Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Khadro-la (Rangjung Neljorma Khadro Namsel Drönme) enjoy a vegetarian meal at Root Institute in Bodhgaya, India, January 2017. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche cares deeply about animals and uses every possible opportunity to bless them with prayers, mantras, holy objects, and other means. A short video of Lama Zopa Rinpoche blessing sentient beings in a lake in Washington State, US, appears below.

Rinpoche also avoids eating other living beings. He is a vegetarian and often urges his students not to eat meat. He gave the following advice in 2014.

Rinpoche said, “About meat, I would like to say, please reduce eating meat, as it does so much harm to others and even to one’s own body. This is not just belief, it’s now even accepted scientifically. If you can avoid meat, it’s so good. Wow, wow, wow!”

Rinpoche blessing the vegetarian lunch offered to all after his long life puja in Sarnath, India, January 2017. Photo by Paolo Regis.

Rinpoche focused on avoiding meat as the most compassionate approach, saying, “All the buddhas and bodhisattvas will be so happy with you, just as a mother loves her beloved child, cherishing her child so much. When her child does something good that makes the mother so unbelievable happy. So if possible, abandon meat or cut down eating meat. The conclusion is that if less people eat meat, that means more animals won’t suffer from being killed. That’s the benefit, so please think about this.”

Rinpoche also advised considering carefully the teachings of the lamrim. “Don’t think about the pleasure of eating [meat] without thinking about reincarnation, karma, and the lower realms. Instead of just thinking about the pleasure of eating meat, think about the suffering of the animals when they are being killed, and think of yourself being at the butcher’s place, about to be killed. How does that feel? If you’re about to be killed, like the animals, how does that feel? Do you like that? If you really think Dharma is to not harm sentient beings, then don’t eat meat, or at least eat very little.”

Vegetables for sale, Nepal, 2017. Photo by Ivan Siarbolin.

Rinpoche added that one can remain healthy without meat, explaining, “Not eating meat is OK. So many young people in the West don’t eat meat and are still healthy; they can supplement their diet with other things. So many people [are vegetarian] now, young and old, and its increasing more and more.”

Watch Rinpoche bless living beings in Omak Lake in Washington State, US, on YouTube:

Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a Tibetan Buddhist organization dedicated to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation, and community service.