VegNews Supreme Mystery article – what do you think?

Please feel free to post comments to the recent VegNews article “Supreme Mystery” – thanks! Click on “comments” below to read comments that readers have written about this extremely controversial article, as well as to post your own. Thanks!

8/2011 – Comments are now closed – it’s been a year. Let’s deepen our commitment to living the vegan values of respect and kindness. Thanks for your efforts and input, and blessings to all!!

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This is a blog to allow people to post their comments about the recent VegNews article entitled, "Supreme Mystery."
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90 Responses to VegNews Supreme Mystery article – what do you think?

  1. This is what I sent to the editors of VegNews:

    SUPREME WASTE OF TIME!
    I love VegNews because it is my favorite source of all things cool, hip and happening in the vegan world. I read every bit of it including the advertising (which I never do in other magazines) because it has all my peeps and I rejoice in finding out new products, heroes, discoveries etc. Veg Times, in comparison is sooo boring and old fashion. But I was so shocked by the tone of the exposé article “Supreme Mystery” that I had to write to the editor. It left a real sour taste in my mouth and it isn’t appetizing for a food magazine. I hope that you won’t get into the habit of trashing people in the future, thinking that it will sell more copies because you will do more damage to the cause you are supporting than good. And wouldn’t that defeat the purpose in the first place?

    I can’t stop wondering what this Supreme Master must have done to you or your magazine to deserve such a scathing treatment? One would think that the simple fact of having inspired hundreds of people to open vegan restaurants around the world deserves a kudos or at least some respect. With +50 billion farm animals still being slaughtered every year around the world, ANYONE that is helping people to make the transition is a hero in my book. Let alone encouraging the opening of 160 restaurants, especially in this sucking economy! Shouldn’t we help each others? Aren’t we all in the same boat? Wouldn’t it be wiser to instead use your investigative reporters to cook some scathing article on Foster Farms, Tyson Food or Monsanto? Now, that would be a great use of their time and frankly mine too!

    So the Supreme Master is mysterious and eccentric, big deal! What spiritual Master isn’t? Kind of comes with the territory! Maybe God truly works in mysterious ways after all! Plus, what does this have to do with vegan food and restaurants? This has never stopped me from enjoying a good meal at a Hare Krishna, Seven Day Adventist or other vegetarian restaurants ran by some obscure spiritual group. Let’s be honest here, if it wasn’t for these fringe spiritual groups, we wouldn’t have had any vegetarian restaurants for the past 20 years. So why don’t you cut them some slack and focus on what matters. Giving credit where credit is due. I have been to a Loving Hut in California and had a wonderful experience. There was no preaching of any kind, the food and service was excellent, they had original drinks and deserts, they even had their own TV programming in the background. And for once, I was really happy to not have to look at football or baseball during my meal. I also found out that the food was not only vegan, but mostly organic and certified non GMO. Now, that would have been worth mentioning in your article because I don’t know many restaurants that have taken on the vegan organic pledge that seriously, to walk their talk.

    There is enough trashy information on the internet, TV and the written press these days. Please don’t make this a habit. Keep your magazine a source of pride and good news. That’s why I have been buying it. Don’t disappoint me again or you could lose your good things.

  2. Sheila Coodin says:

    Letter to the publisher of Veg Magazine: Like so many others in the vegan movement, I was shocked and so saddened by the malicious attack on Supreme Master Ching Hai. The goodness she has contributed to our world is immeasurable. Not only has she given spiritual guidance and upliftment to millions, she has also been the guiding light of the hope and efforts to save our world from the effects of global warming through adoption of the vegan diet. That you would choose to attack her in a low class erroneous piece of so-called journalism is very sad indeed. If you have done equivalent or more to what she has done, maybe then you can be in a position to criticize her. She does not take donations, and yet has single-handedly contributed millions to help those in need, including our beautiful animal friends. Through her benevolent vision and guidance, more than 170 Loving Hut restaurants have been opened , with more each day. Through the television channel which she inspired, (www.SupremeMasterTV.com) millions are finding out the true facts about the cause of global warming. If the world is saved, I have no doubt it will be due to Supreme Master Ching Hai’s tireless and loving efforts.
    I am sorry, but the only thing that comes to my mind is “Shame, shame.” I understand people think that you have been paid off by the meat and dairy industry, because this is beyond comprehension. More is to be expected by a vegan magazine that many of us had high regard for before. Please do the right thing, check out your facts, and make a sincere apology for having so badly distorted your presentation of a person that is the embodiment of goodness, compassion and love.
    Thank you,
    Sheila Coodin, Canada

  3. SAY IT AIN’T SO JOE!

    Dear Joe:

    I have not met you personally, but I have several friends who know you and have told me that you are a really good man. I am sure that it is true given you have devoted your life to showcasing the positive developments of the vegan movement (something which I too find to be the most fulfilling cause on the planet at present). This is why I am so shocked that you would allow one of your young (and probably naïve) reporters to publish such a demeaning, mean-spirited article as “Supreme Mystery” in your recent issue. It is, at best, a reflection of poor judgment on your part and at worst, an unapologetic sensationalist ploy to sell more magazines. In the sincere hope that it is not the latter, I would like to politely request that you recant the article, remove it from your download page and issue a public apology to Supreme Master Ching Hai

    As vegans, we begin by changing our diet, but ultimately we all realize that we have become part of a community of people who share a set of common values – primarily that of respect: for life and the protection of the natural world. We soon find that not everyone necessarily understands those values the way we do – so we seem to constantly be on the lookout for a place where we can share our ideas and our values, and especially to find a place where we can be sure the food is “safe” (free of all animal related products). This is what has driven the development of the Loving Hut restaurant chain. It is also, by the way, why I fell in love with VegNews in the first place – I devour it every month when I find it at my favorite vegan grocery store – Food Fight in Portland, Oregon. Usually, you are very positive and respectful of everyone in the movement so I am perplexed and also torn in loyalty over the muckraking. It breaks my heart to have to boycott the one magazine that seems to get that there is a distinct difference between vegan and vegetarian.

    After personally spending twenty years meditating under the tutelage of Supreme Master Ching Hai – and working closely with her at the United Nations and in several disaster relief projects – I would challenge you to find a person more sincerely devoted to the public good. She is by far the most passionate advocate in the world of a global shift to a vegan diet. If you don’t believe it, then watch just one hour of Supreme Master Television (http://suprememastertv.com). Her wisdom is simple –

    1. If you want to discover the Universal Divinity (the Supreme Master) that dwells within each of us – you should reach out in service to others. As you give, you experience a change of heart and come to understand the privilege of synchronizing to a higher order of being.

    2. All of the world’s religions teach the same fundamental Truth – be good and do good. They just mistranslate and misunderstand each other due to differences in language and culture.

    3. What you focus on expands – so don’t only be good and do good – translate positive thought into words and actions that contribute in a meaningful way to the upliftment of society.

    It is the last point that I think is particularly harmful with the defamatory slant of Abigail Young’s article. To simply call someone’s honor into question lays a seed of distrust and disgust, thus tainting thousands of people to look through that same perverted lens. To do so is, in fact, a dishonorable act in and of itself. If the subject were somehow misleading or deceiving people, this kind of cynicism may be warranted – but for a public servant on the order of Supreme Master Ching Hai, it is actually outrageous and absurd. She has spent her entire life devoted to the upliftment of society, usually at great personal sacrifice. If you were to personally witness the nobility of those she has inspired as they rush to serve in disaster relief projects – you would feel ashamed at allowing your media platform to be used for such a negative portrayal.

    In fact, it seems to me to be absurd to make the connection to Supreme Master Ching Hai and her character at all when talking about the Loving Hut restaurant chain. How could that be possibly relevant when speaking about the great non-GMO vegan food that is served there? It is not as if she owns and operates them – she is only the inspiration for those who choose to pool together and create them.

    Please understand that I do not wish to berate you or Ms. Young for this ridiculous article. It is always easier to take the low road then the high road. Mudslinging is easy to do in a world turned cold and cynical by constant negative reporting in the media. But from a vegan magazine I would expect a higher order of nobility and honor and I am sad to see the result of this article. In the interest of the greater vegan community, I encourage you to correct your mistake and issue a formal public apology.

    Respectfully,
    Pamela Millar

  4. Valentina Gillmore says:

    VegNews,

    What was the real purpose behind your recent, very narrow-minded article to say the least, on Loving Hut and Supreme Master Ching Hai? What was your objective? What did Supreme Master Ching Hai really do to you that convinced you to slander Her so mercilessly?

    We live in such a harsh, unkind world! Millions of innocent animals are being slaughtered for food as we speak. The enormous livestock industry destroys our planet day by day stealing the future from our children. We are facing global warming, world hunger, fatal disasters, etc. We all know that only the Vegan way will save our planet and give hope to our children to live. Our very lives are at stake! And the majority of our population is still fighting it very hard, defending their meat-eating habit. So, what was the purpose of “exposing” a humble, loving, kind Master whose only wish is to save you, yes, you are included in Her wish! She wishes for peace on Earth, for love between nations, for kindness and love toward animals. She wishes that all children on Earth be happy, healthy, and fed proper, nutritious food. She sheds rivers of tears for the slaughtered animals, for all the children dying from hunger, for our abused planet. Supreme Master Ching Hai and her devoted disciples are always first to help disaster victims around the world, spending their own money for travel expenses and accommodation and also donating a lot of money to help feed the victims.

    Have you donated your precious dollars to the disaster victims, to save the animals? If you did, how many times? Master does it ALL THE TIME! All Her earnings go to save people, to save the animals. Her team of disciples sometimes appears even before the local government takes any action! She never asks for donations. Her disciples have been following Her noble example but there is no pressure for them to do it at all. They do it because they have love for the world and have pure hearts! That is probably difficult for you to understand. It is interesting that your focus was on digging so deep just to try to find dirt of some kind behind such selfless actions of Supreme Master Ching Hai and her inspired disciples because you can’t believe that anyone would be so humble and giving in helping others, right?

    Please watch SupremeMasterTV.com to learn the Truth, to educate yourself, and to surrender to love and kindness.

    The whole world admires Supreme Master Ching Hai as a Hero and a true Saint even though She has never ever claimed any acknowledgment to be anything special. She has just been following Her Big Heart and sharing Her Love with everyone. Anyone who has been approaching Master feels blessed. Ching Hai means Ocean Of Love in Chinese. Please stop throwing your dirt in that ocean and have the decency to apologise!

    Psychologists say that all things that we say about others are actually a mirror image of ourselves. So if they are correct, then all your slander and negative writing is about you and not about the Supreme Master. Please take care of yourself! Be well and wake up to the true ways of kindness and love! It may help you to improve your personal life! It is it really worth trying!

    Enjoy your day by creating good articles and influencing words by spreading the Truth!

    And please, apologise! You have offended a lot of people by slandering their Master.

    They are sending you love to wake up!

    Valentina, Canada

  5. Dear Colleen and Joseph,

    You two know I love VegNews and have delighted in seeing its growth from the purely conceptual stage (when Colleen worked for me at Now and Zen) to being the country’s hippest vegetarian publication. My teenage girls eat it up as well. But I was a little shocked in reading your article called Supreme Mystery. Over the past few years, I have met several people who practice this faith, but as I have had limited knowledge of the organization and its leader, was intrigued when I saw the article. All I could think after reading it, however, was, “What was the point?” Why would you publish something so scathing about an organization that has succeeded so well in promoting veganism? So what if the writer thinks it’s a cult (which I don’t think it is) – at least they’re doing something positive for the world. I know a lot of elitist vegans who can’t be bothered to “spread the word” to others who are unlike them, who instead only regurgitate the same message amongst each other, or others who are all too preachy and condescending, and are therefore ineffectual in getting anyone to listen. (In fact, sometimes when I’m around certain vegans, I wonder if veganism itself isn’t a cult…) But here’s a faith that has in a short time managed to convince millions of people to become vegan, probably because they do it in a very loving, non-judgmental way. Why would that not be a cause for celebration?

    Some of the “facts” in the article seemed simply skewed or misleading. For example, it cites Master Ching Hai’s yearly income as $5.5 million, while in the breadth of the same paragraph, says that all of it was given away or used for the television station. Hmmm. Doesn’t sound like she kept much of it for herself. Maybe that’s why she had to go into the jewelry business. To me, someone who doesn’t know much about her, she sounds like a hardworking lady who not only devotes all her time to community service but actually works for a living. Why would you want to mock someone like that?

    Do you remember the shoe party I had at my house? Nancy Dong, the designer, is a follower. In fact, because of the her belief in giving back to the world, something she learned from her faith, she created a line of shoes where she donates 100% of the profit. The three or four other people I have met have impressed me as hardworking, compassionate souls who believe in dedicating their lives to serving their community and the world at large. I’ve also been to Loving Hut and enjoyed a fabulous meal. In all of my encounters (including doing a cooking demo for SMTV), at no time did anyone try to convert me or even make any mention of their spiritual beliefs. What they did share with me was the same message that PETA, VRG and other vegan organizations all have – the power of your plate on global warming.

    I was taught that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say it at all. I realize that that adage doesn’t apply to journalism, but in a case like this where we all share one goal, I think it is really crucial that we support and applaud each other’s efforts. If we choose instead to mock others who aren’t doing it exactly as we are, we are no better than all of the religious factions out there who are pitted against each other.

    My hope is that most of your enlightened readers will read the article with a grain of salt and be happy when a Loving Hut opens in their neighborhood. I hope that in the future VegNews decides to direct its negative, sardonic energy on organizations that abuse animals, rather than one that is diligently trying to save them as well as the planet.

    Miyoko Schinner

  6. David Smugar says:

    August 30, 2010

    Dear VegNews Staff:

    I’m a human being with feelings, and I can hardly express my sadness in the way you not only sabotaged all the good that Supreme Master Ching Hai has done for the vegetarian movement and animals’ rights, but the way you mocked me, making me seem like some kind of puppet.

    The day of the interview I was pleased to know that I would be sharing good news about Loving Hut with your publication. I went ahead with the interview because I believed this would have a positive outcome. I thought there would be some basic questions about Loving Hut as a vegan food chain, and that you as a vegetarian-promoting publication were enthralled with the idea of a worldwide vegan food chain.

    As you know, I am not a paid professional PR person. I am a volunteer doing something about which I feel passionately. Had I known it would be an “air the dirty laundry” event, I would not have taken my valuable time to do the so-called “Loving Hut interview.” I believe I was a poor judge of character of the VegNews staff, mistaking the veg-friendly, personable demeanor of the staff for something that it appears not to be: compassionate. I feel betrayed by you, and completely blindsided that you would make this an experimental exposé about Supreme Master Ching Hai.

    It seems as though there was an agenda from the very beginning. So this article was destined to be toxic, in my opinion.

    I feel sad that you would intentionally choose to stoop so low. I am just a regular guy who desires to promote a cause in which I believe. I could be doing other things with my time, but have chosen to assist in some of the goals of Supreme Master Ching Hai who is trying to improve the state of the world. Doing so makes me feel I’m a proactive part of the solution; not part of the problem.

    You probably do not yet know how many people are angry about the underhanded, sardonic approach with which this article was compiled. I view what transpired as “bait and switch”. You seemed to lovingly approach us with the idea of doing an article about Loving Hut. And Colleen, do you remember how you became “teary-eyed” when you first saw Loving Hut before its grand opening? Are you at all appreciative for how significant a vegan food chain is at such a critical time for the state of the planet?

    If not, maybe your entire staff needs more education. Speaking of education, this is precisely why Supreme Master Television exists. The information on the channel comes from scientists and specialists in their field. Yet you infer that these are some kind of scare tactics fabricated by Supreme Master Ching Hai herself. If the government leaders were truly doing their job of protecting their citizens, there would not be the need for Supreme Master Television to broadcast the truth about increased methane, climate change, the benefits of an organic vegan diet, etc. Your article made me sound like a raving maniac when it comes to methane and its effect on the environment. If you were truly educated about all the reasons for being vegan, you would be vehemently yet delicately doing everything possible to assist in saving this planet from demise. Maybe you’re wolves in sheep’s clothing? Instead you choose to use mockery. I view this as a very weak tactic.

    I’d like to continue to have a friendly impression of you, but how can I after what has been done? The cat is already out of the bag here. I feel personally attacked that you have chosen to mock the way I live.
    Is it so important to your readers that I live in a humble apartment, that I live off of savings, or that San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the world? How is this even relevant, and what is the point you are trying to imply here?

    Weren’t you going to set up VegNews in a place like Oregon? Why did you choose one of the most expensive cities in the world to produce VegNews? What are your homes like? And who truly even cares about such trivial matters, apart from the staff at VegNews?

