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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Neither "vegetarian" nor "non-vegetarian"...

I came across many times hearing some “yoga practitioners” who have became vegetarian after taking up yoga practice, criticizing other people who are not vegetarian. They think that they are better human beings and they are good yogi after they have changed from meat eating “non-vegetarians” to become “vegetarians”, and boast about being "vegetarian"…

In yoga practice, the observation of not eating any meat or fish and eat fresh fruit and vegetables is to help us to calm down the mind and to practice love, peace and compassion…

The point is, if we are still being affected very much by what we eat and drink, we need to choose what we want to eat and drink to feed this body and mind. For example, if eating meat and fish and drinking coffee will increase the impurities in our mind, and we don't have self-control over our own thoughts, actions and speech, and are identified with the impurities in our mind, then by not eating meat and fish and not drinking coffee will help us in the path of yoga and meditation for self-inquiry and attaining real peace... But, it loses its meaning for not eating meat when we are being "vegetarian" but we are still being over-powered by lots of impurities in the mind, which do not just derive from meat eating but also derive from some other elements. There's no meanings when we are over-powered by egoism, attachment, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, pride, arrogance, dissatisfaction, disappointment, fear, worry, passionate desires, craving and aversion, even though we don't eat meat products at all... (Such like wanting everything to be the way that we want it to be, and having fear of losing the "good" thing or separation from things and people that we love, and fear of getting the "bad" thing, old age, decay, sickness, injury, pain, discomfort, and death...)

There are some “vegetarian yogis” are getting frustrated by what they want to eat, and being disturbed by what other people eat and don’t eat, and getting so frustrated when they couldn’t get the so called “healthy”, “loving”, “pure”, “environmental friendly”, “organic” types of vegetarian food to feed their body…

I didn’t eat meat products for quite a few years before, during my first few years of yoga practice to help me in my practice, but I never called myself a “vegetarian”, and I never criticized other people who eat meat products. Merely being a "vegetarian" doesn't make me a better person than those who are not "vegetarian". And now, I don’t just eat fruit and vegetables, I also eat some meat and fish. I don’t mind eating meat and fish as I never categorize “meat and fish products” as “bad” and "disgusting" food, nor do I judge anyone by “eating meat” will make someone a “bad” person.

I do not complain when “meat and fish” are not available or when “vegetarian food” are not available. I don’t complain if fresh fruit and vegetables are not available when I want to eat some fresh fruit and meat-less meal. I don’t complain if only meat are available for maintaining this body. I appreciate and be grateful for everything that I eat even though some of the food that I eat might be categorized as “unhealthy” and “inappropriate” by many “health conscious people", “yoga practitioners”, “rich people who can afford imported organic food” or “environmental friendly people".

Merely by eating vegetarian doesn’t give me liberation nor true happiness. Some people might be naming themselves as “vegetarian” and being “vegetarian” for many years, but it is not necessarily that they are peaceful and happy, and be free from ignorance, greed, anger and hatred. It is by controlling my own mind and eliminate the anger, hatred, jealousy, pride, lustful desire, fear, worry, craving and aversion that gave me the true freedom for being who I am, and be truly content, peaceful and happy… It is the practice of non-attachment that free myself from unhappiness and “suffering”.

Slandering, vandalism, gossiping, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, lustful desire, attachments, pride, arrogance, craving and aversion are worst than meat eating.

It is not only non-meat eaters are good and kind human beings, nor do people who are not vegetarian are bad people. There are many good and kind people who eat meat and non-meat products, who don't call themselves “vegetarian” for certain days when they don't eat meat, nor call themselves "non-vegetarian" for certain days when they do eat meat.

It is not that only vegetarian will be peaceful, being loving and compassionate, and it's not necessary that there is no loving kindness and compassion in those people who are not vegetarian. It is not by eating fruit and vegetables without meat products that will guarantee us enlightenment and be free from suffering. It is not by eating vegetarian food, we’ll become happy and peaceful...

It’s because there are people who named themselves as “vegetarians” are being so angry, unhappy and frustrated by other people who eat meat products… I don’t see any calmness, peace and happiness in these people who don’t eat meat and only like to eat fruit and vegetables, and being so “proud” of what they eat and don’t eat.

Do the people who are “vegetarian” do not kill any insects, like mosquitoes, cockroaches, spiders, ants, worms, bugs and etc? Aren’t all these little lives also living beings who need to breathe and eat, just like us?

Some people even said that "Cows are so cute, I don't eat them..." But, they love to eat fish... (Well, maybe fish is not as cute as cow to them...)

Do all the vegetarians are completely be free from greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, fear and worry, craving and aversion? Not necessarily as what we can see around us...

