Vegetarianism and Spirituality - from ancient times to the present

PranaBeats's picture



Average: 3.9 (10 votes)

This is a text by Tony Samara except where quoted:

"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet". Albert Einstein.

"If a man eats meat, he will take on the qualities of the animal he eats and once those qualities enter, the man's anger, his hastiness, and his animal qualities will increase. If he does not kill anything on the inside he will not kill anything on the outside." Islamic Holiness M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen

"The eating of meat extinguishes the seed of great compassion." The Buddha in Mahaparinirvana Sutra

"One is not a great one because one defeats or harms other living beings. One is so called because one refrains from defeating or harming other living beings." The Buddha in Dhammapada, Ch. 19 (15/270), Max Muller, Trans.

"Whosoever is kind to the creatures of God is kind to himself." Mohammed

"The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men." Leonardo da Vinci

"I do feel that spiritual progress does demand, at some stage, that we should cease to kill our fellow creatures for the satisfaction of our bodily wants." Mahatma Gandhi

"Such words are not about justifying vegetarianism as a dogma but rather imploring to our hearts the deeper side of nutrition and it's importance in modern society.

The subject of nutrition is not simply a question of the food we eat at meals. Besides nutrients, foods contain scents, colours and invisible particles that attract pure light, light that is so essential for our joyful life and well-being. The choice we make is therefore always of consequential significance.

The difference between flesh-based and vegetarian foods 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. In order to develop the qualities of the heart, besides eating peacefully, one needs to eat consciously. This means bringing in the light, eating the concentrated light which contains the beautiful sounds that connect our hearts to the rhythms and invisible aspects of the Universe. This attracts the luminous properties of matter and illuminates your being, especially your thoughts and emotions, not just today, but throughout your experience of your existence on this material plane.

Your future depends on how you eat and what you eat. Your body is your temple and every action within the temple, done with conscious intention, creates a more harmonious outcome. Transcendence happens as you obtain better and more refined particles to replace that which hold the old and limiting particles which colour your experience of this ecstatic universe. The quality of your food, it's physical properties, not only transforms your emotions and mind, but can actually change your appearance and personality. Everything around us is is permeated by forces and those forces become more pure and subtle the further they reach the higher planes of light that exist here in the physical world.

This realm is of a spiritual nature, which transcends limitations and lives in the pureness of your most luminous and open qualities. The secret to opening the treasure-house of food, is the love and compassion attained within your consciousness. The treasure is the sun, condensed into particles, which we can send to all the centres in our bodies. This essential signpost of love reveals to you that at the deepest level, compassion becomes a healing power in the widest sense.

Everyone you come into contact with will be touched by your presence and affected by the healing peace that you radiate. This breaks the cycle of action and reaction. You become light in the world, a reflection of consciousness in the most pure form, illuminating unconsiousness as it dissolves in the light of your new experience. The quality of your consciousness at this very moment determines how you will experience your future. Seek to generate enough light consciousness in order to feel the heightened aliveness so that you recognise and embrace your truth from the space of pure consciousness.

Go more deeply into the source of your experience, where theory and speculation have no voice, rather, your inner experience speaks forcefully.

I see the physical body as the "temple of the soul", hence I concentrate on using various methods of cleansing and detoxification, including herbal preparations and fasting, to strengthen and purify the body. As part of this process, I suggest one follows a healthy and balanced vegetarian diet. Such a diet would exclude meat, fish, poultry, eggs and refined foods such as white sugar, white flour, deep frozen and/or processed foods.

In this way, the focus would be rather on fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season and/or are organically produced. This is a way to connect to Nature and it's rhythms and cycles so that one may be in harmony with it. I see Nature as an omnipresent guide and a reference to how human beings can live harmoniously on the planet.

I often talk about spiritual traditions and religious teachings mentioning this very important point that has been neglected or even altered throughout time.

For those of you who have a religious inclination, it would be interesting to take note that, for example, in the Bible we can read: "And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb-bearing seed which is upon the face of the Earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food." (Genesis 1:29)

In Jainism, ahimsa, the doctrine of non-violence, is a central theme. Because of this the Jains have maintained a strong and unbroken vegetarian lifestyle throughout history."

Tony Samara



davids's picture

It's not that simplistic

It's very important to be extremely aware and thorough in such issues that seem straightforward and spiritually positive but are highly tricky.

It's the mind that wants to be a vegetarian, to be moral, to have a good image of itself. Meat no, fresh fruit yes, as if fruit does not have consciousness, as if pain is not predestined, as if death is the end.

