From the Perspective of Future Lives

The presentation of karmic results in general, and specifically the extent to which eating meat and killing beings will produce immeasurable negativity in future lives is inconceivable to ordinary beings. However, the Buddha, the teacher who was skilled in means and endowed with compassion has perfectly taught that one should engage in virtue and abandon negative acts. The great scholars of India who were without rival in this world, Nagarjuna, Asanga and others, the noble ones who dwell on the bodhisattva levels have settled this as truth. Further the twenty-five greatly accomplished ones of Tibet (King Trisong Detsen and his followers); Marpa, Milarepa and Gampopa; Tsongkapa, Gyaltsab and Gelek Peldzam; and the five forefathers of the Sakya, through their practice were established on the level of great accomplishment and discovered the certainty of this truth, therefore we need not be led down the path of doubt. It is said in the Sutra of Close Mindfulness that even by killing one being one will experience the sufferings of hell for an eon and will pay with five hundred of one’s own lives. Further, There is no evil act greater than killing.

Regarding killing, it is a grave wrongful act. A further reason is that except for hell beings, there is no one who is not afraid of death. The Buddha, the Transcendent Conqueror, said to the six monks at Gyalje Tsal,

All fear punishment.
All are afraid of death.
Thinking of how oneself would feel,
Do no beat and do not kill.
All fear punishment,
All cherish their life,
Thinking of how oneself would feel,
Do not beat and do not kill

Thus it is said since there is nothing one cherishes more than one’s life and body.

Also regarding the faults inherent in eating meat, from the Lankavatara Sutra,

Having died one will fall into the hell of tormented lamentations.
It is said that the fully ripened result is that one must take rebirth in hell.
Having died one falls into the class of the carnivorous beasts,
Will be born in foul smelling and lowly places,
Or will be born as a fool.
The majority in the lowest classes of society.

One will be born as a hunter, butcher,
Or in the hungry ghost realm.
One will be born as a meat eater.
One will always take birth in the womb of demons.

Regarding the result that is in accordance with the cause, from Jestsun Milarepa,

By engaging in the evil act of killing
One will like food of flesh and blood.
By the karma that follows from killing,
Of the six realms on will take the body of a hungry ghost.
By enjoying evil acts one will fall into the lower realms.
By desiring food of flesh and blood,
One very much enjoys killing and taking lives.
One takes the wretched form of a hungry ghost.
By engaging in evil acts one takes birth in hell.
Not remembering the seeds of liberation
There are no means of liberation, what a pity!

From the second volume of the Kalay Gozang, the stories of the enlightened acts of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, “Since these Mongol kings enjoy flesh and blood, it should be very difficult to be reborn in the higher realms. As many take excellent births as gods and men, I think this must be due to the power of unwavering faith in the three jewels.” Further by eating meat, in future lives one will be killed and eaten by others. In brief, one should have no doubt regarding the certainty of being burdened by an endless, heavy load of suffering that arises from eating meat.


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In Consideration of Oneself

As was explained earlier, the result of eating meat and killing is experiencing the fierce burden of suffering for a very long time. Just as the fish is fooled by the hook and the moth by the candle flame, merely by the taste of flesh, the happiness and comfort of this and future lives are destroyed. What a great loss, such great foolery. As Milarepa said,

This way of killing animals is heart wrenching.
Such a loss this way of fooling oneself.
How helpless, our parents’ dying.
This way of heaping up meat of defilement,
What do you do with so much blood?
How hungry you must be, the way you eat so much meat!

In brief, thus it is said that even in consideration of one’s own benefit, actions like this should definitely be abandoned.


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In Consideration of Others

Most people when they see meat, other than merely noticing how delicious it appears or judging the quality, they do not think about the fact that it is a result of some animal’s experiencing immeasurable fear at being separated from its cherished life and body. Never mind how you would feel if your neck were cut and your skin flayed, suppose if you cut even a little bit of flesh of your thigh, how would that feel? Would it look delicious or not? Just like oneself, animals desire happiness. They also cherish their bodies and lives and fear pain and physical suffering. But in order to rob them of their flesh and hides, men surround the animals and without conscience or shame approach them with knife and rope in hand. They seize them, bind their limbs, and throw them to the ground on their backs. The animals know that they are about to be killed, but there is no means of escape, no one to rescue them. Then their throat is cut by a long sharp knife that is unbearable to look at. With all their strength the killers saw back and forth on the animal’s throat. A red stream of blood flows to the ground and spurts into the air. Gasping for their last breath, it audibly escapes from their slit throat. In agonizing pain their bodies writhe violently. Their eyes bulge and become filled with tears. Still if it takes a little while for the animal to die, the killers become angry and violently stab the animal again and again with their knives, hit and beat them. Then, even as the steam is still rising from the animal’s body they begin to remove the skin with their sharp knives, but the inner breath, the last bastions of life is not easily stopped – think about how this must feel!

