Does Eckhart Tolle eat meat?

Eckhart Tolle with the Dalai Lama

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?

Orca hunting
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

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.

One life @djfoto87

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.

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216 thoughts on “Does Eckhart Tolle eat meat?

  1. I forgot to add that I’ve been vegetarian since 1993 and vegan since 2000. According to my omnivore doctor, my health consistently checks out far better than other patients my age. The notion that some people need to eat meat can not be proven scientifically. The risks of eating meat and dairy far outweigh any perceived benefits. I have never found a shred of evidence suggesting that meat and dairy was essential for anything the plant world couldn’t offer. Don’t forget that vegans can be unhealthy too if they just eat junk food (which many do). This isn’t rocket science people. The science is out there now and it all points to vegans living, on average, 15 years longer than meat eaters. You can hate that inconvenient truth all you want, but you ultimately will never escape it. It all makes common sense doesn’t it? Eat with compassion and the universe will in turn treat YOU with compassion, even giving you extra years of human life. When we’re fully conscious, we have no choice but to be vegan. Just walk up to a cow and see if you naturally start salivating. Do you have the urge to suck milk from that cow? Are you salivating to sink your teeth into that animal? Of course you aren’t unless you’re a complete freak of nature. There are mental institutes for that, thankfully. There are films about such people with names like Hannibal Lector. Now try the same experiment with apples or any other fruit on a tree. I rest my case!


  2. I love The Power of Now and believe ET is one of the true prophets of our time. That said, if he eats meat (which is completely unnecessary and unhealthy), he is causing unnecessary suffering as well as polluting the planet. Methane production is actually a bigger cause of global warming than carbon emissions. How can a person so disciplined and peaceful as ET cause such harm to himself, to innocent animals (mostly vegans themselves) and to the planet? Clearly, he dodges that question because he is guilty about it. We’re to believe that he doesn’t want to influence others about his personal lifestyle choices!? Come on! He’s the single most influential “spiritual guru” on the planet! He just knows that a lot of the people who buy his books are more compassionate than he is. He’s just protecting his brand/profits. Otherwise, why wouldn’t he speak as openly about that topic as he does about being conscious and present in the now? He’s originally from the meat-heavy country of Germany and is 65 years old. Some habits are hard to break, especially at his age. At least we know the man doesn’t walk on water. By the way, the story of Jesus and the fish is largely interpreted as symbolic, fish representing peace at the time. All accounts in the bible about Jesus is that he was a vegetarian and locals there to this day know that he was an Essene, which is a vegetarian sect of Judaism.


  3. Eating animals or harming animals really saddens me. There is no reason for human beings to create an industry out of killing. Let the world be as it is. We can rise above the world, and take our places as caretakers of this beautiful planet. Love.


  4. I agree with the point that animals eat animals – but animals do not torture other animals in dimensions that this industry does. I don`t think it is wrong to eat meat. I think it is wrong how the animals are tortured to make prophit. I don`t think hunters that eat meat are wrong like in the Jungle for example.

    But that ongoing massive torture in industry farming is just insane and thats a point Eckhart made in a new earth also. I think if we do eat meat – we must buy it from where we know that animals are being treated with love and respect. Like some regional small organic farms or something. it is our choice what we buy.


    1. Being treated with love and respect, really? and then eat them eventually? no killing can be done humanely


      1. Very true

        UG Krishnamurti : Meditation means attention, care. That’s part of it, care for my children, for my neighbour, for my country, for the earth, for the earth, for the trees, for the animals. Don’t kill animals. You follow? Don’t kill them to eat. It’s so unnecessary. It’s part of the tradition which says, you must eat meat. Therefore, sir, all this comes to a sense of deep, inward seriousness, and that seriousness itself brings about attention, caring and responsibility and all that we have discussed. It isn’t that one has gone through all this. One sees it. And the very perception is action which is wisdom. Because wisdom is the ending of suffering. It isn’t callous, callousness, the ending of it. And the ending of it means the observation, the seeing of suffering. Not to go beyond it, to refuse it, rationalize it or run away from it. Just to see it. Let it flower. And as you are choicelessly aware of this flowering, it comes naturally to wither away. I don’t have to do something about it.

        18th Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson, San Diego, 1974

        Krishnamurti on Eating Meat & Vegetarianism

        Krishnamurti: Is that really a very great problem, whether we should have an egg or not? Perhaps most of you are concerned with non-killing. What is really the crux of the matter, is it not? Perhaps most of you eat meat or fish. You avoid killing by going to a butcher, or you put the blame on the killer, the butcher – that is only dodging the problem. If you like to eat eggs, you may get infertile eggs to avoid killing. But this is a very superficial question – the problem is much deeper. You don’t want to kill animals for your stomach, but you do not mind supporting governments that are organized to kill.

        1950 3rd Public Talk, Colombo, Ceylon


      1. Absolutely true. I would like to see the end of cruelty to animals as an urgent priority and the development of permaculture systems, where emphasis is given to allowing animals to live naturally. The truth is Mae, that there is no death-free food, for example when a field is prepared for grain by cutting down forest, death is involved.. a lot of death… the life that is there now is taken, and the life that would have existed for millennia, denied. Insect life is killed by pesticides, mammals and nesting birds are killed at harvest. We must envision a way of living in harmony with nature. Permaculture is the most advanced system for that. Nature exists symbiotically, and when we destroy nature for growing monocrops, we KILL millions of species living out their natural lives. Nature is the answer, for health, for food, for the environment. Natural systems are the way to create abundant life. Perhaps you could have a look at the way humans live naturally in nature… tribes. I have studied for years, it gives a valuable perspective.


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