April 16, 2010

The Happy Meal

Okay so I'm at the task of pondering karma, actions, cause and effect, in particular that of the non-virtue of 'taking what is not given' and in Paltrul Rinpoche's book, 'The Words of My Perfect Teacher', he describes how "nothing could be more effective than trade and commerce for piling up endless harmful actions and thoroughly corrupting you."    The acts of trying to be the best, the harm involved in subjugating your competitors, selling 'lies', extolling the good qualities of a products while making it on the cheap and it goes on and on.  

And then I think of McDonalds.  What started out as an idea for a quicker meal, a 'happy' meal, for people has now served billions and in the process (or processes), billions of cattle have been slaughtered, billions of pounds of saturated fats have been ingested, billions of styrofoam products and paper products have been manufactured and used and millions (I hope not billions but who knows) of people have been physically affected, judging from the increase in the obesity rate all over the world.  Every time someone buys a quarter pounder, apparently, according to Paltrul Rinpoche, even if they haven't had a hand in the initial idea of such a company nor did they themselves slaughter the cattle or create the styrofoam wear, they are complicit.  As he writes, "any participation down to merely offering hunters or thieves some food for their expedition, is enough to bring you an equal share of the effect of the evil action of their killing or stealing."  So in other words, every time I plunk down a few dollars for a burger there, I'm giving them 'food' for their continued 'expedition' (ie: enterprise).  Now I think back to the times my teacher has suggested that as a way to exercise discipline (one of the seven noble qualities), we could try not going to McDonalds one day a week.  Presuming we have a habit of this.  Or even maybe, once a month, or ever again, according to our capacity for restraint.  And then I'm thinking, ah ha, it's not just because McDonalds is known to be an unhealthy eatery and that's bad for you as the individual but perhaps because every time you order or consume a Big Mac and fries, you buy into a cascading waterfall of negative actions, multiplied to the billionth degree and restraining one's self from the urge for a 'happy' meal is a start?