Buddhism and Veganism, with Dr. Will Tuttle

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Last weekend, a group of local vegan activists organized an insightful day of learning by inviting the vegan leadership community to attend a full day workshop on the topics of “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion”, facilitated by Kalamity Hildebrandt, Director of Research & Education of the Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group (SFPIRG). 25 community activists were in attendance, and to start this show, Alison tells us about some of the significant topics that were presented and discussed, such as Systems of Oppression, Decolonization, and Accessibility and Intersectionality in Social Justice Movements.

Dr. Will Tuttle, on Buddhism and Veganism and Connecting Spiritual Awakening and Animal Liberation

For our feature interview, we welcome back vegan luminary Dr. Will Tuttle. Dr. Tuttle is an award-winning speaker, educator, author, and musician. His music, writings, and presentations focus on compassion, intuition, meditation, social justice, and creativity. Perhaps best known for writing “The World Peace Diet”, one of the most important books of the 21st century, Dr. Tuttle joins Animal Voices again to speak about his newest book, called “Buddhism and Veganism: Essays Connecting Spiritual Awakening and Animal Liberation”.

This book is a collection of teachings and stories by people who are committed to both Buddhism and veganism, and who share a variety of insightful perspectives on how spiritual awakening and animal liberation interconnect and reinforce each other. Dr. Tuttle has been vegan for the last 39 years, himself, and is a former Zen Buddhist monk.

In this enlightening interview, Dr. Tuttle tells us about the deep interconnections between the teachings of the 4th largest religion in the world, Buddhism, and the tenets of veganism. One of the main tenets of Buddhism is known as the practise of ahimsa – to do the least harm. It encourages respect for all living things and avoidance of violence toward others, which are integral values to be supported whether you are Buddhist, vegan, or not!

Dr. Tuttle also speaks to us about the importance of meditation or “mindfulness” in our daily lives when it comes to considering what (or who) we are going to eat. He explains the commonalities that other major religions, such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam, may share with the ethics of both Buddhism and veganism.

In a culture where the eating and “craving” for meat has been long-cultivated, he encourages us to become awakened from the desensitizing stupor inflicted on us from infancy by the herding culture that exploits not just animals and ecosystems but us humans as well is a monumental effort. The Earth is dying, and he depicts some of the environmental devastations we will be facing globally if humans don’t quickly change from a society of relentlessly eating animals.

Finally, whether you identify as being Buddhist or vegan, or not, he imparts his advice on some next steps for anyone to take who wishes to conduct a life that promotes mindfulness and introspection, and to live in a way that is in alignment with the unimpeded freedom, compassion, and harmony of our essential nature.

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