25 March 2016

Inhumanity and animal-cruelty through a Brusselsian lens

Brussels -- a TRAGEDY!
The word in the local streets is ‘heat’, and it comes with ‘blackouts’, ‘unannounced power cuts’, ‘sabotage-claims’ and ‘incompetence’.  The word in the global streets is actually a proper noun: ‘Brussels’. 

A few days ago, more than 30 people were killed and dozens injured in attacks at the Brussels international airport and a city metro station.  Maybe it is because such attacks are a rarity in Europe (compared to other parts of the word), we don’t know, but the Western press can’t seem to get enough of that story.   ‘Brussels’ has hogged the world’s headlines and that must, at some level, say something about the world’s heads. 

It is not unnatural for present-blood to hoof out other bloods of other times, but people do have memories and it’s not only about the fact of blood but its volume as well.  The following note, titled ‘Sympathizing [with] Brussels and the colour divide’ that I received a few minutes ago via email, gives perspective:

Yemen -- a lesser tragedy? 
‘The brutal IS bombing in Brussels deserves all the condemnation heaped on it, as well as the outpouring of sympathy for the victims.  The point I wish to make is that the immensity of all this ha-ho is because it happened in a ‘white’ country and got [and yet gets]  immense publicity from the Western Media – both print and electronic.
‘Ironically, hundreds of non-white Third Worlders are being killed daily in Syria, Libya, Yemen and Iraq by  bombers from the US,  UK, Russia, Turkey  and Saudi Arabia. It is laughable to see the publicity awarded to the pilots of the “free world” who rain bombs on countries that do not have a single anti-aircraft gun. These victims are relegated to the small type of back pages.
‘What shames me [is] the unseemly haste with which Third World leaders, including our own, rush to express their sympathy for the deaths of thirty odd ‘whites’. Not a tear have they shed for the fate of hundreds of non-white civilians mercilessly bombed by the “brave”(and totally safe) pilots of the “Free World”.’
Well, that’s the truth.  People with a long view of history in addition to a wide-angle lens could of course talk of the Belgian monarch Leopold II, who carved out a territory more than 70 times larger than his own country and went on to kill 10-15 million people. That story of Belgium and the Congo Free State from the end of the 19th Century might sound out of place and a pernicious justification of the attack on Brussels a few days ago, but it is a pertinent interjection here simply due to the issue of selectivity: when we are taught about genocide, there’s scarcely any mention of Leopold. 

The issue is simple.  If not for the kind of selectivity referred to above, the attack-story is robbed of its tear-drawing worth.  That’s politics and considering the fact of the political that marks the attack, footnoting or ignoring outright relevant histories is a political choice and has to be politically appraised.  Put simply, ‘terrorism is terrorism, regardless of the identities of the terrorist or the victim’.

There’s bombing going on in Syria and South-Eastern Yemen, but we are told the guys getting hit are terrorists.  No mention of civilians.  By the way, more people died in Yemen than died in Brussels on that same tragic day.   That’s the political economy of coverage.   You can apply the logic to Sri Lanka’s struggle with terrorism too of course and there will be for-and-against arguments from all quarters.  At the bottom of it is a simple word: selectivity. 

Animal Kindness (as opposed to 'animal cruelty')?
Let’s move from the ‘political’ arena for a moment.   Let’s consider animal welfare.  Let’s talk of people who are livid about cruelty to animals.

A couple of weeks ago, there were cries of horror about some individuals who had captured, skinned and killed a hawk.  We are also seeing objections to the use of elephants for pageants.    The objectors have a point.  A strong point.  Few will stand up and say ‘It’s ok, they are after all animals’ (implying ‘lesser creatures’).  Few, again, will say the victims of the Brussels attacks ‘deserved it’ or ‘it’s ok because others too have been killed’. 

No cruelty here, ok?  
The problem here is the selectivity concerning the creatures in question.  Can someone who eats fish and/or meat have the moral right to object to ‘the suffering inflicted on elephants in captivity’ or ‘a captured eagle’?  Is the defense, ‘there’s legally sanctioned killing of certain animals, so our activism is framed by law’ really valid?  If it’s the cruelty that inspires horror, there cannot be justification of certain kinds of violence based on method or degree of pain inflicted.  The pig or the cow or the chicken or the goat that gets killed was not consulted about the eventuality, just as the hawk and the elephant were not. 

