lifetime commitment to a vegan or lactovegetarian diet is a prerequisite
for initiation into the Quan Yin Method. Foods from plant sources
and dairy products are permitted on this diet, but all other foods
from animal sources including eggs should not be eaten. There are
many reasons for this, but the most important comes from the First
Precept, which tells us to refrain from taking the life of sentient
beings, or Thou shalt not kill.
Not killing or otherwise harming other living creatures is of obvious
benefit for them. Less obvious is the fact that refraining from harming
others is equally advantageous for ourselves. Why? Because of the
Law of Karma: As ye sow, so shall ye reap.
When you kill, or cause others to kill for you, in order to satisfy
your desire for meat, you incur a karmic debt, and this debt must
eventually be repaid.
So in a very real sense, the keeping of a vegetarian diet is a gift
which we give to ourselves. We feel better, the quality of our lives
improves as the heaviness of our karmic indebtedness diminishes, and
we are offered entrance into new subtle and heavenly realms of inner
experience. It is well worth the small price you have to pay!
The spiritual arguments against eating meat are convincing for some
people, but there are other compelling reasons for being a vegetarian.
All of them are rooted in common sense. They have to do with issues
of personal health and nutrition, ecology and the environment, ethics
and animal suffering, and world hunger.
of human evolution have shown that our ancestors were vegetarian by
nature. The structure of the human body is not suited for eating meat.
This was demonstrated in an essay in comparative anatomy by Dr. G.S.
Huntingen of Columbia University. He pointed out that carnivores have
short, small and large intestines. Their large intestine is characteristically
very straight and smooth. In contrast, vegetarian animals have both
a long small intestine and a long large intestine. Because of the
low fiber content and high protein density of meat, the intestines
do not require a long time to absorb nutrients; thus, the intestines
of carnivores are shorter in length than those of vegetarian animals.
Humans, like other naturally vegetarian animals, have both a long
small and large intestine. Together, our intestines are approximately
twenty-eight feet (eight and a half meters) in length. The small intestine
is folded back on itself many times, and its walls are convoluted,
not smooth. Because they are longer than those found in carnivores,
the meat we eat stays in our intestines for a longer period of time.
Consequently, the meat can putrefy and create toxins. These toxins
have been implicated, as a cause of colon cancer, and they also increase
the burden on the liver, which has the function of getting rid of
toxins. This can cause cirrhosis and even cancer of the liver.
Meat contains a lot of urokinase protein and urea, which add to the
burden on the kidneys, and can destroy kidney function. There are
fourteen grams of urokinase protein in every pound of steak. If living
cells are put into liquid urokinase protein, their metabolic function
will degenerate. Furthermore, meat lacks cellulose or fiber, and lack
of fiber can easily create constipation. It is known that constipation
can cause rectal cancer or piles.
The cholesterol and saturated fats in flesh also create cardiovascular
disorders. Cardiovascular disorders are the number one leading cause
of death in the United States, and now in Formosa.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death. Experiments indicate
that the burning and roasting of flesh creates a chemical element
(Methylcholanthrene), which is a powerful carcinogen. Mice given this
chemical develop cancers, such as bone tumors, cancer of the blood,
cancer of the stomach et cetera.
Research has shown that infant mice fed by a female mouse having breast
cancer will also develop cancer. When human cancer cells were injected
into animals, the animals also developed cancer. If the meat which
we eat daily comes from animals that originally have such disorders,
and we take them into our body, there is a good chance we will also
get the diseases.
Most people assume that meat is clean and safe, that there are inspections
done at all butcheries. There are far too many cattle, pigs, poultry,
et cetera, killed for sale every day for each one to actually be examined.
It’s very difficult to check whether a piece of meat has cancer in
it, let alone check every single animal. Currently, the meat industry
just cuts off the head when it has a problem, or cuts off the leg
which is diseased. Only the bad parts are removed and the rest is
The famous vegetarian, Dr. J.H. Kellogg said, “When we eat vegetarian
food, we don’t have to worry about what kind of disease the food died
of. This makes a joyful meal!”
There is yet another concern. Antibiotics as well as other drugs including
steroids and growth hormones are either added to animal feed or injected
directly into the animals. It has been reported that people eating
these animals will absorb these drugs into their bodies. There is
a possibility that antibiotics in meat are diminishing the effectiveness
of antibiotics for human use.
There are some people who consider the vegetarian diet not sufficiently
nourishing. An American surgical expert, Dr. Miller, practiced medicine
for forty years in Formosa. He established a hospital there, where
all the meals were vegetarian, for staff members as well as the patients.
