Buddhism and Vegetarianism – Are all Buddhists vegetarians?
Posted on January 31st, 2013

Sawmeer Khan

No. The First Precept admonishes us to refrain from killing, but meat eating is not regarded as an instance of killing, and it is not forbidden in the scriptures. (We are speaking here mainly of the Pali scriptures. Some of the Mahayana scriptures, notably the Lankavatara Sutra, take a strong position in favor of vegetarianism. Also see Note below)

As recorded in the Pali scriptures, the Buddha did not prohibit consumption of meat, even by monks. In fact, he explicitly rejected a suggestion from Devadatta to do so. In modern Theravada societies, a bhikkhu who adheres to vegetarianism to impress others with his superior spirituality may be committing an infringement of the monastic rules.

On the other hand, the Buddha categorically prohibited consumption of the flesh of any animal that was “seen, heard or suspected” to have been killed specifically for the benefit of monks (Jivaka Sutta, Majjhima Nikaya 55). This rule technically applies only to monastics, but it can be used as a reasonable guide by devout lay people.

To understand this “middle path” approach to meat-eating, we have to remember that there were no “Buddhists” in Shakyamuni’s time. There were only mendicants of various kinds (including the Buddha’s disciples), plus lay people who gave them alms out of respect without necessarily worrying about the brand name of the teachings.

If meat was what a householder chose to offer, it was to be accepted without discrimination or aversion. To reject such an offering would be an offense against hospitality and would deprive the householder of an opportunity to gain merit — and it could not benefit the animal, because it was already dead. Even the Jains may have had a similar outlook during the same period of history, despite the strict doctrine of ahimsa.

Vegetarianism could not become a source of serious controversy in the bhikkhu sangha until the rise of fixed-abode monastic communities in which the monks did not practice daily alms-round. Any meat provided to such a community by lay people would almost certainly have been killed specifically for the monks. That may be one reason for the difference in Mahayana and Theravada views on meat eating — the development of monastic communities of this type occurred principally within Mahayana.

The issue of meat eating raises difficult ethical questions. Isn’t the meat in a supermarket or restaurant killed “for” us? Doesn’t meat eating entail killing by proxy?

Few of us are in a position to judge meat eaters or anyone else for “killing by proxy.” Being part of the world economy entails “killing by proxy” in every act of consumption. The electricity that runs our computers comes from facilities that harm the environment. Books of Buddhist scriptures are printed on paper produced by an industry that destroys wildlife habitat. Worms, insects, rodents and other animals are routinely killed en masse in the course of producing the staples of a vegetarian diet. Welcome to samsara. It is impossible for most of us to free ourselves from this web; we can only strive to be mindful of entanglement in it. One way to do so is to reflect on how the suffering and death of sentient beings contributes to our comfort. This may help us to be less inclined to consume out of mere greed.

All of that having been said, it cannot be denied that the economic machine which produces meat also creates fear and suffering for a large number of animals. It is useful to bear this in mind even if one consumes meat, to resist developing a habit of callousness. Many Buddhists (especially Mahayanists) practice vegetarianism as a means of cultivating compassion.

The Jivaka Sutta hints that one could also make a good case for vegetarianism starting from any of the other brahmaviharas (loving-kindness, sympathetic joy, equanimity). Interestingly, it is loving-kindness rather than compassion that is mentioned first in the Jivaka Sutta.

If you are considering trying out vegetarianism for the first time, we suggest discussing it with someone who has experience. There are a few issues that ought to be considered regarding balanced diet, etc.

Note (by Binh Anson): The Lankavatara Sutra, although recorded the Buddha’s teaching in Lanka (Sri Lanka), is essentially a product of later Mahayana development. According to H. Nakamura (Indian Buddhism, 1987), there are several versions of this sutra, one fairly different in content from the other. Most scholars concluded that this sutra was likely compiled in 350-400 CE. In addition, according the the popular Zen master D.T. Suzuki (The Lankavatara Sutra – A Mahayana Text, 1931), the chapter dealing with meat eating was indeed added much later in subsequent versions. He also agreed that this sutra was not the authentic words by the Buddha, but was compiled much later by unknown authors following Mahayana’s philosophy.


2. From Ven. S. Dhammika (Australian BuddhaNet):

Vegetarianism

There are differences of opinion between Buddhists on this issue so we will attempt to present the arguments of those who believe that vegetarianism is necessary for Buddhists and those who do not.

Vegetarianism was not a part of the early Buddhist tradition and the Buddha himself was not a vegetarian. The Buddha got his food either by going on alms rounds or by being invited to the houses of his supporters and in both cases he ate what he was given. Before his enlightenment he had experimented with various diets including a meatless diet, but he eventually abandoned them believing that they did not contribute to spiritual development.

The Nipata Sutta underlines this point when it says that it is immorality that makes one impure (morally and spiritually), not the eating of meat. The Buddha is often described as eating meat, he recommended meat broth as a cure for certain types of illness and advised monks for practical reasons, to avoid certain types of meat, implying that other types were quite acceptable.