It's some ancient religious figures who thought that physical connection may cause sanskaras to pass from the animal to the human. In the same way, some advised as well not to have physical contact with animals. Sanskaras and conditioning are not that simplistic otherwise all meat eaters would bleat and crouch and vegetarians wouldn't.

But it's the body, the body which was designed to consume meat, it's the body which was equipped with molars to chew meat and stomach juices intended to digest meat.

And so terrible conflict arises which leads as all inner turmoil and anything but spiritual evolvement.

It's the same misfortunate case as with denouncing sex.

He who desires meat should eat meat, he who is disgusted by meat should not eat meat. Desire/disgust mean the deep instincts, not the mental concepts.

Yes, it's sad, yes, it's cruel, yes, it does not comply with our mind's wishful moral image of itself - but as we perfectly know there is no other way but to surrender to the inevitable. Conflict and going against the body are the safe recipe to spiritual and psychological stagnation.

davids | Thu, 04/29/2010 - 18:46
PranaBeats's picture

not simplistic indeed

I agree with the idea that it isn't simplistic, nor do I feel the quote says it is, but when you say, "the body was designed to eat meat", that is, I feel, simplistic :)

The body is designed to have the possibility of eating meat, I can agree with that. It doesn't mean that it needs to fulfill that possibility within an environment that offers solutions that make it possible to find a relationship with nature that is different from the cycle we have experienced for many generations.

If you want to eat meat, by all means do so, I have for many years and don't judge anyone who consciously decides to do so.

My only purpose with this quote was to remind anyone willing to read it that there are many ways of looking at food. Tony Samara wrote this but I have also experienced that he constantly contradicts himself according to the context, to the people who are there, to the moment... He is free from being bound to his words. These only serve to stir up and question what we believe to be true... or simplistic.

Peace

"Trust allows you to navigate imagination beyond where shadows lie". Tony Samara

PranaBeats | Thu, 04/29/2010 - 19:51
LoveBeing's picture

Thank you very much for this post.. :-)

It is very important to know & remember...
I've been a vegan for many years when I was a teen,
but it actually ruined my body and mind.. and I had to go back. but today I'm a vegetarian again but with respect to my own body and following this not out of fear or disgust or judgment to those who do eat meat, and without even the same feeling of pain and resentment towards the industry. I only have pity for them, but also belief that one day they'll change their minds and stop with those cruel actions.

Animals are such beautiful and gentle souls,
So much that they forgive the humans for what they are doing! So we too much learn to forgive the fellow humans..

Lots of Love,
Gil :-)

----
We Are God Enough! :-)

LoveBeing | Fri, 04/30/2010 - 12:19
PranaBeats's picture

Honouring

Hi Gil, I'm glad we share this joy in reading what we know :)

I wanted to thank you also for raising the important point that is to honour the process of transformation. My transition to a vegetarian/light food diet was progressive and I was blessed to be guided through this without too many pitfalls but I know many people decide to take this path out of a reaction or anger towards what they feel is wrong and this often brings difficulties in the process.

In my experience, it was becoming conscious of what we do to ourselves that motivates the greatest changes. When we realise that the animals are us and we are the animals, it becomes very obvious that even though our body has the capacity to survive by ingesting flesh foods, they are not the ones with the most live prana :)

Peace

"Trust allows you to navigate imagination beyond where shadows lie". Tony Samara

PranaBeats | Fri, 04/30/2010 - 12:28
Surya Kumar Mishra's picture

Forgive those who eat non-veg

Yes

Surya Kumar Mishra | Sat, 05/21/2011 - 11:24
R.SARAVANAN.'s picture

nice article..

nice article..

R.SARAVANAN. | Sat, 06/12/2010 - 07:17
Asanga's picture

Hitler was a vegetarian, Jesus ate fish, Buddha ate meat...

Dear Tony/ Pranabeats,

I have been born into a tradition that enjoys a complete non vegetarian diet- I was a voracious meat eater, but changed into a complete vegetarian over 12 years ago.

Please recognise that its a personal choice.

No offense to anyone, but meat eating does not condemn one to eternal damnation!

Killing for pleasure and profit most certainly may, though...

Did you know that Hitler was a complete vegetarian, Jesus ate fish, Buddha actually died of diarrhea after possibly consuming meat, which some say was poisoned or stale...?

I am, yet I am not...

Asanga | Sat, 06/12/2010 - 13:15
LoveBeing's picture

I also agree with you somewhat but you have some mistakes..

