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If you are a meat eating buddhist, is there any support that eating in this way lessens the karmic impact of consuming meat?

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OP: If you are a meat eating buddhist, is there any support that eating in this way lessens the karmic impact of consuming meat? ... I also was told that Kosher/Halal dealt with dispatching the animal in a way that minimized suffering to the animal. So if eating meat at all had a karmic effect would eating in this way minimize it.

This answer comes from the Theravada perspective, and possibly the non-East Asian Mahayana perspective too.

There are no various grades of karmic effect for eating meat.

Depriving sentient beings of their life is not allowed by the precepts and by Right Livelihood. Hence, a Buddhist who sticks faithfully to the precept will not kill animals or work as a butcher or livestock farmer. Killing animals results in negative karmic effect.

However, there is no negative karmic effect for buying and eating meat that was killed by somebody else, long before you came across this piece of meat as a frozen product in a supermarket. When you bought it, the meat was simply a frozen dead body. You did not directly participate in any aspect of the animal's killing.

Please see the questions "Why is contributing to the market demand for meat not wrong?" and "Eating meat and buying meat".

Also, see this answer which explains how the individual's intention is the most important element of karma. So, you cannot possibly have had any intention to kill an animal when you bought a frozen dead body because it was already long dead before you found it.

However, there could be various grades of karmic effect for killing an animal, not based on the killing method but based on the state of the butcher's mind and his exertion of will. This basically refers to the butcher's intention. Does the butcher do his trade because he enjoys the killing act, or does he do it because he has no other better choice than to do this trade to sustain his family?

  • I know you quoted two other topics ("Please see the questions"), but none of the answers in those topics are referenced. I might understand how there is a disconnect for monks: who receive whatever alms food they're offered, and who don't choose what they get and who don't pay for it -- it's less easy for me to understand the other situation. My guess (I don't know) is that there's nothing about that other situation (i.e. lay people buying meat, paying butchers) as doctrine in the Pali canon ... but I suppose that doctrine must come from somewhere. – ChrisW Sep 1 '18 at 3:10
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I also was told that Kosher/Halal dealt with dispatching the animal in a way that minimized suffering to the animal. So if eating meat at all had a karmic effect would eating in this way minimize it.

I think that this (the karma of meat-eating) is a doctrine on which different schools of Buddhism differ.

I considered replying to your "dispatching the animal in a way" but remembered that Buddhism considers it:

  • Wrong to kill
  • Wrong to counsel (advise) someone else to kill

There are a few "offences" that are so grave that a monk would be expelled or "defeated" -- intentionally killing is one of these grave offenses -- and so is advising someone else to kill.

The end of page 79 of The Buddhist Monastic Code I: The Patimokkha Training Rules Translated and Explained says,

Again from the Vinita-vatthu: A bhikkhu tells an executioner to kill his victims mercifully with a single blow, rather than torturing them. The executioner follows his advice and the bhikkhu incurs a parajika, for the recommendation to kill mercifully is still a recommendation to kill.

Earlier on page 79, it says it's bad when the killer carries out your detailed instructions (what kind of weapon to use and so on).

My (this) answer is disingenuous because the Patimokkha Rule is actually/only/specifically about killing human beings -- even so I don't suppose you'll find Buddhist doctrine that recommends killing, nor how to kill.

Getting the Message says, in part,

Killing is never skillful. Stealing, lying, and everything else in the first list are never skillful. When asked if there was anything whose killing he approved of, the Buddha answered that there was only one thing: anger. In no recorded instance did he approve of killing any living being at all. When one of his monks went to an executioner and told the man to kill his victims compassionately, with one blow, rather than torturing them, the Buddha expelled the monk from the Sangha, on the grounds that even the recommendation to kill compassionately is still a recommendation to kill — something he would never condone. If a monk was physically attacked, the Buddha allowed him to strike back in self-defense, but never with the intention to kill.

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My impression is the purpose of Kosher and Halal meat is to drain as much blood from the meat as possible so to make the meat healthier; including for storage. In other words, it is related to physical health rather than to mental karma. In the modern world though, with refrigeration, medicine and other health technology, Kosher and Halal may have no health benefits for meat eaters.

Also, the teaching of "kamma" is not real Buddhism. MN 117 says "kamma" is a worldly doctrine for worldly people. Buddhism teaches about the ending of kamma, namely, the Noble Eightfold Path (AN 6.63). When the world is viewed as completely void/empty of 'self', all kamma ends.

Just this noble eightfold path — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration — is the path of practice leading to the cessation of kamma.

AN 6.63

  • I also was told that Kosher/Halal dealt with dispatching the animal in a way that minimized suffering to the animal. So if eating meat at all had a karmic effect would eating in this way minimize it. – m2015 Aug 31 '18 at 13:43
  • Opposition to Kosher/Halal says it is more cruel. Obviously, killing an animal with a gun is less cruel than cutting its throat. It sounds like what you were told is propaganda. Try this link: business.qld.gov.au/industries/farms-fishing-forestry/… – Dhammadhatu Sep 1 '18 at 6:10

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