However, Buddhists gradually came to feel uncomfortable about meat eating. In 257 BC King Asoka said that in contrast to before, only two peacocks and a deer were killed to provide food in the royal kitchens and that in time even this would be stopped. By the beginning of the Christian era meat eating had become unacceptable, particularly amongst the followers of the Mahayana although the polemics against it in works like the Lankavatara Sutra indicates that it was still widespread or a least a point of controversy (see footnote in the previous section). Tantric text dating from the 7th and 8th centuries onward, frequently recommend both drinking alcohol and eating meat and both are considered fit to offer to gods. This was probably as much an expression of the freedom from convention which Tantra taught as it was a protest against Mahayanists to whom practices like abstaining from drink and meat had become a substitute for genuine spiritual change.

Today it is often said that Mahayanists are vegetarian and Theravadins are not. However the situation is a little more complex than that. Generally Theravadins have no dietary restrictions although it is not uncommon to find monks and lay people in Sri Lanka who are strict vegetarians. Others abstain from meat while eating fish. Chinese and Vietnamese monks and nuns are strictly vegetarian and the lay community try to follow their example although many do not. Amongst Tibetans and Japanese Buddhists, vegetarianism is rare.

Buddhists who insist on vegetarianism have a simple and compelling argument to support their case. Eating meat encourages an industry that causes cruelty and death to millions of animals and a truly compassionate person would wish to mitigate all this suffering. By refusing to eat meat one can do just that.

Those who believe that vegetarianism is not necessary for Buddhists have equally compelling although more complex arguments to support their view: (1) If the Buddha had felt that a meatless diet was in accordance with the Precepts he would have said so and in the Pali Tipitaka at least, he did not. (2) Unless one actually kills an animal oneself (which seldom happens today) by eating meat one is not directly responsible for the animal’s death and in this sense the non- vegetarian is no different from the vegetarian. The latter can only eat his vegetables because the farmer has ploughed his fields (thus killing many creatures) and sprayed the crop (again killing many creatures). (3) While the vegetarian will not eat meat he does use numerous other products that lead to animals being killed (soap, leather, serum, silk etc.) Why abstain from one while using the others? (4) Good qualities like understanding, patience, generosity and honesty and bad qualities like ignorance, pride, hypocrisy, jealousy and indifference do not depend on what one eats and therefore diet is not a significant factor in spiritual development.

Some will accept one point of view and some another. Each person has to make up his or her own mind.

REFERENCES:
(1) Ruegg, D.S. “Ahimsa and Vegetarianism in the History of Buddhism” in Buddhist Studies in Honour of Walpola Rahula. S. Balasooriya,(et.al) London, 1980;
(2) P. Kapleau, To Cherish All Life, London, 1982.

Samanera Kumara Liew ( [email protected], 06 June 1999)

Is there something spiritually wholesome about being a vegetarian?

I’m aware there are some people whom are vegetarians here. Being somewhat health conscious myself, I’m almost one too. However, I can see that there are some seem to hold a view that I think they might like to reconsider — i.e. the view that there is something spiritually wholesome about being a vegetarian.

As the suttas (discourses) clearly shows, the Buddha himself — with his great wisdom — did not ask his disciples, renunciate or lay, to be vegetarians. And so, you might like to reconsider that view that there is something spiritually wholesome about being a vegetarian.

The Buddha himself was not a vegetarian. And so, you might like to reconsider that view that there is something spiritually wholesome about being a vegetarian.

Some may argue that somewhere along the line someone might have modified the suttas. It would seem quite unlikely, as the Suttas (of the Theravada tradition at least) are brought to the present by a very large group of monks, not individuals. As such they can check each other for deviations. One person can’t change anything without the agreement from others. For about 500 years the purity of the suttas was maintained by the oral tradition by large groups of chanting monks. When it eventually had to be put into writing in the first century due to wars, the monks who have such faith and respect for the Buddha would certainly have made much effort to ensure accuracy.

Assuming that despite all that, some people did attempt to modify the suttas, it wound have been quite impossible as there’s *not* even a *single* trace in the voluminous Tipitika (the Vinaya, Sutta, and Abhidhamma Pitakas) which even suggests that the Buddha advised on being vegetarians. And so, you might like to reconsider that view that there is something spiritually wholesome about being a vegetarian.

Even if the above cannot convince you, try asking yourself this: “Why do I consider being a vegetarian to be spiritually wholesome?” You may say that “If I eat meat, I would be indirectly encouraging killing of animals”; or that, “If I eat meat, I would be indirectly a killer”; or that “If I’m a vegetarian, it would mean that less animals will be killed.”

Noble considerations, I must admit. But let’s examine this further to gain a better perspective. Try asking yourself this: “Where do my vegetables come from?” “From farms,” you might say. To prepare the soil for cultivation, wouldn’t it have to be tilled? And when the plants are grown, wouldn’t pesticides have to be sprayed? Wouldn’t all that kill lots of animals, though they may be smaller and seem insignificant to humans? Don’t they suffer too?

