Behind The Mask ~ LIVING TOGETHER
not yet have enough suffering that they do such evil
things as killing and maiming innocent animals just
for their pleasure? Do they want more suffering? Is
anybody so stupid?
The monkeys, deer and other animals, fish
and birds are happy in the forest, living out their
short lives. Why do we not allow them to stay there?
They are also like us, wishing to be happy and free
from pain; no living thing likes to suffer.
Causing pain to others will only result
in pain to oneself. If we really love ourselves we
should do good to others instead of inflicting pain
on them, because—surely—by hurting others,
it is a way of showing hatred to ourselves, rather
When we have suffered enough, and are tired
of suffering, this will be shown in our abstinence
from hurting others. On the other hand, hurting others
is a sign that we have not yet had enough suffering.
But that is easily remedied if that’s what we
want, as suffering is not hard to find; it’s
not in short supply.
Many people are under the false impression
that the animals in the world around us are for our
use and pleasure; this idea is even propagated by
some religions. What a cruel idea to teach! It surely
could not come from a religion with any degree of
compassion! If people have just a little wisdom, they
will easily see the errors of such teachings, and
reject them as leading the wrong way.
Men do not own this planet; we share it—for
a while, until we die—with other forms of life.
Just because man is the strongest form and can easily
destroy things, that does not mean that the other
forms are there for him to exploit and destroy; we
should not be so selfish and foolish as to think like
that. We must learn to live together with other living
things, seeing that they also have a right to live.
[I wrote the above passage at the Bataan
Refugee Camp, Philippines—where I spent several
years—after an old lady had brought to the temple
a young monkey she had just bought in the Camp market.
This monkey, when it had been trapped by some refugee
in the nearby forest, had had one of its hands cut
off at the wrist. I have written about this incident
elsewhere, and how I learned so much from this monkey
that I came to regard it as one of my teachers].