Is the Dalai Lama a vegetarian?
A person like myself, who’s motto is lack of knowledge shouldn’t stand in the way of a good opinion, would argue persuasively that indeed he is. In fact, I’d be willing to bet a fair portion of the farm on that fact.
Well, knock me over with a feather. Turns out he is not. Actually I was apparently under the mistaken impression that vegetarianism was a crucial requirement of Buddhism. I guess I was in a word–WRONG.
At least according to Olivia Rosewood who writes about yoga and did this piece in HuffPo, called: Meat Eaters are More Spiritual than Vegetarians.”
Some Christians think vegetarianism is bible based from Genesis, others say the exact opposite. As in most things, the Bible can be used to prove nearly any proposition one cares to argue. But clearly, vegetarians make the argument that their practice is more “environmentally friendly,” and healthy, and in the end, somehow more spiritual.
I am not a vegetarian, and frankly, have never seriously considered becoming one. Oh, I have thought fleetingly of it, but have known pretty much within seconds that I could never conform to it. Eating tabouli pretty much convinced me that at some point vegetarianism gets to equal eating grass. Yes I know, you can make faux burgers and so forth, and I’ve eaten a few, and no they weren’t horrid, but think. What does it say that you’re trying to make veggies taste like meat?
A fair amount of guilt has accompanied my fairly voracious consumption of meat products. At least from time to time I feel a twinge of guilt. I hate, despise, and otherwise loathe (hopefully you get the picture here) the treatment of most feed animals from chickens to beef, their lives are short, miserable and boring. I would be willing to eat less and pay more for animals that are treated humanely and are allowed to live reasonable lives until they reach my table.
Rosewood makes, I think, a rather good argument on three fronts. First, its all just energy. And there can be no feeling of superiority when the chain is circular, from grass to animal to human to death to grass and around about again.
Second, she makes a good point that no one can actually say that plants “suffer” somehow less from our eating them. And she points to some interesting data that plants have communication systems we don’t have, and that are quite sophisticated in their way. Whose to say we are more “ethical” because they don’t have soft brown eyes?
Third, our American Indian ancestors revered the animals they hunted and killed, taking on their spirits, honoring their lives and deaths for the sacrifice of humans. They were released to a better world of freedom from the meanness of life in the wild. And indeed, it is mean out there. Watch a nature show and see the cute little antelope, barely a few days old, being hungrily devoured by the lion. Nothing fair going on there. Life is cheap, and life may last mere minutes.
In fact, vegetarians do help us to feel all that guilt don’t they? They look superior in their natural fiber clothes and their fancy “earth shoes” and so forth. They are the recycling champs of the country too. And probably some of the worst polluters though they fail to see it as they cart around their foo foo bottled waters, when the tap is of equal quality. All that plastic ends up in landfills mostly.
Anyway, this is not about trashing vegetarians. I don’t mind them at all, but I do mind that certain look you get from one when you saunter over to the meat counter. And their guilt becomes mine, and well, that’s not spiritual is it?
I’m not sure I get Rosewoods argument that meat eaters are more spiritual, only that we can be if we are not guilt ridden, and that vegetarians to the degree that they are superior thinking, aren’t. She seems to suggest that we can’t make an informed decision about vegetarianism while we are trapped by guilt. I dunno about that. I just know I’m never going to stop eating meat. And I feel pretty darn spiritual.
The Dalai Lama has always been a real hero to me. Now I can point and say, me and the Dalai Lama have something in common! A good steak!