Some may still continue to argue that one should get one’s vegetables from hydroponic farms. A good argument, I must admit. But let’s examine this further to gain a better perspective. Such farms use much water — for the sake of the plants, for the sake of washing things, for the sake of keeping the place clean, and others. Wouldn’t such use of water kill lots of animals too, though they may be smaller and seem insignificant to humans? Don’t they suffer too?

And let’s consider the boxes and pipes in which such farming is so dependent upon, and also the materials to built the green houses. They need to be manufactured. And so indirectly factories are needed; and so lands need to be cleared. Wouldn’t all that kill lots of animals too, though they may be smaller and seem insignificant to humans? Don’t they suffer too?

The machines and equipment needed by the factories too needs to be manufactured. And so indirectly more factories are needed; and so more lands need to be cleared. Wouldn’t all that kill lots of animals too, though they may be smaller and seem insignificant to humans? Don’t they suffer too?

Let’s also further consider the supply of electricity, water, telecommunication services, and other infrastructures. Just consider all that needs to be done to supply those things. Wouldn’t all that kill lots of animals too, though they may be smaller and seem insignificant to humans? Don’t they suffer too?

And consider all those transporting this and that here and there that goes about to set up the factories and the factories for the factories, the infrastructures for all those factories, so that materials can be supplied to them, so that the boxes and pipes and the material to build the green houses can be made for the hydroponic farms, and that they may be sent to the farms, so that hydroponic vegetables can be cultivated, so that you may buy and eat them. Wouldn’t all that kill even lots more animals, though they may be smaller and seem insignificant to humans? Don’t they suffer too?

Wouldn’t it then be proper to consider that “If I eat only vegetables I too would be indirectly encouraging killing of animals;” or that, “If I don’t eat meat, I would be indirectly a killer too;” or that “If don’t eat meat, it wouldn’t mean that less animals will be killed. And in fact perhaps more are killed.”

I could go on and on, but I should assume that you should get the message by now. And so, you might like to reconsider that view that there is something spiritually wholesome about being a vegetarian. We must understand: We live in ‘samsara’; and it’s not called ‘samsara’ for no reason. In this world, there IS suffering. That the Buddha has declared. Its cause too has been declared. So has its end. And so has the way to the end of sufferings.

Having drawn such reasonable arguments, some may *still* insist on arguing further that eating meat may reduce our craving (tanha), and so there must be something spiritually wholesome about being a vegetarian. I’d ask: “Who says meat tastes better than vegetables?” Have you tasted meat without any additives before? A raw carrot would taste much better. I myself can easily have more craving for chocolates than meat. I’d say durian (a local fruit) tastes much better. So it would not be proper to say that eating meat may reduce our craving. Besides, having aversion over a neutral thing such as meat seems quite unnecessary and even obstructive to one’s spiritual progress. And so, you might like to reconsider that view that there is something spiritually wholesome about being a vegetarian.

Consider what the Buddha said: “Action (kamma) is intention (cetana).” When we eat meat we do not think: “Oh, may they kill more animals so that I may have more meat to eat. Never mind if being have to suffer and die.” When we eat vegetables, fruits and other non-meat food, we do not think: “Oh, may they plant more of such food. Never mind if beings have to suffer and die.” When we eat, our intention is to eat.

However, we may try practicing a few things:

– We may be moderate with our intake. Not indulge more than what we really need. That’s what the Buddha advised, and there is something spiritually wholesome about this; and not simply not eat meat.

– We may choose to eat only “at the right time” (dawn to noon). This is encouraged even for lay people on certain days. That’s what the Buddha advised, and there is something spiritually wholesome about this; and not simply not eat meat.

– When we eat we may eat mindfully, chew mindfully, taste mindfully and swallow mindfully. This would then help us eat without craving and strengthen our mindfulness. That’s what the Buddha advised, and there is something spiritually wholesome about this; and not simply not eat meat.

If you choose to be a vegetarian, well go ahead. Do check with other knowledgeable vegetarians about having a balanced vegetarian diet. You need to make sure that you have adequate protein, B12, and zinc.

But for your own sake, do not hold to that view that there is something spiritually wholesome about being a vegetarian. Also, it would certainly not be wise to think oneself superior due to one’s choice of food. Check yourself whenever you see others eat meat. Furthermore, it would be definitely improper to impose such wrong view upon others.

This message has been written to inform, and not criticize or offend. Hope it has been regarded in proper light.

