Oldest Veg and Vegan Quotes on Earth

The Veg Pharaoh

In Egypt from 1351–1334 BCE Akhenaten, known as “the heretic king” was an Egyptian Pharaoh and pacifist who banned animal sacrifice and traditional Egyptian religion and instituted a religion based on compassion and monotheism. Akhenaten believed it to be sinful to take away any life given by Aten, his name for the One God or monotheistic deity. (According to Donals Mackenzie, author of Egyptian Myth and Legend)

Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans

“As long as man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings he will never know health or peace. for as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.” (Pythagoras)

Porphyry and Being Vegan

“If, however, someone should think it is unjust to destroy brutes, such a one should neither use milk, nor wool, nor sheep, nor honey. For as you injure a man by taking from him his garments, thus also, you injure a sheep by shearing it. . . . milk, likewise was not produced for you, but for the young of the animal that has it. The bee also collects honey as food for itself; which you, by taking away, administer to your own pleasure.”

— Porphyry, a 3rd century AD Neo-Platonist philosopher, in, On Abstinence from Beings with a Soul

NOTES: “Porphyry was born in Tyre. His parents named him Malchus (“king” in the Semitic languages) but his teacher in Athens, Cassius Longinus, gave him the name Porphyrius (“clad in purple”), possibly a reference to his Phoenician heritage, or a punning allusion to his name and the color of royal robes.” (Wikipedia)

“Tyre is an ancient Phoenician city and the legendary birthplace of Europa and Dido (Elissa). Today it is the fourth largest city in Lebanon after Beirut, Tripoli and Sidon.” (Wikipedia)

A Vegan Buddhist Passage From the Surangama Sutra (Shurangama, 大佛頂首楞嚴經)

“How then, after my nirvana, can you eat the flesh of living beings and so pretend to be my disciple? You should know that those who eat meat, though their minds may open and realize a semblance of Samadhi, are but great raksasas who, after this life, will sink back into the bitter ocean of samsara and cannot be my disciples. They will kill and devour one another ceaselessly; how then can they escape from the three worlds of existence?

“In addition you should teach worldly men who practice Samadhi not to kill. This is called the Buddha’s profound teaching of the second decisive deed. Therefore, Ananda, if killing is not stopped, the practice of dhyana-samadhi is like shutting one’s ears while crying in the hope that people will not hear one’s voice, or like trying to hide something that is already exposed to full view. All bhikus who live purely and all Bodhisattvas always refrain even from walking on the grass; how can they agree to uproot it? How then can those who practise great compassion feed on the flesh and blood of living beings? If bhikus do not wear garments made of (Chinese) silk, boots of local leather and furs, and refrain from consuming milk, cream and butter, they will really be liberated from the worldly; after paying their former debts, they will not transmigrate in the three realms of existence. Why? Because by using animal products, one creates causes (which are always followed by effects), just like a man who eats cereals grown in the soil and whose feet cannot leave the ground. If a man can (control) his body and mind and thereby refrains from eating animal flesh and wearing animal products, I say he will really be liberated. This teaching of mine is that of the Buddha whereas any other is that of evil demons.”

— from the, Prohibition Against Killing, Surangama Sutra — a Bilingual English-Vietnamese translation by the Buddha Dharma Education Association — English translation by Charles Luk: https://archive.org/stream/SurangamaSutra-BilangualEnglish-vietnamese/SurangamaSutra_Eng_VN#page/n0/mode/2up/search/shurangama+sutra

Also see (Charles Luk translation): http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/surangama.pdf

From Another Translation of the Surangama Sutra

“But, after my nirvana, how will people who eat the flesh of beings deserve to be called disciples of Sakyamuni?

“You should understand that these people who eat flesh may gain some modicum of mental awakening while practising samadhi, but they are all great raksasas who in the end must fall into the sea of death and rebirth. They are not disciples of the Buddha. Such people kill and devour each other, feeding on each other in an endless cycle. How could they possibly get out of the three realms?

“When you teach people in the world to practice samadhi, teach them to renounce all killing. That is the second of the clear and definitive instructions on purity that have been given by the Thus-Come One and by all the Buddhas of the past, World-Honored Ones.

“Therefore, Ananda, one who enters samadhi while practicing meditation in stillness without renouncing all killing is like one who hopes that nobody will hear him shout if he stops up his own ears. He is trying to conceal what is perfectly evident. Bodhisattvas and pure monks walking on country paths will not even tread on living grasses, much less uproot them. How then can it be compassionate to gorge on other beings’ blood and flesh? Monks who will not wear silks from the East, whether coarse or fine; who will not wear shoes or boots of leather, nor furs, nor birds’ down from our own country; and who will not consume milk, curds, or ghee, have truly freed themselves from the world. When they have paid their debts from previous lives, they will roam no longer through the three realms.

“Why? To wear parts of a being’s body is to involve one’s karma with that being, just as people have become bound to this earth by eating vegetables and grains. I can affirm that a person who neither eats the flesh of other beings nor wears any part of the bodies of other beings, nor even thinks of eating or wearing these things, is a person who will gain liberation.

“What I have said is what Buddhas teach. Mara, the Evil One, teaches otherwise.”

— The Surangama Sutra, A New Translation, VII: Four Clear and Definitive Instructions on Purity, On Killing: https://www.scribd.com/document/274447612/Surangama-Sutra-New-Translation

Background on the Surangama Sutra — The Sutra on the Surangama Mantra that is spoken from above the Crown of the Great Buddha’s Head and on the Hidden Basis of the Tathagata’s Myriad Bodhisattva Practices that lead to their Verifications of Ultimate Truth — An original Sanskrit version of Surangama Sutra is not known to be extant, and thus its full Sanskrit name is not known. Surangama roughly means “indestructible.”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9A%C5%ABra%E1%B9%85gama_S%C5%ABtra

Much More From Buddhism

“The eating of meat extinguishes the seed of great compassion.” — The Buddha, Mahaparinirvana Sutra

“One is not a great one because one defeats or harms other living beings. One is so called because one refrains from defeating or harming other living beings.” — The Buddha, Dhammapada

“If a man can control his body and mind and thereby refrains from eating animal flesh and wearing animal products, I say he will really be liberated.” — The Buddha, Surangama Sutra

Sayings of the Buddha from the Lankavatara Sutra:

“For innumerable reasons, Mahamati, the Bodhisattva, whose nature is compassion, is not to eat any meat.”

“For fear of causing terror to living beings, Mahamati, let the Bodhisattva who is disciplining himself to attain compassion, refrain from eating flesh.”

“Meat is not agreeable to the wise: it has a nauseating odor, it causes a bad reputation, it is food for the carnivorous; I say this, Mahamati, it is not to be eaten.”

“From eating meat arrogance is born, from arrogance erroneous imaginations issue, and from imagination is born greed; and for this reason refrain from eating meat.”

“Meat-eating is condemned by the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Sravakas; if one devours meat out of shamelessness he will always be devoid of sense.”

“Therefore, do not eat meat which will cause terror among people, because it hinders the truth of emancipation; not to eat meat? this is the mark of the wise.”

In the Beginning…Vegetarianism is at the Beginning of the Hebrew Bible

Getting Back to Eden: “And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.’” (Hebrew Bible, Genesis 1:29, New International Version)

Jainism

The following is from the Yoga Shastra, a scripture of Jainism: “Non-injury to all living beings is the only religion…this is the quintessence of wisdom; not to kill anything. all breathing, existing, living sentient creatures should not be slain, nor treated with violence, nor abused, nor tormented, nor driven away. this is the pure unchangeable law. Therefore, cease to injure living things. all living things love their life, desire pleasure and do not like pain; they dislike any injury to themselves; everybody is desirous of life and to every being, his life is very dear.”

Hinduism

The Bhagavad Gita says: “One is dearest to God who has no enemies among the living beings, who is nonviolent to all creatures.”

In the Srimad-Bhagavatam we read: “To be violent to human beings and to be a killer or enemy of the poor animals is Satan’s philosophy.”

The Laws of Manu, a Hindu scripture which is dated anywhere between 10,000 years ago in the 7900s BCE and 200CE depending on the scholar, states: “Meat cannot be obtained without injury to animals…He who does not eat meat becomes dear to men, and will not be tormented by diseases. There is no greater sinner than that man who seeks to increase the bulk of his own flesh by the flesh of other beings. … Thus having well considered the disgusting origin of meat and the cruelty of fettering and slaying of corporeal beings, let him entirely abstain from eating flesh.”