Are dog shows cruelty-free?  Do we assess this in terms of how many tails wagged and how much over a given period of time?  How about horse and dog racing?  ‘Kind treatment of animals,’ should we say?  Isn’t captivity in any form (in a cage, in chains or on leash) cruel?  Would it all be fine and would we be fine with it if we called them ‘pets’? 

Isn’t it in the end about preferences, the outcomes we can live with or which suit us?   Brussels is not ok, but Yemen is: elephants are no-no creatures, but horses, dogs, cattle, chicken, goats, pigs, fish, squid, prawns and crabs are yes-yes for capture, leashing, boiling, frying, currying, stewing and ‘devilling’ as the case may be. 

Shouldn’t we all stand up now and pat ourselves on our backs and roar ‘Three hearty cheers for hypocrisy’?  Well, that’s it folks.  It’s not about horrible crimes against humanity and it is not about being aghast at animal-cruelty.  It’s just us, being us, being hypocrites. 

Let's just say that the word in the local (and global) streets is just that: hypocrisy.  



Malinda Seneviratne is a freelance writer who writes a weekly column (Subterranean Transcripts) to the 'Daily Mirror'.  This article was published in the Daily Mirror on March25, 2016.

malindasenevi@gmail.com
Reactions:

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

A very good article. Peter Singer who is the professor of Bioethics at Princeton (aka The father of animal liberation) coined the word "Speciesism" and correctly says that we are favouring our own species way too much. As the lord Buddha says in the Metta sutta, we have to cherish (or infinitely mindful of) every living being like a mother protects her child, her only child.

Anonymous said...

Are you a vegetarian Malinda?

Anonymous said...

To answer your questions on this animal rights issues, I need to know the following Malinda:
(1.) Are YOU a vegan or vegetarian (i.e. you consume dairy)?
(2.) Is your daughter & son also vegetarians?
(3.) When did you become a vegan/vegetarian? At what age?
(4.) Is your wife also a vegetarian/vegan?
(5.) Was she a vegan/vegetarian before or after she met you?
(6.) When did she become a vegan or vegetarian?
(7.) Are your parents, your wife's parents, your brothers and sisters and your uncles and aunts all vegan or vegetarians?

Malinda Seneviratne said...

yes.

Malinda Seneviratne said...

(1.) Are YOU a vegan or vegetarian (i.e. you consume dairy)?

Vegetarian. A few days ago I learnt some stuff that makes me want to avoid milk products too.

(2.) Is your daughter & son also vegetarians?

Come on, their preferences are not relevant here. Same goes for '4' to '7'.

(3.) When did you become a vegan/vegetarian? At what age?

I stopped eating beef when I was 32. Stopped eating all meat, fish and eggs about 7 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Actually Malinda, the "preferences" of your closest near and dear are very important to answer this "meat-eating" question, because of the direct, very close connection you have with them.

You will realize this only when I give my answer.

So, I need to know the answers to 4 to 7! :)

Anonymous said...

+ for (2.), how old are your children? i.e. Are they adults, meaning over 18??

What are their food preferences??

I need to know this to fully answer.

Malinda Seneviratne said...

I disagree. I don't tell anyone not to eat or not eat anything. That's their business. This is not the forum to discuss the preferences (food or otherwise) of anyone but myself and those who comment. You must have heart of 'vrutha'...well, I am not into all that.

Anonymous said...

[b][i]"You must have heart of 'vrutha'...well, I am not into all that."[/i][/b]

What is vrutha??? I don't understand. ??「(͡๏̯͡๏)ノ”??

Kurt said...

What are you trying to say here?? It's not clear.

Because even the Lord Buddha ate meat.

The meat offered to the Buddha by his followers was purchased from the markets.

What is the big deal here???

I am assuming you are a Buddhist? Correct??

Buddhism is not a religion that advocated vegetarianism.

The reason for this is that the ethical theory of the Buddha is NOT consequentialism. Buddhist do not and cannot use "consequences" as the criteria to judge an activity to be ethical or unethical. Buddhism uses only one thing: INTENTION.

So, what exactly are you trying to say here??

Are you trying to say that Buddhists (or anybody for that matter) who eat meat are unethical, immoral people??

What EXACTLY is your point Mr. MS??

Malinda Seneviratne said...

In a word, Kurt, 'selectivity'.

Anonymous said...

Malinda wrote: "It’s just us, being us, being hypocrites."

Since "us" also includes YOU, are you saying that YOU TOO are a hypocrite?

Are you a hypocrite Malinda??

