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The Dalai Lama Eats Meat

I heard it in nutrition class. Then again on the Buddhist group. Apparently the Buddha ate meat too. I looked up the Dalai Lama's meat habit and discovered that it's old news. He has been eating meat on and off for a very long time. Tibetan Buddhists apparently would rather not talk about it. It seems there is some embarrassment that their holy leader doesn't follow the entire doctrine. To some of them it is wrong to eat meat, that it is contradictory with the teaching of compassion for all living beings.

Some people think the Dalai Lama is a hypocrite. They say that he cannot be a Buddhist monk, or he cannot be enlightened, if he eats meat. To me the Dalai Lama is a man, and to me it does not appear that he is enlightened. Privileged, yes. Fulfilled. He has lived a blessed life and it is his duty to speak for what is right. What a wonderful duty to have, except when it's not utterly clear what is right. As in with eating meat.

I do not know if a person has to abstain from meat to become enlightened. It might be true. I have not seen enlightenment yet. And I do know that I feel different based on what and how much meat I eat. I can reach a cleaner and clearer state of mind on a light vegetarian diet. But I do not know how long my body would remain happy while my mind was enjoying the unpolluted atmosphere. I wonder if Buddhist belief that vegetarian is essential for enlightenment is based in long experience with meditation. Perhaps there is a difference in the quality of spiritual experience based on diet that underlies the belief. Just a theory.

the International Vegetarian Union seems to be tracking the mans diet carefully:



( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 31st, 2009 03:42 am (UTC)

Tibetan Buddhists often eat meat, and traditionally do, due to the climate and terrain of Tibet. It's westerners who have idealized the Dalai Lama and tried to force him into their privileged western ideas about "enlightened beings" that cause this trouble.
Oct. 31st, 2009 03:51 am (UTC)
I'm happy to read this as it jives with what my friends who've traveled in Tibet have told--that the dahl often contains meat fat, if not actual meat. And there is no doubt that in cold environments and long winters it would be truly difficult to sustain on veggies alone.
Oct. 31st, 2009 03:48 am (UTC)
In theory, the idea of getting proper nutrition from a diet that did not include meat has been available for thousands of years.

In practice, the ability to get proper nutrition from a diet that did not include meat is a 20th Century (western) notion.

Oct. 31st, 2009 03:53 am (UTC)
Hmmm. Do you mean by the word "notion" that you think it isn't really possible?
Oct. 31st, 2009 04:11 am (UTC)
Obviously in the Western world it is POSSIBLE. Millions of people do it.
Oct. 31st, 2009 04:21 am (UTC)
Millions of people are all different kinds of vegetarian, but I would wager that the majority of them do not enjoy optimal nutrition. Especially the vegans. Nearly every vegan will tell you that they know they need to get adequate B12 and folate. They just don't seem to DO it.

So are you vegetarian?
Oct. 31st, 2009 04:35 am (UTC)
I am not, by any stretch, a vegetarian. I do, however, really really like vegetarian cooking. I think that the use of spices, textures and colors in vegetarian cooking is amazing and totally beyond anything that meat-centered cooking has ever been able to come close to.

That having been said, however, I also really like to eat beef/pork/chicken/fish/octopus/lamb/venison/bear/moose/rabbit/squirrel and (if it's done right) partridge.

Those people who eat catfish, though, are sickos and must be stopped.
Oct. 31st, 2009 04:44 am (UTC)
Those people who eat catfish, though, are sickos and must be stopped.

I LOLed.
Nov. 1st, 2009 11:00 pm (UTC)
...it is also believed that when an enlightened being eats meat, that animal is liberated, so he would actually be considered to withhold blessings if he didn't, from some perspective...just worth considering...
Nov. 1st, 2009 11:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I hadn't heard that.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )



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