Many buddhists have long espoused vegetarianism as the proper diet for human beings, but since buddhism broke away from tantrism and vedism as spiritual education sources, a lot of this ethos comes from the latter spiritual stream’s assumptions that vegetarianism produces a higher vibration in the body that allows a greater ability to spiritually transcend.
Did you know that Buddha’s last meal was actually a pork stew? These current buddhist modes are a modern invention and do not belong to the ancient origins of buddhism. In ancient times, the focus was like that used for the islamic halaal meat – that animals sacrificed to feed us should at least be honored, blessed, and nurtured well until their death.
There are, however, a lot of logical reasons for eating vegetarian, instead of the often blogged – ‘do not eat other sentient beings’ crap. But let’s remember that scientific studies that examined kirlian photography concluded that plants feel pain, too, and therefore, just because they don’t communicate in obvious ways with us does not necessarily mean they are non-sentient.
Plus, I put to you that if plants are sentient, then eating them alive, as we often do, goes against the current mores of political correctness where acts that hurt another sentient being are considered abuse or torture.
Want to eat a carrot raw? Imagine cutting and eating a live fish and the judgement that comes from western society upon people who do that?
Further, cooking live plants and their products should bring horror to the face of those who don’t like to know things must be killed for our food. Because if we are to be really ethical, we should not eat any living thing at all under that ‘don’t eat other sentient beings’ scenario.
In the end, the true bottom line is that all is energy, whether plant or animal.
When we eat a living body, whether plant or animal, it is just the shell of the avatar residing in it. When the shell dies, the spirit avatar moves on and recycles to a new life. The body that the avatar inhabited is simply a sacrificial gift to keep our own bodies alive and healthy.
Even that scenario has its drawbacks for those honestly invested in ethics, because raw vegetables and salads can be assessed as being ‘still alive and feeling’ when we eat them. But that’s when the mystical mode of self-sacrifice for others, or for the greater good, comes into play.
Apart from the ethical considerations and worldly logistics, any food should be eaten with gratitude for that sacrificial gift of life, and any food should be taken as a blessing. In pagan lore, we honor the sacrifice of all elements of our meals, and say we ‘must not take for granted what is given, but must always remember to return some to the cycle of life.’
By all means, look after and honor the animals who die for us – but let’s have some perspective beyond personal opinions. Because the argument that keeps cropping up is vegetarianism versus carnivorism, and vegetarians like to get scientific by basing their argument on the apparent worldly logistics with regard to animal husbandry compared to agriculture. However, there are flaws and drawbacks when it comes to mass farming on both sides of that food supply equation.
Either system of food supply is unsatisfactory, because mass farming upsets the balance of nature. Animal husbandry en masse upsets things like the ozone layer and causes devastation to the landscape. Agriculture upsets things like the water supply and also devastates the landscape. Often, wherever mass farming has been plied in history, devastations to the landscape have seen persistent droughts and deserts established. So the real factor in both methods of food supply is not what to eat or why to eat it, but that the human race is now so vast on this planet that its systems are out of whack.
Even a hundred years ago, the average age of a human being was actually only 30 years old at death. We had more children but more children died before becoming adults. Death was so much a part of the natural way of things that churches were painted with death scenes, and images of the grim reaper, to remind people of this fact.
Today, our society is built on the premise of cheating death. To do that, we have developed infrastructures and health programs, medicine and modes that prolong life as much as possible. And today, we have gained an average of 20 years extra life span than our ancestors once had. (Yes, I mean only 20 years, meaning a 50 year end age, because the mooted ‘you can live past 70’ actually comes to few of us, still).
So now we have a problem supplying the massive planetary wide population burst of human beings, hence the need to farm on massive scales never before suffered by the planet.
And this has an inherent problem. Because the planet does not have infinite resources. What it does have are recyclable resources. Rain falls, flows, steams, goes to cloud, and falls as rain again, which we drink. Plants thrive, die or get eaten, rot or are excreted, nourish the soil, and other plants feed on that fertilizer, beginning the cycle all over again. Animals do the same as plants, whether or not they are herbivores or carnivorous. So the problem is that our world is based on a system of recycling, not of new or synergistic generation. It has a finite capacity. And that is why people are starving, and that is why people will continue to starve in the future – because no matter what scientists or farmers do to increase the supply, the planetary resource stock is a limited pantry.
