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As many said already, you do not have to be a vegetarian to be a Buddhist.
Listen to many masters' lectures, WISDOM and COMPASSION are the two main qualities in practicing Buddhism. If we wants to be more compassion, then we do not want kill, harm, or eat any other beings. All beings have Buddha nature.
Also, if we believes in Karma and rebirth in Buddhism, if we do eat other beings, then we will create a karmic consequences with those beings within this life or future lives.
Most Buddhists follow Mahayana are vegetarians. Some eat vegetarian their whole lives. Some eat vegetarian like for 2 or 4 or 10 days a month. Or 1 or 2 or 3 months out of a year, etc. Some vegetarians are very strict that they are avoiding the five pungent plants (Onions, Garlic, Scallions, Chives and Leeks). Regarding pungent plants, can google to find out more information why avoiding these plants.
Most Tibet Buddhists are not vegetarian. However, the 17th Karmapa (http://kagyuoffice.org/karmapa/), who is in exiled in northern India, he now also becomes vegeterian:
Below is one of the 17th Karmapa teachings on eating meat or not:
the original history about vegetarian Buddhist is started from this Emperor Wu.
It is unclear when Emperor Wu began to be a devout Buddhist, but by 517 Buddhist influences on his policies began to be plain. That year, he ordered that imperial textile factories not weave gods and animals on clothes, because when the clothes undergo further manufacturing, the patterns might be damaged, showing disrespect to the gods and hurtfulness to the animals. In a further break from Confucian tradition, he considered making sacrifices to imperial ancestors vegetarian, instead of traditional animal sacrifices of goats, pigs, and cows, and the sacrifices were first changed to using dried meat, and then eventually to mock animals made from flour, vegetables, and fruits, and this change was despite popular opinion that this would bring displeasure from the ancestors.
A Mi To Fo
From the post "Simple Path" discussion http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/24605/simple-path
make me think of this that I read from another Buddhism forum I'd like to share:
Buddha teaching: The Dharma is like a raft!
I am right now is kind of "- Some climb up the raft, paddle for a distance, see another raft looks better, get onto that raft, and then repeat again, again...". :-(
Which one is you?
A Mi To Fo
I use this quote to help with my anger management:
“Holding on anger is like you are drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
Also, in practicing Buddhism, I use the Buddha power :-). I chant Buddha or Bodhisattva name to calm down. As I am practicing Pureland Buddhism, I either chant A Mi To Fo (Amitabha Buddha) or Guan Yin Pu Sa (Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva).
A Mi To Fo
@federica, sorry, in this case, I do not have any sutta/sutra/lecture link related specifically to this.
I agree with you some of these probably not come from the Buddha. I heard different lectures from different masters through out the years that mentioned some of these subjects. I remembered one lecture I heard awhile back from one of the masters that we should not have sex on that day to pay respect to our mothers and also to remember our mothers, because when our mothers gave birth to us, it was not always easy. Of course, we can have a beer and a cake on that day, but @lobster no presents, too much attachements :-).
I found this video which kind list most of I listened from lectures before, so I posted it.
I think some of these probably coming from past Buddhist Masters as teachings/guidelines to help us from craving for it. Each of us have to decide for ourselves what to do.
Of course, as Lay Buddhist we do what we think it is ok or not. We just try our best to practice. @Bunks, regarding masturbation, I used think similar. I just enjoyed myself. I do not hurt anybody, nothing wrong with it. Also, I can almost do it anywhere/anytime when I want, when I have craving for it or after watching some porno. With these teachings is to help us to take a step back and watch our action.
As we practicing Buddhsim, we learn to let go of these things and other attachments little by little..... if we can..... then we will become Buddha (to-be) :-)
A Mi To Fo
@tintran, thanks for the explanation regarding the 7th and 8th senses. I did not know about this. Need more learning and more chanting :-).
I am not good with mediation, so I started to dig into Pure land Buddhism for a few months now, mainly from the web. So I am very interested.
I try to follow Master Chin Kung (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chin_Kung)'s teachings.
We can chant/recite the Amitabha Buddha name anytime, anywhere, any situation.
For those who are interested in a simple chanting/recite Amitabha Buddha name practice.
Anyone can try this simple 10 recitation method:
The Ten Recitation Method
The practice begins first thing in the morning when we wake up. We should sit up straight and clearly recite Amitabha's name ten times with an undisturbed mind, whether out loud or silently to ourselves. We repeat the process eight more times for the rest of the day:
2) At Breakfast
3) Before Work
4) At Lunch Break
5) At Lunch
6) After Lunch Break
7) Getting Off Work
8) At Dinner
9) At Bedtime
A story about mother recites "Wax apple, taro, tofu" and her son survived the shipwreck (told by Venerable Hai Tao 海濤法師, he did a lot animation/cartoon stories related to Buddhism/Sutra,etc.)
(Hope I do the translation correctly)
A Filipino maid worked in Taiwan. The owner is a Buddhist who is practicing the chanting of Amitabha Buddha. The maid, listening to the sound of chanting, found that there must be some kind of divine because the owner is always so peaceful.
One day, the maid asked the owner to teach her the chanting verse so that she can pray for her son from afar on the sea. The owner said: "You know how to say "Namo Amitabha" (in Taiwanese dialect). The maid does not know how to speak Taiwanese dialect so it is hard for her to remember. So she says the words as food items, that she often shops for the owner, that have similar sounds.
"Wax apple, taro, tofu"
蓮霧 = Wax Apple sounds like (Namo) in Taiwanese.
芋圓 = Taro Paste (Ami)
豆腐 = Tofu (Tofo)
One day, the maid heard the news that her son's ship was wrecked. She went back home and found her son is still alive. The son told her that when the ship crashed in the storm, he was adrift at sea. Only he was saved by the drifting "Wax Apple" branches. He was drifting for two days and one night. He was passed out several times. He later saw a fleet of dolphins swimming along side some floating boxes. He paddled toward them and found "taro paste" and "tofu" in there. He devoured it and that was how he survived. Later he was rescued by other ship.
No one is willing to believe his story, and everyone laughed at him, because they think he was petrified, hungry and talking crazy.