Buddhist festival to be strictly vegetarian

Asian Age, January 4, 2006

Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh (India) -- The Kalachakra-2006, true to the concept of Ahimsa Paramodharmaha, as taught by Lord Buddha is going to be strictly vegetarian this time. For the first time in Kalachakra, only vegetarian food will be served to the Buddhist monks, tourists, in the restaurants set up by the organisers, Tibetans and local hotels.

The Norbulingka Institute has requested the local hoteliers not to serve non-vegetarian food during the Kalachakra as the Tibetan way of life prohibits the killing of any sentient beings. "In earlier Kalachakras, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food was permitted, but this time it is restricted as it will not the serve the very purpose of the prayers for world peace.

Only vegetarian restaurants are set up, that serve rotis, puris, Alu, Dal, South Indian and North Indian Thalis and our staple food Thuppa.

Our efforts to spread the message of vegetarianism has worked out, people really seem to have no qualms accepting the vegetarian food," member of Tibetan Volunteers for Animals, Mr Sonam Tsering, told this newspaper. The Buddhist monks too are allowed to eat non-veg dishes, but confining to few dharmas laid down by Buddhism.

"We avoid eating non-veg, if the animal is slaughtered in front of our eyes, if the dish is prepared exclusively to satisfy our hunger. We never enter in to a slaughter to buy meat, but can ask someone else to bring it for us. Mutton and sea food are normal non-veg items that form our menu," says Chime Dorje, a Buddhist monk. Pamphlets, posters, banners and other material with the picture of Dalai Lama teaching the need of veg-food are being distributed.

"There are few customers asking for meat, but it is not made available in the hotels of Amaravati, as requested by the organisers," said A. N. Rao, the owner of Sri Vasavi Hotel.