A ‘phobia’ is a mental illness. Some cases are very mild and some are very traumatic. There is hydrophobia which is the fear of water, agoraphobia which is the fear of being in public, homophobia which is the fear of gay people and the list goes on and on. We should never follow social, cultural, political nor religious trends that support such mental illness. Following mental illness and expecting it to become a new social norm has been attempted in the past with horrifying results frequently coupled with extremely high death tolls. Such was the case for the fear of Protestants and Catholics during the Reformation, the fear of black people from pre-Civil War days to the present, and xenophobia which is the fear of strangers, foreigners and outsiders which is at the root of all wars and genocides.
There is a new phobia on the scene, 'Veganophobia.' There are still dwindling numbers of people afraid of a vegan diet even though the American Medical Association and a multitude of other renowned health and nutritionist organizations have determined it to be the healthiest diet on our planet. For some people, this is a private crisis due to childhood programming from ignorant sources. Other group affiliations which prosper from despicable market strategies of animal abuse also endorse veganophobia to support their ill-gotten gains and financial security.
I would like to address yet another less practiced form of veganopphobia and that is 'Spiritual Veganophobia.' Vegan Buddha explained 2,500 years ago that titles and labels are self-limiting false images that only leads one to suffering. To call one’s self white, male, republican, vegan, protestant, rich, educated and sexy is one example. No one should have to bear such an identity burden. If one is white, then one conflicts with yellow, red, brown and black. If one is male, one competes with the females. If one is republican, one has made enemies of all of the democrats and if one is vegan, one might be singled out for ridicule by cattle ranchers, sheep auctioneers, fishermen, hunters and the like. Vegan Buddha explains that for the sake of peace and to reach people’s hearts, the use of such labels may only cause suffering and that it may be more skillful not to use such labels.
I have met two people in my life that do not use the term ‘Vegan.’ To them, this is food (vegan food) and that is not food (Non-vegan food.) This is a jacket (cotton) and that is not a jacket to wear (leather.) By not labeling themselves, their diet nor their lifestyle, they feel that they have reached more people and done more good. To them there is a game to be played that enacts all of the righteousness of the Vegan Way, without the spotlights, fame and notoriety of cultural narcissism.
They teach by example and are not directly afraid of the term ‘Vegan,’ and thus are not true phobics, but they find such labels as useless and as an obstacle for outreach. On one level, they are correct; real food that simply may be called ‘Food’ is only that which is vegan food. Such non-self- labeling vegans are not really ‘phobics’ but are they are enlightening beings of great magnitude.
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