Once the meditation finished, Ted remained sitting down on the cushion. He felt that he was in a daze. He could still feel the sensations, the melodies, the words shifting through his body and his mind. It was as if he could feel energy running through him. Now he could totally understand what it meant when people had told him and one felt recharged and anew after a deep meditation session.
Choo came to stand next to him. Without a word, he guided Ted to the dining hall where everyone was drinking their morning tea in silence. All that they could hear were the birds singing outside in the garden and the crickets crying right outside the window. Plates of samosas were brought out by one of the nuns. Ted took one and bit into in mindfully. He had practiced mindfulness, of being fully present and focussed on what one was doing, for some years now. All the monks and the nuns were eating in silence around him. Ted could feel a strange sensation in his mouth and he had the urge to stop chewing. He looked at the samosa and realized that there was meat in it.
That made him feel sick and so he discreetly spit the samosa into a napkin. Uh, he thought. They eat meat? But one of the main teachings of the Buddha had been to cultivate compassion for all living beings, including animals, and treat them with respect without killing, let alone eating, them.
Ted felt disgusted and stared down on his plate. This was too much of a contradiction for him to go by. He would rather not have breakfast. The monks and the nuns started leaving the hall, still in absolute silence. Choo walked towards Ted and placed a hand on his shoulder. ‘You don’t like samosas?‘ He whispered into Ted’s ear and started guiding him out of the hall.
‘Oh I do’, Ted said. ‘ But I just don’t eat meat.’
‘Ah’, Choo nodded. ‘Some people don’t’. He laughed.
‘We eat the ones that roam around our gardens.’ He explained as they walked along the corridor.
Ted hesitated for a moment before asking.’ But how come you eat meat when one of the core teachings of Buddhism is feeling compassion for animals and all sentient-beings?’
Choo looked him sternly in the eye. ‘We love our animals and show them compassion, but we also need to eat.’ He waved his hand. ‘Just a different way of showing compassion.’
Ted hesitated again before asking. ‘But if you love someone, how can you kill them and then eat them?’
‘My son’, Choo winked. ‘It is about detachment. You feel compassion and love, but you can also detach yourself enough to be able to do other things.’ Ted nodded, but he was still not convinced by Choo’s arguments.
‘So you are saying that, as long as a person is alive, you can show them love and compassion, but then it is also okay to kill them because you need money and they have it?’
Choo laughed his hearty laughter. ‘You are clever, my son,‘ he patted Ted on his shoulder. ‘You are doing the correct thing. You are questioning things and not taking anything for face value. That is what Buddhism is all abut.‘
Ted knew that the Buddhists teachings encouraged you to question everything and not take anything at face value. Still, to him the claims by Choo were somewhat contradictory.
‘I suppose that I will have a chance to learn more about this mentality during my time at this monastery’, he thought to himself. himself. them.