for Daoism, I can offer a bit of what I have learned from a very few of the many variations of Buddhism.

(sorry for the wall of text)

 

As is the case in so many complex things "It Depends"

 

quoted from
https://www.quora.com/If-eating-meat-is-so-cruel-why-does-the-Dalai-Lama-eat-meat
snip----------------------------------------------
Q: If eating meat is so cruel, why does the Dalai Lama eat meat?

Tom Kent
 Studied Eighty+ World's Greatest Teachers for 53yr (1968-2019)
Updated February 5, 2020 · Author has 1.1K answers and 288K answer views

This question of whether Buddhists should be vegetarians is a very contentious one, and has at times led to a lot of rifts and disunity among Buddhists. So the very first thing we should realise is that, in Buddhism, causing a rift or disunity among Buddhists is one of the worst and heaviest bad karmas you can possibly get.

The Dalai Lama is a very highly realised being, a great practitioner and bodhisattva and someone who saved the lives of at least tens of thousands of people, who has always acted with the greatest ethics, and who has inspired the whole world. For humble practitioners like us to try to run him down or hurt people’s faith in him, would also be a very heavy negative karma.

Reputable scientific studies show that more animals die harvesting cereals than killing meat. For every acre that is harvested, thousands of mice are killed. When we are killing a cow, one cow feeds six people for two weeks. Mice are at least as intelligent as cows. They sing love songs to one another. So the lamas who have taught me say that vegetarians are fooling themselves. To be a human being is to acknowledge that for us to live requires the death of other beings. If we want to be like a strict Jain and to wear no clothes and to eat only fruit and nuts that have dropped from naturally-growing trees, then we won’t harm anything. But we will also be in bad health all of the time, and live short lives, wasting this human birth in which we have the opportunity to gain true spiritual understanding to benefit beings. If we eat our meat mindfully, wishing well to that animal, and we have spiritual development, it is possible for us to create a connection with that animal which will help it.

What is truly terrible is for us to have farms that treat animals as machines, and working places that treat humans as machines. It is terrible for us to have abattoirs that are killing factories where animals die in indignity and pain, in which animals that are not fit for human consumption come into the food chain, and in which the workers are forced to work at speeds that create severe injury to them, and which degrade and dehumanise those workers. It is terrible for us to be destroying dozens of species of animals forever every single day to create food and clothing land. It is terrible for us to be supporting working places in the third world in which human beings have shortened lives in which there is no time or space for them to do spiritual practice. It is terrible that we are within twenty years of making this planet uninhabitable for human and most animal life and producing the greatest extinction in Earth’s history.

 

The Dalai Lama tried to be vegetarian but found after a while that he became ill. His doctors told him that he had to eat meat. There are some people who can cope well on a vegetarian diet, but I think the majority must eat some meat. Humans are designed to be omnivores.

 

I think a more powerful argument is that cattle farms are very bad for the environment. I’d like us to use different animals, and ones that were free and happy for most of their lives and killed ethically. I’d like us to eat less meat, so that we don’t have to farm intensively. I’d like us to choose a different method of farming and to use different crops as well.

The lamas having been telling me for thirty years that things are very urgent. We don’t have much time.

 

 

Tenzin Chogyal
Answered August 28, 2020 · Author has 131 answers and 9.2K answer views

I answered similar questions on this plate form but this question contains Dalai Lama’s name. Let’s dissect this question. Cruel? Most meat eaters don’t think themselves being cruel to the animals because they never witness animals being slaughtered. Most vegetarians or vegans do not think themselves being cruel to anyone because they never witness growing process of food they eat. All we know is meat come from animals and grains come from seed. Let’s assume rice and apples are not living things but in the process of growing them we end up killing countless insects. Isn’t this cruel? Every time we dig in the ground number of life has been lost. Honest arguments should be life vs life not small animals vs big animals. If the cruel is defined as harming animals or living beings, vegetarians or vegans are nothing less of a cruel. Meat eaters harm larger animals and vegetarian or vegans harm smaller animals. Cruelty happens with living things. We can never do cruel to the rocks. So we need to define what is living and what is not. We need to define who feels pain and who is not. We need to define who wants to live and who does not care. After such understanding we can talk about cruelty with real sense. Having said that we always should live with consideration, respect, compassion to others. Never cause harm to anyone for no reasons or just for fun.


endsnip----------------------------------------------

 

 


Now, alternatively, from actual practioners, please go here ( much to long to snip) and read both the translated statements and the interpretations.

