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Institute for Jedi Realist Studies - Choices - Institute for Jedi Realist Studies

Choices

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Connor created the topic: Choices

Originally posted at TOTJO by me.

www.tricycle.com/blog/beggars-cant-be-choosers

So, what does this have to do with being a Jedi? Oftentimes, I see Jedi ask the question: "Should we be vegetarians"? It is a question with vast merit namely because of our teaching: 'Respect life in all its forms'. We have sort of a moral quandary to tackle with that puzzles us because there is a seeming contradiction between eating meat and killing life. On the one hand, we can justify the killing of animals by way of the Circle of Life argument. Basically, this means that the energy of one animal travels to another, and this is how we get energy. On the other hand, we can have immense respect for the animal consciousness. It is kind of an exaggerated Golden Rule. We would not want hunters chasing after US to take our “energy”, no matter how much they needed it. So, we assume that animals do not want that either.

What do we truly understand about animals and food? I would bet that we know less than we think. First off, we don’t have scientific evidence that souls exist. Go ahead; send me all your articles you found on Catholic Today that say otherwise. Secondly, we don’t truly understand our own consciousness, or that it even exists as a singular entity. And, lastly, we have an even lesser understanding of the consciousness of animals. The point of this little evaluation is that we, as the masterful race of humans, have reached a point where we can definitively say: “I have no clue what’s going on!”

It is at this dreadful point where two groups of people emerge: scientists and religious ideologists. Scientists are those who accept a lack of knowledge are scientists. They work to find the solutions to the problems we face, and do so through continued research and peer evaluated experimental results. Religious ideologists are the ones who accept their answers from divine intervention.

It is quite interesting to view the Buddha’s response to this deep-set problem. He knows that humans have evolved enough, even in his time, to not have to live on meat. He knows that the karma of a human being will be better for not destroying the lives of others. And, he even understands that this principle is not impossible to follow. People could discipline themselves to live as a vegetarian. He does not require it, though. He knows that there will be offerings of meat to him, and that the lay people do not understand the karmic issues they are interacting with on any deeper level than a purely superficial one. The laity will always have a less complicated version of things than the clergyman who dwells constantly on these subjects.

What does the Buddha do? He accepts the offerings of meat. And, like a gracious beggar, he eats the food. His monks do the same. There are levels of karma. In this case, the monks are sacrificing their own karma so that another’s karma may be affected positively.

Think about that for a moment. When do we approach this concept in our lives? This is something many of us never think about. When do we sacrifice our own desires and even moral standards for the well being of others? Is this not the ultimate sacrifice?

This is not even about vegetarianism anymore! This is about life itself and how we structure it. When we understand that karma and our own energies are not independent systems, when we see that others are affected by our actions, and our own moral stuffiness could negatively impact other people… should this not be the right time to reexamine our motives? What are we trying to prove? That we respect life more than the next person? Or, worse, that we are trying to convince ourselves that we care.

We can, in this case, become either the scientist or the religious ideologist.

We can accept, blindly, the teaching of “Respect all Life” as one that says we will never, ever hurt another species even for food. We could go our whole lives never thinking about anything other than our own supposed salvation or the great good we are doing for the Earth.

Or, we could become the scientist. We could truly ask ourselves: What will happen if I eat this meat I am craving. Whose life might be positively impacted?

And, we might very well come out of that internal debate having decided that it would be better to not eat the meat. That would be fine. Eating the meat would be fine too.

But, life is more of a mixed bag than hard-fast rules would have us believe. Blindly clinging to these supposed rules our own doubts and fears have created in our brains is no better than fearing God because a few thousand years ago he destroyed some cities.

Examine your life and your choices. Do not judge them. Do not fear them. And, please do not try and rationalize them. Rather, just be aware of them, and you will find yourself making choices that suit your liking… and the universe’s

House Rules: The only rules are Paradox, Humor, and Change.
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shea (shlomit) replied the topic: Choices

You dont need to be a scientists or religious ideologists to understand that by eating meat you have cussed suffering to another sentient living creature. Its a very simple fact, which most people choose to suppress.

