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Jan 28th
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Home Global Activities Taiwan Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital Presents Case for Vegetarianism

Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital Presents Case for Vegetarianism

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A vegetarian lifestyle is not just the latest trend but the best way to have a healthy body and mind. In the Chinese lunar calendar, July is the ghost month. Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital organized a prayer ceremony on August 25th (July 7th in the Chinese calendar and also known as the Chinese Valentine’s Day). The prayer ceremony was to send best wishes to patients for their speedy recovery, to the world for healing from the Covid-19 pandemic and to everyone for world peace. Testimonies from physicians, families, children, and pregnant women who have long been vegetarian were read out, to attract the public to join the vegetarian movement and action plan to love our Earth.

The ghost month in the Chinese lunar calendar is a folk belief. In Buddhism, this same period of time is known for filial piety and auspiciousness. Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital has maintained this tradition of a prayer ceremony for many years. On the evening of August 25, the ceremony took place in the lobby of the hospital. It opened with offerings of light, fruit, and flowers from the Dharma Masters of the Jing Si Abode and staff and management of Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital. Everyone paid their respect to the Buddha with the utmost sincerity. After this graceful offering, nutritionists shared ways to practice vegetarian and healthy eating habits, in an event full of fun.

Ms. Huang Jingxiu, nutritionist, gave a presentation about the different sources of protein in vegetarian and meat diets. Beans are the best protein source. A balanced vegetarian diet including all types of nutrition is very healthy. Dr. Lin Mingnan, Chairman of Taiwan Vegetarian Nutrition Society and Deputy Superintendent of Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital, added that many patients worried that a vegetarian diet would cause malnutrition. “This is a myth and not true. Much research data has proved that a vegetarian diet is good for your health,” he said.

This ceremony included four physicians, one each from the department of cardiology, Chinese medicine, family medicine, and internal medicine; they serve as gate keeper of good health. Dr. Lee Yita, cardiologist, has adopted a vegetarian lifestyle for more than 20 years. From his presentation, we learnt that a vegetarian lifestyle reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. A vegetarian lifestyle has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammation effects and takes in less saturated fatty acid and more non-saturated fatty acid and dietary fiber. Benefits are lower insulin resistance, lower after-meal glucose, increased vascular dilatory functions, and reduced platelet aggregation. In Dr. Lin Mingnan’s research, data showed that a vegetarian diet reduces the risk of hypertension and diabetes by 30%. Lower cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and other diseases are other benefits.

Dr. Yeh Minghsien, a Chinese Medicine physician, became a vegetarian 11 years ago with a sincere vow after participating in the Water Repentance Dharma Service. He pointed out that many people worried that being a vegetarian will weaken their health and develop a cold body type, the term in Chinese medicine for poor immunity. However, a vegetarian diet includes all types of food, from cold, cool and warm to hot types. People only have to be mindful and select a balanced diet. If people worry about becoming a cold body type, they can increase intake of spicy food, such as ginger, nuts, black pepper, aniseed, and cumin, to address their concerns. Taking time to eat meals slowly is also helpful.

Dr. Yeh Changming, a physician of Family Medicine, gave a list of famous vegetarians: Muhammad Ali, professional boxer; Martina Navratilova, professional tennis player; Albert Einstein, Nobel Prize winner for Physics; Thomas Edison, inventor; and Patrik Baboumian, bodybuilder. Their outstanding performances show that a vegetarian diet is good for health. Dr. Zhang Kaijie, a resident physician of Internal Medicine, followed his mother’s lead and has been a vegetarian for more than 10 years. He shared his experience of being a vegetarian and having felt better in body and mind.

Four vegetarian families gave testimonies of a happy vegetarian childhood. These children have been vegetarian since they were born or while they were in their mother’s womb. Every child is healthy and active. These children invited the audience to join them. They pleaded: “Why do you eat meat? Why don’t you become a vegetarian? If we kill animals to eat them, they lose their family and their parents can’t find them. Being a vegetarian is very healthy. Let’s all be vegetarian.”

Dr. Lai Ningsheng, Superintendent of Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital, said that, not long ago, he saw on a highway a truck filled with live chickens. These chickens all had their heads down, without energy. They must have known they were going to the end of their life. He could feel the internal anguish of these hundreds of chickens on the truck because the air was thick with despair and helplessness. This was devastating. He wished that everyone stop forming bad affinities with living beings.

Dharma Master Depei from Jing Si Abode reminded the audience that blessing was not something achieved simply by praying. “We have to create our blessings by action and always nurturing a compassionate mind toward people, animals, and all beings. We will have a blissful life when we love all living beings and respect them,” she said.

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