Home » Features » Why Veganism is Not an Extreme Way of Life

How can you save all beings from suffering,
if you keep eating some of these beings?

- Stonepeace

Do you know that the Buddha gradually and skilfully encouraged vegetarianism as the kinder and wiser diet of choice? We all know that while mere abstention from animal produce by itself does not lead to enlightenment, consuming animal produce is a spiritual hindrance if it is due to continual greed for taste, lack of compassion and/or sustenance of delusion. Well, can you imagine a Buddha craving for a juicy burger made from a helpless cow? Of course not! Yet, every once in a while, I’m accused of being an extremist just because I’m a vegan (i.e. a vegetarian who also does not use any animal-derived products), who speak up for animals. But if vegans do not speak for them, how can the animals’ suffering be heard, when their screams of pain and terror are muted away from their consumers?

What about those who insist it is perfectly alright to endlessly devour murdered animals, and demand stuff derived from exploiting them? Who are the true extremists? As the truth is often hard to swallow, I don’t and can’t force vegan views (or food) down any human throat, while animals’ throats are forcibly cut, while they and their produce are swallowed and (ab)used with glee. Male calves get swiftly killed due to being unproductive. Milk cows are murdered later for beef and leather. Male chicks get swiftly killed due to being unproductive. Egg hens are murdered later for meat and feathers. Silkworms are killed for scarves. Bees are killed for honey (during harvesting). Sheep are killed for wools (when they are considered useless). Foxes are killed for furs…

‘… who do not wear silk, leather boots, furs…, or consume milk, cream, or butter can truly transcend the world’ [i.e. be liberated]. So eventually taught the Buddha in the Surangama Sutra, who did not immediately advocate veganism… probably because he knew too well that we are so attached to animal produce, that to speak of veganism at the beginning, few would accept it – even as a simple practice of universal compassion. Though the compassionate Buddha never insisted that all his followers must be (full) vegetarians or vegans in their present lifetimes, it is a Bodhisattva precept that Buddhas-to-be must be so in time, since all Buddhas are perfect in compassion. More than a mere diet, veganism is surely no extreme way of life, for it is part of the ultimate Middle Path of Bodhisattvas in training – to minimise harm to beings and to maximise their protection from fear and danger. It is a noble guide to how we should relate to sentient beings… as fellow friends; not slaves on death row. Though a leap to veg*ism might seem too far to you for now, why not reduce consumption of animal produce? Thank you… on the behalf of the animals, for considering! Amituofo.

How can you wish all beings to be well and happy,
if you keep eating some of these beings?

- Stonepeace

Related Articles:

The Invisible Conveyor Belt of Meat & Murder
Is Vegetarianism Extreme?
Veganism in Mahayana Buddhism
Veganism in Surangama Sutra
Shocking Truths about Animal Exploitation
Vegetarianism is Only Half of Total Compassion to Animals
Top 10 Reasons Not to Drink Milk
Is Your Egg-free Cake Milk-free too?
An Easy Way to Make the World a Better Place

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