Tuesday, November 28, 2006
The Zen of Steak?
As a newbie to this Buddhism thing, I have a question: can a Buddhist also be a carnivore?
I understand the precept of not trying to harm any living thing. It sounds really good--for many critters and in many circumstances.
But here's the problem, Buddhist-wise: I love meat, particularly red meat.
I know that it takes a lot of resources to create that meat, animals are killed, and working in a packing plant ain't a day in the park, unless your park consists of squealing animals, blood, knives, and stench. It's not a process for the faint of heart.
So, I know all these bad things about meat.
But have you ever had a steak at the Cattlemen's Club in Pierre or the Texas Roadhouse in Sioux Falls? Their steaks are delicious. I can't tell you how much I enjoy them. I've had many a good time with good friends and family while eating steaks or grilling steaks. Hamburgers too. Oh, and bison jerky. And pork loin. There's nothing like a sandwich at the State Fair piled high with pork loin covered in BBQ sauce. Now that's good eatin'!
I also live in the heart of beef country. Cattle raising is not only an important industry in South Dakota, it is also an honorable way of life. Most ranchers I know are not just laid back, they are also good stewards of the land. If I had to say I had a favorite group of South Dakotans, it would be ranchers and cowboys. They live life in relative freedom and have lots of time to contemplate their existence and place in it. They are good men and women whose word is their bond.
I really don't want to put them out of business.
Tofu ain't my gig. But I am conflicted. What to do on the culinary path of enlightenment? I can give up many things during this journey but giving up meat could be a deal breaker. Any thoughts?