By Melly Pali, 19 January 2018
Some people become vegos because of their faith, for environment protection, to preserve life, or for health reasons. There are therefore different types of vego. Some people eat no animal products at all; some people still consume eggs and milk, while others are less strict and may eat vegetables that have been cooked alongside meat during social settings. The diagram above provides a snapshot of different types of vegos.
Buddhist vego avoid animal products as well as the five pungent plants. Five pungent plants are onions, garlic, chives, scallions and leeks. As documented in the Buddhist sutras, the five pungent plants stimulate desire when eaten raw, and stimulate hatred if eaten cooked.
While the form of the food may be important, being vego is really about purity of mind, and there are many who look to adopting a vego diet as a way to strengthen their compassion.
Buddhist teachings encourage us to consider the causes and conditions before we enjoy a meal. Therefore, it is important that when eating a meal, to do so with a sense of gratitude, regardless of what we you are eating. We should always be mindful and grateful of the effort that put in to produce food – eg the farmer planting the crops, the worker processing the food, the merchant selling the products, as well as factors like sunlight, air and water. We should also be mindful of our choice of food – whether the food has minimal impact on the planet and animals.
When Buddhists sit down to eat, they consider the Five Contemplations as noted below. :That’s why the dining hall at temple is called the “Five Contemplations Hall”. The Five Contemplations remind us of the attitude we should have with food. In particular we shouldn’t take food for granted.
1. Assess the amount of work involved, weigh up the origins of the food.
2. Reflect on one’s own moral conduct, perfect or not, take this offering.
3. Safeguard the mind against all error, do not give rise to hatred or greed.
4. Regard this food as good medicine, so as to treat the weakened body.
5. In order to accomplish the Way, one deserves to accept this food.
You can read more about the Buddhist perspective on the different kinds of vego here:
Why not start your meat free day today and try one of the recipes?