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World Vegan, World Peace: A Conscious Choice - P3/10 Chicago, Illinois, USA August 11, 2001    
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Commissioner Avila (m): Thank you for those kind remarks. And you know, you mentioned the Chicago stockyards. Well,the effect that the Chicago stockyards had here in Chicago, the area,we call it Bubbly Creek, and Bubbly Creek, it still is contaminated. The bottom of Bubbly Creek is all toxic. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Still?) Commissioner Avila (m): Still,in Bubbly Creek.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: My God.
Commissioner Avila (m): And we had trouble in Bubbly Creek in dissolved oxygen, because you know, we as human beings, we need air to breathe; well,the aquatic life under the water, they need dissolved oxygen to survive also, and it is contaminated, and we have to increase dissolved oxygen in Bubbly Creek. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Gosh!)

Commissioner Avila (m): And also, Supreme Master Ching Hai, what we do here in the Chicago land area, the way we treat wastewater, and we discharge our effluent,our liquid,into our channels; it flows southwest into the Des Plaines River. From the Des Plaines River, it flows into the Illinois River, from the Illinois River, it flows into the Mississippi, and it flows down into the Gulf of Mexico. So we, the people living here in Chicago, have an environmental effect all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Geez! Yes.
Commissioner Avila (m): And that's why we have to be considerate about our water environment here in the Chicago greater area.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes sir,you see just Chicago alone is like that. (Commissioner Avila (m): Yes.)

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Can we imagine uh around the world, everywhere? Even worse than Chicago, some places.
Commissioner Avila (m): And,and we live in God's country as I mentioned,because we have wastewater plant to treat our wastewater.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Right.
Commissioner Avila (m): So this is God's country.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Right. We are really harming ourselves by harming the animals.
Commissioner Avila (m): Yes,because God created creatures and creatures is everyone,including us. We are creatures of God.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Right.
Commissioner Avila (m): A cow,cattle,pig, they're creatures of God, and we should all love each other.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: You're right,sir.
Commissioner Avila (m): And again,thank you for taking time from your very busy schedule to be with us and sharing some life changing information.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: My pleasure,sir.

Commissioner Avila (m): I am thrilled that you are here. From just hearing your opening remarks,I see we're in for a special night filled with stimulating, challenging,and inspiring wisdom and truth. So at this time, we are going to start our interview, our question-and-answer session. I will ask the first question, but in the meantime, I'd like to introduce: David Maloney is present here and Vincent is present here also, to our conference, 『World Vegan, World Peace.』

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thanks for coming.
Commissioner Avila (m): Supreme Master, in the Bible, the first sentence says, 『In the beginning, God created the Heaven and the Earth.』 If one reads through the chapter,it says that God made humans and made them the stewards of the Earth. If God made us the stewards of the Earth, we have to protect our planet. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Right.) Supreme Master, how do we protect our planet at this time in 2011?

Supreme Master Ching Hai:Yes,anytime,sir, not just at this time, but you're right,we are in a more urgent situation right now. And thanks for your question. I'm very honored to meet such a genuinely noble government leader as yourself,sir. First,I want to say that. You have been recognized many times for your honest, selfless leadership and whole-hearted service for your fellow citizens. You even worked extra hard to produce hundreds of television shows with your beloved wife, Ms. Sherry, about the environment, health,as well as culture and music on Chicago Access Network TV, one of the country's largest and widely used television networks. This is amazing! Commissioner Avila (m): Thank you.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: And the shows can be watched on television and internet as well. You didn't do this for financial gain or for fame; it was out of your pure care and concern for others' health and happiness. I salute you, and thank you and congratulate you. Commissioner Avila (m): Thank you. Thank you.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: In response to your question,sir, from all info and evidence gathered up to date, we can protect the planet best at this moment by adopting the organic vegan diet, by going green, and by doing good deeds, just as you are doing up till now,and continue. In addition to instructing humankind to be stewards of the Earth, the Bible,God, also describes exactly how we should do this. In the first chapter, God said,『Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, and over every living creature that moves on the ground.』 Then God also said, 『I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole Earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it; they will be yours for food.』 In other words, we humans have been given the entire plant kingdom to enjoy as vegans,while we care for our animal co-inhabitants peacefully. God said 『rule over all animals;』 God did not say 『eat all the animals.』 Mark this in the Bible, it's very clear we should follow the Bible,God's instruction.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: That is how to be the stewards who protect and maintain an Eden planet. As this has been true since even before biblical times, the vegan way is more urgently needed now than ever before. Thank you, Commissioner Avila, and by the way,we also thank you for your work to reduce chemical pesticides in your district land. (Commissioner Avila (m): Yes.) The way you are always watching out for people and the environment's safety is also protecting the planet. We thank you wholeheartedly.

