you asked about veganism -- vegetarian, veganism, both can be very good, from a practice perspective and a compassion perspective. provided you do get enough nutrients/balanced diet/proteins and so on from eating the meals.
john tan has said before that the vegetarian diet is conducive to samadhi and will lead to more intense clarity. so it is good from a practice perspective. from a compassion perspective, i don't need to elaborate much but that is obvious, and also is the reason why chinese mahayana buddhism highly recommends vegetarianism (although not as much in tibetan buddhism or theravada buddhism). also from an modern ecological perspective, with our planet currently undergoing the great extinction and ecological collapse and calamity, vegetarian is a very logical and sound option.
unfortunately due to bad habits john tan and i are not vegetarians lol
but my chinese mahayana zen teacher is
she has also undergone the stages, like first I AM and later anatta, she also supports my involvement in AtR and encouraged me to "continue teaching" (although i never saw myself as a teacher)
that teacher is of the rinzai zen / linji ch'an lineage, although the school of buddhism she currently teaches does not call themselves "zen" but is considered a new school with slightly different characteristics, she is the dharma teacher of my mother and was my first dharma teacher i learnt from even before i came to know of john tan.
although she highly recommends that all of us take up vegetarianism she does not enforce it upon her students, but at minimum one should only eat the three pure meats that the Buddha taught: "I say that there are three instances in which meat should not be eaten: when it is seen, heard, or suspected that the living being has been slaughtered for the bhikkhu. I say that meat should not be eaten in these three instances. I say that there are three instances in which meat may be eaten: when it is not seen, not heard, and not suspected, that the living being has been slaughtered for the bhikkhu."
this is from the karma perspective in buddhism that personally killing another being is an unwholesome karma (action) which will ripen into a negative result or suffering in future or even future lifetimes
before i answer your questions further do let me know if you went through the I AM first
Hey thanks for this response. I found it really interesting but I think you misunderstand my question. I am asking you why you think anatta is something to be strived towards? I understand what the experience entails but is it actually an experience that we are meant to be having? Is that even something anyone could possibly know? I find it really disheartening that you are not a vegan as in my opinion this is a core part of awakening. How can you be awakened but actively participate in the suffering of your own body, the suffering of animals, and the suffering of the world. In my opinion, becoming vegan is a natural conclusion to awakening and should take zero effort once the realization is made....it would be harder not to be vegan. Like there is literally zero reason to eat animals in our modern day except for the taste of them....and taste is just an indulgence of the self....I also think that you misinterpret what the buddha has written. In my opinion they are not saying that personally killing another being is an unwholesome action but rather that the animal being killed to serve you is the unwholesome action. If you are simply ignorant to the way that the animal is slaughtered and you don't personally do the slaughter - you are not obsolved of responsibility. You are eating meat and therefore you are creating the demand for the animal to be slaughtered and therefore "the living being has been slaughtered for the bhikku".
I am not sure about the I am part, ironically. I'm guessing you can link me to another article about it? I'm sorry if I have already read the article and not commented on it prior.
I also don't believe in the karmic rebirth dealio. I believe that I am you and you are me. And that you are the animal you are eating as well. You're also the plants that you eat. But when you're the plant you aren't perceiving your suffering whereas when you're the animal you are. You aren't going to be reborn into some worse karmic position.....you're already the animal you are eating and you just don't realize it. That's my perspective anyways. If being an animal and suffering isn't as bad as being a human and suffering then you eat the meat. But with the availability of vegan options then there is no reason for the animal to suffer since it's suffering doesn't result in you as a human suffering any less than if you had just eaten a vegan option. I think it's important for everyone to become vegan because at the end of the day we are the animals who are suffering and as long as we continue to eat meat, we will suffer.
the buddha and his monks actually ate meat as long as they are not killed/suspected to be killed/seen to be killed.. the buddha was not a vegan. the idea is they must accept any food given to them without preferences and attachments to taste unless there is something really wrong with the food (poisonous, etc)
also, my dzogchen teacher acarya malcolm smith from the tibetan buddhism tradition said this,
" No, my logic, based on the writings of Bhavaveka, says that meat pure in three ways is not harmful at all to anything since there is no mind in a piece of meat which can suffer.
You can disagree with him if you like.
Those with compassion eat meat.
