Do people 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 than love.

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].

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