"Udamwara: Statements from Sutra"
http://teachingsfromtibet.com/2017/06/01/udamwara-statements-from-sutra/

 

if you read the text you will see that even in the Sutras "It Depends".

 

snip-----------------
This text Geshe Thubten Soepa presents a detailed discussion in support of vegetarianism and animal welfare. Geshe Soepa composed the first of these two texts on animal rights, The Udamwara Lotus Flower in 1995, and the second, Compassion is the Root of the Teachings in 2005. They were published together in a book in 2007 by Sera Je Monastery in India.

This publication is available in ebook formatOpens in a new window from the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive and can be freely downloaded as a pdf file.
endsnip------------------

 

 

 


then this at the end of a transcript of an interview with the Dalai Lama

http://www.phayul.com/2010/07/07/27688/

 

snip-----------------

(a prior question involved watches)
The Dalai Lama: No, this watch came recntly in a parcel from America. Then about taking meat, there are some contardictions but in vinaya no prohibition in eating meat, so monks in Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, they take both veg and non veg food. One time I asked, discussed this subject with a monk from Sri Lanka about 40 years ago, he said Buddhist monks are neither veg nor non veg… he should accept whatever he gets, so that’s the principle. But vinaya clearly mentions that meat which was purposely killed for you was not to be eaten but in general was not prohibited, some books like langaavatarasutra prohibited any kind of meat, including fish etc but some other texts not prohibiting, so different case, I think practically in northern part of Tibet, no vegetables. Very difficult. So that’s practical reason. However, my age, about 13, 14, all Tibetan official festival, offered a lot of meat – I changed all to vegetarian food. Then, in 59 come to India. Around 65, I became a vegetarian.

 

NDTV: Why?

The Dalai Lama: Better. Philosophical reason. 20 months I remained strict vegetarian. At that time I took advice from some of my Indian friends about the substitutes of meat. Lot of milk, cream and …then in 67 I developed gall bladder, hepatitis. So my wole body became yellow. So at that time I become like living Buddha. Whole body yellow. Nails also yellow. It remained I think for about 3 weeks. So Tibetan physician, as well as alopathic physician advised me to take meat. So back to origianl diet. Meantime, all our monasteries in south India, also Namying monastery, common kitchen, serve only vegetarian food. In south India monasteris, population 300-400, all vegetarian food. Also in foreign countries when I visit Buddhist centers I always ask them. Now it is up to the individual. But as a society, as a institution, when they give some sort of a festival,it must be vegetarian. That business started the gall bladder trouble. Finally, surgery. So that’s the background. So my own case, meat once or twice a week, otherwise vegeteranian. So I tried to become a vegetarian but still difficult. I think it’s useful to know the whole background.

end snip------------------------------

 

 

walk in beauty

shunka

*deep bow*

the timing of this... the synchronicity for me

 

Wow. 

 

You give words to experiences and research I share intimately... and with an authenticity and in a manner of light touch and open heart that inspires me.

 

Your presence here and insights shared are a real gift shunka.

 

 

 

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The argument that it's just a matter of large or small animals doesn't hold up so well. The numbers are also quite different. I'd guess many of the same reasons mice escape the combines could be transferred to insects escaping them. Also, enormous amounts of grain is produced to feed livestock.

 

https://www.theflamingvegan.com/view-post/Vegan-Mythbusting-1-Are-wild-animals-killed-when-grain-is-harvested-for-vegans

 

"T & M then set those 33 mice free to munch on grain, scurry, groom their fur, build nests, or whatever. All through the harvesting season, they tracked their rodent gang. Guess how many died in a grain harvester? One. One out of 33 – that’s 3.3%. In other words, 96.67% of the mice on a harvested farm were not killed by cruel bladed machines. But 17 – that’s almost 50% - were killed by other critters – owls and weasels, to be more specific. Their radio collars were found on carcasses, or chewed up in burrows, or as fancy new toys for owlets. Statistically speaking, harvesting machines had virtually no impact at all.

It’s interesting that Davis used this study and counted 18 dead mice, but didn’t care to factor in that 17 had died of predation.

 

...

