PLANT BASED LIVING
Expressing Compassion to our fellow beings in the animal kingdom
We all have the power to live the best life for ourselves. In your hands is the power to stand up for fairness, kindness and compassion every day. It is time that we feel good about who we are, how we live, and what we eat.
Animals are not meant to be food for humans. By eating plant-based foods, you are helping yourself and saving countless lives.
A plant based diet offers a delicious, balanced and healthy diet of fruit, vegetables, tubers, whole grains and legumes that your body, the animals and the environment will thank you for.
Open your heart and embrace a compassionate diet. Our commitment to a compassionate diet contributes to our development into a spiritually focused human being.
The development of COMPASSION is an intrinsic part of finding inner peace.
As we refrain from eating the flesh of innocent creatures, we become more sensitive to the life around us. We begin to realize that much of our suffering has stemmed from our participation in the suffering of the slaughtered animals. We begin to glimpse the higher truth that all life is connected.
How can we be a truly compassionate spiritual being and go along with the mass terror inflicted on millions of animals a year and the unnatural treatment of animals?
One needs to eat consciously in order to develop the qualities peace and compassion. The difference between flesh-based and vegetarian food lies in the amount of sunlight they contain. Fruits and vegetables are so steeped in sunlight, that one could say they are a condensed form of light.
Animals have souls. They are alive, conscious, and feel pain and these are the indications of the presence of consciousness in animals. Those who eat animals are not easily able to understand the spiritual nature of all beings and unable to awaken true compassion.
By Swami Sivanada
Ahimsa is the principle of not harming any living beings. In order for Man to become a Divine being, the first step is to eliminate the beastly nature in man. Ahimsa is a most effective master-method to counteract and eradicate completely the brutal, cruel and beastly nature in man.
Ahimsa is universal love
Practice of ahimsa develops love. “Ahimsa” is another name for Truth or Love.
The one message of all saints, prophets of all times and climes, is the message of love, of ahimsa and of selfless service.
Ahimsa is the noblest and best of traits that is found and expressed in the daily life and activities of perfected Souls.
Ahimsa is the one means, not only to attain salvation, but also to enjoy uninterrupted peace and bliss. Man attains peace by not injuring any living creature.
Ahimsa is duty of man
There is one religion and that is the religion of love and peace. There is one message, the message of ahimsa. Ahimsa is a supreme duty of man. Ahimsa is refraining from causing pain to any living creature.
Ahimsa - A great spiritual force
Ahimsa, or non-injury requires a harmless mind, mouth and hand.
Ahimsa is ‘shakti’ or true strength.
If you are established in ahimsa, you have attained all virtues.
Ahimsa - A great soul-force
Ahimsa is soul-force. Hate melts in the presence of love. Hate dissolves in the presence of ahimsa. There is no power greater than ahimsa.
The practice of ahimsa develops will-power to a considerable degree. The practice of ahimsa will make you fearless.
Man is more than just body and mind. Human birth is given as an opportunity and a means to attain the sublime knowledge of his inner spiritual nature and to regain his divinity.
In this process, all grossness and animalistic tendencies have to be totally eliminated from the human personality.
Butchery - A great disgrace
The slaughter of animals and the taking of innocent lives which flesh-eating entails make it abhorrent to all right thinking men and women all over the world. Consider the amount of fear and suffering that animals experience in the slaughter industry. There are countless stories of how in fear cows cry, scream, and sometimes fall down dead while inside or even before they are taken into the slaughter house.
Bloodshed is a great disgrace to civilization and culture. Killing of animals for food is a great blunder.
George Bernard Shaw said that:
“AS LONG AS MEN TORTURE AND SLAY ANIMALS AND EAT THEIR FLESH, WE SHALL HAVE WAR.”
Slaughter-houses should be abolished, and the use of animal flesh as food should absolutely be given up. Flesh-eating is unnecessary, unnatural, and unwholesome.
THE LAW OF KARMA
Another factor for being vegetarian is karma. As Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action there must be an equal and opposite reaction.
On the universal scale this is referred to as “the law of karma” which means what goes around comes around. This affects every individual, as well as communities and countries. As the nation sows, so shall it reap.
If so much violence is produced by the killing of animals, where do you think the reactions to this violence goes? It comes back to us in so many ways, such as in the form of hate crimes, world wars, natural disasters, etc.
VEGETARIAN DIET IS A NATURAL DIET
“What is the natural diet for human beings? Are humans herbivores?”
Both humans and herbivores have carbohydrate digestive enzymes in our saliva, while carnivores and omnivores don’t.
Our nails are flattened and unlike carnivores, we don’t have sharp, pointed teeth.
Most significantly, both carnivores and omnivores have a colon that is short, simple and smooth, and their stomach acidity is less than pH 1 with food in the stomach.
Humans have twenty eight feet long small and large intestine. This is much longer than those found in carnivores. Our stomach acidity is around pH 4 to 5 with food in the stomach.
Our long intestine length is designed for a high fiber diet (available only from plant food). Meat stays in the intestines for a longer period of time. Consequently the meat does not digest well in such an environment and often turns toxic. These toxins have been implicated as a cause of colon cancer and they also increase the burden on the liver, which has the major function of getting rid of toxins.
The adrenalin and fear in the animal at the point of slaughter produces toxins which then permeate the body of these animals, which meat-eaters ingest. People who consume such things cannot help but be effected by it. It causes tensions within them individually, which then spreads in their relations with others.
