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Buddhism in the News


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cancer, Meat and Vegetarianism. Also, We are Our Own Judges in Buddhism.

Although the initiated cells are not considered to be reversible, the cells growing through the promotion stage are usually considered to be reversible, a very exciting concept. This is the stage that especially responds to nutritional factors. For example, the nutrients from animal based foods, especially the protein, promote the development of the cancer whereas the nutrients from plant-based foods, especially the antioxidants, reverse the promotion stage. This is a very promising observation because cancer proceeds forward or backward as a function of the balance of promoting and anti-promoting factors found in the diet, thus consuming anti-promoting plant-based foods tend to keep the cancer from going forward, perhaps even reversing the promotion. consequences.
James: In Buddhism vegetarianism isn't a requirement partly because not everyone lives in an area where vegetables are abundant such as in Tibet. That said, many practitioners are indeed vegetarians especially in the west. I have found that the main reason for doing so is often out of compassion for animals. This is in part because Buddhism teaches that we are all interconnected and interdependent, which includes animals of course. This means that it is very possible that the cow we would eat might have been our mother in a past life. That realization was a big reason I finally made the switch to a vegetarian diet awhile back. I just couldn't look at a plate of meat ever again in the same way once I heard that.

The second reason I most commonly hear for a vegetarian diet is out of health concerns and this report backs that up even more. Just something to think about but no one should commit to something that they aren't ready to do or think is necessary especially out of guilt, which is a big reason I like Buddhism. There aren't many strict "rules" to live by in Buddhism and using guilt as a tactic to get people to do what you want is very much frowned upon from what I have studied. It's a very accepting religion for the most part. It accepts you where ever you are in life as it understands and teaches we are all in different places due to different karmic needs. The Dharma allows people to practice on various levels of commitment and experience, which I found refreshing when I really started looking into Buddhism.

There isn't much need for leaders to "punish" followers as Buddhism doesn't believe in a "God" or a Savior. There is no such thing as "sin" as understood in the Judeo-Christian sense. That is left up to our karma so that in essence we will be our own judges of how well (or how not so well) we lived our lives. It's like an accurate, non-feeling, non-biased computer giving us a read out of how well we accomplished a task. It is void of emotional judgments and simply renders data from the information that was input from outside experiments (Karma--or how we lived our lives. The cause and effect of our past actions whether they were helpful or not to both us and others).

Usually when an issue of reform needs to be addressed in Buddhism it is due to the practitioner seeking out an experienced teacher on their own for advise and advisement on over-coming a problem or obstacle. Outside monasteries it is nearly unheard of from my understanding of monks chastising people for their actions other than to give them general advice in a Dharma discourse on how to live a happy life free of less suffering. Usually this is delivered to many people and individuals in the audience decide if what was said was applicable to them or not and if so how they go about changing is up to them.

However, even in stricter monasteries disobeying rules is done in a very compassionate and open manner by the community of monks so that there is less chance of personal vindictiveness being apart of it. Some might find rebirth a tiresome notion of having to go around and around until they realize total oneness but I find it compassionate. It allows us to make mistakes and learn from them through long experience over incalculable lifetimes rather than saying you only have one life to "get it right."

~Peace to all beings~

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PeterAtLarge said...

I'm not a vegetarian, but I have always had trouble with the notion that I shouldn't kill myself, but that if someone else does it, it's okay to eat the result!

They call him James Ure said...

Yeah many of us wouldn't be able to kill our own meat if required of us. I know I couldn't. I'm glad that Buddhism doesn't force people into vegetarianism or any other principle. They have learned what many belief systems haven't--that force never works.

Mountain Humanist said...

While I acknowledge there are some troubling issues regarding killing other creatures to eat meat, I feel I must point out that the Huffington Post may not be the best source for balanced scientific information. The study in question was widely criticized by many experts. Check out the comments below the HuffPo story. As someone who has tried to weigh the evidence on the merits of meat-based vs. plant-based diet, all I can say is the evidence required to make a definitive statement about either is equivocable right now. We can say that moderation in a diet may be one of the biggest determinants of overall health. Certainly one could advocate a vegetarian or pescatarian diet from a Buddhist standpoint but it is unclear if there is any health benefits to back that up.

Ambud said...

I found the article on vegetarianism very interesting; another reason I should consider the lifestyle change as far as I'm concerned. The karma and judgement part of the article was very articulate as well, I liked the computer reference.

They call him James Ure said...

Mountain Humanist:

True, I can't say for certain that it will prevent cancer as I'm not a doctor. However, I do think a diet based in leafy greens does improve health.


Thanks, I came up with that computer example and thought it was a good way to describe karma to the more scientific based minds.

They call him James Ure said...


While I acknowledge that "The China Study" isn't definitive on the subject; I would add that this guy quoted isn't just any doctor. Dr. T. Colin Campbell, is Professor Emeritus of Cornell University, which is one the most selective medical schools and in the top 20.

Cancer fighting angry as Hell Mom! said...

Thank you for the link to this, your writing is inspiring in so many ways the nature of you is well developed in your skills.

Lee Aldret said...

I tried to go without meat, but developed iron deficient anemia, as apparently some people cannot absorb non-heme iron which is the kind found in vegetable sources. As a matter of fact, I later read that this type of anemia is the most common form of nutrient deficiency in the world, probably because many people in the world have to do without meat. Hence, if you are vegetarian, if you're feeling run down make sure to get your iron levels checked.

Nevertheless, I only eat about two tablespoons of red meat per day, as this is all I need.

Hence, I guess this is my "middle way."

If I had to kill an animal to get my meat I think I could, but I would follow the aboriginal tradition of thanking the animal "spirit" to remind me that this is a privilege not a right.

Stevens said...

I think it is important to have a balance diet. There are also many deficiency case in non-vegetarian diet, such as anemia and goes on. We need to consider responsibly our decision. From vitamin A, B, C, D to Z, mineral, iron and so on are available in vegetarian diet. You can find B12 in dairy products, fortified cereals, yeast products, milk, eggs and many more. I think the issue is not vegetarianism but the willingness and balance diet.

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Marco said...

I think it is all about respect to the living. wedding rings

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