This section covers topics on vegetarianism in general and more specifically as it relates to Dao cultivation.
(If it has an English title then it has either English audio or subtitles)
There are many reasons why we should be living a vegetarian lifestyle: humanity, health, environment, economics. But what affects us most as spiritual beings is the karma created by eating meat. If one can truly understand the principle of cause and consequence and the law of karma then one can understand why eating meat is the cause of much of the world's strife. The short video, Life's Crying Plea (生命的吶喊), takes a look at this issue.
The video, Farm to Fridge, reveals the process by which farm animals end up on your dinner plate. Devour the Earth looks at the consequences (environmental, etc.) of eating meat from raising the animals to slaughter and production. Earthlings (地球公民) takes a comprehensive look at how we treat animals as pets, food, etc., and raises important questions that we must ask ourselves. Please watch these and the other videos (select from the drop-down menu above).
There are many vegetarian resources out there, but perhaps these are more educationally oriented:
The attached materials (bottom of this page) also give more information on this topic.
Vegetarianism for Dao Cultivators
Ideally, we should live a vegan lifestyle. However, there is a difference between veganism and the vegetarianism of Dao. Tobacco and alcohol are to be avoided as are the pungent vegetables and herbs of the onion family (onion, shallot / scallion, garlic, leek, chive). Alcohol can cause liver damage, and inebriation can lead to foolish and harmful behavior. Tobacco can cause cancer however it is taken (smoked or chewed) and is addictive due to its nicotine content. The onion family of plants, when eaten, increases one's temperament and desires leading to more emotional outbursts and uncontrolled behavior. And according to Chinese herbal medicine, these plants (including tobacco) damage the Qi energy of the body's major organs (lung, heart, liver, spleen, kidney). Dao cultivators shun these things because they create physical and mental impurity and disturb the calm of one's heart and mind—in other words, they create obstacles to successful cultivation.
The common perception of vegetarianism is that it is simply a diet. However, it is really a lifestyle as we make choices not only in what we eat but also in what we use and wear and how we treat other living beings. Ultimately, we, as humans, are judged by our humanity (consideration for others and being humane). If we fail to manifest humanity in our speech and conduct then can we be considered human? Confucius said, "Mankind differs from the animals only by a little, and most people throw that away." We must recognize that when we lose our humanity, we are no different from the animals.
There is a vegetarian specialty foods store called Tien Garden right here in Flushing, NY where you can buy many high quality imported vegetarian food products.