    Even if you do publish “letters to the editor,” which you claim you will do, they will also have a negative spin on them. Regardless of your agenda, I have chosen to write my opinion, as I am the only one in this position: having been made fun of by your publication. Who can ever trust what VegNews will print in the future? Maybe it is you who are doing mind-control here. Did you ever consider that angle? Who’s controlling whom now? Let’s be straightforward here.

    I was inflamed at the overall tone of this article, and feel it should be retracted immediately. Additionally, I feel sincere apologies are due from your staff to all those who have worked so hard to try to make the world a place for all to live in peace. Is there no sense of remorse whatsoever on the part of your staff?

    Why didn’t you act responsibly by stating up front that you wanted to approach the article with your now-apparent agenda? Then I could have made an educated decision about what would happen next. I would have refused the interview.

    Sadly, the damage is done. Many folks in the veg community greatly respect all the humanitarian work and selfless donations of time and money of Supreme Master Ching Hai, yet you’ve chosen to cast such a dark shadow on something so uplifting. Were you aware that the first group of people to show up with relief teams at the World Trade Center in NYC were members of the Supreme Master Ching Hai Association? And that they too volunteered their time to help those in need? Supreme Master Ching Hai is the one who suggests that we as a global community assist those in need, and she inspires and encourages this type of loving behavior. I am pleased and honored to know of such a leader.

    I am ashamed of you, all of you. Was there not at least one of you who said, “Hey, guys, maybe we shouldn’t print such a strong and sarcastic article. After all, she has done a lot of good for the world”? If you hold your heads up high thinking “this is good journalism”, then I feel downright sad for you.

    Sincerely and with much thought,

    David Smugar

  7. Jason L. says:

    SUPREMELY SHAMEFUL!

    Your article “Supreme Mystery” came as a total shock and was an absolute disgrace on your magazine. It was so out of character with all the great stuff you have been reporting up to now, that I am not sure what to think about it. I feel betrayed as if my best friend suddenly turned into a psycho killer!

    What could have possibly made you decide that it would be a good idea to verbally assassinate someone that has been a champion for animals and the planet. I can tell that the decision was made without anyone having met the Master or looked into her accomplishments. Too good to be true? Why shoot the messenger! Envy? Jealousy? Anyone can scavenge the internet, Wikipedia and write a trashy piece. The author, aptly named Young, really shouldn’t have been chosen for this assignment. A lifetime of spiritual guidance, service, philanthropy and activism cannot be grasped by a twenty something aspiring writer obviously eager for a cheap shot.

    The problem with throwing shit around is that you always end up with some on you because you never know when the wind will turn. One minute you are upwind and the next you are downwind. That is probably why all great spiritual traditions teach that what goes around comes around! You see, if you burn one of us, you burn all of us and yourself included in the process. You are actually creating a split in the vegan community you are trying to build. If I didn’t know any better, I would think that this article was paid for by the Cattleman’s association. Do you see how psycho this is?
    You have actually managed in one fell swoop to insult all spiritual teachers and their followers, women, minorities and to offend all vegetarian restaurant owners, public speakers etc. I didn’t think this was possible. Great experiment! That’s also a great way to lose your advertisers because I don’t know anyone in this community that would stand for this kind of character assassination. I fear for who will be the next name on your target list and hope that public outcry will convince you of the foolishness of such bad idea.

    I heard that once a domesticated animal tastes blood there is no coming back. I hope that it works differently for humans! But as far as I am concerned, this article left a blood trail and I am not sure if I can ever trust this magazine. You have betrayed my trust and all for what? For a little excitement? It isn’t cool, it isn’t smart and it definitely isn’t compassionate. I would expect that from Rush Limbaugh, or some other ignorant meat eaters but especially not from supposedly leaders of the vegan movement!

    Isn’t the whole point of veganism, kindness and compassion for all living beings? What’s the point of changing your diet if you still enjoy harming others? A character assassination is no less violent than a physical aggression, especially to someone that hasn’t done you any harm. It is so old paradigm and dysfunctional! Please grow up!

    Unfortunately, you will never know the extent of the harm you have needlessly caused upon innocent people. No good has ever come from harming others. The only thing left for you to do now is to remove the knife from the victim you have stabbed not once but multiple times, by immediately taking down the article from your site and issue a sincere apology to the victims and your readers. But your next issue is 2 months away and the damage you did will remain until then. They will not stand for this kind of defamation. Not to mention that it isn’t remotely relevant to the conversation.

    And this was your ‘Special Food Issue’? Are you kidding me?
    The truth is that if there is something you can’t falter the Master, it is her stand on veganism. In this respect, she has been a tireless formidable champion for over 20 years and it is really too bad that you didn’t cease the opportunity to tell this story. Now that would have been a story worth telling. It is never too late…even if you totally messed up your first attempt!

    Jason
    Portland, Oregon

  8. Allan says:

    Dear VegNews,

    Congratulations on VegNews becoming an award-winning vegan magazine, no doubt through its interesting, informative, and broad spectrum of vegan-related information. In particular, you have until now avoided falling into taking the low-life, scumbag, negative, junk journalism approach to writing stories that is used by so many mainstream media. Your recent attack on Supreme Master Ching Hai, however, has changed that instantly and placed you in the forefront as “Masters of the Art of Insult”, not something of which you should be proud. I expected much better from you.This is not the way to win friends and influence enemies, as they say. However, it is a great way to lose future business!

    Your disparaging denunciation and questioning of Supreme Master Ching Hai and those who follow Her teachings is a direct insult to the intelligence and high integrity of the many respectable, powerful, and influential people worldwide who have strongly supported Supreme Master Ching Hai’s work for decades, whether they are aware of your recent article or not, in addition to many others who have benefited from Her unending love and support. They include: royalty and presidents in numerous countries including President Obama and his family who support vegetarianism and are even growing vegetables on the White House grounds; the United Nations which invited Supreme Master Ching Hai to address the UN General Assembly on three occasions; corporate CEOs; politicians at various levels; the European Union (EU) which is increasingly supportive of vegetarianism with some of its members even recommending transferring government subsidies away from the meat and dairy industries and instead directing them towards supporting organic farming, and in increasing taxation on the meat and dairy industries (Ireland has already initiated a financial programme in support of organic farming); university and industrial research scientists whose work is increasingly confirming that the meat industry is the primary cause of climate change; internationally renowned sports and entertainment celebrities including many in California who support Supreme Master Ching Hai’s thinking and dedicated work; the National Aeronautical Space Administration (NASA); the World Health Organization (WHO); numerous world renowned institutes like the David Suzuki Foundation; hundreds of owners and staff operating Loving Hut restaurants; thousands of supporters of Supreme Master Ching Hai; thousands of people worldwide who have received with immense appreciation assistance provided by Supreme Master Ching Hai in so many ways; millions of people worldwide who value daily meditation; VegNews readers (while there still are any); and last but certainly not least, Supreme Master Ching Hai Herself! Many of these people and/or organizations have even bestowed on Supreme Master Ching Hai numerous awards in recognition of Her compassionate, environmental, humanitarian, and benevolent work over the years. Indeed, you have insulted a lot of people!

    You claim that skeptics look on Supreme Master Ching Hai as the “leader of the fastest growing cult in the world.” I maintain that skeptics are nothing less than uneducated, ignorant, uninformed people too lazy to bother learning more about whatever it is with which they do not agree. By Oxford Dictionary definition, “a cult is a system of religious devotion directed towards a particular figure or object; a relatively small religious group regarded by others as strange or as imposing excessive control over members”. Supreme Master Ching Hai’s precepts parallel five of the Ten Commandments in the Bible and similar teachings in dozens of other actual religious organizations. So are you now attacking Christianity as well, not to mention other religious groups around the world most of which do ask for or at least accept regular donations, some even endorsing or requiring tithing? The Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association is not a religious organization, it is not small, and Supreme Master Ching Hai does not impose control over Her supporters in the way you imply nor accept gifts of any kind. She works very hard to earn the funds necessary to enable Her to give so selflessly in support of people and our animal co-inhabitants who have endured intense suffering, amongst others.

    Supreme Master Television is an extremely positive television network, unlike most, providing varied, quality, international programming unlike that broadcast by far too many traditional networks. How many other stations do you know that reach their target audience in 42 languages 24 hours a day, every day of the year? The answer is “none”! 

    Since when is being unique and promoting a “compassionate and noble way of living” not good? Supreme Master Ching Hai “might be the most controversial figure in veganism today” but only if people like you choose to make Her so.

    America claims to be the “land of the free”, where building a highly successful business venture is possible for most everyone and very praiseworthy. Yet you write about the remarkable success Supreme Master Ching Hai and Her supporters have attained in building an extremely successful Loving Hut restaurant chain in just two years as though it is a sin or illegitimate, that something must be wrong or suspicious for this level of success to evolve so quickly. I don’t know of any franchise-like food organization in particular that doesn’t demand “adherence to strict décor and operational guidelines.” That’s just good business sense. Some even have their own training “universities” so why are Supreme Master Ching Hai’s requirements to run a Loving Hut so unusual? As for the location of San Francisco’s second Loving Hut, why all the fuss? Every experienced business person knows that the three most important elements in a business of this nature are “location, location, location” and that there is a price to pay for the best. What is your problem and where is your common sense?

    You so far refuse to apologize for your disparaging article or to retract anything that you said in it because you claim to have done your research thoroughly and accurately, having contacted reliable sources. Age old, unverified, second-hand, rehashed Internet stories are not reliable sources. Supreme Master Ching Hai does not force any of Her supporters to do the things that you purport She demands including giving their life savings in support of Her objectives. Like most other business people, they happily contribute voluntarily in every way, including financially, to the success of their own restaurants. I could not possibly count the number of businesses I know which used their owner’s savings, line of credit, and loans from various sources to start their new enterprise. The same goes for common partnerships. This is nothing out of the ordinary whatsoever. How successful and sustainable Loving Hut restaurants will be over time remains to be seen, as is the case with any new business. Considering the increasing and positive global shift in attitude towards vegetarianism and veganism, however, I suspect that there is every reason for these restaurants to succeed indefinitely if well managed, as have thousands of similar restaurants for decades already.

    You chose to exclude any comments whatsoever on the plight of the animals thanks to the meat, dairy, and fishing industries so compassion also appears not to be one of your higher qualities, assuming that you even have any. Now there are some potential subjects to discredit as you did Supreme Master Ching Hai, if that is the sort of journalistic direction that VegNews now has decided to initiate! Regardless, it would appear that your own level of spirituality could use a major uplifting.

    I and those I know look on vegans and vegetarians as a “family” whose members work diligently to support each other and to help save our planet. Clearly, it appears that no one at VegNews has taken any courses in business administration or marketing or you would not have been so quick to alienate so many members of this worldwide family intent on reversing global warming to save a healthy planet for future generations, the very people who support VegNews. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you! Attacking your own family is not cool!

    We know from extensive scientific research that the meat and dairy industries are responsible for causing world hunger, wars, desertification, extensive pollution of our land, air, and water, billions of dollars in unnecessary health care expenses, creation of dozens of deadly diseases and epidemics, and up to 80% of global warming, amongst other extremely negative impacts. Most people don’t realize that 50% of all fish caught go to feed livestock for human consumption, not for humans, or that the fishing industry and others are responsible for an increasing number of extensive dead zones in oceans around the world! This information originates from hundreds of official, highly qualified research entities, not from Supreme Master Ching Hai who merely relates the results of their work.

    To me, even more astonishing is why you would throw away an incredible opportunity to market your magazine through Loving Hut restaurants which you acknowledge are incredibly successful and expanding at an unprecedented pace. You also could have considered possibly working with Supreme Master Television in sharing information and sources of mutual interest, until you pulled this senseless publishing stunt of course. Not very bright!

    I was equally surprised with your statement in defence of this deplorable article that most of your readers won’t likely take this story seriously anyway and that it’s not really all that negative. I strongly beg to differ! What company, besides VegNews, spends valuable time and money researching, writing, and publishing articles that they don’t expect their readers to take seriously? Talk about a lame excuse that simply makes no sense whatsoever! What sort of inept business plan are you following anyway? Are you suggesting that we readers shouldn’t bother taking the other parts of your magazine seriously either? How are we to know in what to have confidence in VegNews now? Unbelievable! 

    I would love to know what objective you had when writing, approving, and publishing this dreadfully unprofessional, poorly researched, one-sided, negative article, even from a normal business perspective. How ever did you expect this to increase sales of your magazine or to encourage readers to remain supportive and recommend it to others? If that isn’t your business goal, then why are you in business in the first place? Followers of Supreme Master Ching Hai have steadfastly encouraged others to purchase VegNews thereby helping augment its success and profitability to date but you have given us all plenty of reason now to rethink that approach. In my humble view, precious little intelligent thought whatsoever went into your writing, publishing, then defending this article.

    Since you so far refuse to retract any of the statements in this story, then perhaps you at least could write a second one highlighting all the positive things that you chose not to include in this first one. You first could educate yourself immensely just by watching Supreme Master Television and by reading the many informative articles on their web site. Nonetheless, it remains to be seen if you will do anything constructive to renew your integrity and professionalism or to regain the trust and respect of your readers. 

    At least those who have supported VegNews in the past now know the real truth about your magazine and what you think of your readers, Supreme Master Ching Hai, and the vegetarian/vegan movement working so diligently to help save our world. It’s VegNews that appears to be the sham here, not Supreme Master Ching Hai. We also at least now know that VegNews cannot be trusted, in more ways than one. Clearly you fit my definition of a skeptic! Keep up this violent, abusive, cruel, disgraceful, sarcastic, defamatory, mocking, deceptive, ignorant journalistic approach and you’ll soon find yourself reader-less and out of business. You have one chance at this crucial time to show some genuine love, humility, and regret for your actions, admit that you really blew it with this article, and apologize. To say that you should be very ashamed of yourselves is a gross understatement indeed. There is more than sufficient negativity in this world without VegNews contributing to it like this. Nonetheless, perhaps this tactless incident could have a positive outcome after all if you choose to make it so, by apologizing to Supreme Master Ching Hai and the many others you insulted, and by cleaning up your act. 

    As far as I am concerned, if being a mysterious enigma makes you as incredible as Supreme Master Ching Hai, may there be many, many more like Her in this world—and the sooner the better!

    Sincerely,

    Allan G. – Canada

  9. Dean says:

    Supreme Master Ching Hai’s work is unparalleled with contributions made for the benefit of humanity, animals and the environmental awareness that I presumed your publication would be in support of, but I was really disappointed after reading the largely baseless, ignorant, and vindictive article that came across as a pointless and trashy indulgence in kicking the innocent. It really saddens me that in this world where ignorant human behavior is destroying things faster than we can keep up with, that that very behavior can make its way into publications such as yours which were held in a perception of positive light and coolness and are now somehow tainted with an ignorant stroke of small minded and selfish journalism.
    What a pity.

  10. fukyo giacomozzi says:

    I would recommend you check Abigail Young’s records and her competence. I hope that she (or worse VegNews) has not been paid by the meat/dairy industry to feature an article to sabotage THE greatest single effort on the planet for people to go vegan. It sure stinks of foul play. For what other motive would VegNews print this piece of article? full of factual errors and mean spirited insinuations meant to create doubt and cast a negative light on something so very noble.

    as a vegan working hard to spread the message, i appreciate the fast growing of Loving Huts around the world, both as a customer and as a champion of the cause. Why would VN choose to target a spiritual leader who finally found a way to create a self sustaining (instead of relying on donations) way of generating resources, to help the needy all around the world? Why would VN sabotage the efforts of others to spread the vegan AND organic message? regardless who it’s from? we are in the same boat, we have the same vision. What VN has done is introduce fracture within the vegan movement. Is that what you want? Is that helpful in a period where we urgently need people to put down their knives in whichever way possible?

    The profits of each Loving Hut goes to the owners each restaurant, NOT to Master Ching Hai. Why have any doubts that delicious, affordable vegan food chain cannot be sustained at a fast growing pace? which side of the fence are you on?

    Bill Gates made his billions by being ruthless in business. He becomes a hero when he donates a few million bucks to the poor. Here we have a person who runs a legitimate business to sustain a charitable organization so she can give away millions of dollars to victims of disasters around the world, and runs a free pro-vegan TV channel (may i add with ZERO paid commercials). why is that considered suspect? The SMCHIA publishes a monthly magazine where each donation amount is published in plain view. If Ms. Young bothered to dig deeper into the real truth, instead of being content with a quick check in wikipedia (which we all know is NOT the source of truth), she would be profoundly ashamed to have been the author to such slanderous piece of journalism trash.

