Does Eckhart Tolle eat meat?

Eckhart Tolle
Eckhart Tolle

Yes he does, according to his partner Kim Eng.

It’s such a curious question isn’t it: “Are spiritual people, truly enlightened people, vegetarians?” And the answer is clearly “not necessarily.”

If you look at the great spiritual masters, there’s no common theme with regards to meat eating. Buddha wasn’t rigid about it and said it was okay if you were offered it, the Dalai Lama follows this path and is vegetarian at home but will eat meat if away.

Jesus fed the 5000 fish and loaves which he magically produced. Jesus said “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” Matthew 15:11. And “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.” Luke 12:22

And enlightened master Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, of “I AM THAT” fame, had no issue with meat eating or even smoking. Here’s an excerpt from I AM THAT…

Q: My body influences me deeply. In more than one way my body is my destiny. My character, my moods, the nature of my reactions, my desires and fears — inborn or acquired — they are all based on the body. A little alcohol, some drug or other and all changes. Until the drug wears off I become another man.

M: All this happens because you think yourself to be the body. realise your real self and even drugs will have no power over you.

Q: You smoke?

M: My body kept a few habits which may as well continue till it dies. There is no harm in them.

Q: You eat meat?

M: I was born among meat-eating people and my children are eating meat. I eat very little — and make no fuss.

Q: Meat-eating implies killing.

M: Obviously. I make no claims of consistency. You think absolute consistency is possible; prove it by example. Don’t preach what you do not practise.

Similarly, here’s what Ramana Maharshi had to say on the subject:

M: Habit is only adjustment to the environment. It is the mind that matters. The fact is that the mind has been trained to think certain foods tasty and good. The food material is to be had both in vegetarian and non-vegetarian diet equally well. But the mind desires such food as it is accustomed to and considers tasty.

D: Are there restrictions for the realised man in a similar manner?

M: No. He is steady and not influenced by the food he takes.

Eckhart Tolle sees life as one dynamic whole; an inter-connectedness, an inter-action, oneness. Life eats life, everywhere…

I saw on TV the other day, whales hunting. They pincered a shoal of fish and then came from underneath to catch thousands in one mouthful. Does that make a whale evil?

Is a whale or a dolphin evil for eating fish?

Having had my head into nutrition for over 20 years, I’m uncomfortable from a health point of view with pure vegetarianism (and the dairy industry is crueler than the meat industry so I’m told by vegans).

Interestingly, I’ve seen Eckhart Tolle dodge this question many times in seminars and TV interviews. He just advises to…

“Be present with whatever your food choices are and then the right food choice will happen for you… it needs to come from within rather than as something from without.”

This view is perfectly echoed by non-physical beings Abraham, channeled by Esther Hicks…

“Imagine if you could let being aligned be your first priority — a lot of vegans would be inspired to a lot of eating that their veganism would not allow, but the source within them would call them toward.” — Abraham-Hicks

And here is another wonderful and enlightening explanation from Abraham about using/killing animals for food. The clearest explanation I’ve come across

Yet another echo of the same perspective from Adyashanti:

Safransky: Could killing animals to eat them come from wholeness?

Adyashanti: Sure. Life is killing. If we eat a vegetable, we’ve killed it. If we eat an animal, we’ve killed it. To be a living organism is to kill. There is no life without death. When we die, we’re going to be nutrients for something else.

I don’t see life as “anything goes,” but I have seen wholeness move through different people in different ways. That’s why I’m always talking about action that comes from wholeness, not from division, nor rejection, nor grasping, nor pushing away. What motivates us when we’re not pushing or grasping, not relying on conditioned concepts of right and wrong, good and bad? Is there something else that can move us? And what is that? Action that is an expression of a clear and undivided state of consciousness is what the Buddha meant by “right action.” To exercise right action we must be functioning from a place outside of all egoic self-interest. We must be awake within the dream and be able to express that perspective.

The take-home message from these spiritual masters is clear: Be whole, then see what you do.

