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MC(f): We now begin today's question-and-answer session with Supreme Master Ching Hai.

MC(m): Okay Now, our first question is coming from Mr. Budiharto, a wildlife activist at Cikananga Sanctuary. He is also a Shining World Compassion Award recipient for his compassionate work with animals.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Welcome, sir! Welcome. 

Mr. Budiharto(m): Dear Supreme Master Ching Hai, good afternoon.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Good afternoon. [Selamat siang. = “Good afternoon.” in Indonesian]

Budiharto (m): Honored Master, most of my daily meals are vegetables, although in fact I have not yet become a pure vegetarian. I do not eat meat because I am an activist in the wildlife rescue center and so automatically I am an animal lover. After reading books and magazines given by you through your Association members in Indonesia, and also after I received one of your awards, The Shining World Compassion Award, I understand more why people must be vegetarian to save the world.

Respected Master, my question is: Please share ideas with us here on how to make the vegan lifestyle become more and more popular in our society and to become a new positive trend for all levels of society. Or, in other words, how can the vegan lifestyle become more widely accepted in Indonesian society? Because I feel that the vegan lifestyle is still only being adopted by certain communities. Thank you.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you! Thank you, Mr. Budiharto. “Budi” included - “Budiharto” - your name means you have Buddha in you. “Budi” is a Buddha. You look like a Buddha also! First of all, thank you for your caring work on behalf of the wild animals.

God bless you for that. I'm glad to be able to tell you that with all the available foods and recipes nowadays, it's very easy to be vegan. You can do it; I am sure of that, now that you know why. Like most of the people of the world, you are not informed about the reason and the cruelty behind that harmless looking piece of meat that we consume. It's just another step in expressing your love for the animals, to be veg, which I can see is already very great.

Your question is how to make the vegan lifestyle become more and more popular, as a positive trend for everybody in the society. Yes, that is surely the ideal, the goal, Mr. Budiharto. This is what we are working to do, through Supreme Master Television and the efforts of our Association members, airing programs and news about global warming and the vegan solution to benefit the people and the planet, as well as the distribution of information to reach the media and government representatives.

If the governments recommend the vegan diet to halt global warming, you can imagine the level of response! But we can't afford to wait for the government or anyone else to create the trend. So, we start it now, first, by becoming vegan ourselves, individually, and then letting everyone else know how easy and beneficial it is. Do you know of some of the vegan advantages, Mr. Budiharto? Okay, I'll tell you. There are really so many, I hardly know where to start. But I will list here just a few, for you and the audience.

First, fitness: A study in India conducted using a cardiovascular fitness test on both vegetarian and non-vegetarian teens, teenagers, found that the vegetarians had greater endurance and fitness than the non-vegetarians.

Second, performance: Vegan US ironman triathlete, Brendan Brazier - very famous - made a mix from the veg ingredients of hemp, dried pea and lentil powders, that's all... with all the necessary amino acids to make a complete protein. Brian says these simple ingredients provide energy that has sustained him through many medal-winnings, with quick muscle recovery between the events.

Third, strength: A Belgian study measuring athletic ability found that vegetarians could complete a weight-lifting exercise 69 times, while the meat eaters averaged only 38 times. Almost half. In Denmark, scientists compared the exercise stamina of three different diets, discovering that those who ate meat, milk and eggs, fish were only able to last 57 minutes. Those who consume meat and vegetables were able to continue for 114 minutes. That's better already, yes? But, the vegan diet, a person who consumes only vegan diet, consisting of grains, vegetables and fruits, increased stamina to 167 minutes!

Number four, endurance: A test at Yale University in the USA compared the endurance of meat-eating athletes and vegetarians who normally did not even do any exercise at all, a normal person. Each person was given tests such as seeing how long they could hold out their arms like this. Only 13% of the meat eaters, 13% - one three - could hold their arms out for more than 15 minutes, and none of them reached 30 minutes - none! By contrast, over 68% of the vegetarians exceeded 15 minutes. Nearly 50% went over 30 minutes, and 28% went over 60 minutes, and 1 person, one vegetarian person, was able to last for more than three hours, compared to 15 minutes even. Yes, not even 15 minutes. The meat-eater could not even last 15 minutes.

Fifth, intelligence: Scientists in the US measuring intelligence in children found that the IQ of vegetarian youths are significantly above average. And another study similarly of over 8,000 children conducted in the United Kingdom, England, discovered also that those with higher IQs at the age of 10 were more likely to be vegetarian as an adult, like, around 30 years of age. So, we also know of many prominent vegetarian and vegan historical figures known for their mental brilliance. The great mathematician and philosopher, Pythagoras, was vegetarian, as well as Albert Einstein.

