Friday, November 22, 2013

Not All Buddhists Are Vegetarian

I officially became a Nichiren Buddhist on 8 October 2005. I was quite surprised when I was told that it was not obligatory to become vegetarian in order to practice this Buddhism. I'd believed that ALL Buddhists, regardless of the school, were vegetarian.

Turns out, not so much.

Nichiren Buddhism is part of the Mahayana, or Great Vehicle, branch of Buddhism. (The other two branches are Theravada and Vajrayana, in case you're interested. We're not going to go into the various branches of Buddhism today, though. We'll save that for another time.) It appears that the Japanese Kamakura schools of Buddhism, like Zen and Nichiren Buddhism, have relaxed the rules a bit, and view vegetarianism as more of a choice than absolutely necessary.

To begin with, Buddhist monks and nuns were not vegetarian. They travelled around the country, teaching, and receiving alms from others. If they were given meat in their food bowl, they didn't refuse it. They could only refuse if they knew with absolute certainty that the animal had been slaughtered in their honour. Otherwise, they were permitted to eat the meat.

The Theravada schools allow the eating of meat, with the prohibition of eating certain meats - including human and elephant. Vajrayana schools permit the eating of meat. Mahayana schools on the whole believe that a vegetarian diet should be pursued as part of the Bodhisattva way. Some sects even prohibit the consumption of root vegetables as this is seen as the living part of a plant and to eat it, would mean the death of the plant.

Not so much Nichiren Buddhism and other Japanese schools, though. Nichiren himself, apparently, was a vegetarian, and there is some debate as to whether The Buddha (Siddharta Gautama) was actually vegetarian.

In any case, Nichiren states, in his letter to Akimoto, "One who kills a mere ant will fall into hell, to say nothing of those who kill fish or birds." -  (WND V1 P1019). Nichiren Buddhism, particularly the Soka-Gakkai, call their followers Bodhisattvas of the Earth. It is common for those involved in Bodhisattva practice to avoid eating meat as the practice involves showing compassion and loving kindness to all sentient beings.

Am I a vegetarian? Not now. I became vegetarian during my conversion to Nichiren Buddhism and remained a vegetarian for about two years. Upon my return to South Africa in 2007, I experienced a migraine, after which I was meat crazy. I ended up raiding the fridge and ate all the cold chicken and salami there was. I've eaten meat since.

There is a strong belief in New Age circles that eating meat dulls one's third eye and causes aggression in the meat eater. This is something worth exploring for one's self. In early 2011, a friend and I embarked on an experiement to see if we could live on a vegan diet. Both of us lasted 22 days. I did feel calmer and more centred on the diet, it has to be said.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Can You Pass The Rorschach Test?

Hermann Rorschach, celebrated today in the Google Doodle, is the creator of the controversial psychological assessment test known as the Ink Blot or Rorshach Test. I pootled over to the wikipedia page to take a look at these ink blots, which you can too, here, and while I was at it, I decided to take the test myself.

The results, my dear friends, I share with you below. They are very far from the more common answers listed on the wikipedia page. It only confirms what I've known all along: I am batshit crazy and there is no cure.

Read on at your own peril.

Two giant dogs tearing the head off a mutant praying mantis. See how its hands are raised, trying to feel for its lost head?

A couple of Russian dancers high-fiving after executing a complicated move that ends with them both simultaneously stomping on a lit firework.

A primitive cave painting of two women fighting over a calabash that contains some powerful magic they have cooked up while two small red demons look on and laugh

Praying Mantis Man riding a rad-ass Harley.

Moth Man drags his helpless victims to his lair. Mwahahahaha.

Space Alien vagina

Portrait of a gray alien (Zeta Reticulans) wearing Elizabethan Era attire

A couple sabre-toothed bulls building a totem pole

Two dragons battle for the control of Tokyo

The Mystic Warrior Samurai using his magic to keep the world from collapsing by holding the energies of good and evil in each hand and not allowing them to ever meet

Yup. Crazy in the coconut.