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<a href="http://skepticalvegan.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/waiter-theres-woo-in-my-food-part-2-supreme-master-ching-hai/" target="_blank">http://skepticalvegan.wordpress.com/...ter-ching-hai/</a><br><br>
An interesting article about a person I feel very ambivalent about. I've eaten at Loving Hut before and read some of the propaganda they have there and while I'm happy they are promoting veganism the whole thing made me feel a little uncomfortable, as I'm not a fan of cults and a lot of the 'information' she publishes in her books/pamphlets is at best inaccurate and at worst downright ludicrous.<br><br>
Plus, she's up to some rather shady things according to the article:<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">One of the more damning charges against Hai in the VegNews article is that her followers destroyed a swath of protected seagrass and coastal mangrove, encroaching upon the Biscayne Bay National Park when they <a href="http://www.rickross.com/reference/ching_hai/sumaching11.html" target="_blank">illegally constructed</a> an artificial island with a 350 foot board walk leading out to it. Three comfortably stocked RVs and a 50 foot aviary were found onsite at the future retreat as well. The adjacent property owned by Hai under the alias Celestia De Lamour, one of her numerous Florida waterfront properties, was seized and resold to help partially pay for the repairs. Officials estimated the damages to exceed a million dollars but Hai was nowhere to be found. One of the laborers who was also charged in the case went missing, believed to have fled the country. Hais followers and apologists claim that this was merely the result of a misunderstanding over property boundaries though a quick look at Florida law indicates that is likely still not an adequate defense for this illegal construction and environmental damage. If Hai did ever pay for the damages she would do herself a favor by publicizing it, perhaps a nice donation to Biscayne Bay National Park and Palmetto Bay Branch Library which now inhabits the property. This incident was not Hais only property troubles either.***<br>
Hais followers like to <a href="http://www.godsdirectcontact.org.tw/humanitarian/index1.php" target="_blank">call attention</a> to the organizations charity work and generous donations. While admirable, such donations can often serve a double purpose as a form of advertisement for the group. Not all organizations have been so quick to accept Hais money, in 1996 President Clintons legal defense fund <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1996/12/31/us/religious-leader-describes-decision-to-help-clinton-after-hearing-of-woes.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm" target="_blank">refused</a> more than $600,000 in donations for the questionable, possibly fraudulent, way in which the funds were gathered. In 2001 UNICEF also turned down a $100,000 donation from Hais organization after looking into the organization.<br>
Hais organization is adamant that it will not accept donations, claiming to fund her activities primarily through Hais artistic work, though this has been questioned as a mere matter of semantics. The up-keep of local meditation centers is donation based and property is also sometimes donated. Follower also will donate to causes in Hais honor buying her further credibility. The inflated price of some of her merchandise and encouragements for member to buy books to donate to others can also be seen as back door donations. It should however be noted that there is no franchise fee for opening a Loving Hut instead groups of local devotees pooling together their savings to fund their own Loving Hut location. There are just some simple rules including that the food be vegan and about the decor, Ching Hai pictures appear to be mandatory. This may make it appear that she profits very little from the vast enterprise but critics claim that this is simply a tactic that shifts the economic and legal risk onto the backs of individual followers and still allow for locations to serve as points of first contact for potential initiates and some as retail outlets for her merchandise. Loving Hut locations are also encouraged to buy faux meats from EcoVegan, Hais own company, further sweetening the deal. A few former workers at Loving Hut have also <a href="http://www.plantbasedpeople.com/showthread.php?t=17371&page=8" target="_blank">levied</a> <a href="http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/know-thy-master/content?oid=1896856" target="_blank">various</a> complaints including mismanagement, withholding tips, tax irregularities and utilizing underpaid and unpaid labor. In 2010 the Loving Hut in France was investigated for illegal and unethical business practices such as using <a href="http://www.menton.maville.com/actu/actudet_--Roquebrune-perquisition-au-sein-du-mouvement-Ching-Hai-_dep-1487707_actu.Htm?utm_campaign=RSS&utm_medium=RSS&utm_source=RSS_MVI_menton&xtor=RSS-4" target="_blank">undocumented & unpaid labor</a> resulting in 9 arrests. Later that year Hai herself <a href="http://www.nice.maville.com/actu/actudet_--La-pretresse-de-Roquebrune-interpellee-hier-a-Bordighera-_dep-1532739_actu.Htm?xtor=RSS-4&utm_source=RSS_MVI_nice&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS" target="_blank">was arrested</a> along with some of her followers at a posh villa in Italy. Investigators seized a luxury sports car, 40,000 euros, and at least 8 illegally imported Macaws and a veritable Noahs Ark of animals. I wonder if those illegal Macaws were rescues?</div>
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It's quite the conundrum, this seems like a cult driven by profit like any other, but they at least may be helping animals with their chain of vegan restaurants.<br><br>
My city has 2 establishments run by them, a vegan pizza place and a vegan food cart that sells sandwiches downtown. I eat at both but now I kind of feel bad about it. I'm torn. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/undecided.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":-/">
 

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I read that VegNews article too and it really made me wonder. We don't have any of their restaurants but if we did I'm sure I'd eat there. Good food is good food. I'm not so picky that I'll only eat at home.
 

