Everyone has an atom bomb (afflictions) waiting for the right opportunity to explode. The power of afflictions is greater than atom bombs. See, everyone around the world has a huge temper. No matter which person in which country, if he has no cultivation, he thinks pretty much like an asura. They are combat experts who think all day long about how to win their battle. For this reason, violence permeates the three thousand great thousand worlds. Violence (a toxin) is in the air, causing people to develop strange terminal diseases.
Too much killing results in natural and manmade disasters. Perhaps it is earthquakes, tsunamis, extreme cold or heat, or even inclement weather. Often this results in a country that is not prosperous and people that are not at peace. Furthermore, people who are blind, deaf, or mute are the way they are because they killed too much in their past lives. After death they fell into the hells to suffer, then they turn into hungry ghosts, animals, and humans. Although they are humans in this lifetime, they face the consequence of being disabled.
People who do not have all of their six senses have no opportunity to see the Buddhas, hear the Dharma, or meet a Sanghan. Their karma prevents them from having affinities with the Triple Jewel. They go round and round in the six paths but cannot find the way out.
People who do good will be reborn in the three wholesome destinies (the realms of gods, humans and asuras). Those who have committed offenses will be reborn in the three evil destinies (the realms of hells beings, hungry ghosts, and animals). As the ancients say,
"Leaving the tummy of horse, we enter a donkey's womb. How many times have we gone before King Yama. As soon as we go before Lord Shakra's palace, we return once again to King Yama's pot."
People are not necessarily people in every life. Sometimes they are horses and sometimes they are donkeys. They are often guests at King Yama's palace, who knows how many times they have paced about there. Just when they go by Lord Shakra's (Jade Emperor) jeweled palace in the sky (because they were born in the heavens), they run into King Yama's pot soon enough, being fried into charcoal there.
No one can guarantee that one will develop merit and virtue and do good deeds in every life. Sometimes one is confused and cannot tell right from wrong, hence is turned by and follows the states. They commit crimes and create offenses, violating the five precepts of killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and taking intoxicants.
People who do not violate the five precepts but cultivate the ten good deeds will become reborn in the heavens and enjoy celestial blessings and happiness. The worst blessings in the heavens still supersede the best blessings in the human realm by several hundred times. This is why people who are in the heavens do not want to return to the human realm. By the time they enjoy their heavenly blessings and enter the human realm, they are still people of great wealth and status. They are definitely not average people.
For hundreds of thousands of years, the stew in the pot
Has boiled up a resentment very hard to level.
If you want to know why there are calamities and wars in the world,
Just listen to the sounds from a slaughter house at midnight.
This poem is directed toward those who eat meat and drink bouillon made from mutton, or beef, or pork. Or maybe it's cat broth or dog soup, or rat soup. Or maybe it's made from ants or mosquitoes. At any rate, the reason for the ingredients of these different kinds of broth is that for a very long time, people have assumed that they have the right to take the lives of other living creatures in order to enhance their own. In order to bolster their own physical strength and at the same time to enjoy the flavors of flesh, they deprive other creatures of their lives. That's why people eat meat. But the resentment--the anxiety and hatred--contained in that broth is as deep as the sea. That is because life after life we mutually kill and eat, eat and kill--we eat each other's flesh. You eat my meat, and then I will turn around and eat your flesh. We slaughter and devour each other in this way. and that is why the enmity is as deep as the sea, and the "resentment is very hard to level."
Every living creature longs to live and loathes to die. But we participate in the "survival of the fittest," as we use our power to take by force the lives of other creatures--we rob them of their lives. And at that moment before death, they experience tremendous hatred. Within their minds they harbor this hateful thought of vengeance: "You are killing me now? Well, in the future, I'll kill you. You are going to eat my flesh? In the future, I will eat yours." And they hold onto this resentment, until it becomes as deep as the sea and the mutual antagonism is very hard to level. There's no way to resolve those feelings of resentment.