Commissioner Avila (m): Thank you for your answer, and I'm glad that you mentioned toxic chemicals,because that is one of the problems that we're facing today, especially among our kids that are being born. Our kids are being born with diseases that adults have, and our kids are having it right now.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes,because chemicals are poison. (Commissioner Avila (m): Yes.) In the water and in the environment, affect their health and their formation, even as a fetus already, in the womb already. It's a disaster.
Commissioner Avila (m): And that's why I love you because you're concerned about the kids.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Well,we all are,sir. We all are. I am sure everyone on this planet who are parents or not even parents, we all love children, and we're all concerned about children. The question is, what are we going to do for them? (Commissioner Avila (m): Yes.)
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Love in action. We all want the children to grow up healthy and be happy; not just wanting, make it happen. Do whatever we can. That's how we love the children, the parents,parental love. Action,do something.

Commissioner Avila (m): Well,I have the next question, Supreme Master.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Please,sir.

Commissioner Avila (m): Your disciples and I have been going out to talk about saving the planet, but in the long term, who will be around to protect our planet? It is our kids. Supreme Master, you are a supreme teacher, how does the supreme teacher teach the teachers to teach the children so that when they grow up, they already know how to protect our planet?

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes,sir, Commissioner Avila. Actually all of us have to be teachers. We are all supreme teachers,we have the Supreme Power within us. Our Father,God, is the Supreme Teacher. We inherit this name, we are the children of God, so we all have to be the supreme teachers on this planet and anywhere else. For the children's sake And for them to learn from us,and for us to learn from the sages of old and new about the ideal lifestyle for humankind, so that we can pass it on to our children, we can draw from the exemplary lives of the sages who practiced the compassionate way of life.

They never killed or harmed animals, they lived a vegan lifestyle that protects humans,animals, and the environment. They also taught about the power of being virtuous in saving the planet from any threat of harm. For example- we can talk forever, there are so many examples, but I'm just citing a few- like Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher, said,『For as long as man massacres animals, they will kill each other. Indeed,he who sows the seed of murder and pain, cannot reap joy and love.』

The Russian philosopher Leo Tolstoy commented, 『It is horrible,man, without any need for so doing, crushes his lofty feeling of sympathy and mercy for living creatures,and does violence to himself that he may be cruel. The first element of moral life is abstinence.』 He means abstinence from violence, from animal meat. Now Prophet Mohammad, Peace Be Upon Him, also said,『Allah will not give mercy to anyone except those who give mercy to other creatures.』 Buddha advised all his disciples to be vegetarian; so did Mahavira, Guru Nanak,Lao Tzu, Confucius,Jesus Christ, and many more,sir.

Very simple to live a noble life. There are 5 universal peace principles that are inherent in all religious orders of this world that should be taught by parents and teachers to the children from a young age, and all ages,any time. Number 1,never harm or kill others, but protect and save lives. Number 2,never lie but always tell the truth. Number 3,never steal but give whatever can to the needy. Number 4,never commit sexual misconduct outside your loving partnership with your wife, your husband, your partner, your life partner,but to honor your relationship with loyalty and love and sincerity. Number 5, never use intoxicants including tobacco,alcohol, and addictive drugs, but contemplate on the holy God quality. You see, children are naturally pure and can easily adopt such concepts from an early age. In Âu Lạc (Vietnam), we have a saying that, if you want to teach, then you teach the children since young age.

