Creating A Vegetarian Zone at Bodhgaya

In February of 2004, I visited Bodhgaya, a sacred pilgrimage site for Buddhists and the origin of Buddha’s Enlightment.  This was just after our visit to Varanasi along the Ganges, considered one of the holiest Hindu sites in the world.  It was a shock to meet the river Ganga in the condition she was in and witness the state of our most sacred places.   I was excited to learn about Dr. Mishra, a hydraulic engineer and hindu priest and his efforts to clean Ganga. It is an important effort that can inspire improved water resources throughout India.

Last week, I was similarly intrigued when I heard about efforts to create a vegetarian zone at Bodh Gaya.  The Tibetans for a Vegetarian Society is calling for this meat-free zone.  Actor Richard Gere, on a recent pilgrimage, supported the group’s efforts, though not a full vegetarian himself.  (Neither is the Dalai Lama outside his home in exile in India)

The plan to turn Bodhgaya into a vegetarian zone is the project of a group called Tibetans for a Vegetarian Society that believes doing so would help spread a message of peace… [T]he group’s founder, Tenzin Kunga Luding, said Gere’s participation in the event had been a morale booster for the activists. “We have been calling for this since 2006 and slowly the campaign is building up,” said Mr Luding. “He really was very supportive and very good to us. It has helped the cause a lot.”

Mr Luding, born in India, was himself a meat-eater until the age of around 10, when he discovered how animals were raised and then slaughtered. He said that in Tibet the climate worked against a vegetarian diet but he said turning Bodhgaya into a meat-free zone would send a powerful message to the world. “In such a sacred place as this, people come to promote peace and non-violence and I think that if you kill an animal here and then sell it, then the sanctity will be spoiled,” he explained. “This most sacred land will act as a model for other places to emulate and will impart more positive influence for the well-being of all humans, animals and the environment.

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~ by sangamithra on January 10, 2010.

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