Abandon Eating Fish

Abandon Eating Fish

Date of Advice:
May 2021
Date Posted:
February 2023

This letter was sent to the owner of a guesthouse where Rinpoche stayed in Maratika, eastern Nepal. Rinpoche said if she could stop eating fish, he would offer thanks from the bottom of his heart on behalf of all the fish, who cannot speak.

My most dear, most kind, most precious, wish-fulfilling one,

Hello! How are you? I enjoyed very much my first time there at the guesthouse and I was very happy to introduce Dharma, which is the most important thing in the life for oneself and for all living beings, to free them from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring them to buddhahood.

When we were talking about meat, you said you don’t eat goat meat because you have compassion for the goats and feel it’s terrible to kill them, but then you said you don’t feel like that for fish, and you’ve been eating fish. Then you sort of said during our talk that you want to eat fish.

I have seen a video from time to time of two ducks feeding the fish. It’s wonderful, beautiful, the most beautiful thing. How the Buddhists will explain this is, yes, there are buddhas who have achieved the total cessation of gross obscurations and subtle obscurations and because of that, the holy mind became omniscient and achieved total realization where there’s nothing more to gain. 

As well, that mind has perfect power to help sentient beings according to their karma and in various forms, not only in the aspect of a buddha. It manifests not only in the aspect of a buddha but in ordinary aspect, and in all kinds of ordinary aspects, in order to bring beings to enlightenment, not only to free them from samsara.

They can be a buddha but can also manifest in any form of sentient being. They can be a manifestation of a buddha to help others. Also, even bodhisattvas who haven’t yet achieved buddhahood can do this. As bodhisattvas, there’s no self-cherishing thought, only cherishing others, meaning every hell being, every hungry ghost, every animal, every human, every sura and every asura being. There are numberless sentient beings in each realm, so toward everyone, they only cherish others. Then, among the bodhisattvas, there are ordinary bodhisattvas and higher bodhisattvas, exalted bodhisattvas who can manifest in various forms.

Generally, there can be animals who have a good heart, like people who have a good heart even though they don’t know Dharma. There are many Western people who haven’t met Buddhism, but they have a good heart. Without any expectation of getting some benefit for themselves, without that, they sincerely help others. There are many Western people like that. They have never met Buddhism, even though in Buddhism, the Buddha’s teachings explain not to harm but to benefit others. This is the most important thing, the essence of Dharma.

Imagine if you abandon eating fish. One person can eat many fish depending on their size, and they have to be killed. Some people eat live fish also. If I hear that now you won’t eat fish, then I’m really offering billions and billions and billions of thanks from the bottom of my heart to you. I’m thanking you on behalf of all the fish in the ocean, in the water. I’m their representative because they cannot speak, but I can speak now. At the moment I can speak, but in the future I cannot say. Maybe it is possible that I get reborn as a fish and can’t speak, even though I am tortured by human beings, by getting caught on a hook. Even if I move my body [the person who caught me on a hook] won’t feel much.

I’m very sorry that due to the situation of the COVID-19 virus the monks in our monastery contracted the virus, about one quarter of them. That’s why we cancelled and had to come back. We did prayers on the land for two days but not the actual puja. That’s next time.

If there’s anything I can do to help you, please let me know. Thank you very much. I hope to see you soon.

Please give my best regards to your husband. I’ll be sending letters to him. Thank you very much. I have a very important practice, a meditation [for him to do] first thing in the morning. I asked him if I should send it in English or do I need to translate it into Nepali. I don’t think I have in Nepali yet, only in English. If he wants it in Nepali, I will ask someone to translate it.

Thank you very much.