Interview with Supreme Master Ching Hai by James Bean of Spiritual Awakening Radio - P1/3 April 26, 2011    
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It's time for Spiritual Awakening. There's not just one religion - there are thousands! After years of being concerned that too few voices,too few points of view were getting heard when it comes to spiritual paths and world religions,that the radio airwaves were not reflecting the diversity that really exists,I started producing my own programs,exploring the world of spirituality,comparative religion,mysticism,meditation,and books,bringing to the airwaves the gentle voices of saints,the wisdom of masters or mystics,world scriptures, sacred texts,the great spiritual traditions and classics of the East and the West. My name is James Bean.

My guest today is Supreme Master Ching Hai,environmentalist,humanitarian,peacemaker and spiritual teacher. Welcome to Spiritual Awakening.

* Nice to connect with you today.
Nice to see you again. Thank you.

* Yes,it's nice to be with you today. I am becoming optimistic that the world is beginning to understand the connection between diet,health,and climate change. All new ideas are resisted at first,of course. The first time a truth is spoken,it's regarded as heresy,but if it continues to be spoken and it really is the truth,it eventually will be embraced,perhaps reluctantly at first,but it will eventually prevail.
My sense is that there will be some additional traumatic events making the headlines,more glaciers melting,more earthquakes,droughts,mudslides and so on,but eventually even the most resistant to change will be convinced. I was debating with someone on Facebook recently about climate change,and said to them that some leaders are still in denial about climate change,but their grandkids won't be.

Supreme Master Ching Hai,you were one of the early voices,one of the few spiritual teachers in the world leading the way on this issue of diet and climate change,years ago back before this information was widely known by many. How did you come to adopt the vegan diet?

How?Yes. You know,my grandma practiced vegetarian. Actually,when I say 『vegetarian,』I mean 『vegan.』In Âu Lạc (Vietnam) we don't know much about cheese and stuff anyway. Yes?Except some children,babies,if their mother doesn't have enough milk,or some problem with the mother,then they took cow's milk. Yes?Yes. And all the Buddhist monks I met were all vegetarian. That was in my childhood. I studied also many contemporary scriptures especially Buddhism. It was from a world religion's doctrine.

And there is a voice always within us - you know,right,James?- that we should abstain from harm to others. Yes. And it's just often suppressed,the voice,due to circumstances and background. Otherwise,I think everybody knows vegan is the best for all of us and for the planet.


*Right. And how did you come to know of this link between the vegan diet and climate change?Is that really intuition,inner guidance,Knowledge from within during meditation,that there'd be this need to reach out to the world and to sound the warning if you will,you know,about the link between diet and the environment?

Yes. It's also first by intuition. You know,some days when I… Just say one day,yes,I meditated and suddenly I was startled by some real grave images and information that came flooding in. Yes. Like,okay, there's methane gas,there is carbon dioxide,there will be catastrophic consequences from the meat industry,for example,yes?Yes. And then,of course,I will do research to confirm the facts,you know how people need evidence and facts. Yes. They don't just believe you. (*Right.)
There is a law,anyway,of cause and effect. Even if we don't have intuition or if we don't want to listen to our intuition or inner guidance,then we still know that in this physical world,there is a law of cause and effect.  There is physical evidence everywhere we turn. As the Bible says,"As you sow,so shall you reap," and the Buddhist,Hindu,law of karma (retribution). Just sow an apple seed,for example,then we will have an apple tree,and then apple fruits. That's very simple.

In your new book 『From Crisis to Peace,』you mention, 『Due to all inhabitants of the world's good karma,this beautiful planet was created. But if it's all covered up by the new bad karma,then the planet and/or the inhabitants will perish.』Recently,we have heard you speak about GQ,or God Quality, and that it is our unwise decisions which have covered up our God Quality. What does GQfully mean?

GQis God Quality,yes,the Light. That is the quality of God. That's why we must find the Light. We must find the source of the Light,which is God Quality and which is also our original quality. God Quality means the original,untarnished nature of the universal power of love. This power is inherent in all beings,humans and non-humans,even plants,trees,even rocks,minerals. The more GQa being has,or recovered,the more loving,the more selfless,and more noble that being would be. 


