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The stream that leads to nirvana 0

Dear Bradshaw,

Regarding your comments on vegetarianism, I hear you loud and clear. I think you know that Francesca and I are both members of and financial contributors to¬†PETA.¬†When I see those animal rescue videos, I’m thrilled about the rescue but emotionally drained and disturbed nonetheless. One video that went viral about a year ago was heart wrenching, impossible to watch with dry eyes. Though uplifting at the end, the video¬†demoralized me and I took days to recover.

I believe treating animals with the respect and admiration they deserve would be a quantum leap toward creating peace on Earth. I’m convinced people would consequently start treating each other with more respect and admiration. I get frustrated when I see a child tyrannizing birds just to “flex his or her muscles” so to speak. Of course, I understand such actions are a natural human instinct, but the parents disappoint me. In my opinion, they should explain to the child that the birds are our brothers and sisters.¬†In fact, I’d take¬†the concept¬†a step further. I believe we should treat plants, insects, and all living things with respect and admiration. I guess you could take me for a bit of Jainist¬†in that sense.

My esteem for the Native American culture knows no bounds. I applaud their ceremonies for honoring and thanking the animals they killed, and the fact that they used every part of each animal for practical purposes. Then there’s the profound idea that some American Indian languages had no word to distinguish between human and animal. They had just one word, perhaps best translated as humanimal. For me, the Native American Indian exemplifies the apogee of the human species. Almost everything afterward seems to be about degradation and decline.

I realize I’m off track here. After all, the issue is vegetarianism and, in the words of Buddha,¬†“To become vegetarian is to step into the stream that leads to nirvana.”

I can understand eating animals thousands of years ago and, okay, fine, perhaps even hundreds of years ago, but times have changed, and human consciousness has evolved. Eating animals is not necessary. Leo Tolstoy insisted,¬†“A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food. Therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life for the sake of his appetite.”¬†In fact, though debatable, the vegetarian diet¬†is widely believed to be¬†healthier not only for the individual but also for society as well. Believed by whom? Well, Albert Einstein, who said,¬†“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as a vegetarian diet.”

Many years ago, while reading the menu of what was being served in the school cafeteria to¬†a first grade class, instead of “hamburger” I jokingly said, “cowburger”, and the kids bellowed, “Ah!” and “Yuck!” To tell you the truth, I was surprised. Though they were only six years old, I’d never have imagined they didn’t know that the meat in a hamburger came from a cow. That shows how distant and detached so many meat-eaters are from the reality of what they eat.

Anyway, this email is long and getting longer. So I’ll leave you with one last quotation. Being in Italy, who better to quote than Leonardo da Vinci, who said, “The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.”

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

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