It is not our right to live long and healthy lives at all. It is our right and blessing to have a life on planet Earth and to enjoy its gifts for as long as we are here, and in return it is our obligation to die in our due time so that our bodies can keep on feeding the cycle of life. And that is the bottom line under all arguments, that is persistently being ignored. Death is a natural part of life.
Assailed, of late, with health problems that have made it difficult to complete tasks or find the motivation to get back to work at all.
Despite all that has gone before in the relatively long life I’ve lived, I still feel like a failure when I’m forced to rest, and then begin to have doubts about what the future holds – feeling powerless because there is no action beyond the daily mundane.
When in this state, I seek guidance. Because in this state, meditation and mantras, prayers and wishes, don’t seem to be as effective. So I wonder – where did I go wrong? In what way can I do better? How can I get through these problems or obstacles to keep forging a better state of life?
When the answers from that guidance arrive, they often surprise me. I can tell you assuredly that they do not come from my own mind. I could never have made them up. I would not even have thought that way. Their revelations are always interesting and informative, offering a different point of view.
My doctor is concerned about my health and struggling to come to terms with my insistence on trying to treat myself more assiduously with alternative therapies, first. I asked what the medications she wanted to put me on would actually do and countered with the natural therapies I am now using, like hawthorn, arjuna, calcium and magnesium, which will do the same thing, but will take longer to take effect.
We’re keeping an eye on this process together, and I will accede to her medical intervention if something comes to crisis – but the guidance I received from spirit has definitely placed new slants on my modes. It said that my body was going through a transformation – and that this was the reason for all the extra activity going on – the racing heart, the high blood pressure, the inflammation, and even the fragile emotions present.
Along with that message came an image of a computer hard drive defragmenting itself, and the constant ticking vibration of it rearranging information files and cleaning up bad disc areas. That picture definitely aligns to the ever present palpitations I can’t seem to get under control, and the weird buzzing feeling that spreads from my chest to even the soles of my feet.
It’s an interesting idea, because before I got worried enough to go to the doctor and get things checked, I really thought my body was just going through some sort of healing process, manifested by my mantra rituals that had been especially concentrating on fixing problems in my life, of late.
If you know me, you know I believe in spiritual or metaphysical healing, and I do often use such healing techniques on myself, to help my own body ailments improve. So it wasn’t odd for me to believe that the buzzing feeling was a higher vibrational energy that just seemed to be taking much longer to do its job.
A lot of separations have happened in my life relationships in recent years, and many I thought would be with me to the end of my days are now gone forever – some old, some young. If I ever held hope of one day sorting things out with those people, I now have to acknowledge that hope seems to be finally lost. So the image of the hard drive being cleaned up, and of irrelevant files or damaged ones being quarantined away so that the rest of the space becomes more useable is very relevant for me.
It’s human to doubt and become concerned, though. Sometimes, pure faith is not enough. Sometimes, destiny declares we are meant to be helped by others. So when the buzzing continued, and palpitations joined them, and finally chest pains started popping, I sought the counsel of my doctor.
Tests my doctor has already completed on me show I am in fairly good health, though nothing can prevent sudden attacks that come out of the blue – and she likes to tell me that the physical things assailing me, nevertheless, are showing that such an attack would not be quite out of the blue.
Maybe they aren’t, but maybe that is just destiny. Should I just trust my doctor and follow her modes, alone, when I do know the efficacy of natural therapy?
There are still doubts about my modes, because I don’t feel ready to die yet. Whoever is, at any age?
Two key figures in my early life, my mother and her sister, my aunt, both died in recent months, riddled with cancer, and both thought they would always live much longer than they did. I thought so, too.
Death is therefore not something I feel I have real control over. I believe it will come when it is meant to come, no matter what I do to prevent it.
My mother was having stem cell therapy well before they discovered cancer in her lungs. Nothing she had done or did afterwards prevented it spreading to her brain and bringing inevitable death.
It is one thing wanting to live a healthy life. It is quite another trying to cheat death.
