Is That a Buddhist Cow in Your Stir-fry?

In the Austral-Asia area the Maggi company has a flavor of seasoning mix for a Beef and Blackbean dish. It might possibly taste good. However the packaging strikes me as somewhat odd. We have an image of the Buddha presiding over a gigantic plate of cooked beef.

soup

The Constitution of India prohibits the slaughter of any cattle. This includes cows and buffalos.

48. The State shall endeavour to organise agriculture
and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines
and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and
improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of
cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.

Although the actual laws for this are under the purview of the states,  cow slaughter is illegal in all but two of India’s 28 states and 7 federally administered territories.

In the old days (a couple of thousand years ago) many Hindus did eat beef. And many still do today, particularly in the south and east areas of India.  Some in the north now still do but it is done very discreetly. Many Tibetans and Muslims eat beef in India and despite prohibitions I have been offered and eaten beef in states where it is illegal.

Being a firengi barbarian it was expected that I would enjoy this delicacy and by accepting and eating it this gives an overt acceptance of the practice and assuages some of the shame people would feel if it got out into the community that beef eating had taken place.  If such a thing can be blamed on a foreigner with their disgusting habits then the fault is mitigated.

The problem locally though,  is that if people are caught with slaughtered cattle they can get lynched-literally. In a town not far from where I live a couple of guys were sneaking a couple of carcasses into a shop in the middle of the night when an insomnia-ridden neighbor spotted them. Police were called and other neighbors were summoned. By the time the police got there one guy was dead and the other was in dire shape. It was not even determined that they had killed these cattle but the fact of the carcasses got everyone in that area worked up. It was also a caste thing as only the lowest are supposed to touch the carcasses to remove hides for tanning and such.

So the couple of points I am making here are:

  • if you are touring around India check the local food prohibitions in your area and don’t put the lives of locals in danger by asking for a juicy sirloin. People will go out of their way to provide for your comfort and will even take this kind of risk so as not to lose face in front of you, their guest.
  • this package of mix is rather tasteless in that many, if not the majority of Buddhists espouse some form of vegetarianism at least some of the time. (Even me sometimes and in some places)

How to do meditation and why?

Since I was talking about meditation in my last post I will expand on that in a practical way. Meditation has many forms and is practiced by people of all faiths, not only Buddhists. So I’ve tried to include more than Buddhist types here.

It is best to learn from a teacher who can correct your posture and so forth but many people don’t have access to teachers or don’t know enough about meditation to be able to choose a teacher. And some people of other faiths may not want to receive instruction from Buddhists. There is secular meditation as well.

One can be Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu (though Hindus are well aware of this through the development of yoga in India) or any other faith or “no faith stated” and still get the benefits, now scientifically shown, of meditation. Psychology Today magazine has some information on this. And this yoga site has a further list of health benefits of meditation.

Buddhist

Here are a couple of links with instructions for doing Soto Zen Buddhist meditation.

  • First is a video by Gudo Nishijima Roshi of Japan He has several other videos explaining the meaning of zazen and dropping body and mind on this page.
  • Here is a series of photographs showing the method. There is advice given about the practice in a zendo (formal meditation setting with a group) also. This is from Soto Zen Net

The Soto Zen method involves nothing but sitting which is simple enough. There are numerous forms of Buddhist meditation.

Other Directions

There are many sects and lines of philosophy in Hinduism so to begin to suggest any few types of meditation at the expense of others would be difficult. Therefore I am just going to give a general article about meditation that include links to Hindu topics.

  • Meditation This article talks about forms of meditation as well as meditation in a variety of traditions and faiths.
  • Secular meditation, something like a Western style yoga class which generally has little in the way of religious content, can be found. Talk to the instructor and ask if there is a meditation portion to their class.

So meditate for religious purposes, in hot pursuit of satori, to reach a state of serenity with God, to improve your health or for any other reason.

The impetus for meditation is intention. Ask yourself “Why am I considering doing meditation?” a couple of times. If the answers satisfy you they also give you a direction for the type of meditation you can look for. And the reason to make the effort of a consistent meditation practice. For the results only come from consistency.