our faith or belief, we all know that animals have souls for they can
move on their own initiative. Any sentient being that can move by itself,
has the intent to move and has a mind that commands its movements forms
ties of affinity with many other beings, gains many experiences and
develops its intelligence, all of which result in attachment. When such
sentient beings become attached to their intelligence and accumulated
experiences, they become emotionally involved with life and fear death.
Because of their fondness for a longer life, more experiences, increased
activity and the opportunity to establish affinities with and learn
from other beings, their hearts become filled with affection for life,
fear of death, and feelings of hatred, kindness and gratitude.
If we eat animals, we unconsciously
step into their magnetic fields, which are characterized by a strong
desire for life and apprehension about death. We get stuck, just as
we do when we step on glue and our foot is glued to the spot and loses
mobility. Stepping on sand is all right, given its non-adhesiveness.
Everything has a different quality. But if we step on the animals’
qualities of life attachment and fear of death, their hate-filled magnetic
fields cling to our souls, trapping us, pressurizing us and depriving
us of our freedom.
Plants do not move without being blown
by the wind so they have less experience and intelligence. With this
lower level of awareness, they also have less attachment. For plants,
it isn’t a grave matter to die and be reborn because they have
few experiences and attachments. Animals, by contrast, have more experiences
since they can move of their own accord. For example, a dog may go looking
for his girlfriend, and then look around further the next day, thinking,
“Wow! This one is more beautiful than the last one!” (Master
and audience laugh.) Attachment grows from such occurrences , which
is why they cling to life. Under the influence of these phenomena, all
animals become fond of life and fearful of death. But this is not the
case with plants because they have too little experience to cling to.
So when we consume plants, their magnetic fields do not become attached
Thus, we can’t say that animals
and plants are alike. If that were so, then it would be as good as saying
that chewing gum, sand and stones are alike, and that’s not true.
Sand and stones do not stick to us when we step on them; only chewing
gum does. Everything has a different quality so we can’t say that
animals are the same as plants. They’re absolutely different.
(Applause) We can understand this through observation. It isn’t
because Master Ching Hai said so, or the Bodhisattvas said so that we
understand it. It’s extremely simple and logical; we know these
things just from observation.
Everything in the universe has a different
quality. So when we choose our diet, of course, we should select foods
that create less of a burden for us and allow us to practice more easily
and progress more quickly. Only then will we not be bound or pulled
down by very heavy magnetic fields.