While 17 relatives sat down for an Australian Christmas feast of seafood, turkey, and ham I was with them enjoying some salads with a fetta and spinach tart.
In Lerab Ling the meals for most of us are vegetarian - I had forgotten that meat consumption is so integral to the average persons diet, and during a holiday season, this is more so.
It's so saddening to see flesh eating (and to hear my cousins talking of fishing and hunting) - all done with such ignorance, and by millions of people the world over.
I was speaking to another nun a couple of days ago, and she recounted the story of one Christmas that she spent with her family during a time when she was refraining from eating meat. The fact that she was vegetarian at Christmas time was more stressful for her mother, than her daughter being a Tibetan Buddhist nun!
Here is a link to Nyala Pema Dudul's Song of Advice for Giving up Meat Eating.
As tradition goes, the meat-feast was followed by deserts drenched with alcohol. But a few treats were specially prepared for the nun in attendance:
- Chocolate rum balls without rum
- Ice-cream christmas pudding without whisky
- A pavlova, dressed with cream, passion fruit and banana (see photo)
One of my prayers today is that the passion fruit become Great Compassion fruit so all who ate the pavlova, all who feasted today, all who are hungry in this world and all whose lives are taken to feed others may be linked through the Great Compassion of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of this world (including Jesus Christ), and may they all be alleviated of their suffering.
And may some of the true spirit of Christmas touch the lives of all who celebrate it today.
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