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HUMAN BEING AS VESSELS FOR HEALTH

 

Since humankind was made to be healthy, we must correct the old belief that human beings are vessels filled with illnesses. Nothing could be further from the truth. A human being is a vessel for health. Nonetheless, we are subject to illness, and since the problem seems insoluble, many people give up and accept what they consider to be inevitable fate. Of course, illness is often difficult to cure. Sickness may linger for so long or recur so frequently that people may be sick more often than they are healthy. For this reason, people have come to think of their bodies as vessels for illness and have invented a proverb to express their condition. It is not surprising that, because the basic nature of illness has remained unknown, people have come to believe that sickness and death are unavoidable. The same belief led the Buddha to say that all life consists of the four sorrows of birth, illness, aging, and death.

I have already explained that illness is caused by deviations from the laws of nature. When people become ill, they usually resort to medicines, which is a mistaken course of action. It is unnatural to employ either Chinese medicines, which are made of herbs, roots, and barks, or Western medicines, which are usually extracts of mineral and vegetable substances. Medicines are always bitter, malodorous, sour, or otherwise disagreeable; since olden times, people have spoken of the need to eat or drink something good to refresh the mouth after a medicinal dose. Medicines are unpleasant because God made them so in order to show that they are poisonous and should not be taken. In contrast, all wholesome foods and drinks are designed to please the palate. This is the way of nature.

It is a mistake to attempt to define in generalities what is and is not nutritious. Foods differ according to the soil, climate, and locale in which they grow, but they are all produced to suit the needs of the people living on that soil and in that locale. It is right for Eastern peoples to eat rice, and Western peoples to eat wheat. People of an island nation like Japan eat large amounts of fish, and continental people eat meat. In accordance with this line of thought, it is right for farmers to eat plenty of vegetables, since a vegetarian diet is suited to people who must work long hours without resting. If the nutritionists of our time have their way in convincing farmers to eat more fish and meat, agricultural labor power will decrease. Since they eat seafood, fisherman work intermittently and are incapable of long periods of sustained labor. Moreover, eating seafood increases sensitivity and in this way also suits the needs of fishermen. Nature is truly wonderful.

 

April 20, 1950

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