Respect the Life of Animals as Equal to Our Own
Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai, Duisburg Center,
Düsseldorf, Germany, December 31, 2006 (Originally in English)
Let peace happen this year, the Year of the Pig. Pigs are very peaceful creatures. They just eat and sleep, sleep and eat. Who could be more peaceful than that? A pig doesn’t even have a beak like a bird, to pick at anyone. If he wants to dig something, he uses his nose. It must be a terrific nose! He can dig the earth with it, rocks and everything, with his soft nose. Maybe it’s not that soft after all. Did you ever touch it? (D: Yes, it’s really hard.) It’s hard? (D: Yes.) Well, it doesn’t look hard. It looks like just flesh tissue and even looks pink. The white or light-colored pigs, they look pinkie-nosed; the nose looks so tender. The black pig, his nose is also black. It’s so weird. No, not really. Some black pigs have a white nose, or half-white, half-pink, half-black. Pigs are cute. They say that pigs are very intelligent, even more intelligent than dogs. Can you imagine killing such a beautiful creature, so peaceful and intelligent, and eating it? Yuck! The moral standard of humans sometimes is really not that favorable. It’s not noble. I mean, pick on your own size!
Well, the humans do; they go and have war with each other, and then have war with less defensive or lesser beings. But if you could hear the animals talking, you would not dare, because they are beings. They do talk with each other, and they do have feelings. They’re just like us, only different shapes, that’s all; they’re here to color the world, just like we have different flowers. Can you imagine how ridiculous it would be if this flower, which is bigger and a different color or different shape, looks at the small flower and says, “Oh, you’re useless; I’ll eat you!” Doesn’t that sound funny, and stupid - and unimaginable! Similarly, we humans, we look bigger than some animals, but that doesn’t mean we should eat them. How about the elephants? They are bigger than us. If they came to eat us, would we like that? Well, in the minds of the elephants, they are bigger, yes? And they are different from us. We look different to them; we look weird in the eyes of the elephant. If you asked an elephant if he ever wanted to marry one of us, he’d say, “No!” He would say, “You look weird; your nose looks so weird!” Do you understand? (Audience: Yes) So, that doesn’t mean the elephants come and eat us; we are useless to them. The language we speak, they don’t understand. We are small, we are of no help to them; they live well without us at all. In the jungle, anywhere they live, they don’t need us, and they could eat us as well. But no matter how hungry an elephant is, he wouldn’t harm us because he has this love within him; he has the sense of right and wrong.
Animals Live in Harmony and Help Us
When one elephant dies, the whole herd stands there a long time mourning him. And if there’s a baby elephant in danger, such as when other animals want to attack them, then the entire herd of elephants surrounds that baby and makes a strong fortress against the enemy to protect the baby. If you see many films from Africa - people make these films - you will know that elephants have intelligence. And if you have psychic powers, you can talk to them. Then definitely you’ll know they are beings with all intelligence, all love, all resolution, just like us! So how can we ever eat any other being and call ourselves loving humans? We don’t have love if we do that, or at least we don’t know what love really is.
Nowadays there is a lot of information about how animals get slaughtered. The cruelty of it should make every human on this planet shed tears, break their heart and swear forever never to harm any animal on this planet and never ever to touch meat again. If they all saw that, they would know that this is no way to treat another being. We call animals barbarous. We look down upon animals, but many of them don’t eat us. They don’t harm us; they live in harmony with us and many even help us. For instance, if you are in the sea and in danger, the dolphin or the whales will help you and bring you to safety. And dogs even rescue strangers if they see them. So how can we say animals don’t have intelligence? Some humans wouldn’t dare to risk their lives to rescue our fellow beings. But dogs, even untrained dogs, they do it, even for strangers.
Recently, there was a dog who rescued a boy who was drowning, and the boy was a stranger to him. The dog had not been trained to rescue like that, but the boy was drowning and crying for help, and the dog just jumped right in, let the boy grab and hang on to him, and then swam into the shore. Who taught him that? And even if he was taught, he’s smaller than a human being; how would he risk his life like that? And that’s just one of the instances.