..."Paper is dead without words
Ink idle without a poem
All the world dead without stories
Without love and disarming beauty

Careless realism costs souls"....(-Nightwish)
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Jax replied the topic: Re:Choices

True. The question is, which animals are sentient? There are levels of sentience. Personally I'd like to see us cut back on the eating of those most sentient. Pigs for instance. And those less sentient, like chicken and shorter lived fish species, be treated well so their life is good. That results in a better quality food source in the end.

There are many who refuse to consider that animals can and are sentient. What do we do then? We can't make people not eat something. Hmmm actually this is where animal welfare comes in. We can regulate how animals are raised and killed so it is as humane as possible. That reduces the suffering.

I think the reason people tend toward vegetarianism in spiritual awakening is because of the awareness of the conditions of the animals. But it isn't a hard and fast rule. My cat is very sentient and aware. She knows how poorly chickens are treated and feels sorry for them. But when we get fried chicken on the bone she eats it too. She calls chickens those poor delicious birds. I feel similarly. I don't eat as much meat as most. But sometimes that's what my body needs. Especially while growing a baby I make my choices in the moment by trying to listen to my body. And while I do eat eggs daily I pay 4x the norm to get free range eggs because the chickens are better cared for (which I do try to verify). The same goes for buying chicken itself. I pay more for what i hope is more humanely raised chicken.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on how I attempt to balance. I'm still learning how to have a good diet with less and less meat but that's a choice I made.


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Connor replied the topic: Re:Choices

Another way of looking at it is that... we take on the energies that we eat, and they manifest in our actions.

If I am kind and benevolent with my own actions, I feel more comfortable with the energy I'm taking in. If a chicken I eat was treated horribly, and it never had a chance to be a benevolent being in its own right... maybe I can be FOR it.

Just a thought.

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Jax replied the topic: Re:Choices

That's certainly a possibility. There are techniques to change the energy of any substance so it is more beneficial. I have a book on it but forgot the name.


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Kol Drake replied the topic: Re:Choices

This is beginning to sound more like a sattvic diet (sometimes referred to as a yoga diet or sentient diet.) It is a diet based on foods that — according to Ayurveda and Yoga, are strong in the sattva guna, and lead to clarity and equanimity of mind while also being beneficial to the body.

Such foods include water, cereal grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, unpasteurized and unhomogenized fresh milk and fresh milk derivatives (mostly ghee, but also butter, cream, fresh or cottage cheese (paneer), and yogurt (lassi)), and raw honey.

Foods that this system considers neither positive or negative are rajasic, while those that harm the mind or body are tamasic. Tamasic means having "tama guna." Something tamasic tends to make the body and mind sluggish and slow, leading to torpor.

The tamasic foods include meat, fish, onions, garlic, mushrooms, alcohol. In addition fermented foods, including vinegar, bread, pastries and cakes are tamasic. Stale, overripe or underripe, tasteless and rotten foods are also tamasic. Processed foods are tamasic, including those that are preserved in any way, canned or frozen. Overeating is also tamasic. heck, in most cases foods that are kept overnight (leftovers) are considered tamasic, as they lose their vital essences and may have grown microorganisms. Any foods that involve the harm of another being are also considered tamasic, and overly-sweet foods are considered rajasic. Too much spice, sugar, or salt may render what was a sattvic food to become rajasic or tamasic.


Foods that are considered the most sattvic of all are fresh milk from a happy cow and fruit fallen from a tree. This is because there is absolutely no harm done to the organism from which the nutrients came, but the organism gave the food willingly and with blessings.

