Why does the vegan diet help in sowing seeds of peace in the Middle East, you ask? Yes. It’s simple. It’s just the law of like attracts like. If we save lives, we will have life. Yes. The way a vegan diet can help is because it is the most peaceful action on Earth that we can choose. By becoming vegan, the people in the Middle East are putting the power of their actions into their prayer for peace. And God will do the rest.
Host: Supreme Master Ching Hai, there are certain questions, as I shared with You earlier. So, the first question will be asked by Harvey Ellis. Harvey Ellis is a senior executive in the IT field, the speaker coordinator for our MEVEG Congress, and a supporter of vegetarian and organic living. So, Harvey, you can ask your question now.
Harvey Ellis (vegetarian): Thank You, Supreme Master. I would like to know in terms of the future of the Middle East, in terms of the environmental impacts in the region, at least the future of the Middle East, how does it compare to the rest of the world in terms of the environmental impact that You see?
Supreme Master Ching Hai (vegan): As I said to you, the United Arab Emirates is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change. I just hope it will improve through our more compassionate, Allah-pleasing lifestyle. I thank you for your concern, and it’s very nice to see you, first of all. I cannot really compare so detailedly, but I can only tell you that there will be dangerous impacts if people don’t change, if we don't change as a whole, humanity. Not only the United Arab Emirates, but the whole world has to change to the more sustainable diet, not to talk about compassionate diet. As the scientists have told us and as you mentioned, we are already seeing the impacts worldwide.
Even as we speak, the whole Middle East region is suffering, suffering from unusual, extreme hot weather and drought, even a worst-ever forest fire in Israel, for example. Heat waves, dust storms, and flash floods have been occurring with increased intensity and damage. I am sure you are already aware, that the Middle East contains 13 (one-three) of the 19 (one-nine) driest countries on the globe. Now, you see?
The water, available per person in the past 50 years, has become 52% less – meaning in the past, 50 years ago, for example, if they had 100 liters per day, now they have only 48 liters, per person. Forty-eight. That is 52% less. Now it’s getting worse and worse. In just five years ahead, one Arab person will have to survive on less than one-tenth the amount of water available to an average person in the world, in comparison. Mr. Ellis, you see? Leaders across the region are worried about how they will provide adequate water.
I think you all know this. You know the water is less and less now. Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the Holy Land are praying for rain, and the Jordanian government is even pleading to the people to hold prayers for rain after five years of unusually dry conditions. The desert is spreading relentlessly in Northern Africa. Massive sandstorms in Iraq have become much more frequent, more severe. Ancient irrigation systems in Syria have collapsed. There are Egyptian farmers so desperate for water, they dangerously use untreated sewage liquid to try to irrigate their crops. And, in the Persian Gulf, groundwater sources don’t have time to replenish and are being infiltrated by salty water from the rising sea – rising seas, not just one. The Arab world’s legendary Jordan River, the Dead Sea, and the Nile River are shrinking so fast, so fast – shrinking. One visitor to the Dead Sea noted that it now requires half an hour to walk to the beach to reach the water shoreline, which was just a few steps from what used to be the seaside hotels before. The hotels there used to have water at their “feet” – at their gate. And now, you have to walk half an hour in order to reach the water shoreline. My goodness.
Food production is also going down, drastically in some locations. The Fertile Crescents that fed all the farmed civilizations in Iraq until now is a permanent cracked desert already. Five hundred thousand climate refugees are on the move in Syria. These are people like a farmer named Ahmed Abdullah, real example, real people. He used to provide for his wife and 12 children from his farm of 400-acre field of golden wheat, and now he lives with them in a tent. Imagine? As he has no job, no money, and no support from anyone at all. He not only has no money, but he lost his dignity as the breadwinner of the house, as the provider for the family. Imagine how he feels. Imagine how we’d feel if we were Ahmed Abdullah – the poor farmer who lost everything because of climate change. Overnight, who knows, we could be the Ahmed’s family neighbor if the whole world’s population does not change in time to save us.
So, first we must stop the urgent climate change by adapting the vegan lifestyle, and fast, fast, fast, before the despair and tragedy get even more out of control. Second, we can also do a lot to help to ease the food and water shortages in the Arab world. For example, we can choose the best farming or irrigation methods that are water-saving. This could maximize efficient use of the precious resource, since 85% of all the freshwater in the Arab region is currently used for agriculture, mainly for livestock raising. It could even free up all this water for more sustainable uses instead if we stop the livestock raising.
So halting livestock raising, which goes hand-in-hand with the vegan lifestyle, would also hugely lessen the desert conditions. So, countries like Syria and Iraq could once again be prosperous and proud exporters of grain. I pray we won’t wait until it’s too late to change. Thank you, Mr. Ellis.