So, "If you want to know why there are calamities and wars in the world"--people all over the world wonder why there are countries that fight with other countries on a world-wide scale. Why do such wars come about? There are man-made wars involving weapons and troops and there are natural disasters of water and fire. Such things happen all the time in this world. Previously it was North and South Vietnam at war; now it's Argentina and Great Britain bombing each other. Why? It's because of too much killing karma--there's such a long history of mutual slaughter which has become so complex that there's no way to clearly reckon the books. So people just strike out at their fellow beings, using modern weaponry, tanks, guided missiles, trying to overpower the strength of the opponent. So, "If you want to know why there are wars and calamities in the world, just listen to the sounds from a slaughterhouse at midnight." You'll hear the pigs crying and the cows moaning and the sheep bleating, screaming and wailing, beseeching people to spare them their lives. And when you hear those sounds, you will have a good idea of where the wars and weapons come from. There's another poem that reads,
In the Chung Wen [Chinese] character for meat are two people.
The one inside has been caught by the one outside.
So when living beings eat the flesh of other living beings,
If one really stops to think about it, isn't that just people eating people?
The Chung Wen character for meat (肉) is a picture of a mouth--an open mouth, since the horizontal stroke at its base is missing--and inside the mouth is a picture of a person, while outside the mouth is a picture of another person waiting. The person outside the mouth hasn't gone in yet. The person inside the mouth would like to escape, but can't. He's stuck inside the mouth. The one inside has grown while inside the mouth, so although the enclosure is only three-sided, he can't get out. Why is he stuck there? Basically this is a pictograph of a person being eaten by another person. The one who is eating the meat is on the outside--he still resembles a person. But the one on the inside is already no longer a person. He has turned into an animal. Not only has he turned into an animal, but he's been trapped--detained there. He can't go up and he can't go down; he's stuck right in there. He's as cooped up as if he were in a pen. The pen could be a pig pen, or a sheep pen, or a cow pen. The person on the outside is keeping watch over the pen so that the animal can't escape. He intends to eat that animal's flesh. So the poem reads: "In the character for meat are two people."
And there's another obvious thing about this character: those two people have an irrevocable connection between them. The one eating and the one being eaten have an involvement with each other that cannot be severed because they are bound up in resentment. They'd really like to get at each other.
In this way living beings eat the flesh of other living beings. Think about it. We people are living beings and what we eat is other living beings. So this is a case of living beings eating other living beings. Horses, cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, and dogs are all animals. And all other creatures are also living beings.
There are those who say, "Well, those creatures have been put here by God just for people to eat."
Oh? Well, for whom were people put here to be eaten by? It can't be said that creatures were put here by the gods specifically for people to eat. What's really happening in this case? It's just survival of the fittest. People are more clever and more strong, and they rely on those qualities to usurp the lives of other living creatures by force. Think about the interrelationships involved in eating meat. Isn't it simply a case of people eating people? Since this is the case, let's return to our analysis of that person inside 'the character for meat who has now turned into an animal--a cow, a sheep, a horse, a pig, a chicken, a dog--any one of the different kinds of animals.
A Discussion of Venerable Master Hsuan Hua's Contribution to Buddhism
Section Three: Pure Vegetarian And Pseudo-Vegetarian
by You-Bin Chen on DharmaSite
Along with the recent increase in the number of vegetarians have come strange new names like vegetarian chicken, vegetarian duck, vegetarian baby birds, vegetarian fish and so forth. The Master has this to say about that problem: "Vegetarians who make imitation chicken, duck, or fish meat are those who are still unable to forget the flavor of meat and always want to taste it. They try to satiate the gluttony by eating imitation meat. Buddhism absolutely must change this custom; if it's not changed, eventually there won't be any left-home people who are vegetarian. Vegetarians shouldn't even mention the names of chicken and duck, how much the less go check out the consistency and flavor of those animals. I hope that every Buddhist. disciple will use the Dharma-selecting eye to recognize cause and effect and not fail to be clear about the cause and effect involved in this."
