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Life and Its Eternal Transience

“If you suffer, it is not because things are impermanent. It is because you believe things are permanent.”

I’ve been staring at the line, from the venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, for over an hour and a half. Between glancing at the screen constantly, catching random scenes of “It” (the movie by Stephen King) all the while going back and forth deleting / restarting this post numerous times thinking I’m ready to proceed. “It” was meant as a mind-freeing, or mind-numbing distraction so I could write this but, well; that hasn’t worked out too well.

The unenviable truth is that this past few weeks, better yet months, has seen suffering rise to a level I thought I had once absolved in my life. Things had gone really well for a while. Home life had been great. We bought a house. I keep progressing at my job and am privileged to earn as much, or as little, as I want to as I work for a fantastic company. We had recently adopted a couple new dog friends. Everyone seemed to be happy. With all of that, I finally felt like everything I had been working so hard for was finally starting to come to fruition.

One day I left for work and our cat Agatha was laying in her usual place, behind the mailbox in the front garden. I took a pic of her since the light was hitting her just right and she looked full of life. That was the last time I saw her. Later that day we couldn’t find her. She wouldn’t come in at night like she usually does. Things didn’t feel right and I knew she wasn’t coming home.

She never did.

Last night our other cat, Itsy, was meowing at the front door to come in. I let her in and instantly I could see she was limping. She was a lot more vocal than usual as well. I picked her up and she didn’t struggle, which was unusual because she hates being picked up. Her front right paw felt a little cold so I thought maybe she was sleeping under a bush and the paw had fallen asleep. I gave her about another 10-15 minutes to not only warm up, but hopefully get the circulation going back to the foot.

That never happened.

I called Leah at work and asked her to come home so I could bring Itsy to the all night emergency vet clinic. When she got home, my son Alex and I took Itsy to get help. The cold paw was indicative of something tragic, and we were about to find out it was not something we would want to hear; at all. It was a blood clot brought on by advanced stages of heart disease. This blew my mind as Itsy was an extremely healthy cat. Minus check-ups, she never had to see a vet for anything and never presented any signs of distress. This blood clot was in her lower leg, per the vet, the next one (which would come soon) may not be as forgiving.

The next clot could present anywhere. It could show up in another leg. Her lungs. Maybe it’d show up in an eye or even her brain and cause seizures. That was when we were given the bad news that the vet recommended euthanasia. Leah and Colin came down to say their goodbyes and then they went home, Alex also went with them.

I had been given a box with Itsy’s lifeless body inside and a bill to pay for the visit including the diagnosis, some pain medication to make her feel better until a decision could be made, then the cost of the euthanasia. All the “we are so sorry” comments were helpful and appreciated from the staff, but it felt so cold and blasé.

Early this morning, I buried the box in one of her favorite spots. She loved to soak up the sun in one of the gardens. I hope she can still feel the warm sun.

There is so much more to say, there’s so much more to share. That will have to wait. For now, I reluctantly internalize this suffering and cope with the impermanence of it all.

Life is not static, it changes and I get that.

THAT I can deal with.

…more to come… some day

 

Ragnar ADK 2018: The Impact

PREFACE: This is the second part of my race report, you can view part one at http://vegancableguy.com/ragnar-adk-2018-the-race/

To say this race was a success wouldn’t be the half of it. This race was amazing not only for the running and camaraderie but for the advocacy. Every race we get the usual “but bacon bro” calls and my team had someone tell us how his team would be “Carnivore Power.” Even though we had some of those comments this one felt different, at least for me. People seemed more open to approaching us and questioned how we were all so fast. They were greeted with kindness from each and every one of us.

I believe wholeheartedly that we represented the movement in the best way we could. There was no militancy or condescension. There was plenty of cordiality, thoughtfulness and informed restraint. That said, there was one defining moment for me and those of you on the team already heard Peter speak about it after the race, but for readers I’m going to explain what happened.