 

But why didn’t harvester machines kill those mice? Common sense tells you and me that since mice have ears and eyes and whiskers, when they see a huge, loud machine heading their way, they bolt for their lives - a prudent and successful strategy. Mice have perfected the art of escaping faster and stealthier things than harvester machines. Sure, baby mice in nests, or the old and infirm can’t do much, but most mice are quite adept at avoiding large, noisy things.

 

...

 

They found that while the density of wildlife on farms was lower after the harvest, the numbers of animals in the forests had gone up significantly. That meant that when grain was harvested and their cover vanished, the animals abandoned the farms and moved to the shelter of forested areas close by.

He assumed that producing food for meat eaters and vegans uses the same area of land. In fact, raising animals requires vastly more land and water than cultivating plants does. On average, meat production uses 16 times more land than producing vegan food of equivalent nutrition.

...

 

But all this arguing over harvester machines overlooks an important fact: most of the world’s food production does not even use machines. You see, most of the world’s farmers live in the developing world. They farm small areas of land, which makes mechanized farming cost-prohibitive. Most of the world’s farmers plow their fields with water buffalo in Vietnam, oxen in India and donkeys in Kenya. Seeds are sown with rudimentary tools, pesticides are sprayed by hand pumps and irrigation channels are dug using picks and shovels. They use this produce to feed their families and sell the surplus at local farmer’s markets. Let me put it another way: most of the plant food eaten by humans is farmed without using machines – no tractors for plowing, no aircraft for spraying chemicals, and no grain harvesters.

Crops raised for feeding meat animals, on the other hand …

 

Edited by Harmonious Emptiness

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My Good Harmonious -

 

Thanks for posting - I appreciate to effort to find the article and it is gratifying to see that there is at least one attempt at a study .

 

In the question of meat vs vegan in the context of Buddhism and Daoism-

 

- I always consider the source, note that I offered opinions from advanced practitioners, then the actual scripture,

  then the opinion of the head of  Tibetan Buddhism.

  These folks can well be considered "top experts" the the field of Buddhist spiritual opinion.

 

I linked to one source of the actual Buddhist scripture (the original instructions, if you will) with the caveat that it is at least one layer of modern translation, since few of us can read the original language,  and I look  at opinions of "top experts" of the interpretation , based on modern realities

 

-  With the exception of the scripture,  the others are a philosophical discussion, which basically seems to be saying

"Do not think yourself so holy if you are not eating meat"

and

"Eating meat may not be the venal sin you are claiming"


When looking at the Vegan Mythbusters article you cite, it is an interesting study, but it looks to me as tho the Vegan Mythbuster

article put a deliberately skew on the article to fit their world view. They miss the point  by cherry picking the argument to fit their ideal -

 

in other words they are claiming that since it is not the machinery that is causing the deaths , then the argument is not valid

 

I found here

 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/000632079390060E

 

and the abstract describes the study (note, emphasis is mine):

snip-----------------------------------

Abstract

The effects of cereal harvesting on the ecology of wood mice Apodemus sylvaticus were investigated at three arable study sites in Oxfordshire from 1987 to 1991 using both radio-tracking and live-trapping methodologies. The process of harvesting itself had little direct effect on the mice, but the removal of the cover afforded by the crop greatly increased predation pressure on the mice. After harvest, mice either emigrated from the arable ecosystem or reduced activity. Nevertheless, over half (17 of 32) of the mice radio-collared before harvest were taken by predators in the first week following harvest. Together with emigration, this produced an 80% decrease in the population. Post-harvest activities such as stubble burning subsequently further increased mortality. The dramatic increase in prey availability may benefit predators of small mammals in the cereal ecosystem such as tawny owls Strix aluco and weasels Mustela nivalis.

andsnip------------------------------------

 

By conveniently leaving out the above highlited bits, Vegan Mythbusters avoided the fact that planting and harvesting methods

indirectly caused the death of more mice by increasing predation.

 

So the mouse deaths are still due to the consequences of the planting and harvesting .

They did not address the deaths of insects at all, nor do they even mention the deaths by chemical spraying of various kinds.

-------

 

There is also the misconception that "all cattle are fed grains so that destroys the arguement"

 

I have lived in "corn country",  "wheat country", "ranch country" and "dairy country " all my life.

