On 23 May 2012, 8 Kechara members put compassion into action by taking up vegetarian vows. This means that they will not eat meat for the duration of their vow. The 8 people who decided to quit the meat habit (for at least 6 months) are:
- Kwan Wan San (6 months)
- Jill Yam (6 months)
- Chervenne Hong (life long)
- Sam Chiao Hong (life long)
- Victor Phang (life long)
- Jack Ng (life long)
- Rena Wong (6 months)
- Lilyn Tan (6 months)
H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche has always been a strong advocate of vegetarianism and being kind to animals. With the purpose of dispelling the myth that vegetarian food is boring, not tasty and not appealing, and to encourage us to be vegetarian with the right motive, in 2009 Kechara established its own vegetarian restaurant, with the blessings of H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche. Now we also have a vegetarian review section for the easy reference of our readers!
Here is what our newly minted 8 vegetarians had to say about their choice:
1. Kwan Wan San
Why do I want to take the vegetarian vow? Many would probably ask me this because of my age. Age does not matter to me. What matters is if the opportunity is given to you right before your eyes, all you have to do is grab it. And if you don’t, next time you wouldn’t be so lucky. So since opportunity is presented, so why not I thought. I not only can detox my body (after 18 years of consuming meat ), I can also collect some merits out of it and eventually benefit others.
It’s a one-stone-kill-two-birds thing to do, why not? Furthermore, If not now, when?
Other reasons for becoming vegetarian:
- The main reason would be I do not want to be a reason for animals to live in fear and terrible conditions, and being bred just to being slaughtered for my consumption. If there are fewer meat eaters, then fewer animals would be killed to satisfy the consumer’s appetite and fewer animals would be bred only to die in such horrible way. Animals should not born by the millions into this world only to be eaten. I do not want to be the reason they ended up on my plate.
- I do not want to put dead meat or corpse in my mouth! Even the thought of it gives me shivers down my spine. Whenever I feel like eating meat, I would always remind myself that the delicious-looking meat in front of me is actually just another body part of a dead animal. I would put myself in the animal’s position and think that if I died, I would not want any of the part of my body to be boiled and cooked for anyone!
- I can dedicate the merits from practicing compassion to animals to Tsem Rinpoche’s good health and long life and also to my family’s good health.
May Tsem Rinpoche remain with us for a very long time to continue to spin the wheel of dharma. May all sentient beings free from all suffering!
2. Jill Yam
On Wesak Day 2012 (May 5), I felt very blessed to have taken refuge with His Eminence Tsem Tulku Rinpoche. I understand that the first vow of the refuge vows is to not kill. This has led me to consider going vegetarian for six months, committing to the refuge vow. I have a strong motivation to take this vow to generate merits for my Guru His Eminence’s good health and long life and also for the swift manifestation of Kechara Forest Retreat and Kechara World Peace Center. To coincide with this vegetarian vow, I am also committing to do a water offering retreat of 10,000 bowls.
I have taken the vegetarian vow in front of Lord Setrap together with seven others under Pastor Yek Yee‘s guidance. I am so happy that I have finally taken the first step out of my comfort zone to be a vegetarian, and I hope that this commitment would eventually be extended to a life-long vow.
3. Chervenne Hong
I took the vow to be vegetarian to create good causes to have compassion for animals. The causes I created from being a vegetarian will be dedicated to Rinpoche, my mother, father, sisters to have long healthy life and to all mother sentient beings to be free of suffering.
4. Sam Chiao Hong
Just a few days back before this ceremony to take vegetarian vows, I asked Victor Phang how does one go about to “formally” become a vegetarian. I was just curious. Two days later, he called me back to tell me that Pastor Yek Yee was going to conduct a ceremony to induct a group of people who wanted to take the vows! I felt it was very serendipitous how everything seemed to have been pre-planned for me to take the vows without any trouble at all.
Frankly, I didn’t think too much on why we should be vegetarian, I just thought that this is one of the ways to put Dharma into action. The amount of animals being killed can be reduced as well. (Assuming a person consume 1 chicken a month, that would be 600 chickens in 50 years. I can only say ‘Oh My Buddha!’).