Sawmeer khan – Colombo 10

[email protected]

 


8 Responses to “Buddhism and Vegetarianism – Are all Buddhists vegetarians?”

  1. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Meat is a dead matter, low in minerals, and produces uric acid in excess which is a waste product. Avoid meat in all forms including dairy. Cancer would be almost unheard of if no devitalized food or meats were eaten since cancer cannot exist where there is a pure bloodstream. The incidence of cancer is in direct proportion to the amount of meat and meat products in the diet. Regular meat eaters (especially red meat) have a higher probability of getting cancers, such as colon cancer and prostate cancer. Digestion of meat uses trypsin and chymotrypsin, which are two critical enzymes in the human body to allow the immune system to kill cancer cells. Vegetable proteins do not use up those enzymes. Cancer patient should not eat anything that is not building the immunity system or killing cancer cells. Meat does not contribute to curing the cancer, so meat is should be avoided by cancer patients. There are plenty of foods that help cure cancer, so there is no need to eat meat. Pancreatin enzymes can be destroyed by contact with acids. Diet comprised mostly of processed refined foods and meats may result in lower pH that depletes these enzymes in the human body. Cancer cells metabolize foods very inefficiently and produce acidic wastes. This extra acidity can further lower the pH levels in an already acidic environment for pancreatin enzymes. The lower pH level also enables the cancer to spread by using acid dissolved normal cells as its food source. This strongly acidic lower pH environment, especially local to the cancer is the primary reason that cancer does not normally heal on its own. The colon should be relatively clear during a cancer treatment so that the body can absorb as many nutrients as possible. All foods like meat which ferment in the bowel should be avoided to prevent the accumulation of fecal matter in the colon. The hormones in meat like artificial sex hormone widely used in cattle – Diethylstilbestrol cause cancer of the uterus, breast and other reproductive organs. Dangerous residues of stilbestrol are in 85% of all the meat sold in North America. This is the main reason why fifteen countries around the world now refuse to import meat produced in the US; and twenty one countries have a total ban on the use of stilbestrol in food production or processing. When chemical preservatives and color enhancers are ingested, they cause the body to produce nitrosamines which cause cancer of the liver, stomach, brain, bladder, kidneys and several other organs. Nitrates and nitrites are heavily added to meat during processing. Runoff of nitrates and nitrites from fields sprayed with chemical fertilizers get into drinking water and cause cancer. can lead to cancer. If the digestive system is weak, digestion of meat could produce toxins in blood.
    Though devitalized, processed, and sugared food can also cause cancer even in vegetarians. People, communities and groups who consume less meat have less cancer. Seventh-day Adventists, who eat little or no meat, suffer far less from cancer than the average meat-eating American. High protein diet of Americans is linked to the high incidence of cancer in the US. Anyone who does not eat meat, eats only good food, and does all he can to protect his liver, may never get cancer.
    The second solution is to introduce the appropriate calciums into the body since the body uses calcium as the chief alkalinizer of all body fluids including the intra-cellular fluids. Cancers and tumors can only exist in a predominantly lower pH (acidic) environment caused by a diet rich in dairy foods, meats, grain products, sweets and strong condiments such as black pepper. This is always accompanied by an acute lack of living fruits and vegetables. High acidity destroys bones, because the body has to use alkalizing minerals from bones to keep the blood pH from dropping into the acid range.
    Lactobacillus acidophilus is a friendly organism which helps the body fight disease and restores health. Acidophilus kills the harmful bacteria strain of E. coli in the intestinal tract. Acidophilus breaks milk sugar down into lactic acid. Bacteria which produce putrefaction and gas in the intestines cannot live in lactic acid. Acidophilus also has the unique ability to help the body synthesize, or manufacture all of the ‘B’ vitamins in the system. This makes it especially valuable since there is literally a host of agents which destroy B vitamins. A few are antibiotics, birth control pills, eating sugar and refined foods and drinking coffee. A diet high in red meat will destroy the beneficial bacteria, due to the concentration of antibiotics and steroids given to the animals before they are slaughtered.
    Cancer is fundamentally involved with mal-utilization of protein. Oncologists generally agree that the actual cause of death in cancer patients is cachexia, a condition of severe weight loss and wasting associated with protein mal-absorption. In fact cancer cells are able to grow by making the amino acids of protein available for their growth at the expense of the body as a whole. Meat, especially red meat, being the most readily assimilable protein, becomes a banquet for cancer cells. Emphasizing the use of plant sources of vegetable protein such as legumes and beans that contain cancer-fighting compounds should be a prominent part of an anti-cancer diet.
    The most damaging evidence that meat is a major cause of cancer are studies of people who went into spontaneous remission solely because of a change in their diet. These people almost universally went from a cooked food, meat-centered diet and gave up their meat, their dairy products and their refined sugar and switched to a raw food vegetarian diet, and by simply changing diets their bodies were able to cure their cancer.