There is a HUGE difference between corporate run facilities and "the little guy"

 

While it is has become common to "finish off" beef cattle on corn for several weeks it has not always been the case

nor is it any longer the absolute norm.  "Finishing off"  on corn in a "feed lot" puts weight and fat on quickly.

more weight means more cash at slaughter. But the feed lots are also a source of  much abuse, pain, suffering, and pollution of the land . So the feed lots are part of the "evil corporate money chain" of the meat industry.

 

"Grass fed only" is a different story. The steers never hit the feed lots, they ones I see are pretty damn happy cattle that go from their  grassland to the the truck for a nice ride, to the slaughterhouse, and the main trauma is in the truck ride and the actual slaughter itself (death is nearly always traumatic).

 

When done properly the an individual steer is taken from the lineup into a closed off slaughter booth, and shot in the forehead

with a pnuematic "bolt gun". Death is as instantaneous as one can get. The hind legs are chained to a conveyor crane,

the dead steer (yes it is dead, a one inch bolt driven 3 inches thru the forehead skull ensures that) is carried off, the next

unknowing steer is brought in.  The methods trumps shooting or slitting the throat to my mind. But is IS the deliberate killing of a sentient being.

 

When done improperly slaughterhouses are a horror show.

 

I completetly agree that "corporate factory cattle farms"  are .. incredibly inhumane and evil in their treatment of cattle.

Poorly run feedlots and slaughterhouses are another Horror Show.

 

I agree that one must take great pains to ensure that the meat one buys is "as advertised" because corporate marketing uses lies and fabrication and weasel words as an integral part of its core business.

 

I disagree that "grass-fed" & etc is a myth - I feel it is incumbent upon the consumer to do even the least bit of

"research" and ensure exactly where their food is coming from. I myself have been buying locally grown pork

which is "free range" and buy beef and buffalo from a local meat market that has their own ranch which I  have verified

myself that the cattle are actually "free range",  "Predator Freindly" , and "grass fed" , and that they ARE NOT

"finished off" on corn. And their slaughter facility is as human as possible, and is in fact both kosher and halal.

 

I personally try to do "the best I can" in this existance and strive for "balance"

and I try to take responsibility for the lives lost for the food I eat.

 

walk in beauty

shunka

,

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From a yogic perspective, the reason why meat (or excessive consumption of it) needs to be avoided/minimized is because meat increases Rajas and Tamas (kinetic energy and sloth) in phases. Rajas causes vikshepa, ie scattering of the mind, tamas causes avarana (veiling). 
 

When someone who is meditating, especially in early stages, eats too much meat, their minds are not able to stabilize and therefore subtle intelligence doesn’t function well. 
 

Subtle intelligence is required for the mind to break through the veils of delusion (called āvarana) which hide our true nature from us. 
 

Depending on certain conditions certain minds have natural tendency towards clarity (satva), Rajas (activity) or tamas (sloth). They are combination of genetic, social conditioning but really are rooted in karmic tendencies. 
 

But other conditions such as weather, Geography etc also apply. If someone living in Siberia or

alaska or high in the Himalayas where vegetarian food options aren’t plenty, doesn’t eat meat, that becomes a survival issue. Then other actions need to be taken to counterbalance the effect of meat eating. 
 

The main thing is to maintain moderation.

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I’m not a daoist but I believe the daoist would see predation as a natural fact.  Not judging bad or good. 

 

In a sheltered world we create Where we develop to human artificiality , it creates much more conflict in us. 
 

Laozi and zhuangzi lived in a time where for sure people lived more at the whim of nature’s conditions. This would give them much different perspective,One that would make the question probably not even come up..
 

really this is a complex topic.. it also depends on the reasoning for vegetarianism, health, practicality, ethics, would they be against factory farming or regular farming or hunting. I can see a primitivst argument against farming.


I never knew it was part of Daoism.. maybe a Buddhist influence?  

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Daoists are a practical bunch.

 

In my teacher's tradition, meat is considered one of the best fuels for generating Qi at certain stages. (It's important to point out that it's one of the best. Too much meat is also not good!)

 

However, the reason we build so much Qi is so that we can create a bridge between form and formlessness. Once we've built enough or we begin certain internal processes, then Daoists stop eating meat and meditate instead. In fact, they sometimes stop eating anything at all.

