Supreme Master Ching Hai on the Environment
Veganism: The Way to Peace - Compilation of Supreme Master Ching Hai's lectures   
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With diverse flora and fauna, magnificent natural landscapes, and an ecological biosphere that supports life, this wondrous planet is our earthly home. From our animal co-inhabitants to the lush rainforests and life-giving soil, we cherish all these as gifts from the Creator. It is a common theme in the world’s major faiths that during our temporary stay here, we should be good stewards of Mother Earth.

Throughout the years, Supreme Master Ching Hai has shared the message of leading a balanced life while following a spiritual path. Not only must we nourish our spirits, but we share the responsibility to care for nature and our fellow beings. In light of recent scientific evidence which pinpoint the raising of livestock as the number one contributor to climate change, Supreme Master Ching Hai affirms the important message she has noted for over the past two decades: we must be vegan and practice sustainable living. Today we present to you a compilation of excerpts from Supreme Master Ching Hai’s lectures entitled “Veganism: The Way to Peace.”

It’s been a joy to have you with us for today’s episode of Between Master and Disciples. Join us again next Friday for part 2 of “Veganism: The Way to Peace.”

Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants is coming up next after Noteworthy News on Supreme Master Television. Please stay tuned. We wish you and your loved ones an abundance of joy and fulfillment.

We appreciate your company for today’s episode of Between Master and Disciples here on Supreme Master Television. Join us again tomorrow for part 3 of “Veganism: The Way to Peace.”

And now, Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants is coming up next, right after Noteworthy News. Please stay tuned. We wish you a safe and blessed weekend.

Thank you, enlightened viewers, for your company for today’s episode of Between Master and Disciples.

Up next is Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants right after Noteworthy News here on Supreme Master Television. Please stay tuned. With God’s blessings, may our planet flourish with peace and loving kindness.
Dear Master, I’m really joyful and grateful to be here, knowing of your compassionate and humanitarian work. This is the question: It is obvious that global warming is not caused by natural factors but happens due to the wrong action of humans. What is the cause of human wrongdoings? The cause, I believe, is a faulted mentality and wrong view. The wrong thinking leads to the wrong actions; more specifically, the fire of human greed and desires is warming up this Earth. Today’s world economic crisis also is the undesirable outcome of our producing goods in order to make more profit, isn’t it? Again, the reason for this is the fire of desire. In these circumstances, what could be the way to save humankind from modern-time disaster? How should we subdue the evil of the greedy mind that the majority of humankind possess?

Dr. Sharav, it is true that scientists have already proven that the accelerated global warming is not due to natural causes but human-related activities. The cause of this is that we have forgotten our noble nature, our original divine Self, our Buddha Nature. So, we must return to a virtuous way of life. There is now an abundance of data available to help inform people. Because people have not been informed well; it’s not just due to greed or evil-mindedness, just lack of information that makes people not aware of the consequences of what we have been doing. So, now is the time that we must inform people, and we must quickly inform people, and we must quickly reverse this trend so that our world remains for our children to stay.

So, we have to turn away from animal products now that we know that is the main cause of global warming. To your question about greed and wrong actions: yes, I have already mentioned that it is true that part of the global economic crisis is a result of overproduction and over-focusing on profits. These so-called “profits” can include things like grain that is fed to livestock animals, instead of directly feeding the hungry in the world. Such a focus can lead to the appearance of greed. However, people have been misinformed. The person who lives this way is truly not happy, even if he doesn’t know why, even if he wasn’t informed correctly, but he’s unhappy inside. And often, really, often he’s not aware of the harm this meat operation causes.

So, even scientific studies have revealed that only through giving and sharing do we gain inner peace of fulfillment. Only by living a peaceful life can we enjoy peace. So, to be saved from this modern-time disaster, we, humanity as a whole, must turn to a greater consideration of others. This is the reminder of virtue. That is truly of the greatest importance, because adopting the vegetarian diet lifestyle is the only way, in fact, to preserve any world, not just our world. The Buddha’s teachings never fail; Jesus’ teachings never fail: we must be compassionate.