He said, “The mouse is one kind of animal which can support
its life with both a vegetarian and non-vegetarian diet. If two mice
are segregated, with one eating flesh and the other vegetarian food,
we find that their growth and development are the same, but that the
vegetarian mouse lives longer and has greater resistance to disease.
Furthermore, when the two mice got sick, the vegetarian mouse recovered
quicker.” He then added, “The medicine given to us by modern
science has improved greatly, but it can only treat illnesses. Food
however, can sustain our health.” He pointed out that, “Food
from plants is a more direct source of nutrition than meat. People
eat animals, but the sources of nutrition for the animals we eat is
plants. The lives of most animals are short, and animals have nearly
all the diseases that mankind has. It is very likely that the diseases
of mankind come from eating the flesh of diseased animals. So, why
don’t people get their nutrition directly from plants?” Dr. Miller
suggested that we only need cereals, beans and vegetables to get all
the nourishment we need to maintain good health.
Many people have the idea that animal protein is superior to plant
protein because the former is considered a complete protein, and the
latter is incomplete. The truth is that some plant protein are complete,
and that food combining can create complete proteins out of several
incomplete protein foods.
In March 1988 the American Dietetic Association announced that: “It
is the position of the ADA that vegetarian diets are healthful and
nutritionally adequate when appropriately planned.”
It is often falsely believed that meat-eaters are stronger than vegetarians,
but an experiment conducted by Professor Irving Fisher of Yale University
on 32 vegetarians and 15 meat-eaters showed that vegetarians had more
endurance than meat-eaters. He had people hold out their arms for
as long as possible. The outcome from the test was very clear. Among
the 15 meat-eaters, only two persons could hold out their arms for
fifteen to thirty minutes. However, among the 32 vegetarians: 22 persons
held out their arms for fifteen to thirty minutes, 15 persons for
over thirty minutes, 9 persons for over one hour, 4 persons for over
two hours, and one vegetarian held his arms out for over three hours.
Many long distance track athletes keep a vegetarian diet for the time
preceding competitions. Dr. Barbara More, an expert in vegetarian
therapy, completed a one hundred and ten mile race in twenty-seven
hours and thirty minutes. A woman of fifty-six years of age, she broke
all the records held by young men: “I want to be an example to
show that people who take a whole vegetarian diet will enjoy a strong
body, a clear mind and a purified life.”
Does the vegetarian get enough protein in his diet? The World Health
Organization recommends that 4.5% of daily calories be derived from
protein. Wheat has 17% of its calories as protein, broccoli has 45%
and rice has 8%. It is very easy to have a protein rich diet without
eating meat. With the additional benefit of avoiding the many diseases
caused by high fat diets such as heart disease and many cancers, vegetarianism
is clearly the superior choice.
The relationship between over consumption of meat and other animal
source foods containing high levels of saturated fats, and heart disease,
breast cancer, colon cancer and strokes has been proven. Other diseases
which are often prevented and sometimes cured by a low-fat vegetarian
diet include: kidney stones, prostate cancer, diabetes, peptic ulcers,
gallstones, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, gum disease, acne,
pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, hypoglycemia, constipation, diverticulosis,
hypertension, osteoporosis, ovarian cancer, hemorrhoids, obesity and
There is no greater personal health risk than eating meat, aside from
and the Environment
animals for meat has its consequences. It leads to rain forest destruction,
global heat rising, water pollution, water scarcity, desertification,
misuse of energy resources and world hunger. The use of land, water,
energy and human effort to produce meat is not an efficient way to
use the Earth’s resources.
Since 1960, some 25% of Central America’s rain forests have been burned
and cleared to create pasture for beef cattle. It has been estimated
that every four ounce hamburger made from rain forest beef destroys
55 square feet of tropical rain forest. In addition, raising cattle
contributes significantly to the production of three gases which cause
global warming; is a leading cause of water pollution and requires
a staggering 2464 gallons of water for the production of each pound
of beef. It only takes 29 gallons of water to produce a pound of tomatoes
and 139 gallons to produce a one pound loaf of whole wheat bread.
Nearly half of the water consumed in the United States goes to the
growing of feed for cattle and other livestock.
Many more people could be fed if the resources used to raise cattle
were used to produce grain to feed the world’s population. An acre
of land growing oats produces 8 times the protein and 25 times the
calories, if the oats are fed to humans rather than to cattle. An
acre of land used for broccoli produces 10 times the protein, calories
and niacin as an acre of land producing beef. Statistics like these
are numerous. The world’s resources would be more efficiently utilized
if the land used for livestock production was converted to raising
crops to feed people.
Eating a vegetarian diet allows you to “tread more lightly on
the planet”. In addition to taking only what you need and reducing
excess, you will feel better when you know that a living being doesn’t
have to die each time you eat a meal.
one billion people suffer from hunger and malnutrition on this planet.
