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Towards a Vegan-Based Ethic

Dismantling Neo-Colonial Hierarchy Through an Ethic of Lovingkindness

Micol Kates

The book draws links between colonial and neo-colonial power structures which have sought to maintain hierarchies of dominance, resulting in cruel practices towards people at the bottom of the hierarchy and animals, who, in a colonial mindset, only exist for human gain. To counter these harm-based ideologies, and practices, veganism, as an ethical movement, is seeking to give voice to all those who support animals, and the rights of animals, while also seeking to give a voice to animals themselves. Additionally, veganism seeks to challenge the old-guard power structures and cruel practices perpetuated by colonial and neo-colonial systems associated with the dominant Ego power structure. Vegan ethics represent a shift from the dominant Ego model of human relations represented by a pyramid of power towards an Eco model of human relationships in which all Beings have equal worth and agency.

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4. Buddhist Lovingkindness as a Path to Veganism


4 Buddhist Lovingkindness as a Path to Veganism

Much like veganism, whose goal is to do no harm to other beings, the Buddhist concept of metta, derived from the ancient language, Pali, translates into English as Lovingkindness. The aim of Lovingkindness, like veganism, is to do no harm. The Pali commentaries also known as the Tripitaka are “… the collection of the teachings of the Buddha over 45 years in the Pali language, and it consists of Sutta—conventional teaching, Vinaya—disciplinary code, and Abhidhamma—moral psychology” (Thera 1). In the Tripitaka, all beings, not just human beings, are recognized as having worth. Lovingkindness has eight precepts. As the Pali commentaries show, love and kindness are key:

One loves all beings:

(a) [B];y the non-harassment of all beings and thus avoids harassment;

(b) [B];y being inoffensive (to all beings) and thus avoids offensiveness;

(c) [B];y not torturing (all beings) and thus avoids torturing;

(d) [B];y the non-destruction (of all life) and thus avoids destructiveness;

(e) [B];y being non-vexing (to all beings) and thus avoids vexing;

(f) [B];y projecting the thought, “May all beings be friendly and not hostile”;

(g) [By projecting the thought, “May all beings be happy and not unhappy”;

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