2017 Essays

From China With Love

Dr. Will Tuttle

About 25 years ago in the early 1990s when Madeleine and I first married and were living together in a little house 2 miles out on a dirt road in the hills of northern California, we would occasionally get into misunderstandings that would make it hard to communicate because of our hurt feelings. One evening when this happened, I really wanted to reach out to Madeleine with a few loving words, so I wrote her a note but, because I couldn’t bring myself to actually hand it to her, I spontaneously fashioned it into a paper airplane and sailed it over to her where she was sitting at her desk. Fortunately, she was touched and amused by the flying love note, and so from time to time in those first years we would send each other paper airplane notes as the need arose, though this practice faded and was forgotten after a couple of years.

Fast forward 25 years to November 18, 2017, and Madeleine and I are in Guangzhou, China, where I’m lecturing on the main ideas in my book, The World Peace Diet, and giving piano concerts, accompanied by slides of Madeleine’s paintings of animals and sometimes by her accompaniment on the silver flute as well. The roughly 500 people in the audience become intrigued by what seems to them to be our remarkably happy and loving relationship, and so we are asked at one point to speak for an hour or so on the stage about what we have discovered to be the secrets to achieving more harmonious relationships. We share our insights and experiences, including the benefits of daily meditation, healthy plant-based meals lovingly prepared and eaten together, and sharing a common vision and mission. At one point, Madeleine also mentions briefly how in the beginning of our relationship when things got a bit difficult, I sent a paper airplane note of reconciliation to her. We ended the evening playing some music together, and the next morning took the train up to the city of Nanchang for the following day’s event on our 3-week whirlwind lecture tour in China.

When we arrived at the sold-out venue in Nanchang, there were again about 500 seats in the auditorium, and we noticed later that every seat had a little table next to it, and every table had a small cup for tea that would be served during the event, and also a paper airplane! Volunteers had apparently heard of our paper airplane story from someone in Guangzhou, and had made hundreds of paper airplanes so everyone had one, but no one said a word to us about them. During the evening program, we spontaneously decided to request that everyone take their airplane and write a “love-note” of appreciation or encouragement and send it sailing to a fellow member of the audience. Because paper airplanes are inherently wild and erratic in their flights, the recipient would be completely unpredictable.

How the attendees delighted in doing this! And re-doing it. We delighted in participating as well, and seeing the joy of spontaneous creative and loving actions. For the rest of the evening, during the lecture and songs, paper airplanes were sailing silently back and forth throughout the hall, and especially during the grand finale, a traditional large group song, when a few hundred more paper airplanes were brought out, and sent continually sailing to and fro among the laughing, singing, and dancing crowd.

It brought tears to my eyes, literally, as I reflected on my memory of that night 25 years ago, when my heart ached, and I felt rejected, alone, and hurt, and somehow found it within myself to send a little paper airplane note to my likewise hurting partner, and how that tiny seed, after 25 years of incubating, suddenly erupted on the other side of the world in a massive action of 500  people joyfully celebrating the power we all have to reach out with love, creativity, and forgiveness, and send each other flying love notes.

This is what vegan living is. It’s planting seeds of love and caring, and when we plant the seeds wholeheartedly and for the best for everyone, they will burst forth in glorious and unexpected ways, as living flowers that bring healing and happiness in ways we can never predict at the time.

So please, keep planting those seeds and tossing the little paper airplanes of your caring and kindness into the world. The universe remembers everything, and the seeds you sow will sprout to bless in ways you can never imagine. Every moment is an opportunity!

Dear friends,

We’ve just completed our memorable 65-day Vegan World Tour lecture series to 35 cities in Europe, India, China, and Hawaii, and we’re enormously inspired by the fantastic creative efforts of vegan advocates we’ve experienced firsthand around the world.

We have created a brief video that provides an overview of our Chinese lecture series to 16 cities in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and mainland China, bringing the World Peace Diet vegan message to many thousands of people through direct lectures and workshops, as well as through mainstream and social media. (We also have a brief video of our recent tour in India if you missed that.)

This was our third time promoting plant-based living in China in the last year, and it’s encouraging to see the progress being made in China in many ways. We traveled a lot on the new high-speed train system that connects many cities on trains going about 200 miles per hour, and could see first-hand some of the hundreds of thousands of acres that are being re-forested. Air, water, and soil quality are strongly targeted for improvement by Chinese authorities, and the results are gratifying to see and breathe.

We experienced how many Buddhist and Confucian groups are educating the public about the benefits of both organic and vegan foods, and creating vegan schools, communities, and sanctuaries, and the government and media are also cooperating in ways we can still hardly imagine in the West. If any place on our Earth can be called the birthplace of veganism, it’s China, with the Buddhist monks inventing vegan versions of pork, chicken, and fish to please wealthy patrons many centuries before we even had the word “vegetarian” in the English language.

Finally, some of you have requested that my original piano music be available as printed sheet music. We have now accomplished this, we are happy to say, and the sheet music for 14 of my original piano compositions—including perennial favorites like “Benediction of Light,” “The Garden,” “Redwood Light” and “Dance for the Arctic Moon,” are now available.

Don’t forget our new book, Your Inner Islands, on developing spiritual intuition, as well as our World Peace Diet Facilitator Training Program. We are living in momentous times, and it’s heartening to see so many people working to make a positive difference in our world, starting with ourselves, our plates, and our relationships.

Madeleine and I wish you a warm and love-filled season and abundant New Year. We will be continuing our efforts to share the World Peace Diet message of respect for all life in the first few months of 2018 in southern California, Arizona, and Florida; please see our continually-updated schedule of upcoming events for details.

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