So now in China and Japan, all the Buddhists are non-vegetarian. Not a single Buddhist is vegetarian. And in every food shop, restaurant they make it clear that here non-vegetarian food is available which has not been especially killed – it is from animals dying on their own.
Now, so many animals don’t die on their own. And in fact, few animals do; you will never find how they die. Have you seen a cow or a crow dying, dead? Once in a while perhaps because of electric wires…otherwise before dying, somehow they disappear. They disappear deep in forests, they disappear into mountains, to find a peaceful grave.
Just nearby, there is one of the national deer parks with thousands of deer. I used to go there often. It is deep in the forest, just one small rest house and a big lake, and in the night thousands of deer will come to drink water. And in the night their eyes shine like stars. You see lines of stars moving around the lake, reflected in the lake. It is one of the most beautiful scenes that I have ever seen.
I have watched those deer. I inquired of the rest house peon who took care of the rest house, “Have you seen any deer dead?”
He said, “Millions of people must have come to see this park; nobody has asked such a question. No, I have never seen a single deer dead.”
And I asked him, “Don’t you ever wonder where they disappear?”
He said, “The very question has never arisen in me.”
From where in China, in Korea, in Taiwan, in Burma, in Japan – in all Buddhist countries…It seems the animals have a special joy: they come into the restaurants and die on their own – spontaneously. And not a single Buddhist monk ever raises the question that, “This is absolutely absurd, this is not possible. Animals have to be hunted and killed, only then can you get non-vegetarian food.”
But Ma Tzu was absolutely in tune with Gautam Buddha.
So when Nansen was arranging in his monastery a ceremony on the anniversary of Ma Tzu’s death, he said to his disciples – it is so touching –
“Tomorrow we will offer vegetarian food to Master Ma Tzu. Do you think he will come?”
No one answered. But among the group was a young man, a traveling monk called Tozan. He stepped forward and said, “He will wait for a companion to come.”
Nansen commented, “Although this man is young, he is qualified for the training.”
Tozan responded, “The venerable sir should not oppress a good man by regarding him as a worthless fellow.”
Tozan finally became himself a great master. He is saying that he will come – Ma Tzu will come – and he will not come alone.