  2. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Human beings are the only only species to consume the milk of another species. There is no human requirement for milk from a cow. The majority of the world’s peoples do not come from cultures that have a history of dairy consumption. These people often have problems digesting it. And with the advent of modern mechanized dairy production, milk may not be as pure as it once was.
    Lactose(the carbohydrate found in milk) intolerance which causes a range of unpleasant abdominal symptoms, including stomach cramps, flatulence and diarrhea, is a reality for 75% of the world’s population. Even though consuming dairy is unnatural and problematic for many people the US Food Guide Pyramid recommends 2 to 3 servings. One serving is defined as 1 cup of milk, 2 slices of cheese or 3/4 cup of yogurt.
    Whole cow’s milk is a high-fat fluid, designed by nature to turn a 60 lb (30 kg) calf into a 600 lb (275 kg) cow in one year. The consumption of high-fat dairy products has also been found to cause atherosclerosis, heart disease and stroke. Finland which has a death rate from heart disease that is among the highest in the world, also has one of the highest rates of dairy product consumption.
    The African Bantu woman provides an excellent example of good health. Her diet is free of milk and still provides 250–400 mg of calcium from plant sources, which is half the amount consumed by Western women. Bantu women commonly have 10 babies during their life and breast feed each of them for about ten months. But even with this huge calcium drain and relatively low calcium intake, osteoporosis is relatively unknown among these women.
    Low-fat milk and cheese products are still significantly high in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. For example, 2% milk has become much more popular than homogenized milk, yet it still derives one third of its total calories from fat. Skim milk mozzarella with approximately 15% milk-fat is considered a low-fat cheese, yet a 1-ounce slice contains 5 grams of fat, totaling 56% calories from fat! So don’t be fooled by the “skim milk” label.
    The wide range of skimmed milk products available in grocery stores reflects health concerns over high-fat dairy products. But for many people, low-fat dairy products may still be an unacceptable alternative. Low-fat dairy products linked to heightened allergies
    The high protein content of low-fat dairy products is actually more allergenic than dairy products with a high-fat content. 3 Dairy products are one of the leading causes of food allergies and food sensitivities causing allergic responses in people of all ages, especially infants and young children. It is estimated that about 7% of infants are allergic to cow’s milk protein. Infants who react to milk also have a greater likelihood of developing allergies to other foods.
    Allergies to dairy products can cause a wide range of symptoms including irritability, restlessness, hyperactivity, depression, abdominal pain, cramps or bloating, gas, diarrhea, bad breath, headaches, lack of energy, constipation, poor appetite, mal-absorption of nutrients, nasal stuffiness, runny nose sinusitis, asthma, shortness of breath, rashes, and eczema

    North America has one of the highest consumptions of dairy products, and also the highest incidence of osteoporosis – a disease of brittle bones formed through the loss of calcium. The dairy lobby has many campaigns and advertisements encouraging people to consume large quantities of dairy products to ward off this dreaded disease later in life.
    Regardless of how much calcium you take in, the amount your body can actually absorb and retain matters more.
    The high animal protein intake typical of North American diets can make it difficult to retain calcium. Digesting animal protein creates an acidic environment in the body. To neutralize the acid, the body may rob calcium from the bones. Years of this pattern can contribute in osteoporosis later in life.
    Elderly women with a high dietary ratio of animal to vegetable protein intake have more rapid neck bone loss and a greater risk of hip fracture than do those with a low ratio. This suggests that an increase in vegetable protein intake and a decrease in animal protein intake may decrease bone loss.
    Several studies have found that in comparison with animal protein, soy protein decreases calcium excretion, a result of the lower sulfur amino acid content of soy protein.
    To prevent osteoporosis it is also important to get enough Vitamin D, avoid smoking and limit coffee and alcohol. Weight-bearing exercise such as running, dancing and walking is especially helpful.
    Drinking large quantities of cow’s milk has long been recognized to produce iron-deficiency anemia in infants. Cow’s milk contains less than 1 mg of iron per quart. Very little of this iron is absorbed from the intestinal tract because other constituents of the milk bind with the iron. Many infants drink 2 Litres of milk per day. This tends to satisfy their hunger and they are left with very little appetite for the necessary iron-containing foods. Breast milk is the best source of iron for infants.
    Ovarian cancer is more common in Northern Europe than in Asian populations and the consumption of milk products may be the reason. Studies have found that there is a higher risk of ovarian cancer in women who consume lactose. This was the conclusion of a study published in 2004, that tracked 80,326 participants in the Nurses’ Health Study. A Swedish study of 61,084 women found that high intakes of lactose and dairy products, particularly milk, are associated with an increased risk of serious ovarian cancer but not other subtypes of ovarian cancer.
    Several studies have linked cow’s milk to diabetes in children. Something in milk may cause an immune reaction in diabetic children leading to the destruction of the body’s insulin-producing cells. Breast-fed infants who are not fed cow’s milk seem to have a measure of protection against diabetes. Avoiding cow’s milk may delay or prevent diabetes in susceptible individuals. A 2003 study of 4,701 ten to sixteen year-old adolescents from 11 European countries found that cow’s milk and animal product consumption were associated with higher rates of type 1 diabetes when Icelandic data was excluded.
    Stopping dairy food often improves menstrual cramps, endometriosis pain, allergies, sinusitis and even recurrent vaginitis. Other problems associated with dairy food may include: benign breast conditions, chronic vaginal discharge, acne, fibroids, and chronic intestinal upset. There might be some correlation between over stimulation of the cow’s mammary glands and subsequent over stimulation of our own, resulting in benign breast conditions.
    People who regard milk as “the perfect food” rarely think about milk as a commercial product – prone to the hazards of mass-production. The modern-day cow is bred, fed, medicated, inseminated, and manipulated for a single purpose – maximum milk production at a minimum cost.
    In order to produce milk, a dairy cow must give birth. To maximize their milk supply they are artificially inseminated every year, meaning they are pregnant for a physically demanding 9 months out of every 12. Their calves are traumatically taken from them shortly after birth. The resulting surplus of calves feeds the veal industry.
    With genetic manipulation and intensive production technologies, cows produce an average of 9,500 kg of milk per year — seven times more than they would produce naturally. When their milk production wanes after about four years, dairy cows are sent to slaughter where their worn out bodies are ground up into hamburger.
    These unnatural conditions make the modern dairy cow highly prone to stress and disease.
    The most damaging stress-related disease is mastitis (an inflammation of the udders). It reduces milk yield and directly affects milk quality by altering composition and increasing the somatic cell count (pus). The National Mastitis Council estimates that it costs about $200 per cow per year on the average dairy farm. Mastitis is one of the leading cause of culling.
    Antibiotics, mostly common penicillin, are given to cows for treatment of mastitis. Cows are not supposed to be milked for 48 hours after receiving penicillin. When this precaution is not followed the penicillin appears in the milk in small amounts.
    In 1993, Food and Drug Administration in the United States approved the use of a synthetic growth hormone, rBGH (also known as rBST). This genetically engineered hormone, so far banned in Canada and Europe, has no therapeutic value but to boost milk production. This can cause additional stress, and more frequent bouts of mastitis.
    Foods rich in calcium include dark green vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy and kale, beans, tofu (made with calcium), tahini, sesame seeds, almonds, figs, seaweeds, and fortified soymilks.
    Since the consumption of animal protein increases calcium requirements, a person following a vegetarian diet may have much lower needs. Although some plant foods contain oxalates and phytate that can inhibit calcium absorption, the calcium in plant foods is generally well absorbed.
    Soymilk is loaded with phytochemicals: particularly isoflavones, genistein and daidzein. Studies have found that these substances reduce the risk of cancer.Most soy milk today is fortified with calcium, B12 and other nutrients that make it as vitamin-rich as its cow’s milk counterpart. Soy protein consumption has been shown to reduce the levels of cholesterol and lessen the incidences of atherosclerosis. Soy also has beneficial effects on obesity and diabetes.

