Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Timothy Campbell 12/7/12 1:58 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Superkatze one 12/7/12 2:35 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Bagpuss The Gnome 12/7/12 3:26 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Timothy Campbell 12/7/12 4:28 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Bagpuss The Gnome 12/7/12 4:46 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Matt L 12/7/12 6:27 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Timothy Campbell 12/7/12 10:34 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Shashank Dixit 12/7/12 10:31 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Timothy Campbell 12/7/12 10:40 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Shashank Dixit 12/7/12 11:49 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Timothy Campbell 12/8/12 2:04 AM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Adam . . 12/8/12 2:21 AM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Shashank Dixit 12/8/12 4:14 AM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Timothy Campbell 12/8/12 4:28 AM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Florian 12/8/12 5:43 AM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? m m a 12/8/12 9:00 AM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Timothy Campbell 12/8/12 10:52 AM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 12/9/12 9:45 AM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Timothy Campbell 12/9/12 11:32 AM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Change A. 12/9/12 12:55 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Timothy Campbell 12/9/12 5:38 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Change A. 12/9/12 7:18 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Timothy Campbell 12/9/12 9:20 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Change A. 12/9/12 10:14 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Bagpuss The Gnome 12/10/12 2:04 AM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 12/10/12 6:17 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Timothy Campbell 12/10/12 7:22 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Some Guy 12/10/12 9:41 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Timothy Campbell 12/10/12 10:04 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Some Guy 12/10/12 10:16 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Timothy Campbell 12/10/12 11:44 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 12/13/12 9:37 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Timothy Campbell 12/13/12 10:59 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 12/14/12 7:32 AM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Timothy Campbell 12/14/12 9:33 AM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 12/14/12 1:28 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Timothy Campbell 12/14/12 2:33 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 12/14/12 7:31 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Timothy Campbell 12/15/12 5:53 AM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Florian 12/15/12 11:21 AM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Some Guy 12/15/12 1:45 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Timothy Campbell 12/15/12 1:57 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Some Guy 12/15/12 2:33 PM
RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans? Timothy Campbell 12/15/12 2:45 PM
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Timothy Campbell, modified 9 Years ago at 12/7/12 1:58 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/7/12 1:58 PM

Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

Posts: 20 Join Date: 10/2/11 Recent Posts
The title of this thread (Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?) might sound like a joke but it serves as a shorthand for the central question I'm raising. I've seen on other forums that discussions of vegetarianism often descend into dogmatic pronouncements and attempts by participants to out-enlighten one another. I'm hoping the title of this thread will jog people's memories of what I'm actually asking about.

First, some background. Back in 2006 I suddenly realized that I'd almost completely stopped eating animal products. There were still some animal-derived ingredients in my diet (like whey) but for the most part I'd stopped. There was no effort; it just happened.

At first I couldn't explain why I'd stopped but over time I came up with various “reasons.” If it's relevant I can go into detail but briefly I'll say I'm uncomfortable with animals being raised in appalling conditions for our benefit. If I could care about the suffering or a cat or a dog — or you — I could care just as much about a cow or pig.

Now, I've heard some very wise people say that vegetarianism amounts to a mind game, a habit of the intellect. Sometimes they make a darn good case of it, making me wonder if my vegetarianism is just a conceit.

On the other hand, I have no direct evidence that other people exist. I cannot experience your experience. For all I know you are a mental fiction. Perhaps you'd be quite tasty with some fava beans and a nice Chianti, but so far I have not been tempted to try that experiment. (I don't like Chianti.)

If vegetarianism is a conceit, as many wise people have alleged, then ... so too is my tendency to care about other people. Does that add up? I could be wrong.

If you understand what I'm wondering about, please share your comments. I'll stick with this thread until ... well, I'm expecting it to devolve. Perhaps I'll be pleasantly surprised.
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Superkatze one, modified 9 Years ago at 12/7/12 2:35 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/7/12 2:35 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

Posts: 33 Join Date: 11/5/11 Recent Posts
Did those "wise people" also tell you how they came to the conclusion that vegetarianism is a conceit, or did you just took their word for it?

Personally, i am "against" vegetarianism because i'm vegan.
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 9 Years ago at 12/7/12 3:26 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/7/12 3:26 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Welcome to the DhO Timothy,

I've seen on other forums that discussions of vegetarianism often descend into dogmatic pronouncements and attempts by participants to out-enlighten one another.


Excellent. Let's hope it stays on other forums.

How has being vegetarian / not being vegetarian affected your practice?
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Timothy Campbell, modified 9 Years ago at 12/7/12 4:28 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/7/12 4:28 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Bagpuss The Gnome:
How has being vegetarian / not being vegetarian affected your practice?

As far as I can tell it hasn't been a direct factor but I have seen protracted debates about it by people on the path. Some claim that you can't be enlightened unless you're vegan while others claim that if you avoid meat you're stuck in thought and belief. Some tell me that I shouldn't waste time on such questions. My gut feeling is that a bit of clarity might remove some barriers, so I'm bringing it up here in this forum.
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 9 Years ago at 12/7/12 4:46 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/7/12 4:46 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Timothy Campbell:
Bagpuss The Gnome:
How has being vegetarian / not being vegetarian affected your practice?

As far as I can tell it hasn't been a direct factor but I have seen protracted debates about it by people on the path. Some claim that you can't be enlightened unless you're vegan while others claim that if you avoid meat you're stuck in thought and belief. Some tell me that I shouldn't waste time on such questions. My gut feeling is that a bit of clarity might remove some barriers, so I'm bringing it up here in this forum.


My advice would be to eat what works best for you, put such navel gazing debates to one side and get back on the cushion. Seriously, you could die tomorrow...
Matt L, modified 9 Years ago at 12/7/12 6:27 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/7/12 6:27 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Timothy Campbell:

On the other hand, I have no direct evidence that other people exist. I cannot experience your experience. For all I know you are a mental fiction.


Taking this view, what evidence do you have the you exist either? As your topic tag suggests this is a solipsistic view point. Now I ask - is your experience (your felt sense of being) one of solipsism or have you arrived at this view through logical deduction based upon the premise of a self? Ie. I exist, all I can know for sure is that. From your writing I would inuit it to be the latter. If it is the former, I doubt this would be an issue for you.

Timothy Campbell:

If vegetarianism is a conceit, as many wise people have alleged, then ... so too is my tendency to care about other people. Does that add up? I could be wrong.


So, if indeed it is the latter (a logical deduction) perhaps you view your caring for animals and other people as a potential conceit is because you believe your logical deduction (the solipsism view) to be the truth. So perhaps the dissonance/conflict is that you feel caring for other people (and animals) and yet you cling to the thought of solipsism as being the truth. What a tricky knot.

If it is the former (the felt sense of being The Being), I would wager there would not be any doubt about view and hence any conflict regardless of moral implications (normal notions of morality are in the back seat by this point). This point of view is more difficult to explain considering it is not my experience in this moment.

Obviously I've made many assumptions here through laziness. Anyways, some thought bubbles on a lazy Saturday morning here in Australia.
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Shashank Dixit, modified 9 Years ago at 12/7/12 10:31 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/7/12 10:30 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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I was raised a vegetarian and remained so for 28 years and then turned a hardcore vegan. I would protest outside
KFCs and the like to the point of being arrested once. In the end, what did all this sticking to a belief give me ?
suffering. period.

I gave up taking any sides and now I'm a vegetarian (because of 28 yrs of conditioning) and the result ? I am no longer
suffering because of the whole diet thing.

There are actually free people and theravada monks who regularly eat meat and I dont think they have suffering..
if end of your own suffering is your goal , then you've got to see how sticking to any belief ( no matter how 'true'
it appears ) leads to suffering.

Regarding eating humans , you draw the line somewhere for communal harmony , fellowship regard
..given a choice to live for the rest of your life on an island with just one more animal or a human , whom would you
choose and why ?
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Timothy Campbell, modified 9 Years ago at 12/7/12 10:34 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/7/12 10:34 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Bagpuss The Gnome:
My advice would be to eat what works best for you, put such navel gazing debates to one side and get back on the cushion. Seriously, you could die tomorrow...

As the Original Post mentioned, I've heard that piece of advice countless times. I've also heard advice in other directions countless times. I'll add your vote to the “Never Mind” pile.

— — —

Matt L:
... what evidence do you have the you exist either?

The “you” (or “self”) part is (as most people in forums like this know) a convenient fiction. The evidence I have for something existing is a different matter.

... is your experience (your felt sense of being) one of solipsism ...?

I included “solipsism” in the tags because whenever I watch enlightenment-seeking people discussing vegetarianism some of them come up with a “How do you know it's all real?” argument. My personal view on solipsism is this: If solipsism is true, why such an elaborate fiction? I have trouble imagining that (1) I am all there is and (2) I'm actively screwing with myself and (3) I'm actively hiding from myself.

I'm not looking for a discussion about solipsism, though. If somebody finds that topic interesting I invite them to start a new thread.

... perhaps you view your caring for animals and other people as a potential conceit is because you believe your logical deduction (the solipsism view) to be the truth.

I cannot disprove solipsism. I neither support it nor deny it. I simply note that many people present arguments that seem to boil down to solipsism. These often take the form, “No perception you have is separate from the perceiver.” Taken to extremes (as some neo-Advaita people seem to do) this strikes me as indistinguishible from solipsism.

