Vegetarian Era Become a Vegetarian in all Aspects  

Ten Reasons To Eat More Like a Vegetarian

Vegetarian Nobel Laureates and Scientists

Eminent Scientists and Inventors on Vegetarianism

A Key to Reducing Global Warming and Resource Depletion

The World Health Organization: Enlightened Goals and Remarkable Achievements

Avian Flu: Nature’s Wake-Up Call for Humanity

Vegetarian Awakening in the Himalayas

Vegetarian Heroes of the Silver Screen

Special Interviews — Film Star Linda Blair on Vegetarianism and Compassion

Presenting a New Focus on Health, Environmentalism and Animal Welfare

Vegetarianism and the Path to Compassion

Victor’s Picnic with the Vegetarian Animals Encourages Children to Be Vegetarian


News 43, Spot Light

Become a Vegetarian in all Aspects

Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai
Group Meditation in Austin, Texas, USA • August 14, 1994
(Originally in English)

The Meaning of Non-violence

Garson, the Zen master of Japan, taught his disciple like this: Many people, they go against the killing, because they say they want to save all sentient beings including animals and ants. “Okay, that’s fine,” the master said. “It is correct. We should protect animals and even insects. But, those people who talk about vegetarianism and protecting animals and insects, etc., they kill other things. For example, they kill time, and they kill their property, they kill the economy of the world. They kill political issues, political goodness, for example.” And this we can see anywhere. There’s no need to prove it.

Also he says, “Above all this, a person who always talks and preaches idealism, or religious issues without enlightenment, without offering people real enlightenment, these people, they kill religions.” In this case, in this book it says, these people who talk without enlightenment, who talk without offering enlightenment, they kill Buddhism. He’s a Buddhist monk, so he can only talk about Buddhism.

So there are many kinds of killing. The story is that short, but we can make it long, we can stretch it. If a person kills his own time and kills other people’s time by always talking nonsense, by talking long time on telephone, and by always engaging others in senseless talk or senseless actions, or doing many things that are not necessary for the body, speech or spirit and not necessary for anyone, and sometimes even harmful, these people are also killing.

And many people kill the economy of the world too. For example, sometimes they have a lot of food. They grow too much and they have a big harvest. And then because of wanting to keep the price up, they throw everything in the sea. Not even feed it to the animals, or not even giving it to the poor people. Just to keep the money, the prices up. And this is nonsense. Everyone who grows vegetables or food always prays to God to have a good harvest, and then when they have it, God gives it to them to share, they throw it away. And then they complain again. “How come God is not fair?” Next time, no more harvest. “Ah, why no water, no rain?” Understand?

Just like in Texas, they make a big lake just to raise fish. And they take a lot of water from Austin, from the underground water because of that. For example, this is also killing people. If the earth cannot produce quickly enough, if there’s not enough rain, all the people here die. Not enough water, and no trees will grow, no harvest, no food, and children will die. For example, I wouldn’t say you do that, but maybe one or two still continue with this way.

So in that case, eating vegetarian is not that much help, because you also burden your body and then you cannot be clear in your mind and then you meditate without result. And then you go and bother me. Because you cannot listen to what I say, you cannot understand, and you cannot be one with me inside, then you doubt my teaching, for example. And then you also, by the way, take other people into your doubt with you. Some people who are still weak and who need you to help, then you take them out, because you yourself are not stable enough. Therefore vegetarianism is not only eating tofu and avoiding meat and fish, but “ahimsa”, meaning non-violence, includes a lot of aspects, as the master Garson just mentioned.

Bring about Peace by Meditating Inside

I do not need to explore further. You probably will understand. There are many kinds of killing. If a person who practices inner tranquility but bring noisiness everywhere he goes, he’s also a killer, because he kills the tranquil atmosphere wherever he goes. He makes people nervous. He makes people feel uneasy going around with him. He make people not want to see him. So doesn’t matter how much cabbage and tofu he stuffs into his throat, it makes no difference. He remains an animal. You know what I mean? Because a real person, a real human being, brings peace and happiness everywhere he goes. That is a real human being.

There’s no need to talk about Buddha land or Kingdom of God or anything else before we can find our own peacefulness inside. We have to bring it everywhere. We have to cultivate it within, so that everywhere we go, we represent that. We are the peace, we are the Kingdom of God, we are the angel, we are the Buddha. There’s no need to always aim to another Buddha land, while here making a mess in this planet; the only one that you live in at the moment and the only one that you can rely on for food, for guidance, for support, in order for you to develop. So we have no right to make trouble anywhere we go. We just can bring peace, offerings and sacrifice. That’s the way of a practitioner. There’s no need to go anywhere and tell people you are vegetarian and that you meditate. What is the use if you don’t meditate inside, if you are not a vegetarian inside? You know what I mean?

