Will Tuttle

Spitituality and reducing the cruelty in meals

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AscensionThe worldwide followers of Ching Hai, a noted Vietnamese spiritual teacher with students numbering in the hundreds of thousands, have set up vegan restaurants in many cities and contribute vegan food, clothing, shelter, and aid to disaster victims, prisoners, children, and the elderly in countries around the world. Though she requires students to meditate two and a half hours per day, vow to eat no flesh or egg products, refrain from alcohol and non-prescription drugs, and not work in jobs that promote the exploitation of animals or people, her movement continues to spread. It shows the effectiveness of a spiritual approach, because in less than twenty years she has been the proximate cause of hundreds of thousands of people’s transition to veganism. Rather than impede her movement, her insistence that her students reduce the cruelty in their meals may paradoxically promote it.

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