... I've made many assumptions here through laziness.

The assumptions took us away from the question, alas. I wish there was a polite way I could suggest to people “Please read the original post again.”

If that post isn't sufficiently clear, let me say that I'd like people to make this topic less about me and more about an (apparent) contradiction:

(1) some people assert that we should liberate all sentient beings; and
(2) we do not share qualia with any other being; therefore
(3) we do not know that other beings are even remotely as they appear

Here's the rub, my friend: if we can say, “It's all just illusion!” then what's to stop us from eating a dog or a cow or another human being? Aesthetics? (This is what Osho once said about this matter, but I took that to be a cop-out.)
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Timothy Campbell, modified 9 Years ago at 12/7/12 10:40 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/7/12 10:40 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Shashank Dixit:
... you've got to see how sticking to any belief ( no matter how 'true' it appears ) leads to suffering.

This is apparently so. This is, in fact, what prompted my public objection to my own position!

Regarding eating humans , you draw the line somewhere for communal harmony...

So I'm being asked to predict that eating a human will result in a worse situation. There seems to be a belief — about myself! — inherent in this.

... given a choice to live for the rest of your life on an island with just one more animal or a human , whom would you choose and why?

Can you rephrase this question, please? So far you seem to be have the closest notion of the question I'm actually asking about, so I'd like to engage your actual intent.

Thanks.
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Shashank Dixit, modified 9 Years ago at 12/7/12 11:49 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/7/12 11:49 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Can you rephrase this question, please? So far you seem to be have the closest notion of the question I'm actually asking about, so I'd like to engage your actual intent.


At a certain point in time I used to think that I'm not a "speciest" - one who sees all species as somehow "equal"
until I realized I had cognitive dissonance when I asked this question - "Will I prefer the cutest puppy or some
other nice animal or a fellow human if I were to spend the rest of my life on an island ?"
As I am heterosexually inclined , I would always kind of get the answer as a hot woman and so I wouldn't know
why I would choose a fellow human and still not call myself a speciest.
Can you ask this same question and let me know what answer you get ?
Personally , I found that life simplifies if I choose to draw the line at humans and the rest of the animal kingdom.
and when life simplifies and there is no confusion, one suffers less emoticon
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Timothy Campbell, modified 9 Years ago at 12/8/12 2:04 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/8/12 2:04 AM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Shashank Dixit:
"Will I prefer the cutest puppy or some other nice animal or a fellow human if I were to spend the rest of my life on an island?" Can you ask this same question and let me know what answer you get ?

I would want my companion to be somebody like Joshua Slocum. He might not have been very sociable but I'm pretty sure he could get us off the island safely. Maybe that's not a fair answer to your question.

If I was forced against my will, by some faceless, non-communicative entity, to spend the rest of my life on an island ... I'm having trouble relating this to my original post. Nonetheless, I'll try to get into the spirit of your question.

I appear to be an ape descendant. I appear to be a social animal. If what I've heard about isolation is any indication, humans need the companies of humans. I can only report this on faith, though, because I've never experienced that kind of isolation.

I have, on the other hand, seen how dogs and goats suffer when isolated from contact with their kind. Perhaps I would have that kind of reaction.

As far as I can tell, this speculation has strayed from the point of my original post. Maybe I'm missing some subtle point you're making.
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 12/8/12 2:21 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/8/12 2:19 AM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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As far as I can tell it hasn't been a direct factor but I have seen protracted debates about it by people on the path. Some claim that you can't be enlightened unless you're vegan while others claim that if you avoid meat you're stuck in thought and belief. Some tell me that I shouldn't waste time on such questions. My gut feeling is that a bit of clarity might remove some barriers, so I'm bringing it up here in this forum.


If it has any effect it would probably be a marginal one, maybe you have a better sense of bodily energy or more wakefulness with lighter food. Karmically, if you are down with that stuff, the Buddha says your good as long as the animal isn't killed specifically for you, and he's a pretty top-level expert when it comes to karma.

btw this seems like the type of question which will never be answered until you decide you have better things to do, what could anyone say that would convince you 100% either way?
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Shashank Dixit, modified 9 Years ago at 12/8/12 4:14 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/8/12 3:28 AM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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I appear to be an ape descendant. I appear to be a social animal. If what I've heard about isolation is any indication, humans need the companies of humans.


This is where we subconsciously draw a line between us and the rest of the animal kingdom.

This is the point I was trying to raise from the question I posed. We are fundamentally biased towards humans because
they are of our own specie and even though they may be tasty to eat , it may not be the most sensible thing to eat and
end what aids our survival ( = other humans )

maybe you are seeking the answer to something else ?
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Timothy Campbell, modified 9 Years ago at 12/8/12 4:28 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/8/12 4:28 AM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Adam:
... the Buddha says ...

I'm not seeking an argument from authority.

... what could anyone say that would convince you 100% either way?

Well, to begin with they could show some evidence that they understand the question I asked. So far nobody seems to have done that.

It may be that people are simply skimming my first post, which was rather wordy.

— — —

Shashank Dixit:
We are fundamentally biased towards humans ...

Yes, we are. This isn't the least bit puzzling from a scientific point of view. But my original post attempted to dig deeper than that.

... maybe you are seeking the answer to something else?

Yes. Please see my reply to the previous poster and my original post.
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Florian, modified 9 Years ago at 12/8/12 5:43 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/8/12 5:37 AM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Hi Timothy

I'm on a vegetarian diet - i.e. I don't eat visible bits of meat. This is a pragmatic approach, as the rest of my family is not vegetarian, and it's also an easy yardstick for people who invite me.

My choice of diet rests on many factors: moral (don't care much for the way animals are treated, and what it does to the people who treat them in this way), environmental (water, food for the animals, often soybeans, competes with the last few wilderness areas on the planet, and with food for other humans), health (though this is more of a grey area, since "pudding vegetarian" diet is not very healthy, whereas a varied diet which includes some meat is healthy; then there are individual differences).

When I started with this diet, there were repercussion in many areas of my life, which was interesting. Family members reacted, co-workers, friends... my shopping and eating habits shifted (less junk food to go)... and mindfulness increased, since I closely watched what I ate and how I ate it. This increase in mindfulness was actually what surprised me most.

On to your post:

Timothy Campbell:
If vegetarianism is a conceit, as many wise people have alleged, then ... so too is my tendency to care about other people. Does that add up?


Since this is the only real question in your post, I'll go into it. If this isn't what you were about, please clarify.

In a way, all intellectual "content" is conceit. If I react to it with attraction, aversion, or by tuning out (delusion), then it's just another prop in the big game of suffering. Being attracted to vegetarianism (in one of its many forms), or being defensive about eating meat (or other animal products), or pretending that raising animals for the purpose of killing and eating them is not an issue and does not have any consequences at all - all of this is just taking a position in the game and acting from that. So that's what I assume the wise people mean when they call vegetarianism a "conceit": not as the "tuning out/pretending it's not there" move within the game, but from a perspective which sees it for the game it is.

With that said, does caring about other beings, human or animal, add up with seeing the game for a game? It becomes a question of "who cares?" ("who is it that cares?"). Is there a "carer"? What if there is a carer, but he doesn't actually do anything about the situation? What if somebody who doesn't need to play to a little "carer" in his mind acts in ways to improve the situation (of farmers and farmed animals, workers on plantations which produce food for animals in distant countries, jugle animals in Brazil whose last habitats are destroyed to plant food for animals in distant countries... farmers in Africa whose land is bought up by investors in other countries to plant crops for bio-fuel production so the agricultural machines in wealthy countries can be powered by "green" gasoil?... )? Is it about the motivation or about the result? What, in other words, does "compassion" really mean? Is it an ornament to decorate myself with? Is it a way to express the complete vulnerability of our situation, that there is no firm ground to stand on, that there is nothing to pretend?

I'll stick with this thread until ... well, I'm expecting it to devolve. Perhaps I'll be pleasantly surprised.


Cut out the manipulative nonsense, please.

Cheers,
Florian
m m a, modified 9 Years ago at 12/8/12 9:00 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/8/12 8:56 AM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

Posts: 153 Join Date: 6/9/11 Recent Posts
I liked Florians above post enough to try to offer something similar as a way to round out his vewpoint...

From the wikipedia articles on fetters, regarding the 3rd fetter "attachment to rites and rituals"
Wikipedia:
Attachment to rites and rituals (sīlabbata-parāmāso)
Śīla refers to "moral conduct", vata (or bata) to "religious duty, observance, rite, practice, custom,"[26] and parāmāsa to "being attached to" or "a contagion" and has the connotation of "mishandling" the Dhamma.[27] Altogether, sīlabbata-parāmāso has been translated as "the contagion of mere rule and ritual, the infatuation of good works, the delusion that they suffice"[28] or, more simply, "fall[ing] back on attachment to precepts and rules."[29]


This suggests that rites and rituals such as vegetarianism can easily become a distraction as opposed to a useful tool.
There's a way to perform rites and rituals as a core part of tradition that helps still the ever changing world enough to pin down the three characteristics long enough to see them clearly. Vegetarianism serves as a path to enhanced Sila, but it is not the only way down that road. I think the belief is that if we remove the dilemma about whether or not meat-eating is OK, we can better focus on the reality. What vegetarianism is not (and what the 3rd fetter is all about identifying) is a mental hang-up, a point of yogic contention and discussions back and forth. It is merely a guideline to help still the mind.

