Question: I support the promotion of vegetarianism/ veganism as a practice of compassion and wisdom for the welfare of animals, humans and the environment, but what if having gatherings with Buddhist friends at vegetarian restaurants lead to craving? Isn’t that against the teaching of Right Thought (motivation) in the Noble Eightfold Path?
Answer: We should realise that as long as far from enlightenment, we will have craving, and if so, when it comes to food, it is better that this craving, be it subtle or strong, be based on kinder, wiser and healthier choices, than more cruel (due to sustained demand for supply of breeding, slavery, exploitation and slaughter of sentient beings), less wise and healthy ones. This is creating a more wholesome habit, versus supporting the ongoing habit of going for animal produce based on craving for mere taste for most cases. Thus, what we ought to ask is if not going vege sustains or increases craving for meat. We have the power of choice, which affects sentient lives.
Of course, we should reduce craving even for vegan food, but introducing good vegan food through gatherings is a skilful means to show one another how can we eat kinder. This is based on the Right Thought of compassion on the Noble Eightfold Path, with no intention to create craving at all. (The practice of vegetarianism/ veganism is a powerful practice of compassion and wisdom because of these reasons: http://www.moonpointer.com/vege/10.htm)
Why Veganism Is Not An Extreme Way Of Life