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The Dhamma and Veganism/Vegetarianism


#103

Hi all,

:raising_hand_man: … can I just say something?

First, wow. I re-entered this thread after five days, as I had been mulling on a thought, only to find that this thread (like samsara?) has evolved with a vengeance and vigor greater than all of the Marvel universe’s superheroes AND villains combined. Oh. My. Brahma! :mindblown:

Anyway, the main thought I had was similar to @Polarbear’s:

You see, perhaps a commonality we could agree on as Dhamma followers, is that the key criteria for choosing vegetarianism/veganism or not, is whether the choice brings one greater peace of mind, or more wholesome mental states.

If it does, great, power to you: may that peace bring you the fruit of enlightenment!
If becoming vegetarian/vegan doesn’t bring you greater peace of mind, but instead causes you to fill up the reddit forum pages, then perhaps @Thito’s point is an apt reminder on what is ultimately important.
Because it doesn’t matter if you’re doing charitable acts (be it avoiding killing or explaining Dhamma) while your mind is completely defiled by ill-will or other defilements… you’ve basically succeeded in turning a potentially good act into one that is gray kamma at best, simply due to the defilement in your mind. I think that is the greatest danger for us all now, sadly… :slightly_frowning_face:

The way I see it, everyone’s bad kamma is like pee: you have to get rid of it yourself, and you can’t get someone else to get rid of it for you.
And this thread has somehow evolved into one where we seem to be arguing about which are the best/worst toilets, when ultimately it is still a personal choice.
In the meantime, we all have a lot of letting go to do…

So,
With much metta to all! And again, I’ll let @Polarbear have the last word below:


#104

Everyone can, and will, draw their own lines! As the EBT component must be addressed, I don’t think there’s a problem with identifying killing animals personally is the first precept?


#105

As there are probably a lot of people here, who have studied the EBT much more deeply than me, I would like to ask a question:

“Is there a Sutta in which the Buddha mandates the eating of meat?”

“Did he say anywhere, that you have to eat meat to successfully practice the Noble Eightfold Path?”

In other words:

“Is there a Sutta in which the Buddha said that it is necessary to eat meat in order to successfully practice the Noble Eightfold Path to attain final liberation?”

Or more simple:

“Did the Buddha say that it is necessary to eat meat to get enlightened?”


I assume that he didn’t.

I assume he did not say that eating meat is necessary to successfully practice the Noble Eightfold Path.

And if it’s not necessary to eat meat to successfully practice the Noble Eightfold Path, then why would you do it?

It’s not like you have to eat meat.

Nobody forces you.

So why do it?


#106

When somebody eat meat there is no killing neither alive being is killed at that moment. We can imagine some animal alive, other animals, the suffering of the animal realm, etc… Then we are going to another place with our own imaginations. We escape from the true reality and the reality factors defining that moment in where there is no killing neither intention to kill

Regarding progress there is nothing wrong in eating a piece of meat.

Avoid eating meat is not an action for liberation but for purification. A renounce. Same if you avoid buying clothes manufactured in non-human conditions, etc… The offer for such renounces is endless and even they are part of the crazy market. With social preachers, etc… Because this world is a place with killing and suffering of all sorts. However, the Dhamma is not a tool to save the world. The Buddha taught us the Dhamma to save us from the world instead to save the world.

These renounces for purification are a personal issue.


#107

Well said,

As Ven Gavesako says at the end of this video, we’re not trying to save or improve the world (those on the supermundane path at least)


#108

That didn’t answer my question.

And it’s a very simple question:

“Did the Buddha say that it is necessary to eat meat in order to practice the noble eightfold path and attain final liberation?”

If you think that he did, then show me.

I am perfectly aware that we are arguing within the framework of the EBT, and I have certainly still a lot of work ahead of me when it comes to studying the Suttas. But I am still pretty confident that the Buddha didn’t teach that it is necessary to eat meat.

If I am wrong, please show me.