All school curricula must,therefore,include these uplifting moral values,(Yes.) values about living a life of loving kindness, of a noble human standard, loving kindness to all around us; then it will reflect back to us. Then we'll be happy,and we will have true peace. Meanwhile we can teach the children by being an example ourselves of loving kindness, like what you do. You are the example for your children. An example speaks more than thousands of volumes of words. Thank you, Commissioner Avila, for your vegan example as well.

Commissioner Avila (m): And thank you for your kind remarks. And we just had our first granddaughter, and she's four,five months old, so... (Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Seven months.) - my wife - seven months now,And, we would like her to grow up in a planet that has love and is passionate and caring, (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Amen,sir.) as you just mentioned. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) Thank you very much for such an inspiring answer. And now my fellow commissioner, Patricia Horton, will ask the next question.

Commissioner Horton (f): Well,first of all, thank you, Supreme Master, for giving me this opportunity to ask you a few questions.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Hi ma'am!

Commissioner Horton (f): I consider it an honor to sit here before you. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: My honor.) I have learned so much, I've learned so much, even by my colleague and his wife, and I've just learned to grow. I'm not a vegan yet, (Supreme Master Ching Hai: You will be.) but I'm moving towards there, and I'm happy to say that, because before I used to harm our animals by eating them, and now I've changed, (Supreme Master Ching Hai: You did not know. ) and I'm still moving forward.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: You did not know. Thank you. Thank you. You're making my day.
Commissioner Horton (f): Thank you.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: And you are so beautiful.
Commissioner Horton (f): Thank you.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Lovely smile you have.
Commissioner Horton (f): And you as well.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: So kind. You are very kind.
Commissioner Horton (f): I just thank God for you because you've given us so much insight and so much direction and information that we can live by and we can not only live by, but we can share this message with others. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you.) Thank you.

Commissioner Horton (f): Thank you.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: God bless you.

Commissioner Horton (f): Thank you. Well, my first question is this: We all know how precious our water is. As a commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, I am pleased to see in your book, 『From Crisis to Peace: The Organic Vegan Way is the Answer』, you have a section on water shortage and use; and we have identified the livestock industry as the biggest threat. Supreme Master, can you elaborate on this issue?

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes,Commissioner Horton. Gladly,gladly. And I'm also honored to know you as well. You're a very kindly lady.
Commissioner Horton (f): Thank you.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you for asking for the sake of others, as surely everyone here and you yourself are already aware about this urgent issue, especially you, Commissioner Horton. It is estimated that about half of all the water used in the United States alone goes to raising animals for food. It takes at least 20 times as much water to produce meat and dairy products, compared to plant-based products, for the same amount of calories. Several studies have found that beef requires a hundred times more water to produce than grain.

Just to get an idea of quantity: it takes,like,2500 gallons, or nearly 9500 liters of water to produce just one pound of meat, but it only takes 25 gallons to produce a pound of wheat. Madam Commissioner, I heard that you traveled all the way to Bangladesh, even,to learn how to help impoverished people and to enhance your own noble work. You must have witnessed firsthand,while traveling, what life is like for people who don't have enough safe water to drink, to apply to their crops, or even to keep themselves clean and not sick, for their children even.

Children are even more vulnerable, more sensitive,to the unhygienic environment and unclean water. But most of the water used in the livestock industry is to grow the grains and soya beans,again, to feed the animals, not humans. So,while this staggering waste of water, of both water and food, is occurring, one billion people in our world lack access to safe drinking water and go hungry.

We all know about the current starvation crisis in Somalia, in the Horn of Africa. Such tragedies could be minimized or even averted if everyone became vegan, because the vegan diet saves nearly 70% of our precious water resources. 70%. The livestock industry is becoming a bigger and bigger threat to our water supplies, which scientists warn are shrinking worldwide, fast,due to climate change. Also what causes climate change? Animal industry as well. So we are in a devil's cycle here. Also,animal raising is the top cause of water pollution worldwide. You know that.