Carnivores enjoy the act of savaging and the scent of blood. Sharks, for example, are highly aroused by the scent of blood.
On the other hand, we, humans, cannot tolerate the sounds and cries of animals being killed and the mere sight of blood is so disturbing to us.
Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet
Plants have a very high vibration, particularly when fresh. They are full of clean, healthy prana that the body gratefully uses.
Cancers, heart diseases, stroke, hypertension and diabetes do not appear overnight. They develop gradually. Their incidence can be reduced and slowed. The choice of our food today can make a great difference in our health tomorrow.
Colorectal cancer is linked to meat consumption and a diet high in fats. Some studies suggest links between meat consumption and other cancers as well.
A study in the U.S. found that vegetarians and vegans had significantly lower cholesterol levels than meat eaters.
Our human immune system is our best weapon against disease. However, it requires the appropriate raw materials and a supportive environment to function optimally.
Our DIET and LIFE-STYLE can strengthen or weaken our immune system. We unleash the self-healing potential present in each one of us with a healthy vegetarian diet.
PROTEIN: It is virtually impossible to be deficient in protein on a vegetarian diet, as long as caloric needs are met and a wide variety of plant foods are consumed.
Sources of protein: Soya products, legumes, whole grains, vegetables, nuts, seeds etc.
CALCIUM: Calcium is abundant in plant foods. Our bodies absorb more than 50% of the calcium present in many plant foods, while only 32% of the calcium in milk is absorbed.
Sources of calcium: Some dark-green leafy vegetables like spinach, water cress, kalian, broccoli, cooked dried beans, soya products, nuts, seeds, figs, seaweed etc.
MAGNESIUM: Magnesium is essential for bone mineralization, building of proteins, enzyme action and nerve transmission. It is also important for proper heart function.
Sources of magnesium: Nuts, legumes, whole grains, green leafy vegetables etc.
ZINC: An important trace mineral found in dry cooked beans and whole grains. Zinc is a component of many enzymes supporting the metabolism of amino acids, production of genetic material, transport of Vitamin A and prevention of birth defects.
Source of zinc: Tempeh, lentils, garbanzo beans, sunflower seeds etc.
IRON: Almost all vegetables have higher iron content per calorie than meat, eggs or fish. Although iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in the world, long-term studies have shown that vegetarians are no more likely to suffer iron deficiencies than non-vegetarians.
Sources of iron: Blackstrap molasses, brown sugar, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, sea vegetables, dried fruits, whole and enriched grains, etc.
FIBER: Fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet and comprises soluble and insoluble types. Typical soluble fiber includes gums, pectins and mucilage and is important to lower blood cholesterol, and reduce fat absorption by the body. Insoluble fiber is responsible for slowing both starch hydrolysis and glucose absorption. Increased fiber combats constipation and overweight
Sources of fiber: SOLUBLE FIBER - fruits (apples, citrus fruits), oats, barley, legumes ; INSOLUBLE FIBER - wheat bran, whole grain breads and cereals, vegetables etc.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
By Master Ching Hai
Isn't eating vegetables a kind of killing too?
As humans have to eat in order to survive, we choose food which has the least consciousness and suffers the least.
Plants consist of 90% water thus their level of consciousness is so low that it hardly feels any suffering. Furthermore, when we eat many vegetables we don't cut their roots but rather we help their asexual reproduction by cutting branches and leaves. The end result can actually be beneficial to the plant.
This is even more evident with fruit. When fruit ripens, it will attract people to eat it by its fragrant smell, beautiful colour and delicious taste. It is in this way fruit trees can achieve their purpose of propagating their seed over a wide area. If we do not pick and eat them, the fruit will become over-ripe and will fall to the ground to rot. Its seed will be shaded from sunlight by the tree above them and will die.
So eating vegetables and fruits is a natural tendency which brings to them no suffering at all.
Can Vegetarians eat eggs?
No! When we eat eggs we are also killing beings.
Man raises animals and poultry, pigs, cattle, chickens, ducks, etc. Why can't we eat them?
So? Parents raise their children. So do parents or any other being have the right to eat their children?
All living beings have the right to live and no one should deprive them of this.
Animals are born for people to eat. If we don't eat them, they will overcrowd our world.
This is an absurd idea. Before you kill an animal, do you ask if it wants to be killed by you or not?
All living beings desire to live and are afraid to die. We don't want to be eaten by a tiger, so why should animals be eaten by humans?
Human beings have only existed in the world for several tens of thousands of years but before mankind appeared, many species of animals had already existed. Did they overcrowd the Earth? Living things maintain a natural ecological balance.
We buy meat from the butcher. We don't kill. Therefore is it not alright for me to eat it?
This is a disastrous mistake. You must know that butchers kill living beings because some people want to eat meat. In the Lankavatara Sutra, Buddha said "If there was no one eating meat, then no killing would happen. so eating meat and killing living beings are of the same sin."
Due to the current state of killing so many living beings, we have natural disasters and man-made calamities. Wars are also caused by too much killing.
Being A Vegetarian
You are eating the energy of pain every time you ingest animal flesh. The animals’ suffering creates chemicals that flow through its flesh and when you eat that animal, you are ingesting pain. This reduces your connection to the Spirit World.