I’ve been writing to many Buddhist centers across North America in efforts to connect with vegans for the Buddhist vegan interview series I began this year. When I wrote to Guhyasamaja Center, I was particularly excited because I already knew of their efforts helping to familiarize people with vegetarianism and veganism with, for example, their October 1, 2016 World Vegetarian Day Celebration. Below is my first correspondence with someone at the center- two more correspondences would shortly follow. Thank you Venerable Dondrub!
Dear Guhyasamaja Center,
I am a photojournalist and beginning research for a piece on veganism in the Buddhist community today (with focus on North America).
I am curious if there is anyone at I who I could field some questions to about veganism as observed at your center.
I am aware that many Buddhist centers are often fully vegetarian when it comes to gathering, events and food provided but as veganism gains interest throughout the nation I am exploring it’s rise within the Buddhist community.
You can see some of my work at my two websites below:
I look forward to hearing from Guhyasamaja Center.
Thank You for your time,
Dear Ms. Lundkvist,
My name is Losang Dondrub, I am an American and a novice monk associated with our center and the spiritual program coordinator. I’m happy to help as best I can. We’re a small center, our class sizes range from 5-30 people, and we only rarely bring food in to the center due to the size of the center and the required clean up. When we have all day events with a lunch break people just go to local restaurants. On the few occasions that we do eat as a group in the center we require vegetarian but not vegan food. We’re in the Tibetan tradition which historically speaking never really emphasized vegetarianism due to the climate and poor soil of Tibet. In recent decades that has begun to change and most of the high Lamas encourage vegetarianism now and the monasteries established in exile are vegetarian. I’ve eaten a vegan diet since november, there is one other person I’m aware of that is either strict vegetarian or vegan, I’m not sure. We do generally bring it up in classes as appropriate in relation to the way it’s approached in the Mahayana Sutras, which is to say that the Buddha encouraged vegetarianism as a way to practice love and compassion. Let me know if there’s anything more specific I can be helpful with.
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This interview is part of an ongoing project I began in late Summer 2016 to explore the connections between Buddhism & veganism for contemporary practitioners, I began reaching out to several Buddhist centers across North America to see if they had vegans in their community who would be interested to take part in the interview series aspect of this project. For more on this project visit this link.