How can we improve our God Quality in order to bring the planet back to its original,beautiful state?

Yes,yes,yes. Simple: Be veg,go green,do good. And,of course, you know already, better still that we should get in touch with our source of power,of love and protection,through meditation on the Light. First,we have to be connected with the Light,the way you are. Yes? The best and the fastest is the Light and Sound method,yes,which you yourself practice through a competent guide.
I also practice this inner God Light and Sound and show how to the worldwide people when they ask. (*Right.) Light is our essence,Light is God Quality. So,if we see the Light,if we're connected with the Light,then we are assured of our God Quality,not to be covered,and that we live with this daily. And we can even uncover more and more of this GQwithin ourselves by the practice of the Light and the Sound combination.

*I have a copy of your new book, 『From Crisis to Peace』- I'll hold this up.

You have?
You are very up-to-date.


* I'm up-to-date. They're still warm; ink is drying! In the book, 『From Crisis to Peace,』you also plead with the world saying, 『How I really want to embrace the leaders and non-leaders,people of the world,and tell them,`Wake up. Wake up!' I want to embrace them and tell them,`Wake up,wake up now. Wake up,my love,wake up my friend. Save yourself.'』I understand that you believe all world leaders should help their citizens wake up by implementing the Vegan Law in their countries. Tell us about the proposed Vegan Law.

Yes,well,I do believe this,you know. I do believe that 『vegan』will save the planet,and I do believe that the government leaders,the world leaders,can bring it into fruition,make it into law even. We just need a little push from governments and the media to make it come true. People are ready. As I said,we have a voice,we have a voice within which tells us to be kind to all beings. There's no need to meditate even to feel the pain of others and of animals. Don't you think?No need. (*No.)
They have blood,and their blood flows out just like ours - red. And they scream,they agonize,just the way we do if we are hurt in the same ways. So,humans are inherently compassionate. I do know that and I do believe in that still. To kill anything,anyone,even animals,directly or indirectly,is not our nature. So Vegan Law should be implemented,because it's a loving reminder of all citizens to be peaceful within and without,live and let live. If we do not kill animals,then we will not kill man,and peace will be naturally achieved. 
Nowadays,many countries already ban cruelty to animals to some extent. And I know for example,like in Italy - blessed be this country - you are entitled to rent a place without landlord's refusal because of your pets. They cannot refuse your rent because you have a pet. You know,in some country the landlord can refuse you outright because you have pets. (*Right.)
Yes. In Italy,no. No.


*It's forbidden. You can bring your pets right into the rental house and nobody can say anything. Yes. And anyone who sees animals,wild animals,injured on the road,or if they injured the animals,the wild animals on the road,they must take them to the vet for treatment,as by law. Yes?Just like humans. If they don't do it,they will be fined,they will be punished.
So Vegan Law is the mark of a more civilized society,methinks,when compassion or universal love is the norm - meaning the people therein are already above hatred and vengeance. Now,if people adhere by the Vegan Law,and if the governments implement it,I think that society already shows a great deal,a great leap forward,in the evolution. Yes,because we will be above hatred and vengeance,which is the mark of a higher level of conscience,when we are compassionate,yes,and have love for all beings.


* Sounds like Italy is further ahead. Perhaps the legacy of Saint Francis of Assisi and the love of animals,(Yes.) makes them a little further ahead,you know.

Yes. I love Italy. Yes.


*Yes. What steps could leaders take to bring in the Vegan Law and make it permanent?It'll be a big struggle probably in some countries,you know,the old way versus the new. But we'll all be working hard on this to make this happen.

