Offering Wine and Meat to the Buddha
When the head of the Gelug order of Tibetan Buddhism, His Holiness Ganden Tripa, visited the Lei Zang Temple in Seattle, he gave me a Dharma robe as a gift. During his visit, it coincided with the birthday of a Vajra Buddha whom His Holiness worshiped. His Holiness then requested that the monks in the Lei Zang Temple help him purchase a bottle of wine and some beef and lamb meat from the supermarket. He wanted to cultivate and make an offering to the Vajra Buddha.
Later, a monk asked me in private, `Can we offer wine and meat to the Buddhas?` I explained to the monk that in the view of the Sutric tradition, drinking wine and taking meat would have breached the precepts. But not according to the Tantric teachings. The view of Tantric Buddhism is that all Buddhas are beings abiding in the mind of non-discrimination. Therefore, in the eyes of the Buddhas, wine and meat are not seen as wine and meat. For example, in the eyes of men, wine is wine. In the eyes of the Asuras, wine is a sword and a knife. To the hungry ghosts, wine becomes a burning flame. The hell beings see wine manifested as a pool of blood. Yet, to the Buddhas, wine is a fine nectar.
Let me say this:
If the practitioner is pure, the wine and meat consumed become pure. Hence the very act of consuming wine and meat is pure. On the contrary, if the practitioner is impure, the wine and meat consumed become impure. Hence, the very act of consuming wine and meat is impure. Please think through this carefully and discern the truth!
A practitioner with actual attainment will transform the wine into nectar, and the meat into cleansed food. As he delivers the souls of the slaughtered animals, there is no danger of misbehaviour in consuming wine and meat.
A practitioner who has no spiritual stamina will drink wine until he is drunk, and consume meat out of gluttony. He has breached a major precept in Tantric Buddhism, and has created a heavy karma for himself, which would draw him to the Vajra Hell upon his death.
I feel that it is equal and undifferentiated to offer either vegetarian meals or meat to the Buddhas. But should you want to consume wine and meat, you must know where your spiritual stamina stands. If one is corrupted by the consumption of meat and wine, then it is absolutely necessary to strictly follow the precept and refrain from consuming wine and meat!
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