Thursday, July 31, 2008

Eating meat is eating human beings?

Eating meat is eating human beings?

Chinese characters are combinations of symbols (pictographic: drawing), sounds (phono-semantic: shape and sound) and meanings (ideographic: ideology and concept). Of the three, what makes the characters stand out most visually interesting is the symbolic and artistic nature.

Take the word 肉(“rou”, meat / flesh) for example, the special thing about this word is how it's constructed from. There seems to be two 人(“ren”, man / human being) inside the character 门(“men”, door). Two men inside a door is meat? What does that mean?

The way I would interpret the character 肉(“rou”, meat) is quite similar but with a simple twist. My idea was inspired by the concept of universal love. You shall see why below:

(“ren”, man / human being): The character looks like a man walking with two legs.
(“men”, door): The character itself resembles a door with hinge.
(“nei”, inside): A man inside a door means 'inside', quite graphical too.
(“rou”, meat / flesh): There is actually a 'human being' (the lower character 人) hidden 'inside' meat.

This is the conclusion: There is a human being inside meat. If you eat meat, you eat human beings. How do we come to comprehend this? This simple conclusion is in line with the concept of reincarnation, that all living beings keep incarnating to other living forms depending on how well (or how bad) they've contributed during their life time.

What we are really eating? This piece of chicken could have been a grandmother of your friends in previous lives. That piece of red meat (cow) could have been your own grandfather who passed away many years ago. Killing and eating each others have created deep hatred and curses. No wonder the world is full of vengeance wars of all kinds.

1. This is one perspective to look at why eating meat is wrong. If you find the idea comfortable and useful, you can help to spread the message or even translate it to your own language for a good cause.
2. The concept of 肉(“rou”, meat / flesh; 'Human beings' are 'inside' meat) includes beef, chicken, turkeys, pork, pigs, chicken eggs, cows, fish, lobsters, crabs, horses, sheep, dogs, cats, cattle, goats, swines, mules, birds, donkeys, rabbits, leopards, giant pandas, owls, pigeons, crayfish, octopus, deers, eagles, hawks, ostriches, penguins, gooses, salmon, tuna, eels, snakes, snails, frogs, turtles, ducks, calves, steaks, puppies, kittens, ponies and so on.


The Runner, Dreamer, Observer, Seeker said...

Hi, John!
How intelligent! I haven't thought of this before..
And I do agree with you. We, humans often think of ourselves as the only beings. This is not the case.
Although I'm not a religious person, I do remember the Buddhist teaching to be compassionate towards animals because all living creatures have souls; indeed, they may have been humans in their past lives and may be humans again.
In all of the universe, I guess souls are all the same..humans or creatures.
We are immortal. We are love.
Thanks for this reminder.

John J. C. Lew said...

Dear the runner, dreamer, observer and seeker,

Compassionate and universal love is the answer to many questions and troubles.

Mortal in this physical world and immortal in everlasting realm of reincarnation. We all have to learn our lessons.

I thank you for your kind words.
Take care,
John Lew

YF said...

Old friend, how are you?

Thanks for all your writings, very meaningful. Thank you for your consistent works.

YF 敬启

John J. C. Lew said...

Dear YF,

No problem. The pleasure is all mine.

Take care,
John Lew

Mosaic said...

Hi. Today, you left a comment directing me here at my LiveJournal. (My username over there is mosaic.) I took a glance through a few of your entries on this page, and while I appreciate what you are trying to do through your blog, I disagree with your methods for teaching based on my own spiritual beliefs.

Also, I'm a little bit put off by the fact that you gave no indication where and how you came across my LiveJournal, which made me a little biased against your message. I couldn't look at it objectively because I was already wondering, "Who is this guy and how the heck did he find me? Should I be creeped out here or what?"

Again, I appreciate your efforts to encourage others to look at meat eating in a different light, but your approach was very ineffective on me. Take that for what you will; I just thought you might appreciate another perspective on your methods in case you felt like tweaking them to make them more effective.

Thank you,

John J. C. Lew said...

Dear Mo or Mosaic of,

1. It's okay to disagree on certain subjects and views as everybody has different spiritual backgrounds. The good thing is we still can agree to disagree. That's the beauty of multi-ethnic global village.

2. I bumped into your site while I was searching for topics and information on proper diet and meat eating. Your site showed up on search engine and I found your writings to be interesting. I, from time to time, read different views and drop "Hello" messages to new friends around the world who may or may not share similar views. This was how I came across your site. And it's nothing creepy about it. By the way, you should look into your site's privacy setting if you don't want your site to be searched by search engines.

3. You may not find my effort to be effective; I'm glad there are others who appreciate what I do. Again, we can always agree to disagree. I wanna thank you for letting me know how you feel. I'll certainly review how I can do better to reach wider scopes.

I really hope this message can get to your hand but I'm not too optimistic on that. I tried to locate you again on the web but to no avail. It's a bit disheartening for me if we somehow had misunderstanding because of miscommunication.

Take care,
John Lew

Humble Being said...

This is in response to John's theory of "eating meat is eating human beings?"

The word meat is broken down into 2 parts, "within" and "person". Within a person there is meat, it is as simple as that. One can break it down into 3 parts, a door with 2 persons within with one above the other, which does not make much sense. The viewpoint of 1person within the other is a little farfetched and clearly not the intention of how this word was formed.

Reincarnation is a part of Buddhist believes; therefore let’s look at Lew's theory from a Buddhist's standpoint. The form that we take in each lifetime is like putting on a different outfit. The body is merely the medium that our spirits utilize to function in this world. We have to understand if our grandfather reincarnated to become a cow, he did not physically become a cow; his spirit had taken on a cow's body as an outfit in that particular lifetime, this outfit is only a borrowed substance. If indeed we eat the beef from this cow, it only means that our grandfather’s spirit had provided us nourishment for our bodies. This is a compassionate act that disputes the theory of “Killing and eating each others have created deep hatred and curses”
cited by Lew. So good news to everybody, we can still enjoy a good steak without feeling guilty.

