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Supreme Master Ching Hai on the Environment: The Only Way to a Sustainable Planet: Be Vegan - P3/6 Compilation of Supreme Master Ching Hai's lectures    
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We’ve been seeing more religious and spiritual groups emphasizing the importance of green living in accordance of our role as stewards of the planet, as mentioned in many holy scriptures, such as the Pope. He recently spoke on the urgency of climate change. Master, could you explain further the importance of the spiritual factor in halting global warming in comparison to the other factors such as science or technology that the general public is focusing on?

A true spiritual practice goes with compassion and love for all beings. This is the core of a sustainable world. If we have this, we will have peace, love, harmony, security, health and clear mindedness. Only then can we truly enjoy whatever comforts science and technology bring into our life. Just to rely on and focus on science and technology alone will not help us too much; or maybe even if it helps it’s just temporarily and short-lived. True spiritual life brings us in direct contact with the creative force of the universe, which supports and sustains life. All things spring from this creative power, including scientific and technological inventions. Otherwise, we just water the leaves and not the root, if we rely only on science and technology.

The whole world is now in economic recession with higher unemployment. Is it the right time to encourage the use of self-sustainable, simple organic farming techniques? Should we return to a more simple way of agriculture and encourage a loving plant-based diet? Sir.

Yes. In fact, we hosted in Cebu, in the Central Philippines, last September, the Asia Pacific Conference on Sustainable Production and Sustainable Consumption. We were not talking about long-term development, as we pursue under the umbrella of the United Nations pursuant to the UN’s Earth Agenda 21, Agenda for the 21st century. But we discussed very short-term measures, in Cebu, that have to do with producing with total efficiency. A certain item needed by human beings must be the result of maximum efficiency so that nothing is wasted.

At the same time, we must also change our patterns of consumption. Again I go back to my simple model in our own home of eating everything on your plate and drinking every bit of water in your glass. Because we must think all the time about the 51% of the world’s people who do not have enough to eat. They do not get three meals a day as you and I do, or eight glasses of water. Maybe the food they may eat is coming from garbage because they have to scavenge from the garbage can, the food that they must eat. They have nothing else.

And maybe the water they’re drinking is dirty water, just drawn or picked up from the nearby river which is already so polluted. So this is the condition of the majority of the world today. The UN says that more than half of the world’s people are earning the equivalent of US$1 a day. That’s what? - 47 Philippine pesos or 35, 34 New Taiwan dollars; it’s so small as an average. And, therefore, it’s our responsibility who are more comfortable – and this is said in the Bible and also in the Qu’ran and in the Holy Book of the Jewish nations – that it is our responsibility to prosper our neighbors if they are needy, (That’s right.) if they are in want, if they are poor, if they are suffering, if they are deprived, if they are disadvantaged. We must look around us and see how the rest of the community are doing, are living, are existing.

And surely, we all have neighbors who are very much more in need than we are right now where we are. So, let’s have a thought next time we sit down for a meal for those people out there who are not getting much on a daily basis. There are many countries where the average food intake is 3,500 calories, when what is needed is maybe for that age group is 2,500 calories. The rest of it is thrown away as garbage. And then maybe some people from the same country, from the same community, look through the garbage where that food was thrown to get their daily meal.

This is, to me, inhuman already. So, the practical means of making sure that we consume wisely and produce wisely, is to be simpler, to be more efficient and to be totally cooperative. What happens to those that eat at the rate of 3,500 calories a day? They become overweight. They overwork their hearts, their cardiovascular system does not flow efficiently because of high cholesterol blockage, and they cannot exercise very much anymore because they become lazy. They feel sleepy instead of being fit and energetic like Supreme Master Ching Hai. She’s all over, and she shows it, and the results of her advocacies. Thank you.

And her humanitarian activities are evident everywhere. (Thank you.) Seventeen centers here in Formosa (Taiwan) alone and so many more outside. And so, each of us has a responsibility to last as long as possible on Earth so that we continue to be able to help our neighbors. In other words, we must also exist, survive, work not for ourselves or for our immediate families, but also for others.

This is why our foundation has adopted a very simple motto, three words: Caring, Sharing, and Daring. Caring and sharing, very easy to do, but daring is so much more difficult because that means daring to give more than to take, meaning daring also to enhance the environment instead of abusing it. Daring also means to take united action, as people, as families, as nations, for the common good. And maybe just as important, daring in order to make a difference. So, it all adds up to what this center is all about, and it also, in equal manner, is what our own foundation is trying to do. Thank you! Thank you, sir! Thank you, sir! You are very daring, sir, also. You are really doing what you preach.

Back many years ago, when the whole world said that the Aulacese (Vietnamese) refugees must go home, nobody wanted to accept them anymore, you are the only one that went against that trend, that you could have offended other nations, you could have offended other leaders, but you did it. You just let them stay in the Philippines because you are daring and you are the man of your word, and that’s why we respect you so much. It’s easy to say, not easy to do. You are the doer. And we are so honored to know you in this lifetime. You are a very good example of a true man. Thank you for being with us on this planet.

Dear Master, (Hi!) could you share with us also some insight on the same topic? I will just chip in. Thank you. I will just pick up what the leftover, maybe, or emphasize what the President has already said. You see, maybe some of you don’t know, in 1995 even, long time ago, President Ramos already talked about environmental protection. I’m sure he has done way before that, but as he wasn’t the President, maybe his voice wasn’t all that publicized.

But in 1995, I remember there was a conference on Population, Environment and Peace, and the President emphasized that “there is a need, a real need, for a sustainable balance,” if I quote it right, “a sustainable balance between man and nature, between development and the environment.” You see? So President Ramos was very protective of the environment long before it became even a trend nowadays. His foresight, wisdom has exceeded far beyond our present vision of the world climate change. He knew it before that. He saw it before that. So, I think organic farming would satisfy this need that the president has mentioned back in even 1995, before we even made this global warming into a so-called “fashionable trend.”

The President has said that there is a need for a sustainable balance between man and nature, between development and the environment. I think the need will be satisfied with all the farmers changing to the organic farming method. In that case, we will be able to balance the need between our development and the environment, our need and a sustainable planet.
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