Vegan?nah? Easily classified? never. Spiritual? most definitely.

The Brahma Net Sutra translated by Kumarajiva (circa 400 AD) has a list of ten major and forty-eight minor Bodhisattva vows. The ten major vows are as follows:

1. Not to kill any living creature (roaches!!!! Can I ever NOT kill them? and eating oxtail? Can I ever stop?)
2. Not to steal anything (oh dear lord, limewire, you're killing my karma)
3. Not to engage in any form of sexual misconduct (define sexual misconduct...)
4. Not to lie or use false speech (think I'm okay here)
5. Not to trade alcoholic beverages (think I'm okay here)
6. Not to discuss the faults and misdeeds that occur by any Buddhist (think I'm okay here, I think) Okay, when it comes to my old job, I'm all about the misdeeds, but they aren't Buddhist, far from it.)
7. Not to praise oneself or disparage others (working on it)
8. Not to be stingy or abusive towards those in need (think I'm okay here)
9. Not to harbor anger or resentment or encourage others to be angry (think I'm okay here)
10. Not to criticise or slander the Three Jewels (I'm okay here)

See, really, I'm Catholic. My faith in Jesus Christ is devout. And my original religion of at least 3/4 of my biological ancestors is not known to me thanks to the slave trade. So the one thing, and I don't call it religion, that really speaks to my soul is Buddhist philosophy on peace. Put it together with the ten commandments of the Old Testament (Torah) and Jesus' call to man to be kind, loving and forgiving, I'm pretty set with my spiritual foundation.

I'm not bodhisattva. But I am bodhisattva. And doing my best not to mess up #7, I'll just say that teaching lovingkindness by acting it out is my goal in my every day. And when it comes to #1, I take the Native American way of handling the fact you are eating a once living being or you did take the life of a once living being...you pray for that soul and your soul and you promise to do good with the nutrients it provided you. When Christians pray over their meals, it's the same concept. It's showing thanks over the meal God has provided you today. And knowing that people are hungry you show thanks in your bounty and you eat, knowing you are blessed. I am a woman. I lose iron and protein every month. I need meat because soy isn't going to cut it for me. I'm already taking B12 supplements because my non-vegetarian self is low in vitamins that proteins otherwise known as meat give me.

I like the word Bodhisattva. I like it because it is something like a journey. In Christianity we talk of taking paths, the right ones to walk with God, and in Buddhism there is talk of taking paths to enlightenment. And once I began my journey to becoming a teacher. And once I began my journey in motherood, I couldn't deny that the quest to Enlightenment was very important to me. And my enlightenment is in the every day. Where can I get an aha! moment in every day. Because if I die tomorrow, can I say that I was enlightened enough to see the path God's right side? To be reborn as one of his angels? In a flower in air in the dirt beneath my child's feet?

When religions put rules on me about eating and sex and whatnot, I tend to get very defensive and dismiss them. But I know that there is a reason that numerous sages thousands of years ago set these standards for human morality. As I saw the most beautiful wedding I have EVER, EVER seen between two men, I realize that the meaning behind these rules change as humans evolve into sentient beings with sense enough to know what's right for them. And we are becoming sentient beings standing up to the authorities of religion and government wanting to tell us what is right and what is wrong when there is so much in between right and wrong. But at the same time, for our families and to show love towards one another, we have to keep in check the most important thing that all the religions say in one shape or form....love is the most important thing, knowledge expands your horizons, and kindness to others is what keeps us human.

And I'm sorry, the reason I don't want to ever be buried and I want my ashes spread everywhere and anywhere, I can't imagine roaches crawling on me thousands of years from now.I know they have airtight caskets these days, but I still have issues. The only thing I despise is roaches. I can't accept them. I think it's what a New Yorker MUST vow. We can accept everything and anything - except roaches. They are scavengers and they remind me of death. Sometimes its hard to accept death. The rules to go on to a good afterlife or whatever one believes are hard to accept sometimes. I hate thinking of death, but I think about it all the time. I'm sure this too shall pass.

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