Was the Buddha a hypocrite?? Because the Buddha taught that cultivating a kind and loving heart with a love for all creation is the most important dimension of Buddhist spiritual practice. The culmination of this is the Maitri/Metta Bhavana, which states that "May all beings be safe from harm", &
"May all beings be free from suffering."

But the Buddha himself ate meat. Meat is, according to you guys, the result of harm (death) and suffering (killing process and cruel treatment in farms) of an animal.

So, does this make the Buddha a hypocrite, telling people to cultivate "maitri", but eating meat himself, which required the suffering and harm of an animal??

Malinda Seneviratne said...

i don't need to give you a lesson in intelligent reading now, do i?

Re the Buddha's meat-eating: from what I know he never rejected what was offered. I think the problem here is that you are using a Cartesian frame of logic to take issue with a doctrine that is not trapped in the inevitable errors produced by false dichotomy.

Cheers

Anonymous said...

"intelligent reading"??? Are you serious?? LMAO!!!

How about getting a lesson in "intelligent writing"??

What kind of person, who professes to be a "vegetarian", who clearly thinks he is "morally superior" to meat-eaters, shows this by writing an article disparaging meat eaters, by calling them hypocrites, BUT, include HIMSELF in the group of hypocrites & phonies???

Either you don't know English, or the US taxpayers wasted hundreds of thousands of $$$ on a lost cause.

I think you could be very suitable for Sri Lankan politics Malinda, since you have all the "qualifications" like not directly answering any question, using high-sounding words (like Cartesian frame & dichotomy) to avoid giving a direct answers and avoiding answering questions, blaming Europeans for everything wrong happening to your own people etc.

Now its crystal clear why you supported the Madamulana village water-monitor Mahinda Percy Rajapaksha. You think exactly like Mahinda and his close supporters.

How bout asking for nominations for the forthcoming MC elections?? Seriously, not joking here. :)

Anonymous said...

"Cartesian frame of logic"?? What on Earth is that??? :)

There is the "Cartesian frame" which is the rectangular coordinate system used in geometry, AND then there is "Cartesian logic" which is a system consisting of 4 questions which you can ask yourself to solve a difficult problem like whether you want to do a PhD, migrate to another country, marry someone, leave your current place of work etc.

You are clearly "clueless" aren't you Malinda?? :)

So, can you please enlighten us uneducated "toyiyas" as to what type of "logic" the Buddha used???

Malinda: "Re the Buddha's meat-eating: from what I know he never rejected what was offered."

So, like, did the Buddha accept even human flesh if it was offered to him??
Did he accept stolen goods?? Would have have accepted stolen goods or human flesh??

Suppose you neighbor is a Muslim. He slaughters some goats for Ramadan. He comes to your house and offers you some meat. You can now accept this meat, right? Because, the goats were not killed specifically for you, right?

What if you drop in to a friends house and they ask you to stay for dinner. You can eat the meat they cook, right? Why, it was not purchased specifically for you, right? It was meat which they purchased for their own consumption, right?

What if go to work and some of your colleges are eating chicken pizza and they offered you a piece. They are now offering you some food, just like people offered Buddha food during alms rounds. You can eat the chicken pizza, right? Because your colleagues purchased it not thinking about you. You just walked in. You have nothing to do with the purchase. So, you can eat it, right?

If the Buddha can eat meat "offered" to him, surely his followers like yourself should also be able to eat meat "offered" to them, right, since there cannot be 2 doctrines, one for the Buddha and one for the followers, right?

So if you will NOT eat the meat offered to you in the above 3 occasions, what are the REASONS??? :)

Malinda Seneviratne said...


"What kind of person, who professes to be a "vegetarian", who clearly thinks he is "morally superior" to meat-eaters"

NO...NO SUCH CLAIMS. JUST POINTED OUT SOME OBVIOUS ISSUES ABOUT ANIMAL CRUELTY AND INCONSISTENCY.

, shows this by writing an article disparaging meat eaters, by calling them hypocrites, BUT, include HIMSELF in the group of hypocrites & phonies???

CHECK OUT THE VARIOUS USES OF THE WORD 'WE' DUDE.

Either you don't know English, or the US taxpayers wasted hundreds of thousands of $$$ on a lost cause.

PERHAPS. :)

I think you could be very suitable for Sri Lankan politics Malinda, since you have all the "qualifications" like not directly answering any question, using high-sounding words (like Cartesian frame & dichotomy) to avoid giving a direct answers and avoiding answering questions, blaming Europeans for everything wrong happening to your own people etc.

Cartesian, Dichotomy: ok...high sounding? just google the words. check them out. Easy these days.