One of the exchanges was at a farm. Not just any farm though, a full-blown working dairy farm; King Brothers Dairy. You can imagine how disheartening it was to roll up on this place and know what was going on. While the workers were happy to walk around and talk about how “kindly” their animals were treated, the fact is that no matter the amount of subterfuge, the cows still don’t want to be forcibly impregnated, have their calves taken away and then be painfully milked for the pleasure of human beings. We all know the cycle continues until they are of no use and then are sent to slaughter. The males have no use from the get go so they get placed in small crates; veal crates.

Peter and I walked over to the side of one of the buildings and noticed a calf was walking around. We both looked at one another kind of perplexed. We wondered if it was maybe some sort of mascot that was allowed to roam, but we quickly figured out it was a crate escapee when we saw the crates just behind him. He was walking around frantically looking toward a spot where some older cows were. Those cows were knee-deep in water and were tied by a rope to a bar; obviously they weren’t allowed to roam either. The calf started walking toward us and got really close to Peter before he turned around, took a couple of steps and let out a heart-wrenching bellow. A chorus of bellows followed coming from the crates as the other babies started crying out for their mothers.

I was overwhelmed with emotion.

My heart was aching.

I have never EVER witnessed anything like this before.

Quickly some farms workers came over and corralled the calf and took him away. I will never forget that moment. I’ve of course seen the videos of this stuff and have been disheartened by them, but to witness it goes beyond that. It was real and it was raw; I will never forget the sound those babies made.

Now onto something a bit more lighthearted…

Our Sunday celebration was once again held at Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary.  We shared pizza, stories and tons of love with the animals of the farm. It’s always amazing to me how settled in the animals are. Considering the fact most come from abusive situations or from factory farms or even from the Kaporos ritual, their trust in humanity is still there.

Peter, Gabby and all the volunteers do such a great job caring for these animals. Whether the animal needs rehabbing, veterinary care or just a hug they get everything they need there on the sanctuary. The animals are unconditionally loved and are treated equally and fairly. They live out their lives in an environment that is worthy of their lives.

After such a debilitating experience at the dairy farm, it was nice to decompress and see what vegan activism and advocacy can do. I left the farm feeling good about the weekend but also wondering what can be done to help close places like that dairy farm down. No baby, regardless of species, should be forcibly taken away from their mothers so another species can steal their bodily secretions.

The most logical answer is to go vegan; it’s that simple. There are so many different kinds of milks to drink that do not cause any harm. I prefer soy but others like almond milk. Maybe you like oat milk, or hemp milk. Hell you can have flax milk if you like or even coconut. The fact of the matter is this, you don’t need to drink the bodily fluids of another species when you can drink plenty of other products. For one, you are not a baby cow and that stuff doesn’t belong to you in the first place.

Go vegan!

Please enjoy these photos (below) from the celebration at Tamerlaine and if you can please donate to them by going to their site at https://tamerlainefarm.org/donate/

 

 

Compassion on the Mat?

I debated writing this article for a few hours yesterday before deciding to start writing it; 24 hours later here are some simple thoughts.

Many of my friends practice yoga and some are even yoga teachers. Some are vegan, some are not. And on both sides of that, people are of course passionate about the beliefs they hold. I’m not looking to argue or offend, just looking to put some perspective on an issue I don’t think is conducive to one of the basic tenets of yoga; ahimsa. I’m not trying to preach, I’m honestly curious to understand the rationale behind this; read on.

I’m new to yoga myself and am still learning and adjusting to the ideas behind it. From what I understand, yoga is not a religion as much as it is a mindful practice; but three major religions (Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism) do pull from some of the ancient sutras (texts). As an unaffiliated Buddhist, I know a fair share of the teachings, again, most of them are the same or slight variations of one another. The “Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” list 5 yamas, or ethical ideals in which to live. The very first, and this is important, is ahimsa. Simply defined, ahimsa means non-violence or not harming sentient beings. So, maybe you see where this is going.