  3. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Eaing meat is the direct cause of an immense quantity of suffering for sentient beings. Animals suffer much more today than they did in the Buddha’s time, and indeed everywhere up until the invention of factory farming of animals. Chickens would wander round the village and cows roamed the fields. The invention of the factory farming of animals changed all this and now the life of animals in the factory farms is so horrific. The other huge change since the Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha’s time is the destruction of the environment caused by energy production and wasteful consumerism. But one of the largest contributors to global warming and environmental destruction is dairy and meat industry since meat is higher on the food chain as compared with plants, so more resources are required to produce nutrition in the form of meat. In the past this was not an issue, as food animals typically ate things that were not food for humans, like grass. Today, however, most food animals live on grains and other resource-intensive products. This means that meat requires more energy, water, space, and all other resources. In addition to the general burden on the environment, this creates a range of localised problems, due to the the disposal of vast amounts of animal waste, and so on.

    One entirely predictable outcome of factory farming is the emergence of virulent new diseases. In order to force animals to live together in such overcrowded, unnatural conditions, they must be fed a regular diet of antibiotics, as any disease is immediately spread through the whole facility. The outcome of this, as inevitable as the immutable principles of natural selection, is the emergence of virulent new strains of antibiotic resistant diseases. In coming years, as the limited varieties of antibiotics gradually lose their efficacy, this threat will recur in more and more devastating forms.

    So, as compared with the Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha’s day, eating meat involves far more cruelty, it damages the environment, and it creates diseases. We hurt beings in many unintentional way. Vegetarian does not mean you don’t cause harm. Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha as a young boy saw the plough turning up the soil in the field, killing some worms, and leaving the others to be picked off by the crows. Even eating rice involves the unintentional destruction of life. The simple fact is that eating meat cause massive and direct harm to many creatures.

  4. sawmeer Says:

    Killing an animal is a ruthless act. Why then do Muslims consume non-vegetarian food?

    Answer:

    ‘Vegetarianism’ is now a movement the world over. Many even associate it with animal rights. Indeed, a large number of people consider the consumption of meat and other non-vegetarian products to be a violation of animal rights.

    Islam enjoins mercy and compassion for all living creatures. At the same time Islam humaintains that Allah has created the earth and its wondrous flora and fauna for the benefit of humankind. It is upto humankind to use every resource in this world judiciously, as a Ne’mah (Divine blessing) and Amaanah (trust) from Allah.

    Let us look at various other aspects of this argument.

    1. A Muslim can be a pure vegetarian

    A Muslim can be a very good Muslim despite being a pure vegetarian. It is not compulsory for a Muslim to have non-vegetarian food.

    2. Qur’an permits Muslims to have non-vegetarian food

    The Qur’an, however permits a Muslim to have non-vegetarian food. The following Qur’anic verses are proof of this fact:

    “O ye who believe! Fulfil (all) obligations. Lawful unto you (for food) are all four-footed animals with the exceptions named.”

    [Al Qur’an 5:1]

    “And cattle He has created for you (men): from them ye derive warmth, and numerous benefits, and of their (meat) ye eat.”