And if you personally think that it’s necessary to eat meat - in order to successfully practice the path - then why don’t you just say so?


#109

Well, the context in which you spoke about “intentional ignorance” was actually very simple: When you go to the supermarket and buy a piece of meat, you know that an animal had to suffer and die, so you could buy this piece of meat - unless you are willfully ignorant.

You make a conscious choice.

You don’t have to buy the meat.

Nobody forces you.

You know that suffering and death is connected to this piece of meat - and you buy it anyway.

And “intentional ignorance” in this case is just pretending that you are somehow not connected and complicit in the suffering and killing of that animal.

But that’s just not true.

You are complicit in the sufferig and killing when you make the choice to buy the meat.

And that was my point. You can ignore intentionally as long as you want, but that will not change the fact that you partake in the suffering and killing of animals when you buy meat.

You consent to it.

And yes, in the absolute strictest sense you don’t violate the first precept.

And yes, eating - that is chewing and swallowing the dead flesh of an animal - does not in itself have to be done with bad intention, and therefore it doesn’t have to cause bad karma for you.

But where did the Buddha say that “buying” meat is a totally neutral act?

I mean, “receiving” meat as a monk is very different from “buying” meat a lay person.

As a lay person you yourself choose what you eat.

Every single time.

And again: Nobody forces you to buy meat.

You can simply choose to buy something else to eat.

Especially if you live in a modern, western country.

And it’s not difficult.

You just change what you eat three times a day, or two times a day, or one time a day.

That’s all.

It’s not a big sacrifice. And it’s not ascetic. You just eat something else.


Again, you don’t have to eat meat.

It is not necessary.

And if it’s not necessary and you do it anyway, then you are causing unnecessary suffering.

And how could you justify that you are causing unnecessary suffering?

You can’t.

I am pretty certain that consciously causing unnecessary suffering is not compatible with the Buddha’s teaching.


#110

It’s also not necessary to wear clothes, use shelter, use electricity, use the internet, shower, wash dishes, clean surfaces, etc. to successfully practice the Noble Eightfold Path…

You see where I’m going here, right? All of these things are not necessary to successfully practice the Noble Eightfold Path. So why do it? That’s a serious question. You know that in the modern world during the production of all of those products and services animals are killed, so why do you use them when they are not necessary to successfully practice the Noble Eightfold Path?

It’s hard to say, but one might suggest that there is much evidence that ‘not eating meat’ was an ascetic practice in ancient India, and the Buddha seems to have experimented with the practice while he was going through his self-mortification phase prior to enlightenment. When he formulated the monastic rules he allowed just 13 ascetic practices (dhutanga) for those inclined to self mortification, but these 13 do not include ‘not eating meat’.

Having said that, there is evidence that having a bath every day was also an ascetic practice in ancient India, so times do change. :wink:


#111

Could be because some ascetics believed that water purified them, there’s a sutta about that and the Buddha saying it doesn’t do anything for purification.


#112

thanks for that video.


#113

TL;DR: I apologize if I should have offended some of you. Ultimately developing real compassion is more important than being vegetarian or vegan. But I don’t think they have to be mutually exclusive. And I also apologize for the ridiculously long post. :wink:

I sincerely apologize, if I have given offence to some of you.

I think Mat was certainly right to point out early on in this threat that unity is of paramount importance in the practice of the Dhamma. I have to admit that it took me some time to really appreciate that friendship is not only “half of the holy life” and that you cannot practice this path all on your own.

But I understand that now, or at least better, and therefore - in the spirit of cordiality - I’d like to offer some words of reconciliation.

And I would like to do that by taking up some of the arguments that have been brought forth against the vegetarian or vegan choice and argue in their favour. Possibly with a personal note to really emphasize my sincerity.

First of all I would like to pick and important point that Mat has made, namely that by ending your own cylce of rebirth eventually you will relieve countless beings of the suffering you would otherwise cause.

