Friday, January 28, 2005

Myth of Buddhist Diet

There have been varying myths of Buddhist vegetarian dietary needs and its restrictness. First and foremost, it should be known that Gautama Buddha, the Buddha commonly known, had always ate whatever he was given. The interpretation of vegetarianism in Buddhism really originated from his teaching. The first lay precept in Buddhism prohibits killing. Many see this as implying that Buddhists should not eat the meat of animals.

However, this is not necessarily the case. The Buddha made distinction between killing an animal and consumption of meat, stressing that it is immoral conduct that makes one impure, not the food one eats. Monks in ancient India were expected to receive all of their food by begging and to have little or no control over their diet. During the Buddha's time, there was no general rule requiring monks to refrain from eating meat. In fact, at one point the Buddha specifically refused to institute vegetarianism and the Pali Canon records the Buddha himself eating meat on several occasions.

In the today's world, attitudes toward vegetarianism vary by location. In Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka, monks are bound by the vinaya to accept almost any food that is offered to them, often including meat, while in China and Vietnam, monks are expected to eat no meat. In Japan and Korea, some monks practice vegetarianism, and most will do so at least when training at a monastery, but otherwise they typically do eat meat. In Tibet, where vegetable nutrition was historically very scarce, and the adopted vinaya was the Nikaya Sarvāstivāda, vegetarianism is very rare, although the Dalai Lama has recently made several comments encouraging its adoption. In the West, of course, a wide variety of practices are followed. Lay Buddhists generally follow dietary rules less rigorously than monks.

Many of my friends have always asked me if I eat meat or not. I do eat meat but not those which is directly killed from my requests or needs. I am trying to eat less meat and practise no beef in my diet. The point Buddhism tries to educate is the compassion for all living creatures no matter how insignificant. It is not Buddhism to refuse food or waste it. At this point of my practice I believe, its not reasonable to ask hosts or others to cater speficially for my needs. I do not belief I should effect or give hardship to others simply because I have a personal choice. It is best, as I have found, to be flexible and practise Buddhism as pragmatic as possible.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Climate Changes Future

Please read this news first.

Interestingly, we all probably knew about this in our minds. I have always believed the "point-of-no-return" was past years ago. So plan your long-term (in 10 to 20 years time) future if you are really thinking ahead as sea-level rises.

I decided to have a look the world after sea level rises above 200 metres. So I went to here LDEO ClimateGroup DATASETS WORLDBATH where you can generate your own topology map of the world.

Here is something I prepared earlier...

This is a topology world map with light blue hightlighting 200 metres above sea-level.

Its looking like a very different world as we know it. Most of Europe, Eastern seaboard of USA, Amazon, Australian coastlines, and most islands are all gone. Fortunately, its probably going to happen very slow, or at least I hope it doesn't accelerate. Future is looking more like a bad Kevin Costner movie.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Pre-release Betrayers of Kamigawa

I went to the pre-release of Betrayers of Kamigawa (Magic: The Gathering) on Sunday. Pretty happy with the outcome and only ran out of luck at the second last round. I still came 6th place which is the highest I've gotten. Either I've gotten better or riding on my luck.

I found the new set brought in even more tricks and strategies in the Kamigawa block environment. I quite liked the non-mana pay cost (rare) cards, as its almost impossible to know if the opponent can do any thing even after they are tapped out. Ninjitusu is fun too. Personally, I would rate this current block better than Mirrodin. Hope the next set will make Kamigawa even better.