It is said that eating meat and taking others’ lives shortens one’s life and encourages illness. Since by eating meat a variety of diseases arise and as there is no difference between the negative acts of eating meat and killing, eating meat causes one’s own life to be shortened. From Paltrul Rinpoche, “Regarding craving the taste of flesh and blood and enjoying eating it while devoid of compassion, it is said that there is no difference between the evil deed of the patron and receiver. There are many consequences, but the direct result is a shortened life and being afflicted by many diseases.” The protector Nagarjuna said,
One who kill’ own life will be shortened,
One who harms will be injured even more.
From the unequalled Dakpo Rinpoche, Gampopa, “It is said that even if one is born as a human, their life will be short and they will incur many illnesses.” Paltrul Rinpoche said, “Having taken lives in the past, presently one’s life will be short and full of disease. Some small children once born immediately die. This is a result in accordance with the cause, the cause being formerly taking other’s lives. Thus, in many births they will die just after being born. From the time they are quite young until they grow old and meet with death, some people are wracked with various diseases, never able to be cured. This is the fruit that ripens from the seeds of killing and other physically abusive acts” It is said that from such actions of a previous life, one’s later lives will be short and full of many diseases. Further one should understand that this life could also be shortened and full of many diseases. Due to the specific karma of this world, the results of this life’s actions can ripen in this life. Thus one should abandon taking others’ lives.
However, if one thinks that it is still okay to eat meat, one should know that the Buddha said that there is no difference between doing so and taking beings’ lives. Therefore, one should also abandon eating meat. By doing so, one will be saving the lives of animals which will not only contribute to a long life and the elimination of diseases for oneself, but on top of that there are measureless other benefits. Even if one ransoms just one life, the benefits are said to be extraordinarily great. The Acharya Vasubandu said,
Having freed a being led to the slaughterhouse
That being’s life is thus benefited.
By completely abandoning the harming of beings
One will obtain a long life oneself.
Being a doctor, tending to the sick, and
Offering medicines – by engaging in deeds such as these,
And by abandoning harming with stones and sticks
Oneself will be without illness.
Thus if one desires to be free of illness and have long life, one should definitely abandon the greatest harm one can inflict upon others, that is killing them and eating their flesh.
In general, that which is called meat consists of various impure objects: semen, blood of the womb, veins, tendons, pus, and other bodily fluids. There are also various diseases in the bodies of the animals that are killed. Most of the animals in slaughter houses either have been beaten by hand and stick thus experiencing much physical hardship since youth, are ill, old, infected by various bacteria and germs, or are those not able to be forced to work any longer. Even at the time of their slaughter, once killed the flesh is mixed with the old blood and filth of the previous animals. Flies and insects of other sordid places deposit various impure substances, seeds of diseases on the meat. By faulty practices such as these, a variety of new diseases are appearing. Further in some countries, in order to make the animals’ fat they are given certain medicines and injections. Those who eat this type of meat can acquire a variety of related diseases. As has been said by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and as can be seen in current newspapers, in China they are making new varieties of meat by mixing chicken and pork, for example. There is really no need for these sorts of acts. Further, as a result of this, newspapers are reporting the arising of new types of diseases.
In western countries they employ a variety of means in order to fatten up their chicken, pigs, cows, and other livestock. It is said that much difficulty has arisen from people having eaten this type of meat; some have even become infected with a variety of diseases which have never been seen before. To quote Paltrul Rinpoche, “Especially these days most people have a great craving for meat. Based on carelessly enjoying flesh and blood there is almost no one who does not have some sort of illness.” Further, due to faulty behavior and diet many causes of death have arisen such as tumors, phlegm disorders, and water diseases. It is said that there are countless such afflictions. Thus those who desire to be free of illness and wish to have a long life definitely should abandon eating meat.