Food of Bodhisattvas: Buddhist Teachings on Abstaining from by Shabkar Tsogdruk Rangdrol

By Shabkar Tsogdruk Rangdrol

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He could not remain silent, haunted as he was by the torment of animals, hunted to their deaths, slaughtered by the thousand to provide food for those who could not or would not nourish themselves in any other way. Shabkar was of one mind with Patrul Rinpoche in acknowledging the obvious but ignored truth that, weak and stupid as animals may be, they do not want to die. And he lamented that their lives, their only possession, are taken from them by and for those who, in contravention of the principles of mind training, construct their happiness upon the misery of others.

We will return to this point, but as a preparation for the reading of Shabkar, it may be helpful to consider a little further the basic orientation of the Mahayana, which explains and gives legitimacy to Shabkar's position. In addition to training in the two disciplines mentioned above, aspirants on the Bodhisattva path are encouraged to cultivate four "boundless" attitudes, so called because their field of action (all sentient beings) and the resulting merit are incalculably vast. These attitudes are love (the sincere \vish that others be happy), compassion (the sincere wish that others not suffer), sympathetic joy (a heartfelt rejoicing in the good fortune of others), and impartiality (the ability to apply the previous three attitudes to all beings without differentiation).

For he actually says that when these mental disciplines have been perfected-when, for instance, one has a vivid sense that all beings have been as kind and close to us as our own dear 26 Translators' Introduction parents-it becomes literally impossible to feed upon their flesh. By contrast, the taking of meat, regarded as an ordinary food and eaten unreflectively on a regular basis, implies an unawareness and an indifference to the suffering of beings that is incompatible with the mind training.

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Food of Bodhisattvas: Buddhist Teachings on Abstaining from by Shabkar Tsogdruk Rangdrol
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