Eating Meat Reflects My Attachment to Enjoyment
(Minghui.org) A while ago, I suddenly was unable to eat meat again. This state has occurred a few times during my cultivation. This last experience made me look more deeply within to find the reason.
When I was unable to eat meat, my mind still strongly focused on eating it. My thoughts were filled with meals containing meat when I considered what to eat at meal times. It was when that I discovered my attachment to meat had unknowingly arisen again.
I was perplexed by this situation for quite a few days. This attachment kept coming and going and was not completely relinquished even after I stopped eating meat. I then happened to study “The Issue of Eating Meat” in “Lecture Seven” of Zhuan Falun:
“Therefore, throughout history the accomplished monks have also found that the matter of whether one eats meat is not a critical issue. The key question is whether the attachment can be abandoned. If one does not have any attachment, it is fine to eat just about anything to fill the stomach. ” (Zhuan Falun)
The words “to fill the stomach” were especially salient for me. I realized that having a meal was to serve the purpose of filling my stomach. This made me wonder if my attachment was actually about eating meat itself.
In today's materialistic society, people wantonly pursue fresh excitement and pleasure from eating and drinking. They refer to it with fine-sounding names, as if enjoying life. Although I started cultivating at a young age and resisted this kind of seductive “eating and drinking” lifestyle, I unknowingly plunged deeply into it during my years of living in society.
On occasions such as company meals, classmate reunions, wedding dinners, or weekly feasts with colleagues, I went way beyond the idea of simply “filling the stomach.” My having a meal become part of my enjoyment in life. When I indulged my appetite, I became tightly trapped by ordinary seductions. Moreover, restaurants charge a higher price for dishes containing meat. This has imperceptibly influenced my repeated attachment to meat.
When I ate out with other cultivators, I typically looked for a restaurant with a set meal of fried vegetables and rice. Sometimes, I noticed that some of the elderly practitioners didn’t want to waste money on eating out, and I always looked outward and complained to them that they were too frugal and attached to material interests. I then bought more beverages and things like desserts in front of them so I could show that I was not attached to self-interest.
Looking back, I see how ridiculous my actions were when I was under the control of my attachment to enjoyment. I even thought that I cultivated better than others in this aspect. I think this is a common problem for most young practitioners my age. For example, when we’ve dined together, we’ve simply ordered whatever food we wanted to eat that day in a beautiful and comfortable restaurant. We’ve also ordered beverages and desserts after meals. We didn’t have any scruples and never felt we were doing anything wrong. Our dining typically lasted one to two hours. Since everyday people around us behaved this way, this became part of our normal life.
The attachment to enjoyment gradually entered into other areas of my life as well. Regarding electronic products, one desktop computer was not enough for me. I needed a laptop. If that was not enough, I got a tablet. If that was still not enough, I required two or three mobile phones.
Why did I need so much stuff? My thinking was that a laptop was useful when I was tired in bed and wanted to browse the web. When I wanted to listen to music and watch videos, I used the tablet. If I wanted to connect to WeChat or QQ or make phone calls, I used a mobile phone. Why did I need so many phones? It was because I wanted the fastest processing system on my phone. All these again deepened my attachment to laziness and drew me even further into the Internet. Time slipped away quickly when I was busy playing with these gadgets.
The attachment to material enjoyment was also reflected in my buying better things. When I saw interesting items, I wanted to buy them, even though they were not of much use to me. Regarding clothes, household items, etc., I purchased the best possible ones that I could afford, even though I wasn't at the level of pursuing brand names.
The excuses I made were that costly goods were of better quality and more likely to last longer. This made me visit the TaoBao website and visit shopping centers every now and then.
Then, a few days ago, I read an article written by other practitioners called “Smog in China and Dust-Buried Pompeii.” I realized that the extreme enjoyment the people in ancient Pompeii pursued in food, drink, dress, and play caused their rapid destruction. I was even more terrified by the fact that I failed to see my attachment to enjoyment.
Master taught us:
“The more the junior monk suffers, the easier it is for him to achieve the Unlocking of Gong. The more comfortable the senior monks’ lives are, the harder it is for them to reach the state of Unlocking Gong since there is the issue of karma’s transformation.” (“Lecture Seven” in Zhuan Falun)
As a cultivator, I need to hold myself to higher standards. I cannot pursue enjoyment like everyday people. It will wear down my will to cultivate, and it will increase my laziness, attachment to comfort, and hardships.
I hope other practitioners who have the same attachment will recognize and address this. Do not indulge in everything in life, because it will develop a large loophole in your cultivation practice.