I NEVER BLAMED EUROPEANS ALONE FOR STUFF THAT HAPPENS HERE. ON THE OTHER HAND I DON'T BUY THIS NONSENSE ABOUT EUROPEANS BEING SAINTS (AS SOME SEEM TO THINK).

Now its crystal clear why you supported the Madamulana village water-monitor Mahinda Percy Rajapaksha. You think exactly like Mahinda and his close supporters.

THIS IS SILLY.....BUT HAVE YOUR LAUGHS. I REALLY DON'T HAVE TIME TO WASTE RESPONDING TO ILL-READ MORONS.


How bout asking for nominations for the forthcoming MC elections?? Seriously, not joking here. :)

WELL, THERE'S ONLY ONE ELECTION WORTH CONTESTING AND THAT'S NOT THE MC ELECTIONS. ;)

Malinda Seneviratne said...


You are clearly "clueless" aren't you Malinda?? :)

YOU ARE, DUDE. GO GET A TUTOR.

So, can you please enlighten us uneducated "toyiyas" as to what type of "logic" the Buddha used???

YOU A TOYYA? REALLY? I THINK YOU ARE A WANNABE TOYYA.. AS FOR ENLIGHTENING YOU, SORRY, REMAIN IGNORANT!

So, like, did the Buddha accept even human flesh if it was offered to him??
Did he accept stolen goods?? Would have have accepted stolen goods or human flesh??

I CAN'T SPEAK FOR THE BUDDHA HERE ON SUCH QUESTIONS.


Suppose you neighbor is a Muslim. He slaughters some goats for Ramadan. He comes to your house and offers you some meat. You can now accept this meat, right? Because, the goats were not killed specifically for you, right?

WELL, I AM NOT THE BUDDHA....I WOULD TELL MY NEIGHBOR, POLITELY, THAT I DON'T EAT MEAT. IF HE REPEATEDLY OFFERS ME MEAT, I WILL COME TO CONCLUSIONS RE HIS NEIGHBORLINESS. I WILL NOT OFFER HIM PORK EVEN I ATE PORK.


What if you drop in to a friends house and they ask you to stay for dinner. You can eat the meat they cook, right? Why, it was not purchased specifically for you, right? It was meat which they purchased for their own consumption, right?

WHEN THAT HAPPENS, IF THERE ARE VEG ITEMS, I EAT THEM. IF NOT, I DON'T EAT. I DON'T HAVE TO ACCEPT DINNER INVITATIONS LIKE THAT. AGAIN, YOU ARE USING CARTESIAN LOGIC (WHICH YOU SHOULD LEARN SOMETIME) AND HENCE THESE STUPID QUESTIONS.

What if go to work and some of your colleges are eating chicken pizza and they offered you a piece. They are now offering you some food, just like people offered Buddha food during alms rounds. You can eat the chicken pizza, right? Because your colleagues purchased it not thinking about you. You just walked in. You have nothing to do with the purchase. So, you can eat it, right?

WRONG. THEY ARE FREE TO PURCHASE ANYTHING THEY WANT. I AM FREE TO ACCEPT OR DECLINE.


If the Buddha can eat meat "offered" to him, surely his followers like yourself should also be able to eat meat "offered" to them, right, since there cannot be 2 doctrines, one for the Buddha and one for the followers, right?

DEPENDS. 1) THESE IF-THEN PROPOSITIONS ARE BADLY FRAMED AND THEREFORE CAN YIELD ONLY CERTAIN STRAITJACKETED ANSWERS. 2) THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DEPENDING SOLELY ON ALMS AND NOT DEPENDING ON ALMS.


So if you will NOT eat the meat offered to you in the above 3 occasions, what are the REASONS??? :)

SIMPLE: I AM ALLERGIC TO MEAT AND FISH. I DON'T THINK I SHOULD ENCOURAGE ANIMAL CRUELTY. I AM NOT OBLIGED TO ACCEPT WHATEVER IS OFFERED TO ME.


Anonymous said...

You are clearly not getting the point I am trying to make here.

You say that you don't buy & eat meat because you are causing cruelly to animals.

So, you are not eating meat for health reasons. It's for "ethical" reasons.

I just gave you 3 occasions where YOU will not be causing any cruelty to animals. This is the "logic" used in Buddhism. The Buddha accepts meat using this logic. I.e. Buddha will accept meat ONLY if it was not killed specifically for him. That is why the Buddha accepted meat purchased from the market.

