I’ve always respected the Dalai Lama and his efforts at promoting World Peace, and his profound respect for all living sentient beings. I have quite a few books by the Dalai Lama, many of them teaching love & compassion, and even his teaching to love our enemies.
Given what the Dalai Lama has been subjected to for many decades, it’s understandable that he would take the stance of forgiveness against his oppressors.
The Moral Dilemma
But here is the moral dilemma…
The Dalai Lama eats animal flesh, and while he proclaims that he is vegetarian back in his home sanctuary of Dharamshala, when traveling he eats meat when he is offered some by his host or hostess.
His philosophy, and one that I think many Tibetans embrace is that it’s okay to eat meat as long as you yourself didn’t kill it. So therefore, if someone else killed the animal and it’s been offered to you, according to the Tibetans, it’s okay to eat it.
And one additional rule, when the Dalai Lama is traveling, is that he doesn’t wish to offend his host or hostess. So, by turning down food being offered to him, he graciously accepts it in order to not offend anyone.
Why I Don’t Follow the Dalai Lama’s Rule
Okay, there was a time when I followed the Dalai Lama’s rule, since before I became a serious vegan I did also eat animal foods when I was at a party and the host or hostess would offer me animal foods. I mean, at first it made sense, but the more and more I thought about this, I just felt it was wrong. If you are going to be a strict vegan, you simply don’t eat animals, period.
See Also: This Is What the Dalai Lama Really Eats
Ethically, it makes it simply and clear. If I am vegan, I do not eat animals, and there are no special rules that circumvent that basic ethical rule.
So, this is probably the only thing I disagree as far as the Dalai Lama’s food rule is concerned. And it makes it much more simpler for me. And psychologically, I feel better just adhering to this simple rule.
I will always respect the Dalai Lama for who he is, just as I respect my friends and family who are meat eaters… live and let live is my philosophy, otherwise, being extreme about veganism can lead to isolation and indifference with regards to others.
And I say, I live my Life as a role model for others. My activism is quiet. And if people start getting interested in veganism, then that’s wonderful. I’d like to help. But I won’t become a radical who condemns others because they don’t eat the way I eat, or follow a rule that I don’t wish to exploit animals in any way.