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The Ethics of Eating Brussels Sprouts


zoramargolis
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The Botany of Desire (Michael Pollan, 2001) covers some of the same terrain.

The scientific findings destabilize the basis of Buddhist monastic taboos that distinguish between root vegetables that one kills to eat and plants that are not harmed when you pluck some of their fruit. However, there are many vegans and vegetarians who cite concern for the environment as the reason they don't eat cows.

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The Botany of Desire (Michael Pollan, 2001) covers some of the same terrain.

The scientific findings destabilize the basis of Buddhist monastic taboos that distinguish between root vegetables that one kills to eat and plants that are not harmed when you pluck some of their fruit. However, there are many vegans and vegetarians who cite concern for the environment as the reason they don't eat cows.

Hi, I'm a Zen Buddhist. My teacher ate Testa not too long ago (donated generously by Logan Cox of New Heights!).

The taboos of which you speak, if I can go into a bit of detail, are open to interpretation. It's a matter of the interpretation of the teaching of "respecting life." Siddhartha himself would eat whatever was served to him, unless the animal was specifically killed for him. The general consensus is, at least in Zen, that it's something that a person may decide to do, not something that the religion/set of beliefs has them do. We all have different understanding of and viewpoints on the process by which food is created/manufactured, which in this country tends to do quite a bit of harm in a good number of cases, so we'll have different ways of absorbing and dealing with that information.

Now, tying this back into the subject of the thread, is that I find this fascinating, and brussels sprouts delicious. Every living thing is going to have some sort of defense mechanism against physical damage, so there's always going to be a conflict of interest per se when it comes to consuming anything. I think the key is to try and learn how things are raised, what impact the raising has on the surrounding environment, and to eat what's given the most respect when it's alive. Suffering is inevitable.

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