You will cause animal cruelty only if the animal is killed specifically for you, like in a market where animals are killed on-the-spot, like this one: http://abled.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/AbledNews-Chines-chicken-market-771x366.jpg

So, in the above 3 occasions you can eat meat if you are a Buddhist, because the animal which was killed to obtain the meat was not killed specifically for you.

Since you like to eat meat, because you have been eating it for a long time, but don't eat it now only because you THINK it causes animal cruelty, any occasion which does not result in you causing animal cruelty will be an ethically neutral occasion. So, NOW you can gorge yourself on meat.

In fact, this is exactly why Buddhists can buy meat from the market. Because the animals were not killed SPECIFICALLY FOR them.

Although you say that your MASTER was the Buddha, you are clearly ignorant of the basics of Buddhism.

Do you know WHY buying meat from the market is not unethical according to Buddhism?? Do you know the "mechanism"?? It can be described in one word?? Do you know what that word is??

Malinda Seneviratne said...

i guess you cannot get my point.

anyone who eats meat is encouraging animal cruelty (think 'demand' and 'supply' if that helps).

i strongly recommend you read the Kalama Sutra. There's no forbidding or sanctioning in Buddhism. up to you.

your problem is that you are trying to read Buddhism using words/terms drawn from a different cosmology and an clearly erroneous system of logic.

anyway, eat if you want, don't you don't....i won't lose any sleep either way.

cheers.

Anonymous said...

[CONTINUING]
So, since they use "consequentialism" (and not INTENTION) to judge the correctness of an action, they refrain from consuming dairy. Because they THINK that it's the consequences of them buying dairy that causes all of the suffering to the animals. That is the "logic" they use.

So, since you drink milk and consume dairy, will you now continue drinking milk, cheese, yogurt etc?? Because even in SL most milking cows are sold to slaughterhouses by their owners because the upkeep of a cow that does not earn them any money is too expensive.

Will you now drink milk, eat cheese, yogurt etc, if you travel abroad to a Western country??

The same logic holds for eggs. Why do vegans in Western countries don't consume eggs?? It is because the egg laying hens are turned to meat after their egg laying days are over. Since they are "consequentialists" they think they are the ones promoting the killing of the chickens after their egg laying days are over. So, they refrain from buying eggs.

The same happens in SL. Egg laying hens are sold to chicken meat compaines.

So, now, will you stop eating eggs also from now on? Will you now not eat eggs when you travel to a western country???

As you can see, Buddhists cannot use "western consequentialism" to judge the morality of an action. They can use only INTENTION.

When we buy meat from the supermarket, the animal is already dead. So, we cannot make moral judgments on dead animals, can we???

So, people who buy meat have NO INTENTIONS of killing animals. It, the meat, is just a commodity like vegetables or fruits. If you don't have any INTENTION to kill, there cannot be INTENTION to promote, can it??

Do people who buy medicine have INTENTIONS that more animals are tortured in labs to produce better medicine? No, right?

If somebody (the producer) decides to kill more chicken because we buy, then the ethical responsibility of killing the chicken falls on the producer. Because, he too is a moral agent. He is not a mindless zombie. If he uses his free-will & goes ahead and kills more chicken disregarding any ethical rationale, then you cannot now blame the consumer who purchased chickens in the past can you??

Buddhism says something completely different to Western consequentialism .

According to the Buddha "INTENTION is KARMA", NOT consequences.

Otherwise, the Buddha would have very easily said, "Consequences are karma", right?

Anyway, you can till use (Western) consequentialism and say that eating meat is unethical, BUT that is NOT Buddhism.

You have the freedom to do it, but then you cannot call yourself a "Buddhist", because Buddhism espouses a completely different ethical system. Buddhism is a deontological ethical system that uses INTENTION and NOT consequences to judge the morality of an action.

Just my 2 cents though... :)

Anonymous said...

"different cosmology"

I missed this one.

What do you mean "different COSMOLOGY"??

Cosmology is a branch of metaphysics that deals with the nature of the universe
Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cosmology

What has the "nature or order of the universe" got to do with the "ethics of eating meat"???

Again you are using serious sounding words to sneak away from my arguments, are you Malinda?

:) LMAO

PS: So like, Malinda, since you stopped eating all meat, fish & eggs only after your 44th birthday, were you promoting cruelty to animals BEFORE that??

So, for 44 years, you were promoting animal cruelty, right??

So, were you an unethical, immoral person until you celebrated your 44th birthday??

Do you feel "guilty" about all the animal cruelty you were promoting for 44 years??

What are you doing about it???

