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Supreme Master Ching Hai on the Environment: Veganism: The Way to Peace - P3/3 Compilation of Supreme Master Ching Hai's lectures    
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Until now, this world of ours is still not really good to live in. Of course, we love this world. This Earth is very difficult to create, so we should cherish it, love it, and protect it. This is correct; however, the way we are protecting it now is wrong. If each country and each family only cares about themselves and does not care about others, I am afraid our Earth will become ugly and exploited until it is exhausted, unable to supply more new resources for us because we are consuming them too fast. Things cannot grow fast enough for us to use, therefore we see many countries are stricken by wars, starvation, or are short of things. Some countries have too much, some have not enough, and then those countries that do not have enough want to rob those that have too much, and that has ignited many catastrophes and wars.

If everyone practices the Quan Yin Method like our fellow practitioners, then these things will not happen. Meditating for 2.5 hours each day, their mind is pacified. Every day they are in contact with the greatest power of the universe, receiving grace, instructions, and merciful love, and they let this power cleanse their bad karma (retribution). Therefore, they become calmer and better. They have to observe the five precepts, so they do not kill any beings nor do anything harmful to other beings.

Not only do they refrain from killing, but they also refrain from harming any beings, including animals and plants. By observing the precepts strictly, of course they would not harm you. They know clearly how to keep the precept of not stealing. They have a Master who told them why it is not good to steal. They understand it well, because they have found their great wisdom within. So, they understand deeply and clearly. They do not just say, “I keep the precepts, so I don’t kill, steal, tell lies, or drink alcohol. That’s enough.” It’s not.

They have their inner wisdom and are enlightened, so they truly understand what they should not do and what they should do. Most people want to observe the precepts, but they fail. They want to do good deeds, but they fail because they do not truly understand the benefit of doing good deeds, or the consequence of doing bad deeds, and their impact on ourselves and others. They don’t really understand precisely. Only the enlightened people truly understand the precepts, just like our Quan Yin Method practitioners, who keep the five precepts and do not harm or kill anyone but save lives and help others. They are vegetarians in order to protect the lives of animals. They even protect animals, let alone humans.

If they can keep these precepts, of course they would not wage wars or invade people’s countries or property, and they would not harm people’s lives. They also would not steal. They know how precious their property is, and they are content with it; they have no greed. However, it is easier said than done. One has to be really enlightened to do this.

We all want to have a peaceful world and we all talk about how we want peace and love. Well, I think we should start it now, and let peace begin on our plates. Let love begin with our choice. That’s what I think. All the benefits of the vegetarian diet cannot be overstated. And now there is a spiritual aspect also. When a person partakes in the direct or indirect killing of any sentient being, be it human or animal, he or she enters the cycle of revenge and violence, and it will only end when one stops doing it.

Hence, we have to love our enemy, because only love and forgiveness will have the power to break the negative effect of hatred and vengeance. But all masters and enlightened saints in the past have already talked about it. I, myself, have talked for years also about it. And now, maybe I will just mention the scientific facts, that meat eating causes so much suffering, not just for animals, but for us humans who consume it as well. If anyone would care to log on to or watch Supreme Master Television, they will have all the proven facts about the poisonous quality of the animal diet. Maybe people will understand better with this info.

Yes, when we’re compassionate with the animals, we are being compassionate upon ourselves because we avoid the fat, the cholesterol, and in a sense, by eating animals, the animals have the last word, eventually, because of medical, disease-related issues from eating meat. So when we’re nice to animals, we’re being nice to ourselves, our bodies. Right, right. We have summarized some of the most deadly diseases caused by the meat diet.

And if we don’t stop it we’ll just continue working forever in order just to pay medical bills, and damaging ourselves. This is no sense, is it? It’s no sense to poison ourselves and then work very hard to buy the poison and cook the poison, eat the poison, and have to go to the doctor, undergo untold suffering also – operation, X-ray, whatever…recovering – and then pay for it as well. It seems to me senseless, the meat diet. Also, because as you said it, we have compassion for animals, that also means compassion for us. Actually, we don’t even need all these scientific facts, but it helps. Otherwise, whatever we do, it comes back to us. “As we sow, so shall we reap,” the Bible said that.