    [Al Qur’an 16:5]

    “And in cattle (too) ye have an instructive example: from within their bodies We produce (milk) for you to drink; there are, in them, (besides), numerous (other) benefits for you; and of their (meat) ye eat.”

    [Al Qur’an 23:21]

    3. Meat is nutritious and rich in complete protein

    Non-vegetarian food is a good source of excellent protein. It contains biologically complete protein i.e. all the 8 essential amino acid that are not synthesized by the body and should be supplied in the diet. Meat also contains iron, vitamin B1 and niacin.

    4. Humans have Omnivorous set of teeth

    If you observe the teeth of herbivorous animals like the cow, goat and sheep, you will find something strikingly similar in all of them. All these animals have a set of flat teeth i.e. suited for herbivorous diet. If you observe the set of teeth of the carnivorous animals like the lion, tiger or leopard, they all have a set of pointed teeth i.e. suited for a carnivorous diet. If you analyze the set of teeth of humans, you find that they have flat teeth as well as pointed teeth. Thus they have teeth suited for both herbivorous as One may ask, if Almighty God wanted humans to have only vegetables, why did He provide us also with pointed teeth? It is logical that He expected us to need and to have both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian food.

    5. Human beings can digest both vege-tarian and non-vegetarian food

    The digestive system of herbivorous animals can digest only vegetables. The digestive system of carnivorous animals can digest only meat. But the digestive system of humans can digest both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. If Almighty God wanted us to have only vegetables then why did He give us a digestive system that can digest both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian food?

    6. Hindu scriptures give permission to have non-vegetarian food

    a. There are many Hindus who are strictly vegetarian. They think it is against their religion to consume non-vegetarian food. But the true fact is that the Hindu scriptures permit a person to have meat. The scriptures mention Hindu sages and saints consuming non-vegetarian food.

    b. It is mentioned in Manusmruti, the law book of Hindus, in Chapter 5 Verse 30:

    “The eater who eats the flesh of those to be eaten does nothing bad, even if he does it day

    after day, for God himself created some to be eaten and some to be eater.”

    c. Again next verse of Manusmruti, that is, chapter 5 verse 31 says

    “Eating meat is right for the sacrifice, this is traditionally known as a rule of the gods.”

    d. Further in Manusmruti Chapter 5 Verses 39 – 40 say:

    “God himself created sacrificial animals for sacrifice, …., therefore killing in a sacrifice is not killing.”

    e. Mahabharata Anushashan Parva Chapter 88 narrates the discussion between Dharmaraj Yudhishthira and Pitamah Bhishma about what food one should offer to Pitris (ancestors) during the Shraddha (ceremony of dead) to keep them satisfied. Paragraph reads as follows:

    “Yudhishthira said, “O thou of great puissance, tell me what that object is which, if dedicated to the Pitris (dead ancestors), become inexhaustible! What Havi, again, (if offered) lasts for all time? What, indeed, is that which (if presented) becomes eternal?”

    “Bhishma said, “Listen to me, O Yudhishthira, what those Havis are which persons conversant with the rituals of the Shraddha (the ceremony of dead) regard as suitable in view of Shraddha and what the fruits are that attach to each. With sesame seeds and rice and barely and Masha and water and roots and fruits, if given at Shraddhas, the Pitris, O king, remain gratified for the period of a month… With fishes offered at Shraddhas, the Pitris remain gratified for a period of two months. With the mutton they remain gratified for three months and with the flesh of hare for four months, with the flesh of the goat, flesh of O King, they remain gratified for five months, with the bacon (meat of pig) for six months, and with the flesh of birds for seven. With venison obtained from those deer that are called Prishata, they remain gratified for eight months, and with that obtained from the Ruru for nine months, and with the meat of Gavaya for ten months. With the meat of the bufffalo their gratification lasts for eleven months. With beef presented at the Shraddha, their gratification, it is said , lasts for a full year. Payasa mixed with ghee is as much acceptable to the Pitris as beef. With the meat of Vadhrinasa (a large bull) the gratification of pitris lasts for twelve years. The flesh of rhinoceros, offered to the Pitris on anniversaries of the lunar days on which they died, becomes inexhaustible. The potherb called Kalasaka, the petals of Kanchana flower, and meat of the goat also, thus offered, prove inexhaustible.”

    So but natural if you want to keep your ancestors satisfied forever, you should serve them the meat of red goat.

    7. Hinduism was influenced by other religions

    Though Hindu Scriptures permit its followers to have non-vegetarian food, many Hindus adopted the vegetarian system because they were influenced by other religions like Jainism.

    8. Even plants have life

    Certain religions have adopted pure vegetarianism as a dietary law because they are totally against the killing of living creatures. If a person can survive without killing any living creature, I would be the first person to adopt such a way of life. In the past people thought plants were lifeless. Today it is a universal fact that even plants have life. Thus their logic of not killing living creatures is not fulfilled even by being a pure vegetarian.