    Check your facts and decide what your mission is. As a avid VN reader, i feel deeply saddened to find this article associated with VN. I think a retraction is in order, or at least a public apology.

    Thank you.
    F. Giacomozzi

  11. Julia F. says:

    Dear Joe Connelly and Colleen Holland, VegNews owners,

    I was extremely disappointed to read the article entitled “Supreme Mystery” in your latest magazine. I was very excited and looking forward to the next issue of VegNews as I had recently discovered it at a local Whole Foods. However, the latest issue (Sept/Oct 2010) was quite disappointing because of the mentioned article, and my intent to subscribe to your magazine is now on hold.

    I do not belong to Supreme Master’s group of followers nor do I ascribe to their beliefs, but every time that I have gone to a Loving Hut (in California and Florida), I have felt nothing more than welcomed by people so friendly and happy to interact with vegans and spread the word on compassion that it surprises me that your magazine would write such a negative article on this group. Not once has a Loving Hut employee mentioned their faith nor have they tried to sell me anything on behalf of Ching Hai other than the food I went to buy out of my own will. I find it interesting that you would allow a piece so insulting to followers of Ching Hai that goes as far as claiming, “…the spiritually bankrupt find solace in her methods.” Whether people decide to follow this or that religion/spiritual leader is not up to VegNews to question or insult because it does not align to those beliefs or spiritual needs of the writer’s or your own. Everyone follows their own path and your choosing to publish an article to single out a religious/spiritual group so negatively begs to ask what group of vegans are next on your list to ridicule, insult, and discriminate against? Who else? Again, you have no right to question or discriminate anyone based on their religion, spiritual beliefs, or who they choose to follow for guidance as you have done to those that follow Supreme Master Ching Hai.

    I thought the point of VegNews was to unite and support vegans in all that is vegan. Is veganism not about compassion and non-violence? Are vegans not against -isms? Was I wrong? I don’t think so – I think you have lost your way and need to study up to be reminded on what the term vegan means and the reasons as to why vegan.

    What is even sadder is that you have missed out on an opportunity to spread the word on the availability of fantastic vegan food in a friendly environment. To tell you the truth, I have never felt so comfortable and met more genuine servers than at a Loving Hut (sure beats rude and intolerant servers at omni/non-vegan restaurants that refuse to even try to understand my vegan order out of annoyance). The aim of your article should have been to support the fastest growing vegan food chain in the world and get to know the people behind the movement – those that risk opening a vegan food chain regardless of the fact that we live in such a non-vegan world. For your information, I applaud their television channel for being ahead of its time (when compared to television watched by most of society) and actually trying to make a difference for the environment and for animal rights.

    I wonder how many people you have put off Loving Hut and as a result, the harm that the article has caused particularly to those that were contemplating veganism but now, after reading this article, see vegans as intolerant since your magazine chooses to insult and reject vegans based on their beliefs and who they choose to find solace in?

    It is sad that I even have to take the time to write an article to a vegan magazine that should know what it is like to be discriminated against based on something as ridiculous as what we decide to eat or not. Rejecting and insulting a group of vegans or any people based on who they choose to follow is just as bad. As a lone vegan in my town, i know what it is like to feel attacked and discriminated against by those that do not understand veganism, and I will certainly not support anyone else discriminating or attacking a group of people like this article has done.

    Again, I am quite disappointed in VegNews. I ask that you publicly retract this article and apologize to the followers of Ching Hai/owners of Loving Hut. Until you do so, I will certainly not buy a subscription or any other issue as I would rather not support intolerance.

    Sincerely,

    Julia F.
    USA

  12. Eve Gotch says:

    As of this minute, 65 signers of this petition (http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/ask-vegnews-quotprint-new-loving-hut-article-by-will-tuttlequot/) agree that we would like to see a follow up article to “Supreme Mystery” to be written by Will Tuttle, so is not only a friend of SMCHI, recipient of the Shining World Hero Award and regular VegNews contributor, but genuinely embodies the ideals set forth by Supreme Master Ching Hai herself and the Loving Hut chain of restaurants sprung up by her loving example.

    The article “Supreme Mystery” unfortunately cites numerous slanderous internet articles as well as unverifiable “anecdotes” of disproportionate drama that in no way reflect the noble quality of the whole.

    Thanks so much to Will and Madeline Tuttle for personally going to VegNews headquarters and speaking on behalf of goodness, truth and fair journalism!

    And special Thanks to Will for agreeing to write the follow up article, should our petition gain the attention of VegNews executives.

    Blessings to all who strive for the true path of peace!

  13. Vegans Are Cool says:

    Supremely Disappointed.

    Dear Elizabeth,

    Supreme disappointment at your article about Supreme Master Ching Hai and Loving Hut restaurants. Previous to this article I greatly respected your publication as a reliable source of information. It is not possible to think that way any more.

    What kind of motive did you have to report on such a loving, selfless person and group of people in such a negative and untruthful way. It is so obvious and transparent to me and many others in the vegan community that you have serious ulterior motives at play.

    You clearly set up David Smugar and for that you have lost my trust as a reader.

    The Supreme Master Ching Hai and the Association members are well respected internationally as a group that tirelessly work for the good of the animals, people and the planet. You have really done yourself a disservice by publishing their activities in such a negative light.

    Consider carefully your next step so that you might have a chance to redeem your credibility and integrity. A retraction and complete re-write of the article would be a good start.

    Sincerely disappointed,

    Kathy Divine.


    Vegans Are Cool!
    http://www.vegansarecool.com
    Interviews with cool vegans from around the planet.

  14. TomTom says:

    “Supreme Mystery”: My Response

    I can see ricocheting around the Internet a lot of horrified responses, disbelief, beseeching for apology and an outpouring of explanation and defense of Supreme Master Ching Hai, the members of SMCHIA and their efforts.
    It is my humble suggestion that this is a misguided waste of time; there is a more appropriate way to channel the loving energy we all know (yet mostly never admit) we do our best version of expressing.
    VN is a slick, complex magazine. The sort of operation it takes to put this rag together is rather sophisticated. The minds (owners) who conceived, built and direct its growth and operation are not bumbling fools. The author is not innocently endeavoring to come up with a solution to some conundrum. Indeed, the writing and publishing of this article does not produce answers to a supposedly mysterious question. Stop for a moment and ask yourself: “How could the writing and publishing of this article expose the truth of who is Supreme Master Ching Hai?” If you really wanted to know about Supreme Master Ching Hai, who She is and if She controls thousands of zombies around the planet who seldom see Her face-to-face, would you write and publish an article like this? Would that produce the answer this article claims to seek: “Who is this ‘enigmatic’ person?”
    If you don’t happen to be clearly familiar with the terms, Google: “yellow journalism, muckraking and smut journalism.” This article was never intended to answer questions and the owners/author are not innocently inquisitive. This is a well-calculated, high-profile format/instrument to undermine the credibility of a very powerful person; the single person who is arguably doing more expose the truth of the horrors and devastation of meat consumption than all others put together. Against all odds, She has conceived and orchestrated an unprecedented, monumental campaign to purvey the sensibility and benefits of loving kindness and the truth of the costs and suffering that result from not embracing the age-old five Buddhist lay precepts, which are of course generally echoed in the world’s major religions.
    Renowned scientists, movie stars, top athletes, leading healthcare professionals, prominent political figures, disaster relief organizations, animal welfare workers, famous musicians, poets, authors, philanthropists and too many others to name, have come in mass offering their individual versions of accolades and appreciation to Supreme Master Ching Hai and the effect of Her loving directions, efforts and teachings. They have done so more and more frequently now for decades. A great many of these outstanding people have gladly been interviewed on Supreme Master Television. They generously contribute their insights for the betterment of the planet. Quickly name one other individual who has done nearly as much as Supreme Master Ching Hai, especially without asking for/accepting a donation.
    I suggest there can logically, reasonably and even intuitively be only one answer to why such a professionally written, slippery, sleazy piece of smut was written…defamation of character. Premeditated, with malice of fore-thought.
    Why would people in the “vegetarian/vegan business” so ruthlessly slander specifically the one person who has done more to promote veganism than anyone else on the planet? (There can be no alibi here like “I was just asking who she is and putting out there some of what I uncovered in my balanced, un-biased query.” That won’t fly here.)
    I am very humbled and embarrassed to tell where I went to get the answer to “Why would seemingly good, honest, intelligent, professional people do such a heinous thing?” More than once over the years I had heard this story about Supreme Master Ching Hai having had a baby that she gave up to her parents. When I heard this, I was embarrassed for Supreme Master Ching Hai. Feeling Her pain, knowing there was no way She could respond, therefore having to bear the slander, I would wipe away a few tears and focus on the truth I intuitively knew. This time, when I read the same piece of slop supposedly written by some discontented student, I was moved by an overwhelming compulsion to do the fact checking any legitimate author would have done before risking the reputation of anyone, not to mention the likes of Supreme Master Ching Hai. So, bravely, yet humbled and embarrassed, I sought out and asked a close blood relative of Supreme Master Ching Hai who was present at the time in question: “Is this statement about Supreme Master Ching Hai having a baby – out of wedlock – and leaving it with Her parents, or anywhere else, true?” I was overwhelmed by this person’s grace and understanding of me and my question. With a knowing smile, “No, no truth at all. Nothing like that ever happened” was the reply. Emboldened by the ease and grace this person extended to me, I asked “Then why would anyone propagate such a hurtful, slanderous untruth?” With a glinting eye, wise raising of the corner of the mouth and rubbing of thumb to fingers, “Money” was the reply: “They are paid money to write it.” I can only pray that I did not cause this sweet, wise, innocent person any embarrassment by my base intrusion.
    Remember yellow journalism; character assassination? Who stands to gain the most if no one listens to Supreme Master Ching Hai? Among others, the meat and dairy industry. It is basic military, come big business, tactic to take out the leader. It would be worth a considerable amount of money to the meat and dairy industry if Supreme Master Ching Hai’s credibility were brought into question by “one of Her own kind”, a credible source like VN.
    I am saying clearly that it appears to me VegNews’ owners and author have taken blood money to do a character assassination on Supreme Master Ching Hai. Although the embarrassment and humiliation to Supreme Master Ching Hai must be great, She has weathered unfounded muckraking before. This article has much more far-reaching intended effects than Supreme Master Ching Hai’s feelings or perceived character. The intent is to dissuade people from listening to Her or embracing anything She endorses. That could theoretically take a lot of the momentum out the vegan movement.
    How much did it take to buy off the owners and author? Who knows? Remember though, this is a global industry and some of the owners of these operations are billionaires and it is obvious that slaughter-for-profit is nothing new to them. Supreme Master Ching Hai and Supreme Master Television are engaged in a global campaign promote love, compassion and a vegan life-style. Take out the single, identifiable leader of the opposition and it could be worth a lot of money. “Let the rest of the small-fry veggies do their thing; take out the leader of the movement.”
    I suggest that we as a vegan community with obvious power for good, rather than plead with resistant, stubborn, arrogant owners for possibly an apology or retraction, demand something like a full-page front cover of VN apology with several successive articles by an author of our chosing in subsequent editions. If the owners do not quickly and eagerly repent and comply, I suggest we could, in mass, write to VN advertisers and suggest they withdraw their advertising from the magazine and channel their dollars elsewhere. If there were enough numbers of people who did this and enough recognizable names, this is one means of silencing such propagators of character assassination, and therefore, demise of the planet. I am open to any other legal, effective means of putting an end to this kind of character assassination and furthermore, sending a message to the journalistic community at large that we now have the power that we no longer have to crouch when they spread slander.
    I would only ask that you consider what everyone is working for in this movement. We are not only talking about precious, innocent, defenseless animals being tortured, then dismembered (often while still alive), we are talking about the availability of clean water supply, young girls not being able to go to school because they don’t have water to wash themselves, the very oxygen in the air we breathe because of deforestation and raping of the life in the oceans, pollution of all our water, land and air, sickness and disease out of control, economies collapsing, refugees wandering, food shortages, starvation and warring, all while the planet heats up and irreversible tipping points are passed. I suggest this is the time and place to take swift, firm action that we collectively will no longer lay down for intentional railroading such as this piece of VN muckraking. As I recall, Supreme Master Ching Hai has repeatedly taught all of us that we are the Supreme Master, we have the almighty power and wisdom within us. We have been taught to act selflessly with love to serve and alleviate suffering. Laying down and not acting firmly to end this sort of thing could precipitate untold suffering. The stakes are now too high to not act.
    Very Sincerely,
    TomTom

  15. A. Chang says:

    SUPREME WASTE OF SPACE.

    Dear VegNews staff,

    I have always thought of VegNews as a great, upbeat magazine about everything vegan/vegetarian and everything awesome.

    Turns out, I was wrong.

    In fact, the article “Supreme Mystery” makes it hard for ANYONE to think about VegNews in a positive way anymore. You should be criticizing industries that DESERVE to be attacked, like the meat/dairy industries for the daily torture they inflict upon innocent animals or the clothing industries that kill animals to strip them of their fur. But instead, you waste your time mocking a lady who, as you said so yourself, has done nothing except promote a compassionate, vegan lifestyle! Even just a brief search of Supreme Master Ching Hai on the internet will reveal long, long lists of all the good she has done for humanity, and it is clear from just a glance that she is a compassionate leader working to benefit mankind. Every time there is a disaster, whether it be floods, earthquakes, or the 9/11 tragedy you mentioned yourself in your article, Supreme Master Ching Hai and her disciples are always there to donate money and provide relief for the victims. Supreme Master Ching Hai encouraged the formation of the Loving Hut chain as an effort to promote veganism and compassion for our animal friends. And she and the SMTV staff work endlessly, day after day, to provide up-to-date information about the benefits of veganism for both individual health and the health of the planet as a whole. All these acts, and more, show that Supreme Master Ching Hai is an amazing humanitarian who tries to help everyone around her in any way possible.

    Yet in your distasteful, degrading article, you reduced her to nothing short of a pile of dirt. How in the world you managed to do that is beyond me. Which parts of your criticisms are even true? You don’t even have any evidence to back them up! They sound like false, wandering rumors to me. And the fact that you even printed out these biased, unfounded accusations within your magazine makes your entire magazine, as a whole, seem childish and immature. So what if Supreme Master Ching Hai is a big mystery? WHO CARES? In fact, the fact that you don’t seem to know anything about her just shows how little you bother to find out about someone before you decide to publish an article about him/her. If you don’t know much about someone, then FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THAT PERSON instead of wasting your time publishing ridiculous, fabricated stories.

    What I found most despicable about this entire situation, however, is that you purposely exploited a member of their organization just so you could portray them in such a negative light! If the animal industry is guilty of inhumane torture, you too are guilty of inhumane slander and deceit.

    The fact that you actually had the audacity to publish an article such as this is disrespectful to us, your readers, and puts a shame upon your entire staff. I am deeply disappointed in you, VegNews.

    If you value your readers at all, then stop publishing trash such as this.

    I look forward to reading a sincere apology for this whole situation in your upcoming issue. Make the apology long and noticeable, so everyone can see it. You’ve done something wrong, and now it’s time for you to fix it.

    Sincerely,

    A. Chang
    USA

  16. Jargal Yadam says:

    Extremely disappointed and saddened… What an absurd and immature journalism…

    Veg News should publicly apologize…

    • Horace says:

      Apologize? That is the antithesis of Joe Connelly. Arrogance, lying, blaming others, this is what we see in the current scandal faking photos of recipes. These guys have zero credibility left. Vegan? Not my cult. I would rather be part of an honest movement like the supreme master people, than a fan of this yellow journalism rag. I’ve met Joe, he’s a snake and a slime. So don’t be surprised that this is what you’re supporting when you buy his mag.

  17. Grace says:

    “Supreme Mystery” Response

    Dear VegNews Staff,

    Perhaps you have better things to do than to read yet another letter regarding “Supreme Mystery.” But then again, in this day and age of global warming, perhaps others, too, have better things to do than to take the time to write you under this unpleasant circumstance. Your decision to feature a sensationalized article reflects your under-estimation of and disrespect for the intelligence of your readers. If you were trying to attract more attention, I regret to inform you that type of writing only hurts your once fine reputation.

    The article came to my attention via Dr. Will Tuttle’s open letter to you. I have not read others’ letters. What I say comes from my heart and I shall try to be brief.

    1. This whole uproar about the article literally gave me a migraine. Not that my health should be the most of your concern, but since your magazine promotes healthy living, I thought I’d bring that to your awareness, in case you didn’t know about the potential harm such an article might have caused others, directly or indirectly. When this kind of energy is circulating in the air, it is toxic, whether we feel it or not. In the future, it’d be greatly appreciated if you don’t print similar articles on any other individual or any other group like that. Please focus on the positive and uplifting aspects of life. It is much more refreshing to read.