In the US alone, livestock produces 130 times the excrement of the whole US human population, 130 times more than the whole US population,yes! That is 87,000 pounds generated per second! These excrement,this polluted waste,however, is not really treated at all, despite the fact that animal waste contains about 160 times the bacteria and pollutants more than human sewage even.
Commissioner Horton (f): That's right.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: So in the US, according to the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA,runoff from both animal manure and fertilizer for growing animal feed is the number one source of pollution in rivers and lakes. Now we are drinking this water. Just imagine we're drinking these things,all inside our beautiful『temple,』 we're taking all this pollution in,every day. And if we treat it,then it has more chemicals into our water; that is also not good for our body either. No wonder we're sick, we're ill,and the healthcare problem in America is also a very burden for the government to take care. Just look at the Mississippi River, whose runoff is known to be the source of the gigantic dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico - Commissioner Horton (f): (That's right.)

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Uh Commissioner Avila has just mentioned that; you see, the things from one district, from America are running through,and then go to elsewhere also, not just stay there- which scientists just announced is currently 3,300 square miles in size- the dead zone, in the Gulf of Mexico- but forecast that it could exceed 9,000 square miles this year. That is four months from now. It could triple the size, the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico; And then,I don't think it will stop there. We can imagine it will grow and grow and grow, and then we will have nothing but dead zone in the future. Dead planet. To make a comparison, Madam,the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, which you are in charge, does a wondrous job of treating the wastewater, to maintain the health and safety of over 5 million people in Cook County. 5 million people! (Yes.) The lucky 5 million. Through impressive engineering…

Yes. Go ahead.

They deserve it,yes. Through impressive engineering, high class facilities, and diligent management, hard work. Meanwhile, the Food and Water Watch organization,which Commissioner Avila honored with his 2010 Excellence in Protecting Our Water Environment Award, stated that factory farms, with 812,000 pigs in the North Carolina USA County alone,produce as much untreated manure as the sewage from almost 15 million people,equivalent to the Chicago and Atlanta, Georgia Metro areas combined,(Commissioner Horton (f): That's right.)

Supreme Master Ching Hai: and all of this waste, worldwide,is untreated - not just there- directly entering our environment; rivers,lakes, streams,oceans, polluting our drinking water sources and creating dead zones as well. By the way,I salute you, Commissioner Horton, not only for your wholehearted dedication to bring people safe water but for all you have done to help improve less fortunate people's lives. I heard that your work won national recognitions, the Presidential Award for poverty alleviation for helping disadvantaged women in Chicago,(Commissioner Horton (f): Yes.) yes,through the Women's Self-Employment Project.

Commissioner Horton (f): Yes. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you.) Thank you. Yes,it was called the Women's Self-Employment Project. We helped over 5000 women start their own business. We used a Grameen Bank Model in Bangladesh. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) We won the President's Award for helping to alleviate poverty, and I did research, along with Professor Muhammad Yunus,(Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) who won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) for what we did. Thank you.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: I am so honored and grateful (Commissioner Horton (f): Thank you,thank you, Supreme Master.) to hear about your loving, dedicated hard work, Madam. May God bless you for all the hope,as well as practical help you give to those most in need. We can surely be inspired by your caring example toward fellow humans and stop the livestock industry from destroying our precious water supplies. Thank you for your question, Madam Commissioner.
Commissioner Horton (f): Thank you.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: God bless you.
Commissioner Horton (f): And that's where I receive my passion, to fight every day for our environment and for our water. Thank you.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: But you look so sweet. You don't look like a fighter, but you fight all right!
Commissioner Horton (f): Thank you.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: God bless you.
Commissioner Horton (f): Okay. You gave us a lot to think about. It's really wonderful; and thank you for sharing the truth.
(Supreme Master Ching Hai: I'm glad you accept it.)

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