“Even the smallest of ants is also a living being. The tiniest mosquito, too, is a living being. Even all the tiny germs and so forth are all living beings. Since this is the case, we should not look outwardly in our search to save living beings. Countless living beings for us to save can be found right within our own natures. inside our own bodies there are countless living beings. Recent progress in the science of Medicine gives proof to the fact that human beings are all like big bugs and within our bodies live countless smaller bugs. How many? No scientific method can be used to count them accurately. Why? Because they are countless! Who knows how many living beings are inside our blood, our flesh, and our internal organs? Why are there so many living beings? Some people even eat living beings! They eat the flesh of pigs, cows, sheep, fish, chickens, and ducks. When you eat the flesh of living beings, inside it are hidden the germs particular to that living being. When you eat it, that kind of living being's organisms go into you. Whichever kind of meat you eat the most of, you have a majority of that kind of living being's germs. That makes it very easy to become a member of the family of that kind of living being. You turn into one of his clansmen; because you have causal conditions with him that are just too deep, you can't get away from him. If you eat mostly pork, you have an opportunity to turn into a pig. If you eat mostly beef, you may turn into a cow.
”'I eat rice. Will I turn into a plant?' you ask.
“No, because rice is not generally considered sentient in the way that animals are. If you eat sentient beings, you can turn into that kind of living being. If you eat insentient things, you will not turn into plants or grasses or the like, but you will be truly helping the wisdom-life of your Dharma Body. And so don't worry about turning into a rice-plant if you eat rice.
”sentient beings have blood and breath, and when you eat them, you turn into that kind of living being. You could even say that by not eating a particular kind of living being, you are saving that living being. If you do not eat beef, you are saving cows. If you do not eat mutton, you are saving sheep. By not eating pork, you are saving pigs. . . .“
There are various categories of living beings, including lists of four, ten, and twelve kinds. The four kinds of living beings are those born from: 1) Wombs, 2) eggs, 3) moisture, and 4) transformation.