Over 40 million die each year of starvation, and most of them are
children. Despite this, more than one third of the world’s grain harvest
is diverted from feeding people to feeding livestock. In the United
States, livestock consume 70% of all the grain produced. If we feed
people instead of livestock, no one would go hungry.
you aware of the fact that more than 100,000 cows are slaughtered
every day in the Unite Sates?
Most animals in Western countries are raised on “factory farms”.
These facilities are designed to produce the maximum number of animals
for slaughter at the minimum expense. Animals are crowded together,
disfigured and treated like machines for the conversion of feed into
flesh. This is a reality that most of us will never see with our own
eyes. It has been said that, “One visit to a slaughterhouse will
make you a vegetarian for life.”
Leo Tolstoy said, “As long as there are slaughterhouses there
will be battlefields. A vegetarian diet is the acid test of humanitarianism”.
Although most of us do not actively condone killing, we have developed
the habit, supported by society, of eating meat regularly, without
any real awareness of what is being done to the animals we eat.
Company of Saints and Others
the beginning of recorded history we can see that vegetables have
been the natural food of human beings. Early Greek and Hebrew myths
all spoke of people originally eating fruit. Ancient Egyptian priests
never ate meat. Many great Greek philosophers such as Plato, Diogenes
and Socrates all advocated vegetarianism.
In India, Shakyamuni Buddha emphasized the importance of Ahimsa, the
principle of not harming any living things. He warned His disciples
not to eat meat, or else other living beings would become frightened
of them. Buddha made the following observations: Meat
eating is just an acquired habit. In the beginning we were not born
with a desire for it. Flesh eating people cut off their inner seed
of Great Mercy. Flesh eating people kill each other and eat each other...
this life I eat you, and next life you eat me... and it always continues
in this way. How can they ever get out of the Three Realms (of illusion)?
Many early Taoists, early Christians and Jews were vegetarians. It
is recorded in the Holy Bible: And God said, I have provided
all kinds of grain and all kinds of fruit for you to eat; but for
the wild animals and for all the birds I have provided grass and leafy
plants for food. (Genesis 1:29) Other examples forbidding
the eating of meat in the Bible: You must not eat meat
with blood in it, because the life is in the blood.
(Genesis 9:4) God said, Who told you to kill the bullock
and the she goat to make an offering to me? Wash yourselves from this
innocent blood, so I may hear your prayer; otherwise I will turn my
head away because your hands are full of blood. Repent yourselves
so I may forgive you. (Isaiah 1:11-16) St. Paul, one
of Jesus’ disciples, said in his letter to the Romans, It
is good neither to eat flesh nor to drink wine. (Romans
Recently, historians have discovered many ancient books that have
shed new light on the life of Jesus and His teachings. Jesus said:
People who have animals’ flesh become their own tombs.
I tell you honestly, the man who kills will be killed. The man who
kills living things and eats their meat is eating the meat of the
Indian religions also avoid the eating of flesh. It is said that,
People can’t get flesh without killing things. A person
who hurts sentient beings will never be blessed by God. So, avoid
taking flesh! (Hindu Precept)
The holy Scripture of Islam, the Koran, forbids the eating
of dead animals, blood and flesh.
A great Chinese Zen Master, Han Shan Tzu wrote a poem which was strongly
against flesh eating: Go quickly to the market to buy
meat and fish and feed them to your wife and children. But why must
their lives be taken to sustain yours? It’s unreasonable. It will
not bring you affinity with Heaven, but make you become dregs of Hell!
Many famous writers, artists, scientists, philosophers and eminent
men were vegetarians. The following people have all embraced vegetarianism
with enthusiasm: Shakyamuni Buddha, Jesus Christ, Virgil, Horace,
Plato, Ovid, Petrarch, Pythagoras, Socrates, William Shakespeare,
Voltaire, Sir Isaac Newton, Leonardo Da Vinci, Charles Darwin, Benjamin
Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Emile Zola, Bertrand
Russell, Richard Wagner, Percy Bysshe Shelley, H. G. Wells, Albert
Einstein, Rabindranath Tagore, Leo Tolstoy, George Bernard Shaw, Mahatma
Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer; and more recently, Paul Newman, Madonna,
Princess Diana, Lindsay Wagner, Paul McCartney and Candice Bergen,
to name a few.
Albert Einstein said, “I think the changes and purifying effects
that a vegetarian diet have on a human being’s disposition are quite
beneficial to mankind. Therefore, it is both auspicious and peaceful
for people to choose vegetarianism.” This has been the common
advice of many important figures and sages throughout history!