It’s alright. I allow you time to change, but not too long. Not two, three, four years. Two, three months enough! You expect your children as young as that to know everything you say, to obey everything you order. Right? “And you, you should understand quickly, be genius, be first in the class.” And to do the housework the way you want. And to be just like a grown-up. But you yourself, so old, and cannot change in a few months. So how can you teach your children? If you’re like that, better just forget it. Just better kneel to your children, and say, “I’m sorry I have scolded you.” You’re not worthy. We have to be something before we can talk to other people. If not, it’s empty talk, nobody will listen. Even though they might listen, but inside they feel this is not true.

Heavens and Hells are All Created by the Mind

There is also another Japanese Zen. He’s a Zen monk. He lives in a temple. And there was a samurai came to visit him. You know samurai? The one who practices sword. He came to visit him, and he asked the master, “Can you tell me really there is hell and heaven?” And master said, “Yes, there are heavens, there are hells.” And the Samurai didn’t believe him. “Can you prove it to me? You have to prove it, otherwise how can I believe you?” The master said, “What for do I prove it to you?” He said, “If you don’t prove to me, then I don’t believe you.”

And the master started to scold him. He said, “Look at you. Who are you to threaten me like this? Ah! Your face looks like a weak and dirty beggar outside there, and you think I’m scared of you. And you can convince me that you are samurai? Your face, it looks so ugly, so lousy. And you look so weak. Ah! You think you can scare me?”

And the samurai, took the sword out saying, “I will prove it to you.” So the master smiled and said, “Okay, you can open the door of hell now if you want.” And then the samurai just shook up. He realized the master wanted to teach him by this. So he put back the sword inside. And the master smiled again, and said, “Here you open the gate to heaven.” So... (Applause)

This story, I guess some or many of you already know, but just for an example. Yes! That heaven and hell, we decide. Understand? Whenever we go anywhere we bring happiness and peacefulness and harmony to other people, that’s when we create heaven. And when we go everywhere and make people agitated, make people angry or don’t want to see us, or create disturbance and inharmony, that is the time when we create hell. That’s very easy.

So every time, everyday, check up your own inner kingdom, which way you open. There are two sides of us always, the Ying and the Yang, the positive and the negative. We have to be in between, always in balance. Otherwise, if we tip too much to the negative, then all our actions, thoughts and speech will be negative. If we tip too much to the positive, we also will be out of balance. Because we still live in this world, we have to be practical also. We can’t just everyday, twenty-four hours, close the eyes and be in samadhi, even when driving car. (Laughing) That I don’t recommend.

Be Vegetarian in Speech, Thought and Action

So many kinds of vegetarians, you must understand. There is a saying in Au Lac. They say that the vegetarian in the heart is the best. Why do they say that? It is because our actions, speech and thoughts must be together, uniform, we don’t just eat vegetarian only. That’s only the action wise. And then when we talk, we talk like having scissors or a stone and cutting everywhere; that is not vegetarian talk.

If we say we eat vegetarian, but our thoughts are very violent and sharp, and do not care about other people’s feelings, and always being selfish, always trying to get everything for ourselves first, at any cost, at the cost of other people’s convenience or feelings, then it’s no good. No good for us, no good for the family, and then at large, it’s no good for the nation and for the world.

That’s why the Chinese people say, “First we have to cultivate our own self, the big Self, the Wisdom, and then we can take care of the family, and then we can take care of the nation, and then we can pacify the whole planet.” And that is quite true.

But most people, they just want to pacify the planet. You know, leap frog, quick, quick! Otherwise, “Oh, take care of ourselves? That I know already”. “Take care of my family? Oh, my wife can do it.” “Take care of the nation? Oh, well President Clinton does it. I take care of the whole world the best.” That’s what they think. It would be better we begin from ourselves.


Alternate Living

Master on Vegetarianism

Become a Vegetarian in all Aspects

Growing and Preparing Food with Love: Better Alternative to Genetically Modified Food

Vegetarianism: The Best Solution to the Global Water Crisis

The Unacceptable Toll of Meat, Alcohol and Cigarette Consumption on Human Life

Our Animal Friends

Vegetarian Recipes

Vegetarian Restaurants



Copyright © The Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association
All Rights Reserved.