 

For meditative practice, and for some of the alchemical practices, there is a specific diet - one that’s free of meat as well as free of over-stimulation of taste and smell. Basically simple whole ingredients, not cooked for taste but for fuel and nourishment. Unspiced, unseasoned, unfried, unflavoured. Think plain buckwheat with a side of steamed beans, carrots and greens and maybe a handful of walnuts.

 

I've never met a (genuine) Daoist vegan.

 

 

Edited by freeform
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Here is another insight into the modern Japanese philosophy of eating whether 'tis meat or vegatables.

 

My Lovely Spousal Unit (She who Must Be Obeyed) has just reminded me of the lovely Japanese tradition of saying

"thanks for the food". It seems uniquitous whether Buddhist, Shinto , or "whatever".

 

The phrase "Itadakimasu" is uttereed at the beginning of meals.  

every.single.meal.

It is commonly translated as in phrasebooks as "thanks for the meal" , but it is far more than that.

 

The literal translation is either " "I humbly receive" or " I will humbly accept it” (depending upon your source)

 

However, the translation does not reveal the deeper meaning.

This phrase is meant to honor everyone and everything involved with making the meal.  Not only The farmers, fishermen,

and whoever prepared your meal,  it also gives thanks to the animals and plants which sacrificed themselves to become the meal itself.

 

And SWMBO further expounded - the rice or other grain sacrificed it's babies (the seeds!) for us to eat.

 

walk in beauty

shunka

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I hate to enter daoist discussion with anything buddhist, but just to "correct" some views. Buddhist do not believe that plants themselves are sentient. However, some schools (especially chinese buddhists it seems) are convinced that spirits live in plants, trees, vegetables and so on. So the plant is like a home. The relationship between the spirit and the material plant is waaaaay looser than in case of us humans. So, like that. I heard one chinese master claim that the plant spirits do not mind if their house is used for food. I think it can be bit different in case of trees as the spirits usually live there for a long time. So it might anger those.

Anyway, the question of veggies vs meats in buddhism is a hard one and impossible to close, as it depends on many factors. So this was the buddhist window. Now sorry I disturbed. 

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When my son was young 3-7ish, we used to play a game at meal times.

We'd thank as many aspects related to our meal as we could think of...

 

Sun, rain, wind...

Farmer... soil...

The Animals...

 

Folks who picked the food.

Folks who drove the trucks that carried the food.

 

The folks who made the trucks.

who keep up the roads.

who load and unload the trucks.

 

folks who make the tires.

folks who fix the traffic lights

who made the stove

who produce the electricity

who mined the metal for the pots n pans

who prepared the meal

 

the list seems endless, reaches back to the supernova that produced our section of the galaxy...

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There's a Japanese novel, "Shipwrecks," by Akira Yoshimura, depicting the life of a very poor medieval fishing village.  The climate and the land were inhospitable for farming, the village survived on seasonal catch -- squid, octopus and sardine, always on the border of starvation.  No one had any money to buy rice, but they did hunt for rice.  Every year in winter, they set salt cauldrons burning on the shore -- a trap to lure the sailing ships aground on the reef.  The ships transported bales of rice.  The villagers then attacked and slaughtered the crew and took possession of the rice.  It was distributed between households and increased everybody's chances of surviving the winter and not having to indenture more family members to the feudal lords or dying of starvation.  I won't tell the rest of the story in case someone wants to read it (it's actually about an epidemic so now may be a precarious time to read it, or the best time, depends). 

 

But the point I'm making is, there's plenty of places on Earth where vegetarianism could only be a luxury -- one example is Tibet where for many centuries the poor had only animal food to eat, fruits and vegetables and grains couldn't be grown there and only the wealthy could afford to buy them.  For the lamas, vegetarianism was a status symbol.

 

It was the opposite in Europe for much of its history.  In the US before abolition, vegetarianism was much advocated as the right way to feed the slaves in order to not foster any rebellious thoughts and ideas of freedom which were thought to be facilitated by meat eating, although some slave owners, mindful of profits, found that the slaves worked better and were healthier when fed pork.

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I bet there are health benefits to eating in a grateful state of mind.  Imagine a world in which everyone, vegetarian and carnivore alike, gave thanks.  Maybe we´d see less heart attacks.  Plus, we probably wouldn´t fight about food so much.  Research scientists: kindly credit Luke when you publish your landmark study.  (It´s probably a little shallow to cultivate gratitude for others with an eye towards furthering one´s own life, but whatever.)  

Edited by liminal_luke
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