Sure, in this particular life you may be a smart and educated vegan. But as the science of the last decades has shown, even your intelligence maybe influenced to a large degree by your genetics. So even if you have made enough good karma to be reborn in the human realm, you might lack the faculties which would otherwise allow you to make good progress on the path. It’s hard enough to develop an understanding of the Dhamma when you’re somewhat intelligent. But what if you lack that intellgence?

And apart from that your next rebirth might not even afford you the posibility to continue your vegetarian or vegan efforts, however well intentioned they might have been in this life. You may simply be reborn into a region of the world where survival is not possible without hunting or fishing. On a side note it’s worth pointing out that even in the USA there are still a lot of people who rely on hunting because they just have very little money.

And all this is still very much on the optimistic side.

To weave in another argument: If your main focus in this live is to passionately or even fanatically work for the alleviation and ending of animal suffering, then the deeper emotional residue of that may just be that passion and fanaticism. So in your next life this deeper emotional residue may reassert itself but in a different form. Maybe you are reborn into a family of political extremists or religious fundametalists. In that case your passion and fanaticism might suddenly find an outlet that can quickly generate a lot of suffering for yourself and others. And it might take you decades or your whole life to realize the damage you have done. If ever your realize it.

Personally I have experienced as a teenager that you can become very passionate about a certain cause, let’s say a political one. But even if you outgrow that particular cause, you still may retain the deeper emotional habit for a long time. You just want to keep feeling passionate about something.

And yes, you might even want keep that feeling of righteous indignation going. Because it feels very rewarding when you have a “good reason” for feeling angry.

So if passion and fanaticism is what you focus on in this life then that’s what you will take with you to the next life.

And again, that’s actually still very much on the optimistic side. But this human realm is so volatile that even with the best efforts in this life you may still end up in horrific conditions in the next one.

I had a friend once, who was very gifted. As a teenager he had taught himself to play the piano, and that was just one expression of his talent. He had immigrated to our country at a young age though, and due to financial pressure his family was forced to live in a very precarious area of the city. He went to a mediocre public school that was not able to foster his talent, and soon he also got into contact with the wrong people. He got into drugs early on and eventually ended up in a psychiatry.

I first met him a couple of years later. We had a lose friendship over a couple of years and he never quite managed to create stability and clarity in his life. However we both started to become curious about Buddhism. So he was one of the first people I could share this interest with. And early on he developed a better understanding of the teachings than I did. I still remember when we were fighting about a certain subject, and he told me that his main focus was not to make lots of good karma but to reach “parinibbana”. At that time I hadn’t heard that particular term before, and years later I looked back and was quite astonished that he had so quickly understood what actual goal and purpose of the Buddha’s teaching is.

And a little later he even got into a long term relationship that over the course of ten years helped him to really stabilize his life. On the edges it always seemed a little shaky, but overall it looked like he had the worst behind him.

But then his girlfriend broke up with him. And that sent him into a downward spiral from which he did not recover. The last time I saw him he clearly had started to take various kind of drugs again. He was talking delirious nonsense, and he offered me his german translation of the Majjhima Nikaya. He basically said that Buddhism had made his life only more depressing and difficult. I didn’t accept the gift, because I didn’t want the books to remind me of him his current state. Especially not these books. He didn’t actually behave threatening that day, but I still was afraid of him. He really had lost his mind, and I wasn’t sure anymore of what he was capable of. I had never seen him like this before.

That was the last time I saw him. Two years later I learned what he was capable of - from a major german news magazine.

I do not want to go into any details. I think that would be inappropriate. And I am not entirely sure if writing about this here is appropriate anyway. But let me say this at least: As far as I know the Buddha’s teachings - for this life he has forfeited any possibility of reaching final liberation.

I think most of you will understand what I am alluding to.

Sometimes people say: “It’s too good to be true.”

Well, in this case I often think: “It’s too bad to be true.”

But it is true. It is a true story. I didn’t embellish it. I think I might even be able to find the news article online.

For me personally it is a stark reminder of how close you can get to the Buddha’s teachings without really understanding them.