That said, I was in a class yesterday and the teacher talked about their vacation and how their family had gone down to a horse racing track and joked about the money they lost; however minuscule the “bet” was. There was chuckling among the yogis in the room, not from my mat though as I was confused and a bit let down.

I put the word bet in quotes because I’m not really sure what was being bet on. I understand gambling, I’m not that daft. The purpose is to choose the horse that finishes first; I get it. But peeling back the layers and looking at the whole situation, where is your bet money going? Who does it benefit and what does that have to do with yoga class?

I’ve been following a group called “Horseracing Wrongs” for a while now and they’ve said what I had intended to say in a much more eloquent manner:

“To those who wager on horseracing, we implore you to reconsider. And ultimately, you hold all the cards – no more bets, no more races; no more races, no more kills. And – no more abusing unformed bodies; no more extreme, relentless confinement; no more whipping; no more drugging and doping; no more buying and selling and trading and dumping. No more auctions, no more kill-buyers, no more transport trucks, no more abattoirs. No more maiming, destroying; pain, suffering. No more.

In a landscape that abounds with other gambling options – casinos, lotteries, real sports involving autonomous human beings – hasn’t the time at long last arrived to let the racing horse be? You, the bettor, have within the capacity for mercy. We ask only that you exercise it. Please. For the horses.”

I’m not trying to nitpick, or try to say this teacher is a bad person, I just don’t see the use for this type of talk in a space that is supposed to be filled with grace, compassion and loving-kindness. I really like this teacher, I go their class each week because they teach in a way that helps me understand the motions and poses. Will it deter me from going back? I don’t think it will, but maybe I will try to talk to this person and bring it up in a passive way that is kind to both of us, and to animals affected by the lack of ahihmsa in this situation. Maybe not, we shall see.

I know some folks may say, “well that’s what they do on their time and they are free to choose to do whatever they like.” While I find that to be true and agree, again we go back to basics and look at the sutras; don’t we? That’s where it all starts and without a foundation that is truthful and unwavering how can this not go unchecked?

I despise militancy and I apologize if this comes off that way. I’m just finding more and more holes in traditional religions and practices that are supposed to start and end with non-violence yet ingest animals, wear animals or bet on animals that die of a variety of conditions being forced to run around and around in a  circle for the pleasure of a human being looking to make a fast buck.

I get it, you believe it’s your choice and you can eat, wear and do whatever. I can tell you that karmic energy is still created ingesting that suffering, ingesting that fear. When you find peace on your plate, you find peace in your soul.

I’m curious how you would handle this situation?

*** featured image borrowed from Horseracing Wrongs

The Importance of Community

I’ve been working out some personal, in my head stuff lately, just getting things “right” if you will. I have been feeling lost again. While my wife and kids are always here for me, and support me in many ways; there are other things that are missing.

I’m not super social and when I try I’m awkward at best. Rarely will you catch me out anywhere and if you do, it’s at the store and I’m headed home as quick as I can. This is all a bit odd as I work in a customer service oriented business. Although the interactions with the public are cordial and courteous, there is no connection there so it’s over and done with as soon as I leave the business or home.

This weekend I hosted my second vegan potluck here on Cape Cod. We had a great group of folks, maybe 20-25 attended. There was food and great conversation happening all over the place. There’s something tremendous happening here on Cape Cod, and this group is at the helm of it. Many people got up and talked about the things that are planning and how they pushing forward in helping this movement grow in their own way.

One of the other attendees, Jason, spoke about his story and how he got to where he is now not only with veganism, but in his life. It was inspiring hearing him talk and to have the confidence in sharing such an intimate story.

Before he got up and spoke I took a brief moment and shared a tiny bit about myself. I had so much more to say, but my anxiety got the best of me.