Greetings to Supreme Master Ching Hai. I sincerely appreciate your work for the world. I’m extremely happy to participate in this special event and have the opportunity to ask a question to the Supreme Master. Thanks to our traditional Buddhist beliefs, we Mongols know the benefit of doing more virtuous deeds and abstaining from sinful actions. Every year on Buddha’s birthday, everybody eats vegetarian; every month, on the new moon and the full moon days, people also prefer to eat vegetarian. As for myself, I have been a vegetarian for quite a few years.

It gave a tremendous amount of positive changes to my spirit and body. I do agree with your opinion that if humans become vegetarians, we can save the planet. I think that eating vegetarian food would reduce the karmic hindrances of humans. However, most people think that karma (retribution) is a religious concept only and they fail to understand its true implications. My question is: Supreme Master, could you please explain the deep meaning and reason why vegetarianism would reduce the bad karma of humankind and, thus, be able to save our planet? I am thankful for your great wisdom.

Hallo, Madam Khangai. First of all, I congratulate you, madam, and thank you for your wise, compassionate choice of vegetarianism. The concept of karma – or in the Western terminology, the consequence of our action – “as you sow, so shall you reap” in the Bible – is not a Buddhist or Christian concept alone. It’s a logical term, meaning that for every action, there is a consequence. And the law of karma, meaning the “cause and effect,” is very exact. So, we must stop the killing of other beings, and consequently, our life will be spared. By being vegetarian, our human consciousness is raised up to a higher level, cleaning up and elevating us to our original, noble Self again.

As we plant the seeds of compassion, we will reap the love and peace in return. So, to reduce bad karma (retribution), we must reverse our actions and create good karma (retribution) by being benevolent, being kind and being merciful; then all these qualities will return to us manifold. We will beget mercy from Heaven and be able to preserve this precious planet and our lives. Stop animal raising, as we know by now. And animal breeding is the foremost cause of damage of our planet and the health of the people, even, and the detrimental effect on our environment as well. It will destroy the world if we do not stop eating and producing meat and animal products.

Animal and meat production has been found by scientists to emit more greenhouse gases than all the transportation sectors combined. Methane, which is one of the primary gases emitted, causes up to 72 times more heat to be trapped in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. However, methane also disappears much more quickly than carbon dioxide. So if we stop eating meat, we stop producing animal products, then the then the planet will be able to cool down almost immediately. This is scientifically very logical also. There is no need to even talk about the moral issue. So, the vegetarian diet is the fastest, easiest and most effective solution for a life-sustaining planet.

Many people have the wrong notion that spiritual practitioners are selfish in motive, looking only to liberate themselves from suffering and neglecting other people, or that renunciates are very selfish and run away from society to practice in seclusion. There could be some practitioners like this, but the genuine ideal of renunciation or spiritual practice is to save the whole world; we might not dare to say the whole universe, but the world and the universe are one – they are inseparable. Each individual person is part of the universe.

Our Earth is part of the universe, just like our eyes are part of our body. Our stomach and intestines inside are of course very ugly and stinky, but they are also part of our body. If we don’t have either one of them we cannot function. Our body would break down and would not be able to functionor move. It’s the same: each person, each sentient being, each blade of grass or plant, is related to all the other entities in the universe. So we practitioners do not practice for ourselves alone.

Why do we have to practice spiritually? Not to run away, not for us alone to be liberated from suffering, but really to change the world, to make it better and more comfortable so that people can live happily together, instead of hating, killing, or abusing each other. We may say, “Well, that doesn’t concern me. I didn’t abuse anyone, I mind my own business, and I earn my own money. I never controlled anyone; I am just a nobody, it is all right if I do not practice spiritually. I never hurt anyone.”

