Meet Venerable Zhi Sheng

Venerable Zhi Sheng, ordained at Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Monastery in 2016, currently is a translator at Centre of International Affairs, Fo Guang Shan.  Venerable Zhi Sheng was born in Malaysia and grew up in Australia.  She became a vego before ordained as a venerable and has been a vego for about 15 years. 

We have asked Venerable Zhi Sheng to share with us her personal journey of being a vego.

What is your reason for choosing vego?

The thought of a living animal being killed just so that I am fed makes me feel guilty.

When did you start going vego?

Since 2003.

What were your challenges?

The comments or judgments in social groups, people sometimes tries to convince me not to be a vego, especially in the Chinese culture, it seems to be pitiful for the person to be a vego. Sometimes it causes inconvenience in choosing a place to eat as a group because of the limited options in most of restaurants.

How did you overcome them?

For those that are judgmental, I just smile and do not say much. For choosing a place, I still go along and just eat what I can. However, over time, most friends begin to choose restaurants that have more vego options or pure vego restaurants.

How did you convince your family?

I let them know the reasons why I want to be a vego and that I will take supplements if needs be for my lack of nutrients.

What do you think are some misconceptions about vego?

  • Vegos are lack in nutrients, hence get tired easily.
  • Vegos are missing out a lot on food.

What do you do when you are eating with a group of meat eaters?

Be normal and enjoy my food. I try not to judge them for their choices. I have chosen to be a vego doesn’t make me better than them.

What would you say to a newbie vego?

We still need to eat a healthy balanced diet. Sometimes due to the limited options at restaurants, we have a terrible meal and we will “reward” ourselves with desserts. So we need to be mindful on what we are eating.

What’s your favourite vego restaurants/ food?

Fo Guang Shan Tea Houses

What kind of support would you like from the community?

Encourage restaurants to add more vego options into their menus.

Vego population seems to be on the rise.  Vego diet seems to be in the trend.  What’s your view on this?

Definitely seems to be the case that more and more people are turning to vego food because of health reasons. As mentioned earlier, it is still more important to have a balanced diet. As vego, we can aspire to be good examples of vegos to encourage more people to become vego. Whether it be for health or religious reasons, we still need to be aware of how we are in order to be convincing and inspire others to be vegos.