Host: Thank You, Supreme Master, for Your answer as well. We have one more question from Tony. Let me introduce Tony to You. Tony Satinder Pal Singh is a senior executive at a top oil and gas firm. He is also the food coordinator for the MEVEG Congress. He coordinated all the lovely lunches and breaks for us as well. Tony, can you ask your question now.
Mr. Tony Satinder Pal Singh: Thank you. Honorable Supreme Master? Good morning.
Supreme Master Ching Hai (vegan): How are you?
Mr. Tony Satinder Pal Singh: Very well, very well, Supreme Master. Thank You very much for a most insightful talk. It’s indeed a lot of lessons, a lot of facts that we take back with us. I would like You to share Your insights, Your views, on how a move to a (vegan) diet could actually help sow the seeds for long-term peace in the Middle Eastern region. Thank You.
Supreme Master Ching Hai (vegan): Yes. We all want that. We all want that, yes. Thank you, Mr. Singh, or you prefer me to call you Tony? (Either way is fine, Honorable Master.) Alright. For respect, I call you Mr. Singh. But for love, I call you Tony. (Tony is good. No, out of love, please call me Tony.) Alright. For love, I call you Tony. Yes. Thank you for all the food that you provide there for these beautiful people. (Thank You.)
Peace starts on our table, Tony. We all know that. And it’s simple. Why? Why does the vegan diet help in sowing seeds of peace in the Middle East, you ask? Yes. It’s simple. It’s just the law of like attracts like. If we save lives, we will have life. Yes. The way a vegan diet can help is because it is the most peaceful action on Earth that we can choose. By becoming vegan, the people in the Middle East are putting the power of their actions into their prayer for peace. And God will do the rest.
But I have told the UN delegate who came to our gala dinner last night, that peace doesn’t come just by praying. Everything has a price. Just like in our world we have negotiation for anything we want, peace also even needs negotiations, as you know that. Physically speaking, for example, the peace in Israel, in order to restart the peace process, Israel has been promised many airplanes. I guess it’s protective airplanes as well as billions of dollars, according to the press. I wasn’t there. I cannot tell you, that is from my knowledge. Now, similarly, we have to negotiate it spiritually.
We have to earn peace because we have damaged peace. We have damaged the atmosphere of peace by creating, participating, or inciting wars over these decades. (Yes.) The price of peace, Tony, is very high. I myself gave everything that I have, spiritual points, but I’m still a couple of zillions short. After this, all these conferences, I have to shut myself in again in a tent and continue to earn more merit in order to give more.
And you, all of you out there, please help me by being vegan, by being virtuous, by being benevolent, so that the atmosphere will be more suitable for peace, apart from the spiritual merit that we have to earn in order to give, just like money we have to earn in order to give or to spend. I spend very little, concerning money that I earn, as well as spiritual points that I earn. In case I give everything, I tell you honestly, I will not be able to go to Heaven. If you go to Heaven before me and see me still running around here the last minute, help me, please. I mean it.
Now, you ask me why we have to give spiritual points for example, to have peace in Israel and Palestine. You will ask me, right? (Yes.) Yes, OK. I will tell you why, sir. Just like a poor person, he needs money. And in order for him to stand on his feet again, the government gives him some support, or the neighbors give him some money, until he gains back his strength to work for his financial stability. Either he will repay you or not repay you, it doesn’t matter.
So, people who are into war, excuse me, forgive me, everybody, they’re in depleted status, situation, of spiritual points, of spiritual merit. Either because they have to take care of their country and decide to go into war for some reason and losing their store of spiritual points, or either they are in the critical time of shortage of spiritual points, just like we are in the critical time of shortage of water, or sometimes we are short of money. So, the one who has more must give, so that he can change the pattern of his karmic structure. The karmic structure, the karmic pattern – meaning that, whatever you have done in other lifetimes before you came here or in this lifetime will determine your actions. And it will continue further in the same route if they fall into a certain karmic pattern, then they’re just stuck there, cannot get out. You see? So they need spiritual fuel, power, in order to get out of that situation, of the structure of the karmic fixed pattern that they are trapped into. You see what I mean? Just like we give money to some people in time of need. The people who are into war are to be pitied, to be prayed for, not to be condemned and criticized. We have to help them. We have to pray for them, not just by word of mouth, but by our spiritual strength and our spiritual merit. We must share with the whole world. And in order to share, we must have first. (I understand. Thank You.)
Yes. The peace a size of Afghanistan and Israel costs zillions of zillions of spiritual points to ease, and I call upon all humanity to wake up. Please wake up. Please live the way you are intended to live. You are the children of God. You are the future, the children of the Buddha. We must live befittingly as the royal members. Please Be Veg. That will earn you enough merit to help the whole world and to restore peace on the planet. If you are virtuous, everything will become virtuous. Thank you very much. (Thank You, Supreme Master.)