There are some rituals that it is quite easy to see are essentially empty but useful: Putting on your robes before entering the meditation hall can serve to incline the mind toward Jhana, just as a nicotine addict feels better upon merely picking up an unlit cigarette. However, no monk that requires the wearing of robes would in any way suggest that robes are a necessary factor of awakening.

When you fall into the trap of, 'Am i doing this right?' You fail to be in the present moment, and fall back onto habits of abstract reasoning. I think its clear where the logical fallacy is; that you have tried to apply logic at all! Either vegeterianism is a ritual you observe, or it isn't. Making a big deal about it one way or the other, whether in public or in your head is the fetter. I know you called advice from the buddha 'appeals from authority,' but here's some more sound advice from our chubby friend:
Keep your opinions to yourself, lest you become attached to them'


Don't worry, though, Theravada Buddhism suggests that post stream entry you will be unable to be 'attached' to rites and rituals, including vegetarianism. So keep meditating.


PS. You blow off the advice that worrying about this isn't productive. But I think thats ultimately what we are all trying to say... pay attention to what its LIKE to experience worry about whether or not vegetarianism is correct, don't get lost in the worrying. Seriously.. we can tell this is a debate you've had a lot and I think we probably are drawing on our own experience that we've all been unduly attached to something or other in our lives and only in retrospect do we truly understand what the attachment was like.
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Timothy Campbell, modified 9 Years ago at 12/8/12 10:52 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/8/12 10:52 AM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Florian Weps:
Since this is the only real question in your post, I'll go into it. If this isn't what you were about, please clarify.

You've correctly spotted the question I was asking!

In a way, all intellectual "content" is conceit.

Yes, in a way that's so.

What, in other words, does "compassion" really mean? Is it an ornament to decorate myself with?

Yes, we see plenty of people proudly wearing their vegetarianism or veganism as a medal.

What if somebody who doesn't need to play to a little "carer" in his mind acts in ways to improve the situation...

This is the best response I've heard so far in this thread. Thanks for that.

Cut out the manipulative nonsense, please.

That wasn't intentional manipulation; it was an expression of frustration. But it does sound manipulative. I could have kept it to myself.

— — —

m m a:
“silabbata-paramaso has been translated as "the contagion of mere rule and ritual”

Holy cats! That's the most ancient description of memetics I've ever encountered! Thanks for sharing that!

no monk that requires the wearing of robes would in any way suggest that robes are a necessary factor of awakening.

Ah, that's an interesting comparison!

Either vegeterianism is a ritual you observe, or it isn't.

It has acquired ritualistic aspects (such as scanning the list of ingredients before buying an unfamiliar item of food), but as noted in the original post it rather happened by itself, so its core wasn't ritual.

Seriously.. we can tell this is a debate you've had a lot...

I've never had this particular debate. It is exceedingly rare that I speak to anybody about vegetarianism. The frustration I alluded to above (in my reply to Florian) concerns the kinds of responses I tend to get on forums. Specifically, there's a whole lot of what might be called “talking down from the [imagined] pinnacle of attainment.” If this forum is different — I haven't studied every nook and cranny — I apologize.

... pay attention to what its LIKE to experience worry about whether or not vegetarianism is correct, don't get lost in the worrying.

That's a valid point. I alluded to it in my original post by saying vegetarianism could be (or become) a conceit. I can clearly see that.

I suppose that what concerns me is that I've encountered several people who are liberated in one fashion or another and they've all denigrated vegetarianism. At the same time, though, they speak of liberating humanity. This strikes me as a very specific dividing line.

I can understand denigrating an “ism” — that's a no-brainer. But my concern is not about the eating of meat. My concern is about the suffering of apparently sentient beings. (That word “apparently” is key; I don't know that you, or the family cat, are sentient.) I care not if an animal dies to feed somebody. What concerns me is the months or years of industrialized suffering that we humans subject animals to as we serve our desires.

Should I turn my back on that concern? Should I merely shrug if there's a puppy mill next door? It appears that many purportedly liberated people say I should and ultimately must. This, to me, creates a paradox: they care to liberate sentient life, but don't care if sentient life suffers. Huh? What am I missing, here?

I can't resolve that puzzle. It's not crucial that I do resolve it, but the puzzle ... puzzles me.

— — —

Thank you, Florian & m m a, for your marvelous replies.
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, modified 9 Years ago at 12/9/12 9:45 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/9/12 9:45 AM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

Posts: 296 Join Date: 9/5/10 Recent Posts
Florian Weps, m m a: +1

Here are different words pointing in the same direction:

We suffer because we make distinctions (aka 'fabrications'). If we make a distinction between vegetarianism and not vegetarianism, and we decide that one of them is good and the other is not, we invest our selves in the problem - literally extending our sense of self/ego to encompass our vision of what is right. This creates conflict/dissonance/stress for the very simple reason that one will encounter someone/something that is of the opposite conviction/persuasion, or is simply ignorant of or apathetic about the issue and is therefore antithetic to our position/conviction/persuasion.

Whenever you experience dissonance, find the implicit distinction and ask: "is this worth suffering for?". The solution is not delusion (ie. stick-your-fingers-in-your-ears-LALA-can't-hear-you) or conveniently "forgetting" (ie. repression) the distinction, but taking yourself out of the equation: ridding yourself of the ignorance of "false identification".

And here is where you clearly start taking issue:

Timothy Campbell:
Should I turn my back on that concern? Should I merely shrug if there's a puppy mill next door? It appears that many purportedly liberated people say I should and ultimately must. This, to me, creates a paradox: they care to liberate sentient life, but don't care if sentient life suffers. Huh? What am I missing, here?


Instead of spelling out my own understanding of why you take issue here, may I suggest you ponder it yourself and reach that understanding in your own way?
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Timothy Campbell, modified 9 Years ago at 12/9/12 11:32 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/9/12 11:32 AM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:
Instead of spelling out my own understanding of why you take issue here, may I suggest you ponder it yourself and reach that understanding in your own way?

I have done so in the past. I posted my question here because six years of pondering (and meditating etc.) was fruitless.

Although I have not brought up the topic personally, I've read discussions about this matter (seen through the lens of vegetarianism) on various Buddhist / Liberation / Freedom / No-self / etc. boards. These taught me nothing. Rather, they underlined my opinion that the vast majority of people posting in online forums are merely playing the role of being fully awakened — they've got themselves utterly fooled. (I'm no exception, of course.)

We suffer because we make distinctions...

Indeed that's so. However, as far as I can tell, our actions demonstrate that some distinctions are legitimate. Some of us floss our teeth; some of us do not. I don't berate “the flossers” for acting on the distinction nor do I crusade against “the non-flossers”. The ramifications of flossing are clear, whether or not one believes. In a similar vein, the ramifications of industrialized animal usage seem clear, regardless of what one believes.

I've known a handful of people who struck me as genuinely liberated (as opposed to merely playing the part, as we see so often online). I've ask them about paradoxical matters (enabling animal suffering, flossing teeth, assisting others to liberation, drinking purified rather than possibly stagnant water etc.) and their answers consistently indicate to me that they have not resolved the paradox.

This might mean something. The usual explanation is that “examining such distinctions can be a waste of energy.” I can see a certain validity to that position and have experienced the truth of it.

On the other hand, it might that U.G. Krishnamurti was right when he said that enlightenment, as generally presented, is “bullshit” (his exact word). The more I examine the various incarnations of awakening, the more I suspect that every awakening is shot through with illusion (except that there are certain standard misconceptions that have been removed).

... we decide that one of them is good and the other is not, we invest our selves in the problem...

Yes, if I went on a pro-flossing crusade I'd cause pain in myself and others. This does not mean the distinction is bogus. Similarly, the distinction between participating (or not participating) in the industrial production of animal products is not a bogus distinction.

A bogus aspect arises if I become a crusader about the matter. I do not. If I was invested in vegetarianism I wouldn't be attempting to deconstruct it here. Rather, I'd be attempting to make people into vegetarians. I don't do that. This thread is not about creating new vegetarians; it is about a paradox.

... here is where you clearly start taking issue:

And here is where you misconstrue what I'm saying. I speak of me but the question isn't about me. It is about the paradox.
Change A, modified 9 Years ago at 12/9/12 12:55 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/9/12 12:55 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Timothy Campbell:
This, to me, creates a paradox: they care to liberate sentient life, but don't care if sentient life suffers. Huh? What am I missing, here?


How do you know that they care to liberate sentient life? Is the supposed caring only in words or is it in action also?
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Timothy Campbell, modified 9 Years ago at 12/9/12 5:38 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/9/12 5:32 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Change A.:
How do you know that they care to liberate sentient life? Is the supposed caring only in words or is it in action also?

Both words and actions.

For a brief example of the words, plug this search term into Google:

buddhism "all sentient beings"

I've used Buddhism as the example here but of course you can do the search with certain other traditions. You could also replace the phrase “all sentient beings” with something similar. Scan the results; it'll only take a moment to see the pattern.

So that's words. As for actions, what did you just do when you wrote your reply? What does a guru do when he or she holds a sanga or retreat or seminar or webinar?

The paradox I am attempting to highlight arises when purportedly liberated humans show no concern about the suffering of animals but do speak and act as if they care about the suffering of humans. Does this not strike you as odd? Where did that dividing line come from?

