6.2
November 25, 2009

A Buddhist Thanksgiving.

Bonus: What the Buddha said on Animal Rights—and why it’s in our Interest to Care.

Offer your thanks to the turkeys, if so inspired, in Comments at bottom.

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. ~ Meister Eckhart

Thanksgiving is about, well, giving thanks. Thanksiving is about family, and community, about gathering, slowing down, about coming together from around the country and irritating the hell out of one another. It’s probably my favorite holiday—holy day—a day when simple communion around the table has held sway against our speedy, materialistic tendencies for generations.

But, of course, there’s a dark lining to this sacred, ordinary day.

Every year, 44 – 75 million turkeys are killed for our American holiday of Thanksgiving (120 million are killed year round). Even worse, most of those turkeys are genetically engineered, caged, not given proper exercise or daylight. It’s inhumane, and on this day, it’s sadly hypocritical.

In that vein, Buddhist teacher…

Lama Zopa Rinpoche offers a prayer of thanksgiving, for these “sentient beings, not food choices. What if our situations were reversed?”

 

Even if you aren’t vegetarian or vegan, remember to practice compassion and mindfulness.

If you are eating turkey this Thanksgiving, try and make sure it’s “green“: heritage, local, antibiotic-free, free-range, organic. Why? Their lives will have been significantly easier, and healthier, before being killed. You’ll be supporting smaller farmers, instead of big agribusiness. And you won’t be buying meat that’s been “grown” so heavy that the turkeys can’t stand up when alive. You’ll be creating a more humane world. Vote with your hard-earned dollars!

PS: check our friend Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg of Jax in Boulder’s videos for Whole Foods for some great, green tips.

“The Buddha said to Angulimala: ‘Angulimala, in countless lives, out of respect for the millions of living beings, I have given up fish, meat, fat, in fact any food associated with killing and have also caused beings to do the same. Due to this my body has become the excellent body of a buddha, characterised by the special marks.'”

“Let’s eat!”

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caroljelliott29 Nov 23, 2018 4:21pm

A beautiff written timely & Mindful! So appreciate your words & re-Member the importance of being Mindful! Thank you so much:-)?❤️??

Michelle Nov 26, 2015 8:49am

Absolutely! Great post xo

Michelle Nov 27, 2013 8:27pm

I shall be partaking in a vegan thanksgiving and practicing yoga at my local studio to keep my mind in the right state this holiday. Wonderful post!

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Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view. His dream of 9 years, the Elephant “Ecosystem” will find a way to pay 1,000s of writers a month, helping reverse the tide of low-quality, unpaid writing & reading for free online.