Benefits of Being Vegetarian
These days, more and more people are becoming vegetarians. This includes many people who are doing it merely for the sake of their physical health rather than for any religion reasons. However, for Buddhists, not killing is a divine and superior discipline, and being a vegetarian is a direct practice of compassion.
This is about the issue of abstaining from meat. Many nonreligious people in the world stop eating meat for the sake of their health. Without meat, one can still be very healthy. For instance, pigs and yaks don’t eat meat and they are very strong. On the other hand, various diseases from animals can infect human beings through meat consumption, something that has been proven through scientific research. So I believe that not eating meat will not adversely affect our health, but in fact benefit it. This has been documented in modern medical science.
Whether in Tibet or Han areas, for those of us who are ordained, not killing is a divine and superior discipline because depriving any sentient being of its life causes major suffering, just as being deprived of our own lives brings us immense suffering. That is why killing is considered the most severe karma.
Will the cessation of the killing of livestock cause an economic loss? I don’t think so. For instance, a cargo of 40 to 50 yaks is sold right away. They might make money in the short term, but without farmlands and cattle to sustain a growth economy they will become rather poor in the long run. However, by raising them instead of killing them, they can maintain a more stable income. So killing livestock has unintended consequences and ultimately causes even worse results. So in terms of living conditions, not killing also brings more benefits.