Posted by Sam on November 20, 1999 at 05:00:47:
In Reply to: Re: Sentient beings posted by Grace on November 20, 1999 at 02:14:36:
I don't feel you're taking things too literally at all. Not harming (and therefore not killing) sentient creatures is a basic tenet of Buddhist philosphy. I take this tenet "too literally" myself, even to the point of picking up the black widows and the scorpians and the other dangerous creatures and moving them myself. You raise an interesting question, though. Earlier I posted a question about vegetarianism, and whether a Buddhist should eat meat. I now believe I (not "we" because I cannot and will not speak for all) should not eat meat, as it will cause harm to a sentient creature. But many claimed in the forum that it might be acceptable, in some strage extreme case, to eat a chicken if it saves another person's life. This was just an extreme example, but it was posed. My question is this -- and I see this question inherent in yours -- is there a hierarchy of life as the Renaissance English believed? Are people more "important" than chickens? Are chickens more important than bugs? In fact, what makes bugs "sentient"? I posed the meat-eating question to my freshman English class, and they asked, "Animals eat other animals, and we're animals, so why can't we eat other animals?" It was a good point. Should we not eat other sentient creatures -- despite the fact that other sentient creatures do -- because we are somehow more obligated than them, and therefore "better," thus enforcing this hierarchy of importance? (They also told me that His Holiness the Dalai Lama eats meat occasionally for its nutritional value. I was surprised at this, and pleased that I am not so attached to doctrine and ritual that I can't disagree with His Holiness, because I do.) Some things to consider. I hope this generates even more discussion. I'm gald you asked the question.
Peace and much learning to us all... Sam :)
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