I’ve harped on the fact the most Buddhists still eat the flesh of other sentient beings. I’ve spoken ad nauseam of how hypocritical it is to practice compassion and kindness when animals are killed to be eaten. One of the things I’ve pointed out that burns my a** most is that a fair share of Buddhists (even teachers such as HHDL) make excuses to kill sentient beings as long as the person eating the animal didn’t kill the animal directly. Turning a blind eye somehow makes it alright I guess…
So, it was refreshing to have the opportunity to read and comment on “A Plea For The Animals” by Matthieu Ricard. Matthieu is an author but more so, a Buddhist monk in the Tibetan tradition. He is a leading voice for animals in the Buddhist realm and this book not only outlines those reasons but should be the catalyst for most (If not all) of the community to go vegan.
One of my favorite chapters of the book is the chapter titled, “Sorry Excuses.” We’ve all heard the same excuses a hundred times. Whether it’s “top of the food chain” or “we need it for our health” the fact of the matter is, they are just sad reasons to hold on to an outdated mindset. Animals are not here for us. Your ancestors were in the past, we are living in the present and at this moment in time, there is no reason to eat animals. We have grocery stores, farm stand, open air farm markets, etc.
One excuse that is really belligerent is the excuse “there are so many much more serious problems that humanity has to deal with.” Such as what? Hunger in third world countries? Climate change? The spread of disease such as swine or avian flu? You’re right, these have nothing to do with going vegan and stopping the animals as products machine from rolling on. ::eyeroll::
Seriously?! Every single one of those things could be remedied if we all stopped commodifying animals and went vegan.
Matthieu also goes into animal experimentation, illegal trade of wildlife (and their body parts), zoos and other relevant topics. “A Plea For The Animals” should be one of the most important books in the AR movement, It should also be required reading for anyone who is new to Buddhist thought so they could understand from the jump that animals are not for eating, wearing or killing. The fact that Matthieu’s resume is as solid as they come should lend some credence to the words he writes in his book.
If you have not read it, it’s time. If you are looking for a compassionate book for a friend or family member that is not as confrontational as others, this is the one. “A Plea For The Animals” is full of kindness, compassion and legit reason. I will continue to read and re-read this book as I feel it has given me a perspective that is positive and can be helpful when debating the ethics and reasons to go vegan.