I've learned this lesson the hard way...
But today after being once a strict vegan and much more than that, which had caused a lot of damage to my body and mind (I started too early and unwisely..) I had to go back to eat normal food including chicken etc.. I remember once going to a burger place and found out it wasn't so morally wrong after all.. But still it made me feel bad physically and with a feeling of guilt later on and I've decided that maybe it's not for me after all.

Today I'm a vegetarian and close to being a vegan (I try not to drink milk and only sometimes eat eggs) but not so strict anymore. I'm also very forgiving for others who do eat meat and don't even give much thought or worry for it anymore. I came to realize that the animals are so pure and loving that they would even do this out of self sacrifice.. But we really should care at least to minimize their unnecessary suffering and pain in the farms where they grow up and how they are killed.

I think we Can draw the line somewhere.. I mean, the cows are such intelligent beings in comparison to the chicken.. and the same with fish.. so why not at least get the proteins from those less aware beings? If one feels the urge to eat meat- he can choose to at least eat fish or chicken or settle with eggs etc, or buy only foods that didn't harm the animals in a cruel way. We Do have a choice here.. It's o.k. you are right we don't "murder" when we'll eat meat, but we can at least be caring enough to do so as morally and be as caring as possible...

About the example of the notable people you gave, first of all I do not take them so seriously, we do not need to copy and follow everyone.. even Moses did some horrible things in my eyes.. Even if the whole world praises and worships some people in the past- it doesn't mean they were actually perfect as we think they were and we should never imitate anyone anyhow..

Each one of us is unique and special and it's life purpose and path is different. For example, American Indians do eat meat even though they care so much for the animal kingdom and nature, but they do it in a very caring and respectful way. Eskimos couldn't live if they didn't eat meat and fish.. But people in the western world have enough resources to eat only vegetarian foods and delicious onces, but it is their ignorance, greed, addiction and lack of caring for the environment and the animals which leads them to do just whatever they want..

Really, who cares if they Like to eat meat? I Really don't care for people who rather do bad things for their health, sweet animals and the world just because they feel like it and enjoy the taste of the foods.. I have not much respect for them.. But I do know they do it out of ignorance, so I just pity them and try to understand. They should learn from the Eastern cultures for their eating habits.. for if the Chinese people would eat meat and raise cattle like the Americans do- the world would be lost.. because of the ruin for the environment would be catastrophic because of their huge number of people..

One more thing to close my huge response.. :-)
Buddha died just because he ate a meal! This dish was offered to him and he took it out of respect, but he didn't know it contained meat.. He Really was a vegetarian- this was his main spiritual path and message- not to harm any living being! Actually the way that he died illustrated that his soul and body didn't want and couldn't handle meat in any way. He is the best example for caring for the animals and vegetarianism.. So it is wrong to say he "ate meat"..

About Jesus- in that time and place in Israel- they really didn't have anything to eat but fish and bread.. Plus the Jewish tradition doesn't talk about vegetarianism almost at all, and it was a cultural thing. At least he didn't eat meat that was a custom back then... About Hitler- well, he could even donate money to the poor- but it doesn't mean he can't still do horrible things.. Choosing to be a vegetarian just mean that. It doesn't have to mean becoming more moral and considerate in other fields.. Hitler could have been a vegetarian for other reasons as well.. There's even an eating disorder when people are to strict with their diet and do it out of perfectionism (not connected with weight) and it actually suits the Hitler's description of his personality.. He didn't do it out of morally I'm quite sure..

One should always Check the facts before he uses them to make other points because then he builds palaces on thin air.. Real truth is like the branches coming out of a tree.. It begins pure and strong and remains so.. From One seed of Truth you can reach Heaven! But if you have false truths- you can't get really far..

Well this is it for now!
I hope you've all enjoyed this!

Love,
Gil :-)

--------
We Are God Enough! :-)

LoveBeing | Sat, 06/12/2010 - 16:59
LoveBeing | Sat, 06/12/2010 - 17:03
Asanga's picture

I believe you need to get your facts right...

Dear friend,
Firstly, you miss the point totally. I have given these examples just to point out one thing- that being spiritual has absolutely nothing to link it to being a vegetarian. The most evil people like Hitler have been vegetarian, and the most holy ones like Jesus, Buddha, Vivekananda, Ramakrishna, Lord Rama (remember he hunts a deer for his wife Sita- obviously not for her to keep it as a pet!, etc have been meat eaters...

As regards Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, I believe you need to get your facts right...

The Buddha and his disciples were predominantly vegetarian. But, they did eat meat occasionally (except for some forbidden meats, like human meat), and only when the animal was not killed specifically for them.

