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Buddhadharma : Winter 2008
buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly winter 2 0 08 20 only food sources. If you could not eat meat, your diet was meager; therefore people developed the habit of relying upon meat for survival. Tibetans are very careful not to harm or kill a mouse, a mosquito, or any liv- ing being. They are quite aware of pre- serving and protecting the lives of other beings. But as far as food and survival are concerned, meat has historically been an essential food source. Because of this, many prayers are said on behalf of the animals that are killed for food, and while alive, the animals are treated with respect. Once they are dead, man- tras are carved on their bones, which are then put in high places. According to tantric practices, the tantric practitioner is supposed to eat meat, to transcend the mind that catego- rizes what is to be accepted and what is to be rejected. However, that does not mean that one does not have compas- sion for all beings and pray for their liberation from the suffering of cyclic existence. When many Tibetan exiles came to India and Nepal, there were more food choices available, but the habit of eating meat remained. It is a cultural pattern. In my upbringing in the monastery in India, I was vegetarian mostly due to poverty. Upon leaving the monastery, I often ate meat. Currently there is an educational movement underway within the Tibetan refugee populations of Nepal and Tibet that conveys, through video and discus- sion, the cruel treatment of animals in the meat industry. This is leading to a change among the younger generations of Tibetans who are choosing to break the cultural pattern and become veg- etarians. Through the influence of this information, and since I live in the West where there are abundant food choices, I now choose to eat as a vegetarian. As far as my students are concerned, while I may gradually encourage them to consider becoming vegetarians, I don’t want to judge them. I believe that through personal reflection, one should develop one’s own motivation to change a habit. Up to 35% off the regular price of the stunningly beautiful giclée prints of dharma art from the pages of our magazines. All prints are archival quality. You’ll find artwork by renowned artists such as Thich Nhat Hanh, Hassan Massoudy, Jakusho Kwong-roshi, Don Farber, and Chögyam Trungpa. ff tthheee of tthheee utiffuull nts ooff froom m m m es ooff ineess.. hivvaaall finnddd wneeddd ch aasss Hannhh,, ouddyyy,, oshhi,, , annddd ngppaaa.. FROM THE PAGES OF THE SHAMBHALA SUN HOLIDAY SALE – UP TO 35% SAVINGS Give the gift of art that expresses the dharma. Available now at significant savings at: www.shambhalasun.com VISIT THE SHAMBHALA SUN ONLINE GALLERY www.shambhalasun.com An independent, nonprofit corporation. Publishers of the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly. with the Art You Love Celebrate!