Did I miss some hidden depth in your two questions?
Change A, modified 9 Years ago at 12/9/12 7:18 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/9/12 5:48 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Timothy Campbell:
As for actions, what did you just do when you wrote your reply? What does a guru do when he or she holds a sanga or retreat or seminar or webinar?


When I wrote my reply, it satisfied my urge to write a response. When a guru does what he does, he gets his position as a guru. If someone turns vegetarian by choice, his urge gets fulfilled till he remains so. A non-vegetarians urge gets fulfilled when he eats meat.

If you have ever attended a Goenka retreat, you must be familiar with the story of a king and a queen who are meditators and they ask each other that who they love and care about the most and both answered that they loved themselves the most. (or something like that)

Also, they may care to liberate sentient life in their own way which is trying to get them liberated which they think will end their suffering. May be you have your own idea of how they should go about doing it which doesn't happen and hence you think it is a paradox.

In one other spiritual tradition, they do eat humans who had died but were not killed for eating by the person eating that body.

Don't you think that if vegetarians start eating humans, that would not do anything to reduce suffering of other sentient beings but if non-vegetarians start eating humans, it would reduce suffering for some of the other sentient beings?
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Timothy Campbell, modified 9 Years ago at 12/9/12 9:20 PM
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RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Change A.:
May be you have your own idea of how they should go about doing it ....
Don't you think that if vegetarians start eating humans ...

Wow.

I'm amazed that I'm having so much trouble making my point clearly. Let me give it another go.

The internet (including this forum) is filled with people striving to save one another from ignorance. Maybe "striving" is too strong a word, but nobody who has responded to this thread is living alone in a cave; they're reaching out to ... let's call it help.

Okay, that's nice. But why is there so often an insistence that the "help" includes only humans? Can these "helpers" not also infer that the meat on their plate was once a living being raised in appalling conditions?

Is it the position of the purportedly liberated that non-humans are a special case, that their sentience somehow doesn't matter, while mine does? Do they claim to know what the animals experience (or do not experience) when they can't even know that about another human?

Could it be that the line was drawn where it was for practical and historical reasons, but is otherwise an arbitrary line?
Change A, modified 9 Years ago at 12/9/12 10:14 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/9/12 10:14 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Thanks for giving it another go but I will let it pass this time.
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 9 Years ago at 12/10/12 2:04 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/10/12 2:04 AM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Timothy Campbell:
Change A.:
May be you have your own idea of how they should go about doing it ....
Don't you think that if vegetarians start eating humans ...

Wow.

I'm amazed that I'm having so much trouble making my point clearly. Let me give it another go.



I really wish you wouldn't. This tedious line of aggression running through your posts has no place at the DhO.

Timothy Campbell:

The internet (including this forum) is filled with people striving to save one another from ignorance. Maybe "striving" is too strong a word, but nobody who has responded to this thread is living alone in a cave; they're reaching out to ... let's call it help.


You've obviously not spent much time here. The people that post here generally talk about practice. About what works and what doesn't work. Those further along the path help those just starting. Everyone compares notes. Above all though, it's about practice. Fortunately we do not have too many threads like this posted. This thread stands out as self obsessed, juvenile and somewhat aggressive in an otherwise pleasant environment.

Stop mucking around and get back on the cushion. I suggest you sit for at 2hrs a day doing whatever insight technique may have been taught to you then come back and tell us what effect this has had. You'll find it far more productive than these not so subtle avoidance tactics.

Change A.:
Thanks for giving it another go but I will let it pass this time.


That's probably what I should have done. Change A. is clearly a little further down the path than me hehe...
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, modified 9 Years ago at 12/10/12 6:17 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/10/12 6:17 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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It's way past my bedtime at the moment, so my reply will be brief.

As you can see Timothy, this does not seem to be the place for this discussion. I don't think that means that it cannot bear fruit, but I thought that it was maybe best to not perpetuate the discussion. Then I spotted this:

Timothy Campbell:
Could it be that the line was drawn where it was for practical and historical reasons, but is otherwise an arbitrary line?


Emphasis added by me.

I think I understand your frustration. Others here might not, and/or it could be the case that you are somewhat out of line, but I'm curious: what prompted you to use the word "arbitrary"?

In line with the theme of my previous reply I'd like to quote something I wrote in another thread:

Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:
One way to make sense of the world is to solidify and impose borders on the (quite literal) flow of the universe. This leads to the emergence of things - clearly defined, separate things. This is very practical because language is dependent on pinning something down and calling it by name. If I experience pain and I want to direct attention to where the pain is felt for me, I can say "my leg" because we have agreed to call that *points to my leg* "my leg". But, what we call "my leg" does not exist as a static, solid, separate, differentiated, ontological object - unless we pretend so and temporarily "fabricate" it, freeze it, and call it by name. (This is a mostly unconscious process)

There is no intrinsically meaningful distinction between my leg and the air surrounding it. Or the air and the ground. (Or the ground and the ocean, etc.) So from this perspective, my leg == the ground (or the ocean, etc.). They're the same thing, existing as the-universe-as-a-whole. But we can, of course, choose to play-pretend and delimit and separate the atoms of my leg from the atoms of the air and the ground, thereby creating an illusory separation between the leg and everything else.

This is what the Buddha is thinking about when he gets all negàtive (negation), and it is completely logical. But every logical deduction needs a premise, and what is the Buddha's premise?

When Richard says "I am this body's apperceptive consciousness", he's locking down a part of the fluxing soup of universe which is actually undifferentiated and non-static. He's putting borders on some phenomena of the universe and saying "this is apperceptive consciousness" and implicitly he's also saying "anything else is not apperceptive consciousness". But the Buddha knows that "apperceptive consciousness" as defined by Richard does not exist in a vacuum, or as a thing-itself; It exists only as a coming together of causes and effects. And even that is saying too much about it, because even those causes and effects exists only as a coming together of other causes and effects, etc.

In more practical terms, "apperceptive consciousness" is not different from (ie. separated from (ie. existing independently of)) the gulf stream or an iPhone or Saturn.

They're both quite right, I think, but they're operating within different paradigms or idioms.

I believe this reasoning is what's called emptiness (at least one of them) and dependent origination. But where this gets incredibly interesting and where one can can start to see the logic in the Buddha's negation is when this thinking is applied globally, ie. to all things and phenomena. Suddenly it's overly obvious that of course the Tathagata is neither of these:
X,
not X,
X and not-X
X nor not-X
No thing truly exists as whatever you might call it, unless you pretend so. But we do pretend, almost exclusively.


Here's the real important point:

I'm not really saying either idiom is "Truth" (though you'll find people on both sides doing so), I'm simply saying that this mode of understanding is available to any one of us, and that I believe this is the frame of reference from within which what the Buddha said is to be understood. It's easy to understand actualism from a spiritual framework, yet it would be a mistake to do so. Likewise, what the Buddha said should not be understood from within a actualist paradigm.


Ultimately, nothing exist as whatever you might call it (weather, cup, pain, self, etc.), but only as constituent parts. And those parts exist only as ever-more constituent parts. The magic happens when one realizes that this doesn't end - when this is applied globally. Then everything becomes transparent and lighter (as in weight).

Relatively, we can choose to stop at a certain magnitude/magnification, a certain density and say: from this perspective (or with these parameters), that is "me" (or "weather", etc.). But this freezing (which leads to what's called "dualistic fixation") reflects only a temporary, fleeting construct with no intrinsic truth or meaning. When we start to believe that this universally arbitrary[1] and temporary distinction is 'real', we suffer. As an analog, we start believing the dream is real and it devolves into a nightmare.


[1] The distinctions we make of hot/cold, bright/dim, long/far, hard/soft, my leg/not my leg, me/not me, etc., are all predicated on our particular and peculiar human sensing capabilities. We fall prey to believing that what we experience is universally true, because it's the only thing we experience, when in fact it is only relatively true - relative to us as humans.


You can substitute "this body's apperceptive consciousness" with any concept/idea/fabrication - like "sentient beings" and "humans".
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Timothy Campbell, modified 9 Years ago at 12/10/12 7:22 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/10/12 7:22 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:
... this does not seem to be the place for this discussion.

Agreed.

...what prompted you to use the word "arbitrary"?

I suggested that the line could have emerged from practical or historical reasons. For example, some regions of the earth revere cows in part because it is not economical to raise them for meat. From a strictly practical standpoint, a religion or philosophy that demands vegetarianism will have enormous difficulty growing if the region it inhabits is well suited for raising copious amounts of meat.

Thus, what is presented as a religious or philosophical conclusion might turn out to be an evolutionary (specifically: memetic) inevitability or an accident of geography. In this sense the conclusion would be “arbitrary.”

In line with the theme of my previous reply I'd like to quote something I wrote in another thread:

I am familiar with the Richard you mention. Indeed, he was one of the people I was thinking about when I asked about the seemingly arbitrary dividing line.

...one can can start to see the logic in the Buddha's negation is when this thinking is applied globally, ie. to all things and phenomena.

Up to a point I see that this is so. It's all one thing. Divisions are, to re-use a word, arbitrary.

The question I had concerned the extent to which this arbitrariness can activate or inactivate us. (I'm struggling to avoid certain loaded words, so my phrasing is a bit awkward.)