The Buddha allowed his monks to eat meat, but he forbade them from knowingly eating meat that was killed specifically for them.

According to one passage in the Tipitaka, the Buddha allowed eating meat for monks, if it is clear that the animal was not killed on purpose, especially to provide the meal.

Majjhima Nikaya 55.5

The passage reads as follows: "I say that there are three instances in which meat should not be eaten: when it is seen, heard, or suspected that the living being has been slaughtered for the bhikkhu. I say that meat should not be eaten in these three instances. I say that there are three instances in which meat may be eaten: when it is not seen, not heard, and not suspected, that the living being has been slaughtered for the bhikkhu."

Lay people

The threefold rule specifies conditions under which meat could be eaten by monastic monks and nuns, but there is no indication if this rule applies to lay people. Thus, there has been controversy over if Buddhists should eat meat or not. The context of the passage and who it is addressed to indicate that the rule was meant for monastics only. The First Precept further stipulates against killing or causing to kill and lay people do make a decision when purchasing meat from a butcher or grocery store.

Therefore, the threefold rule does not necessarily rule out vegetarianism as a suggested or recommended diet and in fact many Buddhists have adopted the vegetarian diet to better practice the First Precept.

It is possible that the Buddha wanted to gradually phase out the consumption of meat as it should be noted that when the Buddha began teaching, the majority were still not Buddhist and thus, may not have had vegetarian food to offer the monks and nuns. This would be an example of skilful means.

Also,

Devadatta, who was a monk and the cousin of the Buddha, made a list of suggestions which the Buddha refused to make mandatory. The list by Devadatta included a list of ascetic type practices, including: (1) that monks should dwell all their lives in the forest, (2) that they should accept no invitations to meals, but live entirely on alms obtained by begging, (3) that they should wear only robes made of discarded rags and accept no robes from the laity, (4) that they should dwell at the foot of a tree and not under a roof, (5) that they should abstain completely from fish and flesh, even if it died naturally. Since the Buddha refused to accept this list, some teachers say that this shows the Buddha did not require or recommend vegetarianism.

The Theravada Pali Canon records instances of Buddha eating meat that was specifically purchased for him. This act was deliberately performed by the Buddha to demonstrate that, if need be, a Buddhist can bend the rules in times of emergency or inconvenience.[citation needed] Obstinately observing vegetarianism or Buddhist rules in times when you cannot conflicts with Mahayana philosophy because obstinacy or attachment for anything, is considered to be "stubbornness", which will become an obstacle to nirvana or enlightenment. However, if one undertakes a vow to be a Buddhist vegetarian, one is expected to follow this vow until it is humanly impossible to continue one's vegetarian diet.

Acceptance of authenticity of the Pali Sutras differ within Mahayana sects, and the Mahayana sutras do not record Buddha eating meat. While no Mahayana sects consider the Pali sutras to be inauthentic, Chinese Buddhist sects tend to consider this particular part of writing in Pali sutras to be false. Japanese Buddhist sects generally accept that Buddha ate meat.

Have a look:

http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/dharmadata/fdd21.htm
http://www.hinduwebsite.com/buddhism/vegetarianism.asp
http://www.bodhipaksa.com/vegetarianism/did-the-buddha-eat-meat
http://en.allexperts.com/q/Buddhists-948/Buddhist-Diet.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_cuisine

Also, Please take note that the Dalai Lama is NOT a vegetarian.

http://www.shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=3404

All the best, dear friend- and please check your facts before you make baseless insinuations...

I am, yet I am not...

Asanga | Sun, 06/13/2010 - 05:37
LoveBeing's picture

You are right- you got me there..

First of all.. I want to say that I Did got you perfectly well.. I undestood what you were writing about.. and your examples.. maybe you didn't understand me (again this mirror thing.. "judge and you shall be judged"- by yourself!) But I think that maybe there is a morality in being a vegetarianism and it Does matter to us, our bodies and the animals.. in my eyes the Buddha's instructions are not enough and even silly.. so what if the animal wasn't killed for him?? He Choose to eat it when he really doesn't have to.. what can I say about that? and the animal Was killed for someone else anyhow! and by eating the meat- this other man would have to kill another animal so he could eat meat like he wanted to anyhow.. You were right that being a vegetarian doesn't necessarily imply that this person is more moral or caring.. but it is obvious that Many vegetarian Are doing it out of moral reasons and do become more loving and caring and sensitive thanks to being vegetarians.. and I myself am example of that..