Yes. We should work harder. You know,the media is one of the tools that the governments can use,like magazine,newspaper,TV,radio,internet,ads,you know,posters,flyers,grassroots information,to explain to people the harms of animal diets,because they're harmful. The animal diet is harmful to our health even. And the governments should subsidize only organic vegan,you see?- or vegan at least.
Best is organic vegan because it also absorbs the CO2in the air. Best is organic vegan production and farming. Give info to people,train people to go into this direction,encourage vegan supply shops and restaurants,café,bistro,etc.,etc… snack bars,yes,or even fastfood - and be a vegan example themselves,the leaders,yes,(*Sure.) and be open about their new,exciting,vegan lifestyle.
There's no use in being vegan and stuck in the closet. There's nothing shameful about being vegan. It should be a celebration of goodness and nobility and the greatness of that leader. Yes. I applaud and salute any leader who has gone vegan. Better still,they should be open about it so that other people will follow their examples. To be a leader is to be an exemplary torchbearer of the truth and of goodness,right,James?(*Yes. ) (*Hopefully,yes.
To encourage positive change.) Yes. The people would follow a leader,that's why they voted for them. Don't you think so?(*Right.) So… And this will offer a lot of new jobs even for people. Yes?Because nowadays,with the economic trouble and unemployment,and things like that,SoI think vegan and new,green energy will open a lot of new doors for employment - and it's exciting! And they should create even one special unit for the vegan trend. And for citizen's health reason,you see,tax-saving reason,world-saving reason, planet-rescuing reason - these are good enough already for any government to implement this Vegan Law. Yes?

*Right, the cost of healthcare,reducing the cost,yes.

Cost,yes,that we didn't even mention yet. You're right. You're right.
How much it costs,everything else. Yes?Now,smoking ban indoor and alcohol are even more difficult,you see,as people are addicted and nothing can replace alcohol or tobacco for them. You see?But the world government did it! They made it. See! (*Right. Yes.)
And nowadays,I saw one of the community buildings,they begin to even forbid even smoking outdoor and indoor as well, (Right.) even inside people's house,yes,private house. I am so happy. You see,people comply,you see?Governments made it. In many cases,alcohol bans were even successful also. You see,nowadays,alcohol is lessened everywhere and less accidents even,(*Right.) less heart attacks.
The result is evident everywhere. So,you see,people will comply if they are informed about what's good for them. They will know the government's best intention,genuine interest,in the citizens' wellbeing. It will work. We need the courageous and wise leaders,that's it. They have to get out of the root and do it.

*Yes. Like pollution laws and smoking and (Yes.) and drunken driving and all those,(Yes.) yes,it's very much like that. Yes. (*Yes.) It's done. It can be done. You see,look,the governments send people to war,and that's the law even. You can't not go to war when the government recruits you for war. You have to go,at a certain age. You know that,in many countries. (Yes.)

Then they go anyway,even to die in the foreign land,even not always have a good cause. People can still be talked into sacrificing their precious lives,which they have only one,for war. Here,you see,so now, Vegan Law is to live,live longer,live healthier,protect the environment,save precious rainforests and dwindling water resources,protect immediate lives,save money, boost economy,especially in our bankruptcy time.See?(*Right.) Now,the leaders should save the planet,bring about peace,through the vegan diet.


When humans stop killing animals,James,they will stop killing man. I can imagine all citizens will approve and be grateful to their governments for their wise Vegan Law. I am looking forward to that day. Pray that it comes soon. (*Yes,that's right.) You and I pray,James. (*Absolutely.) If nobody prays,the two of us pray. (*Right. Right.)

Of all the world leaders I know,you are one of the most optimistic. You seem to have so much faith in humanity when you say,quote, 『I do believe that our planet is on the threshold of constructive change for the better of all the inhabitants,including animals,trees,and plants.』This statement made me think about the animals. Tell us how the animals,birds,and fish are suffering because of climate change.

This is very difficult for me to,you know,to tell you how they suffer. In any case,you can always look into the internet or anyone can look into internet,research (*Yes.) to know how they suffer. And you know maybe more than I do,being in the mainstream media as you are,anyone can take a look into the news,the info on the internet,to know the state of suffering of animals,even en masse in the wild also. You see?
The cruelty we created by animal slaughtering extends far beyond their squeezy crate,far beyond the slaughterhouse. And it is not just the animals who are tortured during their short life and killed mercilessly,but also wildlife die by chemical fertilizer runoff,or die by suffocation,by lack of oxygen,in dead water etc.,etc.,which,again,are caused by our careless lifestyle,by our desire for animals' flesh and blood,which I think is not fit for humans' dignity. It is us humans who lose,big time,our inherent compassion quality,God Quality,Loving Quality,intelligent quality,spiritual quality,and health quality,and risk now losing our home planet.
So we might even lose the whole human race if we continue this way. There are even more sufferings awaiting us after our death even,if we don't stop our bloody,gruesome acts toward all animals and man. It's a lot of information but I cannot tell all this in a few minutes,so anyone who listens can please look into the then for more information.