For example, it is one thing to say, “The universe is illusion and our thoughts do not alter it.” Quite so; my opinions do not change that which is. However, some discernment is needed here. If I step off the edge of a cliff my opinion about the situation is still irrelevant but that doesn't mean it isn't accurate, nor does it mean that the future I now predict (i.e. that I'm about to go splat) should have been predicted a tad earlier. I apologize for using that loaded word “should” but I'm attempting to highlight that thought, though steeped in illusion, can serve a practical function.

It's all very well for us to see the illusion, but I've seen many people who (as far as I can tell) take this stance to the point of losing any semblance of compassion. A certain fellow named Richard comes to mind, but he's not a rarity; I've met plenty of his ilk. In such cases I'm tempted to ask something like, “If I hit you with a baseball bat, is it just an illusion that means nothing?”

I'm trying to keep this brief but this is something I cared to talk out in detail. This is apparently not the place for that. Maybe somebody can suggest an alternative venue.

P.S. Thank you for addressing my actual question instead of pretending to read my mind and then preaching at me.
Some Guy, modified 9 Years ago at 12/10/12 9:41 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/10/12 9:41 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

Posts: 343 Join Date: 8/9/11 Recent Posts
I haven't been following this thread, and I hesitate to post because of the contentious tone, but I think it's worth posting this link (which I probably first found on another thread about meat).

As I recall, Yuttadhammo advocates passive vegetarianism, since strict vegetarianism is based on ego-attachment. He also explains that the Buddha's prohibition against killing is not about preventing death and suffering - a sysiphean proposal - but to avoid suppressing sympathy. I hope you find it helpful.

You mentioned that you have meditated on this subject for 6 years without an answer. Why not set it aside? Not to beat a dead horse (so, beating a living horse is a good idea?), but arguing on the internet isn't helping animals, or your practice. It's not even helping to answer your question. If your mind is still fixated, the answer is better practice. Long, prodigious deconstruction of the self.

So, enlightened people disagree on the subject of vegetarianism. So what? The Dalai Lama eats meat. Thich Nhat Hahn abhors it. It doesn't make a whit of difference.

If your aim is to prevent animal suffering, that's a political endeavor. Good on ya! Go for it. Or, if you prefer, get enlightened, become a guru, and preach strict vegetarianism. In the end, it's a matter of choice.
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Timothy Campbell, modified 9 Years ago at 12/10/12 10:04 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/10/12 10:04 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Jason B:
I haven't been following this thread, and I hesitate to post because of the contentious tone, but I think it's worth posting this link

Thank you for overcoming your reluctance and joining the conversation. I'll go watch that video right after posting this.

Buddha's prohibition against killing is not about preventing death and suffering ... but to avoid suppressing sympathy.

I don't understand this. To “avoid suppressing sympathy?” I simply don't follow. Perhaps that video will clarify.

You mentioned that you have meditated on this subject for 6 years without an answer.

I'm pretty sure I didn't phrase it that way. This entire topic of vegetarianism is a stand-in for a larger issue, which is the paradox of acting in compassion on the one hand and not acting in compassion on the other. However, I don't fret about this matter anywhere near as much as it might seem from this thread. Indeed, you give the perfect reason why:

So, enlightened people disagree on the subject of vegetarianism. So what?

Yup, so what? They can be wrong or right or consistent or inconsistent. That doesn't descend into my brain and force me to be this way or that. Kill the Buddha and all that, right?

Nonetheless, the paradox does make me wonder: if they're inconsistent in this matter, what else are they saying that I can't trust? This isn't a vague theoretical problem; many gurus are self-deluded and will happily waste the lives of their adherents. But until then they'll talk a good game. (I presume the people on this forum are familiar with the term “pseudo-Advaita.”)

As it happens, I don't attach to a particular guru or practice, so this isn't a show-stopping problem. But the matter of paradoxical compassion does pop up within me from time to time.

Okay, I'm off to watch that video. Thanks.
Some Guy, modified 9 Years ago at 12/10/12 10:16 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/10/12 10:16 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Timothy Campbell:
Buddha's prohibition against killing is not about preventing death and suffering ... but to avoid suppressing sympathy.

I don't understand this. To “avoid suppressing sympathy?” I simply don't follow. Perhaps that video will clarify.


It means, to actually kill something you have to suppress your natural sympathy for a living being. This is the harm, to one's own mind, that the Buddha warned against. Whereas passively eating meat with a pure mind, not seeking or wanting it, but accepting it, is no more killing than innocently stepping on an ant.

He does stress that many Buddhists would disagree with him.

As for the "paradox" of compassion: Firstly, only an individual can know whether they're compassionate in a given moment. Secondly, the various definitions of awakening here tend to exclude the idea of moral purity. So, there is a meaning of enlightenment that is generally detached from morality. That may be right or wrong, but it's honest. In a way, demystifying enlightenment may be the best, or only, way of resolving your paradox. The reason that all those Buddhas are imperfect is that they're imperfect. Just like us, but with less unhappiness, which hopefully, but not always, leads to better behavior.
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Timothy Campbell, modified 9 Years ago at 12/10/12 11:44 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/10/12 11:44 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Jason B:
Secondly, the various definitions of awakening here tend to exclude the idea of moral purity.

Good! Perish the thought that I might be here telling people what they “should” do!

I will say this, though: moral purity might be an ephemeral conceit, but consequences are actually consequences. I can explain that in more detail if you're interested, but not today.

Rather, I'd like to thank you for recommending that video! That was an excellent presentation! It made clear to me the assumptions from which the purported “compassion paradox” arises. Now, I do not necessarily accept the starting assumptions (not yet — more on this later) but at least now my confusion about the paradox is cleared away — at least, as it relates to Buddhists and people with similar starting assumptions.

So, thanks!

I have a few different starting assumptions than that monk — that's hardly surprising. I won't delve into them here but I will say this: the monk in that video exposed a paradox that could arise from my starting assumptions. As it happens, I've mostly evaded falling prey to that paradox, but I wasn't noticing the issue.

I am speaking of his comparison between people buying meat and people buying high-tech devices. If I buy a slab of meat I can predict that another animal will be factory-farmed to replace it. My action has the consequence of increasing the suffering on this planet. Yet I'd never really considered my other decisions in precisely the same light. Though the monk doesn't go into details, I know precisely what he's talking about vis-a-vis the high-tech devices.

By sheer fluke of circumstance — not as a matter of careful choice! — I do not consume new computers. For various reasons I have steered clear of owning things for the past 6 years. But I do buy some clothes that are new. It is, as you observed previously, a Sysiphean task to eliminate all contributions we make to suffering.

As a consequence of watching that video I will need to take some time to let this new perspective percolate within me. I may not have very far to go, since I mostly agree with that monk's notion of “passive vegetarianism.” However, it will take a while for the entire breadth of his message to coalesce with the rest of my mental models.

Thanks again!
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katy steger,thru11615 with thanks, modified 9 Years ago at 12/13/12 9:37 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/13/12 9:37 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Hi Timothy,
12/7/12 1:58 PM
Now, I've heard some very wise people say that vegetarianism amounts to a mind game, a habit of the intellect. Sometimes they make a darn good case of it, making me wonder if my vegetarianism is just a conceit.

On the other hand, I have no direct evidence that other people exist. I cannot experience your experience. For all I know you are a mental fiction. Perhaps you'd be quite tasty with some fava beans and a nice Chianti, but so far I have not been tempted to try that experiment. (I don't like Chianti.)

If vegetarianism is a conceit, as many wise people have alleged, then ... so too is my tendency to care about other people. Does that add up? I could be wrong.

If you understand what I'm wondering about, please share your comments. I'll stick with this thread until ... well, I'm expecting it to devolve. Perhaps I'll be pleasantly surprised.


12/10/12 11:44 PM as a reply to Jason B
I may not have very far to go, since I mostly agree with that monk's notion of “passive vegetarianism.” However, it will take a while for the entire breadth of his message to coalesce with the rest of my mental models.


The phenomena vegetarianism is vegetarianism.
The phenomena conceit is conceit.
The only way these two phenomena are joined is when a mind joins them.
Like: putting on socks with conceit is putting on socks conceitedly and putting on socks is putting on socks.

"Passive vegetarianism" may be the same as "vegetarianism", for example, if both are just expressions of the same mental phenomena, such as pure friendliness. (By "pure" I intend here that no other feeling is in the mind but friendliness.) And both can be friendliness+something (like +conceit/power/motivation/encouragement/etc, just like toast can be + something ( like +jam/pesto/peanut butter/etc).

This is what makes meditative stabilization, such as specific mental trainings (e.g., jhana, open awareness, brahma viharas, guru, mantra, recitation, etc), so interesting: increasingly steady focus causes the mind to perceive stability for some period and with an increasingly isolated (pure) state, like having watery hot chocolate, then having pure cocoa.

Learning to steady the mind is an aspect of development (bhavana) and studying a stable mental state is a development caused by the stabilization development. Stabilizing "just friendliness" (metta (etym: mitto)) is a tool for meditative stabilization as much as kasina objects, anapanasati, etc. And it can be trialled in practical life, like eating, grocery shopping, receiving/declining an offering. To train in mental stabilization is often to also see subtle pockets of mind which are not wholly to the object, some pockets which are wanting/not wanting some aspect of the object and/or training. So conceit is just conceit and it can be + anything else, unless one's mind is wholly with another phenomena.
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Timothy Campbell, modified 9 Years ago at 12/13/12 10:59 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/13/12 10:58 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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katy steger:
Learning to steady the mind is an aspect of development (bhavana) and studying a stable mental state is a development caused by the stabilization development.

