Liberating Animals Part 1 – First Step to Developing Compassion

17 April 2010 - 1:11am Comments Off

I am very, very fond of all types of animals. I don’t like them to be hurt or abused, or slaughtered or eaten. I don’t like that and I feel that when we hurt animals, it is a sign of cowardice because we are more powerful than them.

So it is due to our cowardice and our lack of courage that we abuse animals. Maybe in the past, food, nutrients and resources and all that were very limited. But now in the modern world, especially in our country here, food resources are very, very plentiful. So we can get our nutrients and proteins, and whatever our body needs from all other sources and we don’t need to harm any animals. The tradition in China of praying and dedicating themselves to Kuan Yin and never harming an animal by taking flesh or bringing flesh into the temple is one of the best traditions I have ever heard of. If you believe in Shakyamuni, Amitabha, Kuan Yin, Manjushri, their nature is the same – not to harm others.

The first fundamental step is developing tzepei or compassion, the first fundamental step is outward. Outwardly take vows; when we take vows, we restrict our body, speech and mind from doing actions that will be contrary to becoming close with these enlightened Being by nature and physically as well. Close by nature means to develop their character, and physically close means to have visions and see them. In Buddhism, when we say get close to a god or get close to a Buddha, there are two ways of looking at it. One is physically close; they are guarding you and they are always around you. The real close is to become like them, to share their nature. That is the ultimate closeness that we wish to gather from an enlightened being such as Kuan Yin or Manjushri.

Therefore, one of the vows we take is not eating meat. People say Shakyamuni ate meat, so if Shakyamuni eats meat, it means we can eat meat. But Shakyamuni did a lot of things that we can copy but it won’t have the same result. For example, a great cook is in a restaurant cutting very fast. I can’t go in there and copy, I will cut my fingers up. It may look like it but it is not the same.

 

Tsem Rinpoche

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