So I am listening to my doctor but not yet trying her therapies. (I did take modern medicine in the past, and had many unwanted or dangerous side effects). I am going with my own natural therapies, for now, but keeping watch so that if things do get worse I can claim her backup. And for now, I have to accept rest and attempt rehabilitation, and let time pass so that my natural therapies can do their work.
That’s how natural things work. They take time. They can’t be forced, and if you try to force them, there are often consequences to deal with.
It really does feel like defragmenting my hard drive. Goodness knows, I’ve waited impatiently at times for my real computer to process a proper defragmentation of its hard drive, just itching to get back to work, and feeling frustrated that I had no choice other than to wait things out until the job was done.
And, when it is done in my own internal spaces, hopefully I will have enough life left to complete all the wonderful tasks I set myself. There are so many, it will take a lifetime, too. 🙂
And if I don’t complete them before I die… well, I also believe in reincarnation, so mayhap I will catch up, then.
Death comes to us all, the saying goes, but how many of us really think about that as we go about our daily lives?
I have had death touch my life many times – through friends and relatives, children of friends, and pets. Death has come to each in various ways.
I also watched the multiple deaths and revivals my teenage son suffered after the accident that left him permanently disabled, and lived through a few of my own near death experiences from heart problems, extreme asthma and bronchitis, and surgery that went badly.
You’d think I should have a ‘handle’ on death by now, but I lost a beloved aunt to cancer recently and once again it has confronted me.
I realized that the confrontation came because we were estranged. I have not seen her for twenty years or more. She stopped wanting to have anything to do with me because of gossip in my family, and I waited years for her to change her mind.
She never did. So I moved on with my life without her in it.
There was nothing that could have been done to change that scenario. I feel that if people are determined to cut you out of their lives, even after they are aware of your truths, then they just don’t want you there, so it’s pointless to waste energy persuading them differently.
That knowledge didn’t stop me feeling sad at the ‘loss,’ which is an odd thing to say because in reality I lost her long ago.
My spiritual modes believe in reincarnation. I believe in life before and after death, in spirit being the driver of the human body avatar, and in immortality in divine form. So I can realign the loss to my philosophies and tenets and move through it, but that does not actually stop the pain that happens in the heart.
Grief comes to us all, because grief is not about death or dying, it is about loss. If we value what is lost, we miss it, and we can grieve for it.
For me, this loss is not so much the presence of my aunt in my life, but the wistful hope that one day things might be better between us. I am now confronted by the knowledge that things can never be better now, that her human body is vacated and that her spirit will not return in that form in this lifetime.
Reincarnation does not deal well with grief. Grief is relevant only to this world, and the here and now, not to the cycles of life in the cosmos. My aunt’s body is dead and gone. Reincarnation is not bringing her back to me in this lifetime, even if I meet her in another.
It doesn’t matter how enlightened you are, or what you do or do not believe in, loss is always difficult to deal with. Realignment comes later. The heart needs to sing its dirge first.
I have long promoted acceptance of death as being part and parcel of life. I have long felt that all people should think of death well before it happens, so that they do all they wanted to do before it comes. Yet life does not always afford us the opportunities for closure. Many times, we simply have to move on with the heartache and pain until it eventually dissipates.
In the days of yore, when death was a far more common threat to existence through wars and pestilence, and people rarely lived long enough to develop wrinkles, it was accepted as part of the natural fragility of life.
Those people did not have science, technology, and medical miracles to give them hope that life could be repaired or extended.
It is only because these things exist in our society that we feel such shock when those around us die, because we have been led to believe that it is possible to live at least into our seventies, or even to a hundred.
Yet, in the not so long ago Victorian era, women rarely lived past the age of thirty – and while the media today is full of hope that we can all live for decades longer than our forebears, most people do not. Death in what we consider old age is still a rarity.
In medieval churches, scenes of death were painted on walls and ceilings, so that people could never forget the possibility, and would learn to cherish each day and not waste a moment.
In many spiritual faiths, death is honored with skulls representing the ancestors, their knowledge, experience, and wisdom, reminding us all that while the body is fragile, the mind and spirit live on.
As a pagan, I also honor the ancestors in the Feast of the Dead, for Samhain or Halloween, each year. It helps me align to the knowledge that death is part of life, yet is not the end of life – that the body is only one phase in the existence of spirit.
