Vegetarianism and the unanswered BIG questions...

It was in the year 2007 that I happened to watch a poor quality video documentary  titled " Love and mercy" which aroused my sense of  sadness at the plight of innocent animals brutally killed. This movie showed how animals are slautered at the slaughter houses only to meet the demands of us the flesh eating literate demons.This made me think back on my food habits, which would normally comprise of  flesh of a kind when it is considered special. I always said " may I dedicate all the merits accumulated from past present and future to the sentient beings" in my prayer everyday. When I realised this, it sent a deep feeling of shame because all I was doing was causing harm to them and again I was dedicating merit to them; this is ironically mad. And then I turned veg' only to be falling into the pit after a semester; too bad.
 Then I was blind for three years and 2011 was an eye opening moment. I watched It once again and may be because of the good fortune of the fellow creatures this time the experience was more bitter and insightfull. I gave a night for rethinking and I quit animal flesh because this injured my morality, my ethics, invisible laws of humanity and above all the priveledge of being a buddhist. Therefore I am going to say here of; why be a veg'? what are the benefits? and How we can be true humans, civilised animals?.
I believe all of the intended readers know what it means when I say vegetarianism. There are many variants of it, some they aviod all the animal products including the by products. Some are lacto-vegetarians while some are ovo-vegetarians, some are clinical veg's and some are following a mixed vegetarians meaning they take a mix of some animal products with veg diet and there are some others who turn veg not exactly knowing what it means being a veg. Some others say being single is also a sort of a veg. Ha ha! but that is on a lighter note!.
The vegetarianism dates back as old as 6 century BC in India and Greece. This was called Ahimsa(non-violence) in India basically to avoid violence against animals. But as an institution it was started in the early 20th century with International Vegetarian Union. This time it was on the reasons of nutrition, morality and economic concerns. What ever reasons it may be for, right to life isnt the monopoly of the human beings alone, even animals deserve that right, they need protection too. They feel the same pain, reluctance to death and the need to grow and naturally die. They infact  deserve a peaceful and natural death. By way of using them in our trade is such an inhuman approach. Are we humans in essence? Do we have that dignity? Do we have a power of understanding the fellow beings? Are we rational in our relation to the animals?. The animals have everything except the ability to speak and few qualities. What If they had a faculty same like ours and they can speak. There are many fundamental questions that we need to ask ourselves when it comes to brutal killings of animals.
Let me share some justifications why we need to stop killing animals for food. They can be our friends not food. As some one said "It is inconsistent with the way of living to fatten oneself on the flesh of fellow creatures". Yes it is inconsistent on the reasons of nutrition, morality, empirical evidences, health benefits so on.
Living on the flesh of animals is not the only way of surviving, we can also survive by living in harmony with them. We can derive all sorts of bodily mineral requirements by being a veg. Protein in the veg diet is slightly lower than a meat eater but it is sufficient for an athlete or a bodybuilder. Veg diet has almost equal amounts of iron to that of non-veg. Vitamin B12 is limited to animal sources but it is still not a need for the human body. There is no physical condition resulting from the defeciency of it. Plants are also rich sources of calcium. Vitamin D deficiency is there in all the people, this can be generated by our own body upon sufficient and sensible UV  sun exposure. So hereby I find that there is no need to kill the animals for want of nutritions. You can manage a lively eastern garden rich in  green vegetables and stop being the cause of brutality to our fellow beings.
There is no empirical support for non-veg being able to live a long life. But the studies reveal that vegetarians having better longevity compared to non-veg counterparts.A metastudy in the westrn countries confirmed that the mortality ratio was very high with meat eaters. The mortality rate was comparatively lower with veggies. A study on mortality in British vegetarians concluded that vegetarians had a low rate compared to meat and fish eaters.Life expectancy was found high in southern france where people were more on mediterranean diet and less meat. China project was the biggest survey ever done on diet vs longevity which also concluded in favour of vegetarianism. There was a close relationship between the amount of animal food in the diet and the top causes of death(heart disease, diabetes and cancer) in the west. What more do we need to say that its worth turning a veg. In the end if what you eat get you disease and let you die then what is the use eating, better quit. Better change the composition of your diet; less and less meat; more and more greenies in your diet.
The western medicines advise vegetarian diet for rheumatoid arthritis, Ayurvedic traditions does the same and here in our own context the traditional hospital prohibits meat and alchohol while on a traditional medicine. It is because they reduce the impact of the medicine or affect the ailment.
Anatomically humans are more related to herbivores with long intestinal tracts and blunt teeth, However we are classified as omnivorous we can digest both meat and plants. Nutritional experts say that early ancestors evolved into meat eating four million years ago, the jungles dried up as a result of climatic changes. They did it for sustenance but what about now, is it for sustenance!. I dont think it is so, because we can now sustain on non-meat diet more than ever. Only thing that we must do is a little bit of conditioning. The reason why I am using conditioning is because we are not using our reasoning abilities so we(including myself) are like animals and therefore need conditioning.
Consumption of meat leads to transmission of number of diseases from animals to humans. Diseases like bovine leukemia virus(BLV), Influenzas like the most recent global outbreaks like H1N1, H5N1 and so on, which can wipe out the human existence if not controlled. According to hunter theory AIDS virus was transmitted from a Chimpanzee to  humans while a hunter was bitten when butchering an animal. By being veg can pormote a society less vulnurable to the animal diseases.
Some of the religions emphasized on the importance of non-violence to animals and vegetarianism. The concept of ahimsa came from  hinduism. But people contend that buddha did not tell anything about vegetarianism but I am of the view that all the Buddhas teaching surround compassion, boddhichitta, non-violence and for me compassion it self is equivalent to being veg for the sake of sentient beings. But the sad fact is that Tibetan, Japanese and Bhutanese budhists are so desperately in for meat. This for me is against the buddhist teachings. They infact dilute the essence of buddhism. By eating the animal flesh how do they compose themselves for the search of the greatest truth the cessation of suffering, which they themselves are the party to the creation. This is a harsh truth and a bad food for thought for the meat eating buddhists.

I have been in a long slumber eating the my parents, brothers, sisters, possibly in my previous lives. But now I believe I have awakened from a level of ignorance. Thats why I tried to justify my stand. If any body need a further motivation you need to watch "Love and Mercy" and then think for yourself whether we are really practicing what we preach. Annually some metric tonnes are consumed by the people in Thimphu. I am not surprised to see hoards of meat in peoples houses before the auspicious months. Infact every one of us need to think twice to eat a shakam datsi or a sikam paa. Only because we have demanded so much they are killed. Because we have created the market they fall prey. They infact love to live, graze, peck, sleep and dance. We have caused the suffering that they undergo. We cannot escape the karmic actions, we desire happiness,we love peace but it cannot come through such unmindful ways of living. Lets think, lets put the morality into action, compassion into force. Lets put an end to slaughter of animals. We can do it, every drop counts, every grain remains. Buddha said "Keeping ones own body as an example dont harm others". This is what buddha said and its true, but are we truelly his followers??? 


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