Meat-eating is the small print; war is the blown-up picture,” Shree Chitrabhanu points out.  In the seemingly small arena of animal exploitation, the seeds of war are growing.  Why? Because each time we refuse to consider where our dinner has come from and at what cost to lilfe and the environment, we are causing pain and devaluing life.  As soon as something—profit, the tastebuds, muscle power, a concept—is more important to us than life itself, we are supporting and perpetuating a mentality which can lead to war.

The mentality which can treat other sentient beings as if they were feelingless machines* is the same as that which can conceive of dropping bombs on whole populations and sending its own sons to carry

* In the U.S. alone, about 134 million mammals and 3 billion birds are slaughtered each year for food.  Almost all are subjected to an assembly-line process.  Chickens, aurkeys, and other birds hang by their feet from a moving conveyor belt as their throats are slit, the blood drained out, and the feathers removed. Cattle are branded with a red-hotiron, dehorned, and castrated before being sent to feedlots.  Millions die before ever reaching the slaughterhouse due to

it out.  What is to prevent those who close their eyes to the pain of helpless creatures from closing their eyes to the pain and loss of human lives?  Once we become used to claiming no responsibility for such events, our minds become weak and spineless, and we allow—someone else to do the slaughtering, someone else to die for us, someone else to push the nuclear war buttons.

But we need to claim responsibility, at least in part, for whatever we do, whether it brings good or painful results.  In this way, we will remove the blinders from our eyes.  We need to see clearly that the misery we are inflicting on others by default is already coming back to us like a boomerang, individually and collectively.  Then we will not be afraid to acknowledge that indeed, the causes of war are in us, and that the greatest cause in this: ignorance of the preciousness of all life.

It takes courage to take a long look at our weaknesses, at our callousness, at our desire to avoid, shirk, and postpone responsibility.  But the secret is that once we look at it, we are  no longer in ignorance.  The thorn in our consciousness is removed, and with it, the cause of our pain.  This is what it means

Stress, the trauma of  overexposure to heat or cold while being transported without food or water for one to three days, disease, or brutal handling.  Cows, calves, sheep, and pigs are killed either with a sledgehammer (still the most primitive and widely used method) which may take several blows, a knife (used on fully conscious animals who are hoisted up onto a conveyor belt by one leg so as not to fall in the blood of a previously slain animal), or electric bolt pistol.

to experience the dignity of our own life.  Then we cannot bear to cause pain to anyone and we stop violating the laws of life.  The seeds of war cannot grow in such a gentle and aware consciousness.

Vegetarianism helps to initiate this new perception, because it jolts us out of seeing other  lives through the cold eyes of the intellect, as objects to be annihilated, dominated, or used.  According to the Jain reaching, enemies do not exist.  There are no opponents, no one lesser or higher.  There are only fellow living beings.  Each one of us is beloved to someone: none of us wants to be tortured or killed.  If we can teach this to our children through our living example, the world will come closer to the peace it longs for.

Rather than waiting for others to change, we start with ourselves.  When we diminish the violent vibrations accumulated in body and mind, we start releasing our own healthy and positive energy.  This creates a magnetic field around us  which attracts vibrations of health, peace, loving kindness, and balance to us.

¨       To those who disagree with us, we listen with understanding and unconditional friendship, honoring the life in each individual.  Rather than be dogmatic or argumentative, we live and allow others to live.  They have a right to their own thoughts and opnions.  But we remain free from creating wars in the name of some patriotic, economic, religions, or other ism; peace will come in time by our valuing life above and beyond all other priorities.  With this conviction, we plant seeds of living kindness and trust nature  to take care of them.

The liberty and equanimity of our spirit will make ultimately the greatest contribution to both our personal peace and peace on earth.  As more of us realize and revere the intrinsic sanctity of all life the collective power of our loving kindness can reach into all corners of the universe and heal it with its peaceful balm.