So often when people read an article like this they think that this guy is a doctor, he must be right. I can agree that Lew must be very intelligent to become a scholar and a doctor; however, intellect does not necessarily translate into wisdom. Wisdom is undisputable. One can use his or her intelligent to manipulate information, but it cannot stand up to the test of wisdom.

Sometimes the more intelligent one
becomes, the less wisdom one possess. Lew has misinterpreted the formation of this word, blame the conflict of this world on meat consumption and have very little
understanding of the theories of reincarnation.

It seems to me that such theory is created to promote a personal agenda that eating meat is wrong. I am sure that there will be plenty of people buying into such theory not know that there is no fact to support it, they only know that this theory comes from an intelligent man. Look at the radical Islamic who buy into their religion promotes the killing of innocence. Do these people possess any wisdom at all?

It is very important that we must first examine the wisdom within before we accept a theory. If John truly believes in his theory he should also believes that one maybe married to his grandmother or even mother. Does that mean that marriage is bad just like eating meat is bad. This is something for John to figure out.

John J. C. Lew said...

Dear “Humble Being”,

Our ancestors in different parts of the world have had the concept of reincarnation for a long while. Some dates back to the time before Buddha was born. To say that the concept of reincarnation was originated from Buddhism may not be true. The belief of reincarnation has been around for a long long time in many cultures.

About the saying of animals provide nourishment for our bodies, this is only from the point of view of nutritional perspective. And it's also only half true. Animal products have many problematic effects on human bodies and many of these are well documented. Also, human beings slaughter animals for food. These animals don't volunteer themselves as food. They can't possibly voluntarily go through the sufferings and pain of slaughtering to let us eat their flesh and drink their blood. There are many things we can eat for proper nutrition. Why do we take nourishment from the suffering of animals?

If anybody wants to “enjoy a good steak without feeling guilty,” go ahead. Everyone has different approaches and beliefs in life. He or she has assignments or works to do in their own lives. Let's just hope that in the process, not many beings are accidentally harmed.

There are many contributing factors to the conflicts of the world. On spiritual level, eating flesh is one of the factors. I believe human beings have made one of the biggest mistake in taking meat/flesh/animals/pets as food. Our mouths can take in an incredible variety of things. But in the end, there is a big price to pay for consistent wrong intake.

Wisdom or intelligence of me myself: I have no comments. Let's leave it to readers of my writings to comment.

Thank you.

John Lew

Humble Being said...

In my comment I wrote “Reincarnation is a part of Buddhist believes; therefore let’s look at Lew's theory from a Buddhist's standpoint.”. I never said that the concept of reincarnation was originated from Buddhism. I also wrote “One can use his or her intelligent to manipulate information, but it cannot stand up to the test of wisdom.” This is a pretty good example here. You are doing some serious manipulating here my friend.

You mentioned that animal products have problematic effects, I agree that excessive consumption of any meat can be harmful to health. I am sure that you are also aware that excessive consumption of certain beans can cause you to produce gas and diarrhea uncontrollably.

It seems that you object to human consuming meat because of the suffering of the animals, in that case I hope you can afford organic vegetables and fruits that are grown in greenhouses. Do you know how much insecticide is applied in the farms around the world? Do you know how many insects are killed on your behalf so you can consume that perfect strand of vegetable? Do you know how much chemical are you consuming?

God created this world with purposes for all living beings. This is what we call nature. Predators(meat eaters) have eyes in the front of their faces; prey animals (often vegetarians) have eyes on the side of their faces for a broader view(look out for predators). Men have eyes in the front; therefore, meat eaters.

You can have your choice to eat all the veggies you want, countless insects have already died on your behalf, you should seriously consider growing your own food organicly. Please do not tell people that eating meat is wrong, it is just a choice that is intended by nature.

You wrote “There are many contributing factors to the conflicts of the world. On spiritual level, eating flesh is one of the factors. I believe human beings have made one of the biggest mistake in taking eat/flesh/animals/pets as food.”. You are implying that it is god’s will for us not to eat meat. You are giving a personal opinion with absolutely no fact to support it. This is like for me to say that Mr Lew wore a pair of pants to go to work today, this is a big mistake, but I do not have any fact to substantiate this statement. People are meant to have meat as part of their diet, of cause they can choose to only eat veggies, but it is not wrong to eat meat, spiritually or morally.

I find it kind of strange to blame some of the conflicts of the world on human diet. I always think that respecting people with the freedom of choice on their diet will promote more harmony. I don’t see how we can reduce conflicts by telling people that they are spiritually and morally wrong if they eat meat because they maybe eating their ancestors.

By the way it is not very wise to leave it to readers to comment on your wisdom. True wisdom requires no comment from others.

John J. C. Lew said...

Dear Humble Being,

I thought I would reply to your writing with more details to clarify some misunderstandings that could have taken place. It's the process of running out of appropriate presentation that deters it.

Nonetheless, to each his own. We're entitled to believe in our own dimension. We all do what we feel obliged to do. Hopefully the process of which doesn't harm innocent beings.

You certainly have some very interesting thoughts of yours. Keep it up.

John Lew

Lau said...

Hi, Dr. John,


《by Rev. Hui Hai》

A "compassionate Heart" makes no distinction between relatives and strangers, or between you and me.
We show a Great Compassion Heart towards all sentient beings.

Keep it up....toward your aim .....


John J. C. Lew said...

Dear Sylvia,

Grow bigger compassion and become more universal-minded. Cool huh?

You too keep up the good work.