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Veggie Reflections from Down Under by Chris Ghales

20 Mar 2016 8:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Thank you for this space to share personal dharma experiences.  I’m on my 4th  vegetarian year  with the anniversary on Dr. MLK Jr. day.  Since first starting, I have not eaten flesh from land animals and eat sea creatures approximately once a month.  I was still attracted to the smell of BBQ until I recently mentioned this to Fred.  He suggested I visit the charnel grounds in India during a cremation ceremony because the smell that fills the air then is the exact same as BBQ.  I now visit the charnel grounds every time I smell BBQ… a deep bow to the Teacher.

I grew up as a woodsman, tracker and hunter in western Pennsylvania until I moved to Florida in 1997.  I would kill and butcher my own game and even the occasional fresh roadkill.  I was responsible for getting my father back into hunting.  He continues to keep two freezers filled with wild game. 

I took up spearfishing when moving to Florida.  “They are just silly little fishes, sub-animals and easier to clean.  I can combine my two favorite hobbies, hunting and scuba.  I’ll be doing this for a long time!”  However, during some of those dives is when I considered becoming a vegetarian.  One day I speared a snapper through the heart and watched it glide motionless to the sandy bottom, perfect kill, no struggle.  And then something amazing happened.  The rest of its school circled back and swam all around their motionless companion.  I witnessed compassionate acts but I still didn’t get it.  During the next dive trip, a barracuda ducked my shot and stared me down while I retrieved my spear.  As soon as I reloaded, the fish took off like a bolt of lightning.  At that moment I thought, “What am I doing down here killing these amazing creatures?!”  Later, I cut up my spear gun and threw it in the trash never to kill again.  I felt lighter but still a little heavy from the lives I’ve personally taken and by my past eating habits. 

One of the documentaries mentioned in other comments above summed the idea up very well… No creature wants to die, why should we promote the taking of their life?  I couldn’t think of anything that contradicts that idea.  I also suggest mindfully watching some of the documentaries mentioned above.  It is a chance to have a deeper understanding where our society’s food comes from and how we vote with our dollar.

Back to seafood… during one of the documentaries they showed what “long lines” and netting does to the environment.  Not even the sacred underwater realm is safe from un-mindfulness.  When I saw this destruction, I was filled with compassion for our earth and tears filled my eyes and I thought, “That’s it, no more seafood.”   Through this posting, I re-pledge my commitment to the sea.  I will also write a mindful letter, put it in a bottle and toss it into the ocean.

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