Are you saving cows, chickens from slaughterhouse?? Are you doing Bodhi pujas to get rid of the bad Karma acquired from 44 years of promoting animal cruelty??

Do you believe that you have acquired bad Karma during your 44 years of promoting cruelty to animals??

Because, you yourself admit that you stopped eating beef when you were 32, due to "ethical" reasons. So, you were eating chicken & fish in-spite of knowing that you were promoting animal cruelty (here to chickens and fish), right?

So, surely your Karmic balance right now should be in a massive "overdraft" situation, right Malinda??? :)

Are you afraid and shivering right now, thinking about the bad karma that will come after you for promoting animal cruelty for 44 years??

Just curious as to why you stopped only eating beef at 32, but carried on eating chicken & fish anyway, knowing very well that you were promoting animal cruelty, in this case to chickens and fish??

Also, a suggestion: How about removing moderation?? You can delete only comments which have profanities and SPAM.

Malinda Seneviratne said...

i stopped dairy products a few days ago. but like it's said in the book, i am not fixated (like you seem to be) about stuff. there's 'egg' in cutlets, cakes, deserts for example. maybe one day i'll drop those too. cheers and relax a bit. and since you are so interested in Buddhist philosophy, I strongly recommend the Satipattana Sutra. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, you just NEVER answer any questions do you Malinda???

Satipaththana Sutta teaches how to perform mindfulness meditation.
What on earth has meditation got to do with anything we are discussing here?

These are classic South Asian avoidance tactics you are using here. :)

It's not called being "fixated". It's called "critical thinking".

What's this "BOOK" you are referring to???

Let me as you a very simple question: Do you consider yourself to me morally superior to meat eaters?

How about an HONEST answer please?? :)

Malinda Seneviratne said...

i've answered. there are things beside mindfulness in the satipattana sutra.

classic south asian tactics....wow...is crass generalization also part of your 'critical thinking'. you are confined by the frame of logic you use...your if-then, 'if not yes it has to be no' rules....

come on, i am not in a moral competition. again, the Kalama Sutra offers a way of being which i try to follow...it's a 3-minute read...you might figure out a lot of stuff, including how ridiculous your questions sound to me.

as for implying deceit... be at peace. :)

Anonymous said...

I read Satipatthana Sutta: Frames of Reference found here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.010.than.html

Took me 17 minutes. :)

Could not find anything other than instructions to MONKS on how to live in the present moment, to feel disgusted about their bodies etc.

Where are these "other" things?? Can you point them out since you seem to be n expert the Buddhist scriptures.

This "sutta" is also one expounded to the MONKS. It is NOT a sutta targeted at laypeople IMHO.

Because, how can lay-people such as yourself look at the human body as made up of UNCLEAN things like mucus, fluid, hairs, skin etc???

From the SS: "These are mung beans. These are kidney beans. These are sesame seeds. This is husked rice,' in the same way, monks, a monk reflects on this very body from the soles of the feet on up, from the crown of the head on down, surrounded by skin and full of various kinds of unclean things: 'In this body there are head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, gorge, feces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, skin-oil, saliva, mucus, fluid in the joints, urine.'"

Can you look at a girl and think that her body is made up of unclean things??? When you see a somebody attractive, can you think of the is Satipaththana sutta and think, "she is having unclean things like urine and pus"???

Then no Buddhist will be able have relationships, marry & have children then. It will be the end of Buddhist civilization.

It says at the very end that: "This is how a MONK remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the four noble truths..."

So, it is clear that this was directed at the monks only. I don't see how laypeople can take this sutta seriously.

PS: Did you not decide to publish my comment on the Kalama sutta??? Why is that?? You don't like criticism of the Buddhist scriptures of any kind?? So, have the views of fundamentalist Muslims who say that the Quran cannot be criticized??

Quite disappointing, since I thought being educated at Harvard and Cornell, you looked like an open-minded chap.

If you wish to publish this I like to ask you a question, since you say that you are a sort of expert in the Buddhist scriptures.

Under B. Feelings, in the SS, the Buddha says, "When feeling a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling not of the flesh".

What exactly is this feeling?? How can a human feel a neutral feeling NOT OF THE FLESH?

The Buddha also says about a another type of feeling:"When feeling a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling of the flesh".

What on earth is this feeling?? Can you give an example?

Anonymous said...

Why are you blocking my comments on the Satipattana & Kalama Sutta Malinda??

Not willing to accept logical criticism of Buddhism are you??

What are you afraid of ??

