TBT | Loving Hut: The Cult That Keeps Feeding Me

Image contains a photo of a number of fried dumplings in a bowl.

Years ago, I got a random email from someone asking me if I would consider being on Supreme Master TV to talk about the magazine. At the time, I had never heard of the Supreme Master, so I did what any curious person would do: I googled.

Needless to say, what I found on Supreme Master TV was a little too WOO for me, so I turned them down. Little did I know, that was just the first of many times that I would find myself connecting with Supreme Master Ching Hai (SM) in some way or another, and many of them (just like that first time) would be unintentional.

For those of you unfamiliar with her teachings, organization, etc., I highly recommend doing exactly what I did soon after first contact. There are a number of articles out there, including this one, to give you an idea of who she is and what she’s doing.

Of course, it’s the stuff that folks don’t seem to really know about the organization and her that continues to make me uncomfortable. Sure, the success of Loving Hut around the world has ensured that people can access vegan food in many unexpected places, but the typical presence of TVs broadcasting Supreme Master TV and pictures of supposedly vegan celebrities on the walls is something I could do without.

That being said, when I lived in South Korea years ago, and during my current travels between Vietnam and Thailand, I have found myself randomly at restaurants associated with SM that didn’t quite push the propaganda as much as the LH chain. If it wasn’t for the odd picture or pamphlet, I might not have even known that my cheap chay meal was tangled-up in the Quan Yin method and other teachings of a woman with questionable wealth.

As cults go, this one certainly seems to be on the more pleasant side of the spectrum, and I support some of the teachings. I guess I’m just always concerned when one person is placed on a pedestal, they teach questionable things with little basis in science, promote mainstream beauty standards in association with veganism, and live a life of relative luxury compared to their followers.

The vegan community isn’t exactly running short on those sorts of people, so even though I’m not looking to actively protest SM and LH, I am certainly a little happier each time I sit down in a restaurant and don’t see her face staring back at me.

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