But we are. We are...
(Click image for larger view.)
I had been taught, I distinctly remember, that amoebas and other protozoa were animals because they could move. But evidently mushrooms are closer to us on the tree of life. And mushrooms were plants. But evidently the multicellular nature of mushrooms and their chitin cell-walls makes them closer relatives, as well as their rRNA.
It's kind of cool I'm getting to the age when "all the stuff they taught us in school is wrong!"
But let's get back to Buddhism for a minute.
Here's a "Tree of Life," with groupings partitioned as per closeness of rRNA; other metrics could likely be employed as well (I'm thinking of a variation of Hamming Distance on DNA, e.g.).
Have I lost anyone yet? ☺
OK, well forget about the Hamming Distance, except to think of it as a distance between life forms.
Doesn't given this tree make it seem a bit arbitrary to say it's OK to eat these things but not these?
As I say a bit often on this blog, when it comes to vegetarianism, one should look at the larger context of health and maximize all of life in this regard.
One thing I will never criticize the Dalai Lama or others for is whether they eat meat or not.
Acknowledgment: PZ Myers.