This is a query to all meditators, in regards to their type of practice. I've been practicing vipassana meditation for almost two years, and practiced candle-gazing and mantra meditation for about two years before attending my first course.
Well, considering he found enlightenment in the rainforest, I doubt he could eat much else besides fruits and vegetables during that time.
At the time of the Buddhas enlightenment I doubt he ate anything for a long period. The bodhi tree was already regarded by locals as a scared tree prior to the Enlightenment. It's likely any renunciant of the day who sat in mediation under the tree would have been offered food by respectful locals. Whether that food would contained meat I have no idea, some kingdoms in that part of the world were very observant of vegetarianism for moral reasons, other not so much. Apart from that forests have lots of animal life — which of course he would not have eaten!
Most Vipassana centres do not buy organic produce, infact I only have heard of one in US that does buy organic when available. Most teachers I've spoken to regard that issue as hair splitting, since there is no requirement that the food has involved any killing — it's fruit, vegetable, grain and dairy (just a certainty in likelihood for non-organic produce as we all know!). Some of the most sincere and strong meditators I know have start eating meat in attempt to restore their health from chronic disease (wouldn't be my first choice either). The Dali Lahma eats meat under doctors advisement (yeah I know!) and whatever you think of his religion, he's certainly well on the path to enlightenment and would be aware of the vibrational issues.
Consider this, if the vibration of eating some meat is so bad, how does it compare to having somebody, like say some unfriendly psychopath, scream and shout at you and abuse you in front of people you respect. Both are going to cause saṅkhāra (conditioned reactions) to arise. The Buddha's teaching is to become equanimous to such disturbance to the point that they do not seriously disturb us at all. Recall Gonekaji's story of the Buddha telling the man bearing gifts of anger and hatred he did not accept the gifts, he must take them away with him. We can never eliminate pleasant and unpleasant experiences from life (and who would want to?) — the point is to work on how we respond to those experiences. Sure we do what we can to take refuge from the unwholesome situations in the first place, but it's us becoming the best refuge that's at issue ultimately, not the environmental vibrations that may be blowing us around like a cork on an ocean.
Or in fewer words, everything is teaching us something.
And yes, we are always having to start again.
Sounds like I may be a meat eater — I'm not — have been vege >20 years.
I'm with you Galina! I have shared this too at centers and been told that too many would protest the dairy being taken out. I don't know who makes these decisions but it seems that each trust of each center and then the person that does the ordering of the food has a lot of say in what they carry and how much organic etc. And saving money is a big concern of course.
They are very careful about there not being any alcohol whatsoever at the center. Once we found alcohol in a vanilla flavoring and the teacher said that should not be here, but it was kept and used. So I think the vibration of dairy, especially factory farmed stuff, would carry an even more negative vibration and not be conducive to meditation.
I doubt they would get many complaints if they switched from dairy creamer to soy creamer and a few varieties of non-dairy milks, and the one cheese dish can be skipped, and there are plenty of other toppings for the salad than cheese. Soy yogurt is excellent too.
So then it gets down to cost. I think if you go to a trust meeting and present the why and the hows with cost break downs, there is a good chance of a change happening. It may need to happen at one center first to see how it goes. And then doing this in the U.S. is one thing but doing this in other countries may be quite another.
I suppose it would depend on one's level of awareness what the middle path would be for you. Eating fruits do not harm the plant or tree. Is cutting leaves off of a lettuce plant considered injury to a being? It is to some fruitarians.
Certainly, eating morally in accordance with your knowledge is an essential factor in the practice.
I'm currently reading Ledi Sayadaw. He says Sila must be perfect as a foundation to the path.
It's kind of a hard one though because I have friends that practice Vipassana who eat meat. Their awareness of the suffering of these animals is minimal, but how could those vibrations not be effecting them? Ignorance is also a cause of suffering.
I do think as you meditate your awareness and equanimity and ability to see things as they are will lead you to eating morally. By the same token, I think eating morally will help your progress on the path. Certainly there is a very sound reason to not have meat and eggs in a center.
That's right about mediation and awareness. Also remember that at centres, meditators are practising a deep meditation most could not do outside the environment of a 10-day course. The teacher likens it to a surgical operation on the mind, so 'surgical' conditions must be maintained.
It's even more important in those circumstances to minimise disturbances to the meditators.
Perfect sila is an near impossibility for lay people (and many monks but in Theravadan tradition most must get pretty close). Sayagi U Ba Kin reputedly always maintained exceptional sila even before him becoming a meditator. The aspiration is a noble one but that's why there are 227 rules for monks. It's just so easy to break sila. Start again…
As for fruitarians who take issue with removing a lettuce leaf, I think they ought to take out a micro-biology text from a uni library. The invisible organisms on/in the fruit they eat and indeed live inside them are much more active biologically than their lettuce leaf and most will be killed by their stomach acids. Some people like to believe what they like to believe I guess?!