Some thrust the tip of their knife directly into the heart. Some chop off the head with an axe. Others break the skull with a mallet. Some bind the mouth to suffocate the animal. Others skin the animal alive. In brief, the animals are killed in a state of inconceivable fear and physical torment. Not only that, but when the animals are young their mother’s milk is stolen from their mouths. When they grow older they are forced to work and receive only blows and beatings. Sometimes as a means to make them grow larger, the animals are castrated or spayed. Finally when the animal has grown old, lost its vigor and become infirm, it is led to the slaughter house where it becomes meat and blood to be put in humans gaping mouths. From The Letter to a Friend by Nagarjuna,

Some die for their pearls, wool, bones and blood
Others for their flesh and skin.
Powerless, others strike them with hand, foot,
Rod and hook prodding them to work.

Like these humans inflict immeasurable torment on animals, and further the main reason is in order to eat their flesh. In brief, when hearing about or seeing animals being killed, if you considered that the animal was your own mother, what would you do? Or if it was yourself, how do you think you would feel? If you generate thoughts like this again and again, giving up meat will not be a difficult endeavor but will be a cause for loving kindness and compassion to increase. As a means of meditating on loving kindness and compassion, Paltrul Rinpoche taught, “Now think carefully, having seen the suffering of these animals, how does it feel if you meditate that it were you? Cover your mouth and nose with your hands stopping your breathing and stay like that for a bit. What is that pain and fear like?” If one were to condense all the meaning into one statement one could say: All the intense suffering of the animals arises based on oneself, therefore it is taught that one needs to abandon eating meat.


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In general by saying, “Do not do harm … Do not eat meat,” this is not saying that one should practice Dharma. Whether one wants to practice Dharma or not, since abandoning harm and not eating meat are the unexcelled means of generating peace and happiness, it is of great importance to be able to put this into practice. If one only considers whether meat is delicious or not, it will be difficult to abandon it. But as was explained earlier, if one carefully thinks about the source of meat and the nature of its existence, giving it up will not be such an arduous task. Even if one is not able completely abandon it immediately, if one reads this again and again, the contents of this book will come to mind from time to time and when one sees or hears of animals being killed, if one thinks of these beings as oneself or one’s mother, gradually and naturally the desire to eat meat will disappear. Further, it is also very important to make aspirations such as, “May I not desire to eat meat,” and “In the future may I be born as a vegetarian.” When the crown jewel of all those accomplished in both practice and scholarship, the bodhisattva Lodro Thaye was nearing death, he was repeatedly heard saying, “I made the aspiration that I be born as a being that does not desire to eat meat.” Just as it is clear in his biography, what the genuine beings show us are very important teachings to be taken to heart. Therefore, regarding this arrangement of a brief synopsis of the Buddha’s teachings regarding the faults of eating meat, the benefits of abandoning it, together with the reasons that it is an unsuitable act, I hope it will be of some small benefit to the tormented animals and to the tradition of human’s unrestrained acts that cause destitution for self and others. I myself barely know how to read but since this is a compilation of the unmistaken words of the genuine lamas, I think it is worthy of confidence.

Even though beings each more than the next are busy striving for happiness
No one attains it except the enlightened ones.
Therefore, may their teachings and the spiritual masters who hold them
Steadfastly remain until the end of the countless eons.

By the melodious sounds of peace and non-violence entering everyone’s ears May dark hearts, wrong thoughts and deeds vanish into space without remainder. By the power of mutual loving kindness and benefit pervading the three worlds May all beings enjoy the glory of absolute peace and happiness!



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Dedication Verses by Bokar Rinpoche

Alas, these deluded and ignorant beings
Are not able to bear even a spark on their own bodies.
But by craving and desirous attachment towards the taste of flesh
Like actual demons they are able to hack others’ bodies to pieces.

To beings, our old mothers who have lovingly
Nurtured us with immeasurable kindness from beginningless time,
Shamelessly and ruthlessly we act contrarily and
Acquire a miserable existence and negative karma, what a pity!

In the future, in this and all my rebirths Having been accepted by the supreme and noble Chenrezig May my three gates be free from the unspeakable faults, May I be born in a pure realm and be a guide for beings!

Thus, Minyak Phurbu Tashi, a graduate of the Rumtek Shedra, while staying here in the three-year, three-month retreat in the Mirik retreat center Zungjuk Gatsal Ling in the District of Darjeeling, has abandoned killing and taking meat as food. Further for others he has written of the faults of eating meat and the benefits of abandoning it. Along with being pleased and rejoicing from my heart, these aspirations have arisen so I have written them down. May they be endowed with meaning!

By the one named Bokar Tulku, Karma Ngedon Chokyi Lodro. June 26, 2003


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By the merits of printing this book,

May all spiritual teachers teaching true paths to enlightenment have long and healthy lives and continue to benefit all sentient beings.

