Vegetarian Or Non-Vegetarian

■Book 104 - A Plethora Of Scenic Splendours

■Written by GrandMaster Sheng-yen Lu


I flew from Sibu to Api on January 4th, 1993. True Buddha School has two chapters in Api, namely Ben Jue Chapter and Lei Tsang Temple-Sabah. The sermons I gave at the former was “Dreams” and the latter “Vegetarian or Non-Vegetarian.”

This was my second visit to Api. The first time I came passing through Brunei in 1985. Mount Kinabalu is the highest in South East Asia. Excerpts of the sermon given at Ben Jue Chapter are as follows:

Dreams are regarded by tantricas as activities carried out by spirits when they reside in the intermediate existence between death and reincarnation. It is said in Tantrayana, “Immediately after a person dies, he will have a dream-like experience . It is unreal; but nevertheless is sensational.” That is why dreams are cultivated by Tantricas.

We must know when we are dreaming, so that we are alert and have self-control, and be able to observe all the precepts. It will be even better if we can do cultivation in our dreams.

We must also be able to control our dreams. It is very important for us to lead the dreams, because while we are dreaming we may have all the six mystic powers as follows:

1. Control the flight to anywhere we want.

2. Control the deva-vision.

3. Ability to hear any sound anywhere.

4. Knowing the thought of all other minds.

5. Knowledge of former existences of self and others.

6. To have the consciousness of the waning of vicious propensities.

Dreams may be good or bad.

Good dreams are encouragement given by Buddha and Bodhisattva.

Bad dreams are a reflection of our unwholesome karma.

We must put in even more effort when we have good dreams. On the other hand, when we always have bad dreams we must do repentance ritual, do prostration, make offerings to Buddha, give alms and refrain from doing bad deeds . A tantrica must carry out fire Puja to turn bad dreams into good ones.

Milarepa, the Grandmaster of Nyingmapa is known to have two prominent dreams.

1. He was told by the space-travelling goddess in a dream to obtain the Gangis Mudra that will enable a person to gain enlightenment instantly. After he woke up, he related the dream to his teacher, who immediately set out to India to learn the dharma from Grandmaster Naropa.

2. He dreamed that his mother had passed away, and their garden was not cultivated for a long time. He bade farewell to his teacher and returned home. True enough, his mother passed away many years ago, and their garden laid wasted.

Tantricas believe in dream-cultivating. It is a cultivation of intermediate existence between death and reincarnation.

The excerpt of my sermon at Lei Tsang Temple-Sabah is as follows:

Eating vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals were mentioned in Agama Sutra. In fact, Brahmajala Sutra and Surangama Sutra explained the controversy in detail. It's a pity that Buddhism scholar Lu Chen had concluded that these two Sutras may be a forgery.

During Shakyamuni's era, monks did not cook their own meal. They went out with their alms and asked for food. They ate whatever alms they can get. (It is a fact.)

Shakyamuni Buddha received his last alm from a blacksmith by the name of Chunda. After eating some contaminated meat, he knew that he was about to leave the samsara world, and accordingly he went into Nirvana at the grove of Sal (teak) trees near Kusinagara city .

I must stress the fact that Shakyamuni Buddha did not insist that all of us must be vegetarian. And Buddhism is also not a religion that advocates all must be vegetarian. It was the rebellious disciple of Buddha, Devadatta who championed the statement of five means i.e.

1. Wear only monk's garments

2. Eat only once a day

3. Eat only vegetarian food

4. Not to be served

5. Stay in straw hut

Shakyamuni Buddha always adapted to the wishes of others. He himself ate fish.

Devadatta used the ascetic practice to win the hearts of others. It was Devadatta, the rebellious disciple, who became the first proponent of vegetarian meal.

I surmise, “souls deliverance and offering rituals are more important than vegetarian meal”. A verse from Shakyamuni Buddha explained it all.

Eighty Four thousand beings (bacteria),

found in a mouthful of clean water,

If we do not chant the Mantra,

It will be like killing other sentient beings.


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