Talk:Animals in Buddhism

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"Unlike those religions and philosophies which regard animals as soulless automata incapable of thought or feeling, animals have always been regarded in Buddhist thought as sentient beings"

Unless you can specify which religions/ philosophies regard animals as "soulless automata" this part should be edited or removed. As a matter of fact, since Buddhism denies the existence of a soul, animals are considered "soulless" in Buddhism! It is also POV to state that Buddhist texts speak "movingly" about animal suffering. Consider some editing. TheEvilPanda 23:14, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

The extract above is poorly worded, yet still essentially true. Many (but not all) Christian thinkers have believed that humans and animals are fundamentally distinct, in that humans have souls and animals do not. One example would be Descartes. So in essence, many Christians have held that humans and animals are of essentially different types. Buddhism does not support this notion. The issue of the existence of a "soul" is really irrelevant here -- even though Buddhism denies the existence of an atman, which is commonly translated as soul, it admits the existence of a mindstream, so we could reword the Christian idea that humans have souls and animals don't, to the equivalent Buddhist idea that humans have mindstreams and animals don't. And the point is, that the Christian idea is common, but not universal, among Christians, whereas the Buddhist equivalent is unheard of in Buddhism. So, the comparison the above quote represents essentially holds. --SJK (talk) 10:46, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Mahayana bias[edit]

Hi there, it's clear this article has a (exaggerations removed by author) Mahayana bias. I am of the opinion that this article could do with a general introduction, followed by headings detailing beliefs as per tradition. E.g.

Animals by tradition[edit]

general statement summarizing differing views.


Buddha nature, releasing of animals, vegetarianism w/ Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra.


Something about Kamma, maybe the one eyed turtle simile would be of use here, rarity of gaining birth as a Human etc.

I'll look at making these adjustments over the next few weeks if nobody else is interested. Kind regards Blackbirdnz (talk) 01:14, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

Where do you see this "heavy Mahayana bias"? Very little of the article refers to specific Mahayana doctrines. RandomCritic (talk) 03:36, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

Hi there RandomCritic, I am sorry for the exaggeration, on a closer look it's wrong to say it's heavy. In cases like these however I think it's appropriate we define these various views into their respective traditions. I still feel that Mahayana related ideas outweigh the Theravadin perspective. This might simply be because Mahayana doctrine has more to say on this issue and that's fine, but in that case, there's more weight to adding subsections for tradition based views.

Kind regards
Blackbirdnz (talk) 04:18, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

Ethics of farming animal in Buddism...???[edit]

See my thoughts at Talk:Islam and animals


"In the Laṅkāvatāra & Aṅgulimāla sutra the Buddha explicitly prohibits the eating of meat, fish and any animal products which are the result of harming and killing of any sentient being. The Buddha states the only time it is acceptable for a monastic to accept and eat the flesh of sentient beings is for medicinal purposes only if the animal died in accordance with the Dharma, meaning the animal died of natural causes."

At first I was confused, because in the Aṅgulimāla Sutta I found here, there is no "explicit prohibition" of these foods. But then I learned here that there are two versions of this sutta --Mahayana and Theravada-- which differ significantly. Because it cannot be the Theravada version, I then edited the article to specify "Mahayana", even though I have not myself read the Mahayana text to ascertain that it does indeed explicitly prohibit eating such animal products. Someone may want to check the Mahayana text to double-check that this is accurate, and perhaps add a reference for the benefit of readers interested in exploring the topic further.

Side note 1: this section, as a whole, could benefit from additional information on Theravada beliefs & practices. Side note 2: this section seems to be focused on interpretation of doctrine, and it would be nice to include more discussion of practice. It also seems to lean in favor of implying that meat eating is "really" viewed as not good in Buddhism, which I am worried may be misleading to some readers. As much as I would like that to be true (speaking as a vegan!), my understanding is that, at least in Theravada practice, vegetarianism is highly unusual. I have observed that eating meat is an everyday, normal practice by laypeople & monastics alike in southeast Asia, and the prohibition against eating an animal killed especially for oneself is widely interpreted by Theravada monks as a green light to eat meat. I do know of Theravada monastics --male and female-- who have resolved to abstain from meat one day per week (or entirely), but this is definitely not the norm. From the content of this section, it sounds like this may be something that differs significantly between traditions. I hope that somebody who has a clearer vantage point than I do of the beliefs & practices of multiple Buddhist traditions may be kind enough to contribute a single-paragraph overview at the beginning of this section. (talk) 21:33, 13 September 2017 (UTC)