清口 The Ching Ko ritual is for I-Kuan Tao practitioners who wish to commit to a vegetarian lifestyle. It is also a requirement for those who wish to become Shrine Owners. Some describe the Ching Ko as the vegetarian vow of I-Kuan Tao. In truth, the essence of Ching Ko goes beyond vegetarianism.
In Chinese, Ching / Qing means “to clear up” and Ko / Kou means “mouth.” The essence of its teaching is clarity and compassion in two respects:
- The food you put into your mouth. By consciously choosing plant-based foods to minimize indirect killing, you express the natural compassion within you. When you follow the Tao in this manner, you also enjoy positive side effects in terms of better health, clearer mind, and abundant energy.
- The words coming out of your mouth. By consciously choosing to minimize gossips, harsh judgments, untruths and misleading half-truths that you utter, you clear up your communications. When you honor your connections with others in this manner, you elevate your relationships with them to the next level.
Tao cultivators who understand Ching Ko will bring mindful awareness to their input (foods consumed) and output (words spoken) in life. It is the realization that there is no need to bring death and destruction to animals with what we eat; it is also the recognition that it is entirely within our powers to refrain from causing harm to others with what we say. Together, the two aspects form a more complete practice in the Tao of kindness.