I've abbreviated your sermon by selecting one sentence. It might not be your favorite sentence for the whole post, but I did my best.

It sounds to me like you're deeply dedicated to your particular system of liberation, working diligently to liberate unfettered spontaneity. I hope your chosen system really works for you, granting something deeper than a series of exciting but transient breakthroughs.

Since I entered this forum in error — I seem to have been thinking of another one and foolishly didn't double-check — I can hardly complain about getting preached at. It's great, though, that on a few occasions somebody actually broke free of their cherished system long enough to engage with me directly. There have been a few helpful comments and one really amazing contribution. That last bit of assistance opened my eyes to new possibilities.

In case you are curious, I do not have a formal system (and vice-versa). I do, however, ask questions, both of other people and myself. Of course, when it comes to myself, the “questions” aren't necessarily verbal. I expect you know what I mean.
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katy steger,thru11615 with thanks, modified 9 Years ago at 12/14/12 7:32 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/14/12 7:31 AM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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Hi Timothy,

After watching the video of the monk Ven. Yuttadhammo and seeing yourself much aligned with "passive vegetarianism", have you resolved for yourself your OP questions, "Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?", and are you suffusing vegetarianism and care of others with conceit ("If vegetarianism is a conceit, as many wise people have alleged, then ... so too is my tendency to care about other people. Does that add up?")

In personal and practical experience, it is a detriment to me to direct mind and actions to quarreling or negatively shaping others in my mind or forming negative expectations of others in my mind --- this is cheap mental theatre creating a stage of self-elevation, conceit. Whereas it is often helpful to eat food offered to me. Yuttadhamma explains these two movements of mind in that video you watched: one eating an offering of food, the other willfully harming another.

12/10/12 11:44 PM as a reply to Jason B.
Rather, I'd like to thank you for recommending that video! That was an excellent presentation! It made clear to me the assumptions from which the purported “compassion paradox” arises.
:]
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Timothy Campbell, modified 9 Years ago at 12/14/12 9:33 AM
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RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

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katy steger:
After watching the video of the monk ... have you resolved for yourself your OP questions, "Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?", and are you suffusing vegetarianism and care of others with conceit ("If vegetarianism is a conceit, as many wise people have alleged, then ... so too is my tendency to care about other people. Does that add up?")

My original questions were not quite as you are summarizing them. That's largely my fault.

First off, I shouldn't have used such a preposterous title for this thread. It struck me as funny, but the joke didn't amuse anybody else. What did it mean, though? Briefly, I was wondering how it is possible to speak and act in compassion for humans yet not exhibit the same compassion for animals. That struck me as paradoxical — rather like vegetarians advocating that we shouldn't eat cows but eating humans is okay.

As for the word “conceit,” I meant an idiosyncratic interpretation more rather than egoic motivation. An online dictionary indicates that I used the word “conceit” correctly, but now I see that that usage can cause misunderstanding.

Okay, now that I've clarified my initial state, I'll attempt to respond to you. I'm having trouble understanding the theme of your second paragraph, but I'll attempt to include that in my response.

— — —

My response:

For many years I've hung out (online) with people who are interested in enlightenment or liberation or transformation or presence or whatever you wish to call it. It perplexed me that many of them specifically criticized vegetarianism. It simply didn't make sense to me and their explanations also didn't help. The monk's video, on the other hand, was a detailed analysis of the issue — something nobody had ever favored me with before! Hooray for that!

Some of what he speaks of doesn't quite mesh up with what I consider entirely credible. I still have an issue with the supposed one-ness of consciousness. I can see that one-ness is so, but I do not necessarily put consciousness in a special category. This is just a side-note, though; I won't get into it here.

When the monk spoke of “passive vegetarianism” he was on my wavelength. If somebody offers me meat, I will eat it if the alternative is to throw it away. The animal is already dead, so what difference does it make? Indeed, when I prepare meals for my wife (who does eat meat) I will sometimes “lick the spoon” or in other ways partake in animal products that would otherwise have been thrown away. I call this “the carrion rule.” I see no harm in eating something that would otherwise be thrown out.

The carrion rule also helps me avoid inventing a disgust for animal products. If somebody unwittingly serves me meat at a meal I do not want to find myself feeling nauseated by the prospect. That would be just as stupid as a Jew who becomes sick after learning he's just eaten some pork. (I trust it's clear that that's simply delusion.)

So how did the monk help me? Well, since he was already on my wavelength with the passive vegetarianism, I was mentally receptive when he came up with the “high-tech devices” example. I am already aware that I cannot avoid causing harm — simply remaining alive causes harm: My immune system kills things even as I sleep! However, when the monk mentioned the high-tech devices it suddenly became clear to me that I can bring enormous suffering to humans by my ignorant choices.

This is not something I can avoid. I can't learn everything, so I will cause harm.

I was vaguely aware of this already. I used to tell people that I had no idea if the farmer who grew my coffee also beat his burro. There are many other such examples, but they mostly involved animals. I was vaguely aware that some of my clothes were made by underpaid workers, but I rationalized that their alternative was probably starvation, and in any case I did have to wear some kind of clothes.

The monk's high-tech example affected me because I was utterly unprepared for it. In this thread I had been asking why people drew a line between humans and non-humans but the monk made me realize that there isn't a single line. The best anybody can manage is a fuzzy kind of compassion since we can't ever know the full impact of anything we do.

It's rather obvious in retrospect: there's no line and there can't be a line. The universe just doesn't work that way. I'd over-simplified things in an effort to understand the system.

Now, this doesn't mean that I'll suddenly start eating meat or go out and buy the latest high-tech device (which use a certain metal — tantalum — demand for which inspires horrific wars in Africa). I'd already accepted that the only way to cause no harm is to kill myself, but that solution isn't viable for various reasons I won't get into here.

If we must cause harm, we must; it's the way of things. We can minimize it to a great extent, but we cannot reduce it to zero. And this brings me to the part the monk discussed about what happens within the mind. Is there an intent to harm? And if so, is that intent based upon delusion?

I can't get any deeper into this subject without opening up other cans of worms, such as [A] what “harm” entails; the nature of awareness; [C] the nature of consciousness; [D] the roles of mind and no-mind. I won't take up any more of your time with that.

I hope I've answered your questions adequately. I'm not sure if my answers hold any value for you, but typing them out helped me. At a later date I'll be writing up (for my blog) a deeper treatment of how all this ties together for me. But I need more time to let it all settle in the un-monitored parts of my brain.
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katy steger,thru11615 with thanks, modified 9 Years ago at 12/14/12 1:28 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/14/12 1:24 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

Posts: 1740 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi Timothy,

I'd already accepted that the only way to cause no harm is to kill myself, but that solution isn't viable for various reasons I won't get into here.
How would Timothy killing the animal Timothy cause no harm? It seems to me the killer and the killed will experience two kinds of harm:
a) one harm belongs to the killer and the action of willfully hurting another living being; and
b) the other harm belongs to the killed and is the psychological harm of feeling physical pain deliberately exerted on oneself while also being viewed as an object worthy of this deliberately harmful treatment.

In this case, it seems that the self-killing of which you're are writing is not "the only way to cause no harm", but is a way to actually cause for oneself a twofold harm.




I am already aware that I cannot avoid causing harm — simply remaining alive causes harm: My immune system kills things even as I sleep!
Ruling out harming oneself in the twofold means of suicide, one sees that there are just inherent part of the body, like stomach acids and immune systems which act on their own. "I" am not actively willing my stomach and its immune system to do their work. When I am content and consequently sometimes a bit healthier I do not feel guilty that my immunes system may also become a more effective killer of viruses. This is also like Yuttadhammo's points between 17:28-19:58: to step out the door is to unintentionally crush life under foot. Here, being a human in the world, I am a part of something conditioned by arising and passing away, birth and death, comfort and harm. "I am" comes into existence in these conditions. So a mind can change itself through training and learning, but even a skillful foot will continue to step on the ground and crush something. Is it otherwise?


typing them out helped me. At a later date I'll be writing up (for my blog) a deeper treatment of how all this ties together for me. But I need more time to let it all settle in the un-monitored parts of my brain.
Yeah, I understand this. I have found that for any one good mind-shifting event, I experience it one way for the first few months, another way for the second few months, get more depth on it later, and, at about a year, I have a "hindsight" view, something like a map-to-some-place understanding.

First off, I shouldn't have used such a preposterous title for this thread.
Yep...I've been there and done that. If you keep coming to the DhO you may find that it happens, that it's probably common and natural. Anyway, to me it's worth a mutual smile and telling you I agree that I probably shouldn't have used some preposterous titles and language, but it ultimately has been part of a useful effort.

I can't get any deeper into this subject without opening up other cans of worms, such as [A] what “harm” entails; the nature of awareness; [C] the nature of consciousness; [D] the roles of mind and no-mind. I won't take up any more of your time with that.
Yep...totally familiar. If someone said one meaning of dharma is "can of worms" -- and this particular can of worms, I wouldn't argue.