It is easy for us to say that, but the truth is, we do not realize our power of influence. Things are not that simple. As most humans do not practice spiritually, our mind is truly chaotic: sometimes it has greed, sometimes it has anger, sometimes it has lust, sometimes it has hatred, sometimes it has animosity. We may want to kill, rob, or steal. Sometimes, we may want to compete. All these thoughts will generate energy. Understand what I mean? It creates an aura in the form of a bad atmosphere that lingers in the air here, around us, in our country, in our family.

Of course, people living in that bad atmosphere will feel unhappy. Have you quarreled with your partner? Do you sometimes have disputes? Yes, you do. After the dispute, for half an hour or one hour or a couple of days, how is the atmosphere in your house? Is it good? No! You “smell” it when you go in, or even when you are outside. After the quarrel, each of you go to work – she goes to the office, you drive a cab, perhaps it’s like that – but your heart is still clouded by the quarrel or dispute. Isn’t that right? It is really unpleasant. You might hit someone because you are thinking about how your wife was so fierce earlier, or why your husband was so unreasonable. Then you cannot work comfortably or smoothly.

Isn’t that what happens? You keep making mistakes in your work, your mind lingering on the quarrel. Unable to focus, you are pulled back to the quarrel. You cannot focus on driving, so you might hit someone because of that quarrel. Sometimes we need to make a crucial decision for the company or for our work, affected by your recent family quarrel, you cannot decide or execute it correctly. Isn’t that right? Right? Yes. Similarly, in this world, we have conflicts not only with our husband or wife, but also with our employers, colleagues, people outside and people inside – we have many conflicts and problems every day. Sometimes we don’t want to get angry or to harbor hatred and animosity, however, due to different backgrounds and external influences, animosity and anger will breed in us, and then we think of harming people.

Our Earth is full of this kind of thinking within each of us, so our planet is not peaceful. Because we do not check our action, speech, and thoughts every day, we do not restrain our desires, our greed, anger, and infatuation, the atmosphere of our planet has become so suffocating and so unpleasant. We practice spiritually in order to change this atmosphere.
In this world, we have conflicts not only with our husband or wife, but also with our employers, colleagues, people outside and people inside – we have many conflicts and problems every day. Sometimes we don’t want to get angry or to harbor hatred and animosity, however, due to different backgrounds and external influences, animosity and anger will breed in us, and then we think of harming people.

Our Earth is full of this kind of thinking within each of us, so our planet is not peaceful. Because we do not check our action, speech, and thoughts every day, we do not restrain our desires, our greed, anger, and infatuation, the atmosphere of our planet has become so suffocating and so unpleasant. We practice spiritually in order to change this atmosphere. After finding our inner bliss, external influences have less of an impact on us. We are reluctant to quarrel with people. We can easily talk with other people, appreciate their good qualities, and easily disregard their shortcomings.

Our heart will become more tranquil and we will generate a benign aura. We will be contented every day and never get angry – our aura is purified and has changed. If the atmosphere is so good, can you imagine how our Earth will become? A better place to live in. Right? Okay! Many people told me that they feel nice living on this planet and do not want go to Buddha Land with me, or go to Heaven with Jesus. That’s all right.

I also agree. I also agree. If you want to live on this planet Earth, I also approve. Our planet is very beautiful. Whether or not there is a Creator or God, you should know that it has taken trillions of years to make our Earth into such a beautiful globe which we are living on. It has taken innumerable kalpas – and each kalpa is billions of years – for this primeval force to start to stir and then condense into this beautiful Earth that we have now. If we fail to maintain it, cherish it, and love it, it would be a great pity.

If someone drops an atomic bomb later, everything will be destroyed. What a pity. Right? Though all of us dread wars, atomic bombs, catastrophes, and natural disasters, no one has tried to rectify it. We should change our heart from within, then those wars and natural disasters will naturally vanish because the unpleasant atmosphere is created by ourselves. If we had not quarreled with our husband or wife, the atmosphere in our family that day would not have become so unpleasant.

