Becoming vegetarian after studying Dharma
As, Gary L. Francine has said, “Veganism is not just a diet. It is not just a “lifestyle.” It is a non-violent act of defiance. It is a refusal to participate in the oppression of the innocent and the vulnerable. It is a rejection of the insidious idea that harming other sentient beings should be considered a “normal” part of life. It represents a paradigm shift toward a new default position that violence for pleasure, amusement, or convenience can never be justified,” we humans often view consuming flesh of other sentient being as a natural way of surviving – just a diet that we, as a part of the ecosystem, have evolved to act in the scheme of survival. But, as a being with the extraordinary ability to be aware of our own consciousness and our environment, with all the ideas of morality and ethics, we have to act differently than those helpless beings that are not alike us. People often choose to become vegetarian on different grounds varying from parental preferences, religious or other similar beliefs and some due to health issues. As for me, I chose to become vegetarian on Buddhist philosophical ground, a system of thought that emphasizes negative and positive impacts according to one’s karma – the actions that we have carried out in this and previous lives.
Lord Buddha, in his teachings, told his followers not to consume flesh of other sentient beings revealing that such an act or karma reaps undesirable experiences to oneself in this and future lives. He further taught his followers that since we all have had uncountable lives wandering in this samsara, possibly every sentient being has once been our parents or closed companions. Thus, one should regard them with genuine respect and pray for them to have a better life and be blessed with utmost happiness. In keeping the view of Buddha’s teaching, it made me recognize my inner self and the negative outcome of being non-vegetarian. I came to realize that the journey I was taking till date wasn’t a correct one, so I chose to become vegetarian.
Moreover, our college founder, Venerable Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche always talks about essence of loving, kindness and compassion which has helped me to further understand the positivity of being selfless and considerate to other sentient beings. More eminently, the lord Buddha himself has taught the vast negative and undesirable effects of torturing and consuming other sentient being in one’s life. There is a term ‘Lay Judray’ in Buddhist context that is translated widely as ’cause and effect’ but has a different connotation than that of the english equivalent. It is not the mere do good and reap good motto but has an element of karma embedded unlike the English version of just cause and effect. The ‘karma’ element comprises not just the act that we might act upon or are acting upon presently but also the innumerable acts that we have been accumulating from the beginning less time of samsara. The current situation that we are and the future condition of our being is all predicted by the karma that we accumulate and have accumulated. If a person comes to understand the vast meaning and implications of ‘Lay Judray’ then that person will have a high tendency to understand the whole idea and influence positive changes in oneself and others alike. There are around five types of vegetarianism depending on diet consumed. It includes vegetarians who does not consume meat at all, those consuming just poultry or fish, lacto-ovo vegetarian who eats dairy products and eggs, lacto vegetarian who eats dairy products but not eggs, ovo vegetarian who eats eggs but not dairy products and vegan who does not eat eggs, dairy and other animal products including honey. However, one has every right to choose which type of vegetarian or diet you want to subscribe to. In my case, I chose to become vegan.