Thoughts. Experiences. Inspiration.

A comment on "Earthlings"

November 29, 2015 0

This video came at a time when I was reconsidering vegetarianism. Living in England with two vegetarian flatmates, I had slowly been phasing out meat from my diet but moving back to Malaysia, my conviction (whatever there was of it!) was starting to waver.

Then Rinpoche started encouraging his students to watch Earthlings. Rinpoche often sends us links to various videos and articles that he finds interesting, for us to read and learn, and to expose ourselves to different knowledge and ways of thinking. The instruction to watch Earthlings came in one such message and well, after watching it, there was no more wavering.


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This video will always be very “special” to me because it is the first time I became firm in my mind that I will give up meat for good. I remember the exact moment – watching the dog being dragged off the street and crushed by the rubbish truck unleashed a torrent of tears from me. At the time, I was sat in Beng Kooi’s room in the e-Division office watching this and I had to pause the video and bawl for a good minute. It was just so completely unnecessary and such a pointless destruction of life. It wasn’t like the dog was being killed for meat or for fashion (as though that would make it more acceptable!) or anything like that. He was just being killed because he could be killed, because he was around people who are cruel out of ignorance, because he happened to be at the wrong place, at the wrong time. This being’s consciousness and pain had no value for the people engaged in the act; its life was as worthless as the rubbish they were throwing away.

If the dog’s life was precious, then why aren’t other animals’ lives being given the same consideration? That’s when I decided, no more meat. A few weeks later, I had a private teaching with Rinpoche that sealed the deal

This video is very important because it spells out factually the reasons why humans need to stop engaging in the exploitation of animals. The narration doesn’t come across as emotional, yet it’s easy to get an emotional reaction from what you witness. And the video is comprehensive too; before this, I had never consciously contemplated on the extent of speciesm via, for example, the exploitation of animals as pets.

If we want to develop compassion in our practice, it’s important that we continuously make ourselves aware of the suffering of other beings by watching videos like these. To say it is too painful to watch these types of videos, and it hurts us too much is actually (sorry) avoidance. We don’t want to watch the videos because we don’t want to know what’s going on. Why? When we know what’s going on, we are forced to do something about it so instead of having to do something about it, we would rather not watch at all.

Isn’t it strange to say we are Buddhist and practising compassion, when we avoid the sight of the suffering of others?

If that’s the case and that’s how we feel about these types of videos that document the sufferings of others, then all the more reason why we MUST watch these types of videos. We need to know, to learn and to push our Dharma practice along, to remind ourselves how fortunate we are to be reborn with the Eight Freedoms and Ten Endowments, to not take for granted our precious human life and start doing something for others and ourselves right now.

Reflections and Teachings

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