Monday, June 14, 2010
Question : (Unedited)
I am so glad that I found this site, I have been reading about Buddhism and have been very interested in Buddhist philosophies for a few years. Three years ago I had a child and have been feeling a need to provide spiritual guidance to my son that does not infringe on my scientific beliefs and will help him to become a good and socially responsible individual. One of my main difficulties is this:
I have been an avid hunter for 25 years or so. I never hunt for trophies because I have always believed intrinsically that that is wrong, rather we hunt only for meat and take pride in properly harvesting our animals from start to finish as we believe that this is more healthful meat. I hope you can help me with this, I understand that if I were Buddhist, I could take no part in the killing. Thank you for you time.
Thank you for asking me.
I am sure you are quite familiar with the Buddha's teachings by now. The most salient point in Buddhism is the freedom given by the Buddha to live our lives. He merely pointed out the facts of life and the truths of our existence. Then he prescribed a set of guiding principles which, if we follow, will generate good and happy results. Should we choose not to follow or to compromise, then the consequences will likewise commensurate with the manner we lead our lives. There is free choice. But the consequences cannot be changed. It is this universal law of retribution (or cause and effect) that rules supreme. As intelligent human beings we can make a choice. Sometimes it seems that we have to sacrifice the things that we like to do, which we have been enjoying eversince. The fact that you are attracted to the teachings of the Buddha, means that you want to associate with the ideals propounded by him. You know that there is something beneficial by heeding the Buddha's advices. On that premise, you should now use your freedom of choice to decide what is good for you, and what is not wholesome. Only when we can admit and let go of the unwholesome practices that we can better ourselves in our spiritual development.
It is not a matter of being a Buddhist or not, in relation to your pursuit. You still can be a Buddhist in name whatever you do. The Buddha is not going to punish you. But whatever you do will result in your experiencing the consequences here and now or in future. In layman's language: good actions beget good results; and bad actions create bad results. Knowing this universal law, if a person is spiritually awakened, then this person will refrain from doing harm to others, let alone taking the lives of living beings. Since we are very fearful if someone tries to kill us, it is just common logic and fairplay that we should not do unto others what we wouldn't want others to do unto us. We don't need god or the Buddha to tell us that.
Hope my comments may assist you to make an intelligent decision.