The Shurangama Sutra says. "if the cause is not true, the result will be crooked." Although they are imitation animals, still, there is subtle cause and effect involved. Let's look at what the 6th roll of the Shurangama Sutra says: "Ananda, I permit the Bhikshus to eat five kinds of pure meat. This meat is actually a transformation brought into being by my spiritual powers. It basically has no life-force. You Brahmans live in a climate so hot and humid, and on such sandy and rocky land, that vegetables will not grow; therefore, I have had to assist you with spiritual powers and compassion. Because of the magnitude of this kindness and compassion, what you eat that tastes like meat is merely said to be meat; in fact, however, it is not. After my extinction, how can those who eat the flesh of living beings be called the disciples of Shakya?"
These "five kinds of pure meat" are only transformations brought about by the Buddha's spiritual powers; they never did have a life-force. "That's because the place where you Brahmans live is so hot and so sandy and rocky and so I created the illusion of five kinds of pure meat for you to eat "- that's also a case of eating "imitation meat." "But how could my disciples be so worthless as to casually eat 'real meat' after my Nirvana and still pass themselves off as Buddhist disciples!"
The Buddha predicted that later the Buddha's disciples would eat "real meal" and excuse themselves by saying that the Buddha permitted it. And now vegetarian restaurants everywhere use "vegetarian meat" which, other than as an expedient to get meat-eaters to become vegetarian, can only classed as "impure" in terms of cause and effect because there's grave danger that after eating the "imitation" for a while, people will want to eat the "real thing." .
People should not be putting all their energy into food and drink. Eating one's fill is good enough; no need lo think about the appearance and taste. Then there's the question of whether vegetarians can eat eggs. Or should those who eat eggs be called "pseudo-vegetarians" and those who don't "pure vegetarians"? Although this is a question that everyone has his own opinion about because "It's hard for the government to judge the domestic matters and it's hard for the Patriarchs to judge religious matters," still, the Patriarchs and Greatly Virtuous Ones of all generations all take a negative stand on this issue. For example: "It is not appropriate to eat eggs because they apparently have life and because they are contaminating.' "Eating eggs is not permissible! Those with deviant views say: 'Eggs that have not been fertilized can be eaten.' Don't believe it!" "It is not Fitting to eat anything that has awareness. And one should not eat any kind of egg, because, although they don't have awareness, they apparently have life."
The Elder Master Guang Qin's Way-place, Chengtian Chan Monastery has a rule posted: "Meat and foods containing meat, cigarettes, alcohol, and eggs are strictly prohibited on these grounds." Venerable Chan of Lianyin Monastery said in a taped talk: "Do not eat chicken eggs."
And the Master also says:
You say it doesn't matter if a vegetarian happens to eat eggs? Wait till you are a chicken, and then you will know that the reason you are, can be traced directly to eating chicken eggs.
Some Buddhist disciples eat the three kinds of pure meat and some out-and-out eat meat. If you are a glutton and like to eat delicacies, then why ask me? If you want to eat eggs, then you may as well eat meat.
Section Three of the Vajra Sutra titled "The Orthodox Doctrine of the Great Vehicle" says: "I must cause all living beings-those born from eggs, born from wombs, born from moisture, born by transformation...to enter Nirvana without residue so they can enter tranquility. It would be hard to say that a chicken egg is not a being "born from a egg" wouldn't it? The Shastra on the Manifestation of Consciousness says: "No eggs of any kind should be eaten because they all have young in them."
Actually we don't have to try to figure out if eggs are vegetarian or non-vegetarian. Just stop and think about it: People can give up eating the flesh of chickens, ducks, shrimp and crabs, and yet "not be able to give up" an egg? That's really too stupid! Besides, if a person were to eat a steady diet of eggs (and nothing but eggs) it's likely his system would be poisoned. On the other hand if a person drinks milk (and nothing but milk), not just for a week, even for a month, he won't experience any bad effects. If you don't believe it, try it! The problem isn't whether eggs are classed as meat or vegetable; the problem has to do with the greed behind our gluttony.