We all know who they are, right? Yes. There are other simple joys to the vegan lifestyle, such as not having to worry about elevated cholesterol and, in many cases, we can even forget about heart disease and cancer. So, once we are successful in being vegan ourselves, with organic vegan being even better by the way, we can start inviting others to join us. Ask your friends and colleagues over for dinner and lunch, and introduce them to vegan dishes along the way. They can see for themselves how tasty and healthy it is. We can also pass out flyers that show the health and environmental advantages of being vegan, complete with all the famous, smart, beautiful and strong examples of vegans, like movie stars, athletes, fitness training gurus, etc., etc.

Meanwhile, you also can write to the government, schools and other important organizations to let them know the urgency of our climate, and the importance of being veg, with any materials you need freely available from Or, please ask our Association members to help you. Besides the positive motivation for being vegan, you are helping address a very real need in our world at this time, Mr. Budiharto. This is because our entire Earth is continuing to heat up from global warming, which scientists say is primarily caused by greenhouse gases emitted by the animal farms for the livestock industry.

This activity of killing animals for meat has grown to vast proportions in many parts of the world, outside of our eyes, causing immense suffering for countless animals, causing sickness to us humans, especially the children and the elderly, along with land and water pollution, massive deforestation, loss of habitat for wildlife, which you try to protect, and human diseases that include bird and swine flu, mad cow disease, etc., etc.

“Meat production” also means fishing. After billions of these underwater animals have been snatched from their homes and killed en masse, our oceans are now gravely imbalanced. The cumulative impact of all these destructive activities is really beyond measure, and experts such as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are continually revising their forecasts as they realize the Earth's decline from global warming is occurring much, much faster than anyone previously thought or predicted.

Stopping meat and dairy consumption and fishing, poultry - all the animal products - is the fastest and most effective way to cool our planet and halt these dangerous changes. And now that we also understand the immeasurable benefits for the organic vegan diet, we can simply step forward and implement this solution, which offers not only better personal health, but literally can save the entire planet, the entire world. This is how we continue to make the vegan lifestyle more popular. So, please join us, Mr. Budiharto, and become part of the trend to save our world. You can always ask for our assistance from different centers.

MC(m): Thank you, Master, for your wise answer.

MC(f): Our next question, Master, comes from Ms. Hira Jamtani. She is a policy analyst and a writer on sustainable development and environmental issues. She is also a consultant for the Special Assistant to the Indonesian Minister of Environment.

HJ(f): Thank you.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Welcome, Ms. Hira Jamtani.

HJ(f): Dear Supreme Master Ching Hai, what is the farmer's role, especially small farmers in poor countries, in this entire spiritual and ecological movement concerning the vegan society? Can we help them so that their life will be more prosperous through this movement? Thank you.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you, Madam, for your time and your concern. Good day to you.

Yes, the small farmers have an important role to play. You're right to be concerned and want to help them, especially during this urgent time and in the future. They have a role in the veg trend to feed the world with nutritious and sustainable plant-based food. And wherever possible, all farmers should become organic vegan farmers to help restore the planet to a healthy balance, while improving people's health and helping to stop the suffering of both humans and animals. I pray this will be the multifold, noble role of all the farmers of the world. The climate scientists are advising us that we must cut our meat consumption if we want to save the planet.

Because the animal farms are too inefficient, too costly, depleting natural resources, polluting the environment, creating huge medical costs, water shortage, world hunger, and conflicts. In contrast to animal raising, growing organic vegetables, fruits and legumes yields more and better nutrition, is harmonious for humans, animals, and the environment, and is more profitable. Organically farmed soil is also healthy and even absorbs a lot of the greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

In fact, if tillable land was globally used for organic farming, it would absorb 40% of all greenhouse gases at least. Can you imagine? Forty percent would be absorbed by the organic farming method, then we have another 50% that would be cut off by abolishing the animal industry. Then our planet will be healthy. Very simple, logical, scientific and quick. Contrary to some beliefs, organic farming is quite profitable, and especially for small farmers.

We have examples everywhere and we have shown some of these examples on Supreme Master Television, where the farmers, just sprinkle the seeds on the land, that's it. No water needed, no fertilizer needed, not much work to do even. They just sit there and wait for the rain to come, or even not rain much, then they will harvest, and harvest in abundance.

Now, we have also multiple studies in the United States, India, and New Zealand. They all have confirmed this, that some of the reasons for the greater profits are that the production costs are lower than conventional farming. There are more crop varieties that could be rotated, such as corn, soybean and alfalfa. Also, the organic system is naturally more resistant to drought than conventional farm systems.

