Thursday, May 21, 2015


Lama Zopa Rinpoche's Online Advice Book
Non-harming : Benefiting Animals

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche at various locations (Last Updated Jan 12, 2009)

Being Vegetarian

Becoming Vegetarian
A student wrote to advise that after hearing about Rinpoche’s stroke, he became a vegetarian.

My very dear Thomas,
Thank you numberless times for your prayers dedicated to me, but please dedicate to all sentient beings, particularly to those who are suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. Also, please dedicate for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and all the holy beings in the world who benefit others. Dedicate also for the Sangha, the benefactors of the Sangha and all sentient beings who recite OM MANI PADME HUM, as well as for those who do good things for others, and for the long life of those who practice morality.

Regarding your suggestion, I am going to think how to do this within FPMT. However, my request will be that it is voluntary to become vegetarian for this lifetime or at least for a certain number of years. You can’t say that nobody in this world should eat meat—you can’t do that; it is a little bit crazy.

There are many persons—buddhas, bodhisattvas, dakas and dakinis—who benefit others, but aren’t vegetarian. Some bodhisattvas eat meat and some don’t eat meat—it is their choice, to do whatever is most beneficial for sentient beings. Their decision is made on the basis of benefiting sentient beings, not because they like to eat meat. They have a great purpose to benefit sentient beings, and some are vegetarian and some are not.

Here I am referring to asking ordinary sentient beings to be vegetarian—ordinary sentient beings, just like myself—especially those who like to eat meat.

Some people have health problems and may have to eat meat. Some people are like this, but not the majority. For example, one of my gurus, Ribur Rinpoche, lived in Tibet and ate meat. He took the aspect of sickness in America at one FPMT center, the Land of Medicine Buddha. At that center you cannot eat meat, so they did not even offer it to Rinpoche, but a Tibetan lady brought meat quietly and only then Rinpoche took the aspect of recovering. So there are situations like this. Also ordinary beings sometimes depend on meat to be healthy, so we need to be careful and make exceptions.

My main thinking is that if more people become vegetarian, then there are less animals killed, so people create less negative karma and there is less suffering for animals.
With much love and prayers and thank you very, very, very much for all your dedication and your courage...  (Posted July, 2011)

Inspired to Become a Vegetarian
A student wrote to thank Rinpoche for inspiring her to become a vegetarian. She said this has benefited her and she wished for it to benefit every other sentient being, particularly all the animals killed in a terrifying way for people to eat.

My very dear, very, very, very precious, very kind, wish-fulfilling Danielle,
I want to say skies of numberless thanks deep from my heart. You are very, very, very, extremely kind for the animals and sentient beings. As there are more and more people becoming vegetarian, that means less and less animals will be killed. So it is very important. In the world people eat meat mainly because of habit; so many people have not thought that the animals experience unbelievable suffering.

If the same thing was done to human beings—eating human meat and being killed for business—then you can see how much suffering there would be. It would be unbearable.
Human beings can express their suffering; they can explain their incredible fear, etc. If human beings ate other human beings, for example, if the powerful ones ate the weak ones, there would be so much incredible fear, even to go outside. So weaker ones would just stay inside, in the house, where they couldn’t eat each other. Can you imagine the incredible fear?

If human beings were treated like animals; if they were killed for meat like animals…wow, wow, wow. There would be so much crying, worry and fear. It would be unbelievable. We would be afraid to go anywhere, in case we were killed for meat.

When I was in hospital after a stroke [in April 2011] I saw on TV so many goats being sold by Australia to Indonesia for so many years. It even showed the place where the goats would be killed, one by one. I didn’t see the actual place where they were killed, but I saw a cow who was tied up by ropes. A man was pulling him down from the platform, but the cow didn’t want to go down. So I thought, I can’t stop the animal suffering, but what I can do as I go around the world to teach, even if it is on sutra and tantra, I will announce or request if people can become vegetarian. That is something I can do.

Australian people made a lot of noise for one or two months to stop that [live export], but probably rich people, very powerful businesses wanted to do business again. I heard that they went back to selling the live exports. Can you imagine?

Of course, individually we can’t say everyone who eats meat is bad. Many manifestations of buddhas, bodhisattvas and great yogis, who have very high tantric realizations on the basis of the three principals of the path, they eat meat, but they don’t eat it with the self-cherishing thought. They eat it to purify the animal’s negative karma, so that animal has a good rebirth, meets the Dharma in future lives, is reborn in a pure land, and achieves enlightenment as quickly as possible. So it is done to benefit the animals. When it comes to the individual person like that, it is a great, great, great blessing.

Your motivation is excellent; it is to benefit all sentient beings, particular the animals, who suffered unbelievably and were killed. Doing this, even if you don’t wish for a long life, naturally you create the karma for a long life, in this life and in future lives.
Thank you very much for studying Buddhist teachings at Vajrayana Centre.
With much love and prayers...

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