Some of what he speaks of doesn't quite mesh up with what I consider entirely credible. I still have an issue with the supposed one-ness of consciousness. I can see that one-ness is so, but I do not necessarily put consciousness in a special category. This is just a side-note, though; I won't get into it here.
Can you point me to where Bhante Yuttadhammo indicates that there is a supposed one-ness of consciousness? I didn't hear that.

Perhaps you mean two different themes here and didn't separate the thoughts: 1) that you find some of what Yuttadhammo speaks as not quite meshing up with what you consider credible and 2) as a totally separate idea -- that you have an issue with the supposed one-ness of conscious.

Because while I heard him speak about suffering and ignorance and ignorant action, and I honed in on areas like 4:20 - 11:20; 30:36 - 31:15 (and I have a very similar "claim to shame" as Bhante), I did not hear him assert any one-ness of consciousness.

It is only a week since you started and it would be familiar to me if you are experiencing a kind of thread fatigue and saturation.
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Timothy Campbell, modified 9 Years ago at 12/14/12 2:33 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/14/12 2:33 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

Posts: 20 Join Date: 10/2/11 Recent Posts
katy steger:
How would Timothy killing the animal Timothy cause no harm?

I was reasoning that it would greatly lessen the future harm that the collective labeled “Timothy” can cause. However, considering your points [A] and , along with my own realization that nothing we do can be predicted (and thus nothing we do is ultimately known to be good or bad), I suppose this apparent loophole for harm-reduction isn't a slam-dunk. Thanks for the assist.

When I am content and consequently sometimes a bit healthier I do not feel guilty that my immune system may also become a more effective killer of viruses.

Wow, that's an excellent point!

It may not be relevant to this discussion, I do have a “line” that I draw when it comes to inflicting harm. It's not a sharp line but mosquitoes are definitely below it. Also below the line: lions that are trying to eat me while for some bizarre reasons I happen to be holding a loaded gun.

Here, being a human in the world, I am a part of something conditioned by arising and passing away, birth and death, comfort and harm. "I am" comes into existence in these conditions.

Well said. That is indeed the way it is.

So a mind can change itself through training and learning, but even a skillful foot will continue to step on the ground and crush something. Is it otherwise?

That is indeed the way it is.

Can you point me to where Bhante Yuttadhammo indicates that there is a supposed one-ness of consciousness?

He didn't say it directly but it struck me as implied. Perhaps I mischaracterized what he was saying.

In the world of enlightenment studies, a lot of people — most, it sometimes seems to me — hold that the only fundamental reality is consciousness. I have some specific objections to this. I hesitated to raise them here because of the frosty reception I received to my original question. If explicitly asked, I can get into it.

It is only a week since you started and it would be familiar to me if you are experiencing a kind of thread fatigue and saturation.

I have severe fatigue from my anti-cancer treatment but when a subject is interesting it gives me energy. So as long as this thread is speaking to me (rather than at me) it's actually doing the opposite of inducing fatigue.
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katy steger,thru11615 with thanks, modified 9 Years ago at 12/14/12 7:31 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/14/12 7:24 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

Posts: 1740 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi Timothy,

In the world of enlightenment studies, a lot of people — most, it sometimes seems to me — hold that the only fundamental reality is consciousness. I have some specific objections to this. I hesitated to raise them here because of the frosty reception I received to my original question. If explicitly asked, I can get into it.


Well, there is a relatively long and contentious history there (re: mind-only versus kalakarama sutta, etc) if one wants to be a part of it and ensuring that a mental phenomena is assured a contentious future.

There's a whole sutta about the arising of frostiness, quarrels and deadly fighting (well, I found that frostiness fits into the below anyway):
[indent]Now, craving is dependent on feeling, seeking is dependent on craving, acquisition is dependent on seeking, ascertainment is dependent on acquisition, desire and passion is dependent on ascertainment, attachment is dependent on desire and passion, possessiveness is dependent on attachment, stinginess is dependent on possessiveness, defensiveness is dependent on stinginess, and because of defensiveness, dependent on defensiveness, various evil, unskillful phenomena come into play: the taking up of sticks and knives; conflicts, quarrels, and disputes; accusations, divisive speech, and lies. - Maha-nidana (I took that from Wikipedia on tanha and it is Thanissaro Bhikkhu's translation.[/indent] Bold emphasis is mine).

To look at a police blotter is to see that LOTS of basically neutral or beneficial phenomena (as with meditative perception of no mind and/or mind-only) may be used as the means for someone's expression of unwholesome and/or unskillful phenomena (described above in the Mahanidana). Heck, I can just look at my own day and see this.

So I don't know if you are doing this or if you think you are/n't doing this, but my question to you in what I excerpted from your last post (top of this post) is: is there a useful, personal value in holding specific objections to fundamental reality as consciousness due to holding that "a lot of people — most, it sometimes seems to me — hold that the only fundamental reality is consciousness"? I totally understand that it can be very gratifying and energizing to be argumentatively correct unto onself, to win an argument, at least in the short-term, and to form ideas like, "Well, if you're gonna practice, you gotta know what you're practicing" and so on.

But in the very second I am in the presence of a teacher who is conducting their life incredibly well, I just drop that stuff - I suddenly realize: oh, that pursuit of argumentation is a squirming outlet-form of suffering-without-knowledge-of-how-to-stop-suffering. (The teacher may or may not be a "Teacher", may or may not be of a particular philosophy).


I have severe fatigue from my anti-cancer treatment but when a subject is interesting it gives me energy. So as long as this thread is speaking to me (rather than at me) it's actually doing the opposite of inducing fatigue.
Okay I hope that's how we cause it to go. I started out on the DhO at the tail-end of a chronic illness. I'll try not to assume anything, but I do hope your interest in meditation(?)+life/effects is beneficial to you/us.



edit: format and "unto oneself" and a fussy little hyphen
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Timothy Campbell, modified 9 Years ago at 12/15/12 5:53 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/15/12 5:53 AM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

Posts: 20 Join Date: 10/2/11 Recent Posts
Note: Sorry about the length of this post. Due to my health situation I only had the energy to rewrite it once. It could probably be trimmed to a few pithy sentences without losing much.

katy steger:
... is there a useful, personal value in holding specific objections to fundamental reality as consciousness due to holding that "a lot of people — most, it sometimes seems to me — hold that the only fundamental reality is consciousness"? I totally understand that it can be very gratifying and energizing to be argumentatively correct unto oneself, to win an argument, at least in the short-term, and to form ideas like, "Well, if you're gonna practice, you gotta know what you're practicing" and so on.

I am having trouble understanding your complex sentences. I gather you're asking me something vaguely like "Do you raise objections just for the fun of being right?" No. I'll go into more detail below.

... in the very second I am in the presence of a teacher who is conducting their life incredibly well, I just drop that [argumentative] stuff...

I've seen countless people “just drop" their resistance when they encounter a teacher that (in their view) exhibits the characteristics of an enlightened being (or whatever it is they're looking for). But appearances can be deceiving, and talking a good game isn't truth.

Even if the teacher is saying things that are (as far as you or I can tell) true, there's yet another issue: efficiency. Let me explain that one.

— — —

The Buddha (to use him as an example) made some amazing breakthroughs about 2600 years ago. The world has made some strides in liberating itself from ignorance, but our knowledge has grown faster than our wisdom. We now have the ability to destroy all human life on earth. Within a generation we'll probably be able to destroy the planet itself. This is bad.

Yes, I know that “bad” is a loaded term, often scorned in forums similar to this one, but for the time being I'm tentatively maintaining that it would be “a bad thing” if this planet was destroyed. For all I know, humans are the only example, in the entire universe, of a sentience that can guide its evolution. That strikes me as something worth saving.

However, if it turns out that the optimal way to save humans from delusion is getting them to meditate for years at a time, then we're doomed. It's as simple as that. For countless centuries there have been countless systems to liberate people, but they're far too slow. Humanity needs to wake up, and that's just not going to happen if we demand that people sit and meditate for two hours a day without any idea when or even if they'll get a breakthrough.

— — —

On a related note, you have probably seen that there are many deluded teachers. Perhaps you agree that the number of genuinely liberated people are few and far between. (As I recall, Osho once guessed that only 10 people in history had been fully liberated, while U.G. Krishnamurti said that as far as he knew everybody but him had simply fooled themselves. I salute both of them for having the nerve to speak so forthrightly.)

So I am questioning. I am doubting. I have been exposed to a few people who seemed liberated in ways I could scarcely grasp, but by sticking with the questions I have slowly, slowly come to see similarities in the various systems and teachings. It is my hope (if I might use that word) that the problems humanity faces can be understood, not just evaded. I've taken some encouraging steps in that direction, but of course I could be deluded.

— — —

Some teachers advise us to kill the intellect. I've heard some use precisely that word. Others suggest we de-prioritize it, while others suggest we ignore it or consider it irrelevant. What I'm not hearing is that intellect and no-mind (if I can divide things that way) might work harmoniously.

I acknowledge the vast gulf between thought and experiencing, the immense difference between living via analysis and just living. I've seen this for and in myself. But this is not what I'm talking about just now.

I may be overstating the case, but I've heard countless teachers speak of intellect like it's the devil. In some ways it is, but only if its “software” is ... let's use the word “twisted”. That twisting is the inevitable result of the evolution of thought, but those evolutionary errors might be correctable.

