DiscussionsAn Open Letter to the Dalai Lama - Comments by Erik Lumberjack - 28 Jun 2010
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Hi everyone!

I asked the Dalai Lama last week-end why he eats baby cows.

It was during the Question and Answer session after his talk in Yokohama, Japan.

It looked like almost 10,000 monks and other people were there. They came from Korea, Japan, Taiwan and everywhere. I read that 500 Buddhists came from Korea alone. It was a really big event.

The question before mine was something like:

"Is the light that I see in meditation the same heart light that permeates the physical matter of the universe?"

The Dalai Lama gave a long answer comparing the light of meditation and the heart light of the physical universe.

And right after that I asked my question.

"Your Holiness, why do you torture baby animals?"

The talk and everything was in Tibetan and Japanese, with almost no English. I asked my question in Japanese too, but this is it in English.

"Thank you for your talk which personally benefited me. I must ask something. The world press reports that your Holiness enjoys eating the meat of child cows. If your Holiness continues to hurt and eat the children of cows, how can you be a good example to the children of people?"

I've put an audio file of the question and the Dalai Lama's answer at this link.


I've written out the entire exchange at the bottom of the comment and put a translation too.

These were the main points that the Dalai Lama gave.

1. Buddhist rules themselves don't say people can't eat meat. So if a monk is offered meat she or he can accept it. 2. Some Buddhist teachings about boddhisatvas, however, do say we shouldn't eat meat. That's why many Chinese Buddhists are vegetarian. 3. From about ten years ago the Tibetan monasteries in India only serve vegetarian food in their kitchens and there are no slaughtering houses in the Tibetan living areas. 4. He personally tried being vegetarian once but got sick and both his Tibetan doctors and Western medicine doctors told him to start eating meat again and he continues to eat meat now. [I was going to ask "Did your doctors tell you to eat veal?" but couldn't.] 5. Being a vegetarian is very good, though.

In other words, he makes baby animals cry and eats them because

(a) his doctor told him to, and (b) ancient texts on Buddhist discipline don't specifically say he shouldn't make baby animals and then eat them.

I would have had more respect if he answered that he did it because his dog telepathically told him to over his car radio. That would make more sense.

I'll tell you why he eats veal.

It's simple.

It's because he LOVES it!

He smacks into it and chows it down.

And then he asks for the recipe so he can have some more made for him later.

In fact, he orders the meat specifically. He turns down vegetarian meals and asks for meat.

Take a look at the comments on the Dalai Lama on www.all-creatures.org, which I read before going to the talk on Saturday.

Like in France, he was offered a vegetarian meal at an official dinner, and glanced over to his left and then over to his right at the moist, luscious steaks that everyone else was eating except him, and then pushed his salad dish away and said

"What are these leaves? Take them away. Slaughter a calf for me. And a fat one. And I want the tears still on her cheeks. Yes, it must be moist, so moist..."

I'm dramatizing, but that's in effect what happened.

Just do a Google search on meat, dalai lama, france, or on dalai lama, veal.

It'll all come up.

He actually did eat "veal cheek"!

I'm not joking!

He loves eating the faces of tortures animals. Just search on dalai lama, veal, cheek. He eats their face!

And what's amazing is that just a couple days ago the Dalai Lama went out of his way during his visit to Japan to mention the people who save the lives of whales by risking their own lives to knock the spears out of the hands of whalers.

He went out of his way to scold them for being too frisky.

All the things he could criticise and he has to choose that!

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society pointed out afterwards that they haven't caused a single actual injury to any individual. Not one.

But the Dalai Lama rebukes them for standing in front of a bullet and saving a life.

The group has risked their own lives to knock the spear from a killerís hand and has has counted that they've saved the lives of 528 gentle creatures of the sea.

But the Dalai Lama scolds them.

Here's a link.


If the Dalai Lama wants to take time out to scold people, why doesn't he scold the cook who tortures a baby for him? But then he's hungry so he says things like "I am a simple monk and must eat what is put before me".

And then gobbles down and asks for the recipe.

He rebukes someone who knocks a knife away from a killer, but doesn't rebuke someone who locks up a baby and then stabs it with a knife as it cries.

The tears still haven't dried on the child's cheek, and what does the Dalai Lama do?

He eats the cheek!

He looks at his dinner plate and sees the face of a crying child that has been tortured specifically for him based on his advanced instructions before he arrives and what does he do?

He eats the tear-stained cheeks.

And then he asks for the recipe.

I went to the Dalai Lama's Yokohama talk specifically so I could ask him face to face about this.

Why? How could you do this? How could you torture children?

