Ignorance is only blissful…
till your negative karma ripens.
Recently, there is a video link (http://mercyforanimals.org/hatchery) in circulation, related to a news report (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/zeph/message/1294) on how 200 million male chicks are yearly bred and killed at birth in the US alone – simply because they are seen as useless, since they will neither be profitably meaty fast enough, nor able to bear any eggs. That they are simply tossed alive into grinders is the usual practice of the cruel egg industry! All egg-bearing hens get killed for their meat when deemed unproductive too. Egg-eating is thus almost as morally culpable as chicken-eating – a matter of life and death. The point of the video is to highlight the seldom seen dark side behind animal produce. There is no happy ending for the helpless in the mechanised world of animal exploitation. But we can all lessen this madness by voting for kinder animal-free meals.
A friend wondered if there is any negative karma created by egg-eaters, who have no intentions to torture or kill any animal, who assume that eggs are just harmless by-products, when the truth is that many chick(en)s are sacrificed just for a few eggs. Since negative karma is created only via intentional action, those who ate eggs without knowledge of the harsh reality involved in their production should be free from the associated negative karma. Here is the pivoting point though – If you are an egg-eater, and now that you realise the bloodiness of the egg trade, then, from this very moment onwards, every egg purposely chosen for consumption does create some negative karma. Though it is not as intense as the karma from direct killing, it is karma from supporting killing by perpetuating demand. The greater the wilful neglect of these simple economics of greed, the greater the negative karma there is.
Does this mean that ignorance is bliss? It might be – but only for a short while. There are three kinds of ignorance – (1) circumstantial lack of knowledge (e.g. when a baby), (2) delusional interpretation of truth (e.g. when misled by others), and (3) intentional ignoring of truth, when it is stumbled upon, that others are harmed for one. While (1) and (2) are ‘pardonable’ when growing up, (3) surely creates negative karma. Note that even a baby ignorant about fire might be burnt when past karma ripens, as ignorance of truths (e.g. that fire hurts) and karma does not exempt one from natural karmic effects. One might think it is more compassionate to not share the truth about eggs, so as to prevent others from wilfully creating negative karma. However, to intentionally conceal the truth when the knowledge of it can save many lives creates negative karma too. If so, may all truths which spur the rise of compassion spread far and wide!
Whatever living beings there may be –
feeble or strong, long, stout, or of medium size, short, small, large…
may all beings be happy-minded…
Just as a mother would protect her only child with her life
even so let one cultivate a boundless love towards all beings.
– The Buddha (Metta Sutta)