    2. When so much suffering is still going on daily for our animal friends, VegNews could have used the precious space, ink, paper, electricity and human resources to expose the cruelty done to these gentle beings, instead of insinuating that some vegan group is a cult. I believe you are all native speakers of English, and as you know, the word “cult” has a negative connotation in the English language. When we label some group as a cult, it is a serious charge.

    People don’t normally think that the word “cult” is embedded in CULTure. If anything, we in the United States are in a huge flesh-eating cult of violence, insensitivity and selfishness. And so if there’s an alternative cult of peace, caring and compassion, shouldn’t we seriously weigh its value and question the status quo?

    3. If there’s a need for VegNews to do coverage on non-white people or culture, you might want do more investigative reports on the dog-eating situation in China, Korea, Vietnam and other Asian countries. If you can stop all that dog/cat-eating and help create more vegan restaurants than McDonald’s, you’re a hero in my book for this lifetime!

    Although I’ve always been a supporter of VegNews, unfortunately, this time I couldn’t say that I was proud of what VegNews did. I expected more class from you. Here we are trying our hardest to deal with climate change and promote compassion on this beautiful yet dying planet, and at the time when some celebrity announced that the vegan diet nearly killed her, we’re hit with VegNews’ negative article about a vegan restaurant chain and vegan advocates!

    I close with the hope that you will make amends and make friends, and we vegans can be one big happy family-slash-cult again. Sometimes all it takes is a simple, “I’m very sorry I hurt you.”

    Best wishes and with love,

    Grace for Vegan Vietnam (VietNamAnChay.blogspot.com)

  18. katie55 says:

    I, for one, want to thank VegNews for their article on Supreme Master Ching Hai. I think it is extremely important for vegans to think critically about everything, including other vegan organizations and products. While the Supreme Master has done many amazing and admirable things, and deserves praise for them, VegNews brought up legitimate and trouble questions, which likewise deserve careful examination and skepticism. In order for veganism to be seen as a legitimate cause, rather than some crazy hippie movement, it is imperative that we don’t simply turn a blind eye to issues because they are vegan.

    What is shameful is to ask VegNews to apologize for a factually correct article. That runs against the basic tenet of freedom of speech, trying to censor what you personally disagree with (or don’t want to acknowledge).

    Many people already criticize veganism as being more akin to a radical religion rather than a serious justice movement, so it is important for vegans to ask themselves how they feel about a growing representation of veganism to be a cult about which little is known. In that vein, I appreciated the fact that the article did not draw one clear conclusion. The author was merely presenting different viewpoints and exposing a topic of possible concern about which not much had been known, and allowing readers to draw their own conclusion.

    So thank you, VegNews, for your journalism and for your encouragement of critical thinking. Please don’t give in to people who don’t want to hear anything other than what they completely agree with; that mindset is exactly why people don’t want to learn about conditions on factory farms.

    • Eve Gotch says:

      While I understand, Katie that the vegan movement has a lot working against it without having to defend unfamiliar behavior and practices to the mainstream (such as having the most productive member, at the forefront of the swell being an Asian woman with a title like ‘Master’) I don’t see how picking apart this person’s life looking for questionable behavior or mocking those individuals inspired by her could possibly help further the vegan cause.

      Certain things printed could in no way be proven “factual” such as if a single random follower beat her children or if the Master had a baby at some point. If the article is about Loving Hut International chain of restaurants, what is the point of these intentionally defaming statements?

      If, for example, Hugh Hefner had been responsible for creating the world’s fastest growing chain of vegan restaurants worldwide, I’m 100% positive that VegNews would laud his efforts with praise. It’s been proven throughout history however, by the lives of many great Masters such as Jesus, Buddha or Mohamed that the greatest offense you can commit to a “thinking” society is to state your own enlightenment.

    • Susan Gilchrist says:

      Katie,

      There is a difference between critical thinking and a deceptively negative article. Imagine if someone took a dislike to you and sought out to find negative things about you. I’m quite certain they could find people with whom you had had a disagreement who have a bad opinion of you or some stories about you that could be spun in a way to make you look like a bad person. But would it be a true representation of you and your life?

      I have been a member of this organization for 12 years. I am highly educated, have a good job, loving family and friends, and I am not being controlled or manipulated by anyone. I have become a happier and more balanced person who gives back more to my community and those around me since joining.

      However, if you were to interview my family of origin, they would no doubt have negative comments about me since I joined because they are in the livestock business. But would airing their grievances be a true representation of Supreme Master Ching Hai and the Loving Hut?

      I can assure you, these facts were twisted, taken out of context and written in a way to shed a negative light on events and actions that are positive, and to highlight the negative by placing it under a high powered microscope while ignoring the majority which is good.

      Susan Gilchrist

    • Sherri says:

      Veg News did not run a factual article. They quoted erroneous reports from years and years ago and did no real research. I am saddened that people in the west constantly have fear of religions or spirituality foreign to them. Admittedly I had this too when I first heard about Supreme Master Ching Hai. After all in the western culture her name even sounds suspicious. I am a sane all American female. I witnessed an amazing change in a friend of mine and saw how he became happy and how his life improved watching after he became a student of Master Ching Hai. I kept a sceptical eye on him for years after just waiting for the “cult” to brainwash him or take his money. Well, it never happened. Now I practice her meditation method and I have for over 8 years. To date I have not paid her one penny – no one passes a plate around or demands tithes as the Christian churches do. I am married to a man who does not practice with her, raise a child, go to work pay my taxes and do my best to help others. All things by the way that Master Ching Hai endorses. If anyone would like to interview or ask me questions, from the source I would be happy to speak to anyone with more questions.

      Peace

  19. Dear Ms. Holland,

    I am responding to your Loving Hut article. Yes, I am an initiate of the Quan Yin method of meditation.
    I have always been impressed with your magazine’s admirable phylosophy of kindness and compassion. But your article on Loving Hut left me very confused as to your intent. It seems to me that you used the Loving Hut restaurants as a mean to discredit the spiritual leader Master Ching Hai. It was not at all contiguous with your intent to promote businesses that align with your belief in veganism.
    Could it be that Veggie News is in a financial crisis that it needed to promote something controversial to bring traffic to the magazine? Or maybe it is just a moment of misjudgement due to lack of understanding of the philosophy behind the Quan Yin method of meditation. Hopefully it is the latter , for I do wish your magazine financial success.

    I will now take the opportunity to clarify some points of misunderstandings about the nature of our organization. These points of misunderstandings are rooted in cultural differences between Eastern and Western cultures.

    The term “Master” is always very confusing to the western ear. It is often misinterpreted and feared. This is due to differences in the term’s meaning based on the cultural history of the Asian cultures and Western cultures.
    In Chinese, the term is “Si Fu”, in Vietnamese, it is “Shu Phu”, in Japanese, it is “SenSei”. These terms all share the idea of a very strong and respectful relationship between teacher and student. This is a relationship based on the passing on of a pholosophy from the teacher to the student that guides the student on the path of personal and spiritual growth. The term is used in Buddhist monasteries and schools of martial arts. The closest translation into the English language is “Master”. The translation tries to align with the idea of someone who has mastered an art or skill. Unfortunately, most westerners align it with “master and slavery”, someone controlling and someone being controlled.

    The article spoke of the organization with reference to the term “cult”,again rooted in ignorance of what is the truth. I will share with you five basic words that can help you to understand more about the Quan Yin method.
    Compassion – reverence and care for all creatures great and small.
    Karma – what is sent out into the universe is what is returned.
    Enlightenment – it is each being’s purpose to pursue and grow towards the highest level of consciousness which exists inside each individual.
    Meditation – seeking to quiet the mind and emotion in order to pursue the higher and more refined vibration of the higher consciousnes (Quan Yin meditation, meditation on inner light and sound).
    Veganism – the physical expression of compassion, always creating the karma of kindness.
    These 5 terms are profoundly linked together, and is the foundation of Master Ching Hai’s teaching.

    The Quan Yin practitioners live under the guidance of these five concepts. Anyone seeking to walk on any spiritual path knows that it is challenging and full of pitfalls. Thus a Master is needed to be the guidance through those times of darkness and confusions. A true Master will always help those who have fallen down, but will never walk the path for them.

    The organization is encouraged to always be creative and to support one another to grow. Thus resources are shared, new businesses are created , ideas in the world of science, art, music, sports are encouraged and celebrated, all with the purpose of sending positive energy into the universe.

    Is this too good to be true? It is too good and yes it is the truth.

    Master Ching Hai is not a mystery, all her words and lectures can be found on SMTV,com.

    Please, we can partner together and make our Earth beautiful again.

    Many Blessings and Grace to you,

    Lisette Templin

    Houston, Texas

  20. Dear VegNews owners and editor,

    It came as a shock to me to read the article “Supreme Mystery” in your recent publication. It mocked the hard work of Supreme Master Ching Hai and her group dedicated to promoting vegan news and sharing the benefits of the vegan diet globally through Supreme Master Television (SMTV at http://www.suprememastertv.com).

    Really, the tremendous efforts to air an internet TV channel around the world highlighting environmental impacts of cattle raising, health benefits of a vegan diet and the spiritual teachings of a great, enlightened Master should be commended and not ridiculed. I really did not understand the intention behind this article. Why was it condemning the good works of Supreme Master Ching Hai and what is there to gain by this?

    Also, the article did not seem to have any basis to support its accusations that the group is a cult. Supreme Master Ching Hai’s followers are not coerced into giving money, time or resources. Everything they do is from the heart and voluntary and for the benefit of others. Loving Hut is the fastest growing vegan restaurant chain the world. That is wonderful news and should be celebrated! Instead, the writer of the article has a vehement and toxic tone, belittling all the efforts that have been put in by Supreme Master Ching Hai as an inspiration for this growth.

    I am a follower of Supreme Master Ching Hai and through her example and words, my life has become so much better. Following the sacred 5 precepts and daily meditation as well as keeping a vegan diet, I have found myself improving in myriad ways. The title Supreme Master was given to her by her followers as a sign of respect for her spiritual attainment. It is similar to Christ or Buddha which means the enlightened one. Supreme Master Ching Hai always says that we have the divine in us, all of us, and that we just need to realize it by keeping the precepts, daily meditation and the vegan diet. She never claims that she is the only one privileged to this supreme state of enlightenment.

    Supreme Master is also a humanitarian who gives generously to the needy and jumps to the aid of disaster victims all around the world. She funds herself by the sale of her artwork such as paintings, lamps, jewelery etc. What is wrong with that? She is earning money through honest means, with her artistic tendencies and puts the money to good use. A materialistic person would not be so giving and compassionate.

    I have only known Supreme Master Ching Hai as love and wisdom. I am constantly amazed by her creativity and relentless hard work with SMTV and the Loving Hut franchise to educate people about veganism and how to keep the planet healthy which is so important at this time. I was going to subscribe to VegNews but after this article, I have changed my mind. I am sure there are many out there, saddened by this article. Please issue an apology to Supreme Master Ching Hai and retract your article immediately in order to undo or at least soften the damage that has already been done. It is not too late.

    Sincerely,
    Srilata Thirunagari

  21. Dr. Nguyen Pham says:

    Dear Colleen, Joseph and Elizabeth,

    I am writing this letter to express my high disappointment in your magazine’s recent publication about Supreme Master Ching Hai. With such reputable magazine and advocate about vegetarian and veganism like yours, I just could not understand why you allowed and agreed on such untruth article “Supreme Mystery” by Abigail Young to be published. In my humble opinion, I would highly suggest that you should do more in-depth research about the facts what Supreme Master Ching Hai and her organization do for the humanity. Please go to http://www.SupremeMasterTV.com and to godsdirectcontact.org to watch or read about her works.

    About Loving Hut, their food is delicious and affordable. Where can you find this when the world need all people to be vegan in order to save our world from such critical situation of global warming, climate change? And Loving Hut is the fastest international vegan chain restaurant where vegan/vegetarians feel so happy to go there and eat without having to worry about hurting any beings.

    Please correct your mistake. Have compassion!

    Respectfully,

    Dr. Nguyen Pham
    Florida – USA

  22. Eve Gotch says:

    Why do people keep printing that Supreme Master Ching Hai had a baby when she was 19? This has never been proven, first of all. Secondly, even if she did.. so what? Does having a baby make someone incapable of realizing God within themselves, helping others realize the same and creating the single most powerful movement of peace ever to exist on our planet, thereby potentially saving the entire human race and all living beings on Earth from destruction by their own karma? I think not.

  23. Tuan Nguyen says:

    I am so disappointed with VegNews. I believe they should think twice for the veg movement now. They are so behind.
    Houston, Texas

  24. Jakub Olewski says:

    Dear Editor and Owners of VegNews,

    I must say, that it is with deep sadness that I have read my first article in VegNews (I have not come across your magazine before), it was called “Supreme Mystery”. I feel personally attacked, offended and sabotaged. I am the member of Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association. I am also vegan, like you, and try to do my best apart from my regular job to help other people become vegan. This article shows how easy is to critcise something, and how difficult is to write in support (at least for the author), “good news is a bad news” that’s the problem… Not even starting to read the article just the intro, you know what angle did the writer take: ‘ascession to “Supreme Master” status’ don’t you call kings and queens even nowadays Your Majesty, don’t you call representatives of a country “Your Excelency” don’t you call the Pope ‘Your Holliness”… but that is just the beginning. I will not discuss all the unsupported allegations in the middle of the article, they are all well known, yes, they come from very reliable, trustworthy, internet, like we all know… You need to see what good work is going on around the world and then judge, do your homework, support, or at least do not attack those that are on your side. I will just say that our Association is all but not a cult. It is truth that Master does not accept any donations and it is also truth that we support her work by organising things ourselves – of course everything in this world cost money, so if we feel we can and want to, we chip in and make something toghether – why you have problem with this? But everything is voluntary, and all the teachings, initiation, membership, etc. are free of charge. And also, no one will call you even once if you say you quit, no one will care less – where is this cult the article is talking about? If we as individuals want to do something good using our resources to help others and not for our own pleasure, not for money – is that wrong? Sorry, but I just do not have words to express my deep sadness of this attack on my Master.

    Yours faithfully,

    Jakub Olewski

  25. Lila Brooks says:

    Dear Veg News,

    Your scathing article on “Supreme Mystery” upset me so deeply and on so many levels. You had an opportunity to do a great thing with this piece for the sake of animals, the vegetarian industry and the environment, but you not only missed it, you severely mucked it up in the worst possible way I could ever imagine. To begin with, I can’t believe out of all the things in the universe your magazine could do an expose on you chose to criticize the first vegan fast food chain to ever exist in the world. Whose side are you on? The Loving Hut chain has just made it to first base and you want to take them out? Don’t you want to see an organic vegan restaurant make a homerun? I don’t know about you, but when I found out there was a fast food vegan restaurant opening up within a few miles of my house, a lot closer than any other vegetarian restaurant by far, I was giddy for days. You’d think your readers would be happy to learn of one potentially coming to them soon. With their tasty mock meat dishes you should be giving this franchise kudos for creating new readers for your magazine. It’s not like McDonalds has plans to open up any McVegan restaurants and I don’t see anyone else trying, much less succeeding at such a great venture. Why in the world would you even go there and potentially threaten this chain!?! It’s insanity. I have been to two Loving Hut locations on multiple occasions and no one was trying to shove some philosophy down my throat. All I got was exceptional friendly service and really great food that I didn’t have to question or anguish over ordering in fear of it having been contaminated with lard or some other offensive ingredient.

    Hmm, wait a second? Why am I even speaking about The Loving Hut? You weren’t – like one would expect a vegetarian magazine would do. Nope! You guys collectively decided it was in the best interest of, I don’t know who, to viscously attack a non profit, non denominational organization whose leader and group have been deservingly awarded for their humanitarian efforts by government entities across the globe for years – numerous times mind you. Most pathetically, it seems as if your journalist based the entire one-sided write up on some random guys biased school paper. As far as I know that guy could be some young, Birkenstock wearing stoner dude from Berkeley who was just trying to make his paper look juicy so he’d get an ‘A’ from his Prof. It makes me wonder if the rest of the abusive slander was pilfered from often inaccurate internet data or if it was just inferred assumptions made by this naïve girl you hired who clearly lacks the talent for fact checking. For instance, I am familiar with who the founder of Eco-Vegan Food Company is and it is not owned, operated, nor funded by Master Ching Hai. A simple phone call would have sufficed to clarify that one. Numbers on their website. How much else is blatantly wrong?

