I’ve been a strict vegetarian for a bit more than 8 years now. My decision was based on a few things; namely health, and it just made sense to my Buddhist practice. It is in no way a “commandment” but it just seems to fit for me. I wrote a post a while back with my thoughts on being a vegetarian, if you’re interested in reading it.
Over the years being a vegetarian hasn’t been that hard. My wife is not a vegetarian, but her and I made adjustments. I have been so fortunate to be married to an amazing wife who was willing to make those adjustments with me. Even when my son was born it just wasn’t that hard.
I know a few of my #OMCru Twitter sangha is considering the change and am extremely supportive in their decisions. Like I said before it is in no way a commandment in Buddhism; it is a personal choice — like every part of ones practice. I do consider it a very important part of my practice, but lately, it is a hard decision from time to time and I wanted to offer any insight I have to others. I would never tell anyone not to become a vegetarian, but there are many things to consider.
Yesterday was a good example. It was my son’s first day of 2nd grade. When we picked him up we told him he could choose anywhere he liked and we would go for lunch. He wanted Mc Donalds. I explained to him that Daddy cannot eat anything there except ice cream, and I really needed lunch. (no, can’t even eat fries there as I believe they still use beef fat to fry them) Of course he wasn’t happy about this, but reluctantly switched his choice over to In N Out.
Also, it is sometimes a challenge for my wife when grocery shopping. She always manages very well, but I know it is a challenge to work around 1 third of the family having a special diet. I really appreciate all her efforts and am honestly troubled by how I make things difficult.
This is my point; because of my choice of lifestyle, someone else had to not get what they wanted (yes one may be better that the other health-wise, but not the point), or, I make certain aspects of life challenging on loved ones.
Now, I do presently intend to continue on the path as a vegetarian for now. I can’t say what the future holds in that department, but my present intention is to stay. But, causes and conditions are far and wide; and something to really look at deeply.
I wish all my sangha friends the best in their decisions.