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Supreme Master Ching Hai on the Environment: Bees and Their Contribution to the Ecosphere - P2/2 Compilation of Supreme Master Ching Hai's lectures    
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I agree with Supreme Master Ching Hai’s words that all humans should change to a vegetarian diet to prevent global warming. I am confident that organic farming is eco-friendly and life-saving, and the most suitable farming method that can prevent climate change, but many people still do not realize how important it is. After changing to organic farming, I feel much more at peace mentally. I feel the soil, living beings, and crops all reviving healthily, and feel respect towards all lives. If we eat organic agricultural products that save all living beings, it will offer peace and coexistence; therefore, this is the farming method and diet style for our future. I would appreciate it if you could share your words on the inner or spiritual aspects that organic farming has to offer to us. SM: Good question. Good question, Mr. Kim. Thank you.

Good question. Thank you so much for this thoughtful question. When you speak about organic farming and the Earth, your love for living beings is very clear and evident. So you have already conveyed some of the inner spiritual aspect of organic farming through your deep care. That really is the most important principle: the love for all beings. But we can talk about it to, perhaps, clarify a little bit more. Of course, when we say “organic farming,” we are talking about vegan – fruits, vegetables, legumes and other plants only – no animal products, because this clearly already indicates a spiritual, high level of living standards.

When we live and let live, when we love all beings as if we love ourselves, then that is already very highly spiritual, and of course, that is in line with all the greatest religions on Earth. That will be very pleasing to Heaven. This allows us more to completely extend our respect and care to all life, and that’s why you feel more peaceful, you see? You feel more connected with the surroundings around you because they all pulsate with life. The Earth is pulsating with love and life – the trees, the plants, they are pulsating all this love for life, and life. When we sit under a tree, we feel this protective love from the tree. When we enjoy a delicious fruit, we feel the connectedness of this unconditional love from the tree to offer us nutrition and a pleasing taste.

If we are in the organic vegan trend or planting organic vegan farming method, then you will feel that more and more – the love from nature, the love from the planet Earth, the love from the trees, the love from even a blade of grass, from flowers. We will feel so much love in the air that we breathe. We feel so much love from the earth that we walk on. This we cannot even explain in human language; we must feel it. I always feel it, but I can’t transmit this spiritual message to other people. Everyone must experience it for himself. Once we turn to a compassionate Heaven-intended lifestyle of a vegan diet, then we will feel more and more love, more and more connected all the time, just like the way you feel. So you have your own experience to speak of and to tell people.

The way you describe organic farming, Mr. Kim, sounds quite like a spiritual principle known as “ahimsa,” or non-violence. Ahimsa means not harming any sentient beings, beginning with a vegan diet. Organic vegan diet is the best. “As we sow, so shall we reap.” If we sow these benevolent seeds on the Earth, as well as in our heart, as a vegan, we avoid all animal products. For example, most of the milk production causes suffering, first of all because the babies of the mother cows are taken away at birth. Not many people know that, including myself before. And these baby cows will soon be killed. Deprived from mother’s milk and mother’s love, they’ll be killed as soon as they’re taken away. Then the mother is forcefully hooked up to a machine that can cause tormenting pain along with illness, just so that humans can take her milk.

Another example of a practice causing harm to both animals and Earth is the use of chemical pesticides. If you can imagine, over 5 billion pounds of pesticides are used throughout the world each year! And only about 10% – 10%! – of these chemicals even reach the areas where they are intended for. ##So the rest, what happens? They go into the air and water where they have been linked to everything from cancer of humans and animals to oceanic dead zones. In Europe, one pesticide was found to be the reason for billions of bees dying across the continent, while others are known to make the eggshells of birds become thinner, resulting in the death of their babies because the shells crack and break before the baby is ready to “be born.”

Since organic vegan farming does not use pesticides and does not have anything to do with livestock raising, milk production, or any such harmful activity, it could be called a practice of compassion, in line with Heaven, with values that are echoed in many spiritual paths and religious teachings, such as the followers of Buddhism and Confucianism, and as written in their scriptures. Like the Dhammapada Sutra states: “A man is not noble because he injures living creatures. He is called noble because he does not injure any living beings.” And from the noble teachings of Confucianism: How does a saintly king treat animals? It’s stated: “He would like to see them live and cannot bear to see them die. Hearing their wails, he cannot eat their flesh for he does not have the heart to do so.”

I’m just referring to two of the great religions in our world. And many other religions say the same, Now, organic vegan farming also brings positive benefit to our own karma. “Karma” means the “retribution,” bad or good. So karma follows the law of the universe that says: for every action there is an equal consequence. So, if we injure or kill others, we could be injured or killed in return, sooner or later – not “could be,” ##but “surely will be.” Organic vegan farming, with its approach of causing the least harm to others, offers the least burden of bad karma (retribution). And we can even go a step further, only harvesting from plants that bear fruit, or harvest in such a way that the plant continues to grow. It is thus much better to grow our own food as you do, Mr. Kim, so that we can, for example, pick the outer leaves of the lettuce instead of killing the entire plant. In fact, some practitioners of one religion, called Jainism, don’t even eat root vegetables because they wish to avoid unintentional harm to the beings living in the soil, such as earthworms, which are beneficial to our farming. They are there to fertilize the soil, to air the soil so that our plants grow better, our harvest will be more abundant. They risk their lives to save ours. We should even consider their lives and spare their lives and be protective of their lives. The benefit of organic farming is immense, including great advantages to both human health and the environment. Organic farming actually restores the topsoil and cleans the air and water supplies even. It is so much more beneficial that we could not list them all in a few minutes. It is even good for animals, all beings on this planet, including even trees and land, in part because it does not use chemical fertilizer or pesticides, many of which are considered by the United States Environment Protection Agency and the European Union to be potentially cancer-causing, and also depleting of our bees’ colonies and killing many other animals that we cannot even all name here. One of the US studies indicates that if the United States’ 8 million acres of produce farms went organic, then the risk of consuming dietary pesticides would be reduced by 97%. Can you imagine? Chemical fertilizer and pesticide runoffs are also known to contribute to the ocean dead zones. We are killing our planet by pesticides and chemical fertilizer. Now, scientific studies have found that organic farming not only reduces energy usage and produces less CO2, which helps lower greenhouse gases, but it actually allows the soil to absorb even 40% of presently-in-the-air CO2 emission. Before we even invent any technology to reduce CO2, or before we even reduce all the cars and transportations, if we go organic we reduce 40% of the current CO2 in the air already, and the daily emission. And, furthermore, organic produce is free of genetically modified organisms, and its nutrient content is actually higher than that of conventional-grown fruit and vegetables. It is for these reasons that we in our group use as much organic produce as much as possible. First, to encourage the organic farming to develop and progress and prosper more into a better trend for everyone to enjoy. Second, of course, is for our planet, and third, for our health and all that on this planet. I wish that all the governments in the world would encourage organic farming to save our world. Give them subsidies, give them all the facilitated means in order for the farmers to continue their organic farming method because it’s not only helping them, it’s helping the planet and all the people. I am sure if the governments support organic farming, it will be a trend in no time. If the governments lead the way with the message that this is how to be green and how to protect the planet, then the farmers would be happy to grow more vegan food. To spread the practice of organic farming would help in so many ways. The benefit of organic farming for human livelihood, for human health, and for animals’ health, natural resources and protection of our planet – all these benefits we cannot even estimate all in here. Organic farming not only helps to protect the planet, it will even help to eliminate hunger. So, I just suggest vegan organic, or organic vegan.
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