All that said, by the end of the night I was aware of the ease that I felt. This community, and the running group I belong too, have really helped me come out of my shell. I can talk to people while actually looking them in the eye. While a remedial task to many, those of us who are overly self-conscious it can be a big deal. For years my wife has mentioned how I need to do it more often it’s easier said than done.

The point of this post is that community, no matter how big or how often you see them, can be extremely reassuring and encouraging. It’s extremely important to come out of your shell every now and again, and I’m learning that the world isn’t the nasty place we all think it is. There are some great people out there.

I’m curious if sharing posts like this are worthy content or not? Is this something anyone is even interested in reading?

Buster and Masters Story: Adopt, Don’t Shop

Years ago we had our first experience with a Great Pyrenees (GP) specific dog. We instantly fell in love with the breed. To some they may seem obstinate at times, that’s one of the things that we like about them. I think they are a “thinking person’s” breed as they are certainly more cerebral than some breeds.

After purchasing our home, we decided it was time to start looking into getting a GP. While we were certain this was the only breed for us, we did not go to a breeder, we chose to adopt. The first search we did showed a bonded pair of Pyr’s, Buster and Master. Buster is a 4-year-old GP and Master is 6. They both came from Tennessee and had quote a rough life before being picked up and rescued. From what we understand, they were in a high kill shelter and were on the precipice of being taken from the world; luckily that didn’t happen.

Fast forward… We started the adoption process.

There was a couple of things we had to do first before being approved to adopt these beautiful boys. One of the major things was finishing the fencing in our yard; they had to have a completely enclosed yard. We got that done and had a member of the adopting group come by and approve what we had done, and approve our home for being fit for Buster and Master.

Shortly after, we were able to meet the boys as they were being fostered only two hours away from us. They had been in a foster home for two months and their foster mom was absolutely amazing. She loved and cared for them so much, it was evident. My wife, sons and I fell in love with them and knew we had to have them join our family.

A week later, after our final approval, the boys came home. They’ve now been in our home for 24 hours and we could not be happier. They are both very kind animals and have even met, and got along with, our two cats. This situation has been so perfectly orchestrated. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for these boys. One thing I’d love to see is Master gain a bit of weight. Seems he has had a hard time putting it on, but with enough love and care I’m sure he will turn around.

There are so many animals out there, even breed specific dogs, that need good homes. My family is proof that you do not have to go to a breeder to get the animal that fits your wants and needs. If you are looking for a particular breed, they are out there. They need homes too. A lot of them have horrible stories and they deserve your love and care. Please consider adoption when looking ot add a member to your home.

Thank you to the folks at the National Pyr Rescue, the process has been smooth and absolutely professional from the beginning. Thank you to the folks we directly dealt with such as Susan, Mona, Ali and their foster mom, Colleen. Thank you for taking such great care of the boys, we love them! Please check out the gallery below of their first few hours with us.

 

Yoga Challenge; Second Week

I haven’t mentioned anything here, but if you follow me on Facebook you know that I’ve recently started a 30 day yoga challenge. I’ve been following a series of videos by a guy named Tim that are 30 minutes or less and fit with my schedule just perfectly. Today is day 8 and, sorry Tim, I skipped the video for a session at my local yoga studio.

It was a great start for the second week.

The class was a Power Yoga Flow class with Bill from Power Yoga Cape Cod in Dennisport. I’ve been to PYCC a few times but it’s been a minute since I last dropped in for a class. Bill’s class was welcoming, warm and witty. The three w’s weren’t intentional but they work, haha! When I say warm I mean that in a few ways. Bill’s personality is very encompassing and makes you feel like you are hanging out with an old friend who’s teaching you some great movements. Also, warm comes from the fact the room was toasty to say the least. Within a few poses I was dripping like a siv; it was warm.

My point is not to review the class nor the videos but to talk about what I’m getting out of this practice. I think Wanderlust was a great kick-start for me to get back into a more centered practice. For years I was a devout Buddhist practitioner. Like I’ve mentioned in a few different posts though, the dogma got to me and I strayed far away from it in an official capacity. I’ve stuck with the basic premise of the philosophy and that’s to cause the least amount of suffering as possible.