    Tolerance people, where is the tolerance? I have lived in five different countries over the past several years and had the honor to meet many people from differing walks of life and faiths. If you were to ask me of my experiences among them I would almost entirely offer you stories of beautiful people with great cultural and spiritual values. Not all I agreed with nor understood, but I respected and valued as good citizens of the world that benefit society and our planet because they live with good moral standards and strive to honor the good and basic fundamentals of their faith. I have made good friends with some of Master Ching Hai’s practitioners along the way. You are looking at this group from such a Western point of view. You grossly misjudge and insult their teacher, practice and character. Of all the people I have met along my journeys, some of her practitioners have unknowingly been the most influential in inspiring me to live according to my highest ideals and to do much more selfless service. They are extremely loving and tolerant of all faiths, have a lot of honor and dignity, don’t seem at all to be a part of a cult. Further, the practitioners I know have such respect for life they won’t even harm the ant mounds in their back yard – literally – do you think they are going to threaten a human soul with a bomb? Be for real! Have you gotten to know any of them? Are they passionately devoted to their compassionate teacher who helped them on their spiritual journey? Yes. Do they admire her many noble qualities and love her with immense gratitude for whatever wisdom she has imparted to them? Yes. You guys have done a real fine job of spinning this story. If you were to ask me to spin my story on all those I met in my travels I could angle them any way you want. I am sure I could come up with one or two tales about oddballs all the way from the Foothills of the Himalayas to the Bible Belt in Texas, but why? Do they represent the masses? Isn’t tolerance what we want in this world? Isn’t looking at the overall greatness of a group greater than the few questionable parts that we haven’t taken the time to properly understand or at least look past because at least the group overall are doing great deeds? I’d take millions of Master Ching Hai’s compassionate practitioners in the world. They’re a much better investment than all the zany people out their trying to do harm to others.

    Now let’s talk about the scapegoat of the article who you shamelessly cast in such a negative shadow. Let’s just say I hope I am wrong, but I can’t help feel you deceptively tricked Mr. Smugar into giving you an interview about what he probably thought was going to be about this cool new franchise that he painstakingly helped fund. If you had written a positive story, all of his quotes you used wouldn’t have made him come across like such a schlep, which those who know him well assure me he is the farthest from. I for one admire that Mr. Smugar and his friends have pulled their resources together to follow their passions and see something that I consider of great importance to the world and to the welfare of animals come to fruition. If I had the means and courage to live off of my past income and devote myself to the great causes I care about, then I certainly would. I’ve known more than a handful of people from this group for ten years now. They work in conventional jobs like you and me and spend a portion of their earnings on charitable causes. Isn’t that a good thing? Shouldn’t we say more power to them! Forgive me if I am wrong, really, but if that was the tactic your magazine used to attain your information from Mr. Smugar then that it is so un-classy. Until now, I never would have considered your journalists to be the underhanded and frankly slimy in their tactics kind. It saddens me that I question that now. Especially since a week and a half ago I voted for VN as my favorite magazine in the Annual Veggie Awards survey.

    If proper research was done I feel you would have found that those in her group are good at mobilizing in the time of crisis and selflessly so. Like recently in Haiti for instance. Their group was there on some of the first flights that were allowed to land at the airport and within days of getting their cargo they were able to feed 2000 vegan meals a day for a few months straight to keep medical staff and patients healthy and alive. They consider our planet to be in a state of crisis, because experts, including those of the IPCC, the great scientific panel formed specifically to advise world’s governments, have said so. Because many other notable and renowned scientific experts in the world concur that Livestock’s contribution to environmental problems is on a massive scale and that eating more plant based foods is one of the greatest ways we as individuals can create immediate change. Eating vegan is good for the planet regardless if it is going to end or not. Something worth supporting either way don’t ya think? Not to mention it promotes compassion, something I like to believe your periodical stands for. Am I wrong? Maybe I am. You guys certainly approved the publication of a quite damaging and non-compassionate article. Mean spirited I’d say and completely uncalled for too. What did they ever do to you? As compassionate as they are I imagine they are going to be the first ones to forgive you – something that might take longer for the long list of vegetarian friends I have who are irate that you did this.

    With all that easily attainable data out there I am flabbergasted that your writer makes it seem like Master Ching Hai is pulling this climate change stuff out of her hat for her own personal gain. Is it possible that she saw the need for rapid change to occur faster than our own leaders are initiating? Is it possible she saw a great opportunity and simply inspired people to fulfill that desperately needed void? It’s not that mysterious to me! I think everyone should applaud Supreme Master Ching Hai for creating awareness on a topic that everyone, including our own government leaders, fear and resist speaking about to the masses. I often wish and pray that our government would at least simply state the facts and inform people about how eating plant based foods can help our environment recover from so much devastation so that our citizens can at least make an educated decision for themselves, but to date, they haven’t. Without a voice, no one is listening. Master Ching Hai and her association members, as well as those devoted to The Loving Huts are the loudest voices for this plight in the entire world. I believe they have the utmost faith in humanity, and feel that people from all walks of life will rise up and support the cause if they truly understand what’s at stake and realize that, hey, vegan food ain’t so bad. I can do this. You could have at least attempted to make the article look like you considered a broader view of possibilities.

    I encourage you to save face with this disgraceful article by visiting and asking your readers to visit http://www.SupremeMasterTelevison.com and go directly to the Climate Change SOS tab and listen to the recordings of leading scientists and experts from around the world tell it like it is. I would expect more, but feel this is the least you could do. VN should be embarrassed and feel ashamed of the damage that has been done to the animals, the environment, the vegan industry, The Loving Hut chain, Mr. Smugar, and the honorably renowned and greatly respected Supreme Master Ching Hai.

    So all in all, I get it. You aren’t buying into all their selling. Again, I say who cares. That’s not why we pick up a copy of your magazine. As far as I am concerned all you accomplished with this piece is that now I question whether I want to ever buy what you are selling. I hope you change my mind, as I would miss not reaching for what I once believed to be the best of a few good vegan resources out there.

    Sincerely,

    Lila Brooks
    California

  26. Paul Morgan says:

    I am EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED and upset about the recent VegNews article entited “Supreme Mystery.” I HAVE DECIDED TO IMMEDIATELY CANCEL MY SUBSCRIPTION TO VEGNEWS. I REFUSE TO SUPPORT A MAGAZINE THAT PUBLISHES SLANDER, MANIPULATION, LIES, DECEPTION, DISTORTION, AND BLATANT ATTACKS.

    What a disgusting, distasteful article! Veg News should be ashamed of themselves!

    There is no place in our movement for such vicious attacks on any vegan business or religious group that promotes compassionate vegan living. How dare they attack the Loving Hut and Supreme Master Ching Hai!!! She and her followers have probably done more than any other group to promote veganism! What other restaurant expouses the benefits of veganism so passionately and proudly??? It’s the largest vegan restaurant in the world and we should be thankful for their efforts.

    VegNews owes them a public apology/retraction.
    I refuse to support VegNews any longer.
    I am DISGUSTED to say the least. SHAME ON VEGNEWS!!!

  27. Judy Carman says:

    Dear Veg News, I found myself in disbelief as I read your Supreme Mystery article. Was this really my Veg News? I have read Will Tuttle’s letter to you and agree with each line. Rather than reiterate what he so eloquently stated, I will simply add my “ditto” to what he has written and said to you. I never thought of Veg News as having a mission to very unveganly “expose” others who are working so valiantly and unselfishly to spread the message of compassion and nonviolence. That is the mainstream media’s job.

    What possible reason could Veg News have for publishing such an article? Appealing to the mainstream by promoting great recipes, beautiful photos of vegan dishes, and other such uplifting and positive articles encourages and invites readers to consider veganism a joyful way to live. This article which insults and mocks fellow vegans does nothing to demonstrate the core principles of veganism–lovingkindness, nonviolence, and the mission to create a new culture of peace.

    I respectfully ask you, for the sake of Veg News which has done so much for the movement, and for the sake of the animals who are depending on us to end their suffering–please apologize to your readers and to SMCHIA for this very non-vegan article. If that is not a possibility, an alternative would be to allow Will Tuttle to write another article about the SMCHIA group. He has an extensive knowledge of their many good works and has met numerous members of the group personally.
    Love and peace,
    Judy Carman, Author of Peace to All Beings and The Missing Peace

  28. tamisin says:

    Dear VegNews,

    Re: ‘Supreme Mystery’ article – what high-profile vegan / veggy is up for character assasination next? Paul McCartney? Stella McCartney? Alicia Silverstone? Heather Mills? PETA founders [mind, I've heard some bad stuff in the media about them - so it must be true...], VIVA founders etc etc etc

    Speaking as a BBC trained journalist & news anchor, I suggest you people get your journalists [advised term] & news slants, into SUPPORTING ANYONE who makes a huge positive impact on saving this near-death planet, and remember, the name of your ‘publication’ – is VegNews – perhaps I need to say it as it seems to have gone well astray – is NOT SlurryslingNews.

    Looking forward to some genuinely GOOD journalism in future…

  29. Victoria White says:

    Supremely Saddened by your article

    Dear VegNews Staff,

    Wow, what an article! I am ashamed and appalled that fellow vegans could write something so disrespectful and deceptive about another human being!

    What has Supreme Master Ching Hai done to deserve such treatment?

    – Is it being the innovator of the Loving Hut concept and inspiration for the fastest growing worldwide network of vegan restaurants (160 so far!), which vegans and non-vegans alike rave about?

    – Or is it inspiring the only 24/7 global all vegan TV channel, translated into 40+ languages with thousands of hours of free archived downloadable programs, with participation from some of the best and brightest on our planet, true heroes and leaders in their respective fields who are making huge strides in raising the consciousness in our world at this critical time – animal rights activists, scientists, celebrities, political leaders, health experts, vegan proponents, etc?

    – Or is it donating for decades, millions of dollars of her own money, money she made herself through her many creative talents, for disaster relief and the less fortunate? (of course with extensive records proving these donations)

    – Or that she is someone who is loved by millions – the rich, the poor, the famous, the forgotten, and even heads of state?

    – Or is it because she has inspired and participated in 25 climate change conferences world-wide, pointing out how we are destroying our earth and must change our ways and be virtuous to ensure our children’s and planet’s survival?

    – Or for being a voice for the animals and other innocent beings who are not being heard?

    Who else on our planet is doing what Supreme Master Ching Hai is to spread LOVE and COMPASSION in such a big and diverse way, not only talking the talk but walking the walk, and radiating GOODNESS with all she touches? I believe this is why she has been so successful. She is the Law of Attraction in action. What she has accomplished is nothing short of a Miracle.

    To see an article like this about someone who has done so much for our world is really an embarrassment for the whole vegan community. What you have written, both about Supreme Master Ching Hai and her community, as well as the reflection on yourselves as fellow vegans, I feel will only give Meat-Eaters more excuses to continue their death supporting ways, saying vegans are all crazy and not something they want to be aligned with. I fear your article will backfire on you and all of us, and the progress we have made to raise awareness about veganism and animal rights.

    My experience is that we see the world as we are, not as it is. I encourage you to look within, and see what in you makes you believe that someone so good cannot possibly be real. Supreme Master Ching Hai is real, and the vegan movement should feel blessed that she is promoting our cause in such a big way.

    We should all be uniting together in love rather than promoting negativity, separation consciousness and deception. If we desire a more loving, compassionate and peaceful world, we must be Love and Compassion and Peace ourselves, three values at the core of Veganism. I encourage you to ask yourselves:

    1) Did this article come from a place of love, compassion and peace or were you just grasping at straws to find something – anything – negative to say about someone who seems too good to be true?

    2) What kind of message is this sending out to the world about vegetarians and veganism?

    3) Can someone who has devoted their entire life to helping humanity and our world in such a big way, AND who has accomplished as much as she has, even be capable of the absurd and insulting allegations in your article about Supreme Master Ching Hai? Could the millions of Supreme Master Ching Hai supporters who can attest to being the lucky recipients of her goodness and actions all be wrong? Does their gratitude automatically mean they are brainwashed?

    For all of these reasons, I urge you to retract your article and issue an apology to Supreme Master Ching Hai and her association who have been tirelessly working for many years and in so many ways to promote kindness and make our world a better place.

    We all make mistakes. Now is your opportunity to correct yours. You will be seen as the bigger person for admitting you were wrong and taking the high road. I will be the first to applaud you and honor you for your courage.

    Namaste,

    Victoria White

    Tucson, AZ

  30. Susana Fung says:

    Wow… I would embarrassingly say I read your magazine…!

    I always thought that being vegan is the most elegant way of living… after reading your article of “Supreme Mystery”… I have to rephrase it: “Being vegan and morally educated is the only way to be human while we live.”

    I hope you DO apologize to my friend David Smugar and specially to Supreme Master Ching Hai and her vegan chain restaurants. You have NO CLUE… how many people wants to stop eating meat with their tide up schedule and not knowing how to cook… How much this chain has become a trust icon for people to eat with a safe heart knowing that anywhere you go, if you see Loving Hut, you know they serve ONLY animal-free food!!

    I would be so embarrassed if I were either of you… seriously!! You have no idea how angry I am right now!

    Hope I made myself clear!
    Susana Fung
    p.s. Don’t forget to publish the follow up article by Dr. Will Tuttle about your “Supreme Mystery”.

  31. Warwak says:

    Re: “Supreme Mystery”
    Just when I thought VegNews was a loser sell-out corporate capitalistic rag proving to the corpse-munching world their acceptance, patience and tolerance—they pull this unimaginable brain-fart on the movement themselves, proving once again, hypocrisy becomes transparent once accepted and fortified once adopted as the things they dislike most in others are often just mirrors of their own demons.

  32. Pat Ritz says:

    Dear Joe & Colleen,
    I’m sure that Joan and I are among your charter subscribers. We signed up in 2000 at the World Vegetarian Congress in Toronto. We have never let our subscription lapse, and have looked forward to each issue.

    We have always held your magazine in high regard — until the October 2010 issue. In her article Supreme Mystery, writer Abigail Young went out of her way to cast Supreme Master Ching Hai and her followers in a negative light.

    A restaurant which is part of the Loving Hut chain is one of our main reasons for moving to Cincinnati, Ohio. We purchased a condominium a short distance from The Loving Cafe, and we usually eat there several times a week. What’s not to love about a bright, aesthetic environment with cheerful staff and delicious vegan food at reasonable prices?

    Ms. Young strongly implies that Supreme Master Ching Hai somehow exploits her followers. I can only imagine that their experiences in the Ching Hai movement must be very benevolent, because I have never seen such happy, positive workers in any commercial establishment. If they make sacrifices of time, energy and money, they do so very willingly and for spiritual reasons. Their goal of saving the world from a climate catastrophe by spreading the vegan message is one that I totally endorse.

    We vegans are so fortunate to have these wonderful restaurants in our cities. Many other resources that we use, such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, are imperfect because they also sell animal products. At the Loving Huts, everything is plant-based and you never have to question the ingredients.

    I fully expect to see an apology and retraction in a future issue, because I’m sure you have offended many of your readers. If you do not set the record straight, I will have to sadly reconsider my long term association with your magazine.
    Sincerely,
    Pat Ritz
    3543 Amberacres Dr. #305W
    Cincinnati, OH 45237

  33. CY Beh says:

    Dear Joe & Coleen,
    Dr. Will Tuttle has written beautifully and many people and I totally agree with all the points he’s made. I’d just like to add though, on the side of your facebook page, there’s this nice tag line:
    Think. Eat. Thrive.
    Sadly and respectfully, I’d say it should have been “Think. Eat. Cry.”
    What were you Thinking?
    What were you Eating?
    Are you really Thriving?
    By publishing Supreme Mystery,
    Were you Thinking at all?
    What is your point?
    What is your motivation?
    This is a mystery, to me and many others.
    Your decision to allow such negativity to taint VegNews magazine make us all Cry!
    Yes, we Cry for you,
    We cry for you Joe Connelly & Coleen Holland! (Not Argentina!)
    For this goes against the very values VegNews is supposed to breathe into this world!
    That’s the saddest thing about it all!
    VegNews is not supposed to be a tabloid!
    You need some serious Love.
    You seriously need some Love.
    And guess from whom you’ll get it?
    The one that you’ve done grave injustice to –
    The Supreme Master Ching Hai herself.
    That’s right.
    I’ve been around and seen it first hand for more than 15 years,
    And I humbly regard myself as a sane person,
    A man of simple logic and common sense,
    And I can honestly tell you and tell you honestly,
    What you’ve done is nothing new and couldn’t be any further from the Truth.
    And you know what?
    She’ll never counter you.
    She’ll forgive you like the few who came before you over the years!
    And Her works of unconditional Love and Compassion for all,
    Humans and animals alike, including people like you, shall continue.
    If one could expend so much time and energy
    to save animals and the environment out of Love,
    How could one not accord the same kind of Love towards humans?
    Including humans like you?
    Likewise, if one could embrace the essence of Vegan lifestyle,
    And start a vegan magazine called VegNews,
    How could the same person not be able to know right from wrong?
    Sifting the positive from negative?
    Seriously, we should all “Think. Eat. Thrive.”
    We should all live up to these words!
    Perhaps then Planet Earth will have a fighting chance to survive!
    Seriously, you do need some serious Love,
    Unconditional Love.
    And we’ll give it to you.
    Whether you’re able to embrace this Love,
    This unconditional Love from so many people around the world is all up to you.
    For we all get what we deserve,
    And we deserve what we get.
    We send you our Love;
    And we truly wish that you have the capacity to receive it,
    Embrace it and channel it back into VegNews and beyond!
    We optimistically, confidently and lovingly wish that you’d do the right thing:
    Think. Eat. Thrive.
    Better still,
    Think. Eat. Love. Thrive.

