Becoming Vegetarian

Becoming Vegetarian

Date Posted:
August 2013

A student wrote to advise that after hearing about Rinpoche’s stroke, he became a vegetarian.

My very dear Thomas,
Thank you numberless times for your prayers dedicated to me, but please dedicate to all sentient beings, particularly to those who are suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. Also, please dedicate for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and all the holy beings in the world who benefit others. Dedicate also for the Sangha, the benefactors of the Sangha and all sentient beings who recite OM MANI PADME HUM, as well as for those who do good things for others, and for the long life of those who practice morality.

Regarding your suggestion, I am going to think how to do this within FPMT. However, my request will be that it is voluntary to become vegetarian for this lifetime or at least for a certain number of years. You can’t say that nobody in this world should eat meat—you can’t do that; it is a little bit crazy.

There are many persons—buddhas, bodhisattvas, dakas and dakinis—who benefit others, but aren’t vegetarian. Some bodhisattvas eat meat and some don’t eat meat—it is their choice, to do whatever is most beneficial for sentient beings. Their decision is made on the basis of benefiting sentient beings, not because they like to eat meat. They have a great purpose to benefit sentient beings, and some are vegetarian and some are not.

Here I am referring to asking ordinary sentient beings to be vegetarian—ordinary sentient beings, just like myself—especially those who like to eat meat.

Some people have health problems and may have to eat meat. Some people are like this, but not the majority. For example, one of my gurus, Ribur Rinpoche, lived in Tibet and ate meat. He took the aspect of sickness in America at one FPMT center, the Land of Medicine Buddha. At that center you cannot eat meat, so they did not even offer it to Rinpoche, but a Tibetan lady brought meat quietly and only then Rinpoche took the aspect of recovering. So there are situations like this. Also ordinary beings sometimes depend on meat to be healthy, so we need to be careful and make exceptions.

My main thinking is that if more people become vegetarian, then there are less animals killed, so people create less negative karma and there is less suffering for animals.

With much love and prayers and thank you very, very, very much for all your dedication and your courage...