In the United States, crop yields were at least the same and even up to three times higher than normal after the switch to organic, vegetable farming. Can you imagine? We harvest three times more, on the same piece of land if we do organic farming. At the same time, the environment is more protected, the produce is healthier and tastier. The good news is more and more people are realizing the many benefits of organic, vegan products, making it a trend in many countries and many cities, including Indonesia.

Besides, we are facing a food shortage with high food prices. Small farmers can help us develop our economies in a better direction that is no longer dominated and hampered by the meat industry. The United Nations announced that as of 2009 the world is now seeing the highest number of hungry people in four decades.

To be exact, there are 1.02 billion people with not enough food in the world. Hungry. 1.02 billion people are hungry in the world right now. That is one in every six persons, including children, the elderly… women. While we are sitting here in safety and comfort, and have sufficient food for ourselves and our family, our neighboring people, our world co-citizens, more than one billion of them, are living in poverty, in hunger, in thirst. No sufficient water, no clean water, no food to eat. Children are dying every few seconds. Statistically, every five seconds one child dies of hunger.

I'm sorry to inform you of all this bad news, but I guess some of you already know and the truth has to be told. Organic vegan farming is also part of the solution to solve hunger. Small farmers have a spiritual role in veganism as well. The vegan diet itself is a spiritual movement because it is the single most effective way to expand our human compassion, and noble quality, and loving quality. It can reverse the cycle of violence and bad karmic retribution, “As we sow, so shall we reap.” And it places us within a circle of love, protection, and mercy from any negative happenings in the physical realm.

So, the vegan organic farmer supports countless others to have this great merit by providing them with food that has minimal, or is free of violence, and through that he surely gains many spiritual merits himself. In many cases, organic farming is not different at all from conventional methods. Not much. So, besides some labor, the technologies to become organic vegan don't require a lot of investment.

But in case the farmers need help, the government can provide, because the government subsidizes the meat farmers anyway. So, instead of subsidizing the meat industry, we subsidize the organic farming industry. So the government can give them vegetable seeds and training on better ways to farm without using chemical fertilizers, because sometimes the farmers are just not well informed about the harms of livestock raising, or the chemicals or the fertilizers or insecticides. They are not informed about a better way to grow vegetables and make more profit.

The government can help them implement the measures to conserve the land and improve the quality of their products so that their buyers will trust in them, etc. The government can also set up a certification and quality standardization system to further promote the organic vegan industry.

Now, regarding your question on how we can help the small farmers, we can ask the government to support them in becoming organic vegan, by letting them know that this is what the citizens want, and this will save the world. We can encourage our supermarkets, our schools, our companies, etc., as well as consider this healthier, more practical way of nourishing people.

Ultimately, as consumers, we, the ordinary citizens, have a lot of power in our hands, and it's up to us to create the demand for the right foods and boycott the wrong ones - the harmful foods, the dangerous foods to us and to our children, the foods that are leading our planetary home to destruction. Instead, we should choose to buy organic vegetable and fruit products to save our lives and those of our families, save the animals and the planet.

Even if organic vegan is not yet possible or available to you, the most important first step is to stop buying and eating meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and any animal products for you and for your family's sake, for the natural resources' sake, and to plant the seeds for a better agricultural system for everyone. In this way, not only can all the farmers prosper - we help them in this way - but everyone will prosper and enjoy a long and thriving life. Thank you, Ms. Jamtani, for your very considerate question.

MC(f): Thank you, Master, very much for your answer.

Tekla Catholic nun and teacher; I think today's seminar is very good, especially the teleconference. It's so good that we can see with our own eyes the effects of meat eating. I have come here with five teachers, and I said, “When we go home, we will practice this once or twice a week without meat.” Maybe we'll tell the children to eat no meat once or twice a week. So we must tell our caterer.

If we follow the advice of Supreme Master Ching Hai maybe the world will be safer because there will be no calamities. I Made Sukadana Businessman Vegan I am very satisfied, very happy, with indescribable joy - amazing! I am very satisfied with what is being conveyed by Supreme Master Ching Hai.

Supreme Master TV (f): According to you as a businessman, what action should all businessmen do in order to deal with global warming?

Interviewee (m): In order to deal with global warming, I will spend my time, as best as I can, to go green. I will tell all my friends, in order to save energy and save everything, to be vegetarian or vegan. I've been trying the organic vegan diet for just three months, yes, but as for the vegan diet, I've already been doing it for around five years. The progress is amazing! So I am very healthy. In the physical aspect, I feel great. Spiritually, I've also advanced quite well.

Let's be veg! Go green! Save the planet!
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