And that is the reason why I have told the story.

I wanted to show - instead of just tell and proclaim - that I have a very good idea of how you can totally miss the deeper meaning of the Dhamma even if you have developed a good theoretic understanding. And even if you have considerably good conditions for developing the practice.

Actually the better my understanding of the Dhamma gets the more frightening it becomes to contemplate how many right conditions have come together to allow this kind of progress.

And therefore I completely agree that becoming a vegetarian or a vegan can definitely turn into a pitfall on the Buddhist path.

Very much in the same way as a Bodhisattva vow.

And it’s actually quite relieving to know that I have come to a place where probably everybody knows what I mean with that last sentence. :wink:


To contrast the story of my friend I would like to say that personally I had some serious difficulties in my life, but all in all there were so many positive, wholesome and fortunate events and influences, that I really consider myself to be very lucky.

What I mean is that even without the Buddha’s teaching I still would have lots of oppotunities to build a happy life for myself and others.

Nonetheless I truly consider the Dhamma the greatest gift ot all. Nothing has changed my life more than that. Nothing has had a more positive influence on my life.

Especially since I have found friends and teachers who helped me to really get to a deeper understanding of the Dhamma.

The Noble Eightfold Path alone - it took me years to really understand: “Oh, that is the map! That’s what I need to do!” And what a difference that made - not only in my practice - but in my whole life!

I still remember that years ago I saw my first video of Ajahn Brahm on Youtube. I didn’t like it at all. I thought: “This fat, ugly westerner - what does he know? He can’t know anything about Buddhism - he’s not even asian!”

A little later I talked to some of my friends about him, and they told me that his teachings are actually quite good. So with some internal grumbling I decided to watch some more videos of him. And they were actually not that bad.

Now, I think around 2014 a friend of mine went to Australia to vistit Bodhinyana Monastery. He brought back tons of mp3s with talks from Ajahn Brahm, Bhante Sujato and others.

So I started to listen.

First I listened to a dhamma talk once in a while. Then more regularly. And eventually every day. And then I listened to two dhamma talks. Sometimes more. More and more I listened to the dhamma talk, and I listened to them over and over and over again. I have to admit that by now I have listened so often to some of the talks that I just can’t bear it anymore. I mean some of the jokes really get old after a while. :wink:

But I also found the dhamma talks of other teachers, like Bhikkhu Bodhi for example.

At this point in my life the Dhamma has become such an integral part of my life that it becomes just too painful when I leave the warm comfort of the teachings for too long.

This is also difficult to a certain degree, because for quite some time now all the old comforts are not working as well as they used to.

The german mystic Meister Eckhart once said - and I am paraphrasing: “What you once hunted now hunts you, and what you once fled now flees you.” And I think what he meant is that if you have reached a certain point of spiritual development, you cannot really turn back anymore.

I don’t mean streamentry. I just mean that through your practice you were able to taste a certain kind of happiness that you will never forget anymore. I can be as short as a couple of minutes during a ten-day-retreat. But these couple of minutes are enough. You will never forget that experience. You will never forget that taste. It may take you years to get back even in to the vicinity of that experience. But you will never forget it.

And everything that happens in the meantime - well, it may be great fun, it may be beautiful, it may be moving, it may be meaningful - but however pleasant it may be, there is this voice in the back of your head that says: “It’s still not quite like this one experience I had back then.”

I wanted to share this too, to illustrate how important the Dhamma is in my own life, and that I really understand how precious it is.

And therefore I think I can understand, at least to a degree, how precious and important the Dhamma is to you.

And therefore I also understand the need to clearly differentiate the Dhamma from things which are simply not a part of the Dhamma. However wholesome and well-intended they may be.

And I also understand that eventually the Dhamma aims at an incredibly subtle mental development. And you cannot simply pick and choose what you like from the instructions. And you also cannot simply add something from the outside, just because you like it.


This post has become ridiculously long.

