The following article is was published in the April/May '09 issue of On Purpose Woman magazine. It was also published in Earthsave News, and on the VegSource website.
Veganism, the Sacred Feminine, and World Peace
by Don Robertson
Native Briton Donald Watson, the man who had founded the Vegan Society and coined the term “vegan” 64 years earlier, recently left this earthly existence behind at the age of 95. In his final days Watson listened as Dr. Will Tuttle’s book, The World Peace Diet, was read to him.
A lifelong pacifist, Mr. Watson had become vegetarian at the age of 14, after witnessing the slaughter of a pig. And, in the 1940s, upon learning of some of the less-than-gentle aspects of the dairy industry, he began to question man’s relationship with other species, and eventually decided to abstain from the use of all animal products.
Veganism takes the compassionate ethic of vegetarianism one step further; whereas vegetarians, by strict definition, avoid eating all animal flesh, including fish and chickens, vegans try to avoid eating or using any products that cause suffering. Vegans are more likely to attribute their lifestyle choices to concern for animals than to health.
The vegan movement has grown and, by some estimates, now includes more than half of all vegetarians. That growth was nurtured by the writings of Australian philosopher Peter Singer, a pragmatist, whose book Animal Liberation is often credited with starting the modern animal rights movement, in 1975.
The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony, by musician, educator, and Zen Buddhist Master Will Tuttle, PhD, was published in 2005. It builds a powerful case to support the author’s claim that meat eating and all forms of animal agriculture have laid the foundations for a whole, massive cycle of violence that has led to environmental devastation, enormous human health problems, and terrible cruelty toward animals.
Tuttle believes that when humans started herding animals 10,000 years ago we began to create a male-dominated consciousness of exploitation which then spread to the control and domination of other humans, as well. That consciousness is so deeply ingrained that what we eat is no longer a conscious choice.
The author advances the spiritual notion that as we take the flesh of animals into our bodies, we also absorb the energy, and thus the terror and misery from a life of confinement and deprivation, that’s contained in the food.
And if we really do believe that we reap what we sow, it’s hard to argue with the claim that we humans live in cramped, ugly conditions with no joy because that is what we force animals to do. Similar arguments are advanced to explain why humans have diets of highly processed, chemical-filled foods, why we suffer from disease, chronic worry and pain, obesity, and even why we are besieged by terrorists. The misery we inflict on others comes full circle.
Will Tuttle points out how universal spiritual principles are routinely ignored and violated, including all five of the Buddhist Precepts against: 1) Killing – Animals are killed by the billions every year. 2) Stealing – Animals have their babies stolen from them, as well as their milk, their eggs, and their freedom. 3) Committing sexual violence or misconduct – Animals are sexually abused through artificial insemination, and painful castration 4) Deceiving – Animals are deceived by barbed hooks, and by dark tunnels ending with electroshocks, stun guns and sharpened blades. 5) Forcing alcohol or drugs on others – Animals are forced to take antibiotics, drugs, hormones, and psychotropic pharmaceuticals,
Man’s alienation from himself and from nature has caused untold species extinctions, and his attempts to dominate and subdue nature have brought into question the ongoing ability of our ecosystem to continue supporting life on earth as we know it.
A United Nations report of Nov. ‘06, called “The Long Shadow of Livestock”, says that livestock operations create more global warming greenhouse gases than do all forms of transportation combined! When we consider also the pollution and extreme inefficiency of animal agribusiness (we feed cows 16 pounds of corn and soybeans to yield one pound of beef), it should become clear that the single most important thing we can do for our planet is to eat less meat!
The World Peace Diet encourages us to return to the garden, to a simpler way of life, and to the ways of the sacred feminine - cooperating with the cycles of nature, nurturing the growth of herb-, fruit-, nut-, and seed-bearing plants. In so doing, we may reclaim our intelligence, which Tuttle defines as the ability to make connections. And we may remember who we really are, and celebrate our connections to the earth, to each other, and to all living things.
Will Tuttle’s book, The World Peace Diet, provides us with an ancient, life affirming message from the earth, and teaches us that shifting toward a plant centered diet is a powerful, powerful way to love this planet and all those who share it!
Don Robertson is founding director of Earthsave Baltimore, a completely volunteer operated nonprofit that supports people in making healthier, earth friendly food choices. See www.EARTHSAVEBALTIMORE.org, or call 410-252-3043.