Whatever actions we initiate are to achieve joy and happiness. One must avoid actions that bring more harm than good. Some actions must even be avoided if benefit and harm are equal. This is repeatedly mentioned in the teachings of the Buddha and in the holy commentaries.
The result of eating meat and killing animals has ripening results of actions i.e. effects on the outer environment and effects on the inner life-force. We will be involuntarily required to be born, bred, and reside in places infested with mosquitoes, snakes, tiger, leopard, scorpions etc., in other words places where many obstacles are present. This is largely the result of killing and eating animals in this and previous lives.
Lord Buddha proclaimed these things millennia ago. Today they are also presented in the system of new sciences. For instance, a number of the most learned Asian, European, and American experts on health and science have, said one must avoid meat to improve our health and mitigate global warming and the natural disasters which are caused by disturbance of the four elements which we can see in media such as newspapers, and broadcast reports almost every day.
Huge damage is caused and millions of people are killed by the Tsunami waves of the ocean in other countries such as Japan, Indonesia, and Thailand which are located on the sea shores. This is the inevitable consequence of killing and eating countless sea creatures. Among the numerous causes and conditions of earthquakes that are mentioned in the Buddhist scriptures, one is known as Lung-Sazin “the embracing wind of the earth” which has arisen from the ten non-virtues of killing. Together with the fluctuations of the embracing wind of the earth, disturbances in the earth and oceans such as earthquakes arise causing immeasurable destruction to humans and other beings. All these things are principally caused by the negative actions of humans and other sentient beings.
The causes of the destruction of orange and apple blossoms by hailstorms in the spring, and of maize, paddy and other crops being smashed into dust by windstorms and hailstorms in the autumn all stem from the result of killing animals. This has been declared in the great Sutra and Mantra traditions.
In addition to these effects, many problems such as the Rupee crunch and the soaring rate of inflation are made worse by, importing meat from India.
Unlike other countries, Bhutan does not have earth treasures such as oil etc. to sell. So, in support of the agricultural sector, I would like to request the government members, the general public, and every religious figure to avoid eating meat. The way of true Dharma is by not harming animals, as proclaimed by Lord Buddha himself. Moreover, the Four Hundred Verse Treatise says ,“In brief, the Dharma is non-violence, as the Buddha has spoken”.
Particularly, we, masters and Dharma practitioners, do not seem to know that all sentient beings are one’s own parents. Instead of bringing them to the level of Buddhahood, we enjoy their meat without compassion. So we are just wearing Buddha’s cloth outside, while the manner of our inner mind is just like that of carnivorous animals or that of flesh eating demons. As mentioned in the Openness of Realization Tantra by Guru Padmasambhava: “When one desires to eat meat, one uses such excuses like “Meat must be eaten by compassionate ones, and alcohol must be drunk by pledge holders.”
On top of first acquiring firm and lasting non-conceptual compassion, if our conceptions have truly vanished and our perception is so pure that we can truly generate the realization of exalted wisdom which can actually transform meat and alcohol into the essence of ambrosia in our being, only then has the Buddha permitted us to consume meat and alcohol. Nowadays, most of the religious figures do not follow the proper manner of study and so they ponder over Buddhist texts. Put aside the realization of exalted wisdom, it is even extremely difficult to find one of them who understands positive and negative actions and their rejection and acceptance.
Nevertheless, even ordinary people should be able to understand that it is good to save the lives of animals. Moreover one is required to know the harm it causes and thus the crucial importance to avoid eating meat. In order to save the lives of animals; first, it is hard to get enough money to buy animals that are on the verge of slaughter to save their lives. Next it is hard to find a safe place to keep them and someone to look after them. The animals which were released from slaughter are sometimes killed by carnivorous animals, or they are stolen by thieves, and then butchered for sale. Consequentially there is no safe place to shelter them. In this regard, if one avoids killing and eating animals, this will fulfill the vows and ethics, as was clearly declared in the Way of Bodhisattvas.
Through the positive results which are gained from the virtue of abandoning harm to animals, one is able to achieve temporal benefits, like those of the heavenly gods, in this lifetime. Finally, this also connects us to the path of all-knowing enlightenment in the next life.
Like Jetsun Milarepa said: “If one does not eat flesh and blood as food, then one will achieve the higher realms and liberation. If one abandons harm to sentient beings, one has embarked on the path of enlightenment.” Therefore, if one could avoid slaughtering and eating any kind of meat, it will have immeasurable benefits. The great help for each and every creature is gesture of giving them freedom from fear by granting them safe refuge.
Translated by Wangchuk Rinzin from Khenpo Jangsem Tashi’s Dzongkha Version