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Reactions to the article 'The Buddha ate Meat'

EVANA forwards two readers' comments, which have been sent to Samten Tsomo, author of the article 'The Buddha ate Meat'

From: Norm Phelps, author

In Buddhism, the fundamental, foundational practice is compassion for all sentient beings. Imprisoning a sentient being for her entire life and then killing her so that you can enjoy the taste of her flesh is inherently devoid of compassion. It is, in fact, cruelty in the service of craving.

Arguments that Buddhism permits meat eating are defenses of the very sort of craving and attachment that Buddhism is intended to root out. The issue here is not Buddhists - be they meat eaters or vegans, humble or arrogant - it is the suffering and death that our craving for meat inflicts on innocent animals.

Ask yourself this question: Should Buddhists eat human flesh? And if not, why not? Since all sentient beings share the same Buddha nature and since Buddhism teaches universal compassion without favoritism or bias, it cannot be that humans are some kind of privileged class who enjoy special protection. It must, therefore, be that we recognize the cruelty of killing our own kind for their flesh. But it is no less cruel, and no more acceptable, to kill cows, pigs, and chickens for their flesh.

In my book The Great Compassion: Buddhism and Animal Rights, Lantern Books, I discuss the issues related to Buddhism and meat eating, including, Did the Buddha eat meat? (He didn't.) A number of great Tibetan Buddhist teachers have made the case for a compassionate vegetarian diet, including Shabkar (See Food of Bodhisattvas), Patrul Rinpoche (The Words of My Perfect Teacher), and Chatral Rinpoche (Compassionate Action). And as for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he has always recommended a vegetarian diet as the natural expression of Buddhist compassion. Although for years he was only a part-time vegetarian on the advice of his doctors (Hepatitis B had left him with liver damage.), on April 5, 2005, His Holiness announced to a wildlife conference in New Delhi that he has adopted a vegetarian diet on a full time basis.

Every year in the United States, ten billion sentient beings are slaughtered to satisfy the craving of meat eaters. I cannot understand how anyone could reconcile that holocaust to the blessed Buddhadharma.

From: Richard Schwartz, President, Jewish Vegetarians of North America

Re "The Buddha ate Meat," the key question today is, should we continue to produce and consume meat when these practices are causing an epidemic of chronic, degenerative diseases, greatly increasing medical costs, and contributing significantly to scarcities of water, energy and grain, and also having major impacts on global warming, deforestation, rapid species extinction, desertification and other environmental threats.

At a time when there seem to be almost daily reports of record heat waves, severe droughts and major forest fires, the melting of glaciers and polar ice caps, an increase in the number and severity of hurricanes and other storms, and other effects of global warming, and some veteran climatologists are warning that we may reach a "tipping point" or "point of no return" with regard to global warming within a decade, it is essential that there be a re-evaluation of typical animal-based diets.

For our own health and that of our precious, but imperiled, planet, it is essential that there be a major move toward vegetarianism.

Source: Norm Phelps - contact
Author: Norm Phelps

Link: Meatless meals add health to family's diet
Link: Richard Schwartz - contact

Date: 2006-08-29

Other EVANA-articles about this topic:
Norm Phelps: The Great Compassion - Buddhism and Animal Rights (en)

One-Track Activism: Animals Pay the Price (en)

EVANA asked US author Norm Phelps about his hopes for 2009 (en)

New Book: The Longest Struggle: Animal Advocacy from Pythagoras to PETA (en)

An Open Letter to the Dalai Lama (en)

Tigre que mató a hombre en México muere tras ser sedado (es)

The Dalai Lama is, it turns out, a meat lover (en)

Norm Phelps: Why the 'Heifer Project' is not compatible with UU ideals of compassion, (en)

The Buddha ate Meat (en)


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German Agriculture Minister Aigner and FAO head Graziano da Silva urge international community to develop principles for responsible investments
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