In Mahayana Buddhist tradition, keeping a vegetarian diet is a primary practice. We practice this as one way to develop and practice compassion for and to protect lives in the world. When we eat vegetarian, we remove our direct influence on the taking of animals’ lives. This can also help keep your body healthy and fit, and spiritually, it keeps you healthy and light.
Cooking vegetarian food can be a great joy and a happy experience. If you cook wholeheartedly as if you are offering medicine to those you cook for, whether family, friends, or those you love. It’s not important to be like a chef, or master at cooking, but to cook with love and wholeheartedly with joy can make any meal a very delightful and healthy meal. Those who eat these dishes will feel your love and compassionate energies as they eat this food.
You can use the time while you cook as a time to practice meditation; keeping quiet and following your breathing as you cook makes the act of cooking a meditative practice. At Quan Am Nam Hai Monastery, we do not speak while cooking to keep our peace and practice meditation, or we recite a Buddha’s name (such as Nam Mô A Di Đà Phật, or other Buddhas’ names that you may feel connected to).
Vegetarian food is very easy to cook, the idea is similar to cooking non-vegetarian food, except that ingredients are solely vegetable based. Ingredients normally used in vegetarian cooking include: mushroom seasoning, sugar, salt, chilies, soy sauce, and vegetarian-oyster sauce, tofu, wheat-gluten, and any vegetables you may like. For those concerned with protein while eating vegetarian, soy and mushrooms have ample amounts of protein, along with beans and nuts as well.
If you would like to cook vegetarian at home, we have some easy recipes to start with: