Journal Article — The Flesh of Our Children: Two Letters and Five Contemplations on Food from Thich Nhat Hanh — by Thich Nhat Hanh
Buddhist practitioners have practiced vegetarianism over the last 2000 years. We are vegetarian with the intention to nourish our compassion towards the animals. Now we also know that we eat vegetarian in order to protect the earth, preventing the greenhouse effect from causing her serious and irreversible damage. In the near future, when the greenhouse effect becomes severe, all species will suffer. Millions of people will die, and sea levels will rise and flood cities and land. Many life-threatening diseases will result, and all species will suffer the consequences. Both monastic practitioners and lay people practice vegetarianism. Even though the number of lay practitioners who are 100 percent vegetarian is not as many as monastic practitioners, but they practice eating vegetarian meals either for 4 days or 10 days each month. Thay believes that it is not so difficult to stop eating meat, when we know that we are saving the planet by doing so. Lay communities should be courageous and give rise to the commitment to be vegetarian, at least 15 days each month. If we can do that, we will feel a sense of well-being. We will have peace, joy, and happiness right from the moment we make this vow and commitment. Being vegetarian here also means that we do not consume dairy and egg products, because they are products of the meat industry. If we stop consuming, they will stop producing. Only collective awakening can create enough determination for action. The text includes an open letter to the KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) company, and Five Contemplations on Food.
Thich Nhat Hanh. 2008. “The Flesh of Our Children: Two Letters and Five Contemplations on Food from Thich Nhat Hanh.” Pp. 21-28 in Thich Nhat Hanh’s Sociological Imagination: Essays and Commentaries on Engaged Buddhism (Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge: Volume VI, Issue 3, 2008.) Belmont, MA: Okcir Press (an imprint of Ahead Publishing House).
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