There was another dog called Shana. He dragged two elderly people back home with him. One he dragged on his back, and the husband was holding on to the wife’s leg. He dragged both of them through a tunnel to go home, under the trees and under the snow. I’m awarding him a hero jacket! I designed a special one for Shana – the Shana hero jacket! (Applause) And the other dog called Zion – he also got a hero jacket with his name on it. It’s special, because I want to honor them. I want the whole world to know that animals are really real beings with hearts and blood and brains, intelligence, love and compassion, some of them even more than many of us! I want the whole world to know that animals are to be revered, or at least to be befriended, not to be killed or harassed. (Please refer to the stories of these two dogs in News #181)
The Kindness Shown by Animals
Can Be an Inspiration to Our Lives
We have to be more noble, more compassionate, more loving and more protective of the weak and the needy. We are big and strong. How can we harass a little dog or eat a little pig or a little chicken, depriving him of his life when he has done no harm to us? Even the animals that are bigger than we are don’t eat us because of their size. The cows don’t ever attack humans. They are so gentle. I think it’s about time that the whole world has to wake up to this and be the noble humans that we should be. How can we harass and molest the beings who are as helpless and gentle as that? The chicken is just as loving as any bird you can buy from an exotic shop. Really, he’s very loving, and he responds to you.
I once had a chicken and a rabbit, and the rabbit was so amorous of the chicken, he copied her in everything. Before, they didn’t know each other, but once the rabbit knew the chicken he began to be in love with her and wanted to be near her all the time. Rabbits don’t jump very high; they don’t climb on tables. So when he saw that the chicken did that and he was too low, he didn’t know what to do. But because I had something like a dais, a small chair and then another lower table, he first jumped on the small chair, and then from the small chair to the higher chair so he could go near the chicken. He was so clever!
And because the Chinese disciples love instant noodles, they thought the chicken would also love instant noodles. So one time they gave the chicken some instant noodles, the dry type, and the chicken ate them. So the rabbit looked and looked: “If you eat them, I eat also!” I don’t know if the rabbit had ever eaten instant noodles in his whole life! He was already an old rabbit; it’s not like he was born yesterday. But he went and ate the instant noodles also. Whatever the chicken ate, he would go and eat it. When he was with me, of course I gave him carrots and salad and so on, and he ate those all right. But if he ate with the chicken, he would eat whatever the chicken ate. He would eat it no matter what! He didn’t look at the label, he just ate. And he was so loving with that chicken. He ran around her all the time, rubbing on her wings and wanting to kiss her and all that. But she wouldn’t have any of that! So she always jumped on something higher and looked down upon him. But then soon he followed. They were so loving. No one taught the rabbit like that, to come after the chicken; no one taught him anything.
And there was a goat who kissed my chicken. It’s a real story; we didn’t do any touch-up or special effects, it’s not that. The goat came and just kissed the chicken. And the chicken let him, but it’s not that they had been friends or anything like that. I’d had the chicken for a while, but the goat came from a nearby farm, and he just came over and kissed the chicken. And the chicken would eat bananas or anything I gave her.
We Can Enjoy Everything on the Planet
without Harming Sentient Beings
I wish I could make the whole world understand that animals are just like us. They truly are like us! Just like the different flowers here: (Master picks up a flower arrangement from the table) In this world there are different things, just to make it colorful. So in the garden, for instance, we have different flowers - all these different shapes, different names and different colors - just to make the world beautiful and colorful. If we had only one kind of flower, it wouldn’t be that pretty; you cannot make a bouquet out of it. But look at that: isn’t it wonderful that we could put more color in it? All kinds of bright color! They make up the gardens of the world for us to enjoy. Similarly, God makes different species so that we can be lively and colorful together.
I wish I could make all the humans in the world understand the animals’ sentiment and language. I wish I could do all that, so that no one would ever harm any little animal anymore and no one would ever dream of eating any of their innocent flesh anymore. I wish I could do that. I wish the whole world could understand that we have to love and respect the animals and enjoy them just as we enjoy the colorful garden with its different flowers and different trees and different fruits. We must enjoy everything on the planet but not harm the sentient beings at least, because they have feelings. They are moving and they are talking through their eyes, in their own way. So how can you go to a moving being and just chop his head off like that, or cut his leg off, cut his throat like that and then stop his breathing?
If we want to catch up with other planets in the solar system and in the universe, we have to change our way of life. We have to live and let live. We have to love all beings equally, or at least leave them alone. They don’t ask anything of you. The birds in the sky don’t ask anything of you; the fish in the sea don’t even go near you! Why go over there, dig them out and eat or kill them?! They’re gasping for breath when they’re dying like that. It’s terrible!
We possess all intelligence, all wisdom and all the tools that God has given to us to survive. We don’t need to kill to live. We waste so much resource just to kill, not just in war but in raising animals to eat. We deplete the resources of nature. That’s why we have hunger everywhere. And every one of the humans who are still eating flesh are responsible for hunger in the world. It’s not I who even says that. It’s researchers of the world; it’s the most intelligent people who do research and have scientific facts and evidence who say that. As long as we don’t give up this flesh-eating habit, we are still harming the earth; and consequently harming ourselves and our children in the future. So, we have to all turn to becoming vegetarian, the sooner the better. (Applause)