As of late I had a conversation with someone about my diet. Specifically, the question was posed to me, “what do you eat?” It did not take me long to realize that the question was posed out of frustration for the fact that the person was not getting his/her way in the conversation we were having.
My first reaction was to go on the defense, and to send the person a huge laundry list of every single thing I eat.
Today, I feel differently. Today, I will not be sending that list.
I have given much thought to my diet. To each meal I eat. To what I take in to my body as nourishment.
The Buddha encouraged his followers to eat mindfully. To eat in moderation.
My severe IBS encourages me to eat specific items, and to not eat specific items.
My practice on my path encourages me to be vegetarian, because I will be taking the vows to not kill. That includes all sentient beings, down to the earth worm, down to the ant. Therefore, I must not eat meat, flesh, or any living thing that no longer lives. Someone may ask me, what about buying your meat at the store? You have not directly killed the animal that once lived. However, by eating meat bought at a store, it is me supporting the meat industry. If everyone refused to buy meat, there would be no industry.
I know, pretty far flung.
But there is something else, something that is vitally important to my diet. There is another meal that I must be choosy in partaking.
If I choose to let darkness in. If I choose to listen to gossip. If I choose to be influenced to bad thoughts of others. If I choose to not practice.
If I choose to feel glee over the fact that someone is depressed, simply because they have wronged me. If what I choose to study does not in some way help me further down my path.
As much as food is important for my physical health, and well being, what I let in to my mind, the influences and people I let in to my life….those are just as important to my journey, my spiritual well being, and who I am as a Buddhist.
I cannot strengthen my practice and continue down my path if I let toxins in to my body, whether in the form of food, or any other form.
Ask me about the meal I have taken. But ask me, have you eaten well today, with my well being in mind, instead of what do you eat, out of disdain.
Walk with peace
Karma Pema Zangmo