Are you afraid to admit that your beloved Kalama Sutta is nonsense??

How did the Kalam's figure out at the very outset, before talking to the Buddha, that the Buddha was the TRUE Brahmin??

Because, the Kalamas admit that they ALREADY KNOW that the Buddha :
(1.) Has explained the DHAMMA admirable in the beginning, middle & end,
(2.) Is entirely PERFECT, SURPASSING PURE etc.

So, it's crystal clear that the KALAMAS know how to figure out who tells the truth, without asking anybody. How did they figure this out Malinda??


Then why on earth are they asking again from the Buddha as to how to to tell if a Brahmin is telling the truth?? Isn't this a silly question?? Because they already have figured that out.

Why did't the Buddha reply to the Kalamas like, "How did o Kalams did you figure out that MY DHAMMA is admirable in the beginning, middle & end, surpassing pure and perfect??

PS: I am also a Buddhist OK, but not a bookworm Buddhist like most SL Buddhists.

Malinda Seneviratne said...

sorry for the delay in approving your posts.

seems to me you know everything. frankly, i have better things to do than to argue with a know-all.

Anonymous said...

I am not a know-it-all. I am just asking questions.

I am asking you since you seem to know something about Buddhism.

How do you think the Kalamas figured out that the Buddha
(1.) Has explained the DHAMMA admirable in the beginning, middle & end?
(2.) Is entirely PERFECT, SURPASSING PURE etc?

I think this is a fair question.

Even the Buddha has asked to criticize his words and teachings. So, I am doing it now.

I don't see anything wrong with it.

Malinda Seneviratne said...

what's relevant to our discussion/debate in the Kalama Sutra is what's often called the Buddhist Charter on Free Inquiry.

Anonymous said...

Ok, but the problem is, the Kalamas figured out this "free inquiry" even WITHOUT asking the Buddha, before even seeing him.

They ALREADY figure out that the BUDDHA'S doctrine is the perfect doctrine. So, THAT is why the visited the Buddha. So, they had already figure out which "bramin" is speaking the truth.

The question is, how did these Kalama chaps figured this out.

So, they KNOW how to differentiate good doctrine from false ones. They ALREADY KNOW.

Since they already KNOW the method, asking the Buddha how to do it is meaningless.

So, how do you come a solution to the LTTE terrorist problem using this Kalama sutta?

Is your recommendation to kill the terrorists?? But that violates the 1st precept in Buddhism. In Buddhism you cannot even kill in self-defense.

What is your solution then according to Buddhism that is?







Anonymous said...

Using this Kalama Sutra which you say Malinda, is "what's often called the Buddhist Charter on Free Inquiry", how can we figure out the beginning of life or the emergence of the human species?

(1.) According to Buddhism (i.e. the Buddha), the Aggañña Suta tells the beginning of life on Earth. This includes how the first humans came into being. The Buddha says that creatures from Abbhasaras began eating Earth's substance, and as they ate and ate their luminous body began to be coated by the mud substance, formed a coarser body.
(2.) Darwin's "Theory of evolution" gives a completely different view on how humans came into being. I.e. Evolution from animals, specifically from chimps.

How do you know which one is telling the truth, like "which Brahmin is telling the truth"???

Which version should we believe, the Aggañña Suta, or Charles Darwin' evolution??

Can you use the Kalama sutta to figure this out Malinda??

Which brahman, the Buddha or Charles Darwin, is the speaking the truth, which one is lying?? :-)

What is your answer Malinda?? :)

JJ said...

Just curious old chap.

You say that people who eat promote animal cruelty.

Then, you also say that you don't consider yourself to be better (i.e. morally superior) to meat eaters.

But these 2 views are contradictory.

If you say that people who eat meat promote animal cruelty, then surely YOU must consider them to be doing something "bad", right?

So, that means that you are "better" than them, right?

I am sure that your parents, brother and sister are not vegetarians. So, you SHOULD consider them as BAD, immoral people, right mate???

Because, if you say that there is NO (ethical) DIFFERENCE between a vegetarian and meat-eater, then eating meat cannot promote something bad, like animal cruelty, can it now sir???

Can't have it BOTH WAYS MS!

Malinda Seneviratne said...

I pointed what appears to be a contradiction. Morality cannot be reduced to food preference, surely?



"Can't have it BOTH WAYS MS!"

you are fixated with binaries. it amuses me. :)

Anonymous said...

MS: "Morality cannot be reduced to food preference, surely?"

Oh it INDEED does sir.

