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World Vegan, World Peace:A Conscious Choice - P6/10 Chicago, Illinois, USA August 11, 2011    
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Commissioner Avila (m): And Supreme Master Ching Hai, our next question is by my colleague, Commissioner Horton.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes,colleague!
Commissioner Horton (f): That was an amazing answer.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Oh,really?
Commissioner Horton (f): Thank you, Supreme Master.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: I'm glad that it helps.

Commissioner Horton (f): Yes. We can do better about respecting all faiths, (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) and we will.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: It has to be mutual, you know,mutual. (Commissioner Horton (f): That's right.) Yes.

Commissioner Horton (f): That's right. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) Thank you. I have a question about health. We see that government leadership has recognized that the overwhelming decline of health and obesity stem from the diet of our youth. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) US First Lady Michelle Obama working with the United States Department of Agriculture introduced 『My Plate,』 which replaces the old food pyramid. In 『My Plate,』 the image of a plate is divided into basic food groups: (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) Fruit,vegetables, grains and protein, (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Great.) which is a smaller circle, with a smaller circle on the side for dairy products. This seems to be a start. Can you comment on how government can have a greater leadership role in influencing people to eat healthier?

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes,thank you, Commissioner Horton. The government is in the best leadership role to help people eat healthier, which,to many doctors and experts, means eating vegan food. As we mentioned earlier, the government must work with the media to direct people toward good information sources. The US government's 『My Plate』 campaign that you mentioned,which was launched by First Lady Michelle Obama, is an improvement from the standard diet of the past because it emphasizes more plant-based eating than ever before. It is to be applauded and strengthened. I very much admire her. For example, it indicates that about three-fourths of your plate should be vegan, one-half fruits and vegetables,and another one-fourth grains. Commissioner Horton (f): Right.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: But the best,of course, would be that governments recommend the recipes for compassion as well as health- you know,moral, virtues,compassion, God-like quality. Health is just a by product of a compassionate lifestyle. Now,we don't always have to eat vegetables- it looks all green and yellow like that - no. Nowadays we have vegan sausage, it's delicious; vegan steaks,vegan pork, vegan chicken, vegan eggs,vegan whatever you want, and it's delicious, delicious,delicious. Yes. And everyone would enjoy it. If they have all that, they would never bother to go to meat again because it tastes even better than meat, (Commissioner Horton (f): That's true.) and you become healthy almost immediately. (Commissioner Horton (f): Yes.)

After one week, you feel a big difference: not heavy like before; you feel lighter, more easy to think, more easy to concentrate, less sleepy, more efficient at work. Now,in the animal-free organic vegan diet, we will find everything we need,100%. Hundred percent for health, for moral standard, for blessing, yes,for blessing, because that is the diet that goes with Heaven, Heaven's standard, so Heaven will bless us no end. Animals also will bless us to no end, and Mother Earth will bless us to no end, because we go with the flow. If we go with Heaven's standard, we will meet Heaven, and we will see Heaven at the end,and even now, in this world already.

To help people eat healthier, governments can simply provide facts since there is a lot of scientific research already available that highlights the hazards of meat and dairy consumption. The government must also be courageous enough to help reverse outdated myths about the meat and dairy industries, abolish all this wrong information and bad lobby. Yes. Thank you. Thank you.

Such as the one saying protein and calcium must be obtained from these animal-based sources. That is wrong. For example, there are studies clearly showing that consuming cow's milk, rather than reducing, would increase the risk of osteoporosis; and today's research informs us that plant-based foods provide the perfect amount of balanced protein for human needs,naturally, without the side effects, like cholesterol or sickness or bacteria stuff. Instead of subsidizing the meat and dairy industries, the government should pass along the real cost of producing meat, which would help people think twice about their purchases.

If the government subsidizes not the meat industry anymore, then the meat price will go sky high, and if the government subsidizes organic farming, then all the healthy fruit and vegetables will be,like,almost free for the people. So,they can compare the price; they buy what's healthy for them and it tastes good as well. If the environmental clean-up needed for all the pollution from livestock's waste is factored in as well, then the economic cost alone would be too high. All the tax money is also leaking there as well. Ultimately, Madam Horton,your government policies must promote and subsidize organic vegan farming and stop subsidies for animal industry,you see. Subsidize life and health, not disease and death.

Subsidize organic vegan diet means life, life and health. Organic farming, life and health. Subsidize life and health. And ideally,Madam, governments should ban all animal products, just like they ban tobacco and smoking,yes!The people rely on the government to lead them. That's why we call them leaders. Yes? And if the leaders spoke, people will listen. That's why you are leaders. Leaders must lead correctly and righteously. If you know what is right for people, you are the leaders, you lead. You tell them.