    Sincerely,
    cy beh

  34. Catherine Kayser says:

    I read your article thoroughly, not because it was accurate or perceptive, but rather the opposite – it presents views of Supreme Master Ching Hai and the meditation association that I found baffling.

    I am left wondering about the possible economic motivation behind such negativity. It makes no sense to me that a magazine that purports to spread vegetarianism would be so cynical in its reporting regarding the motivation behind establishing a vegan chain of restaurants. Is the world so jaded that it is unbelievable that a spiritual group would take to heart the urgency for people to adopt a vegetarian diet? Unfortunately many people who claim to be ecologically concerned only talk the talk, but fail to walk the walk.

    As a matter of professional journalism it would behoove your staff not to judge what they cannot understand. It is easier to publish something negative than it is to understand our method of meditation and our wonderful Supreme Master Ching Hai, but expediency makes for inaccuracy and shortchanges your readership.

    VegNews should restrict their articles to vegetarianism and not venture into fields it is obviously incompetent to investigate and report.

  35. Jo says:

    I am amazed that a publication promotion vegetarianism could write an article questioning a person who is opening hundreds of vegan restaurants around the world and promoting veganism and non-violence at the same time (put religious and cultural prejudices aside and lets be kinder to our sister and brother vegans!!). I thought vegetarians and vegans were kind of on the same side?????? The article kind of gets me thinking “where is this all coming from” pointed at your magazine… and conspiracy theories cross the mind… Does not reflect too well on your publication I’m afraid…
    I would have thought it kinder to focus on what this person is actually doing to promote non-violence and to leave the rest for the individual to decide for themselves eh?? After all the individual can make up their own mind – and leave the investigative journalism to another forum … you guys are about vegetarianism and your magazine promotes this – so be fair and support vegans, no matter their race, colour or beliefs.

    Concerned
    J MacDonald
    Roleystone, Perth, Australia

  36. Eve Gotch says:

    Reminding all to sign the petition asking for a new article to be written by Will Tuttle on the topic of Loving Hut and SMCHI organization. Only 50 signatures more needed to reach the 500 goal!

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/ask-vegnews-quotprint-new-loving-hut-article-by-will-tuttlequot/

  37. Caroline Bied says:

    Here is what I wrote to the owners with a cc to the senior editor. This very lowly article makes me feel sick to my stomach.

    Dear Mr. Connelly and Mrs Holland,

    I was shocked to read this article entitled “Supreme Mystery” in the latest edition of your otherwise helpful veg magazine. It made me feel very uneasy to read such things on a well-known humanitarian that is doing a great job on all fronts, and has been recognized worldwide. This discredits her entire work and people working in Loving Hut restaurants must have felt insulted themselves.

    It is curious that such a well-known and recognized magazine such as yours is trusting the calumnious facts given by one person only (against what thousands of others might know).

    Reading this article, I thought I was reading a tabloid, not a serious magazine.

    Unfortunately, it might have already caused serious damage to Loving Hut and people from the SMCHIA. There is no Loving Hut in my city, but I happened to cross one while visiting Toronto, Canada this summer. The food was fresh, tasty, nutritious, the restaurant was clean and the service friendly and my kids really enjoyed it. I do not see why your magazine allowed itself to dig in mud.

    The vegan movement really needs solidarity. The meat and dairy kings must be laughing out loud right now, seeing the vegan people trying to kill each other.

    Sincerely,

    Caroline Bied
    Ottawa, Canada

  38. John Mooter says:

    I have been active as Chairman of EarthSave Cincinnati for many years. We have many fine vegan groups in this city; EarthSave Cincinnati, Vegetarian Resource Group, Stop Animal Exploitation Now, Gratitude Yoga Studio, Park and Vine General Vegan Store, and the Loving Cafe, our only pure vegan restaurant.I was shocked and disappointed to read the negative article on the Loving Hut restaurants. I believe that the article was far from objective, used few examples to show it’s points, and basically did a disservice to The Supreme Master Ching Hai’s followers, who are establishing vegan restaurants all over the world, including a fine one here in Cincinnati, Ohio.

    I have always enjoyed Veg News since it began, and look forward to each issue. This is the exception. The Loving Cafe in Cincinnati has done more for veganism than I could ever imagine. The restaurant has an attitude of spreading the vegan message in a positive manner. We have Buddhist, Christian Hindu vegans, and yes, even Atheist vegans who stop in the Loving Cafe regularly to enjoy the meals. They do not force their beliefs on anybody, and are the nicest people I know.

    Ching Hai’s “Precepts” are basically the same as Buddhist precepts. The only difference is that she requires her followers to actually adhere to the precepts. She is the only spiritual leader that I know of who thinks of veganism as central to spiritual practice. It would be great if other spiritual leaders would follow her lead.

    As far as her being a cult, I assume other religious leaders with titles like “His Holiness”, Most reverend”, Your eminence” are also cult leaders?
    I think not. Besides, this magazine is about veganism, not religious or spiritual beliefs. I do not think this is relevant to this publication.

    I discussed this with local members of Supreme Master Ching Hai. They are saddened and shocked that this article was in a vegan publication. Is the author vegan? Veg News could release another article, perhaps by a Ching Hai member, or Dr. Tuttle,to show the positive side of the movement, which is extraordinary. The vegan community deserves this.

    • Shanna Cheng says:

      Here in my home town, Nantao county, Taiwan, there is a Loving Hut. In this Loving Hut, we will see regular helper volunteers and a brilliant young chef. The chef himself is not Supreme Master Ching Hai’s student. He has his own belief. Yet every time I go there for dinner, I see they work together as a family, spiritual path is not at all an issue there.

  39. Trina N. says:

    Dear Joe,

    I am very disappointed when I read the news article Supreme Mystery in your news magazine. I have been a veg/vegan for almost twenty years, been a part of the veg society, animal rights group, and have been your supporter for a long time. My mother is a disciple of the Supreme Master Ching Hai, and I can tell you, she is a much better person because of Supreme Master Ching Hai. If you know nothing about Supreme Master Ching Hai, you need to do more research and not allow your fellow co worker to print such malicious/negative article about a person as great as the Supreme Master Ching Hai. Instead, your magazine should print more articles promoting and supporting veganism, not bringing/putting someone down who is doing the same thing you are doing.

    • connie Tang says:

      Coulden’t agree more ! I see no faults in Master Ching Hai, she is a great woman to me! I see how the Anti-Global Warming activities are organized by her followers, I really couldn’t thank her more! Now, it is a lot easier to lead a vegan life here in Taiwan. Even convenient stores begin to sell vegan food!
      I think a vegetarian magazine shouldn’t attack certain individual or groups promoting veganism so hard.
      I wonder what the editor had in mind to print this article in the first place?

  40. Carla Y. says:

    Dear Joe, Collen, and Elizabeth,

    It was very disappointing and certainly shocking to read an article of such nature about the Supreme Master Ching Hai (SMCH) in the VegNews when it’s expected that a publisher is able to maintain an objective mentality and a neutral tone of voice. Your article really encouraged doubts about the integrity and credibility of your magazine. It’s not appropriate to attack anyone, in this case, SMCH, who in fact has selflessly done so much good to people around the world and this planet, and is actually a model of today’s world. Had your author done enough research and truly understood the material, perhaps a more reasonable article could have been written. The article has such a tone that makes people wonder about the true intention behind it. Was it because you don’t want to see the best thing that could ever happen to this planet happening right now?

    The article sounds like a report of a private investigation of some sort that just scratched the surface and jumped into conclusions that is not appropriate for a magazine. For a huge vegan group like SMCH’s, you can’t even praise them enough for what they have done so successfully in promoting veganism around the world. Spiritual matter will forever and always be a mystery to those who have not attained a certain level of spiritual development. It shouldn’t be something to be falsely labeled or condemned about based on what you don’t know to potentially mislead the public. Perhaps that has been the mistake that human beings have been making throughout history that is to judge based on what they don’t know, and jump into conclusions to want to decide others’ fates, such as crucifying Jesus and continuously killing animals. That’s why we learn to leave the judgment to God but not to human mind that is of a very limited capacity that at the most can only entertain and satisfy the ego temporarily while still living in this physical world. That’s why we humble ourselves in order to learn more about this world, the universe and the beyond. The only way that you can ever truly know about a spiritual practice is if you have practiced their method to have attained a certain level of spiritual development. So far, they are the only spiritual group on this planet that requires their members to be vegans that is to practice love in action, be compassionate to all beings. They have only done good things to this world that is commendable. Perhaps their group has practiced spiritually to have reached the levels to be able to unite and work well together harmoniously and effortlessly to accomplish a lot of work that if anything is the model for the rest of the world, instead of being labeled as cult by your author in the article. For a Master who can effortlessly have followers like that around the world, we can only say that she must have taught them right.

    I do hope your article will encourage your readers to check out the website of the Supreme Master Television and visit the Loving Hut vegan restaurants in person. The truth speaks for itself that doesn’t need debates. However, it is only appropriate for you, as the publishers of the magazine, a vegan magazine, to do something about your mistakes in having written and published that kind of article, to regain your credibility and integrity so that you can continue your mission on this planet, whatever that may be, with a peace of mind.

    Carla Y.

    USA

  41. Shanna Cheng says:

    here is my letter to Joe Connelly, Colleen Holland,Elizabeth Castortia
    Ahimsa is the essence of Veganism
    — Ask a public apologize for publishing the misleading and damaging “Supreme Mystery” article from an Asian vegan activist
    Dear madam/sir,
    I am very disappointed at the current issue on VegNews, entitled “Supreme Mystery”.
    Ahimsa should be the essence of Veganism, while this article is totally against ahimsa principle. This article
    degrades us all by abusing and disrespecting fellow beings, esp even abusing a group of people dedicated themselves effortlessly to promote ahimsa lifestyle.
    I strongly urge you to make a public apologize and publish a fair article of Supreme Master Ching Hai and her students to compensate your mistake.

    Shanna Cheng

  42. Nina Schatz says:

    This is what I sent to the editors of VegNews:

    A setback for Veganism

    Dear VegNews,

    I feel that your article “Supreme Mystery” in the September/October issue is nothing but a setback for the Veganism movement. As a fellow vegan I am so ashamed that you, as a promoter of Veganism, would allow such an article that is full of non-fact based insults and accusations about another vegan and her association.
    For many years, Supreme Master Ching Hai and her association members have spread love, compassion and peace throughout the world by their endless efforts including:

    • Providing Global disaster relief: Their humanitarian activities are delivered directly to the people in need. The worldwide association members can respond to disasters immediately and can communicate in the native language. This is often a great comfort for the victims of disaster. Members of this association were among the first responders to the 9/11 attack in New York, and they were one of only a few organizations allowed to remain in the barricaded area at ground zero. They provided wholesome veg food and drinks around the clock to rescue workers for many days, all free of charge.
    • Providing a 24/7 free-to-air satellite/Internet television station with a variety of positive programs in English plus over 42 subtitles and 60 languages. They have been receiving much positive feedback, including from people around the world who have been inspired to become vegetarian/vegan as a result of watching this channel.
    • Conducting 25 vegan-supporting Climate Change conferences worldwide involving leaders of local governments, schools, scientists, citizens, and students in support of the plant-base diet to slow down climate change.
    • Distributing millions of vegan-promoting pieces of literature throughout the world.
    • Supporting and acknowledging others for their actions and influence to bring goodness to our world. Supreme Master Ching Hai founded the Shining World Leadership Award, Shining World Compassion Award, Shining World Hero and Heroine Awards, Shining World Honesty Award, Shining World Protection Award, Shining World Intelligence Award and Shining World Invention Award. The honors go to individuals, nations and organizations who have demonstrated significant contributions to the harmony, beauty and sustainability of our Earth.
    • Establishing Loving Hut Restaurants around the world. Supreme Master Ching Hai is the innovator of the Loving Hut vegan concept. The intent is to help the world with a more compassionate and noble way of living by providing easy access to great vegan food at an affordable price all over the world.

    I don’t understand why the article does not provide all of the facts of goodness contributed by the Supreme Master Ching Hai and her association. I sincerely urge you to retract your article and issue an apology to Supreme Master Ching Hai and her association.

    Respectfully,

    Nina Schatz
    Tucson, AZ

  43. John Mooter says:

    I greatly appreciate all that has been done by Supreme Master Ching Hai and her followers. It would be nice if other spiritual leaders actually taught the precepts of Ahimsa, as she does. May all beings be happy and free from suffering. I have not renewed my subscription to VegNews. I am waiting for an apology and retraction of that article.

  44. Here is my letter I wrote to the owner of VegNews:

    Dear VegNews,

    I am deeply saddened by your article “Supreme Mystery” and the low level of tabloid-like journalism you stooped to, as your writer grappled at cheap attacks on what is widely known as a worldwide respected Vegan-promoting and good-willed meditation group. The so-called cheap “facts” in the article that lashed out against the group, I’m sure are most likely to be weakly founded, and not representative of the organization at large. In fact common sense dictates looking at what the organization represents on the large scale, and the overwhelming positives that they contribute unconditionally with love and not seeking attention, and pass fair judgment on that basis. Surely anyone who is to be judged, should be in relation to the sum total of their good deeds balanced against the sum of their non-good deeds. In this case I would imagine Master Ching Hai and her organization be in good balance.

    Many, many decent and intelligent people have come to know and respect Master Ching Hai and her organization over the past 20 years, and there is a growing sense of acceptance that this organization is unconditionally good meaning and non-threatening in their nature. I heard Dr Will Tuttle speak on the radio regarding your article and he feels your ignorance toward the group stems from your unwillingness to understand their Eastern culture background, quoting from a few weak sources for a cheap attack on them.

    I think its befitting that you retract your article and instead publish articles that are based on positive factual journalism supporting anyone who supports the Vegan and Vegetarian movement.

    Wishing you the courage to be honest,

    Patrick Finnegan

  45. Terri Zacanti says:

    To: Veg News, Readers Letters September 1, 2010

    Supreme Misjudgement

    Your “expose” on the SMCHIA left me a bit confused. I am still trying to figure out why a magazine who appears to be committed to furthering the Veg-Vegan agenda, would take it upon itself to publish an article whose obvious sole intent was to inflict damage upon a group of people who have stepped up to put their money and their efforts behind taking this very same message out into the mainstream.

    Now had you shown that this organization was actually supporting or being supported by animal terrorist organizations, or given us proof of a laundering scheme for some big agro-chemical corporation, or perhaps had you shown photos of Master Ching Hai and her gang having an artery plug-fest at their local McDonalds, or had you actually uncovered some heionus vegan scandal then perhaps you might have had a reason to inflict your high and mighty opinions upon them.

    I have become aware of SMCHIA in the last several months. I have watched several of their Supreme Master channel programs and I have been thrilled to see how quickly they have grown and how committed they are to getting “OUR VEGAN” message out on a VERY LARGE scale. This is a free society we live in and those of us who have been blessed with financial abundance not only have a right but I believe a responsibility to tithe our funds into worthy causes which we believe will help to create a better future on this planet. My understanding is that Supreme Master Ching Hai channels countless millions into her Vegan and humanitarian endeavours, she has been recognized for these efforts by governments and organizations world wide. In August of this year she received an award from President Obama for her works and yet there was no mention of that in your article. I think she must be a wise and possibly enlightened individual to cling to her privacy as she does. Reading your article made me realize that Wolves in Sheeps clothing do exist. Shame on you!

