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. What are the authors sources of information? There is only the very brief statement that Kim Eng says that Tolle eats meat, but there is no evidence that she said this, or a direct quote of any kind. How can one base an entire article about Tolle’s supposed meat eating with so little information, evidence or references? I would love to hear more about Tolle’s take on eating meat, but this article doesn’t seem to be very well researched or supported.

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    1. Eckhart is the real deal, and he does not recommend vegetarianism, he says listen to your body, be present with food and see whether there is an inner contraction or expansion at the perception/idea of a certain food. So, it really doesn’t matter what his personal expansions or contractions are. Fact is, if being veggie was synonymous with being spiritual, he would advise it, he does not. If memory serves, I got the info from an article on Eckhart Tolle’s own site, although it may have been removed. As I said, he constantly dodges the question. Also there is an interesting statement from Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas about lions you might want to check out.

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      1. No worries Phil. In other news, I was on my walk yesterday and I saw a heron. A thought popped into my head “The fish transformed into a heron.” Weird eh? :-) Meaning life is a dynamic play of forms — everything is eating everything else, and nature keeps perfect balance when left alone. Someone told me that herons eat the cute ducklings that are around right now, the cutest things ever aren’t they? My human mind feels sad… thanks Walt :-)

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      2. I am lucky in that I feel no sadness at that. As a kid (and adult) my pets/favourite animals were snakes mostly, so I have never been overly biased towards Walt’s furry/feathered favourites (not that I have anything against them). It’s all perfect, and in the spirit of Eckhart, since this is “his” thread, the heron was the fish long before it ate it, and you were/are the heron, and the fish… :)

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  2. It seems to me that if you really want to be free you must be willing to give up all preconceived notions and live in the moment. Having no identify means not labeling oneself vegan or anything else. In that freedom the force that has created all things may have your body eating meat and it may not. It is not for you to decide. Only the ego in its arrogance will decide that it knows better than being itself.

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  3. Also keep in mind that a lot of people say things like “all the evidence out there points to (fill in the blank) being the most healthy” or some variation of this. Anyone can find information or LACK of information on the internet that supports their current thinking. People that are suggesting a way of eating or believing etc typically will locate only that research that backs up their point and undermine any research that is in conflict with their point. That is why the whole “all the research supports” card is pure fallacy. What is not realized fully is that it is not Eckhart’s job to tell people how to think, what to eat, etc. Too much uppity spiritual crap tied into the whole eating thing anyway.

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  4. What i see in many of the comments here people saying things like “eckhart is wrong”, “vegetarianism is best” (paraphrase)…. What all of these types of thinking do is to set up a scenario where the people saying these things have chosen for themselves a way of life of vegetarian eating but then insist that everyone else live this way as well or else they get “torched” because “they are being so cruel and unkind”. This kind of self centered thinking and insisting the whole world think the same way is what is problematic as i see it. Just because there are books, literature, websites proving that vegetarian and vegan diets are more spiritual, of higher mind, and healthier doesn’t mean anything. It simply means that anyone who wants to choose this life can use this literature and those that want to stay in the thinking “i am right and anyone who doesnt agree or who eats meat is wrong” can have literature to back it up. I used to be vegetarian for years. Now i eat meat- mainly for the substantial health benefits that my body found in meat and in the research that i have looked into for the past 10 years. I do not need anyone else to agree nor do i disagree with anyone who is vegetarian. There is just as much literature in the pro-meat side. Its a personal choice. Anyone insisting that everyone else go along with THEIR WAY of eating and quoting books/websites/etc is not really giving due respect to fellow humans ability to choose best for themselves.

    I used to live in an area where a lot of people built strawbale houses. Sort of a hippie community. I built and lived in a strawbale house too. I helped others during the building of theirs. There were people that would scold the “general public” for living “on the grid” using electricity, or for living in wasteful houses, and all sorts of crap like this. Ultimately i stopped hanging around as i started to understand that little cliques get formed around all sorts of stuff. Its like junior high school. Oh your not a vegetarian your not cool. Oh you eat meat you are such a lower spiritual being.

    I think it best and the most mature stance to choose wisely for one self the best choice for self and allow others to think and choose for themselves.

    I personally do not think a kale plant is any less sentient or valuable than a cow. What if the kale objects just as the cow objects. What if the cow gladly offers its life to feed humans like the kale. Anyone claiming the ultimate answer is not trustworthy.

    Anyone i have ever met who plays the vegetarianism is best – my expeience of them has always been that they read litrrature or websites or were part of a group or followed teachings in promoting that vegetarianism is holy-er or better etc. They failed to see that the promoters dont necessarily know and even change their minds.
    Again- i used to not eat meat. Now i do. So what. So what if eckhart does or does not. Eating meat or not eating meat does not mean anything with regards to a persons spiritual path. It is more a matter of personal choice. Making judgements on eckhart or anyone (for the simple fact that they eat meat) says much more about the inner life of the person making the judgements than it does about the person making those choices.

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