Where is Our Beloved Child Now?

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In order to turn the worlds into pure Buddha-worlds,
in which all living beings can be enlightened,
Bodhisattvas should not eat meat.
[As there is no killing or demand for it in Purelands.]

— The Buddha: Lankavatara Sutra

The Buddha once told his monks this story: A couple and their young son were crossing a vast desert on their way to seek asylum in another land. But they hadn’t planned well and were only halfway across the desert when they ran out of food. Realizing that all three would die in the desert, the parents made a horrifying decision: they decided to kill and eat their child. Every morning they ate a morsel of his flesh, just enough for the energy to walk a little further, all the while crying, “Where is our little boy?” They carried the rest of the son’s flesh on their shoulders, so it could continue to dry in the sun. Every night the couple looked at each other and asked, “where is our beloved child now?” And they cried and pulled their hair, and beat their chests with grief…

And the Buddha said, “We have to practice eating in such a way that will retain compassion in our heart. We have to eat in mindfulness. Otherwise we will be eating the flesh of our own children.” In the Sutra on the Son’s Flesh, the Buddha teaches us how to practice mindful consumption in order to preserve our future. Our future can always be glimpsed in our present. If the present looks one way, the future will probably look the same, since the future is made of the present. Therefore, in order to safeguard our future, we have to make changes in the present. If we apply the Sutra on the Son’s Flesh in our daily lives, we will be able to save ourselves and our planet.

The situation the Earth is in today has been created by unmindful production and unmindful consumption. We are doing violence to our home and we are facing global warming and catastrophic climate changes. We have created an environment that is conducive to violence, hate, discrimination, and despair. [In the Lankavatara Sutra, the Buddha taught: ‘… they (all beings) frequently become the relatives of one another. Because of these relationships, I see that all meats eaten by living beings are of their own relatives. Due to the greed for flavors of meats, living beings circularly eat one another, and they always have the thoughts of hurting one another. Their painful karmas are always increasing. And so, they are wandering in cycles of births and deaths, unable to escape.’] Related except (from same book): Diet for a Mindful Planet

Let people cherish the thought of kinship with them [all beings],
and, thinking that all beings are to be loved as if they were an only child,
let them refrain from eating meat.

— The Buddha: Lankavatara Sutra

The World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology
by Thich Nhat Hanh
Get it at Amazon

Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!

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