With assistance from lay volunteers and using a giant stove, Tibetan monks at Longen monastery in rural Qinghai province China prepare and serve meals for several hundred of their peers during the summer retreat. In the past, rugged geography and the isolation of this monastery above 13,000 feet gave reasons for the monks to eat local meat since other foodstuffs were unavailable in an area unable to support agriculture beyond herding animals, chiefly yaks and cows. However, closer contact with the outside has allowed the monks to adopt a vegetarian diet, but one that still uses local resources such as yoghurt and wild sweet potatoes.

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