The existence of Buddhism in the world is divided into the Proper Dharma Age, the Dharma Image Age, and the Dharma-ending Age. These ages manifest in response to the karmic retributions of living beings. During the Proper Dharma Age, people had many blessings and their wisdom was great. Everywhere the water in the ground was as nutritious as milk. When the Dharma Image Age began, the water was not as nutritious and delicious as before. In the present Dharma-ending Age, not only does the water lack nutrients, it contains all sorts of toxins. Although we sterilize and treat our drinking water, the toxins cannot be completely eliminated.
This world is becoming increasingly toxic, and the air is very polluted. We use too many toxic things, and when the toxins enter our bodies, they undergo chemical changes and then pass out of the body to saturate the air. The atmosphere is permeated with various poisons. We know about the atomic bomb, hydrogen bomb, and so forth, which are the most deadly weapons. However, the poison that comes from people's mouths is most deadly of all. That is why the atmosphere is so polluted. Permeated by these poisonous vapors, the world degenerates day by day. People pass through their lives as if in a dream, specializing in eating, drinking, visiting prostitutes, gambling, black magic, oppression, destruction, kidnapping, fraud, and theft. This situation is just too dangerous!
How can we purge the world of poisons? Everyone should become a vegetarian. If people stop eating meat, the poisons will decrease day by day. If we really want to neutralize the poisons in the world, every person must become a vegetarian, because the flesh of all creatures is poisoned. Although you cannot detect the poison when you ingest it, you gradually become poisoned. Moreover, the poison is extremely lethal. There is no antidote, because the karma of enmity involved is too deep. Thus, the ancients said,
For hundreds of thousands of years,
the stew in the pot
Has boiled up a resentment very hard
If you want to know why there
arecalamities and wars in the world,
Just listen to the sounds from a
slaughterhouse at midnight.
The bowls of meat stew we have consumed during hundreds of thousands of years appear to be bowls of stew and nothing more, but the hatred involved in them is as deep as the sea. We should realize that meat-eating is the cause of personal fights, family feuds, wars between countries, and even intergalactic battles. All wars, floods, fires, epidemic plagues, and catastrophes are consequences of eating meat.
If you want to understand the reason behind these events, go stand outside a slaughterhouse at midnight and listen. When pigs are slaughtered, you hear them wailing. When cows are killed, they also cry out. When sheep are butchered, they bleat as well. And when any animal cries out before it is slaughtered, it is in fact emanating poison! It is thinking, “Fine, kill me now, but I'll be back in the future to kill you! I'll never let you forget this. You kill me, and I'll kill you. You eat me, and I'll eat you!” As a result, the air is filled with poisonous hatred, and this hateful energy causes all the various disasters and sicknesses.
If everyone became a vegetarian, these calamities would certainly be averted. Swords and shields would be exchanged for jade and silk, and violence would be transformed into peace and harmony. Thus doomsday would be avoided!
A talk given on September 19, 1982
at the City of the Ten Thousand Buddhas