Christianity Before Paul — The Jesus Movement Was Vegetarian

“Now beware in yourselves that your hearts do not become heavy with the eating of flesh and with the intoxication of wine and with the anxiety of the world, and that day come up upon you suddenly; for as a snare it will come upon all them that dwell on the surface of the earth.” (Jesus, Luke 21:34, from a Syriac-Aramaic manuscript of the New Testament)

“James was a vegetarian….” (Robert Eisenman, James the Brother of Jesus)

“James, the brother of the Lord, lived on seeds and plants and touched neither meat nor wine.” (Epistulae ad Faustum XXII, 3)

“John never ate meat.” (Church historian Hegesipp according to Eusebius, History of the Church II 2:3)

“The Apostle Matthew partook of seeds, and nuts, hard-shelled fruits, and vegetables, without flesh.” (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, Book 2, Chapter 1)

Peter said, “I live on olives and bread, to which I rarely only add vegetables.” (Clementine Homilies 12,6; also see, Recognitions 7,6)

“The consumption of animal flesh was unknown up until the great flood. But since the great flood, we have had animal flesh stuffed into our mouths. Jesus, the Christ, who appeared when the time was fulfilled, again joined the end to the beginning, so that we are now no longer allowed to eat animal flesh.” (pro-vegetarian early church father Hieronymus who apparently read the Gospel of the Hebrews and was influenced by Ebionite views)

Ancient Christian Observations About Vegetarians or Vegans Living in India

“There are likewise amongst the Bactrians, in the Indian countries, immense multitudes of Brahmans, who also themselves, from the tradition of their ancestors, and peaceful customs and laws, neither commit murder nor adultery, nor worship idols, nor have the practice of eating animal food, are never drunk, never do anything maliciously, but always fear God.” (Recognitions of Clement, Book 9, Chapter 22, Brahmans Volume Eight, of the, Ante-Nicene Fathers, page 187, T & T Clark Eerdmans edition.)

“There is…among the Indians a heresy of those who philosophize among the Brahmins, who live a self sufficient life, abstaining from eating living creatures and all cooked food… They say that God is Light, not like the Light one sees, nor like the sun nor fire, but to them God is Discourse, not that which finds expression in articulate sounds, but that of knowledge, or gnosis, through which the secret mysteries of nature are perceived by the wise.” (Hippolytus, Refutation Omnium Haeresium)

The Gnostics Were Vegetarians

While it’s true that the vegetarian Prayer of Thanksgiving is part of the Hermetic scriptures of Egypt, it’s also part of the Nag Hammadi Library, the Gnostic Gospels. At the end of the prayer the final verse reads:

“When they had said these things in the prayer, they embraced each other and they went to eat their holy food, which has no blood in it.”*

* “Vegetarian food” — footnote from the Marvin Meyer’s translation of this in, “The Gnostic Scriptures”.

* A vegetarian meal. This passage is also found in the Epilogue of Asclepius, in “HERMETICA,” translated by Sir Walter Scott: “Having prayed thus, let us betake ourselves to a meal unpolluted by flesh [animalia] of living things.”

* The G.R.S. Mead translation of the same passage: “With this desire we now betake us to our pure and fleshless meal.”

* “With such hopes we turn to a pure meal that includes no living thing.” (Asclepius, translated in “Hermetica”, Brian Copenhaver, Cambridge University Press)

The Prayer of Thanksgiving in the Nag Hammadi Library or Gnostic Gospels in Full: http://gnosis.org/naghamm/prat.html

Vegetarianism in Islam Discussed: https://medium.com/lifelong-benefits-of-a-plant-based-diet/vegetarianism-in-islam-5bb0a5dfe08f

Abu al-ʿAlaʾ al-Maʿarri (973–1057) Vegan, Philosopher, Born in Syria

“Do not unjustly eat fish the water has given up, And do not desire as food the flesh of slaughtered animals, Or the white milk of mothers who intended its pure draught for their young, not noble ladies. And do not grieve the unsuspecting birds by taking eggs; for injustice is the worst of crimes. And spare the honey which the bees get industriously from the flowers of fragrant plants; For they did not store it that it might belong to others, Nor did they gather it for bounty and gifts. I washed my hands of all this; and wish that I Perceived my way before my hair went gray!”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Ma%CA%BFarri#cite_note-:4-14

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This Living School of Spirituality called Sant Mat is also known as: The Path of the Masters, Surat Shabd Yoga: Meditation on the Inner Light & Sound of God.

Sant Mat Meditation and Spirituality

This Living School of Spirituality called Sant Mat is also known as: The Way of the Saints and Poet-Mystics, Radhasoami, and, The Path of the Masters. The meditation practice is Surat Shabd Yoga: "Union (Yoga) of the Soul (Surat) with the Inner Light and Sound of God (Shabd).”