It is shocking that hunting is a sport; people so casually mention and boast about it. How can being kind to an animal (say a dog) and killing another animal (say deer) be okay at the same time. How can hunting of living beings be okay? What is your view on hunting as a sport? I want to know your view because someone invited my husband to a hunting weekend away and I couldn’t get myself to be okay with it.
Aaron: The question is not if one hunts but how one hunts, the attitude of the hunter. There have been lifetimes in which I had to hunt and fish to eat and to feed my family. It was not a sport to me, but no different than eating of any living thing – the vegetables, grain and such, that are also living things. One invites food come forth, that which is willing to give of itself to feed others. One asks forgiveness for any harm and offers thanks for what has been given, as the life is taken, and when one eats this gift. Hunting in this way, whether a deer or the digging of root vegetables, does not carry unwholesome karma. When you buy carrots in the market, you are participating in this food chain. Do you eat those carrots with gratitude? Here there is no delight in killing, and no contracted energy of self versus other, just a grateful heart that invites and accepts what is offered and thanks that which gave itself to feed the self and loved ones. I know many people who hunt in this way. Barbara has received gifts of food from such friends, and also eaten it with gratitude. This honors the life that was given.
This is a very different mindset than hunting for sport, when one takes delight in the killing, as hunter and prey. Here there is unwholesome karma. The taking of any life mainly for the sense of conquering or power, of greed, carries unwholesome karma, whether or not the food acquired is eaten with gratitude. The hunter will reap the results of that karma.
Each will have to decide if they are ready, not to kill in this greed-based way. They may still hunt; the mindfulness and release of the separate self as part of the act is what is vital.
If your husband brings home food from the hunt, be sure to cook and eat it with gratitude.
My blessings and love, Aaron