So, what does that leave for 'regular folks who care'?
Well, consider that the doctors who warn against too much fructose in the diet say that it must be processed in the liver and that too much will cause fatty liver. Then the endocrine system is disrupted, weight is gained, and physical and mental torpor sets in. We've touched on the dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) in regards to sodas and foods elsewhere in the threads so... that's a 'duh'.

In yogic terms, high fructose corn syrup is a tamasic food. It will make you sluggish. It will shorten your life.
How can this be? Isn’t fructose the sugar in fruit? Isn’t fruit satvic? Well, remember that overeating is also tamasic. Instead of eating three or four or five pieces of fruit a day, one large Coke at McDonald’s has enough fructose that it puts you into overeating territory (like 20 times or more!).

And there is another thing. Fructose is not the only tamasic thing that you may have in your diet. The thing to examine is the total load of these things. It's why, more then ever -- one should 'read the labels'. If there are more components that sound like a bad laboratory experiment then 'food' -- maybe it's not a good thing to nibble on.


So, this also makes starts to boil down to sounding like the diet the wandering monk/beggers who go town to town 'as the Buddha once did' got -- either fruit from trees, ghee (clarified butter), or offerings from others -- no fast food or gravy heavy meals for the holy folk. If you REALLY went the entire way, you would be living on chewing grass and drinking water which, while great for cows and other herbivores, is not conducive to a healthy human (omnivore) diet.

So ya, choices... but, smart, educated choices. Ones which can be healthy but not sacrifice overall functionality and well being for the sake of seeming 'best for the animals'.
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shea (shlomit) replied the topic: Re:Choices

I think there is a misconception to what it means to be a sentient living creature.
What i meant is that those animals can feel pain and fear for their lives. NOT spiritual awareness.
There is no energies from meat because it is dead, and most of time processed so much that there hardly any nutritional value left in them. And what gives humans this right to choose which life is worth more?

..."Paper is dead without words
Ink idle without a poem
All the world dead without stories
Without love and disarming beauty

Careless realism costs souls"....(-Nightwish)
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Johannes (Yoshio) replied the topic: Re:Choices

I don’t want to get into too much details of my own thoughts here especially as this topic does feel to me in a way a bit heavy due to what had been posted already.
Anyway, what I would like to throw in is, that in my opinion, obviously there is food of better and food of not so great quality, but what is, in my opinion, missing in most cases are people who eat their food with consciousness. To be honest, and I’m more often than not one of them, most of us do eat their daily food without giving it a second thought. We go to the cantina, grab something for lunch and eat it. We pick something at the coffee shop for either or and breakfast and dinner and eat it. Most of our food during the week is read made for eating and therefore that is what most of us do, eat it.
If we really would like to make a difference, I feel, what should be done is paying attention to what we eat and be thankful for it. In this way, if we would eat our meals with consciousness, we can give our thanks to whoever contributed to the meal we it. Be it the plant, the fruit, the animal, the maker/cook or who else, everything and everyone contributed to it and therefore we should pay our respect to it. At least that is what we should do, I think.
As a side ‘story’ when I do eat together with my grandmother, she is used to say a short pray before starting to eat in which she says thanks for the food. In addition with my grandfather he didn’t allowed it that someone spoke at the table during eating a meal. Either things I hardly see or experience nowadays somewhere and with that we lost, in my opinion, somewhat the respect for this ‘ceremony’ of eating and therefore nourishing our body. My recommendation therefore would be to eat with consciousness and be thankful for whatever you eat. The rest is up to personal choices.

Anyway, just my, a bit long, two cents to that.

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Connor replied the topic: Re:Choices

Shea, it doesn't seem like other animals care.

Nature doesn't really factor pain into the energy cycle. Lions will kill for their food. Do you think they have moral quandaries about it? Not really.

Why should humans, simply because we have the mental capacity to choose otherwise?

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Jax replied the topic: Re:Choices

Actually some animals do care about the pain. They only kill as necessary and do it as quickly and painlessly as possible. There is an immense amount of sentience in the animal kingdom.


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