In mid-July I took refuge at the Sakya Monastery with His Holiness Jigdal Dachen Sakya, and during the course of the ceremony, His Holiness briefly broke free of speaking in Tibetan to look right at us new Buddhists and declare in English, “No meat for a year!” The translator sought clarification; apparently no other group of refuge-takers had been given this instruction at the monastery before. We were told that our Lama was recommending one year of vegetarianism for the sake of sentient beings, but it was not a requirement. Indeed, the book I’d read about taking refuge states that Buddhist are not required to be vegetarian. Still, I had the feeling His Holiness was looking at us with a kind of clairvoyance, and knew that at least one of us really needed this particular instruction, and who knows? Maybe that someone was me. So I started my year of vegetarianism on July 16 and will occasionally post here to let you know how it is going.