At the same time, this is one of the ways to train one’s mind in let go of our attachment to meat and to a certain extent, food. Many people would say that it is very difficult to be adopt a vegetarian diet due to our habit of having meat for almost every meal. But I think if the motivation for becoming vegetarian is correct, nothing is impossible! The habit of eating meat is just a state of mind of holding on to our desire to fulfill our taste buds at the expense and pain of others.
I think this is a milestone for me in spiritual practice and I feel great! “Are you a vegetarian?” I can answer firmly, “YES, I am” today!
5. Victor Phang
When I started learning Dharma about a year ago, I began to understand that all the sentient beings are the same on the inside, but only look different on the outside. Every sentient being could feel the pain when getting hurt, although they may not be able to express it in words, the same way as humans can, but their screams are equally heart-breaking.
I asked myself – how could I kill and eat another living being just because I wanted to fulfill my sensual desires? Is it fair to them? Animals want love from others and so do we. Regardless big or small, strong or weak, cute or ugly, every sentient being has the equal right to live.
I felt that it was time to put whatever I have learned into action. Like what Tsem Rinpoche would say: if not now, when? So becoming a vegetarian is one of the first and basic steps to avoid continuously “painful” actions towards all the beautiful animals.
Thank you Tsem Rinpoche, for constantly giving us precious Dharma teachings.
6. Jack Ng
I have been a meat eater for 28 years and had thoroughly enjoyed it! I never imagined that I would stop eating meat, I felt that it was one of life’s most enjoyable pursuits. I was also surrounded by friends who shared the same hobby as me: eat first, think later!
Then one day I found out about the truth on how the Food industry works by watching a documentary called “FOOD Inc.” It opened my eyes to the tremendous amount of suffering destruction we are causing to animals, the environment, and ultimately ourselves, by our consumption of meat. But still, I found it hard to break the meat habit.
As fate or karma would have it, one day I had the great fortune to step into Kechara, and to listen to Tsem Rinpoche’s inspirational teachings, and received support from Kechara Pastors and members. Having taken refuge with Tsem Rinpoche, I realized that it was not enough to just remember that the first refuge vow was not to kill. I decided to put this promise into action by taking the vegetarian vows for life. I feel so liberated to have made this decision and hope that my example will be able to inspire others to do the same!
7. Rena Wong
I was introduced to vegetarianism 8 years ago, when my dad had cancer. It was said the cause of the illness was from eating too much meat. I had tried to go on a vegetarian diet many times before but was not successful.
It was after I joined Kechara and chatted with Kechara members that I gained more knowledge on the benefits of being vegetarian, as well as how to counter the problem of protein deficiency. Vegetarianism helps to reduce killing and violence for our palatable pleasure. We are actually consuming animal corpses by eating meat, and the process of obtaining that meat is full of stress, trauma, pain and suffering for the animals. And we are consuming all this negative energies into our bodies! I believe this leads to disharmony in our body and mind which could lead to disease.
I have been on a vegetarian diet for some time prior to this ceremony, and found that it helped me to improve my health. I used to have a weak disposition and was easily depressed, fatigued and had joint pains. After continuously taking vegetarian meals, I realized my body had become stronger; I was also a happier and had a calmer mind.
Vegetarian meals are simple to prepare and easy to clean up after. It also gives me an opportunity to be creative in preparing meals for family and friends! Imagine the many variations of salads, wraps, inari sushi, pizzas, seaweed rolls, pies, quiches, and soups using the many available choices of nuts, fruits and vegetables as alternative ingredients to all sorts of dishes. It is really interesting and amazing to discover the benefits of eating vegetarian food. I strongly encourage vegetarianism to my family and friends.
“Eat MORE vegetarian food … REDUCE our chances of illness and causing violence to animals”
8. Lilyn Tan
The biggest influences that propelled me to take up the vegetarian vows are my dharma brothers and sisters in Kechara, and Tsem Rinpoche’s inspirational teachings. I would like to dedicate this to Tsem Rinpoche’s good health and long life, swift manifestation of Kechara Forest Retreat and Kechara World Peace Center and to the happiness of all mother sentient beings.
For further enquiries or to make an appointment to take vegetarian vows with a Kechara Pastor, kindly contact May Ong at email@example.com or call +6012 388 8589.