Giving Thanks

ThanksgivingThe season for the massive slaughter of turkeys is upon us. Between 250 and 300 million turkeys are raised for slaughter every year in the U.S. alone.

And that is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg: in the United States, around nine billion animals are slaughtered every year, including 150.4 million cattle, bison, sheep, hogs, and goats, and 8.9 billion chickens, turkeys, and ducks. In Canada, 650 million animals are killed annually, and in the European Union, the annual figure is 300 million cattle, sheep, and pigs, and four billion chickens.

We treat animals as if they were goods for consumption. Yet, their bodies and lives are the same as ours. They want happiness and strive to avoid suffering. They are friendless and helpless, and no one comes to save them at their time of greatest need.

We can make this a Thanksgiving observance in which turkeys and all other animals can give thanks by taking a vow to abstain from eating meat and other animal products , according to our capacity, and dedicating the merit to the welfare of all sentient beings.

Consuming only plant-based foods cuts the root of animal slaughter, which is the demand for animal flesh and secretions. By having plant-based meals and thus saving the lives of animals, obstacles to our own liberation will be cleared away.

For Dharma practitioners, vegetable foods purify our energies and help give rise to wisdom. It also protects our commitments and facilitates meditation. Other benefits of giving up animal flesh and maintaining a plant-based diet are that it protects the environment and helps to keep our bodies healthy.

Because the most important factor in the cultivation of Dharma is generating Great Compassion, I invite all Dharma students to save the lives of animals. Since not everyone is ready to commit to a plant-based diet for life, there are various ways in which you can save lives.

Please consider taking any one of these Vows, and dedicating the merit to the welfare of all sentient beings, especially to healing those who are ill or in danger of death:

  • Consuming only plant-based foods for one day every week
  • Consuming only plant-based foods for one meal every day
  • Consuming only plant-based foods for one week every month
  • Consuming only plant-based foods for one month every year
  • Consuming only plant-based foods for any 3 consecutive months
  • Consuming only plant-based foods for 1 year
  • Consuming only plant-based foods for life

The turkeys thank you!

About Tashi Nyima

I am a Dharma student, and aspire to be a companion on the path. I trust that these texts can offer a general approach and basic tools for practicing the Buddha's way to enlightenment. ||| Soy un estudiante del Dharma, y aspiro a ser un compañero en el sendero. Espero que estos textos ofrezcan a algunos un mapa general y herramientas básicas para la práctica del sendero a la iluminación que nos ofrece el Buda.
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4 Responses to Giving Thanks

  1. paulfarma says:

    Thank you again but what is your opinion about the slaughter of animals like sheep, camels, water-buffels etc. on the moslem day of Idul-Adha? I have heard from my friends returning from a pilgimage to Mekka that the carcasses where piled on road- sides because no one wants to eat them. In Indonesia the meat is still distributed to the poor so it is not trown away. In fact many families eat tofu etc. daily to meet the need of protein. Bye! Paul K. L.

    • Tashi Nyima says:

      One of the Buddha’s teachings was that animal sacrifice is not only inefficacious, but also contrary to the Dharma, as it violates the First Precept. It is an extreme form of cruelty (aversion), under the guise of religion. Those who perform animal sacrifice sink ever deeper into the cycle of suffering. Thus, not only their animal victims, but the killers as well, are in need of great compassion.

  2. Dharma fool says:

    Thank you for speaking up again, remaining so clear and consistent. I would also add fish to your list. Many people believe eating fish is a lesser harm than eating the meat of land animals, but it still involves cruelty and misery. Let’s just leave the fish in the seas and lakes where they belong.

    _/\_
    sonam

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