Things to consider; sometimes it is hard to be a vegetarian

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.

My thoughts on being a vegetarian.

The following is a comment I left on in response to his question: To Meat or Not to Meat?

These are just my own thoughts — I would love to know your thoughts as well. — —

For me, I believe it boils down to the teaching of ’skillful means’ as well as ‘intention’.

Intention: If you kill an animal just to eat it, or, if it is killed specifically for your meal, I feel it to go somewhat against the 1st Precept of No Killing. I have vowed to try and live by the 5 Precepts.

Skillful means: This is where it would be permissible, according to my view of the Dharma. But, it is also where one must ask themselves what their own life dictates.

Example: A monastic that sustains their life from alms, would likely do so by using what is offered. Sometimes meat would be offered. Also, monastics that live in certain areas of the world would have a harder time sustaining a vegetarian lifestyle. Just a reality of this world.

I happen to live in Southern California — it is quite simple and accessible to live a vegetarian lifestyle. Therefore, my skillful means allow me to be a vegetarian. However, when I travel, I do find it difficult in some areas. (When I traveled to New Orleans again years ago after becoming a vegetarian, we’ll just say I ate a lot of bread, salad, and cheese pizza. hahaha) I have also taken Bodhisattva vows for this lifetime. In doing so, I find it important for my path to work as hard as possible to keep a compassionate mind. I cannot do so by sustaining my own life from the suffering and killing of other sentient beings. This keeps me being a vegetarian.

Now, having said all that, both my wife and my son do eat meat. This is something I cannot and will not change. It is a decision each individual must make on their own.

The path of Buddhism does not prosper by forcing others into one’s own way of thinking, but rather through living a life of compassion and helping others either through actions or examples.

….joining palms.