May all the wishes and aspirations of all our sponsors and benefactors be fulfilled according to the Holy Dharma.
May all their obstacles be pacified and may they have good health and success always.

May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes.

May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes.

May all sentient beings not be separated from sorrowless bliss.

May all sentient beings abide in equanimity, be free of bias, attachment and anger.

May whoever sees, touches, reads, remembers, talks or thinks about this book never be reborn in unfortunate circumstances, receive on rebirths in situation conducive to the perfect practice of Dharma, meet a perfectly qualified spiritual guide, quickly develop bodhicitta and immediately attain enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings.

Through the merit created by preparing, reading, thinking about and sharing this book with others, may all teachers of the Dharma live long and healthy lives, may the Dharma spread throughout the infinite reaches of space, and may all sentient beings quickly attain enlightenment.

In whichever realm, country, area or place this book may be, may there be no war, drought, famine, disease, injury, disharmony or unhappiness, may there be only great prosperity, may everything needed be easily obtained, and may all be guided by only perfectly qualified Dharma teachers, enjoy the happiness of Dharma, have love and compassion for all sentient beings, and only benefit and never harm each other.

The Merits of Producing Buddhist Teachings and Buddha Images

One’s karmic misgivings will dissolve, while heavy ones lighten.
One will be protected by devas and be unharmed by natural and man-made disasters.
One will always be free from the suffering of hatred and vengeance.
One will be unharmed by yaksas, evil spirits and wild beasts.
One’s mind will be at peace, free from harm and nightmares.
One’s complexion will be radiant.
One will be full of auspicious energy.
One who practices the Dharma wholeheartedly will have adequate living necessities.
One’s family will be harmonious and be blessed with fortune and wisdom.
One who practices what one preaches will be respected and loved by all.
One who is dull-minded will gain wisdom.
One who is ill will gain health.
One who is poor will gain wealth.
One who is female will be born male in future lives if one wishes to.
One will be free of being reborn in the negative realms.
One will be able to help others grow in wisdom and gain great merit in doing so.
One will always be able to learn the Dharma, till one’s wisdom and spiritual penetrations are fully grown and becomes a Buddha.

What to do with Dharma teachings?

The Buddha-dharma is the true source of happiness for all sentient beings. Books like the one in your hand show you how to put teaching into practice and integrate them into your life, whereby you get the happiness you seek. Therefore, anything contains Dharma teachings or the name of your teachers is more precious than other material objects and should be treated with respect. To avoid creating the karma of not meeting the Dharma again in the future lives, please do not put books (or other holy objects) on the floor or underneath other stuff, step over or sit upon them, or use them for mundane purpose such as propping up wobbly tables. They should be kept in a clean, high place, separate from worldly writings, and wrapped with cloth when being carried around. These are but a few considerations.


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A Lesson in Compassion

Once in a restaurant, a group of people were talking about vegetarianism next to my table. Eavesdropping I heard that one or two were vegetarian. Among the six diners who were expressing their ideas each were trying to prove that they were right.

“This is good, they have vegetarian food here,” the man with full smile said looking at the menu. His friend looked at him and responded, “I didn’t know that you are a vegetarian.”How long you have been vegetarian?” “I have been pure vegetarian for five years and before that I used to eat fish.” the first man replied.

They started a conversation and one of them said, “I wish I could be a vegetarian. But my body, I mean, my doctor says I have to eat some meat. I’d really like to stop though, because the way people treat the animals is horrible.”

A woman with a glass of beer, shaking her head, said, “But the animals are created by God for human’s food. On this planet every one eats each other like the creature in the ocean.”

Here a surprising thing happened. A woman from the other table asked,” Excuse me, can I tell you some things I’ve read about meat in books and newspapers?” I have been told that, 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 animals in slaughter houses either have been beaten by hand or by stick thus experiencing much physical hardship since youth. They are ill, old, infected by various bacteria and germs, or are animals 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 animal’s fat they are given certain medicines and injections. As can be seen in current newspapers China is mixing chicken and pork, for example. In western countries they employ a variety of means in order to fatten up their chickens, 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.”

Before that day in the restaurant I was a meat eater and never gave it any thought. After that day I started to consider about eating meat. I realized that eating meat results in animal’s experiencing immeasurable fear and pain at being separated from their cherished life and body. I said to myself, “How would you feel if your neck were cut and your skin flayed. Suppose if you cut even a little bit of flesh off your thigh. How would that feel, would it look delicious or not?” In some places you don’t see the reality; the meat is so nicely packed up and frozen. Some other places the whole process is clearly in front of your eyes.”

