Vegans have the correct foundation to practice compassion.
Compassion is not just an opinion nor is it just an observation. If it were that simple, we would live in a far more compassionate world. If one truly wishes to cultivate compassion in their life, going vegan is the right first step. It is reasonable to expect a compassionate diet and lifestyle from anyone who seeks to fathom the depths of true compassion and, indeed, it is a very easy thing to accomplish. Vegan Compassion is derived from both a vegan lifestyle choice and being subject to impossible circumstances. Vegan Compassion does not rest with simply feeling or relating to another’s suffering, it involves a response showing the desire to resolve and alleviate suffering.
For example, there are some street people who seem like they have not showered in weeks. Perhaps these people are junkies and alcoholics, begging in a big city. We have all seen this scenario play out before. You know that if you give such a person money, they might just buy more drugs, alcohol, meat or tobacco and continue their cycle of suffering. You cannot fix them, it is not your responsibility. These people who are begging on a street corner must fix themselves, if it is true that they need fixing at all. You cannot tell them that their suffering is rooted in their meat eating, their drugs, clinging to the past nor can you tell them it is a medical problem and that they should find help. None of this will do anything to help and it will only seem judgmental and rude from their view. They will tell you that you are the one who needs fixing. Giving them a cold shoulder and walking away hurts. So how does Vegan Compassion work in this situation?
Compassion begins with truth. People are poor due to many diverse reasons, but it seems often that greed is central to this worldly condition; both theirs and others. If a poor person cannot give money, they should offer a smile, give their time, give their kindness, offer to help and serve others. This is how to overcome the greed that has darkened the world and caused everyone to suffer.
When seeing suffering, do not hide. You are being challenged to find the cause of this suffering more clearly. Is this suffering due to those people’s thoughts and actions or are their poor choices part of a bigger social, economic, political, cultural and educational problem? Be touched by their lives. Isn’t this why we are all born, to touch the hearts of others. Let your heart be touched. Ask yourself if your life contributes to the machine that causes this problem, the source of such alienation, poverty, ignorance and wrongfulness. Consider what you can do in your life to prevent people from falling into such despair.
The most important change and first step a person can make in their own life to prevent this type of criminal negligence of humanity is by going vegan. A vegan diet conjoins one with agricultural values of cooperation, cultivation, patience and helping life to grow. It is carnivorous to only care about one’s own spoils in the daily hunt. Plants offer unlimited jobs for humanity. In a carnivorous world, only the fit survives which leaves little room at the top. In a vegan world, by contrast, there is plenty of water, land, resources and work for all people for we live together as equals in this great circle of life. Through a vegan diet one does not contribute directly to war, ecocide, class stratification, alienation, and domination which is all rooted in meat consuming society. By going vegan, the preciousness of life is acknowledged in every meal.
Sometimes we can only wait for the Karmic Wheel to turn and release others from their self-imposed suffering gained by living at the expense of fellow Earthlings that they eat. No wonder so many are driven to drugs and alcohol to hide from the terrorism of their carnivorous diet. It is strange that society has deemed harmful lifestyles that increase global suffering to be so normal and complacent and that it is alright to live in a world bent on self-destruction. If you live as a vegan, you are not supporting wrong views that leads to wrong acts upon the Earth. Of course, diet alone is not enough to obtain correct view, one must be educated and have a spiritual practice that invites the wisdom of Vegan Compassion.
Let us return now to the hyperbole of the street people in our example.
You cannot talk with these people, they will not listen, you cannot give them money, they will only perpetuate the problem, you cannot solve their problem and if you get too close, they might take advantage of the situation and cause you to regret trying to help. You can pray for them. As a vegan, you already have separated from mechanisms of carnivorous aggressiveness, and, as a vegan your prayers, chanting and meditation is very meaningful in a world where life is so cheap and means so little. Chicken wings can be bought for under one dollar, third world countries are driven to mass starvation and civil war, bio weapons are developed in labs under orders from respected world leaders, terrorists sell their trade to the highest bidder and land mines still dismember children. Can the simple prayers of vegans genuinely practicing compassion bring any light in a world drowning in such global misery?
Maybe we should trust the purity of our vegan lives and let our prayers, chanting and meditations count. Say a prayer for the street beggars, chant a round for them and then meditate to clear your mind from the misery of their suffering. See them as healed, whole humans whose vegan enlightened nature is as pure as your own. Light the way for them to reach this level of goodness and purity in the darkness of their lives. Caring is the beginning. Be a guide for the wayward, live as an example and pray for the many. This prepares your heart and mind so when a genuine opportunity to help comes along, you might find yourself able to join in the experience of helping others to find their way.
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