    Terri Zacanti

  46. Dear VegNews,

    I just want to say that I am so grateful to Supreme Master for promoting the vegan idea around the world, and in particular for opening vegan restaurant in Moscow. Not cage free chicken grill place , not cage free bacon and eggs breakfast bar, but a VEGAN restaurant. Vegans and future vegans are getting something real. Moscowites will get a place, where they can see in practice that it is easy to be a vegan.

  47. KJ says:

    Dear Colleen, Joseph, Elyzabeth & Abigail:

    I was a carnivore for over a quarter of the century, but thanks to the vegan movement, I have been a very happy vegetarian/vegan for nearly 10 years. Understanding the principles of non-violence, ethical behaviors, and environmental responsibilities, I simply can never go back to a meat-based diet even if I have to experience famine.

    I’ve travelled often, and thanks to the recent conception of the Loving Huts, I now have a decent place to dine in, especially where my airline carrier dishonors veganism. At every single Loving Hut location I’ve visited, I’ve always come across and made contact with the most lovely, friendly, and peace loving folks from all walks of life. Try interview some of them.

    It is from their TV screens at the Loving Huts where I’ve enjoyed catching a glimpse of their Guru, The Supreme Master Ching Hai, and often take notes of Her teachings. In my humble personal observation, I think She is an amazing female Leader of our time: capable, logical, talented, benevolent, witty, well-rounded, and yet very down-to- earth. An original, genuine, and heroic human being who dares to “walk Her talk”.

    I used to think very highly of your magazine and establishment until the (toxic) release of “Supreme Mystery”. To my dismay, slandering their Guru or “the heart of the vegan movement on this planet” is similar to branding an educated and courageous, the late Hawaiian Princess Kaiulani a barbarian — while in reality, she was far removed from that.

    Have you ever taken the time to view Supreme Master Television? Where were you in moments of needs such as Ground Zero or Haiti, and worldwide relief efforts around the globe? If you were involved, how would you finance them? Why wasn’t there any mention of the numerous official accolades that the SMCH has consistently acquired over the years?

    Is it the color of Her skin, or the fact that She is a small-framed minority female that prompted you to write such a malicious article? Or are we too busy making connection with the meat & dairy industries these days because you know She has publicly and adamantly advocated BANNING MEAT out right? Have you become too corrupted to distinguish the fine lines between Truth and slanders? How come you conveniently slipped under the carpet and turned a blind eye to everything good and worth mentioning about this Woman?

    SMCH has maintained throughout the years that unless human quickly turns away from killing and consuming MEAT, there will be no ends to cruelty, world hunger, natural disasters, environmental destructions, diseases, and loss of lives. The proofs may be found all around you on any given day. Bottom line: NO planet, NO VegNews, NO vegan communities nor audience. Isn’t that the mere TRUTH we should aim to seek because all else proves trivial? To my amazement, there are still those who refuse to believe in the imminent threats of global warming that are happening right in front of their eyes on a daily basis. It’s so easy to judge and indulge in gossips. Instead of blowing the whistle at the meat/dairy giants, and joining Her hands to subdue environmental degradations, you’ve done just about the opposite. Good work, Abigail Young.

    I could continue on and on with my points of view, but feel that Dr. Will Tuttle (another Supreme Being on this planet that I respect) has covered it all. Bottom line: until you admit wrong doing, and publicly apologize, consider my subscription cancelled.

    Bafflingly yours,

    KJ
    Phoenix, AZ

  48. sunny mueller says:

    Dear VegNews,

    It is with a saddened heart that I write this letter in reply to your article ‘Supreme Mystery’ in your October issue. Having supported your magazine since your humble beginnings, it brought a lot of pleasure to see your magazine grow into the respected award-winning publication that it is today. All this was tainted, though, with this one, what can only be called, ‘shocking’ article.

    The negative and suspicious overtone throughout the article exposes your lack of knowledge and understanding of who Supreme Master Ching Hai is and what she stands for. I have had the honor of working directly with Supreme Master Ching Hai; I felt she is a total embodiment of Love. Her presence gave me the overwhelming feeling of pure Love radiating from her entire being. I have seen how tirelessly she works for the benefit of all beings, how she herself suffers when she sees others in pain, and how she gives without any thought of return or reward. Considering how much love, kindness and goodness she has brought to the world, it’s a bitter pill to swallow seeing her savaged by a publication that I thought held the same values.

    Your belittling of the Quan Yin practitioners reveals arrogance, as well as ignorance of the nature of the spiritual practice. It’s difficult to express the anguish that your misleading article has brought to so many innocent, kind-hearted, humble, and loving practitioners who sacrifice so much to help others.

    The glaring error in judgment of publishing such a slanderous article needs to be swiftly corrected. I trust VegNews has enough virtue to remedy the situation by retracting the article and publishing a sincere apology, thus taking steps to restoring your now tattered reputation.

    S. Mueller

  49. Neniu Logomo says:

    Posted these comments on VegNews facebook fan page (http://www.facebook.com/vegnews) …

    September 11 at 2:48pm : “VegNews – The longer you ignore the harm you have caused by Abigail Young’s ugly and unfair article, “Supreme Mystery” the worse it becomes. Your silence and defensiveness about this shameful piece of attack journalism only causes more resentment among your former fans. Please take the high ground now and publicly admit that you were wrong and make amends while you still have some credibility. Are you waiting for people to unsubscribe in anger, or send back their issues with comments scrawled across the cover? Most vegans have always loved VegNews. But we can’t continue to support you if you stand behind this mean-spirited, unprovoked assault on the kind vegan folks at Loving Hut. It makes you a bully as well, because you are picking on people who are too gentle to even complain or retaliate. Please DO THE RIGHT THING VegNews and apologize.”

    September 2 at 12:42pm: “A lot of people were hurt and offended by the “Supreme Mystery” article and deemed it very unfair to Ching Hai and all the Loving Hut folks. You should print a retraction and an apology to these kind folks and all the rest of us who admire them. Otherwise, I have always loved VegNews and have been very pleased and proud to have followed you until this point.”

  50. James says:

    About the VegNews Article – My Thoughts
    By James

    Am familiar with Abigail Young’s article, and various internet postings over the years. Am in the media myself, familiar with the history of these related spiritual paths and various Eastern meditation practices. Was extremely unhappy with the VegNews article, finding it to be inaccurate, unfair, revealing a poor attitude, and really……quite off-topic. When I think of VegNews, I assume the focus is the promotion of the vegan or vegetarian diet, a united front in favor of promoting compassion toward’s animals, not debates about theology and taking harsh positions about esoteric and subtle subjects such as Eastern mysticism, initiation, out of body experiences, etc…. I don’t think if I wanted to read about Seventh Day Adventists, the history of the Catholic Church or Eastern mystical paths, that the Veg News would be at the top of my list!

    “Abigail Young, associate editor of VegNews Magazine in San Francisco, said her mostly meat-eating family is understanding when she visits Missouri for Christmas. ‘Veganism first seemed drastic to them,’ she said. ‘Some family members thought it was a phase, but now they say, ‘OK, she’s serious, this is here to stay.’ ”

    http://articles.sfgate.com/2009-11-01/living/17179855_1_vegetarians-eaters-meat

    One might have thought Abigail would have noticed the parallels between vegans and followers of spiritual paths, how that both groups have at times been subjected to all sorts of unfair characterizations. One might have hoped for a little more sympathy, given that followers of newer or lesser-known spiritual paths also have to encounter relatives around the Thanksgiving table or Christmas holiday who are not always respectful. Vegetarians and vegans sometimes receive flack from the uninformed who simply do not comprehend why someone would make such a “drastic” change in their diet. Well………what if you’re part of a spiritual group that not everyone has heard of before AND YOU ARE VEGAN? A double whammy during the holidays!

    What we really need right now are more articles that promote religious freedom, tolerance and human rights, not only here in North America but also Asia, and indeed, around the world. This “Supreme Mystery” article is not particularly helpful in this regard, and, whether by coincidence or design, is echoing a more oppressive vision, a less humane narrative. In our nation we may not have a Ministry of Truth presenting us with a list of “approved religions”, a State that thinks it knows best, that decides for us what the “good” religions are or who the “heretics” might be, but we do have our problems.

    In this society there are large majorities that might have a strong fundamentalist orientation, others, aggressive secularist or agnostic feelings, not particularly friendly, shall we say, towards those who do not share their world views, and often they have websites! There are atheist as well as conservative evangelical publications or web pages that claim to be “critiquing” various world religions and spiritual movements that, in reality, are out to sway people to their point of view. Rather than being scholarly and objective, I sometimes find those organizations to have a fairly transparent agenda. Many of those are coming from the perspective of a certain religious persuasion. They claim to have “searched the world” and found all the other religions on the planet (except for their own of course) to be lacking, really really bad, false, etc…. Their “verdict” is that only their way is the “one true way”. And I’ve seen a few of the so-called cult-busting publications coming from an atheist orientation as well. They of course present one hundred percent scathing reviews of all religious belief-systems no matter what they may be, from “A” to “Z” — from Anglican to Zoroasterian!

    I suppose one could Google and find articles critical of how the Archbishop of Canterbury is dressed, or Desmond Tutu, or some Sufi saint with his colorful garb, but, seriously! What does that have to do with anything? This is quite immaterial in my view.

    The following sentence of the article I found to be extremely disingenuous, flat out wrong on so many levels, and certainly was one of the contributing factors that caused me to write this review of Abigail Young’s offensive drive-by piece: “Hue didn’t learn meditation from an anonymous man in the Himalayas, but in fact studied under controversial Sikh leader Thakar Singh WITH HIS OWN laundry list of indiscretions including sexual assault and violence.” Emphasis mine in higher caps. Wow! Really? Thakar Singh was a kind of “patient zero” and anyone who ever came in contact with his teachings is somehow infected with some sort of unethical virus causing them to develop their own controversial “laundry list” of nefarious activities? I’m not following the logic here, or finding any logic to follow in that particular sentence of the article. She is indeed implying such a “laundry list of indiscretions” exists, though she fails to make her case and produce such a list, and there are no footnotes, at least in the copy of the article I have. It’s simply an attempt at portraying guilt by association? Casting aspersions and hoping that some of them might stick? Someone might study the teachings of any number of gurus over the years. I have. Many spiritual seekers do. How can the author of the “Supreme Mystery” article in all sincerity connect possible goings-on in one group, laying them at the doorstep of a completely different person and group? I don’t understand. And Thakar Singh was not a “Sikh leader”, but one of many gurus from India to varying degrees associated with the Sant tradition, which has quite a few different branches, hundreds of them. All of these groups associated with various ashrams in different locations are independent and autonomous from one another, in the very same sense that Catholics, Baptists and Mormons run their own separate organizations. Whatever the policies or history of one group might have been during the early 1980’s, this does not shed any light whatsoever on what other spiritual groups must be like. I found that particular paragraph to be extremely troubling, and unfortunately seems to be deliberately attempting to mislead readers into connecting dots that are, in all honesty, not connectible. One group and it’s unique history has nothing whatsoever to do with other, completely independent and unaffiliated spiritual groups. It’s essentially like implying the Lutherans might have had something to do with the Crusades or planning their own Crusades, or confusing the Quakers with the Amish, saying that Quakers have something to do with possible goings-on in some completely different religious denomination such as the Amish. That’s not cool. That’s not honest journalism. That’s not right, and I don’t mind saying so. I suppose this painting with a broad guru-brush is a point easily missed by someone not acquainted with any of these Light and Sound meditation paths from Asia, either Hindu-based or Buddhist-based.

    After reading Abigail Young’s article, “Supreme Mystery”, my very clear impression is that she took her inspiration almost entirely from some of those above-mentioned type articles and sites, repackaging some material that’s been floating around the internet for a few years now. I was really struck by the excessively hostile tone of the article from start to finish. But I suppose we should keep in mind that Christopher Hitchens somehow managed to find enough material to write an entire book mocking Mother Teresa of Calcutta! I hear some devotee of Mother Teresa built a hut in the wrong zone of Calcutta once upon a time, a terrible controversy I’m sure. We shouldn’t be surprised that someone would try to stir up controversy at the expense of others, no doubt for the purpose of selling more magazines. Spiritual paths are populated by human beings with all their shortcomings and the best of intentions. One could write such drive-by articles about all of the religious groups and spiritual movements since the beginning of time, including scathing articles about some disciples of Jesus, disciples of Buddha, Rumi, and Ghandi too. Whatever her motive might have been, unfortunately, by following that template borrowed from the playbook of others, a surprisingly over-the-top, incomplete, unbalanced, unfair, abusive, and perhaps even libelous article was the result. In my view, that’s what’s going on here with this article titled, “Supreme Mystery”.

    Fundamentalist groups of one perspective or another would I’m sure be greatly entertained by the narrow critique presented and the negative light cast — at least except for the part about it being OK to be vegan! Abigail writes for the VegNews, what we assume to be a pro vegetarian and vegan magazine. I hope she will keep in mind that some of those same voices generally critical of Eastern religions, can also be rather hostile about the vegetarian diet she presumably advocates, sometimes in their publications proclaiming vegetarianism and veganism to be “cultic”, an unreasonable and demanding lifestyle choice sometimes mandated by “authoritarian” sects that practice “mind control”.

    Googling is great but Googling is no substitute for doing one’s homework. One still needs to interview enough people and make a thoughtful effort. The article would not have come across as being so anti-Eastern spirituality if she had only included interviews with more actual followers of Supreme Master Ching Hai and learned more about what their meditation practice is about, what their goals really are. That would have taken the “Mystery” out of it. I suspect if she did, she would have discovered that the spiritual path to them is not “a phase” and that they are also “serious, and here to stay.”

    And really! At this late date in 2010, is having a spiritual teacher from East Asia, and who happens to be female, being devoted to that teacher or spiritual cause one believes in, being committed to a serious meditation practice, and adhering to certain ahimsa ethical principals, so alien to us, so strange-sounding to Western ears? Can’t we get beyond that? If you notice, some of the same fear-based negativity directed against the Quan Yin Method in the article can easily be applied to countless other spiritual movements who believe in:

    1) living teachers (Dalai Lama, Ammachi – “The Hugging Saint”, etc….),

    2) initiation into a spiritual practice or form of yoga,

    3) following a daily discipline that includes long periods of meditation,

    4) a requirement to strictly adhere to a vegan or vegetarian diet,

    5) and other moral ethical lifestyle choices.

    I’m personally familiar with many Eastern and Sufi paths that are advocating the very same sort of approach of long meditation sessions and devotion to a spiritual teacher or guru. Being critical of that approach of Guru bhakti (devotion) and spiritual practice, making that into a central issue, as if that’s supposed to be some kind of “problem”, is really taking on Hinduism, Buddhism, the Sikhs, Jainism, and many other paths with an established following in the US these days. South Asian and East Asian-based paths all share much in common including the word “ahimsa”.

    Sometimes those following spiritual paths also happen to be vegans or vegetarians. You know, much credit has to be given to religious movements and Eastern influences. These have introduced countless millions of people to vegetarianism. Hindu, Sikh, Sufi, and Buddhist groups from Asia have all made a massive contribution to the establishment of the vegetarian movement in the United States, also certain Christian denominations. How about an article on the influence of the Seventh Day Adventists, who have been promoting the vegetarian diet for over a century in these United States? Then again, perhaps “thanks but no thanks”, if the overall premise would be that ‘religion is evil’, and such an article would merely be for the purpose of disparaging our Adventist brothers and sisters.

    In this context of a fairly polarized society, the chances are rather high that there will be mis-communications, dis-information, and bizarre impressions about the spirituality of others one is not acquainted with. Most in this culture aren’t “up” on the details of their own family’s religion or spiritual orientation, if there be such, much less those of others. What I’m talking about here is comparative religion, a subject that must always be reverently approached with the skills of a surgeon with a scalpel, not a jackhammer. To be accurate and come from a place of integrity one must thoughtfully approach a subtle subject like this without any sort of heavy prejudice, not bringing to the table or keyboard, cultural blinders of one sort or another, being predisposed to seeing already established gender-based, racial, religious or anti-religious stereotypes, cavalierly running roughshod over the choices of others like kids trampling through someone’s flower garden.

  51. Johnny Scott says:

    smell like “stock industry lobbysm”

  52. James says:

    Veg News: The Ground Zero Mosque Treatment

    Was rather surprised the Veg News would publish anything remotely like the “Supreme Mystery” article, quite off-topic for a vegetarian magazine. It’s something I would have imagined some fundamentalist group might be eager to print about other belief-systems. I guess the Veg News thought they needed to attempt to distance themselves (and the veg movement?) from this particular spiritual path that’s been more visible as of late, but they got it wrong. No doubt there is still some fear of Asian spiritual teachers in this culture.

