Since I knew he has dabbled in vegan-ism, I sent an e-mail to my baby bro asking him if he had seen the Earthlings video.
He wrote back saying he wouldn’t wish that video on his worst enemy, if he had any enemies.
Then I receive this e-mail (see below) I asked him if I could post it, and got no reply back, so I will take that as a yes. 🙂
Mind you, my baby bro is 3 years younger than me, gruff like our dad, and unless provoked won’t talk much, but I’m so amazed by his articulation and knowledge and am so proud of the way he has grown up.
*as kids, I loved beating him up*
Our Lama gave a talk on meat eating the day of my refuge ceremony…
What he basically said was, that as spiritual people we should have reverence for all sentient life. The problem with choosing different diets is that all of them in one way or another force us to accept certain types of beings lives as higher than others, which is a hindrance to our development of compassion. No one diet avoids killing.
Only not eating anything avoids killing other beings, and that, in turn kills ourselves.
When vegetables are harvested many deaths inevitably occur…we aren’t talking about plants, mind you, but sentient beings. Anyone who has worked around harvesting machines, for example, can tell you of many times when they find parts of some animal or another that was in the field when the harvesting took place.
Not to mention millions and millions of insects (see…there is the hard part…when you believe in rebirth, you have to understand that the insects are as much a sentient life form as any other…that is hard) killed either during the harvesting or with the many chemicals used in modern agriculture (those kill larger animals too…believe me).
The point is, he said, that you have to have gratitude for whatever is on your plate, and you have to understand that lives were lost to get it there – weather it is a steak or a carrot.
There are some Tibetan Buddhist Lamas who teach that you are doing the best thing to honor the animal by eating it, as it’s life otherwise will have been taken pointlessly.
The Buddha himself – who ate meat, or anything else that was given to him with much gratitude – gave his followers three simple qualifications for the meat they eat:
1. Eat nothing you killed yourself (which is due to the negative karma of killing, and is why I don’t go fishing anymore) 2. Eat nothing you saw or heard being killed 3. Eat nothing you know was killed specifically for you.
He also taught that if you are given food – which was the only way he and his monks ever ate – that you accept it and you eat it, no matter what it is, because not doing so would be a great insult to those who gave it to you. In some parts of the world monks still live this way – eating only what is given to them – and people in the villages make extra food for the monks who pass by their homes. Often there is meat involved, and it is always eaten with a smile.
The Dalai Lama gets a lot of flak from vegetarian and vegan folks because, though he considers himself a vegetarian, he eats what he is given, and at the homes of world leaders and places like that he is more often than not served meat. I understand he recently had some veal at the UN that he seemed to quite enjoy. This upsets some folks, but they are folks who don’t understand who he is or the teachings he follows.
The problems with modern factory farming are based almost entirely on greed. The desire to get more animals through in less time and make more profit leads to sloppy handling of the animals and therefore to a great deal of suffering by the animals themselves. I have a few books on this you can check out if you want. People who kill for a living become desensitized to what they are doing and the pain they are causing.
The immediate need is to slow the work down and make sure the suffering of these animals is kept to a minimum, or ended altogether. This requires somehow convincing the public that all live is equal – and since most folks don’t think that about other human beings, animals don’t have too good of a chance right now. As all things are connected…learning to respect and care for each other will lead to the same for animals and the same for the planet and than even maybe to the same for ourselves.
Any one of those steps without the others is a foolish waste of energy, I think.
Still…don’t get me wrong…eating less or no meat is a great way to live…and it does help us be more compassionate – as well as being a decision that is made with compassion to begin with – just don’t let it make you look down on others not making the same choice. I made that mistake. We call that “Spiritual Materialism” and it does no one any good.
Want some veggie cookbooks?