These days according to some "experts" in the field like Peter Singer, the choosing what you eat is now an ETHICAL action.

Here is is a book dedicated to this issue: Eating Paperback – September 1, 2006 by Peter Singer (Author), Jim Mason (Author)
https://www.amazon.com/Eating-Peter-Singer/dp/0099504022

Here is what the description of the book says: "Written with investigative vigour, provocative and controversial but always accessible, "Eating" is a hard-hitting exploration of our eating habits, making us look at what we eat as a moral issue."

Here is another book by Peter Singer dedicated to the very same issue: The Ethics of What We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter Paperback – March 6, 2007
by Peter Singer (Author), Jim Mason (Author)
https://www.amazon.com/Ethics-What-We-Eat-Choices/dp/1594866872

The description says: As they point out: You can be ethical without being fanatical.

Just read the review comments for the book. Dave G says "Rather, it opens your mind to the various arguments, while still offering the authors' views on the ethics of different food choices.".

CreepyT says "These two authors have put together an incredibly well-crafted and unbiased argument regarding making ethical choices at the grocery store, and "voting" with one's diet and wallet."

So, as you can see, according to these people, you have to make "ethical" or "moral" decisions even at the freaking supermarket. :)

Peter Singer says specifically that you are "morally deficient" if you eat meat. Source: https://philosophynow.org/issues/89/Peter_Singer_Says_You_Are_a_Bad_Person

So, as you can see, for some it IS A MORAL issue.

Peter Singer and co are CONSISTENT in their arguments, while you contradict yourself. That is the difference sir.

Anonymous said...

MS: Morality cannot be reduced to food preference, surely?

What if you buy your chicken not from the supermarket, BUT at the Bambalapitiya meat market where chickens are killed on the spot for YOU?

Like here: http://s4.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20160518&t=2&i=1137718289&w=644&fh=&fw=&ll=&pl=&sq=&r=LYNXNPEC4H0G9

Or here: http://c8.alamy.com/comp/AYAXF4/live-chickens-for-sale-at-the-market-in-negombo-near-colombo-sri-lanka-AYAXF4.jpg

Now what do you say MS?? You pick an animal to be killed, the butcher kills the animal in front of you, cuts it and gives it to you. Then you pay. NOW, is it a "moral" issue for you??

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify what I was saying on the comment with timestamp "Thursday, July 07, 2016 2:48:00 pm".

"-> " means IMPLIES.

Peter Singer: Killing animals is bad/immoral/unethical -> When you buy meat you promote killing of more animals -> People who eat meat are unethical, IMMORAL, bad people.

So, Peter Singer is CONSISTENT in his arguments from start to finish.

Malinda: Killing animals is bad/immoral/unethical -> When you buy meat you promote killing of more animals -> But, people who eat meat are not unethical, not immoral or bad people.

You contradict yourself, because, you say that eating meat promotes killing more animals (cruelty), which you say is "bad", but at the same time considers people who eat meat as not doing anything "bad".

See the contradiction here mate???

Anonymous said...

Malinda: Morality cannot be reduced to food preference, surely?

How about Sinhala Buddhists abstaining from eating BEEF??

The reason seems to be clearly an "ethical" one, right??

Just another example of food preferences being "moral" or "ethical" to some people.

In fact the general rule is that "one's food prefernce do DICTATATE morality". Virtually nobody will kill the animals the eat.

How many Sri Lankans do you think will kill the animals they eat, all by themselves? 99% will not. So, clearly there is a big difference between killing & eating, which is the MORAL or ETHICAL boundary.

What about drinking alcohol?? Alcohol is a type of food, albeit a type that does not aid in nourishment but aid in pleasure :)

But the 5th precept in Buddhism states that you should not drink alcohol. So, for Buddhists who don't drink alcohol, the reason not to drink alcohol is clearly an ETHICAL or MORAL one. Don't you think so Malinda???

There are millions of Buddhists who think they are "morally superior", meaning "better" than people who drink alcohol. Just go through the marriage proposal column of any newspaper. There are dozens of brides who want their groom to be a teetotaler (i.e. not drinking alcohol), which means that they consider people who drink alcohol as "bad" people, and there are dozens of grooms who declare that they are teetotalers, which is basically telling the world that they are "better" than people who drink alcohol.

So, as you see, "food preferences" does indeed dictate aspects of morality. It can in-fact be REDUCED to food preference for lots of people, since everything else being equal, a Sri Lankan prospective bride will choose the teetotaler over the alcohol drinker every time.

Just my 2 cents...