Where I’ve kind of become more absent recently is the fact I’ve lost myself in a way. Dogma or not, the practice always felt like home to me. Whether I was sitting in a group or at home, being present felt real and engaged with my inner being. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been aware of what’s going on and still maintain a level of mindfulness but lacking a practice meant it took more work and effort; it was more fluid when I was “in the zone” for lack a better description.

Buddhist practice, like yoga practice, is about finding what works for you. It sounds like a very selfish thing but it is far from it. Without a solid foundation of self there can never truly be a way to help others.

That’s where vegan activism comes into play a bit here; let me explain.

While I’m not active in the sense where I’m holding up signs or working a cube, sacrificing one’s own health and happiness for a cause is detrimental to one’s health and detrimental to the ability to serve others. I’ve watched many videos or read articles where the word “sacrifice” is dangled around like it’s a trophy or badge of honor. Let me tell you this though folks, if you are not taking care of yourself you are not taking care of your cause. The animals need us to be sharp and strong. We need to have tact when dealing with others and their opinions versus the facts. If you are not centered, balanced and healthy (both physically and mentally) than you are of no benefit.

This goes for everything in our lives too. As a father, I’m learning I cannot be fully present for my children without being present with me. As a loving husband I cannot be present with the love and light my wife deserves unless I’m willing to give that same love and light to myself. This is not selfish folks, treating ourselves with love is a necessity for true happiness.

I leave you guys with the following quote and a question…

The quote comes from Thich Nhat Hanh, “The essence of loving kindness is being able to offer happiness. You can be the sunshine for another person. You can’t offer happiness until you have it for yourself. So build a home inside by accepting yourself and learning to love and heal yourself.”

The question is, how do you find your true center in order to necessitate happiness in your life?

VCG; The Podcast?

After a failed attempt at trying to put together a YouTube channel, I’m going to try my hand at podcasting. I know both YouTube and podcasting take the same time to produce, comparatively, I just felt it would suit me better to stay off screen and the amount of time I’m driving could make for some fun conversations.

I’m hoping to have the first episode live by the end of the month.

In the meantime, I’d love to take questions or ideas for future episodes. If you’ve been following me for a while, is there something you want to know about me?

Do you podcast? What platform do you use? Is it worth buying a mic and all that fancy gear?

Running Reset… Again!

A couple of months ago I got a new treadmill to train on. I normally am not a huge treadmill runner but I wanted to run more frequently, and with the winter being so cold, I thought it was a great training tool to purchase.

Immediately after setting it up I ran and I got this amazing feeling as I was running faster than I ever thought I could. I was crushing my old 5k PRs, I smashed a 10K PR and was crushing any number I had ever seen, stat wise, with my running. My previous 5k PR was 28 minutes (I think) but on the treadmill I was killin’ it at 20 minutes. My 10k time was just under an hour and now I was doing 43 minute 10k times. WHAT?

I had this feeling, this impending doom type of thing and knew I would have to come back to Earth at some point, I just didn’t think it would be an injury that would cause it. I’d rarely dealt with shin splints but I was starting to battle those and then my right achilles really started hurting, badly! I had issues with my achilles before and just took a couple weeks off and I would be good. This time it’s been over a month! I have so much going on that I have to run, I have goals to achieve.

Rather than get down on myself, I decided to do some proper things and go have my gait analyzed and look for a proper shoe; not the one’s I like but the one’s that work. I went to see the fine folks at Marathon Sports in Yarmouth. I’ve been following a local runner, Justin Torellas, for a while now and was psyched to see him working and able to help me. After making some observations, one being that I’ve been wearing the wrong size shoe for years, he brought out some shoes to try. After shooting the shit for a while and talking about some shared interests (yes he’s vegan too) I decided on the Hoka Bondi 5’s at size 9.5 not the 9 I thought I was.

