“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Karmapa on Vegetarianism

The Karmapa is to the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism what the Dalai Lama is to the Gelugpas. He's in his twenties. Here's an extract of his recent teachings.

Continuing the theme introduced yesterday of human cruelty to animals, His Holiness commented that because animals cannot express their feelings in human speech, somehow we feel entitled to ignore them. He then offered an imaginative exploration of what might ensue if fish, chicken or other animals whose flesh we consume unthinkingly might suddenly be endowed with the power of human speech. Surely they would hire lawyers and take us to task for our actions towards them, he said. Should we have to face them in court, what explanation could we possibly give for our treatment of them, His Holiness wondered. When required to account for our repeated killing and cruelty, the best we might be able to do is reply, “But you taste good!” or “Well, you just look like food to me!” These would obviously not hold up in court as justifiable reasons for our actions, the Gyalwang Karmapa wryly pointed out. Yet humanity’s acts of cruelty towards one another, up to and including genocide, develops from precisely this habitual willingness to enact our selfish and aggressive impulses, and ignore the suffering of others in the process, His Holiness cautioned.

1 comment:

Scu said...

Too true. Where exactly did he talk about this at?