I know some people who don’t like to eat meat or fish, and love to eat fruit and vegetables only, but they will be so angry and frustrated when somebody in the kitchen accidentally put some meat or fish products into their food. Where is peace, calmness, tolerance, patience, forgiveness and compassion in these people who are “vegetarian” shouting at the waiter, “I’m a vegetarian! I want my vegetarian meal to be served without fish or meat! You are stupid idiot!”

Some “vegetarians” are full of hatred towards meat products and towards people who eat meat… “Vegetarians” are “supposed” to be very calm, peaceful and cheerful according to the yoga practice. Even Buddha never told people that to practice Buddhism, we have to be “vegetarian” and to hate eating meat… There are many Buddhist wandering monks are not “vegetarian” nor “non-vegetarian”. Whether it is non-vegetarian food or vegetarian food that is being given to them when they go out to beg for food for the day in the village, they eat with gratefulness and thankfulness. And they do not choose what they want or like to eat. They eat without the craving and aversion towards the taste of the food, or the choices of food.

When we eat without craving and aversion, then food is just food, it is not something "vegetarian" nor "non-vegetarian". It is beyond names and forms, beyond "vegetarian" and "non-vegetarian", beyond "tasty" and "not tasty", beyond "healthy" and "not healthy".

I am grateful and thankful for all the meals that are being served on the table whether it is vegetarian or not... As there are so many people out there who are starving and dying from hunger every day. There are homeless people who just eat whatever they found in the rubbish bin. There are many people who don't have a choice for what they will eat everyday, and struggling to survive day by day...

Being a “vegetarian” or being a "non-vegetarian" does not guarantee a person to be humble, to be enlightened, and to be peaceful, compassionate and happy, and be free from pride and arrogance, anger and hatred, craving and aversion…

Of course we have the freedom of choice to eat "healthily" or not... That is up to us. Sometimes the so called "healthy food" are not necessarily good for our body... And at the same time we also respect other people for what they want to eat... Be happy.

There was a famous human race mass murderer in the history who liked to eat vegetarian food, and he loved animals especially dogs… Even so, I don’t need to “hate” this person either… Whatever he did was nothing to do with whether he was a vegetarian or not, or whether he liked animals or not…

I never condemned those who eat meat when I didn’t eat meat. I respect those who don’t eat meat when I eat food that is being categorized as “non-vegetarian”. I respect everyone has their choices and freedom to choose what they prefer to eat and to put into their body.

I enjoy eating fruit and vegetables, and I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables but I’m not a “vegetarian”...

I don’t need to name myself as “vegetarian” when I don’t eat meat, and I don’t need to name myself as “non-vegetarian” when I eat meat products. I am neither a “vegetarian” nor a “non-vegetarian”. I am who I am.

I’m happy and contented with what I eat no matter it is being categorized as “healthy” or “unhealthy” food. And I respect those who don’t like or “hate” to eat meat and fish or so called “unhealthy” food. Be happy.

It loses the meaning of being a vegetarian to attain peace and to be compassionate, when we want to be “vegetarian” and eat only “vegetarian” food but, we are not really peaceful and happy, constantly being affected and disturbed by the craving and aversion towards what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think, and we don’t have self-control over our own mind and being over-powered by impurities like anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, pride, arrogance, fear, worry, passionate desires and attachments in the mind.

Where is peace and compassion when we eat only vegetarian food but, we do things and say things that are hurting other people feelings, and have anger and hatred toward things that we don't like and don't agree with?

Where is peace and calmness that supposed to be the result of eating "healthy" vegetarian food and not eating "unhealthy" meat products, when we are so frustrated and unhappy about what we want to eat and don't eat, and what other people eat?

When we practice namelessness and formlessness, what is “vegetarian” and what is “non-vegetarian”? What is “healthy food” and what is “unhealthy food”?

When we practice non-identification with the body and the mind, what is good condition and bad condition of this physical body?

Even Buddha taught us about the Dharma of impermanence by showing us that this body is impermanent. He taught us about namelessness and formlessness by showing us that our true nature is beyond the condition of this impermanent body. He taught us about there is no "I", there's nobody there to experience good or bad experiences, it is just the body and mind experiencing some conditions that are impermanent. Even after his enlightenment, his body still had to go through impermanence, changes, discomforts, old age, weakness, sickness, and death... But, he was not affected nor determined by the changing condition of this body... He was fearless and worry-less. He was beyond "good" and "bad", "birth" and "death"... There's no fear of old age, sickness and death...

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About Yoga

Know thyself. Everything is impermanent and selfless. There is no 'I'. There is no 'I am selfless'/'I am not selfless'. There is no 'I am hurt'/'I need to be healed from hurt'. Non-blind believing, non-blind following, non-blind practicing and non-blind propagating, but be open-minded to inquire the truth of everything. Be free. Be peaceful. Be happy.

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