I got the shoes home, laced up and went out the door. 30 minutes later, and 3 miles down, I walked back in the door. It’s a am zing what happens in a month when you don’t run or train at all. I was winded and the run sucked. I was miserable the whole time. My feet felt great though and here I am 24 hours later with no achilles pain whatsoever.

Unlike going into the treadmill training like a madman, I’m taking today off and am going to ease back into training until I can build back up to a daily run schedule. I’ve also got to shed some of the weight I added over the winter. Not only did I add some “winter weight” but I was on a muscle building program and went over my goal by about 10 pounds. Oh and eating less junk food might help too. I’m trying a more anti-inflammatory diet and may even do a 72 hour water cleanse.

We shall see though, I’m just excited to be running again!

Who’da thunk it?

You’ve all seen this meme more times than you can count, right? I know I have. Today though I saw it and wanted to write some things down about it; more specifically on how not only am I surviving but how I am flourishing while being vegan.

Now, I’m not going to boast about how awesome I eat, because to be honest, I’m a junk food vegan a fair share of the time. That said, having cut out animal products from my food my body has done some amazing things. At 43 I’m doing things I didn’t think were possible.

When I first started this I had really high cholesterol issues. In the first year alone I dropped my overall cholesterol by just under 70 points. I did not take any medications, I just ate better. I started exercising and started completing events I never dreamed of.

I was a smoker for nearly 25 years! I quit after my first year vegan and my lungs are healing rapidly. I run all the time and have no breathing issues. Sometimes if I run a bit to hard I do get wheezy but that’s what 25 years of tar and chemicals will do to you.

Don’t smoke kids!

About 6 months ago I started a weight training program. Throughout my entire life I have always had issues putting weight on and keeping it on; my metabolism is like a teens even in my forties! My goal was to get to 150lbs (I started at 142lbs). I’m not that tall ok, 5′ 5″ and 150 was a lofty goal for me. I presently weight just under 160lbs!

I didn’t do it with any animal protein or products.
Let me repeat, I did not consume any animal protein!

How am I still here?

Plant based foods have all the nutrition you need, including the ever elusive protein! Typically in a day I have oatmeal for breakfast. 1/2 cup of dry quick oats has 5g of protein, 27g carbs and 3g fat. That’s pretty decent, it’s not an abundance but you can add stuff to it like hemp seeds which have an additional 10g of protein in three tablespoons. Even adding 1/4 cup of soy milk add 2g more. That’s nearly 20g of protein, whoah!

I prep my lunches for the work week. Some examples of prepped meal are Jerk Tofu & Rice, Lemongrass Chickpeas w/ Quinoa, Miso Tempeh Chili, Andouille Sausage Jambalaya and much more. The protein in most of those are 20g or more. Dinners have a similar profile and at least 20-30g of protein.

Here’s a typical day (on the left, click for a larger version) when I was on the program and eating to gain. You will see a protein shake, and I did that to supplement what I couldn’t eat while at work. I work ten hours a day in my work-van, it’s helpful to supplement for me, not everyone has to do that. I also take a multi-vitamin in the morning and again, while lifting, was taking creatine.

If you look past that stuff I was still getting over 2,000 calories a day from food.

The point is, I’m alive and kicking. I’m smashing my goals and gaining, not losing.

Right now my training has changed and I’m on a running program so I’m not looking to add any more muscle; if anything I’m looking to trim down some of the weight while keeping the muscle. I do have two days I still use weights but 5 days a week are now spent running.

The awesome thing about being vegan is that I can tweak the foods I eat to reflect the training I’m on. For instance, my oatmeal every day now has 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of turmeric for inflammation. While I still use a protein shake for recovery, most of the other foods I eat will be to benefit the training. Can you do that and eat animals? Sure but you are eating animals and there’s a whole host of issues with that health wise and more importantly, with ethics.

No animals need to die for you to thrive.

