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How I became a vegetarian

06/11/2011

I was always, from a very young age, repulsed by the corpses of animals (land and sea) and the brutality of slaughter and killing of animals for food or sport. I hold the view that animals don’t want to die any more than you or I. I also hold the view that animals don’t want to suffer any more than you or I. I was reminded of this when told by my sister Cora that our mother found it impossible to please me as a child and later, and that’s correct. I viewed my mother’s cooking capacity as woeful. I now accept that she was a competent but traditional Dutch cook. It was later that a Theravada nun stated to us students that food is repulsive. I repeat: food is repulsive, and it is. (Consider how we dress-up food – surely that’s principally to disguise its origins.) That brief statement resonated with me and steered me on a course to eliminate all meat and fish from my diet. Of course, a vegetarian Theravada nun or monk is not always readily able to take such action given their dependence on the community to feed them as mendicants.

I once discussed my vegetarian diet with the recently departed Venerable Geshe Acharya Thubten Loden. I focused on animal welfare as my principale raison for following a vegetarian diet rather than my repulsion of animal corpses. He dismissed my reasoning as informed by economic laws of demand and supply. Whereas, he stated that I should view this matter in the light of collective Karma. Acceptance of collective Karma, as such, would not require that I follow a vegetarian diet. I can not! Rather, I have abandoned traditional views of karma and rebirth and prefer to align karma with contemporary ideas of causality.

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