Vegetarianism and World Religions

religious images:

Ravinarayan from Shimoga, Karnataka, India, has again written with an enquiry:

“Is vegetarianism an important aspect in all religion? Can you give importance of it with reference to different religion?”

My reply:

“This is a very large topic, almost beyond the realm of this letter. In a nutshell: yes.”

Prof. Gene Sager of Palomar College writes: “Vegetarianism has been a common thread among the major world religions, even if only a minority have adopted the diet as an expression of their faith. For many people of faith, vegetarianism reflects the Golden Rule:

Christianity: So, whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them (Matthew 7:12);

Judaism: Do not do unto others what you would not wish to be done to yourself – that is the entire Torah, the rest is commentary. (Babylonian Talmud);

Islam: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself;

Baha’i Faith: Blessed is he that preferreth his brother to himself;

Taoism: Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss;

Hinduism: This is the sum of duty: do naught to others that which if done to thee would cause pain;

Jainism: A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated;

Buddhism: Hurt not others with that which pains yourself. ”

One of my favourite authors, Steven Rosen (Satyaraja Dasa) has written two very useful books in this connection: “Diet for Transcendence: Vegetarianism and the World Religions” & “Holy Cow: The Hare Krishna Contribution to Vegetarianism and Animal Rights.”

holy cow:

For an overview of this entire topic, in more detail, click here.

And finally, here’s a list of some representative books:

Keith Akers: The Lost Religion of Jesus
Rynn Berry: Food for the Gods:Vegetarianism & the World’s Religions
Philip Kapleau: To Cherish All Life
Stephen R. Kaufman and Nathan Braun: Good News for All Creation
Andrew Linzey: Animal Gospel
Al-Hafiz B.A. Masri: Animals in Islam
Vasu Murti: They Shall Not Hurt or Destroy
Norm Phelps: The Great Compassion: Buddhism and Animal Rights
Lewis G. Regenstein: Replenish the Earth
Steven Rosen: Diet for Transcendence:Vegetarianism and the World Religions
Steven Rosen: Holy Cow:The Hare Krishna Contribution to Vegetarianism and Animal Rights
Richard H. Schwartz: Judaism and Vegetarianism
David Sears: A Vision of Eden: Animal Rights and Vegetarianism in Jewish Law and Mysticism
Michael Tobias: Life Force:The World of Jainism
Paul Waldau: The Specter of Speciesism: Buddhist and Christian Views of Animals
Kerry Walters and Lisa Portmess (eds): Religious Vegetarianism: From Hesiod to the Dalai Lama.
Posted by Kurma on 12/5/08; 4:42:55 AM

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