Forgive me, if have strained your patience.

I hope all these words are worth the points I was trying to make.

I like to end this post with this:

Compassion lies at the heart of the Dhamma practice.

But it has to be real compassion.

It really has to be felt deeply and sincerely in the heart.

And developing that real, deep and sincere feeling of compassion is certainly more important than being a vegetarian or a vegan.

And not just for successfully practicing the path, but also for living in a peaceful society.

Being a vegetarian or vegan is not a substitute for developing that compassion.

And yes, there are vegetarians and vegans who seem to be rather arrogant. And their compassion doesn’t seem to extend towards people a lot.

Me personally, I became a vegetarian in 2006.

Around 2009 I made my first attempt to become a vegan. I lived as a vegan for almost an entire year.

But I stopped being a vegan exactly because I could sense that I was developing a certain moral superiority. I could sense that I was developing a certain “vegan arrogance”, and I could sense that I was losing touch with my friends and family.

So I reverted to being a vegetarian again.

But over the years I learned more and more about the animal industry and eventually I said to myself: “No, I just cannot in good conscience be part of this anymore.” So in 2012 I became a vegan again.

I decided that it must be possible to be vegan without being arrogant, judgemental or self-righteous.

And of course that is not always easy. Sometimes it’s not easy to feel outraged about certain things.

But all in all it is much easier to live as a vegan than many people think. As I said, it doesn’t feel like a great sacrifice, and it doesn’t feel like asceticism.

To be honest, being vegan has made me happy every single day during the last seven years.

Because with every single meal I prioritize compassion over taste.

With every single meal comes this short moment where I remember: “Yes, I eat like this, because I want to spare animals from suffering and death.”

And that makes me happy.

And before your fingers rush to the keyboard: Yes, I know that a vegan diet is not completely free from the suffering and death of animals.

I know it.

But whenever I see a cow, or a sheep, or a goat, or a pig or a chicken - whenever I see a typical farm animal - I know this animal will not suffer and die because of me.

And I personally could develop a much deeper empathy and compassion for animals this way.

Because I can really let them live their life. I can fully respect their whole integrity as a living being. I can fully respect their innate moral value.

“That light that is sparkling in your eyes - I will not harm that.”

And there is no ulterior motive behind that anymore.

I can simply let them be.

And I feel that in this way my veganism is deeply connected to real, actual compassion.

Again: It’s a ridiculously long post.

Forgive me if I have made excessive demands on your patience.

It was all written in the spirit of cordiality and reconciliation, and with the hope to overcome whatever divisiveness may have arisen as a result of this subject.

With Metta!


#114

Very nice post. Yes, it was long but am glad you shared it anyway! :anjal:


#115

Thanks a lot! That is very encouraging! :slight_smile:

It’s long though…


#116

Well, you’re right: I don’t think the Buddha said it is necessary to eat meat to practice the Eightfold Path in the EBT.

However, I just found this tidbit in the Vinaya, where the Buddha basically says it is not necessary to be vegetarian or vegan:

“Enough, Devadatta,” he said. “Whoever wishes, let him be a forest-dweller; whoever wishes, let him stay in the neighbourhood of a village; whoever wishes, let him be a beggar for alms; whoever wishes, let him accept an invitation; whoever wishes, let him be a rag-robe wearer; whoever wishes, let him accept a householder’s robes. For eight months, Devadatta, lodging at the root of a tree is permitted by me. Fish and flesh are pure in respect of three points: if they are not seen, heard or suspected (to have been killed on purpose for him).