Ahimsa or nonviolence is a lifestyle. What do you recommend to encourage people to put into practice ahimsa, or nonviolence, in thought, word, and deed? Yes, I do. I do encourage that all the time. And as you say, it should be a lifestyle; but we are getting in there, thanks to people like you, spreading the news and informing your listeners. Yes, a very ancient teaching from not only the East but also the West, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” “Nonviolence in thought, word and deed.” I like the Eastern approach where there is greater emphasis on the thinking and what is being said before the action, that all actions spring from our thoughts, our beliefs and that’s the root cause of all of our actions.

Since time immemorial, nonviolence is always emphasized as a way of life, as the way we should live if we really want Heaven on Earth. I hope sooner, all people will realize this and we will have, truly, Eden again. I am sort of getting encouraged these days that these kinds of ideas are getting more popular. As ice caps melt, I think more and more people kind of realize that we do affect the planet with our actions, our lifestyle choices and diet. I think that I’m sensing more receptivity these days to positive change going in a spiritual direction. That’s right. That’s right, Mr. Bean, that’s right. I see that change also coming, more and more now. Thank God. Just in time. Yes, I hope, I hope. It’s high time. It could be quicker, but we shall be patient, won’t we? Better late than never, as they say? Yes, it’s true.

Anyway, with the current crisis that we are facing right now, I think all the leaders of the world will have to prioritize on saving the planet, and it’s good that we have this common goal so all the leaders probably, mostly, would unify together to fight our worst enemy: the global warming. So, I have a feeling that we will have peace and most people will turn to a nobler lifestyle: vegetarian diet, more peace, and unify and have harmony with each other. I have that feeling, and I hope it’s a true feeling. The vegetarian diet, if you have problem, come here and try to organize, cook with each other or for each other, or take turns to cook and prepare for the ones who work.

Take turns or pay for someone who doesn't work to cook here for you, and you come and collect it and go to work, or make a delivering system. Can do that. Have an old truck and deliver all the food to different houses. They do that. The Aulacese (Vietnamese) in America, they do that, yes, deliver it to the house according to request. And then you can buy yourself some Maggi, soya, and some other kinds of ingredients for taste or spice in order to add a little bit more flavor to your food, should that be too tasteless to you, or not, according to your food.

I understand it is difficult, but it's not that difficult because I have lived the life that you live now. I was busy. I was also a “bachelor” and I worked for the Aulacese (Vietnamese) refugees full time and I had no time to cook. I cooked once a week, a big pot of both rice and assorted vegetables, and then I had a small pot for warming rice and a small pot for warming vegetables. Every day I’d take a portion out of the fridge and warm it up for my daily needs; and I ate some fruits, fresh fruits, and that was it – wonderful!

And I’ll tell you another secret: if you couldn't cook and you couldn't come here, and you worry about nutrition, you can eat unpolished rice – with the husk – and sesame, black sesame powder, and salt. Eat until you're full and you’ll feel wealthy and healthy because you’ve saved a lot of money – wealthy also. And, of course, you will be feeling a little bit dry, so you drink more water, eat more fruits, and you’re satisfied. And in case that is not tasty enough, you buy tofu from outside, fresh, and put soya on it and eat it together with the sesame and unpolished rice. That is excellent and nutritious and full of protein and all kinds of… magnesium and all kinds of vitamins that you need. There is no need to complicate your life if you couldn't make it.

Once you’re full in your stomach, you don't want even the best meat in town. Just because you go out hungry, and then you get tempted. Put some steamed buns, bread or cake or whatever, your favorite fruit, in your bag or in your car – take it with you. Whenever you feel hungry, eat them, understand? Don't go hungry and shopping, and when you go through the meat counter, close your eyes and walk through. Yes, it is more simple to be vegetarian because you know where you want to go – just the tofu counter, nothing more. No right, no left. And you have more variety than whatever you know. We have a bonfire every week. We roast potatoes, yams, corns – fresh corns – we roast vegetables, vegetarian ham, which is so tasty.

You can go on a picnic and roast your vegetable balls and hams (vegan) and corns and potatoes. It's beautiful. We enjoy life better than anyone else. We roast, we cook hotpot with all kinds of nourishment. We do that, we enjoy.

We make fire, we roast things. Even you can roast apples, you can roast sugar cane, you can roast… what else?... oranges – anything you can roast if you like. Or that kind of eggplant, and green pepper. If you don't want to eat raw, you eat roasted. It's beautiful. It's the fantastic life with no bloodstain, no guilt, no killing. It is beautiful, and you will feel that every time you eat, you make peace on Earth by your contribution. Peace begins with our table, with our bowl. If it is full of blood, the world will never know peace, understand? You will never regret the vegetarian diet.
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