Ahimsa – A Guiding Light to Vegans


There’s something happening on the Internet that’s a little strange. It’s about a group of vegans who are putting a lot of hateful statements out to non-vegans. This is totally out of order. As I look at it I ask, “How did this happen?” I have a very long history of veganism. Shanti and I have both been vegan for 33 years, which is an interesting soul mate connection. Obviously, we see veganism as transformative for the world on multiple levels. I have expanded the teaching to holistic veganism. In 1944, Watson talked about ahimsa, which means “do no harm”. Do no harm to animals. Do no harm to your health. Do no harm to the environment. Do no harm to your spirit. All of these are connected. We have been sharing these around the world. I’ve spoken in 40 countries talking about holistic veganism and veganic farming. We have 17 different programs in 13 different countries.

We are presently negotiating with the incoming president of Liberia to create a nation-wide program. He understands the importance of moving to organic, veganic farming, which means no GMO’s. This is a big deal. GMO’s are connected to a variety of illnesses, such as diabetes, five times more congenital defects, literally 100 times more miscarriages, decrease in sperm function by at least 40%, increased heart disease, increased cancer, and so forth. The people in Africa really get the whole non-GMO issue. They understand about the purity of food.

This is a worldwide effort and one of my key teachings is in every generation the medicine for that generation arises. In this generation the medicine is holistic veganism. In 2010, the European Commission said that veganism is the way to go in terms of the ecology. At about this time the UN also made a similar statement. This is the trend that is happening. It might not be as fast as we want it to happen but what else is new?

We are looking at a major effort for the healing of the world. We are talking about energy. We are talking about conservation of resources and the ecology, the animals, and your own health. The research has been out there that there is 32% less heart disease if you go vegan. There is significantly less cancer. The Adventist Health Studies showed that vegetarians have about half the risk of adult onset diabetes as nonvegetarians.[1] In 2008, another study reported that nonvegetarians were 74% more likely to develop diabetes over a 17-year period than vegetarians.[2] In 2009, a study involving more than 60,000 men and women found that the prevalence of diabetes in individuals on a vegan diet was 2.9%, compared with 7.6% in the nonvegetarians.[3] The data is overwhelming in terms of health and the environment. For thousands of years we’ve known this for spiritual health, no spilling of blood. This is in most of the spiritual traditions.

The core of veganism is ahimsa on all levels. What happened with these groups that are acting in very inappropriate religious and self-righteous, hateful ways toward non-vegans? Veganism is not a religion, but it can create polarity if vegans are unconscious. Hate creates separation. What happened here? Where do we go with that? The next question is hate as a sign that you’re separated from your soul so that you don’t have that connection to other human beings, the soul-connection. I believe that is true here because how else do you arrive at this hateful position against non-vegans?

There is another subtle concept. In the liberation process we go beyond time, space, and I Amness, and we go into eternal time rather than chronological time. Now I’m not saying that you don’t need chronological time to catch your airplane. Of course you do, but I’m talking about something else. The minute you are into time, you then go into the ends justify the means because you are in a hurry. When you’re in eternal time you’re not focused on an end that is a justification for your actions. People make all kinds of justifications for their actions. An example from history includes Mao. Mao killed 100 million people because they were in a hurry to create communism, which didn’t work very well anyway. There is also the example of Stalin who killed 50 million people, in his hurry to create communism, which of course fell because it doesn’t work. Communism doesn’t touch people’s soul. It creates a soulless type of situation. There were the killing fields in Cambodia. We don’t have to go too far to see that when you say the ends justify the means in time-oriented consciousness, there is a way that serious problems arise.

This is the same consciousness with this vegan group. The thinking is that we don’t have time to wait to save the planet; this justifies hatefulness. They have fallen into the trap of a time-limited worldview, which then justifies hatefulness against non-vegans. We can self-righteously make hateful statements “because it’s so critical for the environment” and for “public health”, etc. What we are talking about is some very unawake people who have lost the soul connection that links all humanity. This is serious dilemma for the small percentage of vegans who have wandered away from ahimsa. Of course, it isn’t just vegans that do that. Unfortunately, this is what people see, and it undermines the world for peace and undermines the ahimsa consciousness. This hateful position gives veganism a bad name.

When we see something like that how do we handle it? I have put something out on the Internet about it. As we work to bring awareness and consciousness and uplifting of the planet are we going let people get away with that kind of behavior? There are environmentalists going to the extreme of saying let’s get rid of the humans, because we have to save the planet. This is a very twisted way to go about things. It misses the point that humans are on the planet to evolve spiritually. Part of evolving spiritually is to learn to live harmoniously with the environment. Without a larger spiritual context, people get mixed up about the values, and create an approach that is not rooted in the deeper spiritual teachings of ahimsa. It takes thousands of years. It’s a slow process. Humans are slow learners, yet we are moving in a certain direction.

The essential question is, “How do we live in a way to uplift the web of life on the planet?” The Six Foundations and Sevenfold Peace provide a total way to do this. The Native Americans call it walking the great red way. Historically, at least 60% of the Native American tribes were vegan. Not all were shooting buffalo such as the planes Indians. Certain percentages were also live-foodies. Two different research sources show this.

If we look at this whole picture introspectively we may see that this vocal small percentage of vegans represents a little piece within us. As we heal this hatred within us, it helps to heal it for the whole planet.

May everybody be blessed with the inspiration of ahimsa.

[1] Snowdon DA, Phillips RL, Does a vegetarian diet reduce the occurrence of diabetes? Am J Public Health. 1985 May; 75(5):507-12.

[2] Vang A, Singh PN, Lee JW, Haddad EH, Brinegar CH, Meats, processed meats, obesity, weight gain and occurrence of diabetes among adults: findings from Adventist Health Studies. Ann Nutr Metab. 2008; 52(2):96-104.

[3] Tonstad S, Butler T, Yan R, Fraser GE, Type of vegetarian diet, body weight, and prevalence of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2009 May; 32(5):791-6.