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I am very familiar with Ching Hai's movement, and I have nothing but positive things to say about it. Being environmentally responsible is highly stressed in her organization, and the incident described above simply sounds like a mistake made by one of her followers, made without her knowledge. If this is the worst thing anyone can find, then I would say that there is nothing to worry about.<br><br>
It sounds to me like there are simply some militant vegan atheists who have an instinctive hatred for anything that sounds even remotely religious, and they just can't accept the possibility that there can actually be a spiritually oriented movement which is not evil, even if it is vegan.
 

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I feel like I'm watching North Korean propaganda videos whenever someone links me to her channel, thinking it would be something I'm into. I'm not.<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Eugene</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3099708"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
militant vegan atheists</div>
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Don't make me laugh. "Militant atheists" are the least trusted and probably least harmful minority in America or any other nation.
 

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I eat at the loving hut in my town, the food is great and cheap. They have TVs on quietly with a woman preaching, I guess it is her. I'm happy to support a vegan business. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Eugene</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3099708"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Being environmentally responsible is highly stressed in her organization</div>
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but unfortunately the environmental information she promotes is at best flawed and at worst downright ridiculous*. After reading and watching a lot of her material on climate change I think that it misleads people and gives them false solutions and in the end probably will not help much, perhaps even be counter productive to a rational public understanding of climate change.<br>
*for example her claim that the methane from under the oceans that climate change is going to release is going to literally suffocate all living beings. This is entirely unsupported by science and is pure scaremongering and misinfo<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">the incident described above simply sounds like a mistake made by one of her followers, made without her knowledge.</div>
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She owned the adjacent property not one of her followers, she was also one of the people charged in the case along with one of the workers who fled the country (real honest there...). That worker also stated that the island and boardwalk were being built specifically for Hai as a meditation retreat. Regardless of any misunderstanding over property lines the construction would have STILL been illegal and they appeared to show no regard for crushing protected seagrass or cutting down legally protected trees so that Hai could "look over the bay".<br>
Further I can find no evidence or even a statement from Hai that she ever paid for the restoration or that she or the worker ever showed up in court (all accounts Ive found say they are fugitives in the crime, even more recent ones from locals). I would at very least expect a public apology or explanation about it if Hai cares to clear up the controversy, but to date i am unable to find any such statement.<br>
I am also unable to find in their records of charitable donations any mention of Palmetto Bay or the National Park where it occurred. If it was a mere mistake I would think she would have made a nice donation to help make up for it. But that would call attention to it again.<br>
To me it appears as they just want people to ignore it and hope they forget.<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">If this is the worst thing anyone can find, then I would say that there is nothing to worry about.</div>
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whether it is the "worst" things is subjective, it was one of the more damning charges in the vegnews article but my own research also uncovered Ching Hai's own arrest at a villa in Italy for labor violations and for illegally keeping protected animals, lots of cash was seized and previous 9 worker ata loving hut in france were arrested and large amounts of cash seized. I also find her promotion of breatharianism and a breatharian author who's teaching has been linked to at least 3 deaths quite disturbing. Im not talking about a passing mention either, SMTV has HOURS of programming promoting it. During one teleconference a follower suggested that they change the "go veg, be green..." slogan to "Go vegan, be green...", her counter proposal was to just go ahead and make it "Go breatharian"<br>
Do you really think that promoting the idea that you can live without eating or drinking is rational or safe?<br>
Hai was also implicated in the DNC Asian soft-money scandal, donations from her group were turned away after investigator uncovered fraudulent activity.<br>
She has also just been caught in outright lies.<br>
There are a number of charges against her detailed in my full post.<br><br><br>
In the end the good she does can be had without all the cult-like trappings. If people really are receptive to the vegan message they shouldnt need to buy into Hai's distorted belief system to go vegan or support charitable works. it would also be nice if the information they were receiving about the environment and about nutrition was rationally based.
 

