Monday, February 16, 2009

Can I Eat Meat Whilst Honoring Divinity?

In my world civilizations class, we're talking about Hindu religions and Buddhism. I don't want to go spouting off what I've read so far as truth. I don't want to be that cocky college student that thinks they now know it all and their about to drop some knowledge on everybody. I'm recognizing that this is all very new to me. So, naturally, I have a lot of questions. The one weighing on me right now is if I can still honor all sentient beings while being an omnivore.

In Hinduism, it tells you to honor every living organism as an expression of divinity, because it is. The idea being that one could not willingly bring harm or pain to the divine. And Buddhism similarly teaches a life of compassion. The Buddhist's define compassion as never willfully inflicting suffering on any sentient being. So can I show respect and honor to an animal while eating it? It had to die of unnatural causes to allow me to eat it. I didn't kill it myself, but it still had to die. While I'm not saying I'm a Buddhist, I am saying that I very much believe in never willfully bringing harm to any sentient being no matter how small. So if I'm not okay with killing the animal myself, can I in good conscience continue eating them? Obviously protein is key to human life, but protein can be found in places other than meat. And instinctual creatures eat other animals.

So Animals eat other animals. Do they take the same karmic hit even though they're not conscious beings? Does the gift on consciousness bestow some greater responsibility onto humanity? Is it my job to recognize that I am a conscious life form, and that I do not have to do as the instinctual animals do?

So if I do stop eating meat for a while, which I am considering, am I really making anything better? In our service industry and economy, even if I stop eating meat, the same number of animals will still be killed every year. So do I say "well, I'm doing my part. It's the though that counts"? Or is that simply feeding my Ego? Is it any better to stop eating meat so I personally won't be racking up the bad karma if those sentient beings in question are still "harmed"? Isn't what I'd be doing worse? Trying to save myself, while those creatures I claim to be honoring are being killed.

I am really torn on this one. I've been wanting to start meditating, so maybe this would be the perfect topic to think on. Ah well. It's all moot anyways when my stomach is digesting a bleu cheese and bacon burger from Clara's. Bah.

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