Regarding Food Reflection, specifically on recognizing that living beings must necessarily die to produce all food, and Kamma or Morality reflection -- that actions produce results and results are reliant on our intentions. I found moral shame and dread arising at the thought of eating animals deliberately killed for food despite understanding that we can't avoid living beings dying in order that we eat, and problems in considering others' intention, e.g. how a fisherman makes a living by killing. A farmer may deliberately use a pesticide to grow vegetables or fruit, so we buy organic food where no chemicals are used, so that the only deaths are accidental, not intentional. What is the Kammic result of a butcher who slaughters pigs, cows, chickens for a living? Surely it's straight to the hell realms? Monks just eat what is given, but by choosing what I eat, what I buy, I affect the people who sell the food.


This is going into a long discourse here. I think that's enough. I knew a farmer who grew bananas and killed the birds who would come to feed on the bananas to get those bananas to ripen. We don't often see what goes into the production of fruit. We don't often see what goes into the production of grains, all the living beings dying in the clearing of the fields and the flooding of the fields. Many living beings die in the production of food that we consider vegetarian. I think it's good to understand that just by having this body, we're responsible for being in the chain of killing, and that no matter what we eat, we're not going to get out of that responsibility. Just by wanting to live, we kill other living beings in order to support this body. And it's totally unsatisfactory. Can we open to that? Can we stop trying to make the cycle of birth and death satisfactory?

Personally, we went through a great process, trying to not kill. We became fruitarians, but then we had the problem of our clothes, the problem of our vehicles, the problem of the utensils we used. We couldn't get out of the killing. It's totally unsatisfactory! That's one of the reasons we're trying to get enlightened, so that we get out of this totally unsatisfactory cycle where living beings have to die in order to support other beings' bodies.

No matter where you look, it's like a rat maze; you can't get out of it. So part of maturity, I think, is that you have to acknowledge, with wisdom, that it's unsatisfactory, and we can't make it satisfactory by changing our diet. But at least, if we are gong to live, we try to make our life useful, so that we don't just delight in the deaths of other living beings. We try to harm as little as we can.

As far as what you eat, it becomes a personal choice but we need to acknowledge our responsibility when we eat, because it's worse, I believe, to build delusion. That'll keep you coming back to the cycle, thinking that it's satisfactory, and that we somehow can change our diet and get out of the cycle's unsatisfactory nature.

The only way I perceive that we're going to get out of killing is to become enlightened, but we can, on the way, try to build the power of our Compassion, so that our life is more useful. We can try to develop the Paramis so that we're not using our life just for personal pleasure.

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