In Âu Lạc (Vietnam) or China,we even call the government or the government leaders 『parents of the people.』 As parents, you have the right to ban whatever not good for your children, just like at home, you ban violent video, sex video for your children. You have the right to do that,and people will thank you for it. So,why don't we strive to ban all harmful poisonous lethal products? Alcohol,cigarette,drugs, including meat and other animal products.

All the information about vegan benefits and animal products' harmful effects should be posted everywhere: on billboards, on government's internet website, make a billboard outside, advertisement-size, everywhere,on website, in all possible media and possible corners of the world, and obligatory posting in all markets, food stores etc.,etc. We have to do something, not just wishy-washy. As parents of the whole nation, the government is responsible for the health of their subjects,like parents to the children.

As an official yourself, Madam,I thank you, and commend you for always thinking of the best interests of the people. You are the real example of a mother of the nation. Michelle Obama is a real example of 『mother of the nation.』 We call them 『mother of the nation』 in Âu Lạc (Vietnam) or China, 『mẫu nghi thiên hạ,』 meaning the mother under Heaven. That great title is bestowed upon the Queen of a nation, or the First Lady of the nation. It's the same; she's the 『Queen』 of America right now. You see,the government, we call them parents of the citizens.

Now, you are taking people's best interests at heart, whether in making a new policy or maintaining an efficient budget, and I wish that the leaders in charge of food and health will likewise make righteous policies and use of the tax dollars wisely,for the benefit of the people. Now, in your work assisting the disempowered people, you have proved that with a little help, even the most helpless can become self-sufficient and develop themselves; and you,one person, make such a big difference for thousands of people. Imagine if the other leaders, the whole nation's leaders are doing something with the real people's interest at heart, and not care about their supporting… finance money for the next election or whatever. I am sorry to be so blunt.

Now,similarly, with just a little jumpstart from the government, people will be empowered to lead longer, healthier lifestyles, and morally fit lifestyles. I don't think any nation would dare to eye your country, if your whole country's people are healthy,virtuous, morally fit,and know what's right from wrong, thanks to the leaders of the government, the leading role of the government,you see? Leaders have to lead and have to lead righteously. In China or Vietnam, we call the king,you know, now president,yes? - we don't have many kings anymore, so the president is like king - we call them 『son of Heaven.』 『Tian zi,』 『thiên tử』- means son of Heaven, means you represent the Father in Heaven to take care of your subjects, to take care of God's children on Earth.

So,we call them son of Heaven,yes. They liken the king or the president of the country,as the Son of Heaven. So,the son of Heaven has to rule, excuse me,『must.』 I wouldn't say 『should』 or 『please,』 I say,『has to』 rule as the son of Heaven, as the best leader for the people,always with people's interest at heart, no matter what it costs - and it won't cost much: it won't cost as much as war; it won't cost as much as conflict within the countries. Yes.

And in the long run, it will save a lot of money because the health benefit will be no longer necessary, the people will be more educated, and behave and be grateful to the government. Then you don't need to have army even. People will just love you. But,you see, I also thank the US First Lady and government profoundly. for the veg diet promotion. They're doing their best. I mean, they are the first,even. The first government, first leaders of the nation ever do this openly, so actively. (Commissioner Horton (f): That's right.) Yes? And the US government is the first government to openly support and declare it. I salute their courage and wisdom and goodwill. Nevertheless, more should be done. Stronger measures should be implemented. Thank you.

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

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes. Even lawmakers, you know, should consider passing a vegan diet bill as soon as possible,to save lives and the planet, and save your financial crisis.
Commissioner Horton (f): That's right.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Be Veg, Go Green, Do Good. That's all I ask. Three things. Be Veg, Go Green, Do Good. Do I ask too much? No.
Commissioner Horton (f): I love you.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: I love you too, Commissioner Horton. And I ask that, for your own good even. Be Veg, Go Green, Do Good. That's all we have to do. And okay, if you become enlightened, good for you. If you don't,that's enough for Heaven already; Heaven will bless you forever.

Commissioner Horton (f): But we must do right for the planet.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: I don't mean you, I mean the planet people. Yes,we must,we must, Madam. We must. There's no other choice. There are only two ways to do things: the correct way and the incorrect way. There are only two ways. Simple. I am a simple person. Okay. Thank you. Any more questions?

Commissioner Avila (m): Yes. Our last question.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes,I got all excited and passionate about these things.
Commissioner Avila (m): You just finished talking about the government. (Yes.) Now, I have this last question. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes,sir.) You know, it's really simple. The Supreme Master, the organic diet is the answer! Our planet and fellow beings will be benefit so much from it if we all change right now to a more compassionate and loving diet, (Supreme Master Ching Hai: That's right,sir.) the plant-based vegan diet.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Right,sir.