It is created by us, both, whoever was at fault has created this atmosphere. There is a very wise Chinese saying: “Nothing is wrong with this world; vexations are self-created.” I agree. If we do not want to go to Heaven or the Buddha Land, or to become a Buddha, it is also okay. We linger on this planet. We want to live here, protect this Earth, and to produce offspring to continue our lineage. That’s also good. This is not a bad idea. The problem is that we have failed to preserve this Earth for our later generations who will have to live in such a miserable atmosphere. That would be too bad for them. They are not born yet; we should not leave such an unpleasant inheritance for them. Understand what I mean?

After we die, we all want to leave the best inheritance to our descendants – a lot of wealth, good houses, and a lucrative business – but we don’t leave them the most important thing, which is a very pure and benign atmosphere. This is more important for our children; but we didn’t think of it. Every day we are immersed in hatred, animosity, and anger, and have darkened the atmosphere. It is such a terrible sight, looking down from Heaven, that no one dares to come to our Earth to tour. The atmosphere is horrible. We sometimes heard that certain countries have no freedom – horrible things occurs, people are intimidated and oppressed – so we don’t want to travel there. Isn’t that right?

Similarly, our Earth has become a very terrible place. The celestial beings are truly scared and dare not come down. Not that they are afraid of death, but it would be futile for them to come – we might misunderstand and kill them. It’s a waste of time and does not have much of an effect. Even then, life after life Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, celestial beings, and the Son of God still come to contact us. Though it is extremely difficult to communicate with us, they still try their best to do so. They come in every age, but most of them are rejected by us, doubted by us, attacked by us, and hurt by us. But, because the power of love of God or the Buddha is inconceivable and immeasurable, notwithstanding all that we have done to them, they still want to try.

If we have kids, no matter how bad they are, they are our children, we still love them. The following day we will forget and forgive them, and again buy candies, biscuits, and good things for them to eat; we will take them to movies, to have fun, or to the park. We forget how they messed up and were naughty the day before. The love of God is trillions of times greater than our parental love – it is boundless – but we cannot always rely on God’s love and forget about our almighty power, forget that our own decision could influence the whole world and the universe. We are also great beings. Try to imagine: if all humans choose peace and love instead of war, the world would be different. But some people prefer to choose wars and make a lot of bombs – bombs, atomic bombs, all kinds of bombs – and lots of weapons, and send them out to threaten people. If these kinds of people make a decision in a split second, it would be enough.

If today he suddenly wants to kill, he presses a button or makes a call, then innumerable lives would be lost. Understand? Isn’t it too simple? So, we truly are great beings. We humans are truly dangerous; truly very great, but also truly dangerous. Our decisions can affect the universe, the whole world. It is correct to say that we affect the whole world. For instance, if two or three big countries go to war, the small countries also would not have peace. Isn’t it so? Even if they are not fighting over here, the atomic bombs would also affect us, affect our economy, affect our air, sea, and land traffic routes. Is that not so? Those countries have relations with us. If they are stricken by war and become impoverished, they cannot come here. Our country and every country would be affected.

So we cannot say that each country is self reliant. No! The whole world is interconnected. Be it communism, democracy, or liberalism – all are connected. Since we have free will, we are free to choose our “ism.” That is right. However, we must not forget that we are living in the same world. Ours is not the only country in the world, and there are more “isms” than just our own. Some countries seem to have forgotten, or choose not to remember, and thus wars occur. That’s why I say spiritual practice is very important. If we practice, we wouldn’t think of harming people.

What really is a spiritual practitioner? Spiritual practitioners understand their inner Self and believe that the power of the Creator is lovingly taking care of all entities in the universe. We ought to believe in this. Every day we practitioners should check our actions, speech, and thoughts for anything that is not benevolent. We should give consideration to the life, feelings, and property of others. Then we are true spiritual practitioners.
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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