If you want to know our view as Taoists on vegetarianism, you have come to the right place. Instead of just throwing you a yes or no answer, I have decided to educate our audience with our theories so you can decide on your own. I have always told people not to skip the meat. We are born to eat meat, then let’s go with nature. I agree that there are special cases where people cannot eat meat or need a special vegetarian diet for some medical treatment. Sure, I am not against that at all. For normal people, though, why even make your life so hard trying to “avoid” meat when it is just part of our daily life?
Saam Law Taoists here don’t have any rules on meat and diet. Everyone is free to choose what they want to eat. However, I must clarify that there are other sects of Taoism with different rules. Some sects will require you to cut beef; some will say you must be vegetarian every 1st and 15th etc. The point is different sects have different rules. If you are in our lineage or thinking of ordaining into our lineage, this post is for you – no diet restriction, period.
Following the Nature’s Rule
Nature’s rule is always the way to go. It couldn’t go wrong because that’s what Taoists do. We know that whatever exists first will be eaten by the things that come out later. There is light and air first, then plants and flowers. Plants and flowers eat light and air. Then you see insects come into the game and eat the flowers. Later you see bigger animals come into the game and eat the insects. As humans come into the game, we eat animals, plants, light, air and everything that came before us. Why not? Naturally proven, we are all meat eaters, which is why most humans eat meat. It’s just already a fact and nothing to argue about. You could be an exception because you are sick or have other reasons, yet you cannot deny the fact that humans as a whole is a meat eater species. Nature has already laid it out for us. The answer is simple; we need to consume things that exist before us to fulfill our system’s needs.
The Problem with Not Eating Meat
It takes life to extend, so we need to eat something with life's essence. Animals have a heart that feels like human beings, while plants don’t. We use up our heart’s resources every day, and then we need to sleep to get a refill from our Yuen Sun (spiritual planetary body). After a good sleep, the heart will be “charged” again, but that’s just another top-up from your resource pool. If you eat meat, there will be replenishments to the heart from this world, allowing our heart to be topped up before we are exhausted and worn out and need to sleep. It is like bringing a power bank with you when you go outside. Your phone can get topped up anytime, and you don’t need to use up all the battery until you are at your last percent. Then get the phone charged when you get home at night.
By eating meat, we are consuming more life-essence from the animals, which helps our hearts to get stronger and less worn out during the day. Especially if you do a lot of things that use the heart, you would need the meat to replenish you before you get a chance to recharge.
How to Use the Heart
Now, how do you know if you use the heart a lot? What does it mean to be using the heart, to be exact? In Chinese, we say, “Use your heart to do things; then it will turn out great,” or maybe “Use your heart to study, then you will study well,” but how?
Very simple, when your heart is working, your soul is not. When the soul is working, the heart sleeps. The soul can also be understood as the “brain” for modern people because science says the brain thinks, yet it is not the case from a Taoist perspective. The soul thinks and processes information; the brain is just an organ that holds those powers in the body. Anyway, that’s not important for now. What’s important is knowing how to use the heart and what it means exactly to be using the heart.
Using the heart means you cannot think, but your body has to be doing it and wanting to do it. You are focused on doing something you want to do, but you are not thinking while doing it. Just like when you use your hands to type, you type and not think about what you have to type. It’s as if you talk inside your body, and the hands can already move on their own to type.
When we use the heart, we don’t think. If you are a YouTube creator, you will use your heart to make videos, so you won’t keep thinking as you work. You would be just doing it like you usually would and keep going and working without thinking or processing. That is using the heart. If you have to sit down and think, you are not using the heart anymore. This can only be achieved if you love something you do and focus on doing what you are doing while being very good at it so that you can skip the thinking part and go “automatic.” It is like seeing a chef chopping vegetables quickly without even looking or thinking; all he does is chop non-stop while the hand moves. He can just put his mind on another thing. This is purely using the heart to chop vegetables and not your soul. To achieve that, you would need a lot of practice to get there. It’s not like you know the trick; you can suddenly go into that mode.
How to use the heart to study? Don’t use the brain. You must know what you are doing to study, be it reading things over and over again or practicing something over and over again. It must be “done,” and you will check the result at the end to refine or polish yourself. Many people don’t know how to study because they are not using their hearts to do it; they open the book and “pretend” they are studying, but what are they doing? Wasting time, waiting, and hoping it will work. If you use the time to study, you should be spending time repeating reading, copying, doing drills, and things like that. You can also put your practice into a game or quiz mode and keep doing it repeatedly, but you have to train yourself to not “think” at all. You have learned to study with your heart when you can repeatedly answer things or retrieve information from your memory without thinking.
What’s so good about using the heart for studying or doing other things? The result is always better – because the heart is FAST, compared to using the soul, which is SLOW. The soul is good when you need to troubleshoot and think of solutions when stuck, but the heart should be what you use to do things FAST and pull things out of memory “naturally.” However, there is a cost when you use the heart, which is the “life essence” inside the heart. This life essence is only replenishable by sleeping or consuming it from other living beings (animals, meat!).
In short, if you go vegetarian, there is a big chance that your memory and natural reflex will die out sooner than those who eat meat on average. It’s all because you have not consumed those life essences that your heart needs. Why do we eat meat again? Well, now you know. Ordain to learn more and start practicing Taoism!