    Another example of misunderstanding and misreading the motives of others is the current so-called “Ground Zero Mosque controversy”, with peace-loving Muslims connected with a Sufi Order on a mission to be more visible in their community, promote tolerance and inter-faith dialog in New York, are now being branded as terrorists. What hope is there for sanity and an informed public? I thought we looked to good journalism for that.

  53. I absolutely love Veg News but I have to ask, WHY did you have to put the word “cult” on your last cover??
    Enough people already think veganism itself is a cult.
    I wish I was lucky enough to live near a Loving Hut restaurant, no matter what the owners believe.
    I think comedian Myq Kaplan said it best on his CD Vegan Mind Meld:
    “Whatever your religion is, that’s great. Just don’t think other people are silly and antagonize them for their beliefs. . .
    You guys don’t eat pork? That’s weird. We drink the blood of our Savior!”

  54. Lily and Jim Macy, MD says:

    Here is the letter we sent to VegNews:

    It is sad to think that just because someone is flamboyant, their good name and works would be discredited by people who are working for the same cause. We were stunned and shocked that a magazine like VegNews would publish an article like Supreme Mystery.

    Though we know very little about the Supreme Master and her Loving Hut restaurants, everything that we have heard about her indicates that she has been wonderful for the world in general and the vegan world in particular. She is, as we are, committed to the cause of ending cruelty to animals brought about by the food choices of humans.

    Recently, a close friend called and waxed poetic about the wonderful food and atmosphere at the Loving Hut restaurant. Our friend is not a vegan, but is seriously considering becoming one. She told us that with the kind of food served at the Loving Hut, becoming vegan would be easy.

    We were planning to subscribe to VegNews, as well as send gift subscriptions to the people we love for Christmas.

    We are sad to say that after reading this nasty and damning article about a person and a group of people who are wholeheartedly trying to further the vegan cause, we won’t be subscribing to VegNews or be giving any gift subscriptions.

    Sincerely,

    Lily and James Macy, MD

  55. Duc Vu says:

    All vegetarian & vegan Americans, please wake up and unite as one: Because we have the same goal – Stop slaughtering the animals due to our compassion and at the same time solve the global warming catastrophe.

    VegNews, you are part of this movement to save the Earth, same as PETA, Humane Society, Farm Sanctuary, Mercy for Animals, Loving Hut International, Will Tuttle, etc. and etc. And if you don’t know it by now, you should learn more about the relationship between livestock raising for meat and global warming, which in turns causes climate change. You should put more effort in researching on this dire and serious issue, instead of using your time and effort to find out “haphazardly” about the personal life of Supreme Master Ching Hai and the SMCH International Association. What does her personal life have to do with the main goal of being vegan to save this planet? For example, if a doctor tells you to stop eating animal products, to stop smoking tobacco products, to stop drinking alcohol, and to stop using cocaine and the like, based on pure scientific facts, and mainly for the your own health, but you said “I don’t like that doctor’s personal life, so I don’t listen to him or her.” Well, VegNews, you miss the whole point!!!

    VegNews, you also chose a very lowly tactic like a reverend in Florida, you know who, wanted to burn the Koran on 9-11-10, just to be sensational, to be popular, to be known, by printing such a sub-standard article that doesn’t help the main cause of the Worldly Vegan Movement!

    VegNews, you should at least show remorse for your poor judgment by firing the author of this “illitetate” article, which blackened your magazine’s reputation. Abigail Young is not a true and honest journalist, because this person learned to write sensational, twisted information, instead of learning honesty, straightforward and serving the truth, nothing but the truth.

  56. There are 3 experiences one must go through before reaching samadi (bliss, joy, soul-merging-at-one-ment). Sickness nearly unto death. Poverty. Public ridicule. Thank you for providing the latter to keep Her in samadi so that Love can continue working through Her to help millions and billions more.

  57. James says:

    Someone made this comment at the petition site, which is quite valuable:

    “I have no connection with the SMCH organization, but as a college professor I can say that the “Supreme Mystery” article is an extremely poor piece of journalism. It’s overall tone is slanderous, its word choices are intended to manipulate the reader to reach negative conclusions, it puts forth numerous allegations without any documentation, it fails to critically examine the sources of the rumors that it passes on, etc. If a student of mine were to hand in a paper like this, it would receive a failing grade. How this article made it through an editorial process is unclear.”

  58. Anne Walker says:

    In response to your article about Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association, and her Vegan Fast-Food Restaurants; please print Dr. Will Tuttle’s response letter ASAP to try to recover your status as a Vegan magazine!

    http://www.worldpeacediet.org/vncritique.htm

    Sincerely,
    Anne Marie Walker
    920 W. Front Street, Apt A
    Traverse City, MI 49684
    231-929-2674

  59. David, Chi-En Chiang says:

    As one of the vegan activists working in Asia, I am shocked by your recent article “Supreme Mystery”, which, in my view, is nothing but a malicious attack.
    It’s the worst kind of slander people can imagine. The editorial board should retract the article, and make a public apology for this in the next issue.

    David, Chi-En Chiang

  60. Mr. Scott Reeve says:

    Dear Veg News:
    Everyone has said everything already so I’ll just write 3 points.

    1. The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, just gave Supreme Master Ching Hai a Volunteer Service Award.
    2. There is obviously some unknown reason as to why you printed the article.
    3. Usually, when writing such an article with so many assumptions and questions, the writer would attempt to contact the individual in question to get the truth first hand. Did Veg News in fact request an interview with Supreme Master Ching Hai?

  61. Calvin says:

    Veganism is the root of ahimsa.
    Ahimsa meaning not hurting others physically, mentally, emotionally by thought, speech, action.
    VegNews should be there to promote veganism movement. To spread ahimsa and peace.
    This article just makes VegNews sounds narrow-minded, short-sighted.
    What you see with your naked eyes, hear with your naked ears or feel with your mundane heart might not be the TRUTH.
    Recently happily discovered VegNews, how disappointed now after reading this “Supreme Mystery” article. Will wait to see how you manage to wrap this mess up and earn your lost readers again.
    God bless ..

  62. Beth Redwood says:

    Dear VegNews:
    When my family became vegan over five years ago, we enthusiastically subscribed to VegNews. It was a publication that uplifted the vegan lifestyle and made us feel we were part of a positive movement of like-minded people motivated by compassion, non-violence, and seeking to bring happiness to and lessen the suffering of other beings. It was a publication that highlighted the positive aspects of being vegan, broadened our understanding of the wider implications of vegan consciousness, connected us to inspiring vegan works, and reminded us of the many good reasons we had for making that life-altering decision. We gave a number of gift subscriptions to other new vegans, too. But the sad news for us is that VegNews has drastically changed in such a negative direction that we will not be renewing our subscription. The recent publication of the scathing article attacking one of the foremost leaders in the pro-vegan movement, Supreme Master Ching Hai, was so damaging to vegan unity, so detrimental to the public perception of anyone choosing a vegan lifestyle, and so ruthlessly distorted that we cannot fathom how such an article could appear in the VegNews we believed was aligned with our values. We have watched and appreciated the positive messages on Supreme Master Television and been inspired by the compassionate, spiritual, vegan teachings of Supreme Master Ching Hai. The portrait your article paints of her and those whose lives she has touched by her teachings is malicious, cruel, slanderous and harmful to the entire vegan movement. This is indeed a sad and disappointing turn of events.

  63. Papaji says:

    Supreme Blunder!

    To: Joe Connelly and Colleen Holland,

    What’s wrong with your head? The controversial article you have published entitled, “Supreme Mystery,” is absurd and misleading.

    I am appalled! I will quit reading your publication unless and until I learn this terrible journalistic slander has been retracted and apologies made.

    Kpd Papaji
    Krishnapada Das Papaji
    Author of “The Ultimate Singularity”

    http://www.bbotw.com/description.asp?ISBN=0-7414-3394-X.

  64. sean says:

    I’m totally shocked and regret to say that writer/publisher of the article is totally inconsiderate, irresponsible, toxic minded and offensive. VegNews, you owe SMCH a big apology but I don’t think you’re going to apologize due to your huge EGO! As the saying goes, ‘As you sow so shall you reap’. You have planted a bad seed, now let’s see what retribution you are going to get!

  65. Bob G says:

    I read the article Supreme Mystery, Mr. Smugar’s response letter, and Will Tuttle’s remarks. I don’t think the story was a hit piece or unfair. I’ve eaten at the Loving Hut chain of restaurants and enjoyed some meals there, have noted the heavy photo presence of Ching Hai on the walls, questioned the validity of anyone who refers to herself as a Supreme Master, as well as been glad that veganism was finding another way to get into the mainstream.
    Journalism’s responsibility is to probe and ask questions. Not enough questions were asked at the time of the Rev. Jim Jones and People’s Temple, and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’s community as well as any number of other cults or communities that were later exposed to be harmful. I don’t know if Ching Hai is a cult leader or not. She could choose to answer some questions that still remain, or she can choose silence.

    I support VegNews and writer Abigail Young on the inquiry that they published.

    • James says:

      The thing is Bob, to see photos of a spiritual teacher hanging on a wall somewhere and immediately start having visions of “Jonestown”, is an unreasonable default position in my view. If that’s one’s starting point, any real-world background information about a spiritual path will do little to ease one’s fears. And probably reading a book about Jonestown, so as to be better informed about what the actual ethical violations that where going on there in order to notice any parallels with contemporary groups, if there are any, probably won’t help either. It’s simply a “gut reaction” to being exposed to something new and different, to someone’s else’s path, and noticing respect given to a teacher one is not personally acquainted with. It’s a photo of Supreme Master Ching Hai instead of the Dalai Lama, Jerry Falwell, Virgin Mary, Buddha statue or some other figure. That lack of familiarity with a group or teacher does not necessarily mean they are a cult ready to start serving cool aid from fifty gallon drums.

      Awhile back I dined at a vegan restaurant in Montreal run by devotees of a certain Indian Guru, and PHOTOS OF HIM were framed and hanging on the wall there. I’ve seen paintings and icons of Jesus, Mary, and of saints hanging on various walls. No need to assume the worst.

      One should be clear on this point, as should the Veg News. Meditating and following the teachings of an Eastern master not one’s cup of green tea? Not a problem. We have freedom of religion in the USA. And with spiritual paths such as the Supreme Master Ching Hai Association, it is a matter of individual choice if one wishes to be vegan or vegetarian, adopt the Five Precepts, and meditate each day. These things cannot be imposed from outside by institutions, governments or the media. We should also take a dim view of atheist type groups engaging in disinformation campaigns against this or that spiritual path, playing upon people’s fears of cults, exploiting people for their own purposes. We should not only be on our guard about unethical cults, but also media manipulators and pundits of all sorts. There are many different types of cults or cult leaders. Why should any of them get a free pass?

      I sure HOPE the real motivation for the Veg News article against Loving Hut was not business and market-competition related. It was extremely unusual for the Veg News to publish an article like that, and, given the unusualness of it, one can indeed speculate about the real reasons behind the article. The Veg News no doubt COULD do any number of off-topic articles about the beliefs of various religious groups that are involved in the vegetarian movement, own health food stores, restaurants, or sell natural food products. In my view, debates about the beliefs, doctrines, or meditation practices of different religions have no place in a publication like the Veg News, period.

      • Dr. Will Tuttle says:

        Well said, James. I think that is the real damage done by the VegNews article. There are many people who are uninformed about Eastern meditation traditions in general, and misinterpret what’s going on. VegNews failed to do reasonable journalistic research and published a blatantly one-sided article that won’t affect people who have familiarity with the SMCH community, but could (and probably does) mislead everyone else.

  66. Tino DPC says:

    Just wondering: is there any follow-up on this matter by now?
    I’m from Belgium, VN is not available in stores here, and I have no subscription…

    • As far as I know, Tino, there will be letters to VN published in the Jan/Feb issue — there’s a 4 month delay in their publishing capability since they plan the issues so far in advance. We have decided to let this go and focus on the positive work that needs to be done to spread the message. In the last issue, it was GREAT to see that Loving Hut won the Readers’ Pick for most favorite vegan restaurant! That says a lot, and I am sure we’ll be seeing more Loving Huts opening and the vegan message continuing to spread through the wonderful efforts of the SMCH community, worldwide. Thanks so much SMCH friends!!

      • Tino DPC says:

        Yes, with all these letters and the petition, the message should be clear for them. The positive way is the only way, and more Loving Huts will open. The first one in Belgium should be open by now, and I will add a mobile LH before summer :)

  67. Eve Gotch says:

    I personally sent a petition to VegNews with over 500 signatures asking for them to publish a follow up article by Will Tuttle, and have received no reply.

  68. In the current issue of Veg News, Loving Hut won Reader’s Choice for Favorite Restaurant!

  69. Tino DPC says:

    Pretty lame reaction of VegNews: http://vegnews.idigitaledition.com/issues/D15o20d10ff/ (pages 16&17)
    No retraction or apologies, just a publication of readers’ letters pro Master and contra, nicely balanced on one page each, though I’m sure they received way more pro letters than contra…

  70. James Kurtz says:

    Why was the VegNews article removed from the VegNews website? Whatever happened to free speech? I think readers should have the opportunity to read the original article at

    and all the responses and decide for themselves. I had to search the internet just to find the original article. I support all of you defending Ching Hai, but I am not comfortable with the suppression of free speech.

    JK
    San Jose

  71. CY says:

    Dear VegNews,

    Veganism is supposed to be ahead of the time to lead the rest of the population to a more civilized and evolved world in which not only love in action is practiced, meaning no killing, but also acceptance and respect for one another is the way of life.

    Behavior as such, suppressing free speech, doesn’t show that the mentality is ahead of the time, when in fact is behind the mainstream. Even the mainstream doesn’t and can’t suppress free speech. That makes this magazine perhaps a media for advertising vegan products, when the essence of veganism is missing.

    CY
    USA

  72. Yoga Gurl says:

    I think this is all about the anti-religious bigotry so often found in the vegan community. It seems the vegan community is half spiritual/religious and the other half atheist…and the atheists do not like or approve or respect anyone being spiritual.
    I’ve experienced this many times with other vegans. Once I mentioned the word “yoga” to a vegan gal and she snapped back at me and said harshly “We don’t believe in that *hit”!!! Just the other day I have heard another vegan woman say that non atheists are less intelligent. I have experienced this over and over with the vegan community and obviously, the owner’s of veg news and Ms. Young hold the same ignorant attitudes.

    The vegan community needs to grow up and be more tolerant of those who are religious and spiritual. They also need to realize that although it’s perfectly fine that they don’t subcribe to any particular belief system, they do not know the mysteries of life and shouldn’t put others down who want to know more.

    I don’t respect VN like before. I am sick and tired of their intolerance for anyone who is not like them exactly. They do this with politics, too…have put down others with different politics. Now it’s religion. Truly they are not open minded or tolerant at all and need to grow up!

  73. amy lynn says:

    It’s now Feb. 2011 and where is the public apology to Loving Hut, SMCH herself, and the SMCH groups around the world from the VegNews staff?

  74. James says:

    Haven’t heard if there has or hasn’t been any further developments with the Veg News? Did they publish letters from readers, pro or con? Did they publish Dr. Will Tuttle’s article commenting on the Supreme Mystery piece? If so, which month, and is there a link to it online?

    Some final thoughts about the Supreme Mystery article. A genuine definition of a cult can include an abusive group, perhaps that is manipulative, controlling, using fear and propaganda to shape the views of its followers. When I read the Supreme Mystery article I found those manipulative traits to be very much displayed by its author, who was rather lite on facts but heavy on demonising. If one doesn’t like cults, we may ask, then why behave like one?

    It will be interesting to learn if the Veg News has permitted any letters from readers critical of the Supreme Mystery article.

  75. Melinda says:

    James, yes, there was a very disappointing follow-up in VegNews January-February issue, with a double spread, left side being critical of the VN article, and on the right side, letters supporting VN’s article.

    The supportive letters were again toxic and distorted, and some were anonymous.

    I think you can find it online if you google it.

    Here’s the article Dr. Tuttle wrote about it–

    http://www.vegsource.com/dr-will-tuttle/loving-hut—part-of-something-bigger.html

  76. Yoga Gurl says:

    James…there was no apology given just a publishing of letters from both sides.

    I agree…the piece was unnecessarily negative and quite bigoted about a topic they know nothing about. They were quick to judge without knowing the facts. Maybe they have learned something about this…mainly about being more tolerant and open minded about things they know little about. We can only hope.

Comments are closed.