[Buddha-l] Insight into Anti-Muslim Violence in Sri Lanka

Dan Lusthaus vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Wed Aug 21 02:28:40 MDT 2013

>> Obviously the quicker the death, the less pain.
> Not necessarily.

Yes, necessarily. Duration matters.

>> The kosher method is supposed to be fairly instantaneous. If it takes 
>> longer, the meat is not kosher.
> So if a mistake is made and the animal suffers a lingering death, then it 
> won't be consumed by an observant Jew? That must be a comfort to the 
> animal and its family.

Not to the cow and her family, but it is a powerful insentive to the one 
doing the slaughtering to get it right (i.e., quickly and correctly) as 
often as possible.

>> Cows were led down these labyrinthian chutes -- you could smell the blood 
>> ahead, and so could the cows who had glaring fear in their eyes.
> Yes, I know. It was visiting a slaughterhouse in Alberta in 1967 that led 
> me to give up eating meat.

So what got you start eating meat again?

>>  Kosher slaughter is nothing like that. But it is slaughter.
> Precisely my point. Good to see we're in agreement.

Your point was hyperbolically beyond this point. Not all slaughter is the 
same in all respects, despite the use of the same word to indicate them all, 
just as not all "contributors" to buddha-l think the same, nor contribute 
equally in quality or quantity to its conversations.

>And because I knew every pipeline and valve and vat in the place, I am 
>quite sure the oil that was not deemed kosher was every bit as pure in 
>every way as the kosher oil.

Not in "every way." Perhaps in ways that mattered to you, but not in every 
way. This is like all the kind-hearted carnivores who think slipping some 
chicken stock or rennet-produced food is fine when feeding a vegetarian.

It's easy to miss the point when the point is something you don't care 
about. Years ago in an arab restaurant in the old city of Jerusalem, I 
explained to the waiter that I was vegetarian, please no meat or fish in my 
food. He assured me profusely that everything would be made to my 
specifications. The food arrived filled with large chunks of visibly 
observable meat. I pointed it out to the waiter, who, with an expression of 
disgust, informed me that the meat was "kosher," therefore "fine." I told me 
I didn't care whether or not it was kosher (it probably wasn't, but that's 
another story). I told him again I was a vegetarian. The result was I left 
without eating and without paying, since he was adamant I should eat it, it 
was ok to eat, and he wasn't going to replace it with food I considered 
edible. He didn't get, and neither do you.

> We had food inspectors insuring that everything was OK.

That's reassuring, but they don't inspect for kashrut. They look for what 
they look for. Apparently you are satisfied with that, and so you could eat 
oil from either set of vats.

>The distinction was utterly vacuous.

Yeah, that's what the arab waiter thought.

> Nor is it the forum to make the utterly unsupportable claim that koshering 
> is in any way less superstitious and irrational or less cruel or more pure 
> and more in keeping with the bodhisattva precepts than halal.

No one has made those claims until you did. The distinction between kosher 
meat and halal is something recognized by Jewish and Muslim communities. As 
I said, Muslims consider kosher meat halal, but the inverse is NOT the case, 
and reason has to do with the procedures involved, not simply vacuous 
superstition. That's neither unsupported nor "my" claim. That's the 
considered opinion and practice of both communities. Ask your local Muslims.

This is not the forum to make ignorant accusations, nor to keep repeating 
them, re-displaying the ignorance.

As for comparison with bodhisattva precepts -- what might those be on this 
subject? Where does the vinaya instruct on the proper methods for 
slaughtering animals? In the Buddhist world, most Buddhists are NOT 
vegetarian. Being a butcher is considered a lowlife, untouchable existence, 
like leather tanning. Those who do it are ostracised and socially 
denigrated, but the Buddhists eat their products. Some might call that 
hypocritical. Some do call it discrimination. In Tibet and some other 
Buddhist countries, the butchers tend to be Muslims, and the comments above 
in this paragraph apply. In Japan, the untouchability of the Indian caste 
system was instituted, such as the burakamin caste (one of the Japanese 
equivalents to untouchability -- they are not to mix with, live among, or 
marry, etc. the higher castes), because people's families engaged in 
butchery, leather tanning, etc. are deemed impure. Even when after 
generations the families sought other occupations, the caste denigration 
continues, even to the present day, reinforced by the leading Buddhist 
institutions (this is the issue that spawned "Critical Buddhism" in the 
early 90s). As I mentioned previously, in China, Taiwan and Korea, Buddhist 
clerics usually observe strict vegetarian diets, but laypeople don't 
(although in Taiwan it is popular for Buddhists and Buddhist sympathizers to 
have a "Buddhist" lunch, which is to eat lunch -- but not other meals -- in 
a vegetarian restaurant, often nicknamed "Buddhist" restaurants, although 
that practice seems to be fading). In other Buddhist communities most 
clerics are NOT vegetarian.

So I have no idea which "bodhisattva precepts" you think you are alluding 
to. The pro-vegetarian ones found in the Lankavatara Sutra -- a text you 
have expressed some disdain for in years past -- or the various vinaya 
codes, which don't forbid slaughter and butchering, but offer no meaningful 
guidelines on how to do it properly (only cautioning that meat slaughtered 
especially for you is not buddhistically kosher for clerics -- which shows 
as much lack of consideration for the cow and her family as you accuse 
others of displaying), or simply what people who consider themselves or are 
considered by others to be bodhisattvas? Or perhaps something out your own 


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