-- Hevajra Tantra"
so you can see all the traditions of buddhism teaches compassion but how they see the topic of vegetarianism differs
the tibetan tradition perspective may be that (and even within tibetan buddhists the opinions varies among different teachers and practitioners), you can eat meat that is not killed for or by you, because the meat that is offered on the markets is already there as is -- it will be there whether you buy it or not. but if you eat it as a practitioner, there are some ways you can create a positive connection for that animal, or some mantras you can chant for the animals and so on, that will cause the animal to be reborn in higher realms and enter the path to awakening (all buddhists believe in rebirth)
so the thing is, it is not a given that someone enlightened must be vegetarian
but i do agree vegetarianism is a good choice
the argument of the non-vegan buddhists is that the meat provided today is a market-driven rather than demand-driven commodity
as for why anatta realization is important, in short, it is crucial to the end of suffering, which is the primary or perhaps the only reason why buddhism is taught -- suffering and end of suffering.
"We cannot get rid of suffering by saying, "I will not suffer." We cannot eliminate attachment by saying, "I will not be attached to anything," nor eliminate aggression by saying, "I will never become angry." Yet, we do want to get rid of suffering and the disturbing emotions that are the immediate cause of suffering.
The Buddha taught that to eliminate these states, which are really the results of the primary confusion of our belief in a personal self, we must get rid of the fundamental cause.
But we cannot simply say, "I will not believe in the personal self." The only way to eliminate suffering is to actually recognize the experience of a self as a misconception, which we do by proving directly to ourselves that there is no such personal self. We must actually realise this. Once we do, then automatically the misconception of a self and our fixation on that "self" will disappear.
Only by directly experiencing selflessness can we end the process of confused projection. This is why the Buddha emphasized meditation on selflessness or egolessness. However, to meditate on egolessness, we must undertake a process that begins with a conceptual understanding of egolessness; then, based on that understanding, there can be meditation, and finally realization."
- Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Pointing Out the Dharmakaya
"Though worldly beings cultivate meditative stabilization,
They do not destroy the discrimination of self.
They are greatly disturbed by the return of afflictive emotions,
As was the case of the cultivation of meditative stabilization by Udraka.
If phenomena are individually analyzed as selfless
And what has been analyzed is meditated upon,
That is the cause for attaining the fruit, nirvana.
Through any other cause one does not go to peace..."
- King of Meditative Stabilizations Sutra
"Monks, when a monk’s mind frequently remains acquainted with the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, his mind is rid of “I-making” and “mine-making” with regard to this conscious body and externally with regard to all representations, and has transcended conceit, is at peace, and is well liberated."
- AN 7.49 Dutiyasaññā Sutta
"When our own self is involved, we emphasize that connection: now it is "my body," "my stuff," "my friends," or "my car." We exaggerate the object's attractiveness, obscuring its faults and disadvantages, and become attached to it as helpful in acquiring pleasure, whereby we are forcibly led into lust, as if by a ring in our nose. We might also exaggerate the object's attractiveness, making something minor into a big defect, ignoring its better qualities, and now we view the object as interference with our pleasure, being led into hatred, again as if by a ring in our nose. Even if the object does not seem to be either agreeable or disagreeable but just an ordinary thing in the middle, ignorance continues to pervail, although in this case it does not generate desire or hatred. As the Indian scholar-yogi Nagarjuna says in his Sixty Stanza Reasoning:
How could great poisonous afflictive emotions not arise
In those whose minds are based on inherent existence?
Even when an object is ordinary, their minds
Are grasped by the snake of destructive emotions.
Cruder conceptions of "I" and "mine" evoke grosser destructive emotions, such as arrogance and belligerance, making trouble for yourself, your community, and even your nation. These misconceptions need to be identified by watching your own mind.
As the Indian thinker and yogi Dharmakirti says in his exposition of Buddhist thinking:
In one who exaggerates self
There is always adherence to "I."
Through that adherence there is attachment to pleasure.
Through attachment disadvantages are obscured.
And advantages seen, whereby there is strong attachment,
And objects that are "mine" are taken up as means
of achieving pleasure.
Hence, as long as there is attraction to self,
So long do you revolve in cyclic existence."
- H.H. Dalai Lama, "How to See Yourself as You Really Are"
And yes realizing anatta is truly 'attainable', otherwise there wouldnt be 50+ people who have made this breakthrough in the Awakening to Reality community alone. The Buddha back then was recorded to have had thousands of students that had similar awakening.