This was in response to Devadatta’s five requests, with the fifth request below:
'For as long as life lasts, let them not eat fish and flesh; whoever should eat fish and flesh, sin would besmirch him.’
Vinaya extract here. Hope this is helpful. :slight_smile:


#118

That’s really wonderful! I am very happy for you. :slight_smile: Your post was TL;BDR - tad long, but did read. :wink: Thanks for your very personal sharing, and I am very happy to hear that the Dhamma has brought you happiness. :slight_smile:

To your point about animals suffering in the industrial food system, I’d like to offer a thought experiment.
Imagine for a moment, that all the world’s meat is actually made from roadkill. The system that is killing these animals is our human transport system: planes , trucks, cars etc. The animals that are killed are harvested from the road, and then placed in our supermarkets and sold to consumers. Of course, there is then a system incentive to kill more animals: part of the animals are killed by a special part of the transport system, where those system-parts focus on killing more animals to sell.

Replace “human transport system” with “human systems”, and perhaps this thought experiment is probably not far from the truth at all: even if the sub-systems that focus on animal husbandry are removed, the overall human systems will still continue killing other living beings. The “Roadkill” concept is, in my mind, what separates the eater of the animal from the kammic consequences of killing the animal.

As such, I personally think that the most compassionate thing that one can do is actually to practice the path well, maybe don’t have kids, and do your best so that you are not reborn at all, or are reborn on a non-material plane that doesn’t require resources from earth.

But that’s just my two cents. What do I know? :man_shrugging:t2:


#119

Apology accepted.

No one was making an argument against veganism/vegetarianism. As someone who eats meat for nutritional and health reasons, I’m not concerned about what people personally choose to eat or not eat. Everyone is free to choose what they put in their bodies, and I don’t have the right to demand people to do otherwise. It was the vegans/vegetarians who were making the argument against eating meat, and demanding that we become vegans/vegetarians like them, otherwise in their eyes we are morally compromised.

Thank you for that insight. I truly appreciate it.

That was one of my points. I have never met any meat-eater demanding that vegans/vegetarians eat meat, but I have met plenty vegans/vegetarians demanding that meat-eaters stop eating meat. Why is that? Why do they cling so much in controlling what other people eat? Why do they judge, insult, and morally condemn us for our dietary choices (and in my case: medical, health and nutritional necessities)? What have we–what have I ever done to any of you in this forum to be personally insulted, accused of breaking the First Precept, and be equated to a killer for eating meat? What are my transgressions? My sins? I would kindly ask all of you to let go of the craving and clinging in trying to control other people. The only outcome is resentment, anger, hatred, pain, and suffering for all, and happiness for none…

Many people, like me, eat meat because of medical, health, and nutritional requirements. Believe me, I tried being a vegetarian, I truly did with all my heart. In fact, I was a vegetarian for a whole year, but had to stop because my health had greatly deteriorated. I was suffering from nutritional deficiencies, low energy, foggy mind, high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, extremely overweight, and was having constant chest pains. Really scary stuff. Health-wise, it’s the worst I’ve ever felt: I had hit rock bottom, and constantly feared that I would leave my wife a widow and my children fatherless.

So yes, I was a vegetarian for a whole year, but it didn’t work out for me. Like all of you vegans/vegetarians in this forum, I share your concern about the horrible treatment of animals in the meat industry: I’m not stupid, or ignorant, or callous to this concern. But I also have to practice loving-kindness and compassion towards myself by prioritizing my health and well-being, and have the responsibility to be a husband to my wife and a father to my kids for as long as I can–what’s the point if I live a miserable life and die an early death being a vegetarian?

Yes, it’s possible, and you are one of them. I wish to meet more vegans and vegetarians as kind and compassionate and understanding and full of metta as you are.

And I truly hope that your happiness continues for the rest of your life. You are truly blessed–not many people can say that. I’m happy that you’re happy, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Likewise.


#120

you don’t make any real divisiveness I believe. A normal discussion. And in our contemporary Internet standards it has been very polite.

The choosing to be vegan can be a source of merit for yourself and a tool to develop metta if you feel that.

You maybe can remember when the Buddhist world joined the ban on tobacco inside temples and monasteries, despite this is not against any precept. They did that because an international and WHO pressure over the whole world. And for sure to avoid to be an obstacle in a collective action for a better health (it doesn’t care other added possible reasons). Reducing the meat conssumption can be hundred times more sincere and important for the world in ethics, ecology and health. It would be surprising and good seeing that same world machinery in this issue.