*Right. And animals are very healing to human beings. You know,when we have pets and we're around those pets,(Yes.) they reduce blood pressure,they are fun to be around,they're very,you know… They make people happy. And perhaps animals can help heal the planet as well?

Yes,they can. They are doing it already. They have been doing it and they are doing it,and they will be doing it if we but let them. We have to let them live first,naturally. Protect their habitat and not domesticate or raise them more than the number absolutely necessary,and even then,just for their wellbeing only. Then they can have a chance to bless us,to heal the planet,and continue blessing us humans.
We must respect them as we want to be respected. I cannot keep repeating this often enough. Because why?- because,frankly speaking, many of them have higher consciousness,more Loving Quality,more God Quality,than many of us humans.  That I know. (*Yes.) This is the concept that we must understand and bear in mind if we are to evolve further on spiritual level,or to be at least a grateful being for all the blessing and sacrifice that our animal benefactors quietly bestow on us and the planet.


* Well,I congratulate you on being such a positive influence in the world. You know,I'm noticing (Thank you.) there are vegetarians who follow various spiritual paths,gurus or teachers,who are beginning to switch from being vegetarian to becoming strictly vegan. I'm seeing this every day.
I'm one of those also - once following a lacto- vegetarian diet,but now have switched to vegan. So,you've helped to bring about a,what I call,a 『vegan awakening』in the world. There's a great awakening,and a lot of vegetarians are switching to vegan these days. (Yes.) I've done a lot of research on vegetarianism in the world religions,and veganism. (Yes.) There are passages of scripture in the writings of saints and mystics,(Yes.) in support of being vegan,vegetarian,in most of the world religions.
And most everyone on Earth is affiliated with one of these great world religions. Thus,the more vegan Buddhist movements,more vegan Hindu groups,Radhasoami groups,vegan Christian movements,the greater and greater the numbers of people will be switching to a vegan diet based on their religious connections. Convince… So that's really my strategy,convince the religious communities and the world will go vegan. How can we convince more spiritual groups to switch to vegan?

It's a very good strategy,James,very good. You're smart. Let's do it! You are doing it. Yes?We just hope more people will help to do the same or similar in their capacity. But,you know,I don't blame any of the humans. People are not well-informed,James. And concerning the vegetarian diet that you have followed,that must have been from maybe Sant Mat or Beas,yes?Most religious groups or teachers are originated from India. You know,right?
Blessed be that ancient land of sages and saints. I worship that land. You know,the people who follow a vegetarian diet are already good,very,very good,James,yes?As in India,especially in the old times,cows are loved and even worshipped as second mothers to children,not slaughtered for meat, like in other countries. Yes?And they give milk naturally,you see?They give milk naturally. So the lacto diet came from there. Yes?
The cows live in a natural environment. It's okay to take that kind of milk or the cheese from there if the cows just give lovingly and willingly,naturally. You see?And sometimes the cows have too much milk; they also have to give out some so that they feel more comfortable. Yes?(*Yes.)

The cows live there in a natural environment. Well,I'm not sure right now,at the moment,but when I was there,James,in India,I saw cows walking all over on the street,in the building compounds,and people let them be. And if the cows on the street are lying there,they just have to wait,or talk to the cow,tell the cow to move,yes,before their cars continue. You see,when I was there,it's not long ago,maybe almost 30years ago now. Something like that. Yes,it's still like that. Yes?

And they were not overwhelmingly raised in great numbers like the way factory farming nowadays,with squeezy crates and cruelty treatment,forced fed multiple drugs,harsh machinely milked until they could not stand up anymore,then massacred mercilessly. This is not the way we should take dairy products. You see?That's what it is.

You see,the Indian people,they did not know this. This kind of treatment they never had experienced before. So,of course,in India they follow lacto diet,and it's normal. You see what I mean?Yes.

So we can understand why the people still follow a lacto-veg diet in some part of the world,or in India.
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