So, you know, as I wrote yesterday, just two nights ago I recited the Bodhisattva Vows, which includes the line:
A disciple of Buddha does not intentionally or maliciously kill, and cherishes all life.
Well, I guess I felt like I didn’t have enough ancient twisted karma in my life, so I agreed to go on what may prove to be the most unusual road trip of my life, the main objective of which is to free dive for abalone in the chilly Pacific Ocean waters off the coast of Mendocino, California.
Now, you might say, “Wow, I guess you really must love abalone!” Or, you might even ask, “What the hell IS abalone?”
Well, that rock-looking thing you see in the photo above is an abalone, a marine gastropod mollusk, an edible sea snail, actually, and, the inside of its shell, used for jewelry and inlay on guitars, looks like this:
Also, I’m told, once the insides are pounded for tenderizing and cooked in a particular way, they are one of the most delicious things a human could ever ingest.
Do I particularly like shellfish?
Well, no, not really.
Do I like putting on a wetsuit and diving without an oxygen supply in cold water, fighting the pull of the tide to keep from getting smashed onto the rocky shore?
No, not especially.
Oh, but did I mention that the diving is really just the excuse for a two-day, two-night, all-guy camping and party extravaganza, with legendary music jam sessions around a campfire?
It’s a two-day drive, with a stop in southern Oregon, there and back, and I’ll be on day two of the drive a week from today.
So, will this abalone dive involve the very intentional or malicious killing that, as a disciple of Buddha, I vowed to to refrain from?
And yet, when I consider that I will actually be risking my own life in order to take the life of a faceless creature that I will eat for sustenance, the equation gets a little fuzzy.