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Sounds like someone has an axe to grind. And apparently they created a veggieboard account just for the purpose of grinding it. I find it interesting that the post above would be your first post to the forum.<br><br>
But, other than that, welcome to Veggieboards. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/hi.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":hi:">
 

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Someone posted a link to my blog and a discussion ensued, am I not entitled to chime in? Would it not be expected that I might want to chime in?<br><br>
And no I dont have a particular axe to grind against SMCH, nor Sri Chinmoy...nor subject of future post in this series. In fact I was very much fan Golden Era back in the day.<br>
Other vegans complain about how Silk soymilk has problems..., GoMaxGo bars are bad cause they have palm oil..., Earth Blance is bad for you, Whole Food is shady, and on and on. I see no reason why I cant take a look at accusations (and actual arrests) of exploitative labor practices, eco-crimes, sexual exploitation, and fraud.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Eugene</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3099708"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
It sounds to me like there are simply some militant vegan atheists who have an instinctive hatred for anything that sounds even remotely religious, and they just can't accept the possibility that there can actually be a spiritually oriented movement which is not evil, even if it is vegan.</div>
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What!?!<br><br>
Eugene, knock it off please. You're being offensive.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>ElaineV</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3100185"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
What!?!<br><br>
Eugene, knock it off please. You're being offensive.</div>
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I have yet to meet any atheist that would take offense from such a blatantly miss-constructed post.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>ElaineV</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3100185"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
What!?!<br><br>
Eugene, knock it off please. You're being offensive.</div>
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Really?<br><br>
I thought the lengthy diatribe against Ching Hai would be perceived as offensive, and I was just stating the obvious.
 

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I don't really think the tone of my article was offensive and I backed up my claims with references and evidence.
 

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I thought skepticalvegans post was well researched and lacking any seemingly biased and emotionally driven opinion- very informative. If you're trying to formulate a personal opinion of Ching Hai or her group then i think the negative information should be taken into account as much as any positive effect they have.<br><br>
If you eat there, you're helping to spread a business that spreads and makes veganism more convenient. However you're also fueling a group that spreads misinformation that could potentially give the masses more reason to judge vegans and veganism negatively.
 

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Yes, there are some factual inaccuracies in some of the information presented on Supreme Master TV. However this is not "misinformation" as they are not trying to deliberately mislead anyone. They occasionally make honest mistakes, but they genuinely believe in everything they say, and prohibition against lying is one of the core principles of Ching Hai's philosophy. The article implies sinister intentions behind the actions of the group, when in reality Ching Hai and her followers have only the best of intentions at heart. And the article is also highly biased because it doesn't mention any of the positive aspects of her movement and her message.<br><br>
Also, almost all of the the factual errors on Supreme Master TV are simply cases of them repeating claims that are generated and circulated by the secular Environmental and Animal Rights movements. So it is not as if this issue is unique to them, but rather it is widespread within the vegan movement in general. PETA's billboards claiming Jesus was a vegetarian do far more damage than do any inadvertent mistakes on Supreme Master TV.
 

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If what i've been reading about her is true, she claimed to of not eaten for several years while supporting breatharianism. Apparently several people died trying to follow her example. Not trying to demonize her or anything, but this is prime evidence for someone being a little off their rocker. I absolutely support their positive messages of betterment of man kind, but the more i read up on her the more factual inaccuracies seem to be a recurring theme. I'm quite open to hearing more positive aspects of her movement, especially if it supports veganism. However i can't see how any rational person could take her seriously if they educated themselves much on her claims, history, and cultish korean-familiar "Supreme Leader" relationship between her and her followers.
 

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I was aware that they talked about breatharianism, but I had never previously heard that Ching Hai claimed to have practiced it herself in the past. In any case, they claim that breatharianism can only be successfully practiced by a very small number of extraordinary individuals, and they are not advocating that ordinary people try it themselves. So, if some people tried it and died, I would say that this is their own fault, and not the fault of the teachings of Ching Hai.<br><br>
I am not going to defend their views on breatharianism, as I do find this to be the most troubling aspect of their philosophy. However, this too is not unique to them, as the Hindu religious text in the Ramayana contains accounts of saints and hermits practicing breatharianism.
 

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check out<br><a href="http://ramsss.com/ching-hai" target="_blank">http://ramsss.com/ching-hai</a>
 

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The whole thing just smacks of cultism. I don't know how anyone couldn't see that. Eugene, you're obviously a follower of Ching Hai so I'm not going to try and convince you. Just...don't drink the free kool aid if they offer you any.<br><br>
I went to a Loving Hut once well before I knew about any of this. It actually makes the experience more understandable now. The waiter kept trying to talk to me (which at the time I just found annoying) and asked me where I went to school and if they had any vegan clubs and if it was in driving distance and how we should all drive down and eat there. The whole thing seemed like more of a wind up than just someone who wanted more customers for their shop.
 

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The food in the Brisbane restaurant is awesome but the tv **** is just weird.<br><br>
the whole thing seems weird apart from the grub.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Eugene</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3100202"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I was just stating the obvious.</div>
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Calling people who are skeptical of Ching Hai "militant atheist vegans who have an instinctive hatred for anything that sounds even remotely religious" is offensive to atheists.<br><br>
atheists =/= anti-theists<br><br>
Atheism is simply the lack of a belief in god(s). That definition even sounds ridiculous to an atheist because there's really nothing to describe. It's only in relation to other people who are theists that we even need a label. Our label is the lack of their label, that is all. That's it, nothing else, nothing more. It's a name for a LACK of something. Not a descriptive term for the promotion of something else.
 
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