Tuesday, September 21, 2010

American Buddhist nun: Vegetarian from Afar

(Phathue) Interview with the Buddhist nun Ven. Thubten Chodron at Pagoda Phat Hue ("Buddha's Wisdom") in Frankfurt, Germany -- "Ven. Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha's teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well-known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings."

"Interdependence, protecting life, and loving kindness are three of the Buddha's most important teachings… Sentient beings and the environment depend upon each other for survival, and thus it's in the interest of human beings to protect the environment."
- Thubten Chodron (Sravasti Abbey, sravasti.org)


Vegetarian from Afar
Venerables Chodron, Tarpa, Semkye, and Jampel attended a monastic conference about the environment and global warming where we learned that the global meat industry produces more greenhouse gases than all cars, buses, trucks, and planes combined.

The Abbey has been vegetarian since its inception and we thought it would be good to encourage others to be vegetarian as well. We want to inspire and empower each other to make a noticeable difference in the world by doing something quite simple yet important. Thus we’re beginning “Vegetarian From Afar” to inspire others to reduce their meat eating.

To be a part of it, folks make a commitment not to eat meat (including fish and chicken) one day a week. There are many great reasons to participate and here are just a few:

From the viewpoint of compassion:

As sentient beings, animals want to be happy and to be free of suffering just as much as we human beings do. Thus let’s cherish their lives as we cherish our own.

From the viewpoint of global warming and climate change: If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. alone would save:

  • 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months
  • 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year
  • 70 million gallons of gas — enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare
  • 3 million acres of land, more than twice the size of Delaware
  • 33 tons of antibiotics

"The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide… far more than transportation" (meatlessmonday.com).

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would prevent:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France
  • 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages
  • 4.5 million tons of animal excrement
  • Almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant

From the viewpoint of health:

Here are the benefits of eating less meat: More>>


  • Sept. 25: Walla Walla/Tri-Cities, WA: "Compassion in Action: One Step at a Time," one-day retreat with Ven. Tarpa, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Contact: Chris Murray, 509-946-7217
  • Sept. 25 & 26, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: World Buddhist Conference with Thich Nhat Han, Ven. Chodron, and others
  • Oct. 11 - Nov. 22, Spokane, WA: Buddhist Meditation with Vens. Semkye and Jigme, Mondays 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4340 W. Fort George Wright Dr. Contact Sara, 509-533-3222.
  • Oct. 15 - 26, Singapore: Teachings with Ven. Chodron. Contact FOSA.
  • Oct. 25, Buddha Dhamma Mandala Society, "What Do We Do with Desires?" 7:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 14 - 22, Mexico: Dharma talks in Cancun and Xalapa & retreat in Jalcomulco with Ven. Chonyi. Details to come. Contact Patricio.
  • Nov. 3, Cheney, WA: Eastern Washington University, "What the Buddha Taught and Why It Matters Today," on campus. Public talk with Ven. Chodron, hosted by Women's & Gender Studies Dept. 12:00-1:00 p.m.
  • Dec. 28 - January 1: Boulder Creek, CA: Vajrapani Institute. New Year Purification-Vajrasattva Retreat with Ven. Chodron

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