Commissioner Avila (m): Supreme Master Ching Hai, the last question of the interview session: Religion shapes the hopes,dreams, morals and values of an estimated 85% of the world's population. How can we promote partnerships between religious groups by putting aside ideological differences and combining their voices to create the greatest influence on political leaders for them to address environmental issues? Supreme Master Ching Hai, can you help bring the leaders of all major religions together for this purpose, for the good of the planet?

Supreme Master Ching Hai: How am I going to do that?
Commissioner Avila (m): I've been trying to think for a long time and I just don't know how.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Good question,sir. I don't know,sir. You are very,very kind. I'm only passionate about the humans' lives and the value of our planet and the people, but I'm not sure if, I could do what you ask. I'm only doing what I can,yes? But this is a good question,sir. Yes, I try my best all the time, and I know you do your best as well,such as, through your work, you have organized an interfaith discussion last year,about the role that different religions can play to promote environmental stewardship. You see,you have more power than I do, secular power. I'm just a meditation teacher.

This care for the Earth and our fellow inhabitants can be expressed in terms of the Golden Rules that we mentioned earlier, the five principles of peace, universal principles, that are logical, harmonious principles for everybody. It doesn't have to be religious. Everyone,be they Buddhist, Muslim or even atheist, if they follow the five Golden Rules, universal peace principles, then life would be paradise on Earth.

Now,the first principle of Ahimsa,meaning non-violence, which is to avoid harm to any other beings, be they human and animal. So now,we try to remind everyone, regardless of their faith, to return to this timeless ideal. That is why I have called upon the world's spiritual and religious people to meditate and pray together for World Vegan,World Peace. If we have world vegan, then we will have world peace as well, as outcome. When we don't kill animals anymore,then we don't kill each other.

Thank you. Now I'm glad to see, that it was helping. You see,in our television, they call it Supreme Master Television, I have tried to arrange that all the religious scriptures' main points are aired together - Commissioner Avila (m): (Yes.) then you can see that, (Commissioner Avila (m): (Yes.) and that's the best I can do- so people can see that it's ridiculous to fight with each other. My religion, your religion say the same thing. Commissioner Avila (m): Yes.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes. So,if anyone, after reading all this common ground of different religious orders still want to fight, in the name of Muslim, or in the name of Christian, I think they just want to benefit themselves. There's no excuse to do that anymore,yes? Commissioner Avila (m): Yes.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: I also agree that religious and spiritual leaders should work together and let people know that it's time to change, that the planet is in urgent danger now, and we must be more loving in our actions, whatever religion we belong to; and be vegan to save it, whatever religion we belong to, or non-religion we belong to.

There are quite a few other leaders,like,His Holiness the Pope, (who) also tried to gather some different faiths, Muslim people to come to him,discussing things, and I'm glad that it has worked out in some areas,yes? But all religions belong to God. We all say we worship God. Then why fight,for God? This is ridiculous,really. We have to grow up, that's it. We have to grow up as adults and talk together, instead of using bullets. Everybody can do that.

What heroic action in that? Go out and blow people up in the market,everybody blown into pieces, including children and harmless women - what heroic action I can see in that? I don't see it. I'm sorry,I don't see any hero in these kinds of actions,for example. I don't see anybody heroic in pulling the trigger and terminating another person's life. He's not born to die like that. Whenever God wants him to die,he dies, but it's not by such a violent means like that. So,religious and spiritual leaders should recognize that this is not a request for them to compromise their ideology or to glorify the other faith,but it is because the principles of being loving and kind are really central to every religion. Don't you think?

Commissioner Avila (m): Oh yes. Yes. Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Oh,Yes,yes.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Then why do we act contrary? (Commissioner Horton (f): Yes.) Yes. There's another thing. You see,also, the religious leaders must personally change, Commissioner Avila (m): (Yes,I agree.) be our compassionate vegan role models and thereby demonstrate the most powerful way to love all and protect all on this planet. Thank you, Commissioner Avila.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: And thank you,all of you. Thank you,all of you,for your supportive applause. I feel I have friends sitting there. Thank you so much. Commissioner Avila (m): Thank you very much for all your answers to our questions.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: You're welcome,sir.

Commissioner Avila (m): Supreme Master Ching Hai, it has been an amazing experience to meet and converse with you. It's quite a privilege for Patricia,Sherry, and myself to have been given the opportunity to ask questions and exchange ideas with you.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: The privilege is mine,sir; the honor is all mine. I'm so grateful that you honor me this way. Thank you so much. I have tried my best. Since I knew of your invitation, I have been thinking, day and night until now, to think of the answers that would really benefit you and your people. I'm not just trying to talk or convert you or people into my way of life or anything. I was sincerely,honestly, genuinely concerned that any word I have spoken, through the grace of Heaven, should benefit people, your people or any people who are listening. I was really deep into prayer and meditation, to try,so that the words will sincerely make an impact in the souls of the world's people and your country.
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