"The mind, the Buddha, living creatures - these are not three different things."
from the Avatamasaka Sutra, The Buddha
"Every truly great accomplishment is at first impossible." Fortune Cookie
"Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve." Napoleon Hill
A Buddhist View of Vegetarianism
Does what you eat make a difference in how you feel? How about your spiritual life? Would you like to improve your spiritual advancement and connection with God? Ever thought about changing how you eat as a place to start healing within as well as in the outer world?
We live in a wealthy country (the USA). Why such a dependence on meat for food and flavor? It appears to be habit and unconscious erroneous thinking about what is good.
What is good for us? Let's look at some Buddhist teachings for some answers to this question. We'll start with the basic Buddhist Five Precepts:
1. Not to kill, but to protect
2. Not to steal, but to be generous
3. Not to indulge, but to be content
4. Not to lie, but to be truthful
5. Not to take intoxicants, but to be mindful
Buddhism recommends eating a vegetarian diet so that we do not kill or waste food needlessly. We have so many other sources of nutrition, especially in a wealthy country such as the USA.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama remarked: "In order to satisfy one human stomach, so many lives are taken away. We must promote vegetarianism. It is extremely important."
Not eating meat is a means to accellerate your spiritual path. If we eat meat, we are continually taking life and slowing our own spiritual advancement. Regarding improving your spiritual path, the Buddha said in the Dhammapada: "If a person does not harm any living being. and does not kill or cause others to kill, that person is a true spiritual practitioner." The Buddha
Remember that the animals that are raised for food are suffering. The chickens live in a horrendous environment in crowded cages. They are fed chemicals and hormones. The animals are filled with fear and trauma before they are executed. Those hormones and emotions are in the meat that people then eat. How do you think this will make you feel? Wouldn't you rather eat in a manner that does the least harm and prevents the suffering of others?
The following is an excerpt from the writings of the Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh.
We Are What We Eat
Excerpt from "A Lifetime of Peace, Essential Writings by & About Thich Nhat Hanh"
"Our anger, our frustration, our despair, have much to do with our bodies and the food we eat. We must work out a strategy of eating, of consuming to protect ourselves from anger and violence. Eating is an aspect of civilization. The way we grow our food, the kind of food we eat, and the way we eat it have much to do with civilization because the choices we make can bring about peace and relieve suffering.
The food we eat can play a very important role in our anger. Our food may contain anger. When we eat the flesh of an animal with mad cow disease, anger is there in the meat. But we must also look at the other kinds of food we eat. When we eat an egg or a chicken, we know that the egg or chicken can contain a lot of anger. We are eating anger, and therefore we express anger.
Nowadays, chickens are raised in large-scale modern farms where they cannot walk, run, or seek food in the soil. They are solely fed by humans. They are kept in small cages and cannot move at all. Day and night, they have to stand. Imagine that you have no right to walk or to run. Imagine that you have to stay day and night in just one place. You would become mad. So the chickens become mad.
In order for the chickens to produce more eggs, the farmers create artificial days and nights. They use indoor lighting to create a shorter day and night so that the chickens believe that 24 hours have passed, and then they produce more eggs. There is a lot of anger, a lot of frustration, and much suffering in the chickens. They express their anger and frustration by attacking the other chickens next to them. They use their beaks to peck and wound each other. They cause each other to bleed, to suffer and to die. That is why farmers now cut the beaks off all the chickens... So when you eat the flesh or egg of such a chicken, you are eating anger and frustration. So be aware." Thich Nhat Hanh.
If you think that animals are only animals and not important, then think again. We are all part of the same earth and life force. What effects us effects them and vice versa. We are one.
Reflection on Food
The Five Contemplations
by Thich Nhat Hanh
1. This food (and drink) is the gift of the whole universe, the Earth, the sky, and so much hard work.
2. May we eat in such a way as to be worthy to receive it.
3. May we transform our unskillful states of mind and learn to eat in moderation.
4. May we take only food that nourishes us and prevents illness.
5. We accept this food in order to realize the path of understanding (Wisdom) and love (Compassion).
This cup of tea (or bowl of food) in my hands; mindfulness is held uprightly!
Let's ponder the choices we make about food and how it affects not only our own bodies but how it affects us and other living beings. The food we eat affects us emotionally, mentally and spiritually as well. We all share this earth together, lets live in peace and harmony with all living beings and our earth. When choose healthy diet and life choices, we all benefit. Together we are rasing the conciousness of this planet.
Below are some thoughts from some great Buddhist teachers, The Buddha, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh.
Healthy Diet - Heathy Lifestyle - Eat and Live in Harmony With Nature
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