    9. Even plants can feel pain

    They further argue that plants cannot feel pain, therefore killing a plant is a lesser crime as compared to killing an animal. Today science tells us that even plants can feel pain. But the cry of the plant cannot be heard by the human being. This is due to the inability of the human ear to hear sounds that are not in the audible range i.e. 20 Hertz to 20,000 Hertz. Anything below and above this range cannot be heard by a human being. A dog can hear upto 40,000 Hertz. Thus there are silent dog whistles that have a frequency of more than 20,000 Hertz and less than 40,000 Hertz. These whistles are only heard by dogs and not by human beings. The dog recognizes the masters’ whistle and comes to the master. There was research done by a farmer in USA who invented an instrument which converted the cry of the plant so that it could be heard by human beings. He was able to realize immediately when the plant itself cried for water. Latest researches show that the plants can even feel happy and sad. It can also cry.

    10. Killing a living creature with two senses less is not a lesser crime

    Once a vegetarian argued his case by saying that plants only have two or three senses while the animals have five senses. Therefore killing a plant is a lesser crime than killing an animal. Suppose your brother is born deaf and dumb and has two senses less as compared to other human beings. He becomes mature and someone murders him. Would you ask the judge to give the murderer a lesser punishment because your brother had two senses less? Infact you would say that he has killed a masoom, an innocent person, and the judge should give the murderer a greater punishment.

    The Glorious Qur’an says:

    “O ye people! Eat of what is on earth, lawful and good”

    [Al Qur’an 2:168]

    11. Over population of cattle

    If every human being was a vegetarian, it would lead to overpopulation of cattle in the world, since their reproduction and multiplication is very swift. Allah (swt) in His divine wisdom knows how to maintain the balance of His creation appropriately. No wonder He has permitted us to have the meat of the cattle.

    12. Cost of meat is reasonable since all aren’t non-vegetarians

    I do not mind if some people are pure vegetarians. However they should not condemn non-vegetarians as ruthless. In fact if all Indians become non-vegetarians then the present non-vegetarians would be losers since the prices of meat would rise.

  5. Voice123 Says:

    “11. Over population of cattle
    If every human being was a vegetarian, it would lead to overpopulation of cattle in the world, since their reproduction and multiplication is very swift. Allah (swt) in His divine wisdom knows how to maintain the balance of His creation appropriately. No wonder He has permitted us to have the meat of the cattle.”

    – You know this is a NONSENSICAL argument! The world, particularly the Western world is ALREADY overpopulated with cattle due to excessive meat consumption. Fertile pastureland that could be used to produce fruit and vegetables is filled with cattle. If meat eating declines, then the proportion of farm animals declines – UNLESS you are a traditional Hindu that worships the cow and allows them to overbreed simply for some ritualistic purpose. Research your facts carefully. The way you present your arguments “Allah forbids this forbids that, meat eating less sacred cows etc” you sound more like an Indian than a Sri Lankan. Sawmeer are you sure you’re not an Indian? By the way, Allah doesnt permit torture of animals. Satan does this. True God has compassion to all beings so please refrain from making such offensive statements as Allah encourages meat eating. In my religion, Satan encourages meat eating not Allah. You are blaspheming the REAL Allah.

  6. sawmeer Says:

    I just explain what Islam said about eating meat, But read the full article what Buddhism about eating meat even Buddhism allow to eat meat, Its only for Bikshu to not allow to ask and eat. so if its giving permission it mean indirectly its giving permission to slaughter the animal, Buddha only prohibited cretin animal like lion, tiger, elephant etc like as Islam. Its majority of the buddhist mixed with Hindusm and Jainism.

    As recorded in the Pali scriptures, the Buddha did not prohibit consumption of meat, even by monks. In fact, he explicitly rejected a suggestion from Devadatta to do so. In modern Theravada societies, a bhikkhu who adheres to vegetarianism to impress others with his superior spirituality may be committing an infringement of the monastic rules.

    On the other hand, the Buddha categorically prohibited consumption of the flesh of any animal that was “seen, heard or suspected” to have been killed specifically for the benefit of monks (Jivaka Sutta, Majjhima Nikaya 55). This rule technically applies only to monastics, but it can be used as a reasonable guide by devout lay people.

  7. Voice123 Says:

    Sawmeer you are the missing the point. Apart from disciplinary codes for monks, Buddhism rarely “forbids” anything at all, preferring people to discover for themselves the ill-effects of their own actions. Inability/unwillingness to do this is known as ignorance. No action is without consequence, including eating meat. Torturing and killing humans or animals whether to eat or not bears negative consequences. Allah doesnt support inflicting misery on his creation because Allah is all compassionate. But evildoers (animal torturers) will be punished by the real Allah, not any imposter from some desert.

  8. NAK Says:

    Sawmeer, Didn’t you find anywhere that Buddha rejected extremes of any kind. It is so for meat eating. Rejecting it totally is one extreme and indulging in it all the time is the other. At some point one may have to consume meat for some reason and one should not be made to feel guilty about itand alsothat does not make one impure from then on. On the other hand habitual meat eating invariably brings deases and avoidence is helpful in that respect.

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