I guess I deserved that last line you wrote me there in the end.. even though I'm sorry that this bickering and ego fights are still strong even in this site which supposed to be spiritual and ego free.. while in my eyes it is Filled with egos.. also sometimes in my part too I must admit..

I didn't know so much about The early Buddhists as you do.. But actually that list of rules you have showed there maybe me remember how much I began to dislike religion paths in the last years.. I guess this is because I see the folly in that.. I think that each individual has his and her own path and we should be so stupid as to follow another path- however wise and famous he is.. Even the Buddha.. I just don't think that anyone can tel others which rules they must or should follow and just complicate their lives so much.. I think that this old way of thinking must come to an end if we as a new society wants to change and grow up.. we must stop looking for a savior or a leader and become our own saviors and leaders.. I guess that coming here to this site called "Gurusfeet" is really not for me anymore.. and I had to learn this in this way, I guess.. Also not to fall into wanting to be a guru myself in any way.. not even one who "tells the truth" or even "one who frees others from gurus".. One should just let others Be..

Anyhow,
Thank you for your long comment and time!
I'm sorry if I wrote to much about my own feelings,
I guess I had to pour them out somewhere..
Thanks for listening.. :-)

Lots of Love,
Gil :-)

LoveBeing | Sun, 06/13/2010 - 20:22
Asanga's picture

Dear Friend Gil

Dear Friend Gil,

Please do not take this interaction as the reason to drop out of this great site...

I believe that the beauty of this place is that we can be frank and straight with each other.

I do not really believe that being hurt by words from a person you have no idea even exists, can do you any good at all. The reply was only to the final para you'd written- and without any rancour.

The wise learn from every event and grow...

A healthy tete-a-tete actually makes us grow- don't you think?
I am not a Buddhist, or any other labelled religion- and agree with you totally that old ideas must give way to new ones...

I would really find it interesting to know what brought about this change in you- to become a vegan, and then into a vegetarian...

All the very best,
Blessings,
DC

I am, yet I am not...

Asanga | Mon, 06/14/2010 - 04:00
PranaBeats's picture

Condemnation

Asanga,

I don't believe in judging anyone who does eat meat, nor have I ever seen Tony say such a thing.

The only purpose of the post is to raise awareness to compassionate nutrition. I'm not so sure about Jesus eating fish though, I rather believe that he used this as a parable to explain his teachings.

I believe one has to eat according to one's environment and possibilities and in our modern world today we have the possibilities, choice and in my opinion, responsibility to feed ourselves with as minimal impact and violence as possible on animals and our environment. If you were a native of the Amazon rainforest, I would of course not dream of suggesting you stop hunting in the harmonious and naturally balanced way to sustain yourself, but if you have access to internet and a computer, chances are you are part of a consumerist society where you can choose what you consume.

:)

Peace

"Trust allows you to navigate imagination beyond where shadows lie". Tony Samara

PranaBeats | Mon, 06/14/2010 - 17:11
Asanga's picture

Why are you so concerned about Tony's views, where are yours?

Dear Friend,

Since I am a vegetarian, I do not really need convincing! There is really no need to take coal to Newcastle!

I write what I do simply to bring out every side of the debate- I believe that the more open minded one is, the greater one's ability to entertain opinions that one does not subscribe to...

FWIW, IMHO spirituality does not make one 'holy' and 'hallowed' with a golden aura or halo!

In fact it makes one a complete down-to-earth realist.

BTW, why are you hiding behind Tony's words and defending him all the time? The sky cannot be spit upon...

Sometimes I feel that either you are doing this only to tom-tom Tony's name, simply to impress him- possibly being Tony himself that is directing the charade, and at other times I feel you are simply so full of other peoples'(read Tony Samara) opinions, that you have forgotten your own voice...

I am, yet I am not...

Asanga | Mon, 06/14/2010 - 18:16
PranaBeats's picture

views and projections

Asanga,

Whatever you believe about me, isn't about me :)

My views are a result of my own experiences. This thread is related to a text from Tony Samara. Combine both and you have my replies. Nothing much to it...

Nor is there a need to look for bugs where they don't exist.

"Trust allows you to navigate imagination beyond where shadows lie". Tony Samara

PranaBeats | Thu, 06/17/2010 - 20:03
Surya Kumar Mishra's picture

body anatomy, is it needed to look into

vegetarian food or nan-vegetarian food:
who eats
what happens after digestion
which tissues absorb this
does the digested particles friendly or unfriendly to the tissues or say cells etc.
now decide by yourself

Surya Kumar Mishra | Sat, 05/21/2011 - 11:21