One day when I was in Darjeeling, I went to the bazaar and saw a man with one eye. He sold living fowls and butchered them on the spot. He cut the chicken’s head and put it into a container. Then with the chicken’s body still moving he plucked and gutted the bird. I couldn’t imagine how fearful and painful an experience the chicken had at that point. After a pretty long time it’s wings still moved from the body in the man’s hand and the eyes cycled on the head in the container with a great sense of pain and fear. What a coincidence! I could see some of my friends in a nearby restaurant. The man sold the chicken to the restaurant and they cooked it for my friends. I have no idea where the chicken is now but I had a extraordinarily strong feeling about that! On that day I stopped eating meat.

However, I thought my friend might be interested in becoming a vegetarian too. I mentioned to him about the chicken he ate in the restaurant. He was a really good friend but we had such a big disagreement on this point. He thinks that animals are food for humans given to them by the god. To me it was unbelievable that he didn’t believe the reality in front of his eyes. See how the animals are suffering, but he believes in some things that he has never seen. Maybe it is even not a belief, I thought, he just doesn’t care about the others fear and pain. He likes the meat, and at the same time he also wants be on the right side; God, food for humans, he has all kinds of ideas to cover his negative actions. It seems a convenient excuse for him. “You should open your mind little bit,” I told him, “our own body is a kind of teacher, and from our own physical pain we learn that others have the same problems and pains. Considering this we don’t want to harm others. If we don’t learn this lesson, then we would be terrible. The fisherman cuts the fish just like he cuts potatoes, because he doesn’t know the fish’s pain. If he could feel the pain of the fish then I am sure he would never hurt the fish again.” He listened to me very carefully and said, “But somebody will kill them anyway.” I didn’t want to continue talking with him. But I thought, “It’s same thing to say, ‘I should kill him because he will die anyway.'”

Due to these experiences, I don’t kill and eat. Although I can see so many people are naturally kind and nice but very confused with all kinds of ideas; such as God gave the animals for human’s food, the Buddha never forbids his followers to eat meat. Some kill, & eat the animal, then they pray for it. To them this is compassion. Some have the idea that meat is good for the health. Some even think if we don’t eat animals they will eat us. That is really funny idea, what we eat is cow, fish, lamp, pig etc but they will never eat us. If some one is worried about that then he or she should eat the mosquitoes and the tigers.

From all these reasons, I composed this book and I hope many people will aware that to be a vegetarian is a profound means of practicing compassion and loving kindness. It is the foundation of all spiritual practices and in particular it surely contributes to enjoying a long and healthy life. I hope this is of some benefit to all who encounter this reading.


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How to Be a Vegetarian

To become a vegetarian is a not very difficult thing when you understand the nature of meat and the result of eating it.

It is a very hard thing trying not to eat your favorite delicious foods until you discover they have been cooked in contaminated water and touched by a sick person’s hand covered with bacteria and somebody was killed in order to get it. When you discover that you will not have the slightest desire of eating your favorite dish. Meat is like that, it might be your favorite food but it is dirty, it has bacteria and some one was killed in order to get it.

There are four ways to be a vegetarian, half vegetarian, full vegetarian, pure vegetarian and strict vegetarian.

Half vegetarian means you eat only one or two kinds of meat and give up the rest, or you eat meat occasionally. It is a good thing not to eat all kinds of creatures and give up some meat that you used to eat, and also a good thing that you are not eating every day but only occasionally. Never listen to others, people may say strange things about you, “Why do you give up only one kind of meat?”, “You are funny.” and so on.

Full vegetarians don’t eat any kind of flesh and blood but eat eggs. People sometimes are not happy if someone is doing something good; these people always try to find out faults of others and gossip about them. I heard many people saying, “That person is a hypocrite, they give up eating meat but eat eggs.” “Egg is also living being” and so on. Egg might be a living being but it is not meat and giving up eat meat doesn’t mean you don’t eat anything from animals. Actually there are two different kinds of eggs. A hen will produce eggs on a regular basis. The rooster can either fertilize these eggs or not. It doesn’t matter to the hen; her body produces eggs. The eggs that are not fertilized are not living beings. When the rooster and the hen produce a fertilized egg this is a living being.

Pure vegetarians, of course, don’t eat any kind of flesh and also give up eating eggs. This is a very good thing for health, animals, environment, and nature. You can get a totally balanced diet without eating meat. All vegetables contain protein and too much protein consumption is unhealthy. Grains, legumes and soybeans contain plenty of protein. Vegetarian foods do not have to be boring. Spice it up! For example, veggies and rice with some Teriyaki sauce are delicious and as filling as any meat dish you can think of while being far more healthy for you and easier on animals and the environment. Why not give a vegetarian diet a try and give our environment a break. Your body will thank you and so will the Earth!

Strict vegetarian means not eating any kind of food from animals, such as meat, egg, cheese, butter and also not wearing leather. I myself am not a strict vegetarian, it is too hard for me, but many of my friends are strict vegetarians and I really admire them.


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