Homage to the eternally abiding Buddhas of the Ten Directions
Homage to the eternally abiding Dharmas of the Ten Directions
Homage to the eternally abiding Sangha of the Ten Directions
Homage to Shakyamuni Buddha
Homage to Supreme Shurangama of the Buddha’s Summit
Homage to Gwan Shi Yin Bodhisattva
Homage to Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva
The pots of stew simmered
During hundreds of thousands of years,
Have brewed oceans of deep resentment
Into hatred that’s hard to contain.
If you want to know the reason
For the disaster of weapons and troops,
Try listening to the cries at midnight by the slaughterhouse.
Within the character for “meat”, there are two people.
The person inside pulls in the person outside.
When living beings consume each other,
If you really think about it, isn’t it just cannibalism?
The two verses I just spoke have a lot to do with us.
The pots of stew simmered during hundreds of thousands of years – we are not talking about one or two years, but hundreds of years, thousands of years or even millions of years or eons. “The pots of stew” are the food in our bowls. A stew could be cooked with fish and be fish-flavored. If made with pork, it has pork flavor. The same applies with beef and lamb. It has various flavors that people like. We think that this stew has abundant nutrients and will make us healthy and long-lived if we consume it.
You should know that Heaven has the virtue of protecting life. Heaven does not like to see beings die but would rather that they live instead. All living beings also prefer to live rather than die. They enjoy being alive and do not want to die. Let’s take mosquitoes, for example. Even though they drink your blood, they will flee as soon as you start to move about. Why do they fly away? They are afraid you will slap them and they will die. There are also lice, which are very small and can stay on one’s body. If you take off your clothes to try to catch them, they will run and hide. From these two examples, we can tell that regardless of what creatures there are, they prefer to live rather than to die. We human beings enjoy our own life but don’t care if other beings live or die. We kill other beings and consume them to nourish our own bodies, just like using fertilizer to nourish the fields. We devour other living beings’ flesh to provide nutrients for our own bodies. That’s why the verse says:
Have brewed oceans of deep resentment into hatred that’s hard to contain. A bowl of stew contains hatred and enmity as deep as the sea. There is no way to pacify it.
If you want to know the reason for the disaster of weapons and troops, try listening to the cries at midnight by the slaughterhouse. If one wishes to know why there are so many wars in this world, it is because of too much killing. When too much killing occurs, there is not enough time or space for each individual to undergo his retribution; therefore, wars happen among individuals, families and even countries. It is due to this reason, that the great misfortune of wars in the world takes place. Do you want to know why there are wars in the world? You can try and listen at the butcher’s place where pigs, cows and sheep are slaughtered. What noise is there? At midnight, when pigs are slaughtered, they cry; the cows are also wailing and the sheep are bleating and crying out. Try and hear what sounds come from there at midnight.
In this world, when one plants good seeds, one reaps wholesome fruit. When one plants bad seeds, one reaps evil results. That’s why we say you reap what you sow. If a person kills someone, then he will reap the result of being killed by someone. If you devour others’ flesh, the natural result is that you will be devoured in turn. The character 肉for “meat” has two 人“people” inside. If you analyze the component parts of Chinese characters, then you will know that every character has its own unique meaning. The character 肉 “meat”, for example, contains the character for “mouth” (口). The bottom stroke was taken out symbolizing an open mouth waiting to eat another person. Inside the open mouth (口), there are two people. One is eating the other. The one being eaten feels great pain. On the other hand, the one who eats feels very happy. In actuality, those who don’t eat meat are said to take a loss while alive. Those who eat meat are people who will take a loss after death.
What does it mean to take a loss while alive? You eat vegetables and have to watch other people enjoying themselves eating meat. They eat wonderful delicacies like chicken, duck, fish, seafood, pork and beef; basically all kinds of tasty food that they can’t even finish eating. You can’t get it out of your mind and keep thinking: “Meat is not bad. It’s delicious.” You can’t eat it, yet you keep thinking about eating it. In this way, you feel you are trapped and have taken a loss! While you are alive you do not eat meat, but you watch others eating meat. This is to suffer a loss while alive.
Conversely, if you eat meat when you are alive, you will suffer a loss after death. How is this the case? When you eat meat like pork, beef or lamb, your body will take on the odor of whatever kind of meat you consume. You say, “I don’t believe it!” Well, let’s not talk about eating meat. Let’s consider the case when people eat garlic and onions. When you eat onions, your sweat will reek of onions. If you drink milk, your body will have the odor of milk. The same goes with butter and cheese. Why do Westerners have a kind of body odor? It’s because they eat cheese, butter, onions and other such food. As a result, you can smell their body odor from far away. If eating garlic, onions and cheese will give you this kind of body odor, why wouldn’t eating meat give you a meaty odor? It is said, “One takes on the color of that which he associates with.” If human beings keep eating pork to nourish their own bodies, they will smell like pork after some time. Even though you are a human being, your flesh will be partly human and partly pig. The same principle applies to lamb and beef. Part of you will become whatever you eat. When it’s time for you to die, you will come before King Yama. He will find out that you have eaten a lot of pork, beef, lamb and fish, and then he will say, “All right, what would you like to become? You can associate with whatever creatures you have eaten. You should incorporate with them.” Because of this, you can’t get off the hook. Your flesh body has become half you and half that of an animal. As a result, you will be drawn by the force of karma and will end up transmigrating in the Six Paths.
That is why we say that within the character for “meat” there are two people – one is eating and the other is being eaten.
Why do I say that those who don’t eat meat take a loss when alive? If you don’t eat meat and are a vegetarian, when you see others eat meat, you always think that eating meat isn’t so bad or meat tastes good. You haven’t let go of meat in your mind yet. You can’t eat meat but wish you could. Because of this dilemma, you feel cheated and taken advantage of. So, the verse says:
Within the character of ‘meat’, there are two people. The person inside pulls in the person outside. The person inside has to pull in the person outside because the person inside has become an animal and the person outside is in between being a person and an animal.
When living beings consume each other, they eat each other’s flesh and think it’s tasty.
If you really think about it, isn’t it just cannibalism? Ponder this point: –“We human beings are people now. In the future, we will become animals.” You say, “I don’t believe it.” When you actually do believe in it, it will be too late. The
Shurangama Sutra says, “The sheep then turns into a person.” If a sheep can be reborn as a person, then horses, cows or pigs can also be reborn as people; even a mosquito or an ant can become a human being someday. It’s just a matter of time. You can’t deny this fact. People are quite strange. If you teach them good things, they have doubts. If you teach them evil ways, they believe it right away. If you teach them to behave in a lowly way and turn bad, they learn it quite naturally. If you teach them to be noble and lofty, it’s extremely difficult. So, human beings are one of the oddest kinds of creatures in the world. If you don’t believe it, you can go ahead and investigate this for yourself.
Some people who like to eat meat are opposed to this idea and say, “There is no such thing. If what you say is true, how come out of all these people who eat meat, I haven’t seen a single one become an animal?” Well, if you wait until you witness this fact, it will be too late and do you no good. All the events in the world are quite mysterious. That is, when you do not know them they are mysterious. When you have already comprehended them, then they will no longer be mysterious.
To be continued