— — —

So what the heck do I think I'm doing? I'm seeing if we might combine the wisdom of the sages with the honest questioning we associate with the best of science. I'll probably fail, but if I succeed, or if somebody doing the same sort of thing succeeds, then we will be able to stop asking people to sit for years staring at a wall (or bending into odd shapes, or chanting, or praying, or whatever).

Time seems to be running out for humanity. If you're okay with that, well, perhaps you can tell me more. For now, though, I do not consider years-long meditations (and similar strategies) to be in any way a viable answer to the problems that plague humanity.

I'll try not to assume anything, but I do hope your interest in meditation(?)+life/effects is beneficial to you/us.

I do meditate, but it's a tool, not a lifestyle. I do not schedule meditation; I do it when it seems necessary.

Will my participation here be beneficial to “you/us”? Maybe. It's easy to see how it could go wrong and produce nothing but noise. I've made great strides with my questioning ways, bringing myself a measure of peace, equanimity and potential that would have been impossible a few years ago. But I hold no conviction that what I'm doing is even the right thing to do.

I do, however, hold the conviction that the world is full of people who will tell me what I absolutely must do. And while there is often a kernel of truth at the core of various spiritual traditions, the vast majority of it is bullshit.

Some of the top questions that interest me, then, are: [A] What is the kernel of truth that different traditions vaguely see? and Is it possible to portray that in an accessible way to open-minded people of average intelligence, without asking them to devote years of study to discover what they actually are (after the delusion is stripped away)?
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Florian, modified 9 Years ago at 12/15/12 11:21 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/15/12 11:21 AM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Timothy Campbell:
So what the heck do I think I'm doing? I'm seeing if we might combine the wisdom of the sages with the honest questioning we associate with the best of science. I'll probably fail, but if I succeed, or if somebody doing the same sort of thing succeeds, then we will be able to stop asking people to sit for years staring at a wall (or bending into odd shapes, or chanting, or praying, or whatever).

Time seems to be running out for humanity. If you're okay with that, well, perhaps you can tell me more. For now, though, I do not consider years-long meditations (and similar strategies) to be in any way a viable answer to the problems that plague humanity.


Yes, well, political problems require political solutions.

Put in terms of the eightfold path: develop right speech/right action/right livelihood (i.e. "virtue") to speak, act, and live more righteously, and to encourage and inspire and generally lead by example to confront and tackle numerous problems that plague humanity.

Develop right concentration/right effort/right mindfulness (i.e. "meditation") to improve your mental agility, pliability, stamina, and so on. This will help with tackling the many problems plaguing humanity, because a bright, concentrated, pliable mind is a great tool for that purpose. Again, you can lead by example.

Develop right view and right intention (i.e. "wisdom") to drop the mask and stop fooling yourself and others by maintaining the mask. This will actually solve one of the billions of individual problems plaguing humanity: your own. Another great way to lead by example.

If you wish to find political solutions to political problems, factoring it into the three broad categories listed above can help with identifying where more work is needed. Maybe it's clarity that's missing. Maybe it's a mass of propaganda and deception that needs to be spoken out against. Maybe it's one's own ego which can't stand admitting a mistake which would diminish its own grandiose self-image.

If you don't want to meditate ("years of sitting and staring at a wall"), this probably isn't the right forum for you, because we spend a lot of time discussing precisely this: meditation (and other forms of mental training) and how it affects the things we do and how we do them (which includes solving humanity's problems).

On the other hand, I know lots of people who use "solving humanity's problems" as an excuse to avoid gaining mental clarity and stability, cleaning up their moral act, and stop fooling themselves.

Cheers,
Florian
Some Guy, modified 9 Years ago at 12/15/12 1:45 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/15/12 1:42 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

Posts: 343 Join Date: 8/9/11 Recent Posts
Hey Timothy,

I'm really glad you liked Yuttadhammo's take on vegetarianism. If you're interested I would also highly recommend reading Dan Ingram's book, MCTB. It's kind of the manifesto of this forum, for lack of a better term.

I don't bring it up because of anything specific in this thread, other than your apparent frustration with meditation circles. (Sorry if that's not an exactly accurate characterization.) Regarding staring at a wall for years, the book, and many of the practice journals here, reflect the very real possibility of real attainments in pretty reasonable time frames (commonly 6 months to 2 years for "technical" stream entry). I think it makes meditation a much more pragmatic possible benefit to society. Anyway, Ingram's critique of the culture of meditation, if not his precise prescription, might appeal to you. And his writing is pretty engaging. I know you found this site by mistake, but maybe it's fortuitous nonetheless.
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Timothy Campbell, modified 9 Years ago at 12/15/12 1:57 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/15/12 1:57 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

Posts: 20 Join Date: 10/2/11 Recent Posts
Jason B:
I ... Dan Ingram's book MCTB

Aha, yes! I came across that a couple of weeks ago! I put it on my shortlist for reading.

... many of the practice journals here, reflect the very real possibility of real attainments in pretty reasonable time frames (commonly 6 months to 2 years for "technical" stream entry).

I am skeptical of the utility of what you are describing. Perhaps you could tell me what exactly you mean by “stream entry.”

Ingram's critique of the culture of meditation, if not his precise prescription, might appeal to you.

Okay!

To put my objections into a real-world perspective, let me tell you about something I learned last week.

In all the world, there are maybe 10 countries that are really, really horrible places to live. Places like Chad, Zimbabwe, North Korea ... and Burma (Myanmar). I encourage you to learn more about Burma. It's highly secretive, so most people don't know of the horrors therein. But as you discover more about it, please bear in mind that 89% of the population are Theravada Buddhist, and the government even underwrites the expenses for Buddhism.

Now, how is it that nearly 9/10ths of a country can be Buddhist yet live in a country that is a kind of hell? I conclude that Buddhism, as practiced there, is full of crap. It might have lofty ideals, but it just doesn't work. Any claims to the contrary, it seems to me, must rest on special pleading.

I know you found this site by mistake, but maybe it's fortuitous nonetheless.

Indeed! In fact, see my concluding comments below (which I wrote before I wrote back to you).

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Florian Weps:
Yes, well, political problems require political solutions.

I think we can agree that political "solutions" are like trying to smother a fire by throwing paper at it.

On the other hand, I know lots of people who use "solving humanity's problems" as an excuse to avoid gaining mental clarity and stability

You are correct. Oh, wow, you are so correct about that! However, what I am doing is (usually) not that.

If you don't want to meditate ("years of sitting and staring at a wall"), this probably isn't the right forum for you...

You're probably right. Still, I'm grateful for the marvelous feedback I've received from several people here.

I often find that the best lessons come from being in the “wrong” place. As you have surely observed, most people on the internet seek out the “right” place — the place that assures them that they are on the right path, doing the right things, with right concentration, right effort, etc. This is a deadly problem for our species, but ultimately it does not have a “political" solution. Clarity is not additive.
Some Guy, modified 9 Years ago at 12/15/12 2:33 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/15/12 2:33 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

Posts: 343 Join Date: 8/9/11 Recent Posts
Timothy Campbell:

I am skeptical of the utility of what you are describing. Perhaps you could tell me what exactly you mean by “stream entry.”


Utility? Hmmm... well, the advertised benefit is less suffering, and I think it lives up to billing. For me, I'd say this led to roughly a 40-60% reduction in assholery. It's a good beginning. But that's just me.

In all the world, there are maybe 10 countries that are really, really horrible places to live. Places like Chad, Zimbabwe, North Korea ... and Burma (Myanmar). I encourage you to learn more about Burma. It's highly secretive, so most people don't know of the horrors therein. But as you discover more about it, please bear in mind that 89% of the population are Theravada Buddhist, and the government even underwrites the expenses for Buddhism.


Horror is horrible. Let us know if you solve these problems. But if you're not in favor of political solutions, and you don't believe in "internal disarmament," what do you suggest? If you really have a passion for parsing ethics, more power to you. In some way, that may contribute to the betterment of the world. I only hope that it improves your life, because that's the only thing you have any control over.
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Timothy Campbell, modified 9 Years ago at 12/15/12 2:45 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/15/12 2:45 PM

RE: Should Vegetarians Eat Humans?

Posts: 20 Join Date: 10/2/11 Recent Posts
Jason B:
I'd say this led to roughly a 40-60% reduction in assholery.

Excellent! Perhaps that means you've got a piece of something humanity needs. Maybe you're on the right path for you. Whatever the case, less assholery is something I can applaud.

Of course, I'm taking your word for it. I'm aware of a few systems (two spring to mind) where people claim to have overcome their problematic behaviors. In both cases it turns them into even bigger assholes, but spouting different words. Hang on a sec, I just remembered a third example.

You can probably think of a few examples yourself.

Horror is horrible. Let us know if you solve these problems.

Ha ha. That's kind of like asking a scientist to write back to you when he's cured cancer.

But if you're not in favor of political solutions, and you don't believe in "internal disarmament," what do you suggest?

I have no idea. I can see certain patterns emerging, and I document these on my blog. Maybe I'm wasting my time. I am in no position to tell people what they “must” do.

It does not, however, follow that I must leap upon a system that sounds good, or that produces happy, smiley people. I hope you understand what I mean.

I only hope that it improves your life, because that's the only thing you have any control over.

Indeed. And that which I've discovered, or experienced, has improved my life immeasurably.

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