And he says in effect "I torture children because my doctor told me to and the ancient Buddhists texts don't say I can't."

I'm so happy I could say this to him.

I asked the question and very politely and then stood there and stared right at him. Usually I'm shy and lower my glance so I was surprised at myself. That was the moment I waited so long for.

I looked right at the killer of children who says the ancient Buddhists text don't specifically say he can't torture a child and asked him why.

Usually, I personally enjoy the Dalai Lama.

I like that way he sits there on the stage like a child and waves his hand by twiddling his five fingers at people he knows in the audience and giggles. It's fun.

And then when he speaks Tibetan it sounds cool, like Vulcan or Klingon. Lots of shh and chhh sounds and there are tones going up and down with each syllable. It's neat.

But I'm sorry, after hearing his answer I'm now fairly sure he's challenged.

And he wants to join science and religion. That's one of his big goals. It's wonderful.

But how can he join religion and science if he says things that sound like "I eat veal because a doctor told me in the 1960s that a balanced vegetarian diet causes gall stones".

How can he join science and religion when answers questions about why he eats veal by saying "My doctor told me to".

That's like saying the world is flat.

He'll become a laughing stalk. Why isn't his entourage telling him?

Well, below is the entire exchange!

I should separate my rant above with the transcription below but I just created this blog page this morning and have no idea yet how it works.

If the audio doesn't work I'll try something else. The IC recorder kept on slipping into my pocket so there's noise in a couple places.

After my question, the Dalai Lama says "hngh" twice.

The fist "hngh" is an affirmative "hng" and sounds like "Yes, I understand".

And the second "hngh?" is after he's heard the whole question and sounds like "Say what!?"

Dalai Lama Explains Why It's Okay to Eat Baby Cows

File location of audio file: http://www.esnips.com/web/eriklumberjacksStuff


Recording position: 23:42

Dalai Lama's Interpreter: Next questioner please.

Questioner: Thank you for your talk which personally benefited me. I must ask something. The world press reports that your Holiness enjoys eating the meat of child cows. If your Holiness continues to hurt and eat the children of cows, how can you be a good example to the children of people?

(Noise of rumbling in crowd.)

Dalai Lama: Huh? ... According to tradition... [Switches to Tibetan in mid-sentence.]

Recording position: 25:34

Dalai Lama's Interpreter: Within the tradition of Buddhism according to the texts based on discipline, it is not written that one may not eat meat. In other words, when a monk, who is a Buddhist, goes out begging it's written that the monk may eat any food that he receives. On the other hand, in some parts of the texts that are based on the practice of boddhisatvas, there are some parts that say one may not eat meat. Due to this, I believe many among the monks in China don't eat meat. However, In Sri Lanka, Thailand and other places, I believe the monks eat the meat that they receive when they go out begging.

Dalai Lama: [Speaks in Tibetan]

Recording position: 28:48

Dalai Lama's Interpreter: Regarding us Tibetans, Tibetans' general living...um...if I talk about the living mode, Tibet is located on land at a very high altitude. And at a place like that where vegetables don't grow very much, the reality that exists there is that one can't live unless one eats meat. Therefore, with the exception of special situations Tibetans generally eat meat. And if I speak concerning monks, I myself am a Buddhist monk, and from when I was about 13 and 14...after that time...meat was always served during official at functions of the so-called Tibetan government.

And, if I may speak on a personal level, I stopped eating meat from 1965 and became vegetarian. I spent more than about two years on only vegetarian meals, and at that time the condition of my gall bladder got worse. And in 2008 I received an operation for gall stones and had my gall bladder removed...he received that kind of operation...and I think that was probably the very beginning...the beginning of my gall bladder illness...after the two years living without eating any meat at all, that's when the bad condition of my gall bladder started. And in line with this, when I had doctors examine me, the doctor(s) based on Tibetan medicine and doctor(s) based on western medicine both said that I should eat meat as I used to do.

Given this, I've been eating meat after that time and eat meat today as well.

And in India, in our temples...several of our temples have been rebuilt...Tibetan people in India...and in the Tibetan Buddhist temples there are common kitchens. These are kitchens that serve the entire temples and from more than ten years ago these kitchens serve vegetarian meals without any meat at all.

And in the Tibetan living areas...within India...there are particularly many of these in South India, in these Tibetan living areas there are no farms like chicken farms or pig farms.

Dalai Lama: [Speaks in Tibetan]

Recording position: 31:41

Dalai Lama's Interpreter: Of course maintaining a vegetarian diet is very wonderful.

Dalai Lama: Thank you.

Dalai Lama's Interpreter: Thank you.

Go on to comments: By Suzanne - 1 Dec 2012
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