Thoughts on a Vegan Diet with Ven. Losang Dondrub

Losang Dondrub
Ven Losang Dondrub is an American who practices in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. He began studying the Dharma on his own in 2005 and then at Drepung Losling in Atlanta in 2008. He became involved with the Guhyasamaja Center after moving to Washington, D.C. in 2010. Ven Dondrub took refuge vows from Gyumed Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jampa in May 2011 and novice monk ordination vows in October 2013.

How long have you been a vegan?
Two years.

What are some of your favorite meals?
I like many kinds of ethnic foods.

If you eat at restaurants, what foods or places have you found helpful?
many ethnic restaurants have vegan dishes. you have to inquire about chicken stock and fish sauces, but many times chines,  Indian, Thai and ethiopean  restaurants can easiy make a vegan dish.

Have you notices any benefits since you changed your diet?
My skin is clearer and I recover more quickly from exercise. Many people experience weight loss, which I haven't,  but it's difficult for me to lose weight in terms of my genetics and  in terms of having a physical dissability.

What tips do you have for anyone who wants to try a vegan diet?
Don't overlook the ethical component. I'm not sure if it will stick long term if it's done only for health or weight loss, we have to see the suffering of the animal agriculture industry and make a determination it will never be done in our name. I recommend the Bite Size Vegan Youtube channel as a place to start.

Do you notice much interest in eating less meat in the Buddhist community in the last year or two?
It's hard to know that. Our center is small and we don't really eat together. our center has made a more firm committment to helping people adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet, but I really don't have access to what decisions people are actually making in their daily lives. The topic does come up a lot, I'm just not sure what people are doing with the information we can provide them. in the mahayana sutras the buddha does make vegetarianism non-negotiable, and in at least one place does femonstrate that veganism is beneficial, so I hope that people who are trying to cultivate love and compassion think very hard about extending that to the animals.

Any final thoughts?
I'm a big believer in the idea that we're all vegan. Very few of us are OK with the suffering that is taking place in the agriculture industry, it's just not something that we are encourages to think about of investigate. We need to open our hearts and our minds  and live every day in accordance with our values.