A follow up on Video Answer 33 on Vegetarianism

Francis Lucille

Dear Francis,

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my inquiry. I appreciate it very much.

I still have a feeling that there cannot be any ‘should’ or ‘should not’ as if and when we believe that everything is manifestation of the consciousness, and this world with its ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ is only an illusion, is it not the consciousness itself that it is consuming flesh through another manifestation of consciousness to experience itself?

I read this book called, Verses on the Faith-Mind by Seng-ts’an (Third Zen Patriarch) and if you have not and interested, I can send you an email copy of the verse.

In a section, he says:

“For the Realized mind at one with the Way

all self-centered striving ceases.

Doubts and irresolutions vanish

and the Truth is confirmed in you.

With a single stroke you are freed from bondage;

nothing clings to you and you hold to nothing

All is empty, clear, self-illuminating

with no need to exert the mind.

Here, thinking, feeling, understanding, and imagination are of no value.

In this world ‘as it really is’

there is neither self nor other than self."

In any case, I know that holding a vegetarian diet could lead to more compassion if the intention is there, as you and I both know that many people are vegetarian and yet, have not compassion whatsoever:-) Like Hitler or the Hindu who killed Gandhiji and many many more…

Thanks again and hope to meet you in person sometime soon.

With Love,


Dear Nushin,

There is no contradiction between my answer and the verses.

There is a logical mistake in your reference to Hitler: even if vegetarianism were a necessary condition for wisdom, it would still not be a sufficient one.

The point is not that holding a vegetarian diet leads to more compassion, but rather that it is more compassionate to be a vegetarian, if compassion is understood as applying to all sentient beings, and not only to humans.

You share an intellectual (mis)understanding of the way which is often found in many neo-advaita teachings, a misunderstanding according to which nothing is good or bad, beautiful or ugly, intelligent or stupid. If we share this point of view, we shouldn’t see any difference in value between Buddha and Hitler, vegetarianism and the mass murder of cows, love and hate, tolerance and racism, a painting by Rembrandt and a centerfold of Playboy magazine, etc. This is obviously total non sense. Those who share these views should logically be able to eat garbage (or, close enough, dead animals:)?). Why not, since, according to Advaitic fundamentalism, there shouldn’t be any distinctions?

On a more serious note, here is the logical explanation for your misunderstanding: when we make a statement, we should always be aware of the level at which the statement is made, which can be absolute or relative.

At the absolute level, everything is unfolding as it should. This “unfolding as it should” includes the fact of ignorance appearing in the world, along with its train of cruelty, ugliness, disharmony and stupidity. However, at the relative level, at the level where there is black and white, day and night, wisdom doesn’t make one blind and unable to distinguish between ignorance and wisdom, cruelty and compassion, ugliness and beauty, stupidity and intelligence. The sage sees these distinctions at the relative level even more sharply than the ignorant. The difference here is that he/she doesn’t see an ignorant individual, or a cruel one, or a stupid one, and that he/she remains unaffected by ignorance and its manifestations, knowing perfectly that “everything is unfolding as it should”. He/she follows the inner light of Presence and, like the Buddha Gautama, Ramana Maharshi, Ananda Mai, Jean Klein and many others, acts from that intelligence, from that love, from that beauty, and not from some theoretical view of non-duality. The intellectual thinks non-duality, the sage is it, and, from being it, thinks it, feels it, perceives it and puts it into action.

I hope you’ll see the fallacy of your view before we meet, a meeting I look forward to. If you fail to see it, I suggest you spend some more time with meat eating people (especially teachers) until you miss the perfume of love.

Warmest regards,