Cat and mouse

People’s pre-judgement on the basis of this issue would be detrimental to their own enlightenment. Because if you saw as Eckhart does, life as oneness, then you would probably also not be overly concerned about any particular FORM, as all the forms are continuously morphing and changing. In fact, there is only life and it is ONE life, there is no death anywhere to be seen! And… life eats life, everywhere. My cat isn’t evil for eating mice.

What do you think? Do you think vegetarians are more spiritual? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.

Best wishes,
Michael Kinnaird

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180 thoughts on “Does Eckhart Tolle eat meat?

  1. There is no spirituality on diet. The fact that someone sees someone else, which his mind considers spiritual to have some kind of eating habits, and than wants to imitate him will only end up in disaster for his body. First find out if what these people say has any significance in our daily lives. And find out for yourself if there is some other kind of living. If this clearing that comes through real meditation which is to see yourself without evaluating than real eating will arise. The organism with its own intelligence will know daily what it wants to eat and what not to. So to imitate is to destroy the organism. Only through clarity of the mind will clarity of eating come.

  2. The act of eating another animal in itself is not the issue. However how animals are now grown to be fed is much different than when all these spiritual leaders lived. In addition alternatives were not as much as it is today. Most people go to the grocery store now. Animals are no longer part of the circle of life but man controls when they born eat breathe move procreate and die. We have taken the God role and in most cases are in conditions which are focused on maximizing profit with little regard to doing what is more humane.

    1. TO: Just a Human Being

      If you asked an animal, he would not like what you have just said. The act of eating animals is as important as enslaving, persecuting, and objectifying them. If we provided them nice and livable spaces, but slaughter them at the end, our PROVISION would be false. We did it for ourselves, to ease on our GUILT and bad conscience – not for animals. Nothing feels better than CARE and KINDNESS.

      Those who EAT ANIMALS and justify it DO NOT see that they are destroying SENTIENT lives – they see animals as objects. On the other hand, they WOULD NOT slaughter their favorite PETS, because they see them as sentient beings. It’s a CONTRADICTION and a confusion on their part.

      Humans are capable of UNDERSTANDING compassion and becoming compassionate. The CAT catches the mice, because his instincts tell him to do so. However, compassion OVERRIDES instincts and lust. This is what ENLIGHTENMENT is. Also, humans aren’t in grave NEED to eat animals. We have other plant based MARVELOUS food resources. Neither have we SENSIBLE or coherent arguments to defend our carnivorous habit.

      Compassion does not only LIBERATE animals from human captivity and destruction, but favorably TRANSFORMS their role in this great “circle of life.” We have to STOP controlling this “circle” and the destiny of others. There is nothing greater than HUMILITY. We hide behind fancy spiritual teachings and arguments, because it makes it EASIER to justify our misdeeds. I personally take none of these “masters” seriously. Their times has passed. Next…

  3. The practical element of ENLIGHTENMENT is COMPASSION. However, without compassion, ANYBODY can claim to be enlightened. Enlightenment is just a fancy, yet EMPTY concept. You can learn it, and if you are a charismatic debater, you can convince your self and the crowd just about anything. We are HUNGRY for new ideas.

    However NOT MANY can claim to be COMPASSIONATE, because compassion is DEMANDING. It demands you to act in a SELFLESS way! However, those who eat meat or hurt others are BUSTED on the spot! So, without compassion enlightenment is just the act of SELF-IMPORTANCE and VANITY. It’s good for you, but USELESS for others.

    From the point of view of COMPASSION (passion for all or suffering with others) DOES NOT matter what other “masters” have done or thought. It does not matter who they are. Taking them as examples, imitating and following them is only a momentary relief. INTERDEPENDENCE, the master-follower dependency only leads to false feelings of wellness. They need you, you need them – you indulge in each others STUPIDITY. This stupidity is what really is mistaken for ENLIGHTENMENT. Ultimately, you’ll remain miserable, just like most of self proclaimed “masters.”

    1. Well said Attila. I would not follow any so-called spiritual teacher/leader who eats animals and takes part in their horrific cruelty and suffering. Many are hypocrites. Authentic spiritual teachers are vegan and live what they preach.

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