Nobody knows what will happen in this madhouse in the coming future. On my side I’m not vegan neither I have difficultes to eat another thing so I don’t care. Simply I don’t make the same renounce than yours. I answered because I think important make an effort in seeing the sense of Dhamma teaching as it is. Frequently there is more depth of what we believe in a first view. Diversity of beings and minds is too large, and what the Buddha taught for sure goes in the benefit of the more possible beings.

Probably in this Path everybody do renounces of different types. Maybe the choosing depends of kamma.

all the best


#121

As we try to always maintain on D&D/SC, following the tenets of Right Speech. :pray:

Actually, I’m amazed how many words this topic is generating. Probably because, as with smoking bans, we can find guidance in the EBTs but feel that socio-cultural conditions have radically changed.

Nevertheless my amazement remains. I guess my personal issue is whether, when I generate words, it is to encourage my own practice or to persuade others to change theirs.

I continue as a bad vegetarian with a strong interest in veganism. Best I can do atm.


#122

On the a positive side of its practice:

‘What he has heard there he does not tell here to break these people apart from those people there. Thus reconciling those who have broken apart or cementing those who are united, he loves concord, delights in concord, enjoys concord, speaks things that create concord. AN10.176

The three poisons are more important to focus on, than the eating of meat:

Taking life, torture, mutilation too,
binding, stealing, telling lies, and fraud;
deceit, adultery, and studying crooked views:
this is carrion-stench, not the eating of meat.

Those people of desires and pleasures unrestrained,
greedy for tastes with impurity mixed in,
of nihilistic views, unstable, hard to train:
this is carrion-stench, not the eating of meat.

The rough, the cruel, backbiters and betrayers,
those void of compassion, extremely arrogant,
the miserly, to others never giving anything:
this is carrion-stench, not the eating of meat.

Who’s angry, obstinate, hostile and vain,
deceitful, envious, a boastful person too,
full of oneself, with the wicked intimate:
this is carrion-stench, not the eating of meat.

Those of evil ways, defaulters on debts,
imposters, slanderers, deceitful in their dealings,
vile men who commit evil deeds in this world:
this is carrion-stench, not the eating of meat.

Those people unrestrained for living beings here,
taking others’ property, on injury intent,
immoral, harsh and cruel, for others no respect:
this is carrion-stench, not the eating of meat.

Towards others greedy or hateful—they attack them,
ever on misdemeanours bent,
they go to darkness after death;
such beings as this fall headlong into Hell:
this is carrion-stench, not the eating of meat.

Not from fish and flesh tasting and not by nudity,
not by the plucking of head-hairs,
nor growing of matted locks,
not by the smearing of the ashes of the dead,
not wearing abrasive skins,
not following sacrificial fires,
or worldly austerities for gaining immortality,
nor mantras, nor offerings,
oblations, seasons’ services
can purify a mortal still overcome by doubt.

Who lives with sense-streams guarded, well-aware,
in the Dharma firm, enjoying gently rectitude,
beyond attachments gone, all dukkha left behind,
that wise one’s unsullied by the seen and the heard.

Narrator
Again, again the Radiant One this topic taught
to that knower of the Vedas, in those mantras expert,
thus clarified the Sage in verses sweetly-sounding.
Him of no carrion-stench, free who’s hard to trace. SuttaCentral


#123

Oh well. I’m a bit of an amateur naturalist (not “naturist”!). I love watching animals, and I don’t want to eat them. I can no longer view animals as lower species, or as “sub-humans”, or merely as “products” to be farmed and consumed. Watching animals closely has also made me more aware that I’m an animal too, there is inevitably a degree of empathy, and a connection.
For me this awareness has developed naturally as an aspect of Buddhist practice, and it troubles me that not everyone gets it.

Meanwhile the Japanese are whaling again. Where are those U-boats when you really need them?