You can get the nutritional needs your body requires being vegan.

Do your research and “eat like you give a f*ck!”

“How Can You Sit Down And Eat Your Mother?”

I’d been thinking of how to start this article for a while as it’s something I’ve already written about but I felt like adding some commentary. I also stumbled on some great talks by teachers that tackle the idea of veganism and Buddhist practice and I really wanted to share them and some quotes.

In Tibetan Buddhism it is believed that all living beings at one point or another were once your mother. This concept has some validity if you believe in rebirth. Since the universe is infinite and sentience is held by all living beings that have a central nervous system, having been born and reborn over and over it only makes sense that at some point anyone could have been your mother. I can explain more if need be, or provide a link to more info, but I think you get the idea.

That begs the question, so why go ahead and eat them?

I came upon a series of 5 videos on YouTube titled “I Don’t Eat My friends” by respected Tibetan Nun, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo. She lays out a compelling argument, from a Tibetan Buddhist perspective, on why not to eat meat. She also touches on the all beings having been our mother theory, you can view in the video I linked.

There are also videos by another respected Tibetan teacher, Matthieu Ricard. Of course his videos solidify the beliefs and teachings of Tenzin Palmo.

The venerable Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh has had quite a bit to say about it. As mentioned in the other piece I wrote, Plum Village (the center he oversees) went vegan in 2007. You can watch a video where he was asked about veganism and why it’s better than vegetarianism. I’ve included a brief quote below.

“We don’t want to eat eggs, and drink cow’s milk, and eat cheese anymore because raising cows and raising chickens creates a lot of suffering.

If you have seen the suffering of the chicken, the suffering of the cows, you would not like to eat chicken, eat eggs, drink milk, or eat cheese anymore. It seems the system has been contaminated.

So to be vegan is not perfect but it helps to reduce the suffering of animals.”

Seung Sahn, founder of the Kwan Um School of Korean Zen, has had a bit to say about eating meat. In the “Compass Of Zen” he goes on to say:

“If we want to understand ourselves and help all beings get out of suffering, we must first understand where this world’s suffering comes from. Everything arises from our minds. Buddhist teaching shows that everything comes from primary cause, condition, and result. This means that some primary cause, when it appears under a certain condition, will always produce a certain result. So what is the reason for so many beings appearing in this world, and what is the result of it? Why is there so much suffering, and why does it seem to increase every day? Perhaps the most important reason for such a dramatic increase in the amount of suffering in this world is the increase in the amount of meat-eating that humans do. Before World War II, human beings did not eat so much meat. In Asia, people have always generally eaten meat only on special occasions, perhaps only twice a year, on one of the major holidays. Nowadays, Asians eat meat sometimes several times a day. The same has been true in the west for generations. This century has seen a very big increase in the amount of meat-eating on the planet.”

I find that interesting. If karma and it’s consequences are to be believed then this makes all the sense in the world. The more suffering that is caused, the more suffering is created.

While the Buddha did not specifically say one way or the other, he did not condone eating meat. His justification was that as long as it was not killed for the consumer, or the monk, than it was ok to eat. I’ve read about the three hand rule which basically means the meat has to pass through three hands to the consumer and it’s believed to not have any karmic consequence. I call bullshit!

To be honest, this sounds like a cop-out. As much as I hate to say it, one of the most well-known Buddhist teachers, the Dalai Lama, eats meat himself all the while telling others to eat vegetarian. Similar to what the Buddha said, the Dalai Lama has been quoted as saying, “it is all right to have meat of dead animals, not those slaughtered or purposefully killed for meat.” So I guess that means roadkill is ok? Or if you stumble upon a dead squirrel out in the yard? Again, this sounds suspicious and not something a “bodhisattva” should get behind.

What’s interesting on the whole is that the very first precept in Buddhism is not to take life or cause harm. I don’t know about you but that certainly sounds like a vegan thought to me.

What do you think?