Question: Will the efforts of support-chanters in helping someone when dying and at a wake be effective if they are not vegetarians (or vegans), who also eat the five pungent roots (garlic, leek, onion [spring onion, shallot, green onion or scallion], chives, asafoetida) and drink alcohol?
Answer: The key concern is whether they are offering support-chanting sincerely in the moment. Of course, it would be even better they are very virtuous in everyday life too, including matters of food and drink consumption.
However, if there is strong stench of the foods listed just eaten, they should rinse their mouths first. This is in case the smell distracts the dying, or attracts hungry ghosts (when the roots are freshly consumed, as warned by the Buddha in the Surangama Sutra), while putting off protective gods.
Yet, it is a natural sign of spiritual progress that sincere practitioners of Nianfo (practice of mindfulness of the name of Amitabha Buddha – ‘Amituofo’), due to their regular and diligent tuning to their Buddha-nature via Nianfo, tend to eventually take up the more compassionate diet.
This also means that those who have yet to progress to a kinder diet can do with more sincere Nianfo practice to further nurture compassion. Although it is not a must to be vegetarian or vegan to reach Pure Land (as the Three Provisions of Faith, Aspiration and Practice are the essentials), if taken up as a practice of compassion, it does generate more merits, which can facilitate personal reach of Pure Land.
How Should All Aspiring For Buddhahood Eat & Drink?