That knowledge does not stop me crying when I speak during the ritual of my deceased. Grief is present wherever there is focus on what we have lost.
I had a wonderful friend and mentor who lived into his nineties, and seemed as though he would live forever – but he didn’t. His favorite saying was that he would live till ‘tempis fugit‘ – till ‘time flies‘. I suppose that sums it up. We live in human form until our ‘time runs out.‘ Then we reawaken in another dimension.
My aunt lived to the ‘ripe’ age of seventy four. If you are a young person, you might say she ‘had a good innings’ and ‘lived to a fine age‘ – but if you are older, like me, you may think that she had ‘many good years still left in her’, and feel shocked that someone who is not too much older than yourself has been ‘kicked off the planet.’
What the knowledge of my aunt’s death did for me was to bring a confrontation with the fact that I was still placing some parts of my life ‘on hold’ waiting for changes to occur, that time and circumstance have shown are unlikely to ever occur. This is not just in the situation with my aunt, but also with others who were far closer to me.
Finally, I am able to put aside those notions and to get on with living my life.
Not that I wasn’t already living my life, but quite often when I was thinking I was doing that, I actually wasn’t.
For instance, as I was working, thoughts kept popping into my head about the people missing from my intimate circles, and those thoughts led to feelings of frustration and pain – never reconciled.
You can realign yourself from such modes, but it takes effort, and they keep coming back.
The same happened when I was spending time with loved ones who are still present. Having fun and delighting in their company brought to mind those who were no longer sharing such moments, and the same feelings of frustration and pain would cloud the beautiful times I was having.
It was something I had to forcefully ‘put down’, to assertively ‘thrust from my mind’, and to push for ‘presence in the moment’.
Something changed when I learned my aunt had died. I finally gave up. I suddenly realized quite starkly how old I am and that all I really have is this life to live (in this body), and I finally decided to fully live it, to ‘ditch’ any asides that waste energy on futility.
There is a certain peace in that. It’s not happiness or contentment, but a peace that comes from acceptance – and in that acceptance, I am finally able to fully commit to my own life, my own dreams and their manifestation, without diversion… (at least, I hope so).
Feels good for now.
The following is a poem I wrote many years ago. It was written about a male friend, then, but I have changed it to female for my aunt, and placed it here for my cousins and relatives who also miss her. It upholds my own beliefs.
SHE IS GONE, BUT NOT GONE
(Copyright, L. O. Hennig)
She is gone, but not gone.
She remains in your heart.
She is alive in every memory.
She touches you in each moment of grief.
She is lost, but not lost.
She has shed her body and mortal woes.
She soars in the land of spirit.
She travels among the stars.
She has traveled in this world with you.
Now she travels in the realm of the divine.
She has known life’s pleasures and sorrows.
Now she remembers soul’s bliss and freedom.
She was born, and lived, and died.
She is now born, and lives, and never dies.
She was contained within a feeble body.
She is now free to become the galaxy she can be.
She is missed, but not forgotten.
She is here, but can’t be touched.
She is loved and remains loving.
She can see what we cannot.
She is blessed in pure spirit.
She is blessed by love in heart.
She is blessed with immortality.
She now knows that only bodies part.
She is gone, but not gone.
She has shed her worldly tasks.
She has taken off her fleshy clothes.
She has taken off her masks.
You are here, but not here.
You will some day do the same.
You will return to your spirit home.
You will finish your worldly game.
She will be there to hold your hand again.
She will help you fly back home.
She will help you shed the last of fear
That you ever were alone.
Until then, when in the gray you call her
She will come and fill your space
With her gentle warmth of presence,
With her love and spirit grace.
Be thankful that your journeys
Through this life had intertwined.
Be thankful that you hugged and laughed,
And that on great love you dined.
She is not gone, nor ever was –
Her body is now the Earth,
But like a butterfly from a chrysalis
Her death was in truth a birth.
You grieve for hugs and kisses.
You miss her smiling face –
But you will one day dance the cosmos with her
As you swirl through time and space.
To all those who have lost someone dear, may your grief allow you to treasure every moment of loving their existence and bring you the peace of knowing the blessing of their life.